The recent arguments over the merits of Interstellar (is it good SF, is it crappy, is it too serious, is the science BS, etc, etc) has been ringing in my ears this week. One poster even tried to label Interstellar as space opera. Which reminded me of a post in IO9 a few months back about space opera and its merits. Part of the discussion revolved around what, exactly, is considered space opera.
QMX has decided to torture me with a 1:124 scale replica of Serenity from Firefly, complete with lights, rotating engines, tiny figures that you can suggest positions for inside the ship, an articulated support armature and a light-up base.
To which my instant response was: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY—
Get it at ThinkGeek.
No. I mean it. Go get yours.
Director Joss Whedon has a biography coming out (one of those things you look at with a strange crick in your neck, because biographies usually come out at the end of someone’s career), and in some excerpts printed in IO9, I’ve discovered some significant similarities in the way he and I see science fiction these days.
For instance, when he had the opportunity to submit a TV series concept to Fox, he wanted to do science fiction. Problem was, most TV SF turned him off. He wanted to see realism, but most sci-fi TV shows looked too plastic, too clean, like Star Trek. Or too cheap and cheesy, like Blake’s 7 or (pre-2000s) Doctor Who. One movie series he appreciated—Alien—but he wanted more than a “ripoff” of the Alien look.
This page is now located at StevenLyleJordan.blog.
The novels of The Kestral Voyages are my most popular stories, hands down; not only my best sellers, but earning more comments, reviews and requests for more stories than any other novels I’ve written to date.
It’s not hard to guess why: When I created the series, it was originally based on the Star Trek universe, a story idea I intended to pitch to Paramount as the next Trek series after Voyager. Though I made changes to fit it into its own universe, it still has many similarities to the Trek universe that is still so popular with fans.
So, what happened? Well, it’s like this…
What 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.
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!
It seems like only a few years back that Joss Whedon gave us a new way to look at future fiction that resonated with a lot of people, weirded out a small but influential group of people, and was unseen by most people.
I am, of course, referring to Firefly, the futuristic retelling of America’s post-Civil-War period… cowboys in space. At least, that was the prominent outer skin of the series; but as fans discovered, Firefly had more layers underneath than an onion from the seventh dimension.
Firefly presented us with a future that sounded more workable and believable than any future depicted by Star Trek, Stargate, Galactica or almost any other space-faring TV society: The future of the human race, having abandoned the used-up Earth of their ancestors, had discovered a single system of multiple-multiple planets and moons, giving them the chance to settle on and terraform each of them into worlds of their desire. Like the development of the United States, some planets benefited from their available resources better than others, resulting in rich and beautiful cities on one planet, and desolate no-collar existence on another. And after their own war of unification, the planets were settling into an uneasy alliance, while those who didn’t like the new order tried to eke out an existence on their own, away from authority figures and politics they didn’t appreciate.
Enjoy this excerpt from The Kestral Voyages: My Life, After Berserker, available on my site and other ebook outlets.
The excerpt begins with a defining moment for Carolyn Kestral, commander in the Galarchy Rangers, and how it sets her on the next stage of her life, that of a freighter captain. The excerpt also introduces some of the people that will work for her on the freighter Mary.