Novella

I’ve written one! Well, I wrote it nearly three years ago and am just now getting around to editing it–but! It is now nearly done, and I hope to have it out on Kindle by the end of the year.

It’s about a shape-shifting thief on Mars who is hired to kidnap a super-genius and take her to a hidden base on Saturn’s moon Iapetus, for reasons unknown to him. And when trying to complete the job, a space adventure ensues!

I’ll have more updates soon, and probably a sneak peak at the first part of it once it’s done. Keep an eye out for it!

Ex Machina

After watching the trailer for this sci-fi thriller about artificial intelligence, I had formed some opinions about it that weren’t exactly positive. It looked entertaining, but I had figured it would be another anti-technology movie where ‘new thing X that we never should have invented destroys the world!’ Which is what any move about technology seems to be these days.

Once I started watching, though, all my doubts were forgotten. The movie instantly grabbed me and never let go. There is an aura of tension and unease in this movie that builds up consistently, and is brought on by some really stellar acting. Oscar Isaac does a great job as the eccentric billionaire programmer, giving off just the right level of menace and friendliness that you never know what to expect from him next.

And Alicia Vikander, who I’d never seen before, really stunned me as the AI, Ava. She was able portray the inhuman, alien-ness of a computer mind while still being likable and relatable. I can imagine so easily how this could have gone the predictable Hollywood way, and she’d be talking in a flat, deadpan voice, never using contractions, and tilting her head to the side constantly while saying things were illogical or ‘did not compute’. Instead we get a very emotional performance, but Ava’s motivations and way of thinking are portrayed in a very inhuman way by Alicia.

The end, pleasantly, did not go how I expected it either.  I highly recommend this to any science fiction fan.

I’ve said it before, but this movie got me thinking about it again. There seems to be this pervasive worry about us creating something that is ‘better’ than us, that will overtake humanity. If you are talking about a violent destruction of humanity, then sure, we should try to prevent that from happening, but there also seems to be this fear of being replaced, of becoming obsolete.

As someone who does not ever want to have children, even I can understand and feel the draw of creating another being, and helping them into the world and shaping them into a good, successful person. I feel that any artificial life we manage to create will be the child of humanity, and we should not fear it surpassing us. Would you fear your child surpassing you, and try to hold them back? I know some parents probably do, even if subconsciously. But if we create artificial inteligences that are able to live and explore and enjoy the universe better than we are, isn’t that the greatest accomplishment we, as a species, could ever achieve? To create something even better than us?

Anyway, check this movie out, definitely worth the time.

In the Water, free for a limited time

Hello! I’ve decided it’s been a while since I had a promotion, so one of my stories is going to be free on Kindle this weekend, starting tomorrow. It’s about a crash landing on an alien world, an unknown virus, deep oceans, consciousness, and more!

If you are slightly interested, might as well check it out, for free. Look here and read the preview to see how it sounds, then download it free starting tomorrow:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NSBLN9A

Blue Ruin

As far as revenge stories go, this one was a bit different.

When we first meet Dwight, the protagonist, he is sleeping in his car and eating from garbage cans. The movie does a good job of setting the scene fairly quickly, and you find yourself feeling for the character before he even says a word.

After finding out that his parent’s killer is being released from prison, he heads home to seek his revenge.

I really enjoyed this because it felt real. Dwight is just a normal guy, he’s not a trained killer, and action movies or thrillers often take these kinds of situation for granted and everything just goes smoothly and the character can throw on some sunglasses and look cool while doing it.

Not in this movie. It becomes clear pretty quick that revenge is messy and hardly ever goes as planned, especially when the one doing it is just your average dude.

This was an engaging, tense and entertaining movie, and i’d never have heard of it if not for the guys at redlettermedia saying how good it was. It’s kind of sad that movies like this hardly get noticed while everyone goes to see transformers and furious 499. Oh well. Glad I got to see it!

Recommended for anyone who likes dramas, or just a well told story. People just looking for a revenge story might not find it as satisfying.

Mad Max: Fury Road

You remember when you were a kid and you got ahold of your dad’s video camera and filmed yourself ‘punching’ your friends so that they fell off a ‘cliff’, or putting on your sunglasses and saying something cool? You didn’t really know what you were doing, but you’d seen that stuff in movies you liked, and you wanted to make awesome things on video too.

After watching Mad Max, you kind of feel like that’s what’s been going on with all the other action movies to come out in the past few years.

This is actually a real movie, with characters you care about and a plot that makes sense and it is so damn refreshing you don’t even realize what you were missing all this time.

I always thought action scenes bored me. In so many movies the car chase or the fight scene starts and you’re sort of just waiting for it to end and the story to get going again. Mad Max was basically one long action scene, and I could not take my eyes off it for a second. This is because it’s actually a movie, instead of a string of ‘cool scenes’ pasted together and shipped out to theaters for a quick buck.

This movie is going to be a classic, watched and rewatched for the next twenty years, because no action movie in the past 5 years or more has been anything like it.

And all it took was to just make an actual movie.

Wake up Hollywood, and start telling stories again instead of just blowing stuff up.

I recommend this to anyone who likes action movies, its the most fun I’ve had watching a movie since I don’t know when. It’s definitly the best movie I’ve seen this year and I doubt anything else coming out is going to top it.

Check it out!

Aquatic Robot to Seek Life on Europa

Nasa is designing a squid-like robot to explore the oceans beneath Europa’s frozen surface.

This has me so excited and I just feel happy to be alive while these kinds of things are going on. Imagine being the one to look through this thing’s eyes and see the first sight of extra-terrestrial life. I can’t wait to see what’s down there, and will be more surprised if there isn’t anything down there. I just hope the little bot isn’t gobbled up before it gets any good images.

Music, evolving like an organism

I recently watched this video from one of my favorite YouTube channels, SciShow, and got me off on a thought tangent.

I’ve always wondered about how non-life things could evolve, such as languages and cultures, and music is just the same. It endures the same selection pressures as life, if you take some imaginative interpretations. The most popular songs will reproduce more often, by being played in more clubs or on more radio stations, and spread across the globe to live in the brains of the people who hear that invasive tune.

And just like life, the selection pressures change over time, and so artists adapt, always working toward producing the song that will reproduce most.

I bet the same study could be applied to movies and books, and any other form of creativity as well. But do these things only appear to be evolving because we, their creators, are evolving? I don’t think so, because these things–music, ideas–they adapt and mutate way faster than even a single generation sometimes. It is evolution outside of biology. Maybe it’s memeology.

Whatever it is it’s intensely interesting to me, and I might go on a journey through the internet to see what else I can find about it!