Opening Day, Home Runs, and Lazer GunZ

It’s that time again.

Baseball is starting and I’m stoked! To quote the film ‘Moneyball’:

How can you not get romantic about baseball?

I’m sure many of you hate baseball. You are excused from any opinions.

With the start of baseball comes the Spring, and with the spring comes an urge to create. I don’t know if it stems from the newness all around us (wild flowers, wildlife, no more ice everywhere…) or simply from some sort of ingrained genetics that make it that way. Whatever the case, Spring brings forth all kinds creativity. Channeling this can make or break a writer at the screen, and in the market.

 

Write Write Write

I’ve always found this to be some of the best advice any writer can receive. Even if a project is put off or lost, continuous writing keeps the juices flowing. I have found no less than 20 stories whose existence I had forgotten, but are examples of continuous writing. Maybe the stories are silly. Who cares?! They can be about unicorns who fart cheeseburgers, the point is to keep writing through a slump, and (since we’re going with a Spring newness motif here) eventually create something that’s awesome.

Watch Baseball

Or go for a walk. Whatever. Between writing stints you have to take a break. Or every story is going to have a unicorn that farts cheeseburgers. I don’t know why I’m on that today, but hey what can I do? It’s one thing to have a silly story lurking that has to get put down before something good comes out, but it’s a whole new level of scary when all of your stories have the same silly things in them. After the fifth unicorn story, it’s time to take a break. I know that I will be frequenting Whataburger field in Corpus Christi, TX and, sigh.., Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. I sigh because they sold the naming rights and now it just sounds lame. Go Rangers. And Hooks.

Write Sci Fi

No brainer here. The best genre ever invented. Everything from genetically engineered sharks to sentient space computers. Science Fiction is so fascinating because it brings out the best and worst qualities of man all in one sitting. This genre will forever sit atop others, even if the NYT best seller list won’t accept true genius. Sci Fi is about questioning everything, and coming out with heinous answers and even more threatening questions.

Be Weird

Not necessarily cheeseburger farting unicorn weird. But don’t be afraid to push the limit. There’s always somewhere new to go, and it doesn’t have to be weird in a bad way. Make it weird in an interesting way. We need to push the envelope and take sci fi where it has never been before.

 

If you haven’t yet, be sure to download my book of six word science fiction for 99¢ on Kindle, and leave a nice review

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Cool stuff for Friday

Ok folks, here’s a few things I noticed this week, and thought I should pass them along:

Bikini Girls vs. Dinosaurs

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If the video embed isn’t showing up, click the link. Because this trailer is just as silly as the title sounds. From the brilliant mind of Kenneth Barker comes a Sci Fi comedy that puts the fun back into the Cretaceous period! Give the trailer a watch and stay tuned for more on the movie. You can follow Kenneth on twitter, @KennethBarker1, and for updates on the movie: https://www.facebook.com/BGvDmovie

Otherworld

It was free earlier this week (I snagged it right before it went up) and as of this post it is $2.51. I haven’t read any of Jared Wilson’s fiction, but his non fiction is well written material. Give it a chance, I’ll post a review soon enough.

Survival Slingshot

This thing is awesome. Whether you want to survive the zombie apocalypse or just survive in the woods, this thing looks like something straight out of a horror graphic novel.

Check it out here: http://www.coolthings.com/survival-slingshot-archer/

South Pole Sunset

courtesyi.kinja-img.com

Here’s a great pic from io9.com. The article is here:

http://io9.com/heres-what-sunset-looks-like-from-the-south-pole-1547485324

Ocellated Turkey

These things are just cool.

5 reasons to consume media outside of the mainstream

We all love Star Wars, Star trek, Battlestar Galctica, all that stuff. And that’s fine. But the problem is that there is plenty of stuff out there that’s great Sci Fi, but doesn’t get all of the hullabaloo and exposure. So here are 5 reasons to seek out things that are not readily in the mainstream.

5. A lot of it is just as good as mainstream

Dr Levenson (Carl Isherwood) and Commander Altaire (Sarah Wood)

(On the Shoulders of Giants by Kenneth Barker)

The production on a lot of indie science fiction is top notch. It’s creators are hellbent on making the best product they can, simply for this reason: they’re sci fi fans too. They want to add to the medium without sacrificing quality, and they end up making great stuff.

4. A lot of it is NOT as good as the mainstream

I once started reading a science fiction book and stopped reading it after about 20 pages. Not that long into the story, and they were already reversing the polarity to escape hyperspace. Needless to say I have never even thought about picking up this book again. I also wrote a terrible novel and never want anyone, who hasn’t already, to suffer through it. If you find one of these awful gems take notes. They are great blueprints for what not to do.

3. Pleasant surprises

I love picking up an indie novel, comic book, or movie and finding that it’s absolutely wonderful. The movie Moon with Kevin Spacey and Sam Rockwell comes to mind. I liked that movie so much I watched it again.

2. Motivation

We all need to see that it’s possible to achieve what we are striving for. And browsing through Amazon for a well written and reviewed indie sci fi novel is great motivation.

1. It’s just plain fun

When one ventures away from the mainstream, they can find magical things. These things lead to that one finding love, and expressing their gratitude towards these things. And that leads to finding more and more things to love and share and have absolute fun with. Let’s not forget why we got into this mess in the first place. It’s because we enjoy it.

The Science of Fiction

Fiction in general is rampant throughout this world. It is a byproduct of our storied nature; we must tell stories. Everyone tells stories, whether relating a memory, or making something completely from scratch. What I find interesting, is that most stories fit into certain veins, yet they go their own direction once there.

Sci Fi is more like a major artery with veins that go in every direction. There are countless genres and sub-genres as well, making the craft of writing Sci Fi akin to weaving a tapestry, or making up the intricate pattern of a birds plumage.

2014-02-08 19.28.41

(this is the plumage from a Rio Grande turkey I harvested this past winter. The details in these birds feathers is astounding. Great camouflage.)

But what makes it so interesting?

1. All of the sub genres

Sci Fi covers everything from Earth ravaged in war to space ships reaching the far edges of the universe. There’s a lot of space in between, and anything goes. I’m still waiting for a cyberpunk-alien invasion-space opera to be written.

2. The intricacy

Everything within Sci Fi has little nuances that make it what it is. There are usually no trolls in cyberpunk, FTL ships don’t have traffic signals, and steam engines run on steam. These tiny things fit different Sci Fi into a certain niche, making the experience whole.

3. Rules are made to be broken

As in point #1, rules are made to be broken. Replacing a nuance with a glaring anachronism (or something like that) is what makes some Sci Fi great. Like how Back to the Future replaced Victorian England with the California 1980’s. Sometimes blurring lines can make the contrast even sharper.

Writing Exercise

A few weeks ago, I published my book of Six Word Sci Fi stories. You should pick it up (shameless plug…) For real though, it’s pretty funny if nothing else. And it’s only a dollar!

But the best thing about it is the exercise itself.

Go ahead and try to write an entire story with six words. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Some will come out great. Others, not so great. But it’s fun.

In that vein, here are a few writing prompts for your pleasure, free of charge.

1. In a cybernetic future, a boy struggles with the concept of aging.

2. All edible plants are extinct.

3. You just found a time machine. You know this because it says “Time Machine.”

4. A sentient dog has shown up on the White House lawn.

5. The ISS has just made contact with an alien species headed to Earth.

Have lots of fun…

Why Firefly is stuck in our hearts

courtesy blackgate.com

DDo a google search of the word ‘firefly’ and you don’t get an insect that lights up it’s abdomen. You get this awesome show that Joss Whedon created and Fox destroyed. But just why is it awesome?

1. The characters

They are memorable and they all add to the ensemble rather than detract from it. No matter the situation, each one of them has something to contribute and we love them for it. From hard nosed Mal to delicate Kaylee, all of them are loved.

2. The Western flair

Everybody digs cowboys. And shootouts. And all that stuff. Throw it on a spaceship or strange planet and it’s practically irresistible. The set designers and costume directors are forever enshrined as geniuses in my book.

3. The one liners

“I aim to misbehave.”

“She’s starting to damage my calm.”

“Were I unwed, i would take you in a manly fashion.”

“Sir? I like you to take the helm, please. I need this man to tear all my clothes off.”

These are the best. Whedon has shown time and time again to be a master of dialogue, and the actors portray it to the intended scale. I can not count how many times I pull these out and use them in conversation. They really are close to my heart.

There you have it. Now let’s strive for this level in our own writing!

Great Sci Fi vacation spots: New Mexico

VLA

If you’ve never been to the Land of Enchantment, you’re missing out. There are tons of things to do, and the scenery is breathtaking. Here are three of my top Sci Fi vacation attractions in New Mexico:

1. Roswell

From alien lamp posts to museums full of alien surgeries, this place has it all. There are several stops on the main drag, and several off to the side if you’re adventurous. And not only will you be able to hear the original radio transmission concerning a UFO; you will also be able to see great art, lots of great souvenirs, and tons of little and big green men to take pictures with. It’s a really fun place to visit, and the chain hotel rates are on the cheap side. And when you get bored, just travel an hour west towards…

2. Space Museum and White Sands, Alamogordo, NM

This place is great. Several floors of American space memorabilia and interactive exhibits. They have everything from space crafts to missiles to space suits and everything in between. And once you’re done perusing the exhibits, make your way down the hill to the IMAX theater. it’s projected onto the dome roof, giving the illusion of the night sky. A great experience on any level. But still not quite as magnificent as

3. The Very Large Array, near Socorro, NM

VLA

There are 27 of those big dishes. 27!!!!!!!!

And they’re huge. This collection of dishes is actually a giant radio telescope used to look at celestial bodies. And not only is it cool in and of itself, it was in the movie Contact. And Matthew McConaughey just won the oscar for best actor. So there. Your argument is invalid.

But seriously it’s just a wonderful experience. And the drive is beautiful, and night time is SPECTACULAR. Go see it.

There you have it. If you want a really Sci Fi vacation, New Mexico is the place to be.