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Oct 27

Science fiction predicting future technology…

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 in Literature, Other

Hardly anyone can have missed all the articles that check off the hits and misses when it comes to predictions about technology from Back to the Future.

That started me thinking about books I’ve read and how many of those, or rather how few, that have relatively accurately predicted the time we live in today.

Since I grew up with a major sf fan I have inherited as many of dad’s old sf books as I wanted. Many of those are from the 1950’s and on.

Surprisingly many of all these books got most of today’s technology wrong.

A big exception is Arthur C Clarke who apparently has predicted so many things – not necessarily the things we use from day to day, but still, quite a bit.

I can’t say how many books supposedly set in the ‘future’, ie the 21th century, have completely missed the evolution of the personal computer, cell phones and the internet, many of them also television. Also, family structure is still stuck in the 1950’s. I found it quite funny that space ships were run by a big ship’s computer, but there was nothing else remotely ‘computerized’. There was also just one expert aboard the ship who could handle that computer – the astrogator, I think he was called. And of course it was always a ‘he’.

You’d think they would have been able to think of anything related to computers, but apparently not. There are references to ‘the cold sleep’ or ‘the long sleep’ (some kind of stasis or suspended animation), FTL-ships, all kinds of robots, clones, time travel and so on, but not computers, internet or cell phones.

However, there’s a big exception that I found really interesting. My dad had two sf books by a Russian-Swedish author named Vladimir Semitjov. He came to Sweden in 1923, so either his books were quite old when dad got his hands on them or he wrote them quite late in life – or maybe both. Anyway, they contain references to ‘video phones’ that people carry in their pockets and that is about the only time I’ve ever read anything like it in the sf classics.

I can’t say for sure if anyone has got the PC and the internet right – not out of all those older books, I think. Books written from the 1980’s and on do better, but of course that’s not all that surprising.

Oct 19

The Night Also Rises, by C B McCullough

Posted on Saturday, October 19, 2013 in Books, Reviews, Science Fiction

I have just finished reading The Night Also Rises by C B McCullough (in the form of an e-book). His book is what I would describe as a hard-boiled mystery noir, set in the future, on a different planet. The only important difference between Earth and Jannix that I can detect, is the fact that the day (and night) lasts several weeks. Perhaps oddly enough, I enjoyed this book a lot (though I usually prefer cosy mysteries).

The main character is a middle-aged private investigator who gets an assignment by a famous millionaire. He’s supposed to investigate the murder of the old man’s son. Not surprisingly, not all is as it appears and the case becomes a life and death struggle. It seems that this is the first book in a series, but it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.

Sep 10

Fatal Boarding and Deep Crossing, by E R Mason

Posted on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 in Books, Reviews, Science Fiction

Ever since I discovered ebooks I’ve been searching for freebies to download and read, first on my iPod Touch, then later on my Kindle and my Cybook Odyssey. Most of those freebies have been – to put it charitably – ok for a freebie, some even exceptionally bad.

Fortunately, I have also come across a few really good ones.

Two books by an author named E R Mason belong to the latter category. I’m amazed that this writer is giving away his books for free.

I grew up reading the classics among fantasy, sf and horror. I never took to horror stories (except for some ghost stories) and though I enjoyed the classics, I never really liked modern sf until a few years or so ago when I discovered To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (a time travel novel). And suddenly I was enjoying science fiction again. A little later I came across a Swedish book called Alba about a young woman who is among a group of people exploring a distant planet. It seemed I was on to something. Not that I stopped reading fantasy, mysteries and the other genres of books I enjoy, but it was unusual for me.

And I now I’m getting to E R Mason’s two novels Fatal Boarding and Deep Crossing. There are some aspects of the books I don’t like so much, but in general I love both books. Though I normally prefer mystery to suspense, these books have both and they’re very well written (except for needing a bit of editing). I’m amazed that these two books are available for free. I’d happily have paid to read both of them and now I’m going to read the other books by the same author.

The first book is set aboard a space ship where the main character Adrian Tarn is chief of security. Not long into the journey the ship runs across a wreckage drifting dead in space (thank you, Star Trek, for that phrase). It’s decided that a team will investigate. That’s their first mistake…

I could describe this book as a thriller set in space (and in the future) but in any case I think my dad, the major sf fan, would have enjoyed it.

The second book is also about Adrian Tarn, this time on an expedition to a very distant star system. There’s some suspense in this book too, but mainly it’s fascinating. I had no idea where the book was heading at the beginning.

I can really recommend these two books, to anyone who enjoys science fiction or thrillers.

May 22

Dr Who

Posted on Saturday, May 22, 2010 in Fandom

For her birthday, my sister got a DVD box of Dr Who. It’s been fun rewatching a few of the episodes from season 1, but what we’re really looking forward right now is to watch the new episodes and see the new Doctor in action. That’s Ten. The latest season isn’t included, I’m afraid, but since we’d only seen season 1 before, a lot of it will be new.

Mar 17

FlashForward? I hope not…

Posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 in Other

A case of reality imitating fiction? This is a little late and most of you have probably seen this already, but if not – scary… I hope this is a one time thing only.

Mar 15

Torchwood fics again

Posted on Monday, March 15, 2010 in Fandom, Whining

In case anyone missed them the last time, here are my Torchwood fics.

Oct 23

Interstate 60

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Humour, Movies, Reviews, Science Fiction

Here’s the next movie in my series of comments/reviews on movies and tv series I’ve seen recently. I’d never heard of Interstate 60 until a friend recommended it to me.

It’s about a guy who’s got a birthday coming up. He happens to run into a creature who’s a real, genuine trickster – one of the few all American creatures who grant wishes. Not a genie, a human-type guy who calls himself O W Grant (One Wish Grant).

Just like all tricksters, Grant is unreliable. His wishes are often tainted and contains a trap. Many who have had a wish granted get killed or are tricked one way or another. A man that we get to see, gets run over by a car, immediately after having his thoughtless wish granted. Another one wanted to eat as much as he wanted, but hadn’t taken into consideration that he’d be constantly hungry and that it would get incredibly expensive.

The main character of the movie, Neal Oliver, wants an answer to what he’s going to do with his life. For once, this makes O W Grant take an interest, so he sends the guy off on a long trip through an America he doesn’t really know. You might say it’s an alternate universe.

Here Neal finds a town where drugs are legal – at least one – and it turns everyone into zombies who live for dancing in clubs and during the day they walk around like robots, sweeping floors or emptying garbage cans around the town. One difference between this town and the real world is that kids become adults at 16. A desperate mother hitches a ride with Neal to get her 16-year-old son back, but when she realizes she can’t, against his will, she uses the drug too and after that she’s happy again, but her mind’s a blank.

You also get to see a girl who has become obsessed with finding the perfect sex. She tries to get Neal first, but when he realizes that he’s only going to be a number in her notebook, he refuses, and claims that he’ll be the one she remembers because she couldn’t get him.

That makes her have a go at seducing Grant, but gets a nasty shock.. I won’t go into exactly what that is. The movie is full of crazy, drastic jokes, but there’s an underlying theme.

When Neal wakes up – because he seems to have dreamt it all, yet not – he has his answer. He knows what to do with his life. (Lucky guy!).

The movie is quite fragmented, but it’s all connected somehow, and besides, most of it’s fun and interesting. I can really recommend this movie, though I don’t know for sure that you’ll all like it as much as I did. At least try it and see what you think.

Oct 23


Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Reviews, Science Fiction

Heroes is an American science fiction series. To tell the truth, after seeing the trailer with the blonde cheerleader jumping from a bridge or whatever it was, dislocating her shoulder, then popping it back again, I had no intention of watching the series.

I thought ‘just another Buffy’. Yawn. Then I discovered that practically all the guys in the show are totally hot, or at least cute or funny and charming. (Guess who’s who. LOL)

Of course the plot is great too. Much more interesting than I thought. I love most of the guys – Mohinder, Peter, Isaac and naturally Hiro. Even the cheerleader’s pal is quite sweet in his geeky way.

I don’t like the females though. They’re just too – I don’t know – yucky. But that’s just me. I’m sure most guys and plenty of female viewers will like them. Even if you don’t, it’s still a good series.

In case you haven’t seen it yet, it’s about a group of people, young for the most part, who suddenly discover they have unusual abilities (‘superpowers’). They try to come to terms with how their lives have changed, and will soon be forced to decide if they want to be a force for good or evil. If that sounds interesting, watch the series when it comes on in your country or on your channel. I think you’ll like it.

Oct 23

Dr Who

Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Reviews, Science Fiction

Dr Who is a British science fiction series, which is quite new. If you haven’t seen it yet, you might be curious about what it’s about. First of all: it’s quite different from the American tv series. The English have a pretty unusual sense of humor, and it takes a while to get used to it.

Because I’m not completely in tune with it, not just the humor but the style in general, I think the quality is a little mixed. Some episodes are scary and sad, others are a little lame. A few are actually pretty creepy. Now that I’ve seen (almost) the whole series, I’ve grown used to it.

If you get a chance to watch this series, and you’re not sure you want to follow it, I suggest you give it a chance. Watch a few episodes before you make up your mind.

Here’s a brief description of what the series is about:

In the first episode, you get to know an English girl, Rose. She finds out that something odd is gong on at the store where she’s working. The dummies from the window displays are acting a bit out of character, not to mention in a menacing way.

Suddenly, a man in his forties shows up, at least that’s the way he looks. He helps her get away from the scary dummies. She soon learns that the dummies are just a part of a bigger problem.

The man introduces himself as the Doctor. She finds out that he tends to show up when the population of the Earth is in danger. When everything’s ok for the time being, he invites Rose to go away with him on his phone booth-like space ship, the TARDIS. It can travel in space and in time, so Rose accepts. She ends up in many dangerous situations with the Doctor.

I won’t say anything more about the plot. Just remember, give the series a chance. Like all British tv series it’s good quality, like the humor or not.

The series has a cult following in its home country, at least the ‘old’ series, which began in the 1960’s and kept on going all the way until the late 1980’s. For some reason, maybe because the Doctor is pretty ‘gay’, it’s particulary popular with gay men.


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