Wandering Earth and the future of SciFi — the China syndrome?

foldingbeijingChinese science fiction has been up and coming for a while now. The work of Liu Cixin, for example, earned the author (or translator, not sure which) a Hugo Award. (I reviewed and found the Three-Body Solution to be full of interesting ideas but bogged down with poorly written dialogue, unexpected shifts in voice and style, stereotypes, and two-dimensional characters.)

And, of course, China is about to (re)discover itself as a major player on the world stage. Complete with the “only our civilization can save humanity” trope, a.k.a., just like the US.

So it was just a matter before Chinese cinema followed suit. Continue reading

Apply not to others the cold wind of criticism! “Get your ass to Mars”

Unworldly and unearthly — by definition. A low rumbling at very low frequency, barely discernible at first until shifted up two octaves.

Imagine living with this constant mild 15 mph wind all the time. Imagine what the wind sounds like when the global dust storm hits.

via Listen here to wind on Mars — the first it has ever been captured —

Joseph Octave Lewis: Franco-American Trojan

JLewis-1850s(?)A few weeks before my mother passed away, I finally had the chance to do what I had wanted to do for years: Visit the sites where my French-Canadian ancestor had been.

The problem was, I could only figure out one specific location, and that was only due to guessing based on an old photograph: a “cabinet card.”

My mother had insisted for decades that she had French-Canadian ancestry. Her grandmother Carrie Lewis Connally was French, she claimed. But I always wondered.

Lewis doesn’t sound terribly French.

Continue reading

The predictive space powers of Linda A Langworthy

Apollo-Soyuz_Test_Project_patch.svgI’ve made good progress on my mother’s high school manuscript — up to Chapter 9 (out of 15). Taking notes while I type, particularly about cultural references and language usage, I came across one interesting prediction:

“The space program of the two major nations [US and Russia] were joined after the moon project because it was cheaper to outfit; also, with the world’s greatest minds working together, better vehicles could be built.”

This was written a full 9 years before the joint Apollo-Soyuz (or Soyuz-Apollo) Test Project in 1975 that basically ended the “space race” started by the launch of Sputnik.

Written by a 17-year-old in 1968. The reality was more complicated, but still, heck of a prediction. Go, Mom!

Reality bites

img_3460A literary agent just told me (via email) that I need to “ground each scene in reality.”

Of a science fiction slash fantasy novel. In outer space. With asteroid miners, space pirates, Martian settlers, astral walking, and elemental morphing powers.

Um. Okay.

 

Thanksgiving Day without you

Two days ago I celebrated Thanksgiving Day, or as we call it, Turkey Day, with my relatives in the US. It was the first time for me to do so in over 20 years.

The myths about the holiday are well-known, so I won’t waste time relating them here (most Americans are happy to go on pretending the “Pilgrim Fathers” started this when really it’s just an excuse for a four-day weekend of stuffing yourself, watching football, and shopping).

In our case, it was the first holiday since my mother passed away. The next two will be even harder. But the oft-trite is oft-true: it was as if the empty chair at the long table was filled with her presence. This year was different.

A passing of the family torch. Dinner at my sister’s house, dessert with her in-laws. Boardgames with aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. Family stories with grandpa. Skype with the grandkids overseas. Most of us drove seven or eight hours roundtrip just to spend one day together.

The grieving process continues. So does life. You can’t pick your relatives, but in some case you get real lucky.