scifi


One of the best things I found while at Gencon was that that the newest Shadowrun video game would be a cross platform game running on android, ios, linux, windows, mac, and ouya, so this means a player will be able to pull out his/her tablet on the way home from work then fire up the PC to continue playing at home. Shadowrun Online will also be a multi player game with players forming groups and working together co-op.

I am a huge fan of the Shadowrun world, It does the blend of technology and magic well… Check out their website for more –

Shadowrun Online is set in the dystopian near-future of the 2070s, where you can go on runs with a group of players or dish it out against other runners in tactical PvP combat.

Choose from classic Shadowrun roles such as Rigger, Hacker, Shaman, Mage or Street Samurai and leave your mark on the 6th World in this next generation turn-based action game. Featuring a unique player driven plot development, tactical co-op gameplay and PvP based Turf wars, Shadowrun Online even allows users to determine the future path of the official pen and paper timeline by their collective actions.

Welcome to the dark side of the future, pal. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

Playing co-op missions with friends and an Android tablet app? sold! sign me up

Io9.com has a roundup of their choices for the top 20 Sci-Fi fantasy novels of the decade. Its always fun with lists like this to see which ones you have actually read and/or enjoyed …

The ones I have read:

  • Pattern Recognition
  • Down and Out In The Magic Kingdom
  • Perdido Street Station
  • The Harry Potter Series

The ones I have not yet read but want to:

  • World War Z
  • Glasshouse
  • Look to Windward

Some of the others are not even on my radar at all.  One has to chose wisely when time is limited. Max Brook’s World War Z I have on a Christmas list so it should be in my little paws soon.

The Dwarves

The Dwarves

I have just finished reading Markus Heintz’s The Dwarves. A rousing good epic fantasy tale about my favorite kind of fantasy folk – dwarves. The tale centers around the typical threatening evil and the epic quest to obtain a weapon which will defeat it. Markus states in his notes that he did not set out to completely reinvent the typical fantasy fan’s interpretation of dwarves. He instead takes the standard fantasy trope of dwarven hood (mines, underground cities, axes and hammers, and ale) and adds a few of his own twists to fit his tale (guardians of the gates of the land, five “clans” of dwarves with one clan bent on the destruction of the others, etc.). Gems for longtime gamers also make it into the text with answers to the age-old dilemna of whether female dwarves have beards and mages that seem very derived from Ars Magica’s covenants. Props also must go to Sally Ann-Spenser for doing a very good job with the translation. The story moves at a quick pace. Though some of the naming conventions are a little awkward, most of them tend to work quite well and are consistent across the races. My biggest complaint outside of the not very relevant maps are the predictability of some of the events in the book.

I highly recommend this to anyone wanting a good fantasy read.

Nueromancer

Nueromancer

First published in 1984 – this was the scifi novel that spawned the whole cyberpunk movement in scifi literature. Neuromancer is the novel that popularized “cyberspace” and “jacking in”. The internet did not exsist in 1984 outside of universities and a few corporations. I never read Neuromancer, despite becoming enamored of the cyberpunk trend and reading many of the followup novels (All Tomorrow’s Parties remains solidly among my favorites)

Gibson sets the opening parts of the novel in Chiba, in Tokyo and the visuals of the novel are continuously in spired by the manufactured feel of Tokyo. Shibuya and Shinjuku are the models upon which Gibson seems to be basing the feel for his futuristic Chiba. The movie Blade Runner also very adept at recreating the dark and urban feel that Gibson was going for.

The novel tells the story of a washed-up computer hacker hired by a mysterious employer to work on the ultimate hack. Gibson explores artificial intelligencevirtual realitygenetic engineering, and multinational corporations overpowering the traditional nation-state long before these ideas entered popular culture.

The much quoted opening line – “The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel” is even more layered with the advent of digital television today.

It is interesting to note that Neuromancer is very often the subject of film  rumors. Hayden Christensen and Liv Tyler have recently turned up in the rumor mill for casting. (Doubt if Hayden could pull off a believable Case  but Liv Tyler as 3Jane would be perfect!)

If by some wild chance you are like me and have not read this yet, then immediately order up a copy. Its worth the read.


Io9 has an excellent article on how the scifi interpretation of Japan changed over the years. From Blade Runner and Nueromancer to Steven Speilberg’s A.I.

U.S. science fiction used to be fascinated with Japan, from Blade Runner to Neuromancer. Everything Japanese was cooler, sleeker and shinier than our grubby American aesthetic, and Japan was destined to dominate. And then, Japan’s futuristic status waned. What happened?

Back in the early 1980s, Japan’s ascendance seemed assured — there were a host of business books claiming that Japan had lost World War II, but won the peace through superior economic policies. Books like The Enigma Of Japanese Power by Karel Van Wolferen became unlikely bestsellers. Meanwhile, Japanese politicians like Ishihara Shintaro started flexing their muscles — Ishihara made waves with a book called No To Ieru Nihon, or The Japan That Can Say No (to the United States.)

Sadly, Japan’s economic hegemony ran out of juice in the early 1990s, when their real-estate bubble burst (sound familiar?) and the country spent an entire “lost decade” mired in stagnation. The vision of Japan as future economic uberpower was replaced by a creeping irrelevance — but Japanese pop culture remained as influential as ever, maybe even more than during the powerhouse days.

I remember the influence of Japan both on futuristic scifi as a teenager growing up in the 80s. I also saw the decline of American manufacturing and then witnessed Japan’s economic collapse in the 90s. Scifi has somewhat moved to other things. How many stories have been based in a futuristic Addis Ababa? But the influence of the cyberpunk/Neo-Tokyo continues to resound throughout recent scifi. It will always be there just as Shibuya styled Blade Runner setpieces will influence movies for decades to come.

Marrakesh nights

The Shared World project asked five scifi/fantasy authors what five cities they find our earth the are the most fantastical. The results are a little surprising. No cities in Asia, and no cities in the USA.

Our own planet is often surreal, alien, and beautifully strange–and cities tend to focus our fascination with these qualities. Sometimes the exoticness comes from finding the unexpected where we live, and sometimes it comes from visiting a place that’s foreign to us. Everyone also has a different idea of what “fantasy” or “science fiction” looks like in real places.

Michael Moorcock’s pick of Marrakesh is not so out there but Nalo Hopkinson’s pick of Kingston surprised me.

(photo of Marrakesh is copyright to movingthings on flickr)


from Tokyo Mango:

Tonight in Roppongi happened already, but if you happened to have been there you would have seen the debut of this 7-meter tall aluminum fire-breathing robot called Giant Torayan. It’s actually the creation of artist Kenji Yanobe, and it’s part of an awesome art project that will transform the entire neighborhood into an alien robot-themed wonderland

This looks awesome, I want one for the front yard.  (image by AP)

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