Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Science and traditional futuristic fiction, in its premise takes our current world and imagining how the scientific advances, sociological improvements and cultural progression will lead to a future filled with hope, global peace and the transcending of humanity's problems with technology and international cooperation.

Neuromancer 1984, Snow Crash 1992, The Machine Stops 1909, Brave New World 1984, Out of the Silent Planet 1938, Nineteen Eighty-Four 1949, Farenheit 451 1953, Oryx and Crake 2003, The Time Machine 1895.

The Hunger Games 2008.

All of these novels have one thing in common. The paint a picture of a world where all current the scientific advances, sociological improvements and cultural progressions all lead our world inexorably toward a future filled with.... disaster, hopelessness, police states, famine, governmental brainwashing, global pandemics, corporate greed and espionage, technological dependence, and shallow virtual reality.

And in my opinion, Distopian futures are much more probable. Infuriating. A bit depressing. Disappointing. But more probable.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Inspy awards in 12 days

I just finished the last of the five books nominated for Inspy awards in Speculative Fiction Category. Just in time, because the deadline was today. Here is the shortlist that I and my fellow judges have been reading to evaluate for this year's
Inspy award:

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Bethany House, July, 2010

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers, Waterbrook Press, October, 2010

The Falling Away by T. L. Hines, Thomas Nelson, September, 2010

The Resurrection by Mike Duran, Realms, February, 2011

The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead, Thomas Nelson, August, 2010

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews on all of these excellent books, and the announcement of a winner of this years Inspy award for Speculative fiction!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Inspys again.

The last time I posted was over a year ago. It has been a busy year, with some good books read, but as yet unblogged. I may get around to those eventually, but in the event that I don't, I will be posting in mid December about about the specualtive fiction category of the INSPY award winners and nominations. You can find the shortlist for that category and the others here. These shortlists make great reading lists, and great gift ideas. I'll be judging the speculative fiction category again this year with a great group of readers, so stay tuned for our recommendations for your must read and don't bother lists when the winners are announced on December 12th

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gearing up for the INSPYs

Recently selected as a judge in a new book award category, the INSPYs, I suppose I should at least update for all you folks that will click on my link.

The God particle, by Richard Cox.

Speculative/sci fi, about the possibilities that are brought to light by the scientific advances in particle research. The science of the book is believable, at least until the end, where the author gets a bit fanciful. Nothing wrong with that, especially with a refreshing writing style. Cox spent very little time setting the locations of his story, getting right into the characters, and then fleshing out the locations in subtle ways throughout the story. At first it was a bit irritating, with short terse statements about where the action was set, like the stage directions on the edge of a play script. After a while, you get used to it, quickly assessing the scene and getting right into the action.

Story in a nutshell involves the search for a unifying field present in all elements, the higgs bosun field, or "the god particle". Psychotic killers, A pseudo religious news anchor, a physicist under pressure to get results or lose funding, a ghosts, nano machines in brains, and mind over matter makes it an interesting read, a good diversion from the top 100 list, and a good springboard into my next project, judging for the INSPYs Speculative Fiction category. Bring it on!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Catch up

Ok, here it is, I'll just give a teaser here about what I'll write, and then those who care can read the entire thing.
Fahrenheit 451: high school reading material, good emotions
Childhood's End: a bit weird, and more psy-fi than sci fi.
Wrinkle in Time: Kids book on the top 100 list of sci fi novels. Kind of a chick book, but the list compells me.
Snow Crash: Hiro Protagonist. Actual main character name. I think Heroes ripped this off.

Fahrenheit 451: Apparently everyone but me read this in high school, so I'll not go into too much detail. Basic premise: if we continue to value entertainment over knowledge, eventually, knowledge will be considered dangerous, and we'll burn all our books, and pay people to do it. Classic Dystopia, but I really enjoyed how Bradbury delved into the emotions of someone who is struggling against all he knows, but feels is not the way things should be. There is a paragraph toward the end of the book that struck me, and probably will remain how I remember the book. One of the old exiled professors talks about mourning the loss of someone. When we are gone, no one will ever, ever do things the way we do things, or say things the way we say things. Even if someone had a list of all the things we've ever done and will do, and tried to duplicate them, it still would not be the same. We are individuals, and that makes the loss of anyone a terrible loss.

Childhood's End: Weird. Basic premise: Aliens come to earth, and they take over all the workings of the world. They prevent humanity from going to war with itself, and then things just kind of settle. The real reason that they arrive is to make sure humanity's big moment goes off without a hitch. Humanity's big moment: All the kids, everywhere, develop beyond the normal capacity for thought and paranormal stuff, and they all become part of a really creepy/huge/weird overmind. the end. of earth. cuz the kids blow it up when they transform to pure energy. oh an the parents all have to watch it and then they have to leave. the end.

A Wrinkle in Time: Epic good and evil, with a bit of religion thrown in. Basic Premise: The Darkness is taking over planets and galaxies, and there are a few people with certain characteristics that are good at fighting darkness, and do so. Heroine triumphs by saving her little brother from the Darkness (represented by a big brain that controls people and takes away their free will) because she has something that the Darkness doesn't have; love. Yeah, it is kind of sappy at the end, but really a great wholesome kids book. That's right, kids books make it on the top sci fi novels of all time.

Snow Crash: really good cyber punk! And the (Hiro) Protagonist uses swords. a lot. I'm fairly certain that the Character of Hiro Nakamura, in the TV show Heroes is at least loosely based on this guy, but I'd have to do some research on that. There's definitely some entertaining views of the future, in both political, technological and social areas. If you've ever worked in any corporation you know the power of the three ring binder, which is the way corporate tells everyone exactly what policy is an how to follow it. Franchises are the way of the future, why not have a Mafia Franchise. Really a complex book, with a lot of double meanings and political satire, and mumbo jumbo. and the book was long! I love that! mainly because some sci fi novels get in, tell the story, and get out. but Snow crash takes you deeper into the world, into the minds of the people, and develops not just the main character, but the main nine characters. world building, at it's finest.

There you have it, I'm all caught up

Friday, April 23, 2010

Faith and Fiction round table: Offworld

recently, I have been really bad about blogging. But I have continued reading, mostly on my top one hundred list, Fahrenheit 451, Childhood's End, and a Wrinkle in time. I'll make a brief blog on each soon, but not this time.

also in the mean time, I participated in my first "book club" type thing. Offworld, by Robin Parrish. Just the basic gist for now, and maybe I'll get to a full blog also.

you can read the first chapter here: for a look into the writing style.

Amy: Do you read very much science fiction?

Ronnica: I do read and enjoy science fiction (and yes, enjoy Star Wars and Star Trek), but have never read any from a Christian perspective. I think this was a good example of how it could be done.

Mark: I read almost all mystery, but I picked up Offworld because of the author. I found Robin Parrish when he was covering Christian music for About.com and followed his career off and on since then. I read and loved his Dominion Trilogy as well.

Jonathan: I've gravitated to science fiction primarily in the last few years, mainly because of the freedom that science fiction has to build a world, or describe our own in the distant or not too distant future.

Carrie: I can't say that I make a regular habit out of reading science fiction. I love watching science fiction movies but apart from Asimov, Lewis' Space Triology and Beddor's Looking Glass Wars, I'm not very familiar with this genre. I agree with Mark in saying that the biggest draw (and, quite frankly, the only thing that kept me reading!) was the mystery aspect of the book. I wanted to know how it would play out.

Jonathan: I've been thinking more about it, and through the discussion, I think that I've distilled a little more about how I feel about it: Parts of the book are well written, entertaining, intriguing, and compelling. If the whole book took place on Mars, or if all of the events of the blackouts were strung together, it might have gained a cohesive element. i realize that the blackouts allowed a slow reveal for the author, but there came a point that I just wanted to have the story, instead of the interruptions.

Mark: This book wasn't deep or complex. It was designed to be a sci-fi action tale. Taken as a sci-fi action tale, it was great. It won't take a spot on my best books of all time list, but I plan to loan it to some friends and rave about it to others.

Ronnica: I also enjoyed it and think it was worth reading it. Sure, it's not the best BOOK, but it's quite good at what it's supposed to be.

I'm not a fan of action (in movies or books) and generally just get lost/bored until the end until you see the outcome. But other than the action scenes, I really enjoyed Offworld.

Carrie: Generically speaking - I could take this book or leave it. If I had to choose between this book and the others that I'm looking forward to reading, I would leave Offworld behind. Science fiction just really isn't my thing at all and while I wouldn't by any means say that this book was horrible - I just didn't feel anything for it.

Here are the other fine people that I participated in some interesting discussion about the book, so you can visit their sites for more of this discussion.

Reading to Know
Ignorant Historian
Random Ramblings from Sunny Southern CA
Behind the eyes, oversimplified
Mrs. Q Book Addict
My Friend Amy

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Dune", or "Judeo-Christian burial customs of North America"

I finished the book that is on the top of lots of lists of best sci fi novels. In the Car on the way to NJ for my Grandfather's funeral.

On Dune, water is life, and is not to be wasted. A man's life belongs to himself, but his water belongs to his tribe. Crying at a funeral is the highest honor, as it "gives water to the dead." The legacy of each person is passed down to the tribe, divided up among those who must claim friendship with the dead, even if they were the cause of death in single combat, even if in life they were enemies. The dead are honored, and all their water is reclaimed to perpetuate the life of the tribe.

As I prepare to commit my Grandfather's empty body to the ground, I can't help but draw some comparisons to the customs that surround this sad, yet happy occasion. The legacy of my Grandfather lives on in the entire tribe, and his water, his life, has affected us all. All of the kids and grand kids are here, and we spoke his memory tonight. All of us share pieces of his life, and we shared those pieces with each other in our time of loss.

Yet one of our customs differs from any in the world. We do not grieve as those who have no hope. We grieve because we have lost a loved one, but have not lost forever. For we believe in the resurrection of the dead, and in the eternality of the soul. I believe that we will see him again, in the life to come. For we have hope, because the same Messiah who was raised by God from the dead by the Spirit of power, will raise all who trust in him at the last day.

Yet now we have loss, and pain, and sorrow, and are weighed down by grief. Now we see in a glass, dimly, one day, we will see face to face.