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Shakespeare Special Edition

April 23, was the anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. (400 years ago). This is my contribution to commemorating this quadricentenary. Let's kick things off with this quick video I made on The Best Way to Experience Shakespeare.
Enjoy with with a tankard of Metheglinor Malmsey.
When Rivalry Begets Tragedy: The Astor Place RiotIn the 21st century, it’s difficult to imagine a theatrical performance sparking a riot. And the rowdiest of modern entertainments (like concerts or football matches) are only likely to produce mosh pits or individual exchanges of fisticuffs at worst. Perhaps that’s why the Shakespearean kerfuffle that sparked the Astor Place Riot stands out so noticeably in the historical record.Read more... The Fantastical Strangeness of William ShakespeareThe literary establishment’s skepticism about the fantastic is a recurring theme through history, of course, as is evidenced by Tolkien’s frustration over academia’s refusal to talk about the monsters in Beo…
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What Makes Science Fiction Different?

In Defence Of Science Fiction series. If you think about it science fiction is really just fantasy, isn't it? Fantastical ships which travel faster-than-light, are just as impossible as Harry Potter flying on a broomstick, a motorbike or in a Ford Anglia. So what makes science fiction different from a fantasy story? The answer may surprise you.

WHAT IS SCIENCE FICTION?
 Science Fiction appeals to hope and wonder, both in how we want things to turn out, and how we are afraid they might turn out worse. Fantasy on the other hand is about yearning and regret, an appeal directly to the heart about how things should be.(tvtropes.org) Science fiction is built on thought experiments, which explores hypothetical possibilities and the consequences of any science and technology developed in that scenario.   It's beauty is that is can cross over with a lot of other genres of fiction including horror (the Alien franchise), fantasy (the Star Wars franchise) and historical fiction (Steam P…

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Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
Also nominated for the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novel! Embark on an exciting, adventurous, and dangerous journey through the galaxy with the motley crew of the spaceship Wayfarer in this fun and heart-warming space opera—the sequel to the acclaimed The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an interga…

The Collapsing Empire

I loved John Scalzi’sOld Man’s War series, they were riveting and fast paced stories intertwined with Scalzi’s trademark humour. I started his Redshirts novel which, while interesting I've found hard to finish. However The Collapsing Empire is his entry back into Space Opera and it looks promising.
As delightful and easy to read as Scalzi at his best (Redshirts, Old Man's War), with characters who are going to stay with you whenever you have to put the book down ... which you aren't going to want to do
Wil Wheaton Want to know more before buying? Check out this interview with the author over at Tor.com:  The Collapsing Empire: The Best or Worst-Timed Title Ever? Also Tor.com is reporting of a rumoured Television Deal Announced for John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire.
As always if you've read The Collapsing Empire, let me know you think?
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalz Does the biggest threat lie within? In the far future, humanity has left Earth to create a glo…
Random Articles - RAW 160923 1 2 3 4 5 Thin-Slice History: Erik Larson and the Art of StorytellingLarson’s heroes aren’t obscure — they’re important; they did stuff; they have Wikipedia pages — but they’re unfamiliar enough to surprise you and unburdened enough with Very Important Things You Must Know to be characters who are historical figures instead of the other way around.Read more... Scientists Finally Figured Out Why Tardigrades Are So IndestructibleIn a new study published in Nature Communications, geneticist Takekazu Kunieda and his colleagues from the University of Tokyo present a genetic analysis of Ramazzottius variornatus, arguably the toughest and most resilient species found in the entire tardigrade clan. Their results show that tardigrades have evolved a unique arsenal of strategies to cope with stressful conditions, including a protein that protects its DNA from radiation damage.Read more... More Evidence for an Ocean inside Pluto - Scientific American Blog NetworkOne …

Why I Dislike Utopian Fiction but Love Stephen Lawhead's Fierri Utopia in Empyrion

A lot of Science Fiction stories deal with a Dystopian future and, for the most part, I'm alright with that because Dystpoian stories work well with my view of human nature and entropy. This is why I have trouble reading Utopian stories. To me the Universe in which these stories are set is as much a character as the Human and Alien characters and as such should have a believable back story (or history). The history of the Universe in which these Utopian society are set need to be well thought out and allow us, the reader, to suspend our disbelief.
The Cringe Factor However many authors seem to brush off how this Utopian society came to be by just repeating the same old tropes. It's a lazy view 'we will just become better people because X'. Where X is normally some form of technological stimulation or a biological change (evolutionary jump) which make us nicer people. In my mind it's poorly thought out and not really fully considered. It's taken as a gi…

Our Imaginary Friends

Huddy is our best friend We have an imaginary friend, Huddy.  He is an invisible 'Love Bird'(Agapornis roseicollis), also known as a Peach-face Parakeet.