Saturday, December 25, 2010

Reid Review: 'Tron: Legacy' Movie

Merry Christmas! This week, Santa came early to give me tickets to watch Disney's "Tron: Legacy" in theaters. I went to see it without reading any movie reviews beforehand so I wouldn't have any preconceived ideas about it.

If you haven't watched it, the Internet Movie Database describes the storyline as follows: "Sam Flynn, the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn, looks into his father's disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 20 years. Along with Kevin's loyal confidant, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous."

This movie is a sequel to the 1982 movie "Tron," and it's good to see that Jeff Bridges returned as Kevin Flynn. I broke the review down into five aspects:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Long List of Science Fiction Magazines

There are plenty of science fiction magazines (online and/or print) that you have yet to discover. I wanted to list all of the magazines I'm familiar with, but I found a list online that was much greater than mine. So I'll link to the website, instead.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

WikiLeaks vs. Pirated Books

Whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, which has been disclosing classified U.S. information, has been in the news lately, and a comment from Navanethem "Navi" Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, caught my attention.

According to The Associated Press article written by Raphael G. Satter and Jill Lawless and published on on Thursday, Dec. 9, under the headline "WikiLeaks Supporters Wage Cyber Wars", "The U.N.'s top human rights official raised the alarm Thursday over officials' and corporations' moves to cut off WikiLeaks' funding and starve it of server space — something she described as 'potentially violating WikiLeaks' right to freedom of expression.'"

By this logic, if companies are not allowed to sever ties with individuals and companies that are using their service for illegal activity, than that causes quite a few problems.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Doctor Who: 'A Christmas Carol' Preview

In full disclosure, I'm not a huge fan of Doctor Who, possibly because I haven't watched enough episodes, but the show deserves praise, nonetheless, for being the longest running science fiction TV show in the world. Its 47th anniversary passed Nov. 23.

Since Christmas is near, I thought it would be fitting to show a trailer for the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas special, "A Christmas Carol," which can be seen below. Perhaps I should watch the episode when it comes out since I've been out of the Doctor Who loop for quite some time.

What are your opinions of the show?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 'Space Mutiny'

If you're looking for some science fiction humor, I'd suggest watching episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show that ran from 1988 to 1999.

One of my favorite episodes is "Space Mutiny" (No. 820), which made fun of a movie by the same name that came out in 1988. If you haven't seen it, you can watch the episode below. It was shown on the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) and contains language, sexuality and crude humor.

Sit back and don't laugh too hard.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Reid Picks: 5 Things Grateful for About Science Fiction

I'm participating in Jeffrey Beesler's World of the Scribe's "Early Bird Thanksgiving Blogfest" and am asked to blog about what I am most grateful for.

If you ask people what they appreciate the most, I assume you'll get a lot of answers such as God (if they're religious), family and friends. For me, that also is true, but in this case, I decided to make a list of five things related to science fiction that I'm grateful for, and at the same time, honor Thanksgiving, which seems to have been overshadowed by Christmas more than ever this year.

Here is what I'm grateful for about science fiction (in no particular order):

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Antimatter and Science Fiction

Antimatter has been in the news lately since the ALPHA team at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced 38 antihydrogen atoms were trapped for about a sixth of a second, long enough to be studied.

It's a small step to reaching the levels of antimatter use in science fiction, but the world has a very long way to go. The amount of antimatter created is nowhere near the level needed to power space ships like those of science fiction. There's a good article by Mark Whittington on Yahoo! News called "Antimatter Rockets in Science Fiction" that discusses this. Click here for the article.

I also came across this video of Jeffrey Hangst, spokesperson of the ALPHA experiments and a physicist at the University of Aarhus. He talks about how the antimatter-creation process works. He's fairly technical but gives a lot of information. Below is the video.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

'Whose Line Is It Anyway?' Science Fiction Songs

Remember the Whose Line Is It Anyway? comedy show hosted by Drew Carey? Well, actors Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady do an improvised song and dance about science fiction in an episode as Ryan Stiles watches on.

If you haven't seen the skit, here's a clip:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Column "Science fiction futures unseen"

I came across a column about science fiction that I'd like to share. It's called "Science fiction futures unseen," published Friday (Nov. 5) by Alan Cherry on The Optimist website,

The column is a humorous take on how there hasn't been any significant technological breakthroughs as foreseen by science fiction authors. It plugs in lots of references to these author's works and even mentions Gilese 581 g (the planet nicknamed Zarmina that's been in the news since September for being the first planet known to be in the so-called "Goldilocks" zone).

You can read the column by Cherry here.

Apparently, in addition to being a good writer, Cherry is a college student. According to the website, "The Optimist is a publication of the JMC Network, the student news operation of Abilene Christian University."

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reid Picks: Best Science Fiction Music Videos - Daft Punk

Hands down, I think the best science fiction music videos I've seen are those of Daft Punk's Discovery album (released March 13, 2001). They presented their album to anime creater Leiji Matsumoto, and each track was made into an episode for the movie Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (released Dec. 1, 2003).

The film doesn't have any dialogue but rather tells a story of blue humanoid alien musicians who are kidnapped, taken to Earth and made to look like humans. Their memories are rewritten, and they are made into a hit band on Earth called The Crescendolls. One of their kind later saves them from the human captors but dies in the process. Eventually, the world finds out that the band members are aliens and help them to return to their homeworld.

Below are the videos for the song "Aerodynamic" (it's the second episode) and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" (the fourth episode). I also added a remix of "Aerodynamic" by Portis Hershey, which contains video footage from the rescue scene of the movie (which originally has the song "Superheroes," the seventh episode).

Daft Punk sampled several older songs by other artists to make tracks on the album. For instance, Edwin Birdsong's "Cola Bottle Baby" was sampled for "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," and, likewise, Daft Punk's version was sampled for Kanye West's song "Stronger" from the album Graduation. More recently, Daft Punk created the soundtrack to the movie Tron: Legacy.

Here is "Aerodynamic":

Here is "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger":

Here is a remix of "Aerodynamic" by Portis Hershey:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Reid Review: "Charles Yu's top 10 time travel books"

A friend, Dr. John Guzlowski, sent me an article from titled "Charles Yu's top 10 time travel books." According to the article, Yu is the author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

The following are Yu's favorite "reading about 'the fundamental weirdness of moving around in time'":

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Word of the Day 'Zeroth' Example Includes Isaac Asimov

Zeroth (ZEE-rohth).

Can you think of a sentence that uses this word? The employees of Merriam-Webster apparently had science fiction on their mind because they had Isaac Asimov's name in an example using "zeroth" in a sentence for the website's Word of the Day entry on Friday (Oct. 15). The sentence reads:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Make Use of Your Time: Listen to Audio Books on the Road

If you drive a lot alone (e.g., more than ten minutes to work), what do you do in that time span? I'm guessing you either (1) listen to music (2) stare at the road in silence (3) talk on a cell phone or (4) text while driving (let's hope not).

Have you tried listening to an audio book while driving a boring route? You can probably find a science fiction audio book at your local library to check out. If you're like me, your time is limited for reading books, so the next best thing is listening to them.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"TRON: Legacy" Movie Trailers

I'm looking forward to Disney's new TRON movie, "TRON: Legacy," coming to theaters in 3D on Dec. 17. The fact that Daft Punk is doing the soundtrack makes it even cooler. Here are some movie trailers:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eight Social Networking Websites for Book Lovers

If you enjoy social networking, you likely have heard of popular social networking websites such as (the network king), (the dethroned king), (micro-blogging), (for professionals), and (create your own social network), but what about sites specifically made for book lovers?

Below is a list of eight social networking websites I am aware of that involve books. They're alphabetized rather than ranked (since I couldn't make up my mind on how they would be ranked).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Funny Animation: "How The Empire Strikes Back Should Have Ended"

Below is a funny animation by called "How The Empire Strikes Back Should Have Ended."

There's more to it after "The End." I like Darth Vader's quote to Han Solo at the end. Check it out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Science fiction agent Ralph Vicinanza dies

On Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, Ralph Vicinanza, 60, known or being Stephen King's literary agent, died.

According to an article by The Associated Press, he "founded his own agency in 1978 and signed up some of the world's top science fiction and fantasy writers, including Terry Pratchett, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert and George R.R. Martin." I understand he also had represented Isaac Asimov.

Apparently, he died of a brain aneurysm. He worked in the publishing industry for nearly 40 years, according to the AP. Click here to read the article.

I brought this up because although literary agents are prevalent in the book industry, they don't get much recognition. Of course, authors are more important because they actually write the stories, and the editors are important because they help refine the work, but agents can help authors get their manuscripts published in the first place. It seems Vicinanza had a good eye for talent and should be remembered.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Iron Man Trivia

It's interesting how Marvel and DC comic book gurus developed into multi-million dollar powerhouses over the years, spawning comic book stories into TV shows, movies, action figures, etc. (so much so that Disney bought out Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion). But how much do you know about the characters' history--when they were first introduced in comic books?

Let's take Iron Man for example, one of the most famous science fiction-leaning characters. Below is a quick trivia to test your knowledge about Iron Man.

1. Iron Man comics have long been published by what company?
2. What year did Iron Man first appear in a comic?
3. Who created the Iron Man character?
4. During what war was Tony Stark (Iron Man) injured in the orginial comics?
5. What is the name of the scientist who helps build Iron Man's original armor?

Answers: 1. Marvel Comics 2. 1963 3. Stan Lee 4. Vietnam War 5. Ho Yinsen

If you didn't notice, some answers were in the comic book picture.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

1999 Apple Commercial Staring HAL

I've been listening to an audio book of 2001: A Space Odyssey written by Arthur C. Clarke and thought of a 1999 Superbowl commercial by Apple. It was about how the Mac computers were immune to the Y2K bug (which ended up not causing any significant problems).

If you haven't read the book series or seen the movie, HAL 2000 in the commercial is based on HAL 9000, the AI computer system on the Discovery One spacecraft from the book and movie. The ad proves that science fiction is more mainstream than people may think.

Here's the commercial:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

List of Science Fiction Conventions in North Carolina

In my last blog post, I listed some science fiction conventions in Virginia. This blog will cover conventions I know about in North Carolina. I don't plan on listing conventions in other states because I'm not as familiar with them, so feel free to comment and share some that you know.

Some science fiction conventions in North Carolina are:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

List of Science Fiction Conventions in Virginia

If you are a science fiction writer, conventions are a great way to receive writing tips and to meet authors and publishers. Or, if you don't write but love science fiction, you may like to go to a convention for the costume contests, authors, artists, actors and/or actresses, video games, anime, etc.

To help you find the right convention in Virginia, below are some science fiction conventions I know about. They are listed in order of date. I'll list conventions in North Carolina for my next blog. Feel free to post any conventions you know about in other states.

Some science fiction conventions in Virginia are:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Science Fiction Short Film on 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

First, I'd like to take a moment to honor those who died Sept. 11, 2001, at Ground Zero.

I came across this independent science fiction short film about the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It's part of the Damon Dark series written and directed by Adrian Sherlock.

In the short film, time travelers Damon and Gary arrive in the north tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of the attacks. They can save those in the tower, but they would change history by doing so. It posses the question of what will happen to history if nobody died in the attacks? What choice would you make if you were in this situation?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reid Picks: 5 writing tips you should know

Many authors give great writing tips, but oftentimes, they may give so much good advice at once that you don't remember them all. So, below I've highlighted five writing tips that I personally find most useful. I have heard these tips multiple times--and for good reason. You should know them, too.

Here they are in no particular order:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

ESA's 'Science fiction - science fact' video

I came across the below video titled "Science fiction - science fact" and wanted to share it. It talks about the impact that science fiction has on real life science. Among the authors it talks about are Arthur C. Clarke and Jules Verne.

The video is by the European Space Agency, which says that "Whether it's Star Trek's USS Enterprise, or the iconic space station from 2001: A Space Odyssey, science fiction has always provided inspiration and ideas for the scientists and engineers that design and build real spacecraft."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reid Project: Join in; write continuation of story

If you're a writer and want to keep the creativity flowing, comment below. For a writing exercise, I wrote a few sentences of a story and am asking you to add a few more lines to it.

You can post your continuation of the story in a comment box, and you can comment (add more to the story) as much as you like. You retain all of your ideas, original names and so forth you may contribute to this collaborative story but allow others to use them for this project. Keep the posts clean and appropriate.

The story:

Aidan Rockwell wrestled with a Echlod on planet Kapetch.

The creature was gray with splotches of brown callouses--and its skin felt like the insides of a freshly cut stone from the Cromaja mine. With a push of its horns, it rammed Aidan in a stumplike plant and snatched the last of his food rations that dangled from his neck.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reid Picks: Top 10 science fiction movies

It's time for a top 10 list. But on what? Science fiction movies, of course!

If you poll random people and ask them what they think of when they hear the words "science fiction," what would they say? I speculate they'll likely name a science fiction movie, such as those in the Star Wars or Star Trek universe.

Science fiction movies are so ingrained in society that it's only natural to talk about them. So here is a list of my favorite science fiction movies (remember, they are my personal favorites and are ranked solely by my interest in them):

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Religion in science fiction

I believe religion will always be discussed in science fiction. There's just something about it that will always be of interest, whether you're religious or not.

The "big three" of science fiction, Arthur C. Clarke, Asaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein, all nonreligious, wrote great stories that involved religious themes (most notably "The Star," "The Last Question," and Stranger in a Strange Land, respectively).

There also are many authors who have written great stories with religious symbolism. I personally like the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis (although he's known more for his fantasy) and the Firebird Trilogy by Kathy Tyers. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe is another story known for its religious symbolism.

If you want to read the short stories "The Star" by Clarke and "The Last Question" by Asimov, the following websites have the full text of the stories:

Let me know if there are any other good religious-themed stories you'd like to point out.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Science fiction game "Metroid: Other M" videos

Of course, science fiction is not just for books and movies--it also plays an important role in video games. In particular, I'd like to point out the Metroid franchise as a longstanding science fiction game series.

Metroid first came out in America on Aug. 15, 1987, for the Nintendo Entertainment System and hit huge success with Super Metroid for the Super NES (which came out in the U.S. on April 18, 1984). Twenty-three years later since the first game, the newest game in the series, Metroid: Other M, will be coming out for the Nintendo Wii this Aug. 31. It looks great and is expected to go deeper into the storyline. For more information about the games, visit (the website has about everything you want to know about Metroid).

Check out the two videos for the game. The first one was a trailer revealed at the 2010 E3 event (focusing on the game play) while the second one is from the 2009 E3 event (with both story and game-play elements). And just just because I love the video, I threw in a trailer for the Metroid Prime game that came out Nov. 8, 2002 (although the CG is not in the game, unfortunately). Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Great science fiction song: 'We Don't Need Another Trilogy'

Below is a link to a science fiction song called "We Don't Need Another Trilogy" by John Anealio and "nerdcore superstar" Dale Chase. It's a "folk/rock/hip-hop collaboration" song I found at (May 12 post). I thought it was great, so check it out:

Sci Fi Songs: Free MP3: We Don't Need Another Trilogy

Sci-Fi Songs (John Anealio) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Reid Picks: 5 Best Places to Submit a Science Fiction Short Story

Here is a list of--in my opinion--the five best places to submit a science fiction short story. The picks are not ranked in any particular order. If you'd like to point out a magazine not mentioned, that's great--leave it as a comment.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A favorite quote from author Kevin J. Anderson

I was checking out the forum on L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future website ( and found an excellent quote from author Kevin J. Anderson (one of my favorite writers who I got to meet at Shevacon in Roanoke, Va., this year).

He was on the forum June 24, 2008, to answer questions (since he is a contest judge), and answered this query: "What inspires you to write?"

His response was: "I write because if I didn't write, then my head would explode from all the ideas that keep coming."

OK, it's not a blow-your-mind kind of quote, but what I like so much about it is that it rings true with me and likely many other writers. Ideas and/or scenes pop into my head often, and I have to jot them down or I'll forget them. If they're for a chapter of a book, the ideas will keep pouring in until I complete the chapter.

And then ... the relief sets in ... too bad it doesn't last long. Almost immediately, I get more ideas for the next chapter. Save it for another day, I tell myself. Even writers need some sleep.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Reid Q&A: About me and this blog

Thanks for checking out!

Who am I? Ahem! I'm a author who, after publishing nonfiction articles in a variety of magazines and newspapers, decided to launch my career in science fiction writing.

What do I do? I write science fiction stories, whether they are books or short stories.

What sparked my interest in writing? It started when a genius classmate and friend of mine wrote an astounding science fiction story for a class project in middle school. He spearheaded a science fiction group, and I became a part of it. As the collaborative universe we created grew, I befriended other great budding authors who became a part of it. They helped me in so many ways throughout the years become a better writer. And I am eternally grateful for their friendship.

What have I written? I finished my first novel while in college and am halfway through my second one. (Professional authors say that the experience you gain from the first book you write is like riding a bicycle with training wheels. I totally agree. Utilize what you've learned from writing your first novel and continue on to the second one. Odds are that the second book will be a far greater piece of work.) I've also written multiple short stories and have just recently begun submitting them to publishers.

Why did I create this website? I wanted to provide you, the science fiction fans, with what you love--stories, tips, resources, and whatever else science-fiction related information I can muster. Check in later for more posts. And feel free to comment on what topics you'd like to read.
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