Where You Start: Stop Thinking

Stargate Atlantis - Tao of Rodney More Stargate Spirituality, this time courtesy of Stargate Atlantis…

WEIR: Rodney … I still believe there’s a chance you can ascend if you put your mind to it.

McKAY: We both know that that is a waste of time. Maybe you could do it, but …

WEIR: I don’t know if I could, but you are certainly selling yourself short by not even trying.

McKAY: To be honest, I don’t have the first clue where to start.

WEIR: Stop thinking.

McKAY: See, I don’t understand that.

Continue reading Where You Start: Stop Thinking

Review: Zoe’s Tale

Zoë's Tale by John ScalziZoë’s Tale by John Scalzi
Old Man’s War series #4
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My Rating3.5 out of 5 Stars 3.5 out of 5 stars 
First Published: Jan. 30, 2016
Read from: Feb. 18, 2016

Ok… to Good… to Really, Really Good!

When I started this I didn’t realize it was basically a retelling of the previous book in the The Old Man’s War series, “The Last Colony”, only from the perspective of Zoë, the teenage daughter of the protagonist of most of the books. So I started off disappointed with this book. I checked some other people’s reviews just to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind and that, yes, I had indeed read this story before. There I discovered that besides the different perspective on the previous story there were some new things, and that much of it was… well, patching some of the parts of “The Last Colony” that had issues. So I took my time reading this, as I was not really “in” to it. I expected my disappointment would continue, and I considered giving the book the boot early on.

I’m REALLY glad I stuck with it. Read the Full Review

2 Reviews: Slaughterhouse-Five and Peace in Amber

A classic sci-fi-“ish” novel and the post 9/11 short story it inspired.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt VonnegutSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
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My Rating4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars 
First Published: 1969
Read from: Jan. 24 to Jan. 28, 2016

I read Kurt Vonnegut‘s Slaughterhouse-Five at least once a long time ago. I remember that I liked it, but that it effected me in a negative way and left me of two minds on the experience: I liked the book but hated what it described and made me feel. It not so much described, as allowed you to experience and feel some thing that by nature we resist discussing, describing and by all means feeling if we can avoid it.

I reread the book this time around as there was a short story, Peace in Amber: The World of Kurt Vonnegut by Hugh Howey, that I wanted to read that was basically Howey’s tribute to, commentary on, and his literary attempt at describing and moving past some of the same issues exposed in Slaughterhouse-Five. Knowing this I wanted Vonnegut’s work to be fresh in my ever-more-forgetful mind. I’m glad I did, as the novel and short-story compliment each other. And I discovered in the middle of Howey’s story, he described his experience with reading Slaughterhouse-Five and in doing so described far better than I could what Vonnegut’s book did to me. Read the Reviews

Enlightenment Cannot Be Enforced

sg1-originIt’s a pop sci-fi action / adventure TV show, talking about a bunch of super-evolved alien ancestors, but it also seems to be saying so much more; a more I happen to agree strongly with… Those who are truly “enlightened” do not force, judge or condemn those who have yet to find it; know that it is a never-ending quest; and are aware that there are many different paths to find it.

“I can’t speak for everyone in my galaxy, but in my own humble opinion, I don’t believe that any individual or society can achieve enlightenment through fear-mongering and force and servitude no matter what power is presented as evidence… Don’t get me wrong, we should all be trying to better ourselves. If Ascension is the ultimate end we’re all trying to achieve, then so be it, but we should all be allowed to get there or not of our own free will. Kill me for saying that, but that is what I believe. Nothing you say or do will ever change my mind.” – Daniel Jackson, Stargate SG-1 S09E03 “Origin”

Review: The Man in the High Castle

The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. DickThe Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
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My Rating4 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars 
First Published: Jan 1, 1962
Read from: Nov. 14 to Nov. 24, 2015
Awards: 1963 Hugo Award for Best Novel

Intense, disturbing, and sad; yet full of beauty hidden behind ugliness.

Life in the 1960’s in a United States that lost World War II and has been split between Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan

I’ve been wanting to read this for a long time. I watched the first episode of the Amazon series and decided it was past time for me to read this and compare the two. Like the show, this book is pretty dark and disturbing. Partly because you can SEE how easily the American society could adapt. I happened to be reading this during the ISIS attacks in Paris and the deep religious and racist backlash that occurred in the press and social media was all the more disturbing combined with reading this dark alternate history of a US that lost World War II.
Read the Full Review

Short Story: Through Someone Else’s Eyes

through someone elses eyesHere’s the first short story I have written in a long time.

I joined a writing workshop recently. One meeting’s optional exercise was to be a short 500-“ish” word snippet written from the point of view of “The Other” — trying to see something through “someone else’s eyes”. It was intended to explore how a person’s personal perspective changes the way they perceive a situation. An exercise in trying to put yourself in the mind of “a fictional someone you don’t understand or agree with”.
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Review: The Martian

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
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My Rating5 out of 5 Stars 5 out of 5 stars 
First Published: 2011
Read from: August 4, 2014 to August 6, 2015
Awards: 2015 Seiun Award for Best Novel, 2015 John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee for Best Novel, 2015 ALA Alex Award

Legitimate science, edge of your seat action & suspense, and great humor; no wonder a movie is in the works.

I finished The Martian in very little time. The first 25% I read at a fairly normal pace and liked enough that it really grabbed my interest. Shortly there after it went from damn good, to… *AWESOME*!… I read the last 75% or so in one continuous reading, as I simply could NOT put it down. That ought to tell you something right there.
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Review: Shift


Shift
 by Hugh Howey
Silo series #2
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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 3 out of 5 star
First Published: January 28, 2013
Read from: May 27 to June 13, 2015

Prequels to Post-Apocalypse Stories (Pre-Apocalypse?) Have No Suspense… You Know What’s Coming.

Shift is the second book in the Silo series, but is actually the chronological prequel to the Wool Omnibus, the first book in the series. But you should definetely read Wool first! Confused yet?
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Review: Sea-Kings of Mars

sea-kings-of-marsSea-Kings of Mars by Leigh Brackett
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My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars 2 out of 5 stars
First Published: June 1949
Read from: May10 to May 17, 2015

Also titled “The Sword of Rhiannon”, the novella “Sea-Kings of Mars” is from the 1940’s era of classic sci-fi / sword & sorcery pulp novels. I read this as a book club pick, and was looking forward to it as it sounded very similar to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars books from 20 years or more earlier, which I’ve always loved. Unfortunately I was very underwhelmed by the whole thing. The author, Leigh Brackett, is famous for her screenplays, (westerns, noir, and a first take on Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back”, strangely enough,) but this story can be summed up in one word: meh.
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