Space Opera: It’s the (stupid) science

space opera

The trappings of space opera are beautifully illustrated here.

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. Continue reading

Video review: Star Tr… uh… 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

Inertia: Enemy of progress


I was recently reminded about an experience I had as a teen: I went to an Earth Day show at the Mall in Washington, D.C. and, among many things I saw, I had a chance to examine no less than four fully electric automobiles, all endorsed by the U.S. Department of Energy, a few made by major auto manufacturers (GM was among them), and at least one of them expected to go to market within 5 years.

This was 1978 or so.

And I remember thinking how great that was, because it meant that by the year 2000—because, in 1978, 22 years into the future sounded serious enough to warrant the phrase “in the year 2000″—there would be multitudes of electric cars to choose from, and the country would be driving primarily electric vehicles by then.

Obviously, that didn’t happen.  And when you ask someone about why it didn’t, the answer is likely to involve some form of inertia. Continue reading