The General Sci-Fi Thread

Discussion in 'The Rumble Strip' started by W3HS, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

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    OK fellow nerds, let's have at it! I know you're out there.

    To get the party started I'll lay down a bit about my love for science fiction which started when I first realised that 100 years ago there was no things like plastic, quantum mechanics, electronic device interfacing and so on. These things were all science fiction back then, now they're part of daily life. That's what gets me going.

    In 50 years time what we perceive as sci-fi could well be mundane reality. Look at things like textiles (Gore-Tex, carbon fibre), medicine & treatment (pace makers, MRI), transport (e-vehicles, supersonic jets), clothing, communication, music, I could go on and on.

    My passion for sci-fi probably started with Azimov & Author C. Clark books at a young age, Tron and Star Wars in cinemas as a kid, 2000AD comics and a discontinued BBC show called Tomorrow's World which aired every Friday as I was growing up.

    I'm currently fascinated by the morality, culture and politics of sci-fi. Things we see in shows and books which could or could not be in time to come.

    For me, sci-fi is a glimpse not into the future, per se, but a view of somebody's imagination in a semi-raw form. Most sci-fi stems from current ideas & tech but the greatest sci-fi [to me] is the stuff that is seems to have no ground in the current and is pure fabrication of the future or its persona.

    Enough with my ramblings and let the talking begin!

    EDIT: Here are a few pics to wet your appetite for the SF.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
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  2. XS

    XS Premium

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    I'm not a sci-fi fan, per-say. But, I do go through sci-fi kicks. This week I've watched Serenity, Dark City, Star Trek Voyager, Stargate, The Fifth Element, and Aliens. Good stuff. Do you consider Terminator 2 sci-fi? Watched that too.
     
  3. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Very first taste of Sci-Fi was reading an omnibus collection of Asimov's work in Grade Five. After that, I started collecting like mad. Asimov edited collections (of other writers' works), then Clarke, then I finally found my thing at thirteen with old Zelazny and Niven books from the 70's when I was thirteen. Zelazny for the poetry of his writing, something which influences me even today, and Niven for the sheer chutzpah and imagination his work showed. (Later on I discovered Card, Anderson, Benford, etcetera...)

    Since then, I've tended to look for writers like Niven. "Hard" sci-fi writers like Barnes or speculative writers like Brin or the Australian McMullen who still manage to find a sense of wonder within the ever tighter confines of "hard" sci-fi (as opposed to space opera).

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    I have great hope for the future. Specifically since we're living in it. I doubt we'll ever see the exponential growth of civilization and technology that might lead to Vernor Vinge's "Singularity" or even a simpler "Skynet" scenario... we're reaching the theoretical limit for advancement for machines, and we're bouncing off the glass ceiling of Earth's available resources, but I see great things happening over the next fifty years.

    I plan to live long enough to see life-extending drugs or gene therapy. And hopefully brain downloading. Even if I don't, I promise to go ooh and aah at every development I see over the next few decades.

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    Most "sci-fi" films fall into the "Space Opera" or "Science-Fantasy" genre... relying on a trope or a handwaved magical technology to provide the "sci-fi" element to the story... particularly true of the Trek films and Dark City. But the best of these, like some of the best sci-fi books, use the technology and unique situations to explore humanity.

    I rate Dark City very highly. I thought it was more thought provoking than the Matrix, putting everything out in the open as a philosophical conundrum rather than couching things in vague pseudo-religious gibberish like the Matrix fell into somewhere during the trilogy.

    Of course... that doesn't make for a very commercial franchise (they wrapped it all up very neatly in one film), but it is a great watch.
     
  4. Driving Park

    Driving Park

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    Big sci-fi fan here...it's the only genre of book that I enjoy reading, in fact. I have a small library, including the Foundation novels, the 2001 novels, Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, a collection of Clarke's short stories, the first two books in the Ender series, and of course the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and on top of them is an astronomical field guide). I've read all of them (multiple times) except for Speaker for the Dead...just haven't had a chance to.

    I like all sci-fi, whether it's hard or soft. The hard sci-fi gets me going because it's grounded in reality and could actually happen (and I'm enough of a tech nerd to geek out with all the nitty-gritty tech explanations); the soft sci-fi gets me going because, well, "what if".

    In terms of TV/film? All Star Trek, Stargate (SG-1 is my favorite), and Tron and Tron Legacy, are my favorites. The Trek runs in the family. Even movies that aren't primarily focused on sci-fi but happen to be occurring in it ("The Fall" in the new Total Recall, for example...I would also consider Star Wars to be in this category) I enjoy. I movie I really enjoy for sci-fi in the past is Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

    I constantly think about the future and future tech so it makes sense that I'd read sci-fi to get ideas. I've long wanted to write a sci-fi novel, but I'm not exactly a writer. Maybe someday. I'll occasionally go on night-long Wikipedia sprees where I find all of the articles about tech and sci-fi-related topics that I don't know about (I've gotten deep into quantam mechanics and the like before...that hurt my brain).

    One site that you all would enjoy is Future Timeline. It attempts to predict future tech advancements and advancements in the human race in general, as well as key astronomical events, from now until the end of time. I find it very enjoyable to look through.

    I'd love to get into reading lesser known sci-fi that's good...as is I've only read the most famous sci-fi authors (Clarke, Bradbury, and Asimov) and not much else.
     
  5. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

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    I have often downloaded ebooks and deleted them after reading but the works can't bring myself to delete are short stories by Philip. K. Dick. Where would sci-fi of the cinema be without his work?

    A good site I often check out is psipunk.com which is a blog full of concept technologies; some far off some almost ready for production. It's nice to trawl trough their images and let my mind wander. It also inspires me to create my own concepts which I might post later if I feel brave enough.

    When it comes to SW Vs ST I have to be honest and say that I side with the 'Wars but only because I had no Trekies in my family as a kid. My junior school friends got me onto Star Trek and I've really enjoyed watching it since, I'm especially excited about the new movie, but my philosophy in life is partly inspired by the Jedi so I guess I'll always be slightly bias.

    I've currently been watching Tron: Uprising from Disney and in my opinion I have to say
    it's [in my opinion] their best TV series to date. I can't get enough of it, and Mara & Paige are hot, for animations.

    I was thinking about the film Surrogates today and wondered how long it will be until that kind of bipedal humanoid type tele-presence machine is no longer science fiction. I've seen many of them which are employed in industry; iRobot's bomd robot, the Korean teacher bot and a host of others. How plausible is it that we'll have a controllable human likeness in the near future? (I don't mean AI, just an RC version of us)

    My picture of the day:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. XS

    XS Premium

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    I absolutely abhorred the Riddick series, with a burning passion. But the last time I was really sick I watched all three movies again and was slightly entertained. I watched them again several months later and started to like them. I watched them again about a week ago and am now hooked. I have no idea why. I think the concept isn't new, the story line old, and the execution of the series predictable. But there's just something about it. The atmosphere, the mix of Fifth Element type super-villains if you will, endless impending doom, the feeling that everything - Riddick, humanity, other alien races, worlds, are all holding on by a thread in a dirty, cutthroat setting makes the series enticing. I always feel like even after the ending of Chronicals of Riddick, that the future is still perilously uncertain. If they actually finish Riddick 4, I'll be going to see it.
     
  7. W3HS

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    I preferred Pitch Black to The Chronicles of Riddick. I just thought the visuals where more mature and less obvious.

    I just tried to think of my favourite typre f sci-fi but I must say I think I love it all. Anything from cyberpunk (probably my fav) to minimalism, they're all good.
     
  8. Mikeybc

    Mikeybc

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    Alright, I'm a sci-fi junkie who was obsessed with "Space 1999". I still say the set design and the special effects were amazing for the time period...I remember them being better than the rubbish effects in Star Trek V almost 15 years later.

    The Eagles were the coolest ships ever with great attention to detail :)

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Ridox2JZGTE

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    I have been a fan of Sci Fi since I was in primary school. One of my main interest is space sci fi, from Aliens, Star Trek. Space Odyssey to Gundam and Captain Harlock.

    Here is a hard sci fi series that span many movies, mini series and a full series : Armored Trooper VOTOMS.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armored_Trooper_Votoms - no spoiler - be sure to watch according to the chronology listed - it gives the best story telling experience.

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    Do not miss Armor Hunter Mellowlink ( set 4 months before tv series plot ) - one of the best anime series about one man revenge for his war buddies.

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    Next up would be Ghost in The Shell Series, Iria the Zeiram, Vexille and Appleseed :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2013
  10. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Reminder: Discussions of piracy and pirated copies of books and videos are not kosher as per the AUP.

    If you want some good "Space Armor" fiction, the original "Starship Troopers" novel is great. A whole lot different from the movie, grittier, more realistic. Parts of it are sort of like "Vietnam meets Aliens". Definitely worth a read.
     
  11. Ridox2JZGTE

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    Sorry Niky, totally missed that part :) I have Starship Troopers OVA ( Japanese version ) - it's pretty good, but not as good as the novel for sure.

    A real cult classic Sci fi is Cosmo Police Justy, quite hard to find now.



    The manga is even better, a lot better :D
    I hope the youtube above is fine.
     
  12. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Is that the CGI one? I've watched the one where the bugs land on Earth. A bit too manga-ized for my tastes, but fair.
     
  13. Ridox2JZGTE

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    No, I have the old 1988 6 part OVA, it was made by Sunrise ( BANDAI ). The Story follows Johnny Rico from joining the Infantry, his 18 months training, his relationship with Carmencita and his 1st planetary drop in the famous Infantry Power Armor.

    [​IMG]







     
  14. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Got to find that one, then. Sounds much closer to the book than the movie (or the CGI movie... which reeked of Metal Gear Solid level silliness) was.
     
  15. Joey D

    Joey D Contributing Writer

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    InB4 "Bring Back Firefly"...but seriously, bring back Firefly.

    The movie actually does a pretty good job of taking a satirical take on the book. While the book have an overtone of fascism and militarism, the movie takes it to the extreme and pokes fun at it while given us ample shots of a hot, 26 year old, Denise Richards and equally nice shots of Dina Meyer.

    It's one of my favorite movies and I've watched it countless times, the sequels are awful but the original movie is great.
     
  16. W3HS

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    Hell yes bring back FireFly!

    I really enjoyed Serenity which I saw before Firefly. Great, hard sci-fi.

    I had a conversation about supersonic commuter travel last night with a drunk guy. It was pretty interesting to consider that given the correct roadways, vehicles and basic pilot training people could potentially be commuting to work from France to UAE in a land based jet car.
     
  17. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Firefly is basically a country-western themed space opera, not hard sci-fi. But it's a very good one... Loved it. Got it all on DVD.

    -

    Supersonic travel on the ground is possible. But very, very dangerous. Accidents with high speed rail aren't common, but when they happen, they're deadly.

    What I'd like to see is vacuum tube travel. Link two points with an underground tube that dips down in the middle. Gravity pulls the train forward and down, then momentum carries it up the other side. In a vacuum tube, with a frictionless maglev carriage, this would cost nearly zero energy.

    But I doubt it will happen... even though vacuum subways would theoretically cost almost nothing per kilometer of travel, the expense of building and maintaining such a system would be enormous.


    Guess it's just me. When I go to see "The Hobbit" in the theaters, I expect to see "The Hobbit", not a slam-bang CGI-fest that's one grinding battle after another, with an hour's worth of subplot that wasn't in the book, isn't canon and features a wizard with bird poop in his hair and a hedgehog named "Sebastian", which is a pretty non-Tolkien-ish name.

    -

    That's how I felt about Starship Troopers.

    And they changed the race of all the main characters. All the Starship Troopers were supposed to be brown. Not white.

    Then again, I'm okay with riffing on the original, but the derivation has got to be superior. I didn't feel it was. It was fun. Campy. But not superior. It was a movie that could have been made without using the license at all. (Like iRobot)

    But yes, Denise Richards. :D
     
  18. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

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    I thought the 'Troopers were from South America?

    The tube system I can see potential in. Another of my favourite transport system concept would be road-grids. Basically all major highways have slots for some kind of pick which lines up in the slot and guides the car. This would eliminate accidents 95%, reduce fuel consumption (the grid-roads hook up to an electric motor in the car - hence the pick connection in the road slot - and charge by the mile for power from the state grid).

    There would have to be some kind of selector to switch lanes for upcoming exits off of the highway and a manual override for emergencies but imagine the speeds that traffic could flow at safely thanks to a super computer controlling all traffic flow on all major highways. Delays and traffic accidents would be reduced overnight to almost 0 and the driver would be able to sit back with a coffee while commuting to work.
     
  19. niky

    niky Moderator

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    The protagonist was a Filipino. Heinlem served in World War 2 in the Pacific Theater.

    I shouldn't be so bothered. I mean, we got a black Catwoman, a black Nick Fury and now a Hispanic-Black Spiderman... but you reverse the trend... say... make Luke Cage white... :lol:

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    Real life slotcars, eh? Sort of like the ones that they had at Disney so many decades ago. Ran on tracks, electric, but with some freedom of steering.

    There was once a proposal for railcars that would have lessened infrastructure costs... Put rails on the roof of the car. You can have two way traffic. When they meet, one car goes over the top of the other. :D

    -

    Future transport would have to be either highly centralized or highly personalized (meaning lightweight, light-on-resources, light-on-price). I'm betting rail and maybe electric-assist velocipedes for personal transport.
     
  20. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

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    Que me wanting to post my 600cc straight four, live rear axle, F1 style suspension single seater quadricycle design. Might just do so once I've refined the sketches to look professional.
     
  21. turbolefty78

    turbolefty78

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    Ummm, who?
    Please spell check when jotting down proper names, especially famous ones.
     
  22. Pupik

    Pupik Staff Emeritus

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    That's because as you said, The Matrix was fine as one standalone film. Unfortunately, they all get greedy and push most concepts into trilogies - a Catch 22 in its own right - you want the first one to be great, but then you have to stretch out the obvious for two more flicks (add pointless distractions, deviate the plot for no reason, for example).

    Please don't nit pick: if you know what he meant, let it go.
     
  23. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

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    I think so many people agree that the first Matrix was pretty groundbreaking and nicely philosophical whereas the next two were pretty dull as far as depth goes, but heavy on action and sci-fi visuals.

    I'd like to state, for the record, that I'm big on sci-fi visuals, especially the minimal look and cyber-tech.
     
  24. niky

    niky Moderator

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    I loved the first Matrix. The second had Michael Bay-ish problems... ergo... too much of a good thing. Overdone kung fu scenes, overdone bullet-time, overdone CGI, and it started losing itself in quasi-mysticism. The third was better, but still had issues.

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    If you can dream it, it's on alibaba.com
    [​IMG]
    (Chery 800cc, rear engine... I still want one of these...)

    [​IMG]

    Of course, the future is electric. Except it isn't. It might be biofueled. Whatever it is, we're at the cusp of a change in the automotive paradigm, and I'm thankful that I get to see some of the kooky homemade or low-budget ideas before mass-production high-budget EVs take over.


    Noted. Remind me to give myself an infraction for lazy grammar... :lol: ...right after I finish reading my Azimov collection. :D

    Funnily enough, my daughter wrote a short story last week. About a boy named Roger Zelany. I'm teaching the girl the right stuff.
     
  25. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

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    Those look to 'now' compared to my designs. :sly:

    I also have a design for a twin wheel drive (48v motor in each wheel), 1000watt (no less than 14ah) café racer bike. Pics not ready yet though.
     
  26. DustDriver

    DustDriver Staff Emeritus

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    There are twin wheel drive dirtbikes (albeit not electric), so that doesn't sound to futuristic.
     
  27. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

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    Centre hub steering and total weight of 300lbs. :)
     
  28. BobK

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    Heinlein, along with Isaac Asimov and L. Sprague de Camp, worked on a classified project in Philadelphia during WW II.

    Heinlein did however serve in the Navy, being an Annapolis graduate, until he was invalidated out.
     
  29. niky

    niky Moderator

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    Whoops. Checking his bio, yes, he was discharged before the war.

    I recall a short story (by Spider Robinson, I think)... a fanfic, if you will... in which Heinlein is cured of tuberculosis by a time-travelling senator who feels that without modern Science Fiction, NASA wouldn't be stealing all the budget his State would get, otherwise.

    Only to find, when he returns to the present, that Heinlein had become a general, and had pushed for an expansion and militarization of NASA at an even earlier date, making it even bigger and more powerful, with a permanent Moon Base and missions to other planets.

    -

    Of course, if you want an even more comprehensive "What if" Mars book, Stephen Baxter's "Voyage" details a world in which Kennedy wasn't assassinated and NASA got to launch a Mars rocket in 1986. Haven't read it, yet, but I'm looking for a copy.

    If you want a sampler of what else he has to offer, I highly recommend his collection "Traces", which has short stories on varied alternate history themes. Some pretty wild ones, there, like the Victorian era Brits who use "anti-ice" (antimatter meteor found in Antarctica) to create giant spacecraft to explore the planets.
     
  30. W3HS

    W3HS Premium

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    Don't mean to fly off the current line of conversation but I would like to introduce the anthropomorphic element of sci-fi, or Uncanny Valley as it's known in theoretical robotics.

    I want to ask which you would prefer:

    A) a good visual copy of a human but with obvious robot movements and basic calculating features and a robot audio output. [Think T101 or T800]

    B) a bipedal but still robot-like model with fluent, articulate speech and super fast processing ('thinking') and fluid movements. [Think Sunny from iRobot film]

    C) a mix of both of the above. [Think Bishop]

    D) neither. Robots will bring the downfall of humanity!!!! :scared: [Think about leaving this thread. :grumpy:]