Entertainment over issues

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Roger Rabbit I hate the newsLooking over the stats on this site, it has become abundantly clear that posts related to entertainment—a review of a movie, or discussion about a TV show or trope—do significantly better than posts about science, technology or social issues.  Like Roger Rabbit, my readers do not want to read about real world issues; they want to be entertained.

Good to know.  I can use that info to make some changes around here, away from news items and science and technology commentary, and toward comments and discussions about shows, movies, etc.

Maybe.

Or I can keep talking about the things I happen to think are significant, from a futurist’s point of view.

Hmm.  Tough choice.

Orphan Black: Serious SF for TV

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Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black

Why have I not broached the subject of Orphan Black on this blog before?  I honestly don’t know, because it’s just the kind of thing I love, as well as love talking about.  Orphan Black is one of my most favorite things in the world, the incredible rare bird.

Serious science fiction.

For television, dawg. Continue reading

Is Star Trek’s day done?

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enterprise crash and burnThe SF world is abuzz about talks to create a new television show set in the Star Trek universe. Nothing is set in stone, so everyone is predictably offering their opinions on what the new series should be like.

Sorry, Trekkers… but I question whether the world needs another Trek series at all. Continue reading

Desperately seeking futurist SF writers

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Steven Lyle JordanBeing an independent self-published author, I’ve always sought to find other independent authors to enjoy… supporting the fraternity, as it were.  But from the very beginning, I’ve had a problem: I can’t find indie authors, like myself, writing the kind of SF novels that I write and enjoy.  There must be some; I can’t be the only futurist SF writer, or the last futurist writer who’s still independent or self-published.  Where are all my futurist SF writing homeys? 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

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.

Drones in the USA: Should we worry?

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surveillance droneThe use of flying surveillance drones is beginning to move from the battlefield to our domestic shores.  Not surprisingly, it is stirring up plenty of controversy.

Some of the concern reflects the present use of drones in battle areas.  Equipped with sophisticated surveillance equipment and lethal munitions, military drones are sent on reconnaissance and surgical kill missions against military targets, leaders and terrorists.  Which all sounds fine in a battle situation (even if they still result in some collateral damage); but what about in the USA?  Some citizens are concerned that Americans in the US would be singled out as targets for military-grade drones to attack, and they question whether an American citizen determined to be a threat against other Americans should be surgically killed on American soil.

Okay… that’s not entirely true.  The real concern American citizens have is that our government, not being infallible, will be told by some anonymous or insane source that one of us law-abiding citizens is a terrorist; and that the government, not questioning or investigating said information, will fire off a drone to take us out on our way to Burger King. Continue reading

You want a self-driving car. Think about it.

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Self-driving car from I, Robot

Self-driving car from I, Robot, courtesy 20th Century Fox

I know.  It almost sounds blasphemous.  Imagine, a car that drives itself, as do the cars in my novel Sarcology.  No input from a driver, other than telling the car your destination.  Then turning your back on the car until it tells you you’ve arrived.  It’s crazy.  No car could drive as well as you can.  No car could get you where you’re going faster or easier than you can.  And no robot could be a safer driver than you.

Yet, robotics technology is improving by leaps and bounds every day.  Google, using the latest in computers, GPS and sensory technology, has created a car that has run so safely over the past year (one accident, caused by the other car) that two states have decided to make self-driving cars legal on their streets.  Other states are already looking them over, as other car makers and experimenters are working on their own self-driving car technology.  And in every state, many drivers now gladly watch in hands-off mode as cars park themselves.  The writing is on the traffic sign.

And you still don’t want cars to drive you around?  Well, maybe you just haven’t thought it through. Continue reading

HAPPY NEW ERA!

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Happy New Era toastSo, 2012 has now gone into the yearbooks as being another year when the world didn’t end!  HAPPY NEW ERA!  Silly, really… thinking that reaching the end of the Mayan “long-count” calendar meant there was no more… pretty much like thinking that reaching December 31st meant there would be no January 1st.  Ah, me.  (For more info about why the world didn’t end, check out this NASA video.)

So, now that we’ve gotten that foolish notion out of our heads (assuming you’re not still hung over from last night… and I can’t wait to see the pregnancy figures a few months from now), maybe we should start thinking about what we are going to do to make sure humanity reaches the end of this long-count calendar (which, by the way, will be December 21st, 7137). Continue reading

Biometrics are in our future

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vein scanThough many have doubts that biometric technology will become the prevailing ID technology of the future, replacing passwords and PIN numbers… it’s already being rolled out.  In some places, it’s been active for a decade.

Palm vein ID technology, a system most Americans are not yet familiar with, has been gaining in usage and popularity abroad, and now beginning to reach domestic shores.  Palm vein technology uses an infrared scanner to identify the veins inside one’s hand, compare it to a complex algorithm of data points, and okay (or decline) the user.  The system has been tested extensively, demonstrating a .0001% error rate in over 75,000 user tests.  (More info here and here.) Continue reading