Classic review: Way Station by Clifford Simak

It is difficult to find a more enjoyable, wholesome and indeed delightful science fiction book than Way Station.  One of the most deserving Hugo winners, this short novel is full of inaction, takes place in a tiny setting that barely extends beyond a single log cabin, and yet is very overreaching in its concepts and introduces many science fiction elements that were adapted by other authors in their more recent works.  In the era of solar-system-sized artificial structures, military action, unabashedly fun and fast-paced space operas, zombies, vampires and other monsters, but also highly pessimistic outlook on the future of mankind, nothing feels better than to sit down with this quiet, unassuming and gentle story and spend a quality evening reading and digesting it.

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Guilty Pleasure: Ghosts of Mars

Ghosts of Mars has been universally panned by critics and earned only about half of its budget in the worldwide box office.  It’s safe to say that this move has been a miserable failure.  Despite this, I consider it a fun movie to watch and rewatch every so often, with great cast and a simple story that doesn’t require me to think too much.  Ghosts of Mars is one of my guilty pleasures.

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Book Review: The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin

The 2015 Best Novel Hugo Award is a controversial book.  Some hail it as an excellent work of art, which truly deserves the Hugo award, while others see it as mediocre at best, not deserving the recognition.  I’m part of the latter group.  I found the book to be, for the lack of a better term, childish and naïve.  But as I explore past Hugo winners, I didn’t want to skip this one and would like to say a few paragraphs about this title.

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Movie review: The Last Man

Hayden Christensen just can’t get a break.  After his universally panned performance as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episodes II and III (I’d argue that his performance was the result of the perfect storm of miscasting, poor script and directing, in addition to his own lack of experience), he bumbled from one bad movie to the next.  His next big vehicle was Jumper, which not only got trashed, but where I also felt he was miscast.  This was followed by sporadic roles in mediocre to really bad movies.  His last attempt to reinvent himself as a gruff anti-hero misfires once again.

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In Favor of Analog Technology

The analog vs. digital conflict is a staple in science fiction, but often it’s clumsily done.  The story between those two usually boils down to what we’ve seen in Pacific Rim: The supermodern digital technology is more vulnerable to attacks and stops working, at which point the obsolete analog underdog comes to the rescue.  In the following article I’ll argue that analog can actually be preferable to digital, and can thrive in future worlds as the more appreciated technology.  And I’ll use the decidedly digital mp3 player as an example of why analog may be superior.

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Modern Classic: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

Aurora is a difficult book.  It’s technical and depressing.  And yet, it’s one of the most accessible hard science fiction books I’ve read, with a compelling story and believable characters.  For me, this book was a page-turner, and I feel enriched for reading it.  Sad and depressed, but enriched.  Kim Stanley Robinson has more hits than misses, and this one certainly hit the right spot.

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Anarchy Online: Remembering My Time on Rubi-Ka

Anarchy Online has recently celebrated its 17th birthday, and I’ve been inundated with e-mails and messages about returning to the game.  I didn’t.  But it made me reminisce about my life and deaths on Rubi-Ka, the world of the best MMORPG I’ve ever played.

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Why Solo Underperformed at the Box Office: A Personal Take

Hundreds of people smarter than me and more in tune with the movie market have tried, with various success, to explain why Solo became the first seriously underperforming Star Wars movie.  I will, most likely, bring nothing new to the discussion, but I’ll attempt to summarize the reasons for the movie failure as presented by others and throw in my personal reason why I didn’t go see Solo yet.

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Book Review: Ancillary Justice

Ann Leckie’s book debut has become one of the most celebrated science fiction books of all times.  Having won almost all the important awards, including Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Clarke and BSFA among others, Ancillary Justice became by definition one of the most overrated modern science fiction books.  This is not necessarily bad, but it can play to the novel’s disadvantage: readers’ expectations will be sky high, and they may be disappointed, even if it is a solid story.  Unfortunately, I found this book to be average at best.  Despite very good writing and refreshingly original elements, I found the characters unlikeable and the story so stale that I lost any interest in continuing reading the series.

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Hugos 2018 – And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker

What would you do if you discovered the multiverse and the means to travel from one universe to another?  Why, you’d invite lots of your alter egos to a convention.  This mind-bogglingly simple and yet very original premise starts a story that’s very personal, entertaining, and left me contemplating my current existence for a very long time.

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