Sci-Friday #95 – Jamming with Baby Yoda / Grogu

For your daily dose of ‘aww,’ I present this video of Robert Rodriguez jamming with Baby Yoda / Grogu on the set of the Mandalorian. Watch him close to see how organic and life-like the puppetry feels:

Now, here’s an important question: is it okay to still call him ‘Baby Yoda?’ I think the answer is yes, and here’s why.

‘Baby Yoda’ is a gesture of affection. We’re not making fun of him. After all, we call Chewbacca ‘Chewie, C3-PO ‘Threepio,’ and R2-D2 ‘Artoo,’ right? Just like the nicknames kids get from their older siblings, it’s Baby Yoda. Hopefully, Grogu can live with that.

I hope this discussion, along with the video jamming with Baby Yoda / Grogu, can hold you over until Season 3 and The Book of Boba Fett come out on Disney+. Have a great weekend!

Five Reasons Why Tenet Is An Action Scifi Triumph

Five Reasons Why Tenet Is An Action Scifi Triumph“Tenet is horrible!” “Tenet is amazing!” I walked into my viewing of Christopher Nolan’s latest film wondering which side of the fence I’d fall on. Three hours later, I have a solid answer and it’s time to share it. I’m going to give you five reasons Tenet is an action scifi triumph.

First, let’s take a step back. You must admit, it’s gotta be hard to be Christopher Nolan these days. Living in that self-induced pressure cooker, making movies in the middle of a pandemic. Everyone’s expecting him to top all of his previous movies. It’s a hard life for a good storyteller, every new story has to be better than the last one.

Nolan to his credit doesn’t seem worried about what that future holds. Based on the premise of Tenet, he’s already living there. If you’re looking for a simple answer to whether you should see Tenet, here it is: Ignore the bad reviews. You’re going to love this action scifi triumph and here’s five reasons why:

Five Reasons Why Tenet Is An Action Scifi TriumphThey crash a real 747 into a real hangar

One thing about Christopher Nolan: he uses practical effects wherever possible. That’s why we love scenes like the flipping semi truck in Dark Knight or the zero-gee fight scene in Inception. They look real because they are real. Tenet took that to a new level by crashing a real 747 into a real hanger. Just like the train in The Fugitive, Tenet’s production team didn’t rely on SFX or CGI. They did it for real. Continue reading

I Think It’s Cute That You Think I Care

A poem for 2020
I think it’s cute that you think I care.

“My issue is important as air!”

Life did give us many burdens to bear,

Tragedy strikes, no warning when or where

Focusing on the problems of a billionaire

As if the world only sits atop their derrière

It’s becoming tiresome, you might say ‘unfair.’

With all due respect, try not to go there,

You’re really a hole in life’s underwear.

– Jackson Allen

Sci-Friday #93 – Every Episode of The Mandalorian Ever

So true it’s heartbreaking – somebody broke the entire series of The Mandalorian into a low-budget 30-second spoof. Here now for your Friday entertainment: Every Episode of The Mandalorian Ever:

Watch it now, before Disney has it removed from Youtube! And 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!

Short Story Board Updated – Four Scifi Shorts Submitted

If you check out the short story production board, you’ll notice it’s been updated with four scifi shorts submitted for publication today. Deathclock Machine, The Conquered, the Necktie Party, and Last Message from Titan Six are all on their way to new editors. I’ll keep you posted on what happens next.

Grinding submissions is part of the life, so I save it for chilly, wet Wednesday mornings. It’s the kind of work do when it’s cold and dark outside, with a cat and a hot cup of java nearby. Hope your week is comfortable and fulfilling, too.

Five Skills You Can Learn From Science Fiction

Five Skills You Can Learn From Science Fiction

I’ve discussed it in other blog posts but I’ll say it again so the people in the back can hear: scifi isn’t just a genre, it’s a way of life. I don’t know anyone who came away with practical skills after reading ‘Wuthering Heights,’ but thanks to authors like David Brin, Allen Steele, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov I’ve come away with life lessons, skills and heck, even recipes. There are, in fact, many skills you can learn from science fiction. Here, for a Monday morning, are five of them: Continue reading

Sci-Friday #92 – Life as a Non-Star Wars Fan

For this Sci-Friday, I’m sharing this Gus Johnson clip … he loves SF but doesn’t mind making fun of it. In ‘my life as a non star wars fan,’ you’ll see what life is like for people who think Jar Jar is the pinnacle of Star Wars lore.

Hope you enjoy “Life as a Non-Star Wars Fan” as much as you enjoy your weekend. And 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!

Sci-Fi Singularity

Sci-Fi Singularity

Let me tell you about what I learned a couple of years ago. Reddit didn’t enjoy my review of Passengers. I wasn’t surprised – I even predicted that it would happen. That moment, among many others, taught me that we’re approaching the sci-fi singularity. We should talk about what that means.

For as much as I enjoy the genre that incorporates science and technology into fiction, I’m constantly at loggerheads with the current ideology of the FS community. Movie X is ‘true sci-fi’ and Movie Y is not. Prepare for the hate of the Internet if you disagree.

For the record, this isn’t my first rodeo – I know walking into this that any science fiction book, movie or discussion is going to contain what I call the ‘sci-fi orthodoxy.’ Simply put, there’s a common social fallacy that states:

  • Science fiction must meet certain criteria to be considered ‘true science fiction.’
  • Failing to meet that criteria will result in rejection from the community.
  • There is no room for gray areas – a work considered ‘sci-fi’ is either ‘true science fiction,’ or it is rejected.

Forgive me for asking a potentially dumb question, but shouldn’t this scare us a little? This is really weird, polarizing behavior. As we come out of the COVID lockdown (Please God, please) we should talk about what SF will be when we go back to the movies.

This is supposed to be fun, right? Our devotion to science fiction has been what unites us. Now the community has become partisan, factional, and sectarian. It’ll be our epitaph if we do not choose a new future.

Continue reading

Real-Time Hacks with Kevin Mitnick

Since I’ve talked about the History of Hacking, let me introduce you to a hacking legend. Kevin Mitnick is a computer security consultant and convicted hacker. As a youngster, Mitnick utilized social engineering and dumpster diving to hack the LA bus system. As an adult, he engaged in a number of high profile hacks, sending him to prison for several years.

Now, Mitnick is a paid security consultant, public speaker and author. He still retains his hacking chops. Watch him describe the process to scan, steal, and clone a security ID badge in a matter of minutes. It helps you understand why hacking and information security are a top priority in the 21st Century:

Now a word to the wise – while it’s okay to understand what hacking is and how it works, it is not okay to break in and steal anything, no matter how you do it. Kevin Mitnick is famous, but he’s also a convicted felon. The government will probably watch him for potential criminal activity for the rest of his life.

The moral of these real-time hacks with Kevin Mitnick is this: if you use your technical and hacking skills for good, you can help make the world a better place. If you hack for bad reasons, turn yourself into a black hat hacker, then you’re spitting in the face of all the techno-gods who built those systems. Make the right choice.