Top 5 Anime of all time

This post will most likely cause arguments rather than settle them. I’ve been watching anime for as long as I can remember, so it has definitely played a role in shaping my views of science fiction and writing. I will list MY top 5 anime series or movies, and what I love about them. Which will in turn reveal what I draw from them for writing. If I leave out something that is definitely influential, it’s probably because there wasn’t room in this top 5. It doesn’t mean I don’t like it, it just means there’s no room on this list. I would love to do a top 50 or top 100 influences one day if anyone has suggestions…

Without further adieu, here’s the list…

5. Howl’s Moving Castle

The Top 5 Reasons Steampunk is Awesome

A fairy tale with steampunk elements, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ is a wonderful movie. From the mysterious Howl to the naive Sophie, and even the wacky Calficer, it’s full of memorab;e characters who all play a vital role in the story. The real world is left behind, and you find yourself right in the middle of the action.

4. Inuyasha

Inuyasha is more fantasy than sci fi (a magical well is really just a stable interdimensional time portal…) but it has strong story elements. It boils down to a love story that spans the eons, intertwining two souls forever. There is swordplay and magic and stuff blowing up and all kinds of weird bad guys. Definitely worth checking out.

3. Outlaw Star

I know that Outlaw Star isn’t the BEST space anime, but it’s good and short and full of action. It has existensial crises and the search for treasure, as well as many other reasons to like it. There is FTL space travel as well as integrated biomechanical beings used to pilot ships. Go check it out.

2. Dragon Ball Z

The Dragonball universe is full of family, friends, and moral conundrums. The sanctity of life is threatened by villains, and the heroes are forced to weigh the worth of the villains’ lives. They usually end up killling the threat rather than deal with it later down the road, but not always. And the themes of redemption and transcendentalism are rampant throughout all three of the dragonball series. Plus they beat the living tar out of each other all the time.

1. Gundam Wing

You knew it was gonna be something with robots…

I like Gundam Wing because of its political turmoil, revolution, and action. Most Gundam series contain these themes, but Wing takes it to a whole new level. Not to mention it has some of the coolest Gundams ever thought up. It’s long enough to develop the themes and allow for a couple of complicated love stories, but it’s short enough to watch in about a week (maybe two) if you watch a few episodes a day. The ending movie “Endless Waltz” is also recommended.

There’s my top 5 anime list. I hope these will help you expand into other series and movies. As I said in the beginning, I hope this list causes arguments rather than settles them. Go watch these wonderful stories, and use them to write your own.

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Where Science Fact Meets Science Fiction

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that the Silly Robot has a special place in his memory banks and emotion chip for the Hard Sci Fi genre. Authors such as Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, and John Scalzi permeate the way I think about science fiction and how it is written.

Lately I have ben frequenting io9.com, reading all sorts of interesting articles about all sorts of interesting things. The thing I love about io9 is their blending of science articles with a genuine love for science fiction. They intertwine sci fi into most of their articles about science, and do so in very informative and entertaining ways. I have gleaned several ideas for stories on their site, and I hope they continue to churn out content for years to come.

Creating Hard Science Fiction

Hard science fiction is special to me because science is a major part of the storyline. I have a degree in Agriculture, which basically means i have a degree in biology with a concentration on production, so being scientifically accurate is sort of ingrained into my being. I have scoured countless scientific journals for research facts, and doing so for fiction i write is commonplace. Weaving these facts into a work of fiction is accomplished in many different ways.

I love Arthur C. Clarke because of his use of science in his stories. They aren’t always the strongest plots, but the science is fascinating. I just have to keep reading and reading to find out what all of the gadgets do.

Heinlein tends to use science as a sociopolitical device in his stories. Artificial Intelligence running revolutions, exo suits driving a conquest, and Martian colonies causing a dramatic social revolution on Earth are a few ways he accomplishes this. Ideals are achieved through the use of technology and scientific proficiency.

Elements of Hard Science Fiction

HSF is usually associated with long paragraphs explaining tech and how it is used. John Scalzi has a fascinating few pages on his ‘skip’ drive in the novel Old Man’s War. And it actually adds a weird element to the story as he does it. It’s quite fascinating. And OMW is a really good book on top of it.

Most HSF stories take place in space, utilizing FTL propulsion and other theoretical technologies. The desire of the authors to stay scientifically relevant drives the universes their stories take place in. Some of them, Isaac Asimov comes to mind, even start a separate writing career in the non-fiction section of the bookstore. Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke were even brought into the newsroom for the Moon Landing in 1969. Science permeated these mens’ lives, driving them to write the fiction they are so renowned for.

How To Do It

So what if you just like writing about some guy who galavants around the galaxy with a laser gun saving pretty girls?

Then HSF probably isn’t for you.

But if you want to write it, remember a few of these things:

Science

It’s all based on a desire to stick to facts and accepted theories. Find a theme and go with it.

Speculation

Sticking to facts doesn’t mean you can’t draw conclusions based on them. Does your FTL drive move the ship or the space around it? How does time factor into your story? Are there sentient species on other planets? All of these, and more, can shape your story.

Silliness

Have fun. Reading some of the guys that are dead then switching to guys that came after them is sometimes disheartening. They think HSF means that everyone is totally and completely serious about everything and nobody laughs. Heinlein makes all sorts of jokes in his writing, and Arthur C. Clarke has an entire story about two British freight pilots sneaking the prince aboard their vessel without the captain finding out.

That’s why I like John Scalzi. He’s a throwback to those guys without being a copy. Go read his books.

To Infinity and Beyond

If you want to write HSF, become a researcher. A true student who learns and adapts. Have fun in the facts. And most of all, write good stories.