Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Universe is Full of Life....

I read a short blurb on that a team of astrobiologist at University College London found a sugar, glycolaldehyde, at a place in our galaxy which could prove that this particular molecule, which could be crucial to creating life, may be more widespread than originally believed.

This is an example of why I want to scream, yell and stamp my feet. Here is something that hints, just hints mind you, of the potential of life in the universe outside our spherical drop of water floating somewhere in the ocean of space; yet the science community blows off science fiction as mere dreams of fancy that aren’t founded in science.

Science fiction is to entertain, excite, and spark conversation about a future we all are heading toward whether we like it our not. Our society, and the world in general is becoming a resemblance of Quakers, not wanting to change, and deathly afraid of embracing new science and new technology. Nasa has returned to technology from the 50’s and 60’s in its attempt to return to the moon. Why is this? Why haven’t we advanced our technological knowhow by 50 years?

When the golden age of science fiction was writing about bug eyed monsters, and man traveling to the stars. We invented the technology to go to the moon. Kids dreamt of going to the stars in their lifetimes. When hard science came in and said “we can write stories and make them scientifically correct,” it effectively killed science fiction as a medium, although the death has been long and painful, and it killed the dreams of going to the stars. Maybe aliens are among us here on Earth, and they don’t want us to reach the stars, what better way to stifle space exploration.

You can look but don’t touch!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Questions about Science and Science Fiction: My Science Blogger Answers

I am responding to a post on in which they are asking for input regarding science and fiction. I offer my opinion in answering the questions, from this science fiction writers point of view:

• Why are you writing science fiction in particular? What does the science add?

Why do I write science fiction? The answer is, at its most basic level very simple, to tell a story. Why do I use science fiction as the medium to tell a story? That answer requires a more involved and personal explanation. For me writing science fiction is an escape from the mundane affairs of everyday and a glimpse into a future; a chance to imagine what might be, whether it is scary or a paradise, and the opportunity to add my distinct and different voice to those that have already imagined a future, in order to tell others what I feel could happen.

What does science add? In some instances I use science fiction to explain a new technology that is real and founded in hard science, but in other cases I write stories that are more in the category of “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” and have none or very little basis in science. Science adds to stories by giving more credence to the setting of the world, moving the plot along, giving the characters an upper hand or occasionally it is the bane of their existence, but in all instances it is used as tool to help tell the story.

• What is your relationship to science? Have you studied or worked in it, or do you just find it cool? Do you have a favorite field?

My background is in business, computer and electronics. I do have a Bachelor of Science degree, and I have worked in the electric transmission and distribution field for many years and have a strong understanding of electrical engineering.

As far as studying, well I always do research, but I can’t say that I am a true student, since there are so many fields in science that not even the hard science stalwarts can be experts in all of them. What should not be forgotten, is that the story is the important part, and the science whether it is, real science or made up, I merely window dressing. My favorite fields in science are related to propulsion systems and space elevators.

• How important is it to you that the science be right? What kind of resources do you use for accuracy?

To me getting the science right is not that important, but a reasonable check should be done by any author wanting to right a science fiction story. But once again the story needs to dictate what and how things happen; for instance, if a character needs to travel to the asteroid belt in a certain amount of time, I’ll calculate if it’s possible to travel in the allotted time by a legitimate propulsion system, just to give credence to the story. But I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about the propulsion system, speeds, and artificial gravity or relativistic affects, unless they are important to the story.

My number one resource is the web in order to check the accuracy of my work. If I can’t prove what I want, and my assumption is turning in to being a science fantasy then I leave it at that. What those that are in the science and research fields need to take away from science fiction is the sense of imagination. Science fiction is not meant to be an easy to read text book for physics. It is to tell a story and initiate imagination.

• Are there any specific science or science fiction blogs you would recommend to interested readers or writers?

The science fiction blogs I follow most are,,,,,,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is the "idea" of Captain America still a superhero?

In the early 1940's some people in America new the dangers of Hitler and Nazi Germany, but for the most part the nation wanted to let what happened in Europe stay in Europe. Some people chose to show the world their fear of Nazi Germany, by what ever means they could. To this end we see the conscious creation of a political comic book character Captain America. He appeared a year before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and was a huge success. It should also be noted that some people were strongly opposed to what Captain America stood for, and the creator’s received a lot of threatening letters and hate mail.

Captain America fought everything from Nazis to space aliens, but throughout his career he wrestled with, and in some cases was a sounding board for, events happening within and attitudes prevalent throughout the United States. As the series progressed from the early 1940's to the 2000's his overt opposition to the real world Nazis became covert opposition to threats such as terrorists, anti-nationalism, anti-registration, and many other ideals opposed to - who? The United States or to, what Captain America once stood for.

I have heard many times that Captain America is out dated. I don’t believe this is true, because if it is, you may as well say that freedom is out dated. The red, white and blue shield carrying superhero is the embodiment of what makes this country great. He fights against evil, he questions what is right and what is wrong, and he is not deterred. Killing off Captain America is more of a metaphor for pushing aside the values and beliefs of the United States. The scary part of understanding what people are saying when they say Captain America is out dated, is that they are saying the values and ideals of America are out dated.

Here I believe that the detractors of Captain America are wrong. In the future the comic book character will be brought back, and it will coincide with a shift in the attitudes of America. I am looking forward to that day, but until then it looks as if the superhero of choice will be one that reflects the shift in the political climate and the attitudes of America, perhaps someone such as Flag-Smasher is a more appropriate supervilian for the current climate sweeping across America.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Scary New World Order

Well the election is over and none to soon. The morning after the election; the president-elect made speeches stating how he would put the country and world back in order. As I stepped outside my house to leave for work, a distinct chill ran through my body, and I silently apologized to my two year old boy for the world he would grow up in. Latter that morning the sun rose, just as it has for millennia.

It seems to me very unfortunate that for many in the U.S. the election came down to race. If you didn’t vote for the democratic nominee you were a racist, if you voted against him, for any reason, you were considered a racist. I believe many white people fell into the trap of wanting to seem progressive, and show how much race didn’t matter to them by voting for the democratic nominee.

For me the election came down to one thing, the role of government. Senator McCain didn’t have the answer I was looking for, but he had a better policy than the democratic nominee. As a country we have left behind the philosophy of our founding fathers, and are beginning to resemble the founding philosophy of communist Russian and China.

Thomas Paine said, "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." Government has become huge, over-reaching, and too involved in all levels of society to be the limited government envisioned by the founding fathers. What has happened? Will we, as a nation, recover? Yes we will, but the road will be long and hard.

What I fear most from our president-elect is a further increase in the government, more spending on social programs, more regulation, more laws, a bigger and bigger government that attempts to take care of everyone, whether they work or not, regulate everyone, oversee what everyone says or does. And worse of all is the idea of spreading the wealth, although on a gut level it sounds great, a piece of the reward that is enjoyed by only a few given to all, after all they have lots let’s give a little to everyone. But that way of thinking is scary and dangerous, for this reason; why would anyone want to work and exceed if they know that their reward that they were working for by their own individual effort will be distributed to everyone? The answer is simple they wouldn’t. The idea of opening a business in order to improve your life to make more money than one does presently would be replaced with the idea of “no it’s not worth it.” In fact if you are working at that small job, and your wage is going to be taxed so that others that don’t work can be raised to the same level as you, why work?

My plan for writing? Look for grants from the government to start rolling out, and go out and get my undeserved share of the wealth.

This is the fear I have from what I hear coming from the democratic agenda. This is what will make the road back to a successful country a hard and long one.

But what does this have to do with science and science fiction? I don’t know. I’m sure I could go back look at statistics and determine if there is a decrease or increase in science and science fiction under a democratic party rule, but at the present time, I don’t have the time or inclination. I’m sure I will survive in this new foreign administration, science will progress, and people will continue to read science fiction. But will it be the science fiction of hope, or the dark dreary scifi of a bleak and forlorn scary new world

Till next time
Do svidaniya