A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘Godless Sodomite Fiction’ tag

Tron: Legacy

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I saw Tron: Legacy at the IMAX on Saturday. To sum up the movie I can say it kicks major amounts of ass. Even if you haven’t seen the first film there is a lot to like in the new movie. It kicks all sorts of ass and frankly you really just need to go watch it. Legacy does a great job of having throwbacks to the original movie without being reliant on the nostalgia factor.

Oh and apparently the movie is in 3D. Being a man without any depth perception I wouldn’t have known this except for the fact that if I didn’t wear the glasses they gave us I the movie would be really blurry.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 20th, 2010 at 10:00 am

I Have a Simpler Explanation

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Apparently Syfylus channel has canceled the new Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica, and somebody wrote up a long discussion on why it was done. Mostly the post is about the eminent extinction of cable television companies due to competition.

I have a simpler explanation of why Caprica was canceled. It’s the same reason Stargate Universe will probably (hopefully) be canceled in a short while, it’s not very good.

I admit that I’ve watched every episode of Stargate Universe so far and I honestly can’t tell you why. Out of the episodes released so far I think there were two that I enjoyed. I can’t say the same for Caprica because unlike Stargate Universe, I have no prior love for the Battlestar Galactica series. I really liked Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis which is probably why I keep watching Universe (hoping the entire series so far was a big joke and it will revert to a classic Stargate series… a man can dream right?). I tried watching two episodes of Caprica and frankly they were damned boring. Both were great examples of nothing happening.

The ultimate problem these series have is the lack of exploration. Science fiction has always been about exploring new ideas and concepts. If you read any science fiction novel there is generally a huge “what if” scenario going on. What if humans coexisted with aliens? What if time travel was possible? What if humans created sentient robots? The list goes on. The problem with prequel and sequel series is you are already familiar with the universe the series falls in. Once you’re familiar with the universe there is a lot less exploration that will be done as the major rules have already been described.

Stargate Atlantis was able to great a new sense of exploration by moving everything to another galaxy and introducing a new enemy species, the Wraith. The Wraith were completely different and separate from the previous alien bad guys, the Goa’uld. This gave whole new avenues for exploration and discovery. Stargate Universe on other hand just threw a ton of people onto a ship they can’t control and slowly (gruelingly slow) unveil little pieces here and there. Hell in the two and a half seasons they’ve introduced two alien species which we’ve not heard much of since.

Capria is in the same boat. We already know the Cylons are bad guys and there was a war brewing between the humans and the robots. What can you possibly do in a prequel to that? Everybody already knows the outcome is going to be war and thus you really leave little in the form of exploration. There aren’t going to be any real “what ifs.”

Good television shows can survive on network television. Although I never liked it and can’t consider it good we can look a Lost as an example. How long did that series go? How many people tuned in to watch it? It was damned popular. Why? I really have no idea honestly, I found it a confusing mess. But there was a sense of discovery and exploration. Nobody knew what the Hell the island was nor why a fucking polar bear was hanging out on it, but you tuned in hoping to find the answer.

If television producers want to create good science fiction shows they need original ideas and things to explore. Once those two things are accomplished the foundation is ready and a show can be built upon it.

Written by Christopher Burg

October 28th, 2010 at 9:30 am

Science Fiction Spaceships

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Linoge over at Walls of the City made a topic near and dear to my heart, a top 10 list of science fiction spaceships. I have some knowledge in the field of science fiction so I figure I might as well join in the fun (read steal his idea). As a ground rule I will not select any ships Linoge has and I will not select two ships from the same series (just to keep it interesting). So here a top 10 list of spaceships from yours truly:

  1. Shadow Vessel: Much like Linoge I chose a ship from Babylon 5 for my top one. Why? Because Babylon 5 is the best damned science fiction series that has even been on television. The Shadows are a race billions of years old. Being that old means two things; you’re cranky and you have kick ass technology. The ships used by the Shadows are large, black, spidery looking craft. Part of the thing I like about them most is their unique design. The other things I like about their ships are the fact they are heavily armed, heavily armored, and use a living being as a central processing unit because the Shadow are dicks like that. They also materialize out of nowhere and disappear into nothing making them a bitch to target and shoot.
  2. The Alliance battle cruiser Dauntless: I’ve mentioned The Lost Fleet series before. It’s hands down one of my favorite science fiction series. The series does a great job of bringing up the ideas of fighting large navel battles in space along with the tactics and technologies needed to do so. Dauntless is the ship the main character of the story spends a huge majority of his time on. There isn’t anything special or fancy about the ship except for the fact it’s carrying a key piece of cargo that can be used to win the war for the Alliance (the good guys). Dauntless is heavily armed while remaining maneuverable and has all the awesomeness of a futuristic star ship.
  3. The Lexx: What’s not to like about a giant living ship that can blow up planets as easily as you can blink your eyes? The Lexx’s sole reason for existing is to destroy planets, that’s it. Of course the ship is also incredibly stupid and takes any given orders in their most literal sense.
  4. USS Daedalus: The USS Daedalus was the second star ship built by humans in Stargate SG-1. The ship is a combination of human and Asgard technology. For those you who haven’t seen Stargate the Asgard are the generic “gray” alien but instead of being anal probing bastard they’re actually pretty decent folk. The Daedalus comes equipped with 32 railguns, a good load of missiles, and some naquadria enhanced nuclear warheads making it a virtual death machine. Late in the series the ship also gets equipped with Asgard kill-everything beams. Yes I like high firepower as you can tell and the Daedalus manages to have that and look awesome at the same time.
  5. Union Class Dropship: What’s more terrifying than a drop ship armed to the teeth? A drop ship armed to the teeth and transporting 12 BattleMechs. The Union class dropship is one of many dropships in the BattleTech universe, it just happens to be the most memorable for me. The only purpose of a dropship is to get your 50 foot tall heavily armed walking robots from an orbiting spaceship to the ground. The Union class does this while also managing to be a heavily artillery piece to boot. Death from above baby!
  6. GTF Hercules Mark II: In Decent Freespace 2 many of the ships from the first game got some upgrades. The Hercules Mark II was one of those and ends up being your primary workhorse throughout the game. Although not the most maneuverability craft in the Glactic Terran Fleet the Hercules was heavily armed and armored. Its heavy shields generally made up for it’s lack of quick movement. It works pretty well for sending those Shivan bastards back to their little part of space.
  7. SA-43 Endo/Exo Atmospheric “Hammerhead” Fighter: I too am one of the people on a relatively short list who have seen Space: Above and Beyond. The Hammerhead was the main fighter used by the humans to blast those Chiggers out of our sector of space. Hammerheads are maneuverable on their won as they have thrusters the can propel them in almost any direction but also mount their laser cannons on rotatable turrets. This makes flying one direction and shooting in another very practical. These maneuverable little bastards were great for the one season they graced our television screens.
  8. GDI Kodiak: In Command and Conquer Tiberian Sun the Kodiak served as your command and control ship. Although having no demonstrated armaments the Kodiak does have the ability to fly inside and outside of Earth’s atmosphere. The only real advantage it presents is the ability to rapidly get to a battle zone but it looks awesome while doing it. I guess the fact that you can use it to call down orbital ion cannon strikes does mean it has some form of offensive capabilities. It should also be noted that the Kodiak appears in the new Battlestar Galactica series as a refuge ship for a brief scene.
  9. VF-1 Valkyrie Veritech Fighter: One of the best ways to get a giant walking robot from one point to another is by putting it on a giant dropship. A more expedient way of getting said walking robot from one point to another is by having it transform into a jet and fly you there. The VF-1 Valkyrie was the first veritech, a class of craft capable of transforming from a walking robot to a fighter jet-like craft. The craft is powered by an internal reactor making it capable of flying both in atmosphere and out in space. The Valkyrie carries a machine gun as well as a bank of good old fashion missiles.
  10. Rama: Last but most certainly not least we have Rama. The first space craft designated Rama by the human race was a giant cylindrical craft that did a flyby of Earth. Although apparently dead the Rama craft was a self-contained world. The environment was built on the inside of the cylinder and used rotational gravity to keep creates from flying off into other sections of the ship. Rama was not a hostile craft and contained no weapons but was certainly interesting to read about as astronauts from Earth explored the inside of the massive beast.

Written by Christopher Burg

September 28th, 2010 at 9:00 am

Starship Comparison

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Welcome to what may well be the geekiest topic of the week. Random Nuclear Strikes pointed out an awesome website that has size comparisons of starships from different science fiction series.

Is it sad that I recognize a majority of the ships on those pictures and have at least heard of, if not watched, some episodes of a majority of the series listed? Is it also sad that I know all the original models from Babylon 5 were lost and therefore the exact sizes of the various ships is left to estimates only?

Written by Christopher Burg

August 25th, 2010 at 9:00 am

The Final Frontier

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If there are two things I love in life it’s science fiction and Iron Maiden. So what happens when you combine the two? This awesome music video (sorry embedding is disabled so you have to go to the link)!

Something tells me I’m really going to enjoy the new album.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 20th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I Think I’m Going to Like the New Transformers Movie

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By this description alone:

X-Men prequel adds a bunch of new mutants, M. Night has Airbender 2 plans, and Transformers 3 is destroying Chicago

It’s off to a good start at least.

Written by Christopher Burg

July 9th, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Future-Cool Guns

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Every Day, No Days Off had a link to a guy who knows how to design awesome future-cool guns. The designer, Pascal Eggert, not only designs awesome looking guns but they look fairly plausible to boot.

They certainly would fit in with half of the stuff I read.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 15th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Freedom(TM) by Daniel Suarez

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I mentioned during my review of Daniel Suarez’s Daemon that I’d do a review of its sequel, Freedom(TM), when I finished it. Truth be told I finished reading it some time back and never got around to writing this review. Yes I’m lazy deal with it. But for your reading pleasure here is a review on Freedom(TM).

First the spoiler free part of the review. The book is fan-fucking-tastic. I can say with a straight face that the Daemon series is one of the best I’ve read. The combination of characters, technology, and story blend very well together. It’s obvious Mr. Suarez has a real understanding of both modern mature technology and technology still in the prototype phase. The other obvious thing is Mr. Suarez knows how to tell a good story. The book is paced well meaning you don’t have to worry about long sections of the book that really accomplish nothing (also known as filler or padding). Every chapter has a purpose and reveals something interesting and advances the story.

The main thing that attracts me to this series is the combination of real technology and a good story. Daniel Suarez is like combing the late Michael Crichton with computer scientist (Mr. Suarez is a database consultant after all) and other scientists. This series is a technothriller although using believable technology is a believable manner. There are no self-replicating nanobots or faster-than-light ships. What the universe of Daemon does have are fabricators that can created objects out of base raw materials, optical weapons that can blind opponents temporarily, and vehicles which can be remotely controlled via satellites.

The biggest component of any story (besides the story itself obviously) are the characters. Mr. Suarez gives us a variety of characters from your average guy with good intentions to a sociopath on a mission of revenge. All the characters in this book are meaningful (so you don’t have a cast of throw away characters you could give two shits about) and have a purpose (once again not sources of filler material). Each character has some complexity behind them and all the major characters’s lives advance with the story (no forgotten characters in other words).

Be forewarned that there is no recap in this book meaning you really do need to read Daemon first. Personally I always read series novels in order but if you’re not one to do that you’ll be very confused by Freedom(TM).

So that’s the spoiler-free portion of the review, the book is amazing. Now for the detailed review.

Do note story spoilers for both Daemon and Freedom(TM) will be present from here on out. Don’t bitch if you see story elements revealed.

Freedom(TM) picks up where Daemon left off. In Daemon a computer game programmer left behind a daemon process which began executing a series of functions based on news headlines is scraped from the Internet. Ultimately the goal of the Daemon was to find agents to assist in creating a new society in the wake of the currently collapsing one. The Daemon infected the networks of most of the major corporations and siphoned money from them for use by the Daemon’s agents. From there the actual plan executed.

Freedom(TM) mostly reveals the ultimate plan of the Daemon which is to establish a self sustained society. When we pick up Freedom(TM) the world is in the wake of the greatest depression in history. There are no jobs to be had and money is quickly becoming as worthless as it’s true value (fiat money has no actual value). Mr. Sobol, the daemon’s creator, foresaw this and hence designed a mechanism to ensure long-term survivability of society.

This is accomplished by creating communities that have everything needed for all of the population in a 100 mile radius to survive and prosper. In essence a society which can exist without long supply chains or government (any question why I love this series so much). Each self-sustained area or holon consists of farms, schools, fabrication facilities (using 3D printers to construct anything needed), and a renewable power source. These holons are popping up in many areas during the time line of Freedom(TM). The purpose behind these self-sustaining holons is to, in essence, create a distributed society with no single points of failure. Any single holon can be destroyed without it causing troubles for any other holon thus making a durable and reliable society.

It can go without saying that the government and many major corporations (whom the Daemon is stealing funds from) don’t really like this idea. In Freedom(TM) the Daemon agent’s primary opponents is a mercenary private security company who thrives off of the current conditions. As you can expect the government is putting a ton of money into private security firms at this time. The military is stretched too thin and there is a lot of civil unrest.

At the disposal of the Daemon’s agents is very advanced technology. Not only do they have access to automated vehicles at this point but they also have small aerial craft that keep the skies clear, non-lethal sonic weapons, and MetalStorm style weaponry. As previously mentioned everything they need can be fabricated at most holons using 3D printers capable of using both metals and plastics as a base material. The Damon’s agents also have access to insurmountable amounts of information provided by a mesh network.

There are two main story arcs going on in Freedom(TM). The first I already mentioned which is current society’s conflict with the Daemon’s society. The second is the quest of Peter Sebeck. If you’ve read Daemon you know Mr. Sebeck. He’s brought back by the Daemon to fulfill a question, justify humanity’s freedom from the Daemon. The Daemon sends Sebeck and his partner around the country visiting several holons and discovering the daemon’s true purpose.

This is where I say go read the book. It’s honestly amazing. The story is unique and interesting. Likewise it’s well paced (I really hate books with long sections of nothing happening) which makes it a page turner throughout.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 25th, 2010 at 10:30 am

Happy Towel Day

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It’s May 25th meaning it’s Towel Day.

What the Hell is Towel Day you ask? It’s the official day of remembrance for the late author Douglas Adams. Generally fans of the late Mr. Adams carry a towel around. And if you don’t get the reference read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy immediately. Seriously it’s friggin’ hilarious.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 25th, 2010 at 8:00 am

Daemon by Daniel Suarez

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I mentioned a few days ago that I’ve been reading Daemon by Daniel Suarez (Once again not an affiliate link) and that I would write up a review of it after I finished. Well I finished it so here’s your review.

Although this is listed under the science fiction section Daemon is more of a techno-thriller. Think Michael Crichton in that Mr. Suarez takes a technology concept and expands it into a story. In Mr. Suarez’s case he actually takes multiple technologies and uses them in this book. Fortunately he also provides information on the technologies he brings up on his website.

Before even rolling into the story I want to bring up one of my favorite parts about this book. Mr. Suarez is a computer consultant writing a book involving computers. That means most of the stuff in the book are technically correct (although not highly detailed in any manner) or plausible. There are a lot of malicious hackers in this book and it’s refreshing to actually read a book where the hacks they are performing are believable and no centered around navigation through a 3-dimensional space where they have to align virtual cubes together to create a computer virus that can break firewalls through some kind of techno-magic.

But enough about that let’s get on with the story. I’ll try to do this without any major spoilers but it’s going to be bloody difficult. Daemon follows a series of different people who are all connected by the same thing, the death of Mathew Sobol. Mr. Sobol was one of the greatest computer game programmers in the world (think John Carmack of id Software only smarter) and was the man who brainstormed several of the most popular computer games of his time. Until his death he headed CyberStorm Entertainment which was the most famous computer gaming company out there due to the aforementioned titles. Well in his death he left behind a little present, a daemon.

As you can guess a rather broad type of characters are presented. One of CyberStorm’s other programmers is killed and the local police force are brought in to investigate. Likewise the story also involves a few identity thieves, new reporters, and even a man spending time in prison. It’s a nice assortment of characters and all of them are given enough time in the book to flesh them out. That time is well spent since given the wide assortment of characters they are all interesting and actually do provide something to the story.

But back to the daemon. The little bugger was programmer to perform a large assortment of different tasks that it slowly executes throughout the book. In essence it reads online news articles and looks for key words that trigger it’s next event. For instance it was originally activated after reading Mr. Sobol’s obituary. I would like to expand on this but honestly the best part of the book is following the progress of what the daemon does and I really don’t want to spoil that part. Let’s just say the author does a good job of keeping it a mystery through the beginning of the book and when its purpose finally revealed the book gets very exciting.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the biggest things I look for in a book is pacing. I don’t like boring parts where nothing of consequence is happening. Daemon thankfully is well paced where each chapter advances the story. Nowhere in the book did I get bored and wish I could skip ahead. I do have to say though the ending is kind of abrupt but does make headway for its sequel Freedom (TM) (a review of which will be posted after I complete reading it).

I’m going to go into a little more detail here which may present itself as spoilers. If you don’t like to have any element of the story revealed stop reading here. I’ll try to keep the spoilers vague as to not reveal much about the story itself but you have been warned.

One of the concepts that begins to be explored in Daemon on the idea of a distributed society. What does that mean? Well it means it a society where there is no central authority and large centralized governments aren’t able to evolve fast enough to keep in pace with ever expanding technology. More or less it’s a libertarians dream come true. The book revolves around the ever expanding daemon. Due to its purpose the NSA, FBI, CIA, several private corporations, and even DARPA are brought in to investigate it. On the other hand various groups of geeks are working against the government entities’ purposes. As you can imagine the geeks use every technological trick in the book to accomplish their goals. They also do it in a decentralized manner which the government agencies find difficult to counteract. I don’t think I can expand on this any further without revealing key plot items though.

This is honestly a hard book to write much about because most of the good parts require revealing important story elements. The bottom line though is that it’s a damned good read. It’s interesting even for the non-geek although I wouldn’t hand this title to your grandmother as she’ll probably be in even more fear of computers. But if you have an interest in computers, a good story, and some ideas libertarians would love (although I’m in no way implying the author meant to include libertarian ideals, they just fit with what is happening in the book) grab this book.

Also for your big time geeks out there that will inevitably complain about the impossibility of the technology involved, shut up. It’s a work of fiction, read it as such.

Written by Christopher Burg

March 30th, 2010 at 10:25 am