Kids Need “Thoughtful Scifi” Right Now

Kids Need "Thoughtful Scifi" Right Now

Doing work on myself leads me to thinking about others. Why did I pick telling science fiction stories as a means of making myself better? Why is scifi my ‘gateway to good?’ I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about those questions. Along the way, I’ve come to some conclusions and it’s time to talk about one of them: kids need ‘thoughtful scifi’ right now.

What does that mean? As I mentioned earlier, I saw Tenet as ‘James Bond Meets Primer.’ Not only were the action sequences astounding, the movie and story were a legitimate head-bender. After a dearth of cerebral science fiction, Nolan’s thoughtful scifi felt like a breath of fresh air. All well and good, right? It hit me this weekend, re-watching Disney’s classic ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,’ and ‘The Black Hole.’ Where’s the thoughtful scifi for kids in 2021?

Why do kids need thoughtful scifi? Remember when you were younger, growing up on movies like 2001, the Andromeda Strain, or Close Encounters of the Third Kind? We were blessed with that catalog of formative scifi stories, movies that asked big questions in a format that even children could understand.

Those kinds of stories benefitted us in other ways. We used thoughtful scifi as a window on the world we were entering: the issues, problems, and potential solutions. Are we doing that for kids in 2021? Continue reading “Kids Need “Thoughtful Scifi” Right Now”

Sci-Friday #105 – Christopher Nolan Edition – Fun Scifi Stuff

Following up on my Tenet essay, I love this parody of the Michael Caine / John David Washington lunch scene in Tenet because it’s so close to the actual scene itself.  I’ve never seen Michael Spicer before but he positively nails this gag:

Many scifi stories aren’t afraid to lampoon themselves and people fall all over themselves to satirize Chris Nolan films on Youtube. Hope you enjoy this one!

If you like Sci-Friday, you can go down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

 

Glass House Life: Survival Guide for Creative People – Part IV

Click here to Read Part OneGlass House Life: Survival Guide for Creative People , Part Two, and Part Three of this series. Some recent events in my life bring me back to Glass House Life: Survival Guide for Creative People. When life happens, you learn things, and I process those lessons best when I write them down.

This is typical for creatives. One major source of stress for me is realizing how much non-creatives don’t get it. You need to find a fellow writer to talk to, someone who relates to your problems with writing, or beta readers, or query letters. Otherwise, it feels like you’re screaming into a hole, or walking an endless high wire with no safety net. Positively exhausting.

So while I work on my stories, I also want to work on the problem of glass house life. This kind of challenge begs for a survival guide, but I’ve yet to find one that comprehensively addresses my writing/creative-specific challenges. Freud had ‘Confessions in Stone.’ Lynn Johnston’s confessions about her parental insecurities became a comic strip called ‘For Better or Worse.’ When I’m creative, I’m not just creating art. I’m also creating me.

This isn’t a simple process. Being a creative forces you to uncover, unpack, confront, and resolve so many broken parts of yourself. It can manifest itself in friendly advice, or it can show up as painful, agonizing failure. Beautiful souls, like beautiful gardens, take time to cultivate. Here is one important idea that I’m adding to this Glass House Life: Survival Guide for Creative People.

Clean Out Your Emotional Garage

Glass House Life: Survival Guide for Creative PeopleEverything I experienced over the past year brought out a lot of emotional baggage out of my past. I think it’s fair to say where some people keep their emotional ‘garages’ in order, mine is cluttered with piles of garbage. Some of that garbage I’ve had to live with, or try to ignore, while functioning as an adult. Every once in a while a pile will block my path or collapse; then everyone gets a look at the stinky, disheveled hoard of emotional muck I’ve been trying to quietly clean up.

No one is perfect, of course. Each of us are human beings who deserve dignity and understanding. I sometimes have a right to assert myself even though I inconvenience others, and so do you. But that isn’t the end of the story! Continue reading “Glass House Life: Survival Guide for Creative People – Part IV”

Mesh and Other Updates

Time to tell you about Mesh and some other updates in the journey of Inkican. I received a metric ton of feedback on Mesh from a friend who also happens to be a bestselling author. I’m incredibly grateful for this generous contribution to Mesh, as she told me everything I needed to hear about the story I wanted to tell. The most important thing she told me: Mesh is not ready. She deconstructed what was wrong, showed me how to make it right, and sent me on my way. I’ll never forget her for that.

Other things happened, life stuff, and I’ll be putting that into Part 4 of the Glass House Life series, something I’ve started doing for myself and other creative people. Creativity becomes a way to expose, unpack, confront, and slay your own personal dragons. I wish sometimes that it was easier, but this is the only thing I know that works for me.

Bottom line? Back to work. Mesh isn’t ready, but now I know which direction to push in. Much love and gratitude to you all.

Sci-Friday #103 – Star Wars Art – Fun Scifi Stuff

Remember in The Mandalorian where they rocked a stolen AT-ST on planet Sorgan? Did you wonder to yourself – “I wonder what it looks like inside?” This guy did, and for Sci-Friday, we celebrate Max Degtyarev’s detailed cross-section Star Wars art of what it looks like inside the captured Empire scout tank.

Mandalorian fanart: Raiders’ AT-ST cross-section (Max Degtyarev)

As Star Wars art goes, this is top-notch. He gets the details right, even down to expression on the alien faces and the squashed frogs under the tread of an AT-ST’s bipedal foot. Always a joy when someone can get their ideas out of their head and onto the paper. That’s the very embodiment of Geekquinox and other key pieces of the Inkican tribe. I’m sure you’ll enjoy these pics as much as I did.

If you like Sci-Friday, you can go down the rabbit hole of every other Sci-Friday I’ve published in the past couple years. Happy Friday and enjoy your weekend!

Building Tribes: Inkican’s Next Project

Building Tribes: Inkican's Next ProjectWow – it took a couple of years but I finally came back to it – another light on the ‘Author Success Sequence’ is lit. Take a look over there on the Control Panel – it’s on the right if you’re on the desktop or at the bottom if you’re on mobile. What that means is that Inkican enters a new phase while I work on Project Arecibo – building the tribe. No emerging artist can make it without their tribe, so building tribes is Inkican’s next project.

What is a tribe? It’s a unique group of fans, friends, and followers who resonate with your worldview. It’s about creating a community of people who want to hear from you. It’s about moving your ideas through a platform to encourage a human interaction. If we have a tribe, then Mesh and every other novel I write will have a book deal – it’s that simple. Now here’s the hard part: Finding your tribe is incredibly difficult. You …

  • must choose and commit to a path
  • must find your own way
  • can’t give in to the pressure of what other people are doing

When it comes to tribes, I want a tribe that isn’t tribal. Tribalism is like racism, and I’m not okay with either of those things.

Here’s another hard truth: every tribe has its own origin story. I have to be aware of what everyone else has done, but I can never do what everyone else does. If I do, I won’t have a tribe. It won’t be a group of people who resonate with my worldview. I’m saying all of this to give you a sense of what job I have to do by breaking it down into intent, philosophy, strategy, and tactics. Lots of reading, research, and experimentation.

So yes, this is Inkican’s next project: building tribes. Want to come along for the ride? Keep watching for more updates.

Sci-Friday #103 – ZORG Industries ZF1 from ‘The Fifth Element’

Ever look at a scifi ray gun and wish you could have one? You aren’t the only one. For this Sci-Friday, enjoy a real-life ZORG Industries ZF1 from ‘The Fifth Element.’ According to the builder, he’d been working on the software and hardware for over a year. Now it’s finally ready to show off!

‘The Fifth Element’ ZORG Industries ZF1 – Fully animated movie replica kit

Keep watching past the original picture – he includes a walkthrough of how he put everything together. Really comprehensive if you’re into making scifi cosplay or collectibles. Everyone experiences scifi in their own way, and this guy is at the top of his game.

ALSO –

I released some new memes from ‘Real Genius’ this week to Imgur. RG is one of those classic cult 80s movies that provided some of the inspiration for Mesh. Hope you enjoy these, too:

Real Genius Memes

This ZORG Industries ZF1 from ‘The Fifth Element’ validates what I’ve said before: Makers are gonna make, no matter what. That’s what I was channeling when I made those memes and I hope this inspires you to keep on making whatever makes you happy! Have a great weekend!

 

Mars Perseverance Parachute Has a Hidden Secret Message

Mars Perseverance Parachute Has a Hidden Secret MessageOoh, ooh – this is totally awesome! The Mars Perseverance parachute contains a hidden secret message! Hidden messages have been a geeky thing ever since nerds first began. CalTech, for example, has had a long-running contest to hide the initials DEI wherever they could, with bonus points for putting it on Mount Everest or the Moon.

So today along with other Mars Perseverance news came an interesting question: Did the engineers of the Mars Perseverance hide a hidden secret message? Turns out that the answer is “Yes!”

It started when the nerds at /r/NASA asked: “Does the parachute for Perseverance have some sort of hidden message or code in it?” Other geeks took a closer look and something was there. How did they come up with that answer? It’s really easy, if you know ASCII.

First, they looked closely at the three ‘rings’ of shapes in the Perseverance parachute. Then they realigned the individual colors of white and red on the parachute rings to act as 1s and 0s. Then, they put it all into Python to get the following message:

Dare Mighty Things  
You can see a visual breakdown with this picture: https://i.imgur.com/nPZVCQP.png
Super cool, no? Putting a hidden secret message into the Mars Perseverance parachute is a total ‘Geekquinox‘ move. Geeks put their mark on the universe wherever they go, and that’s why Geekquinox is a state of being, not a state of buying.
Wonderful to see it happen in real time with the Perseverance landing. Congrats to the Mars team!

Building Audiences, Not Movements

Ever watch a Youtube video and then spend all weekend thinking about it? That’s me on this chilly Monday morning. If you’re an author, you think about building audiences, but does that mean you should follow something like CGP Grey’s ‘Rules for Rulers?’ What can a video like this teach you about the author game? These are the questions I’ve been chewing on since Friday afternoon. I think the answer is that as an author I’m building audiences, but not movements.

So what are the ‘Rules for Rulers,’ first of all? Feel free to watch the video below. Laughingsquid defines those rules as: ‘Political power is gained and maintained through a delicate balance of keeping key supporters happy. No matter the type of government (democracy, dictatorship, monarchy), this balance is achieved by implementing three basic rules – first, “get key supporters on your side”, “control the treasure” and “minimize key supporters.”‘ You can watch the original video here:

There are a lot of takeaways from a breakdown like these. The original takeaway came from a Reddit discussion on why kids get bullied, there are studies out there that say bullying is how power is gained or kept in the classroom. But can a video like this help me build my audience? The simple answer is no, and it took me all weekend to understand why.

Here’s the thing: I’m a storyteller. I want people to read my stories, that’s what building audiences is all about. But some people trying to build their audiences make it into something else. ‘This isn’t a soft drink, it’s a movement,’ for example. All well and good for Pepsi, but the last thing I want is to find myself in charge of a group. That’s not me, that’s not what I’m here to do. My mission is to connect, not control.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it. I freely admit, I don’t always understand how things work. But as I’m writing and thinking about everything, it’s important to keep saying it to myself: building audiences, not movements. Hope this has helped you, too.