Posts Tagged ‘Hyperion’

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Quick thoughts on Caprica

April 22, 2009

WARNING: SPOILERS

I just finished watching the new pilot for the BSG spinoff/prequel Caprica this evening and, so far, it’s got my vote. Interesting characters and storylines with enough hints about the seeds of the Cylon war that viewers can already start speculating about how the show’s going to pan out (if it’s given enough time).

The story revolves around rich technology giant Daniel Graystone and lawyer Joseph Adama (father of Admiral William Adama). Both men lose their daughters (Adama loses his wife as well) when a boy terrorist sets off a bomb on a passenger train. Graystone, who’s been trying to create a successful military robot prototype but needs an AI to make it work, stumbles upon a secret of his daughter’s that could affect his life and his work, while Adama tries to raise his surviving son while struggling with obligations to his people and the mob as he tries to stay legit.

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Top 5 SF characters who could be Prime Minister of Canada

March 4, 2009

Recently a fan wrote to William Shatner, informing the actor he’d started a petition to get him appointed Governor General (who is, as the Queen’s representative in Canada, the acting head of state). The Shat responded that he didn’t want the ceremonial position (not entirely ceremonial, given the weighty decision Michaelle Jean had to make about the fate of Parliament earlier this winter), joking that he aspired to be Prime Minister.

Given that there are a lot of citizens of the Great White North out there who would like our country to have someone, anyone else, new in charge in Ottawa, we put our tongues firmly in our cheeks and came up with this list of the Top 5 SF Characters (irrespective of their national/planetary citizenship or their lack of MP’s to form a ruling party in the House of Commons) Who Could Be Prime Minister of Canada:

5) The Shrike from Hyperion
Canada’s been deficit-free and paying down the national debt for years, but as the world lurches into recession, Stephen Harper and his cronies have put us back into the red. We need a leader in Parliament who can slash the deficit, gut the debt, and take a stab at restoring voter confidence. Slashing, gutting and stabbing are what the Shrike does best. It’s probably also capable of showing more emotion than the current Tory PM.

4) R2D2 from Star Wars
He’s the little guy who rolls through the halls of power with confidence. He’s got good ideas. He thinks fast on his feet, er, rollers…whatever. And he’s well-liked. It would seem that Artoo would be the perfect candidate to lead any political party to victory. Sadly though, much like former Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, he’s incapable of speaking English and thus wouldn’t have a chance in hell of winning over the majority of voters, much less making himself understood.

3) The Cyberdyne Systems 800 Series from The Terminator franchise
With one of these cyborgs as PM, we’d save millions in annual security costs – this would be a leader who would definitely not hesitate to throw a punch Chretien-style if some joker got too close, and woe betide the fool who might think about throwing a pie at him at a public event. A T-800 would doubtless be a tough negotiator in international treaty talks. And it too would probably be more capable of showing human emotion than Harper.

2) Spock from Star Trek
Cool under pressure, an experienced diplomat and probably able to secure the all-important Alberta vote through his Vulcan constituency office.

1) Zaphod Beeblebrox from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
He’s the only actual politician on this list, his unpredictability would make for consistently entertaining (if also embarassing) news coverage and punditry, and, while it’s said that most politicians are two-faced, the captain of the Heart of Gold has the advantage of actually having two faces.

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Top 5 worst jobs in SF

February 25, 2009

Say what you will about your abusive boss or your boring, dehumanizing mcjob, there are some gigs in SF that make yours look like a walk in the park.

5) Pizza Delivery Driver – in Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Sure there are no speed limits on the highways of this world, but there are no lonely, attractive women answering the door and asking for a 12-inch sausage, rather you have to negotiate the border regulations of independant nation-state neighbourhoods, and if you get to the door late, it’s not just a matter of losing a tip or having to eat the cost of the pie.  If you break the “we’re never late” guarantee here, your boss, who just happens to be a mafia kingpin, will, to borrow a line from Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs, “send out for you.”

4) Janitor, Alien Sector – aboard Babylon 5
When your day-in, day-out job consists of scrubbing methane toilets or cleaning up after carrion-eating Pakmara when they’re suffering from stomach bugs, then a step out of one of the station’s airlocks starts to look pretty good.

3) Any Food Service Job with the Kzin – from The Man-Kzin Wars series by Larry Niven
It’s one thing to have a job waiting tables where you get treated like a piece of meat by the customers or your employer, it’s quite another to be a slave to the Kzin and assigned to food service. When the rat-cat gets a hankering, you ARE meat.

2) Technician 3rd Class aboard the Jupiter Mining Company ship Red Dwarf – from Red Dwarf
It’s not having to clean out the chicken soup dispensers every day that’s the problem, it’s working under Rimmer.

1) Red Shirt – classic Star Trek
Every horrible death and indignity imaginable. ‘Nuff said.
Honourable Mentions:

  • Acid Canal Dredger/Atmospheric Processor Lungpipe Scraper on Heaven’s Gate colony – from Hyperion by Dan Simmons – with a job like this, it doesn’t matter if you’ve had a stroke in cryo-sleep and only have a vocabulary of a dozen swear words; those curses pretty much sum it up.
  • Imperial Star Destroyer Bridge Officer – from Star Wars (original trilogy) – have your will in order for this gig; you may be able to come out on top in a fight with the Rebels, but if you’re playing taxi for Vader you won’t withstand the power of a Dark Side temper tantrum.
  • Imperial Star Destroyer Bridge Crewman – because having to work under the guy in the previous note who’s dealing with that kind of on-the-job tension would be no picnic either.

What do you think are the worst jobs in SF?
Your nominations:

  • Blade Runner operative/Voight-Kampff test administrator
  • Imperial AT-ST driver assigned to Endor’s green moon