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.
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