Movie Night: Jupiter Ascending.

JupiterTagline: Expand your universe.

IMBD Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1617661/

Rating: PG -13

Synopsis: Jupiter Jones was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people’s houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine Wise, a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

 

Review:

It’s been a while since I watched a good science fiction movie. One that wasn’t bogged down with a subtle moral message (District 9, Elysium to name a few), not that there’s anything wrong with these movies, but every now and then you just want a fun romp through a space adventure.

Jupiter Jones is a young woman stuck in a lousy job and rescued by a handsome man. There’s a very interesting backstory to this movie that is just touched on enough to explain her predicament, but it would be interesting to see more of this, and the consequences of her coming into power. It’s a bit of a long movie, it lost me a couple times (how the ‘bad guys’ found her could have been explained just a bit more,) and at times I felt that the special effects were carrying the movie, but considering the nature of it, that’s not really a fault. The whole reason we watch science fiction is for the incredible special effects and images of alien worlds, and this movie provides both.

This is a great Saturday afternoon movie.

4 out of 5.

Scifi Sunday: Science Fiction Sub-Genres; Alternate History

alternative-realityOne genre of science fiction that I don’t read a lot of (and I really should) is Alternate History. With this genre, stories are set on earth worlds where one or more events in history unfolded differently than how it did in this reality.

Spanning almost seventy years, this genre has merged with other science fiction tropes such as crossing dimensions between alternate realities, or some sort of ‘awareness’ (psychic or otherwise) of the other universe. Some stories deal with traveling down or up the timeline with the result splitting the timeline into two or more.  All these examples are interwoven so that it becomes impossible to talk about them without referring to one another.

Alternate history lets us explore the ‘what if’ paradigm and come up with scenarios involving some of history’s move pivotal turning points. It presents a different version, sometimes based on science and fact, but mostly on speculation. We can explore a very different world than we see today, and discuss the various changes that might have occurred. What would the United States be like had the British Government not returned the territory won during the War of 1812? What would the world be like if Germany’s plans to conquer the globe had succeeded?

There are so many possibilities with this genre and so many ways to explore. Have you read any alternate history stories? What ones stuck in your mind?

Science Fiction Sub-Genres; Hard Science Fiction.

One of the most detailed sub-genre’s I’ve come across has to be Hard Science Fiction. I sat here for two days trying to find the right words to explain exactly what is was, and fell short every time. Maybe because I don’t write hard scifi, mine tends to fall into the soft category. As I was scanning the pages of the internet, I found a wonderful explanation on the author’s website:

“Hare sci-fi begins by defining sci-fi as that branch of literature which is written with science or technology as the main focus of the story. The hard sci-fi writer takes great care to make the science and technology as plausible as possible.”

http://writings.mike-combs.com/

In other words, not only must there be plausible science in the technology of hard scifi stories, but it must be that technology that is the focus of the story.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_science_fiction

For someone like me, this type of story is intimidating. I’m not that smart when it comes to technical things, even though I do love watching science shows. I understand quantum theory (somewhat), but ask me to explain it to someone….um…no. I’m more of a soft scifi girl.

If you like hard SF stories, I found a link with the top hard SF novels. Mind you, these are preferences of the author of the article.

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/424202/the-best-hard-science-fiction-books-of-all-time/

What do you think of Hard Science Fiction? Have you read any?

Sci-Fi Sunday: The Good Ol’ Days

Godzilla1954JapaneseposterIt’s no secret that my first love is science fiction. When I was young, I would sit and watch the weekend movies while my mother studied. While most of the movies were those B –rated horror (Dracula, Wolfman, the Mummy), occasionally they would show a science fiction ones and I would sit and watch and play with my Legos all afternoon.

Some of my favourite were the Godzilla movies. I think I’ve seen just about all of them. As a pre-teen (9-11) Godzilla was my hero. I wanted to meet him, or at least be one of those tiny Asian girls who lived on Monster Island. I remember one night there was a new Godzilla movie coming on television-Godzilla vs. Rodan, and my grandmother wouldn’t let me stay up to watch it. I was so upset! It wasn’t fair! Years later when I saw it advertised, you can bet I watched it.

There were other movies I came to love as well; War of the Worlds, The Day the Earth wotwStood Still, Fantastic Voyage, Time Machine, and just about anything with giant creatures that were the result of nuclear testing. Star Wars intensified my love for the genre and after that, I had to see anything that was in space. Unfortunately, I was too young to see most of them and my mom thought they would scare me, so I didn’t see many more until I was a teen.

Today, I’ll still watch a science fiction movie over any other kind, but my taste is more discriminating. I won’t watch a poorly written movie no matter who’s in it, or how much it cost. There are a few modern ones that grabbed my attention, but science fiction isn’t as popular as it once was. Our need to explore space was fuelled by these movies. Maybe in our need know what’s out there, we’ve taken the mystery and the fun out of the genre.

How ironic.

P.S. I happened to come across the original Godzilla movie some weeks back. No dubbed dialogue, no Raymond Burr scenes. I had to read the movie, but it was worth it.

PUBLISHED!

My short scifi story FRIES WITH THAT? is now online at Aphelion magazine!

The diner served traditional greasy-spoon fare to local clientele, and to anyone else who passed through the little outpost on the interstellar trade routes. The war with the Gleeb was already affecting business (what with the threat of expropriation by the government), and it was about to get a lot worse.

 http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/shorts/2011/05/FriesWithThat.html

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