Saturday, January 28, 2012

Finished With Anthem Now

Earlier this week, I finished reading Anthem by Ayn Rand. It isn't quite as exciting as Ender's Game. However, I have been reading a lot of exciting, fast-paced books lately, so it was kind of nice to pick up Anthem and slow the pace down a little bit.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Schrödinger's Parting Weapon? No. Just Three Short Stories

Hello dear readers! It's Friday again, so you know what that means: another bunch of stories. All of these stories you can find online, so just click on the titles if you're interested in reading them and you'll be redirected to that story.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ender's Game: The Last Quarter

Wow, I sort of got distracted to day and nearly forgot all about this. And I promised to post this today, and here's to hoping that it gets up in time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Reading Ender's Game

Well, I said I wanted to post at least twice a week, and if you noticed, I nearly missed the second post this week. But I didn't miss it. Here it is. It's a little late because I was hoping to finish the book before writing about it. However, I don't think anyone would mind if I talked about it before I finished it, and then gave an update when finished.

Now, since you probably read this post's title, you will know already that I'm reading Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Actually, I only started reading it a couple of days ago, and already I'm three quarters of the way through the book, with less than fifty pages to go.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Toasters, Plugs, and Equations

It's Friday again, and you should know what that means. It's time to mull over a couple of short stories. Here are three that I have read in the last few weeks. Two of them have been published recently, and the the other one is a classic.

The Brave Little Toaster by Cory Doctorow -- Technology Review Science Fiction
(The written version of this story is only available in MIT's TRSF. If you would like to purchase it, click the link to Technology Review Science Fiction. However, an audio version read by Doctorow can be found on one of his podcasts, and can be listened to by clicking on the story title.)
In this story, Doctorow imagines how smart house technology could work in the future someday. All of the gadgets, and nearly everything else people will purchase anymore, will have chips in them and will be able to communicate with each other. The story begins with the main character buying a soda. However, it starts malfunctioning, so he tries to get rid of it. But none of the technology in his house can dispose it. So we are left with a question: what is he supposed to do with it? He puts it in the fridge, but the fridge refuses to hold it. He tries to put it in the oven, but the oven thinks it's dangerous. I forgot to mention this, but the story reads a lot like a Dr. Seuss tale, which also makes it all the more fun to read. Anyways, he tries everything, but nothing seems to work. Then he remembers his grandfather's old toaster. It's stupid, but perhaps it is the brightest piece of machinery in his whole house. It does what he tells it to do. He puts the soda can in there, and it ends up overheating. The main character gets arrested in the end, yet he still accomplished his goal.

Character Is What You Are by Michael R. Fletcher -- Daily Science Fiction
Fletcher set his story in the near future, and intellectual property is now one of the most protected things around. The main character and all of his fellow coworkers wear memory plugs at work so that they cannot take any of the company's secrets home with them. So, while wearing the plug, they can recall everything, however, when they take it out, everything associated with the plug goes as well. The strange thing that happens in this story is that while not plugged, the main character meets a woman and starts dating her. I guess that isn't so strange, so let me tell you the strange part: his best friend has been having an affair with that woman while they were plugged. But once they leave the office, they don't remember it. So the main character discusses everything with his friend, and once they put on the plugs, the friend becomes irate and starts to hate him. It's actually a very good story and it got me thinking about more stuff like that.

The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin -- Astounding Magazine
All of us face difficult decisions from time to time. And, put simply, that is exactly what Tom Godwin explored in this short story published nearly sixty years ago now. His main character, by duty of law, must kill a stowaway on his tiny ship, otherwise entry into the planet won't work. It is on his shoulders to do this. Kill the stowaway or kill everyone on the ship. The situation only gets muddier when he discovers who the illegal passenger is. It's a teenage girl on her way to see her brother, or so she thinks. I don't want to go further into detail on this story because it is well worth the read.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Doctors, Soldiers, and Cowboys. Oh My!

Like I promised not only yesterday, but also last week, here is the long awaited first post on a couple of short stories. Some you may have heard of already, while others may be new to you. I hope you can check out the ones you haven't heard of yet, and if you feel like being nostalgic, go ahead and drift back to the past with some of the older stories.

Today there will be three stories: Kurt Vonnegut's 2 B R 0 2 B, A Militant Peace by David Klecha and Tobias Buckell, and Cowboys of Carnostus by Timothy Miller. Vonnegut's story, of course, is the classic while the other two are more modern, being published in the last couple of months. If you click on the titles in the headings down below, you will be redirected to pages where you can find these stories to read for yourself.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Brave New... Frankenstein?

My New Year's Resolution was to publish two posts a week, and I plan on keeping that resolution. So here's this week's first. Not quite the short story post I promised last week. I should have that one up tomorrow, so be sure to come back and keep an eye out for it.

This week I am proud to say that I have finished reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, both of which I had been reading off and on over the last year. There's always something to distract you, and the stuff that you had in mind to do somehow gets stuck on the back-burner, sitting, forgotten for long periods of time.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "So what? You read Frankenstein and Brave New World. Who hasn't?" Well, I think the answer is a lot of people. Some might have to read it in high school, but I never had to. Unfortunately it was never on our curriculum. However, now that I have more time to myself, I have decided to jump into the classics and see what it is that I've been missing all that time. So let's stop yapping about it and jump in already

Friday, January 6, 2012

Spending a Year Delving into Short Stories

Back around Christmas, I stated that one of my New Year's resolutions was to leave at least two posts each week. I need one of them to be constant, something that is just normal and I can easily remember to post each week, and the other can be random and fun.

For the constant post, I have decided to leave some snippets and ideas roused up by some of the short stories I've been reading recently and will continue to read. There's a lot of them out there, which means there is a lot of catching up to do. I've been trying to read a good balance between newer stories (some of them the latest, most of them within the last year) and older works (from the old pulps). Some of them are really entertaining, others mess with your mind, and many are perfect petri dishes for sparks of inspiration. All we need to do is get out our microscopes and examine them a little bit.

And examine them is exactly what I have been trying to do lately, more or less, however, I am coming to believe that finding a public space to discuss some of these ideas may be more beneficial, not only for me but for you, the reader. Let's see if we can bounce some of the ideas back and forth amongst ourselves instead of in our own minds. It's good to reflect on your thoughts, but you don't want to dwell in your own head too long. That's when people start to go crazy. Well, sometimes anyways.

Just be sure to come back next week and check out what stories I've been reading. I'll try to have one recent story, one story from the past, and perhaps one wild card which can be either. Also, in case you may want to read the stories yourself, I'll leave links to wherever I found them.

Now, go and enjoy the beginning of the weekend.