The weird, twisted and unusual blog of Bruno Flexer, a Kindle Ebook Author of Fantasy and Science Fiction works.
Novels and Novelettes: Dragon Over Washington, Automatic Rebellion and Fire At The Gates
Okay. So how was the movie? Quite frankly, I was a little disappointed Hugh Jackman is great and the movie is not short on effects or violence or straight up combat but still, I felt a little disappointed.
<Spoiler warnings!!!> First of all, the Japanese plot. I don't have anything against the Japanese but the plot seemed somehow unimportant. It was no doubt important to Logan, Mariko and all the rest of the characters participating in the plot but for the rest of humanity it all seemed rather irrelevant. The average person on the street wouldn't care one bit if Wolverine died, or transferred his healing factor, or if Yashida got to live forever. It just seemed - unimportant. Nothing that would affect humanity as a whole.
Now, Wolverine manages to have his claws sheared off in the movie, but a power armor suit wielding a heated Adamantium sword. I am pretty sure the comics would not have allowed Adamantium claws to be sheared off. There was also this thing about Wolverine being subdued by tranquilizer darts, which is also something that his rapid healing factor should have negated. And last but not least, Wolverine just stormed the enemy's castle coming in from the main road, on a motorcycle. So where was stealth and common sense?
Just how to write good science fiction and fantasy - this authors' viewpoint:\
Science fiction and fantasy authors and works flourish these days just like mushrooms after a particularly wet day. So, what we should really ask ourselves is, how do we really distinguish the bad science fiction and fantasy from the good?
Please note, I keep bundling science fiction and fantasy together. Some may disagree, but science fiction and fantasy have a lot in common, though they are defiantly not the same.
So, back to the question, what is good science fiction and fantasy? First of all, science fiction and fantasy are just like any other piece of literature - what makes good literature is also -part- of what makes good science fiction and fantasy. Good and believable characters who are not cardboard characters, interesting and unexpected plot, smart dialogue and unique settings. Of course, there are things which are unique to science fiction and fantasy and these must be explored.
So, what is unique to science fiction and fantasy? Science fiction and fantasy themselves, of course, where only the imagination limits the author. In science fiction and fantasy, after all, everything is possible. A character can be cyborg and have x-ray vision and punch through walls or it can learn a special spell that can kill all enemies from afar.
So if everything is possible in science fiction, what is good science fiction and fantasy? Keeping the rules, of course. If a character can do anything, it is still bound by rules. If he can see through walls or punch through them, then a lead shielded wall may stop his vision and a reinforced force shield covered wall will stop his punches. And the spell wielding character may be subject himself to a far killing spell or be thwarted by a protective enchantment. So, in conclusion, good science fiction and fantasy are similar to any other kind of literature, though rule and limit keeping in a literature where everything is possible are one of the most important things.
Just a taste of what being an author sometimes is. I received this Amazon review from a reader on my science fiction novelette Automatic Rebellion: Amazon Review To summarize, this reader thought my story was pure garbage ...
And then, a month later, I've received this very favorable Amazon review: Amazon Review And to summarize his great five star review, the story roused his curiosity and was filled with suspense yet all the time the suspense increased, just as I intended ... And as the saying goes, win some, lose some ... You cannot write something all people will like ...
Sometimes, an author's mood goes up and down according to the reviews he gets. Who ever said being an author was easy? You need to have a soul like Shakespeare and heart like cold stone ...
What can I say, this thing really sticks in the mind, if you'll excuse the pun ...
So, using the freedom of exploration Science Fiction authors enjoy, just what would a real Blue Brain application do? Just to keep things in perspective, we are talking about an experimental project aimed at creating an artificial brain that mimics, ultimately, the thought process of a biological brain. Actually, our mind, a human mind.
Should we learn anything from history? From the violence apparently inherent in every human endeavor? From the wars? Would an artificial intelligence such as the Blue Brain would inherit those violent traits inside the human psyche? Would it be compelled to go to war?
One of the most frightening aspects of various artificial intelligence applications such as the Blue Brain are their lack of emotions, they being depicted as cold things that act only out of logic and cold self interest. But, the Blue Brain is supposed to create a mind similar to a human. Will the Blue Brain or similar application be able to feel? Will it be able to feel anything but hate towards us humans ?
So, the other day the little dragon (the one who is three years older than her smaller brother) had a friend over. After the friend left, the dragon looked at the living room table, where a game had been left, a game owned by the little dragon of course. So, the dragon looks at the game, looks at me (because we're trying to make an issue of tidying up after play), and then looks back the game. Then the little dragon says, my friend came and played with the game but didn't put it back in its place (the friend played, not she. How you're getting this ...). Then she looks at me, understands I probably don't like this, and she adds, she didn't put the game back because she was tired ... Of course, her little brother deserves some mention as well. Remember the breath weapon dragons are armed with in any science fiction and fantasy story they appear in? Well, just the other day I was feeding him mashed fruit and I was pretty proud I did it with minimum damage to the environment as a whole, when he sneezed. Just let me tell you, I can see some fruit pieces hanging on the ceiling ... So, just another little scary thing. A few months ago we were at a fancy restaurant that had iPads instead of menus. So, the little dragon held the iPad less than two minutes before she had Facebook up And running, which surprised all the staff because the iPad was supposed to be locked ... scared from Blue Brain projects? Sometimes our own kids scare me more ...
When you really come to think about it, science fiction and fantasy are really very similar. There are usually differences that stem from the settings, usually space ships or cyborgs vs. dragons, wizards and knights but the more sophisticated works are harder to distinguish.
When you take into consideration Arthur C. Clark saying that a sufficiently advanced technology will be indistinguishable from magic, how does one know if the book or the movie he reads is Science Fiction or Fantasy?
A technological Wizard
For almost everything an author writes about, there can be a Fantasy or Science Fiction explanation. A car can be driven by a superconductive magnetic engine or by a demon, a weapon can be a coherent X ray beam caster or a complex death curse. A ship can travel the stars powered by a fusion engine or transported by a summoned elemental. And where does that leave us when we try to figure out if a novel is Science Fiction or Fantasy?
My conclusion is simple. We have no way of telling if something is science fiction or fantasy unless the author tells us how he classifies his work. The difference is fairly small, after all. All we need to know is if the explanation between the miracles the author shows us fall into the category of the science fiction or fantasy. The wizard could be summoning the power of ancient demons to see what transpires around his castle or he can use a UAV drone with TV sensors to do the same.
We can ignore it as long as we want to, but science fiction fantasy icons are already here - our skies are filled with armed automated robots holding death under their wings!
And no, this is not the start of a science fiction or fantasy novel. The United States has been fielding for some years now armed Predator and Reaper UAVs that can fire lethal tank-busting Hellfire missiles from pylons under their wings.
But, are they real Artificial Intelligence Robots? Can the Predator and Reaper drones take out targets on their own? Let's first review what these drones are. Long range, 20 hours + cruising time, satellite links for virtual unlimited communications range and pylons for pairs of Hellfire laser guided missiles.
So, what are the capabilities of the Hellfire missiles? They are hyper sonic missiles with a five mile range with a warhead designed to take out all modern tanks. Able to fly out to their maximum range of five miles in ten or fifteen seconds, they will strike before the enemy gets any warning and destroy almost everything they hit. Of course, with their laser targeting system and the drone's laser designation system, a hit is virtually guaranteed.
So, what about their intelligence? Can these drones act independently? Do they have artificial intelligence? Sadly, at least from the pure science fiction viewpoint, the answer is no. The drones are controlled remotely by special ground control stations whose communications stream through satellite links which transmit to the controllers whatever the drones see and send the drones their commands.
But, it should be remembered that for better or worse, technology is advancing in a rapid pace. Drones are already capable of plotting their own course to reach a designated target and can loiter automatically at an established distance and height from their targets. It is not long till the artificial intelligence of the drones increase to such a level they would be able to engage enemies by the own. Sadly, it is our own human nature which would compel us to reach such advancement.
The question does beg to be asked, is the Man Of Steel, Superman, Science Fiction or Fantasy?
Man of steel - Superman - Science Fiction or Fantasy?
Seen the movie a few days ago, enjoyed it immensely, but it did bring to mind the question of science fiction over fantasy.
The answer at first seems quite simple. The movie, as well as much of the DC comics franchise as well as the various DC comics universe incarnations as seen in the movies and animated series all seem to strongly point at a science fiction roots and origin.
When you look at the Man Of Steel's roots, it has all the classic science fiction roots. Kal-El comes from another planet, is sent to our own by a space ship and is followed by his enemies who also use a space ship, of course after they break out from the Phantom Zone, a dimensional prison.
But shortly after, the boundaries of science fiction start to strain to explain the roots of Superman's powers, and he does have a lot of them. Super strength, heat vision, super hearing (which is also a vulnerability of his ...), flight, virtual invulnerability, and X Ray vision. All these powers accumulated over the time of the heroe's life as each and every DC comics author added and changed powers as he saw fit.
But, do these powers have any explanation that fits within science fiction boundaries? Well, Superman's powers derive from the fact that as a Kryptonian who was born under a red sun, Superman's cells are absorbing the energy of our much younger and much more powerful yellow sun and he is able to metabolize the energy and produce the powers we know.
When seen through science fiction eyes, there are some things that could be explained. Strength and invulnerability can explained as stemming from the power inside his cells. Even his heat vision can be explained as excess power being shed off.
But about flight and X-Ray vision?
There is no scientific way to explain it, at least not according to the science we know today. But, is it less plausible than telepathy and telekinesis? Choosing whether something belongs to science fiction or fantasy is ultimately dependent on the creators definition.
So, even though there are magical elements (and superheros and villains!) in the Superman DC universe, still, as the creators wish, it must be considered science fiction.
Which means Superman's powers stem from science fiction origins.