Month: February 2017

[First Contact: Alien Encounters] Columbus Day by Craig Alanson

I have been obsessed with First Contact stories lately.  I just purchased the Alien quadrilogy (yes, there were apparently 4) on Blu-Ray** just so I could watch it over ski week.   Sadly, it’s now also a fitting way to remember Bill Paxton from Aliens (and more recently from his work on Season 1 of Agents of Shield.) So when reading, watching or listening to First Contact stories, I am looking for two things: 1) what do the aliens look like and sound like; 2) how do humans respond to the aliens? So most are humanoid, but not always. Some...

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When Real Life and Star Trek Intersect – Enhanced Vision Tech

Remember Geordi La Forge in Star Trek The Next Generation? Of course you do. Now his VISOR headset is real and it is helping the blind see.  Say What? Yes.  Read this. This is one of the more magical impacts of science fiction, when creators have the foresight to create something that improves lives.  In this case, the moving story of a young woman being able to see her husband and her infant son was enough to bring me to happy tears. While spaceships, plasma blasters, aliens invasions, and space colonies are all very well and good, something so...

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RENEGADE PROFILES: Author Carol J. Marshall

Author Carol James Marshall JV: Who would play you in a movie? Is Predator a real answer, because that’s who I’d want to play me. It’s probably reverse as in I want to be Predator, but meh. JV: Day jobs before you starting writing fulltime? I worked for my local school district as an assistant to one of the speech therapist. I loved that job, speech therapy is fascinating. In another life I would have been a speech therapist. JV: Do you have a muse? Music, almost every character I have in my books or the whole book in...

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Writing is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

When I was getting in my daily wordcount for NaNoWriMo, I was often struck by how much writing felt like running.  At the early stage in both activities, MORE is just MORE.  So more words tended to just be good to get down, regardless of the quality.  Similarly, my running mileage.  More per week, other than on a taper week, was just a good overall approach to getting me ready for Ragnar Napa or the first marathon I had run back in 2013. At a certain point though, quantity gives way to quality.  Certainly in the case of running,...

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So You Want A Plasma Rail Gun Of Your Very Own?

One of the very fun aspects of writing near future science fiction is researching the weaponry of the future.  It all started with my husband laughing at me because I used the term “raygun”. He was like, “Nobody says raygun, anymore.”  Ok.  So what do they say?  Apparently they say “Plasma” weapon.  So I look up “plasma weapon” on Wikipedia and it straight up says, “a plasma weapon is a type of raygun…”  Ha!  Here’s my cheesy sketch of a raygun. But I could see his point, rayguns make me think of Mork and Mindy.  Not that there’s anything...

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Julia Vee, Writes At Night