We're happy to report that both the video and sound are stellar (apparently director Quentin Tarantino personally supervised the production of the Blu-ray). And while there isn't a whole lot in the way of new of extras that are different from what you'll find on the two-disc Collector's Edition DVD, you do get a set of new retrospective cast interviews … Read more
Want to boost NASA, inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers, and help humanity explore space? Write a science fiction novel.
That's the idea behind a collaboration between the U.S. space agency and publisher Tor-Forge Books: NASA scientists and engineers will work with Tor-Forge writers to produce NASA-inspired works of fiction that tap concepts from the space agency's missions and operations.
Giving science fiction writers access to NASA brainiacs seems good. But I'm a little queasy about a government agency influencing popular culture to promote itself. And exactly how science fiction-worthy are NASA operations? Still, it could be worthwhile. Many a scientist, engineer, and astronaut credits science fiction with sparking their career.
And it may go further than that. In my case, science fiction was inspiration for writing about science and technology. (Not all of us are called to do the heavy lifting.) I wonder whether science fiction has produced more hacker-coders, wannabe space travelers, or aeronautical engineers. … Read more
Let's just get this out of the way right up front. The best "Star Trek" series was the original. Second-best: "Star Trek: Voyager." Worst by far: "Enterprise."
I say that so you know who you're dealing with: a lifelong Trekkie who has strong feelings about the shows and movies. (I also thought J.J. Abrams' reboot was good, but not great.)
Assuming you're still reading (most people shun me after hearing of my love for "Voyager"), you'll be glad to know there's finally an official Star Trek PADD app for the iPad. And by official, I mean produced by CBS Interactive (which owns both Paramount Pictures and, it should be noted, CNET).
The highly prescient Personal Access Display Device featured prominently in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and later series. It employed the still-sexy Library Computer Access/Retrieval System, or LCARS, interface, which the app reproduces like never before.… Read more
I am not sure what sorts of people go to libraries these days.
I had always assumed that Google and Amazon had corralled the library system between them, leaving few with the need to go and sit next to the coughing, the chatting, and the lonely.
But it seems that people do still go to libraries and still object to some of the books they see there. It so happens that the American Libraries Association, conscious of its continuing role in monitoring the national mood and culture, issues a list of those books that have been challenged by individuals or … Read more
An ongoing exhibition running through the end of May imagines the world of "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" with steampunk tech.
Nemo's Steampunk Art & Invention Gallery, named after the novel's Captain Nemo, brings together some 40 works and 29 artists from North America, Australia, and Croatia at Patriot Place's North Lifestyle Center in Foxboro, Mass.
Organizers including Bruce Rosenbaum, whose steampunk computer desk blew our minds last year, have imagined an "alternate reality where the Victorian period happened at the same time as the computer or information age."
The show is part of the Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Interactive Entertainment Experience, which brings to life Nemo's famous Nautilus submarine.
The steampunk exhibition runs through the end of May and includes punked-out bicycles, guitars, and cell phones. Check out the photos in our gallery. … Read more
For a long-lost android, Philip K. Dick looks pretty good--like he's been living it up in Margaritaville.
The acclaimed author of science fiction classics "The Man in the High Castle" and "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" died in 1982, but this is his second resurrection in robot form.
Hardware for the android was completed last year, and software is still being developed. It's the handiwork of Hanson Robotics, led by Texas-based roboticist David Hanson. He and collaborators first showed off the talking robot head at NextFest back in 2005. It later vanished.
"It was tragic when the first robot was lost--it broke my heart," Hanson said in an interview with Crave. "It was a tool for realizing sentient, compassionate machines."
He's embarrassed to admit that he forgot the head on a San Francisco-bound plane. Before it disappeared for good, it was on a flight bound for Orange County, Calif.--Dick's home.
Maybe that wasn't a mere coincidence. After all, the head had some artificial intelligence.
Built at a cost of some $50,000, the new replicant is even smarter. It can carry on conversations with users in a more convincing, complex fashion. Judging by the video below, though, it doesn't look like it could pass a Voight-Kampff test.
Still, it can remember what has been said instead of just responding to words with a quote from Dick's works.
"It has better awareness and it's able to make logical deductions about itself and its internal state," Hanson said. "There are more AI features now." … Read more
If you need proof of the iPad's unmatched acumen as an e-book reader, look no further than Smashing Ideas' smashing version of the H.G. Wells classic, "The War of the Worlds."
The landscape-oriented app presents the full text of Wells' chilling novel, with side-by-side pages that, to me, seem more book-like than if the words stretched from one side of the screen to the other.
Of course, the highlight here is not the presentation of the text, but rather the 27 illustrated, animated, interactive pages interspersed throughout the book. The artwork is dazzling--and occasionally a bit … Read more
Long before the Downfall meme there was the periodic table, a format infinitely adaptable to cultural reference and parody. And yes, like Downfall, it's become a bit played out. Nevertheless, every now and then another spark of brilliance appears, or at least enough cleverness to make you LOL.
From the Roddenlucathine group, which includes the Star Trek and Star Wars oeuvres, to examples of how nonincluded works are molecules--2Ol (Outer Limits) + Dr (Dr. Who) -> Torchwood--there's boatloads here to laugh at and argue about with your fellow geeks.
If you like science fiction at all, check it … Read more
Industry trade group Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is none too pleased with Amazon's dispute with publisher Macmillan over e-book pricing, and says that it is encouraging readers "to seek out new places to find their books."
In an announcement Wednesday, the group--which was founded in 1965 and hosts the annual Nebula Awards--explained that it's removing all links to Amazon from its Web site unless the mega-retailer is the only place where a certain author's work can be found.
"Our authors depend on people buying their books and since a significant percentage … Read more
Science-fiction movies show us many futuristic cars we wish we could drive. People still demand flying cars, promised to us decades ago by the Jetsons cartoon series. Science-fiction fan site IO9.com posted an article comparing driving as depicted in various movies and television series with today's reality.
The article covers all of our favorites: Batman, James Bond, Knight Rider, Doctor Who, and finds real-life equivalents. It even takes on the flying car and includes clips from Top Gear.
Check out Your Future Automotive Awesomeness: Fiction vs. Reality for a fun Friday read.