Author: Joshua Lawrence Pike

A Sci-Fi Author currently working on his first book.

REVIEW: Dark Tower (7/10 stars)

Before I start I will note I have not read the books (will change that when I get a chance).

The first and most important thing that The Dark Tower did was to built a large and complex world(s) without being an info dump or sacrificing everything else to do it. When needed it even let you just absorb the scenery. It reminded me of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume One in this respect.

The plot was not huge and complicated. While all the necessary bits were there many of the why’s were not explained. Honestly I am okay with that, if I can think of several reasons for an action and which one is true does not matter then I don’t really need details. The movie does that several times for several things. I like the idea that the movie respects me enough not to feel the need to spell everything out.

The action was good, I really liked the way they showed Roland’s gunslinging, he could do ridicules bullet bouncing and such but nothing too out there. He did nothing that could not in theory be done if you were good enough and had enough information (unlike say curving a bullet).
They also showed the man in black’s magic well, it was consistent and logical the way he used it. He was far from all powerful but he was smart and knew his limits.
The final fight was made much better because of this, it would have lost all its punch otherwise.

I will say that main character wise the movie does look to be of two minds, it seams to flip between Jake (the kid) and Roland. This does not hurt the movie as much as you would think but it does make me wish the movies was a bit longer to allow for more development.
As far as characters go one thing I did not realize until after I left the theater was that Roland treated Jake as an adult. There was no cliché having to prove himself an adult phase.

I really did like the movie, even if I think the characters could have been developed more. Its worth seeing just for the interesting and vast world it shows, let alone everything else.

On IMBD
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Making a world come together

A large part of any science fiction author’s job is creating a world, far from a chore this is a large part of the appeal of science fiction.

The great secret of course being that we can’t really create whole worlds, creating everything a whole world holds would be the work of thousands. However like all artists you can cheat.

You create enough details to make people think the world is full and whole. There are any number of large and important things that effect the whole society, however you also need the small things.

The first is entertainment. This is not just what people do for fun but what media do they use? Do they do full VR, holodecks, books, TV ect. Also how much do they cost? Do rich people have access to holodecks, while the poor have to settle for books and movies and the middle class has VR?

And of course if they are anything like us they are going to have some taboos. How would people feel about a VR where strangers can having sex with them?

And of course don’t neglect to think about shows or VR’s or whatever people talk about over the fusion cooled water cooler.

Next of course is what people dislike about the government and how things work. There will always be people who have a problem with the government. Make sure to distinguish between grumbling and real rebelling, you don’t want someone who just started your book to think the character is a revolutionary because he is grumbling about the 2% tax hike.

Sayings and swearing are next. Both sayings and what swears people use do shift over time, not as much as you might think but they do change. If your writing a book set in fifty years you might not really need to change anything, but if its set in five hundred? Yes you should change them, even if just a little, just enough to show the difference.

Where do people meet? By this I mean where do they congregate, after all things like shopping, working and maybe even being taught could be done from home. So think about how people would meet, you may have a lot of social clubs that exist solely to get people out and let them mingle for example.

Nudity

One of the things that annoys me greatly is how nudity is used, and not used, by Hollywood. Nudity is almost only used for sex. While there are exceptions to this it is rare that you will see nudity for any other reasons. This annoys me because some of my favorite stories would require nudity be used for things other then bringing in the sexy.

The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein (Very good book, spoilers for that ahead) is the best example I can think of, you could not faithfully adopt it for TV or a movie if you were unwilling to use a lot of non-sexual nudity.

In the book you aliens invade who can wholly control your body if they are touching any part of your skin. They are flat and about dinner plate size so they can easily hide under clothing. When they are discovered they had been working for months and had already spread through more then a third of the country. They would have taken the entire continental US in a few more months with no real fight.

The only way to stop them required the main characters to convince congress to make wearing clothing a capital offense punishable by death. This was the only way to make sure invaders could not just walk into any city they wanted and start converting people.

That was about as easy to do as you would think, their also was the issue of winter, it was a few months away and they had to win before they would be forced to wear winter clothing.

You should not assume that everyone wears clothing like we do for the same reasons we do.

The first of many reasons for nudity would just be that a people don’t have the same taboos we do. One example of this is in the lensmen series, about half the planets with people like humans don’t have the nudity taboo.

There is nothing wrong with using this, in fact I would use it for sure if there was a huge disincentive to wearing or making clothing for a people. For example if clothing was not needed and a people were on the edge of starvation they would probably not waste time making it.

This also can be a way to show a people are different, it is easily something that could change over the course of a couple generations on a colony.

Under some conditions I would be surprised if this did not happen. For example if everyone on a colony were genetically engineered and always perfectly fit that would remove one big reasons for the taboo. This would be even more likely if we are talking about a people who live on a station or somewhere that weather is not a factor.

Another reason is humiliation, if you want to humble or humiliate someone stripping them bare can help. If your book has a slave class you could have clothing be a way that status is shown. For the same reasons it can be used for interrogation.

Honestly this is one thing that bugs me when I see someone being tortured on TV, this is the first thing you would do. Its not like you would be okay with torture but not okay with stripping someone nude.

REVIEW: Earthcent series (4/5 stars)

 

Date Night on Union Station (EarthCent Ambassador #1)Date Night on Union Station by E.M. Foner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I originally read Date Night (First in the earthcent series) because I read a few good reviews and it was both short and cheap.
As of now there are 12 stories that are more long novellas then novels. I normally don’t go for stories of this length but for Earthcent it works.

Roughly two generations before the start of Date Night some very powerful AI’s saw that earth was on the brink of an economic collapse that could have taken centuries to recover from so they stepped up to make us a protectorate.
Earthcent is the diplomatic and quasi governmental arm that the AI’s created.

The stories are the opposite of what you expect. They are about the mostly normal problems that a growing list of characters have. It is sort of a slice of life with sci-fi problems, like how to attract alien businesses to earth (so we can be taught how to make some advanced tech) and how to deal with counterfeit earth exports. All this is done without violence. It is nice to see sci-fi stories which could not double as action movies. In place of the action, it has humor. And while not Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy it has made me laugh out loud more then once.

I will say though that there is a large cast of characters that grows with each story so its best to read them close together.

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