Science Fiction Round 73: More Guardians, More Galaxies

2017/06/04 Leave a comment

I saw Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 last weekend, and it was a fun film.

Of course, from the perspective of physics, it was a travesty.  Rather than banging on the usual obvious things not done right (Faster than light travel won’t work!  That’s not what happens when you’re exposed to vacuum!), I’ll try to touch on a couple of more subtle issues.

There are spoilers here, but seriously, they’re basically all for things you should have seen coming.

The characters in this poster were all in the movie. The movie was also at least as colorful as the poster.

Read more…

Categories: Clement's Game

The Problem With Prequels

2017/05/27 Leave a comment

Prequels have a fundamental problem.

Much like sequels, they have a dependence on the world and character that already exist.  But, because the existing story is in the future, you’ve got bigger constraints.  Main characters who show up later can’t be killed off, reducing some of the tension in the story.  The same is true for major landmarks or planets or whatever being threatened by doom — we already know how it’s going to end.  If you want to play with that ending, you’re at risk of serious continuity errors and perhaps retconning, with the associated angry fans.

So, how to do a prequel well, and maintain the illusion that the heroes could fail?  There are some options…

These are both prequels that were pretty good movies, although they used different approaches to getting there.  Above: Star Trek (2009). Below: Rogue One.

Read more…

Science Fiction Round 72: Cosmic Powers

2017/05/14 Leave a comment

I recently read the Cosmic Powers anthology, which is a wild ride.  It’s a collection of stories from a delightful variety of authors, including a prequel story to The Stars Are Legion.  I have a couple of thoughts to share.

I’m not sure what these spaceships are on the cover, but they are colorful.

Read more…

Science Fiction Round 71: Lock In

2017/04/29 Leave a comment

John Scalzi’s Lock In is a pleasant afternoon read about a near-future FBI investigation.

I found myself anticipating many of the twists, but it was a fun read nonetheless.

Also, spoilers follow.

I’m not sure what the point of the cover was. Maybe the red people are supposed to be threeps (remote-controlled bots used by Haden’s sufferers).

Read more…

Science Fiction Round 70: A Brief History of Time Travel

2017/04/16 Leave a comment

I recently read Time Travel: A History by James Gleick.

It’s not a science fiction story by itself.  Instead, it’s a wide-ranging analysis of time travel in fiction and popular thought — and well worth a read.

It’s probably just as well that they decided to go for mostly text on the cover. Time-travel diagrams can get messy.

Read more…