Thursday, January 9, 2014

Back!... to the present. (Briane Pagel)

Comic courtesy XKCD
The theme for the week is THE FUTURE!

Which is where I've been living for a long time, now. I mean, what with smartphones that can do more than the first four computers I owned, plus Pork Rinds you can make yourself in the microwave

(YES, That's a thing!)

we are clearly living in a time that Buck Rogers would envy.

(And speaking of Buck Rogers, you know you are living in the future when a reference to Buck Rogers is dated.)

So while I also am looking forward to the Future, which is actually the Present, because I'm already there and also because I am habitually behind schedule, the things I am anticipating in 2014 are, in some cases, things that have happened in the past, but they haven't happened to me, yet, so like the person in the last car of the roller coaster as it tops the first hill, I'm still waiting for the thrill.

Here's a look at what I'm hoping will be cool in 2014:

S, by J. J. Abrams:  I am not 100% sure that this book belongs in a discussion of sci-fi/speculative fiction, but the description of the book contains enough fantastical elements that I'm going to include it, because I don't recall being this excited about a book in a long time.

Here's the description:

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.
 A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.
 The book: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V.M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.
 The writer: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumors that swirl around him. The readers: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.
So it's a book about people reading a speculative fiction book and maybe being caught up in the type of adventures they read about? Either way, it sounds fantastic and the Ship of Theseus question is one that I love, and J.J. Abrams has made some great stuff, so even though this is a book you can't get on a Kindle, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and use one of my Amazon gift cards from Xmas to buy it.

Runner-Up: PK Hrezo's Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc.; about a full-service time-travel agency.  I've got my passport ready!

Runner-Runner-Up: The supposed sequel to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, one of my favorite books ever; supposedly, the author is writing a follow-up, but she's been working on it since 2009, so who knows?

Welcome To Yesterday:

I love time travel stuff (when done right, not like stupid Looper which I won't ever see and don't try to tell me it's really good because the whole premise is idiotic but I digress), and this movie, which is supposed to come out at the end of February, looks like it hits all the right marks.  So until Rusty Carl comes out with his time travel epic adventure (which ideally he would have done last year and it's not too late, Rusty, to use your own time machine to go back and have it ready for me to read over Xmas 2013), this movie looks like the next best thing, appropriate for a time travel movie.

Runner Up:  Escape From Tomorrow, a little-seen movie filmed on the sly in Disney's theme park last year:

And which was released last year but nobody's seen it, yet.  You can download it online.

Bonus Things I'm Looking Forward To This Year From other authors on this site:

  I have on my list of things to read this year Sandra's Twinned Universes, second in her Lyon's Legacy series about genetics and evil corporations and parallel universes; I'm only 3/8 of the way through PT's Scarlet Knight series about a brilliant young scientist who happens to also be the superhero owner of thousand-year-old magic armor, and I would have to finish that before I begin any of his other series -- PT's output alone would take most of 2014 to read, and that'll keep me busy until I get to Lauren's shape-shifter series, and by then  Andrew and Rusty might quit resting on their laurels and get me the next books in their series.  COME ON GUYS I DON'T HAVE ALL YEAR.

Briane Pagel drew that picture of outer-space freehand, can you believe it? He is the author of Eclipse, a sci-fi novel about a possibly-crazy murderous astronaut, and also will pay you for your writing! Find out more about Eclipse by clicking this link, and more about how you can get paid for that poem you wrote about your cat by clicking THIS link.


  1. You drew that freehand? Good work. And Looper is awesome. Andrew's chief complaint on the movie is a willful misunderstanding of one of the plot points.

    But then again, I do have that Mr Norell book on my short list of worst of all time novels, so I guess it's possible that reasonable people can disagree. It's just better to assume other people are wrong.

  2. IT IS ON.

    (A) I am not reasonable.

    (2) I've never even seen "Looper,"

    (iii) but I know that it involves the mob using a time machine to kill their enemies instead of the mob using a time machine to oh I don't know GO BACK AND CORNER THE MARKET ON GOLD or something, and they don't explain why one would continue to be a hardworking (?) mobster having to kill people instead of a leisurely magnate, and

    (Gorilla): You take that back about Mr Norell or I'm going to... well, since I have no idea where you live and it's a bad idea to threaten someone in public in writing, I guess I will just fume for a while and then get distracted by a video of a squirrel fighting a snake:

  3. No, my complaint was a willful misleading of the audience by the writer/director.

    I am not convinced about Welcome To Yesterday. In fact, its release date leads me to believe that it will be less than good. I'll wait and rent it.
    Also, I'm not enough convinced of Abrams to risk S. It seems too much like a gimmick book to me.

  4. I think you've just proved time is just an illusion.

  5. Oops, published too soon. I've also heard of S, and it sounds intriguing. I've already read P.K's book and enjoyed it.