Steven Lyle Jordan

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Bernal SphereSteven Lyle Jordan has written fifteen futurist fiction novels.  His work has been compared to that of Arthur C. Clarke, Ben Bova and Frederik Pohl, and he’s considered a staunch advocate of genre fiction based on real physics and believable science.

Available in ebook formats at Amazon and at Barnes & Noble.

The Trouble with Nowhere

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nowhereI cannot agree more with the comments made by Stowe Boyd in his online publication, Work FuturesThe Trouble with Nowhere describes the disconnect people have with the future, and the dangers we create for ourselves by doing so.  A number of points are made by Kevin Kelly, editor of Wired magazine, and Kenneth Boulding, the economist that first suggested the metaphor of Spaceship Earth.  Boulding writes:

There is a great deal of historical evidence to suggest that a society which loses its identity with posterity and which loses its positive image of the future loses also its capacity to deal with present problems, and soon falls apart.

And Kelly, I think, nails it with this comment:

Today we’ve become so aware of the downsides of innovations, and so disappointed with the promises of past utopias, that we now find it hard to believe even in protopia — that tomorrow will be better than today.

The popularity of today’s dystopian novels and movies, the lack of interest in positive futurist fiction and serious science in fiction, and the efforts put into rebooting and reusing old material instead of developing new fiction, bear witness to Kelly’s statement: We have given up on the future, spend too much time dwelling on the past, and dedicate all of our efforts to the ephemeral and transitory needs of today.

Read more in Work Futures.

Leonard Nimoy was Spock

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spock eyebrowsLeonard Nimoy, the actor who portrayed the character of Mr. Spock on Star Trek TV shows and movies for much of his acting career, died this week at 83.

More than any other character of the franchise, Spock was iconic of Star Trek, a character recognized worldwide and cherished within the Trek community.  No doubt volumes will be spoken about Mr. Nimoy, and the great acting talent that shaped and formed the concept of Vulcans for the generations.  I’d just like to contribute this:

The character of Spock was much more than his emotionally-suppressed countenance: He was the voice of reason in trying and emotional times. He provided wise counsel and offered a shoulder to lean on.

And if you ever watched closely… you also discovered that Spock was clumsy as hell.  Nimoy could barely run, apparently.  His fighting skills were not very impressive.  But through his talent (and clever scene setups), you probably never noticed.

And his eyebrows.  They weren’t just mobile; given that in many scenes, Nimoy was restricted in his expressions and movements, he made those eyebrows positively manic in compensation.  And today, it’s pretty much impossible for anyone in America to cock an eyebrow and not conjure up images of Mr. Spock to everyone around them.

Leonard NimoyBut most importantly, Mr. Spock was the outsider trying to be a part of a team, and in the process becoming a trusted and needed member of a family.  He was emblematic of Gene Roddenberry’s vision of disparate peoples coming together, defeating prejudice and distrust of the stranger, and working together in harmony.

The combination of Roddenberry’s imagination and Leonard Nimoy’s talents gave us one of America’s most enduring characters, one which will live on in legend and hold its iconic status for generations.

Leonard Nimoy—and Mr. Spock—will both be missed.

#OscarSoWhat?

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oscarBWA lot of press has been given lately to the claim that the American Academy Awards, or Oscars, have continued to snub black actors; #OscarsSoWhite has been the rallying hashtag this year, and pundits in and out of the industry have chimed in with responses.  Black-white relations in the U.S. has found yet another front to start yet another of their ongoing battles against each other.

I’m not going to regurgitate the discussions here, and here’s why:

Racism is certainly an issue in the U.S.; but calling out Hollywood for being a mostly-white cadre handing out awards to mostly-white people is, in fact, a waste of everyone’s time. Continue reading

Birdman, life and extremes

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BirdmanAlejandro González Iñárritu, director of the film Birdman, recently had some interesting things to say about the movie’s main character, Riggan, played by Michael Keaton… and about all of us.

“He thinks that he is a great fucking artist half the time and half the time he thinks that he is a fucking jellyfish… We want to conquer the world and have 1,000 likes, 1 million likes, but at the same time we are depressed. We are lonely but we have 10,000 followers. We are all bipolar. I’m popular but I’m lonely, I’m an artist but I’m a whore. That’s how this guy [Riggan] operates.”

Great sound byte, that… mainly because it uses absolute extremes to make its point, just as Birdman is a film about a character living at the extremes of behavior.  And it forces readers to pause when considering themselves, making them self-evaluate against similar extremes.  As a writer, I am prompted by the comment to evaluate myself as “an artist… and a whore.” Continue reading

Khan, failed savior: A better alternate history

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KhanMust be all these hours snow-bound in front of my computer… maybe the sub-zero cold is starting to freeze some (some?) of my brain cells… but it occurred to me the other day that Khan Noonian Singh must have been railroaded.  (And so were we.)

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Star Trek’s Federation history includes, among many other things, the fact that Earth had a World War III, and later, a Eugenics War, the combination of which tore Terran countries and societies apart.  It was from this series of disasters that Earth’s leaders finally started working together on a platform of mutual trust and cooperation, rebuilding the first truly global society.  This society eventually came to provide a universal living wage, food and housing for all, worldwide access to medicine, education and opportunities to do what they wanted beyond basic subsistence.

We also know, from the Star Trek Original Series episode “Space Seed,” that Khan and his followers were part of a group of genetically-engineered superior humans who tried, in Khan’s own words, to “give the world order.”  He and his people were soundly defeated in the Eugenics Wars and forced to flee Earth to escape prosecution.

But I now believe there’s more to the story than that… and a hint as to how Star Trek Into Daftness could have actually become a great movie. Continue reading