Archive for the ‘Future’ Tag

Snap Sci-Fi – “A Close Shave”   Leave a comment

thunder-robots

A Close Shave

Damn them, thought Ranger Radsusky. Didn’t I tell them to go away?

It all started innocently enough. After tinkering around with an old electric shaver she found in the bathroom cabinet, inspiration struck fierce, sizzling her brain with concepts and plans.

“Hmm, let’s see,” she said as she held up the graphene synthesizer in her sunny, garden-girded laboratory. “I’ll put this shaver here on the 3D model conceptualizer, plug in an aerodynamics structure, maybe even a thruster or two. Then I’ll hit the send and blend button.”

Radsusky heard a tinny, unamplified series of musical notes in the distance. “Who’s calling me now?” she said, and turned to leave the room.

Big eyed cat

Mr. Widdles, Radsusky’s inquisitive cat, slunk into the lab through a slightly ajar French window. His feeding implementor Stood in the next room, talking into a small, flat slab of glass and metal. He sniffed around in the meantime.  A flat tray under some kind of big box held a few items of interest. Say, what’s this? Food? Inching closer, he pressed his paws against a tab. Quicker than a flash, the box lit up and weird, strange buzzing noises rattled his eardrums. He ran off, seeking a quieter spot on top of the kitchen counter.

Without warning, the entire laboratory building shook, its foundations cracking. Radsusky threw down her phone and ran into her lab, only to notice four ginormous robotish razors rose from the 3D model conceptualizer. While their bodies resembled electric razors, the cord morphed into some kind of segmented legs. The on-off-clean now lights turned into eyeballs. The bits and pieces of an aerodynamic structure wound up as a kind of wing. Thrusters became fire-shooting appendages. She let out a sigh.

Rough Woman

“Jeez, I can’t even leave for five to talk to my mother? By the look of things, it’s going to be rough from now on,” she said. “These guys aren’t going to play fair. Sheesh, I didn’t have a chance to insert the morals chip. Who’d even believe this? Can’t even think who to call to stop ’em. I’d better get out of here. This roof’s about to crash.”

Sure enough, as soon as Radsusky left the lab, immense bodies rose up from the tray and continued to grow in size and strength. As they did, the lab collapsed around them.

“Go away! Shoo! Beat it!” she yelled, “Go pick on someone your own size!”

One eyed her, raised its arm, set fire to the bushes, and headed towards her. Razor-Bot meant business, and she was its first order of destruction.

“KNOCK IT OFF,” she yelled back, and grabbed a piece of rubble. She flung it hard and fast, sending it directly into Razor-Bot’s eye.

“I’m fed up! Do you hear me–FED UP! I created you! How dare you treat me with such disrespect! Get out of here – NOW!”

Fed Up Woman

One more fling of her lab’s foundation smacked into Razor-Bot’s face. It sent a stream of fire in response. Fortunately, its siblings took off for the field next door, seeing newer venues to destruct. And they were heading right for her friend’s anti-battalion defenses!

“Oh, god…I better’d tell Susie! She’s going to be really pissed if they mess with her nuclear rockets. She just finished putting a new hood on the silo, too.”

She picked through the rubble of her lab and managed to locate her phone. Thank goodness it remained close to the surface. Pressing the speed dial number, Radsusky reached Susie quickly and explained the situation.

“When are you gonna learn?” Susie said, sounding as if she’d had enough of her shenanigans. “I’m really sick of having to chase after your experiments.”

“This’ll be the last time,” Radsusky promised.”

“Liar,” said Susie, and hung up the phone. In her living room stood her munitions cabinet. She glanced at the most suitable tactical anti-bot devices and selected the perfect destroyer.

Not a moment too soon.

Her floor rumbled and wavered. China clinked in the closets. The swag light swayed. “Guess that’s my signal to clean up this mess,” she said, and headed out the door.

Razor-Bots lumbered at a quick clip across her field, heading directly for her nuclear armaments.

“Not today,” Susie said as aimed right for the intruders. She gave the Bot Blaster’s trigger a tight squeeze and shot four times.

Shooting woman

The earth shook as their bot-bodies tumbled and fell, leaving welts in the field where they lay. For a moment, whirring noises could be heard from their insides, until a tall column of steam spewed forth.

“Guess it’s over with,” Susie mumbled as she headed towards them. She kicked the sides of each one of them, hearing only the echo of an empty body of graphene and the ruined promise of an ill-conceived accident gone awry.

Copyright Gretchen Weerheim June 15, 2016

 

 

New Sci-fi Books Roundup – May 1, 2016   Leave a comment

I’m going to try to make this a weekly thing: a brief list of new sci-fi books or those that show up on my Twitter feed. I’d like to get the word out there to both my blog and Twitter followers that there’s some reads out there that deserve a look-over, as well as support these writers any way I can. Eventually, I’ll have more time to read these works, but at least I can promote them a little.  I’ve chosen these books at random but perhaps one day I’ll get to yours, too!

Just in case you’d like to know, my Twitter handle is @gretchenweerhei

The last hero

The Last Hero (The Last Hero Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition

.99 read on Kindle or FREE on KindleUnlimited

Contact with a race of pacifists convinces mankind to lay down its weapons and keep the peace. The last Medal of Honor recipient, Trent Maxwell, trades glory for the comforts of a family after the U.S. Army disbands. All that ends when an alien menace attacks the New Earth colony, which forces a crash mobilization. Trent finds himself reactivated and traveling through space to distant worlds, in order to stop this new enemy. During the century long journey of death, love, and loss, he also deals with the law of relativity that wreaks havoc with his daughter.

Outside

OUTSIDE – a post-apocalyptic novel (Outside Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

Sophie Radcliffe, a feisty Texan intergalactic agent, is a brilliant computer programmer with a photographic memory. She has worked for the Intergalactic Law Enforcement Agency for ten years and is considered to be the best human agent on the team. She works alongside two other humans, Tom Logan, a tough, ex-police cop from Chicago and Justin Adams, a talented British linguist, whose arrogant, superior ways get right under the skin of his colleagues. When the agents discover their nemesis, a Drogg named Zenzoris, has escaped his prison pod and is out for revenge, the mission to recapture him takes the agents on a terrifying, roller-coaster adventure. Will the Drogg succeed in overthrowing the Intergalactic Council this time? The agents battle against time to find the Drogg before he destroys the world.

 

The God Computer

The God Computer Kindle Edition

When Reality Mirrors Science Fiction, or Vice Versa   Leave a comment

Why make things up when reality is just as entertaining? Here’s a few inspiring snippets for your sci-fi/reality consideration. Become inspired and write your own story based on what you see below!

 

New Horizons Spacecraft

Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Alex Parker

New Horizons has left Pluto and gracefully exited out into extended space, lurking around the Kuiper Belt in search of, well, new horizons.

Chinese Riot Robot

Credit: People’s Daily, China

This egg-ish thing is actually a Chinese riot control robot, capable of mowing down people on flat surfaces while ambling along at 11-ish miles per hour and work without complaint (I’m assuming anyway) for 8 hours.

SpaceX Mars Ship

Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX to launch unmanned mission to Mars in 2018. The above ship is no relation to the above Chinese riot control robot.

Hall Thruster

Credit: NASA

Aerojet Rocketdyne will develop an advanced solar electric propulsion system, or SEP, for deep space exploration. Mars, and other exotic extraterrestrial locations.

Hope you found a few good ideas!

Episode VIII!   Leave a comment

Just when you thought it was safe to forget all about the hype that went on and on and on about Star Wars Episode VII…it’s time for Episode VIII!

Yes, it’s true. So from today on forward, one can expect regulated bombardments of propaganda until the official release date of December 15, 2017. In the general scheme of things, it’s practically overnight, considering the decade-long drought between Episode III and VII (longer if you ignore those first three and go right to Episode VI – 1983).

According to the SWVIII official press release (taken from their website):

Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII, which began principal photography at Pinewood Studios in London on February 15, 2016.

Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis.  New cast members will include Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award nominee Laura Dern, and talented newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.

Star Wars: Episode VIII is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski. Joining the production crew will be some of the industry’s top talent, including Steve Yedlin (Director of Photography), Bob Ducsay (Editor), Rick Heinrichs (Production Designer), Peter Swords King (Hair and Make-Up Designer), and Mary Vernieu (US Casting Director). They will be joining returning crew members Pippa Anderson (Co-Producer, VP Post Production), Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Chris Corbould (SFX Supervisor), Rob Inch (Stunt Coordinator), Ben Morris (VFX Supervisor), and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director). 

Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled for release December 15, 2017

# # #

So, there you have it! The Force is in force! More updates are sure to follow…

Ham Radio and the International Space Station   Leave a comment

BritainAstronautCall-07e18

Credit: 15 December 2015 File Photo

Sure, everyone’s done it. You pick up the phone, take a quick glance at a number you’ve never seen before and dialed it. A voice connects at the other end and it sure sounds unfamiliar. Still, you ask for the person you intended to reach, hoping a friend or a wife or a kid answered the phone. And no, they’re not there because you’ve dialed the wrong number.

No biggie. It happens.

Except when that wrong number happens to originate from the International Space Station.

British astronaut Tim Peake mistakenly called someone and later tweeted about his wrong attempt and apology. I’m sure the person at the other end thought it was a bunch of bored kids pranking and though little of it until the story broke in the news. It just goes to show you that no matter who and where you are, accidents happen, even at the ISS.

But here’s something: do you know that anyone can contact the ISS? That’s right. If you’re a licensed ham radio operator, you have an opportunity to contact the ISS when it’s above your neck of the woods.

Last summer, Adrian Lane contacted the ISS while it flew over Britain. After sending out a call signal, Lane’s signal was received. He and an American astronaut spoke for about 45 seconds before contact was broken.

As it turns out, there are three ham radios aboard the ISS: an Ericsson MP-X handheld radio, a Kenwood TM D700 and a Kenwood D710.

John Phillips and Ham Radio

Credit: NASA – John Phillips at an ISS Ham Radio 

Obviously, their frequencies operates on different ones than Houston. Its purpose is exactly the same as Adrian Lane discovered – as a means of public education. Schools, for example, reach out to the inhabitants of the ISS to ask questions.

When astronauts have free time, they choose to make random, unschedule contact with whomever is choosing to reach them. Though their work schedules dictate their availability, an astronaut’s waking period is weekdays between 7:30 am – 7:30 pm UTC during the week, which means during that time they’re generally working. However, at either end of that schedule they might be available, as well as weekends, when more free time is also available.

Crews don’t scan but switch between frequencies, depending upon their location. Since the ISS travels rapidly, a person only has about 45 seconds worth of contact time.

If you are interested in contacting the ISS, visit this excellent website hosted by Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS). It details location prediction maps, frequencies, and everything else you’ll need to set up contact and once you do, how to receive a QSL card to prove it! And though it’s entirely random, you might just get lucky like Adrian Lane.

 

 

Episode 7 – The Riffs Awaken   Leave a comment

In celebration of things Episode 7, I’d thought I’d bring you a miscellany of mirth from a few different sources riffing off of things SW.  The above video came to me via my FB friends. It’s so silly, so ridiculous, I just HAD to post it.

Secondly, here’s a damn good rap between two baddies:

Say, how’d you like to try your hand at lightsabering? Turn that otherwise defenseless smartphone into a lethal weapon with this:

Who doesn’t love a love story? Here’s Darth’s turn at happiness…or is it?

May you all force your way in to the nearest box office and see SW7! Happy viewing!

 

MST3K Is Back! Yay!   Leave a comment

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know this news hardly pales in comparison to the other big release occurring at the end of this week. But hey, those who can really claim to be sci-fi geeks and connoisseurs of wit know where the good stuff is.

Who doesn’t remember the iconic show from the latter part of the last century? I used to catch it on Comedy Central, and later on, the former Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy).  It was just so silly, part film commentary, part comedy sketch. I latched on to each episode just to watch a kidnapped janitor and his ‘bot buds watch absolutely horrible films (a goodly portion I had already seen) and wisecrack nonstop.

MST3K’s story reads like a movie plot too. Begun in Minneapolis, MN in 1988 on KTMA, it later moved to Comedy Central and ran for six years until it was cancelled in 1997. A fierce letter campaign to bring it back revived the brilliant show until 1997 on Sci-Fi, when it met its cable demise in 1999. Recipient of the Peabody award in 1993 and named by Time Magazine in 2007 as one of the best television shows of all time (in the top 100), it leaves you wondering why this show was cancelled in the first place. Chalk that up to network execs usual interference with what they want vs. what the creatives envision, and the result is a battle that never ends well, at least for someone.

After the airing of “Danger: Diabolik” on August 8, 1999, MST3K went out of business, although it did go into syndication and if you were lucky, you could pick it up again here and there.

But, like anything worth remembering and savoring, this show had life in it yet. By the modern miracle of crowd funding, the show’s originator/creator, Joel Hodgson, raised $5,764,229 in a month. Add $425,000 raised outside of Kickstarter et voila! We’ll be seeing  14 new episodes in the near future. What’s telling about all of this is show never really went away, it only drifted out to space. Facing a fierce gravitational pull by its devoted fans both old and new, money flowed the instant the Kickstarted campaign started and in the process, broke all crowd funding records.

It still hasn’t been announced when the new episodes will air, but they’ll feature the likes of Patton Oswalt and even Jerry Seinfeld might to do a cameo. So stay tuned! Whether you’d like to revisit old episodes or keep in touch with MST3K happenings, an official channel lives on YouTube.  If you’d like to contribute, here’s their dot-com site. It has all the latest information, merch for sale and all the FAQs you’d ever want answered.

Happy viewing!

 

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