Futurist’s review: Interstellar

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InterstellarInterstellar, the Christopher Nolan movie (co-written by himself and Jonathan Nolan), is the sort of science fiction movie that comes along very seldom these days… unfortunately for all of us.  In an entertainment market that will go out of its way to throw boy wizards, zombies and Klingons at ravenous audiences—but turn up its nose when someone offers real scientific content—Interstellar strives to hit some notes that are rarely touched by Hollywood anymore.  But as those science notes are nested within some of the more well-known notes preferred by Pop Movie 101 aficionados, this movie does a great job hitting the right notes at the right times.

(Spoiler-free review follows) Continue reading

Video review: Star Tr… uh… Steamboy!

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Steamboy

Steamboy, Sony Pictures.

Yes, due to the innumerable requests I’ve had to weigh in on the latest Star Trek movie, I’ve decided to… review Steamboy!   (Because I’d much rather avoid the trainwreck of the latest JJ Abrams Trek movies and enjoy a great steampunk animated feature instead.)

Steamboy: Creation of Katsuhiro Otomo, the incredible artist who brought us AkiraSteamboy, the animated feature-length film that took ten years for The Steamboy Committee (a conglomeration of production houses that cooperated on the film, much like the production arrangement for Akira) to produce.

Alas, Sony Pictures did not expect much of a reception by American audiences (must have been all those British accents… Americans apparently hate accents that aren’t attached to supermodels), and gave this a limited release… so don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying, “Steam-wha?”  But having adored Akira, and being that I am currently exploring the realms of Steampunk fiction, I’m glad I finally had a chance to see this film. Continue reading

Doc Savage: The mold from which heroes were and are made

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Doc SavageIt was recently announced that Iron Man 3 director Shane Black is in discussion to helm a new movie for Sony, starring the pulp hero Doc Savage.  A friend of mine saw this, and correctly guessed that I would squee upon hearing the news.

Why? I grew up reading the famous “181 Supersagas” of Doc Savage—also known as the Man of Bronze—and his friends Monk Mayfair, Ham Brooks, Renny Renwick, Johnny Littlejohn and Long Tom Roberts, occasionally joined by Doc’s cousin Pat Savage, as they raced around the world, investigating scientific mysteries, righting wrongs, and punishing evil-doers wherever they were found.  Doc and his friends were among the very first “science heroes,” those who embraced the modern world of steel and wonder, and who used science and intellect to solve mysteries and save the day… but with plenty of very unscientific fisticuffs and derring-do thrown in for excitement.  Doc Savage, the leader of the group, was no less than the template that future superheroes would be based upon for the balance of the 20th century. Continue reading

Cowboy BeBop: We need more sci-fi like this

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Cowboy BeBopWhat do an ex-cop with an artificial arm, an ex-hitman with a mean martial-arts gift, an amnesiac con artist with a gambling problem, a slightly wacko hacker and an artificially-intelligence-enhanced dog have in common?  These characters—Jet Black, Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, “Radical” Edward and Einstein the Welsh Corgi—all fly together on a ship called the BeBop, traveling about the occupied areas of the Solar System chasing down bounties in order to pay for their next meal.

On the surface, Cowboy BeBop looks like most sci-fi anime, with stylized characters, futuristic tech, spaceships and settlements on other planets; but not, as those settlements tend to look like third world countries, the ships look very used and ugly, billboards hang in space and the heroes are as likely to fight their bounties with fists as with guns.  And for a program about futuristic bounty hunters, an awful lot of strange and funny things that have nothing to do with bounties tend to happen to them… they’re not the most successful at their trade, and they eat a lot of cheap noodles for sustenance.  In other words, the crew of the BeBop seem a lot like normal people.

And maybe science fiction needs more people like them. Continue reading

Sarcology is now on sale

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sarcology cover 2014Sarcology, my sixteenth novel, is now available at my site, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (There is a $1.00 discount when ordering through my site.)

On its surface, Sarcology is a futurist detective adventure: A husband-and-wife detective agency must help a scientist who has been blackmailed, forced to regularly submit to her blackmailer’s sexual appetites in order to keep her past indiscretions secret; but the blackmailer has suddenly moved up from sex to corporate secrets, and now he must be stopped.

But the heart of the story is in the relationship between Allen and Jessica Teal, the detective couple… and, later, between Jessica and a robot prototype that enters her life, carrying the memories of her husband. Jessica must soon try to decide whether the robot is simply mimicking her husband, or if her husband is trapped inside a robotic body… and whether that should make a difference.

A Press Kit providing more details about the novel is now available through RightBrane.com.

The author interviews the cast and crew of The Kestral Voyages: The Lens

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cover of The Kestral Voyages: The Lens

An unutterably silly story, transcribed (with comments) from the MobileRead forums

Konichi-wa. I’m Steven Lyle Jordan, and I’ve been offered a rare opportunity. I am standing just outside of the space freighter Mary, featured in the novel My Life, After Berserker, and The Lens. I have been given permission to go on-board the Mary and speak to its cast—er, crew, about the upcoming novel, and anything else they want to talk about, before it is released! And as this is a sort-of pseudo kinda something like live feed, you, my MR friends, can also suggest questions for me to ask the crew, about anything you want! (And they may even answer you!)

Yeah! Cool, isn’t it? Just like a DVD extra! Continue reading