Monday, April 25, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Ultroz, Vibra-Transmitter, Weightlessness, X Gun, Yeast Steak, and Zero-Ray! Plus Challenge Survivor Gear


My theme - Origins of Science Fiction Terms and More!
The term, its meaning (definitions from Technovelgy), and first book appearance / a movie that features this term / a blogger buddy who reminds me of that term.

I’m also the guinea pig for an experiment – A to Z Lite. I get between 100-170 comments per post in April during the Challenge. And it has just become too much to return that many every day, six days a week. The other A to Z Admins agreed to an A to Z Lite trial run. A to Z Lite means I will just be posting a handful of times this month and multiple letters at a time. I also won’t be visiting every single person every single day, although I will return all comments. Hope everyone understands.

Ultroz 
Very handy material is invisible and non-reflective.

This amazing substance appeared in Philip Frances Nowlan’s short story, Armageddon: 2419 AD in 1928.

The closest film I could think of to use this substance is 1979’s Buck Rogers. So many unexplained power sources from the Draconian Empire, not to mention on Earth. The movie was the prelude to the series and starred Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Felix Silla, Mel Blanc, and Pamela Hensley.

Rachna Chhabria at Rachna's Scriptorium must have access to this material. She’s come in under the radar and accomplished so much with her writing and her knowledge. It will amaze you!


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Vibra-Transmitter (Teleportation)
An early use of the notion of matter transmission.

(Teleportation is a favorite of mine and a key feature in my Cassa series!)

Telepathy and telekinesis appeared long before teleportation. Vibra-transmitter/teleportation was featured in Frank K. Kelly’s short story, Into the Meteorite Orbit in 1933.

A movie that featured all of that is X-Men: Days of Future Past. Wolverine is teleported into the past to save the future. Starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, and Peter Dinklage.

J E Oneil at Still Writing will teleport you back to a time when language was simpler – or not! Either way, you will learn a thing or two, and be amused in the process.



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Weightlessness (Kepler)
The notion that there could be a location with zero effective gravity

This appears in what it considered the first science fiction book, Somnium (The Dream) by Johannes Keplar in 1634. Written in 1608 in Latin.

A prime example of this is 2013’s Gravity. The characters spent the entire film in zero gravity and weightlessness. It starred Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and Ed Harris.

Beverly Stowe McClure at The Story of a Writer makes this author thing look easy. She floats through it all with ease with numerous books and awards. But it’s her grace and attitude that makes it all possible.


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X Gun (X-Beam Projector)
A device that projected soft x-rays into small planetoids to determine their composition.

First appearing in Diamond Planetoid by Gordon A. Giles in 1937.

There are probably others, but the first movie that came to mind was 1983’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. This is something that was probably employed on the planet where Spock’s body was laid to rest in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, as the planet was basically created by the Genesis Project. Starring the usual suspects – William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols.

Liz A. at Laws of Gravity probably wishes she had an X-Bean Projector. Then maybe she could figure out some of her crazy students. For an adventure in puberty and more, jump on for the ride.


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Yeast Steak 
Growing custom strains of yeast as food.

Yeast steak was first mentioned in a short story by Isaac Asimov in 1950, The Evitable Conflict. It also appeared in several collections, including I, Robot, The Complete Robot, and Robot Visions.

The movie that fits the bill – 2013’s Snowpiercer. Those in the lower class system aboard the Snowpiercer are fed a synthetic, Jell-O like substance grown on the train. This low-budget film was surprisingly original and starred Chris Evans, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, and Kang-ho Song.

Robyn Alana Engel at Life by Chocolate isn’t about to grow her own yeast steak. Unless it’s made of chocolate. Or men. Or maybe chocolate men? Either way, she’ll satisfy you!




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Zero-Ray
Inflicts a fatal frostbite on living tissue.

We see the Zero-ray first in a short story by Clark Ashton Smith in 1931 – An Adventure in Futurity.

One movie fits the description perfectly - Despicable Me. Gru used his Freeze-ray gun to get ahead of the line at the coffee shop and to silence the Evil Vector. Released in 2010, it starred the voice talents of Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, and Julie Andrews.

Deb at Just Keepin' It Real, Folks! will zap you every time! No topic is sacred. No subject too weird to tackle. She’ll freeze you every time, right down to your funny bone.




Ninja News

We’re almost at the end! Are you a Challenge survivor? Then tell the world.
Co-host Jeremy Hawkins has created a t-shirt and a mug so you can proudly tell everyone that you survived the 2016 A to Z Challenge!

Just released!
Seismic Crimes by Chrys Fey
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Wild Rose Press





Think it’s about time someone invented teleportation? Want to ride on the Vomit Comet so you can experience weightlessness? Want to snack on some yeast steak? Fan of the movies featured? Following those awesome bloggers? And did you survive the 2016 A to Z Challenge?

After a busy month and with the IWSG post day next Wednesday, I will be taking next Monday off! Don’t forget the IWSG’s anthology, Parallels: Felix Was Here, comes out next Tuesday, May 3.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A to Z Challenge - Optic Prosthesis, Parallel Universe, Quantum Power, Ray Gun, Shuttle, and Time Machine! Plus New Releases


My theme - Origins of Science Fiction Terms and More!
The term, its meaning (definitions from Technovelgy), and first book appearance / a movie that features this term / a blogger buddy who reminds me of that term.

I’m also the guinea pig for an experiment – A to Z Lite. I get between 100-170 comments per post in April during the Challenge. And it has just become too much to return that many every day, six days a week. The other A to Z Admins agreed to an A to Z Lite trial run. A to Z Lite means I will just be posting a handful of times this month and multiple letters at a time. I also won’t be visiting every single person every single day, although I will return all comments. Hope everyone understands.


Optic Prosthesis
A replacement for a damaged eye.

This first appeared in Roger Zelazy’s Changeling, published in 1980.

And the perfect example of that is found in Star Trek Generations. (Or any Next Gen Star Trek movie or show.) Released in 1994, this was the film that merged the original series with Next Generation, thus passing the baton to a new crew. It featured LeVar Burton as Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge, a man without sight but able to see with the use of a VISOR that connects directly to his brain. Generations starred Patrick Stewart, William Shatner, Johnathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Malcolm McDowell, and the rest of the Next Gen crew.

You want to meet someone who views the world a little differently? Gail from At The Farm is a creative, no-nonsense, animal-loving, and faithful individual. If you have a damaged view on the world, she will set you straight.

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Parallel Universe
An entirely separate realm or universe that exists along with our own; it may be wildly different or vary from ours by only a tiny degree.

No surprise – this first appeared in H.G. Well’s novel, Men Like Gods, in 1923.

There are many movies about parallel universes. (And the IWSG anthology, Parallels: Felix Was Here, is all about them!) One that weaves the worlds tight is Looper, a science fiction thriller about a man who kills those the mob sends back in time – until they send an older version of himself. That’s when the parallel worlds come into play – can you change the future or the past? And if you can, is it really a parallel world? Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt, Looper came out in 2012.

Author J.H. Moncrieff just might give you that parallel universe. Want to see beyond the ordinary? Want to know the weird and strange that is in the world? Then JH is your gal.




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Quantum Power
Power generation through photon fission.

This didn’t originate with a book story, but from the video game Alpha Centauri by Sid Meier. Published by Fraxis Games in 1999, this game was a ‘sequel’ to Meier’s Civilization.

The best example of quantum power is found in 2015’s Ant-Man. Marvel’s smallest superhero battled a man bent on selling technology to the highest bidder in this hilarious and excellent film. Starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, and Michael Peña, Ant-Man not only has a sequel in the works, but he appears in Captain America: Civil War.

Quantum power is what fuels Ann at so much to choose from. She tackles so many topics, only that could explain her energy source!



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Ray Gun
A weapon shaped like a handgun that shoots rays of energy

The first instance of this was in the 1916 movie, The Intrigue, and it was actually called an X-ray gun. The first ray gun appeared John W. Campbell’s story, The Black Star Passes in 1930. (Republished in 1953 as a collection of short stories.)

The ray gun has been used in hundreds of movies, so I decided to pick a unique one – Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars. Technically a two-part miniseries, this film came out over a year after the series ended and was intended to wrap up the cliffhanger and tie up loose ends. The key regular characters returned, played by Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Gigi Edgley, and Wayne Pygram.

Heather R. Holden from Welcome to the Edge owns a ray gun and more! This uber-talented artist shoots from the hip and she will zap you with her amazing web comics.



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Shuttle
A space craft that travels point to point in space.

Shuttles as we know them appeared in 1950 in Theodore Sturgeon’s short story, Stars are Styx, later released as a novel, The Stars are the Styx.

Like ray guns, shuttles have appeared in many films. One was used in the 2000 film Space Cowboys to get the men up to a Russian satellite to fix it. The movie itself is cheesy fun and features the talents of Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Southerland, James Garner, and James Cromwell.

Birgit at BB Creations is that shuttle. She will transport you to a time of simpler movies and dazzle you with her incredible homemade cards.



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Time Machine
A device allowing the rider to move freely in the temporal dimension, just as we ordinarily do in the two physical dimensions normal to gravity.

No surprises here! It appeared first in The Time Machine by H.G. Wells in 1895.

Time machines come in all forms. A very interesting one appears in the 1981 movie Time Bandits. A group of dwarves use a special map to locate time holes and travel in search of treasure they can steal. From director Terry Gilliam, it’s a quirky and fun film starring John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker, and David Warner.

Fundy Blue at Standing Into Danger is the ultimate time machine. She will take you back many years to a time and place of harsh living and survival. The journey down this time trek will enthrall you.






New Releases!

Broken Angel by Sylvia Ney
Find it at Amazon

Love, Lattes, and Angel by Sandra Cox
Find it at Kensington Books

A Worange for Orange by Pat Hatt
Find it at Amazon

Through the Garden Gate by Patsy Collins
Find it at Amazon





Can you think of any other instances of optic prosthesis? Excited about the upcoming IWSG anthology? Fan of Ant-Man? Did you watch Farscape back in the day? Fan of Terry Gilliam movies? Following those awesome bloggers or picking up some new books? And have you learned anything on this science fiction journey…?

Unfortunately, I will be gone Wednesday through Friday for training. (Really glad I’m doing A to Z Lite.) Since I will only have a couple hours each night, I’ve decided it would be easier to just respond to comments, check emails, and continue to maintain the A to Z Challenge list. Hope everyone understands. Will miss you guys! Catch you Saturday.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A to Z Challenge – Interactive Map, Jump Drive, Knowledge Engine, Light Sail, Moon Walk, and Neutron Disruption Blaster! Plus New Releases


My theme - Origins of Science Fiction Terms and More!
The term, its meaning (definitions from Technovelgy), and first book appearance / a movie that features this term / a blogger buddy who reminds me of that term.

I’m also the guinea pig for an experiment – A to Z Lite. I get between 100-170 comments per post in April during the Challenge. And it has just become too much to return that many every day, six days a week. The other A to Z Admins agreed to an A to Z Lite trial run. A to Z Lite means I will just be posting a handful of times this month and multiple letters at a time. I also won’t be visiting every single person every single day, although I will return all comments. Hope everyone understands.

Interactive Map
A small book with a 'touch-screen' paper interactive map.

First appeared in Return from the Stars by Stanislaw Lem in 1961.

When it comes to an interactive map, I think 3D. A recent example would be 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and the battle scene where the Nova Prime is watching the attack on Xandar via a 3D map of the city. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper, the sequel to this incredibly fun movie is due out in 2017.

Lexa Cain is just as interactive! This author maps out the book world and brings us the details, and freebies, every week.

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Jump Drive
A means of propulsion used on spacecraft that allows a ship to travel from point to distant point without actually needing to traverse the space in between.

A jump drive first appeared in 1963 in Harry Harrison’s story, Ethical Engineer.

A great example of a jump drive is 1997’s Event Horizon. In the movie, the ship has folded space, jumped to a new location, and returned. (With dire consequences.) A creepy and disturbing science fiction film, it starred Sam Neill, Laurence Fishburne, Kathleen Quinlan, and Joely Richardson.

Susan Gourley is no stranger to jump drives. This science fiction author explores many worlds beyond our own. And it’s always a fun ride!

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Knowledge Engine
The first reference to a machine that could create sentences or write books.

Found in Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, written in 1726.

Since this is the earliest known reference to a computer, I decided to feature a movie with another early computer – 1983’s WarGames. The WOPR computer is a massive beast and programmed to continuously run military simulations and learn over time. Starring Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman, and John Wood. Shall we play a game?

Shady Dell from Shady Dell Music & Memories is all about the games! Want some music history? He is your knowledge engine. And you can even play along…

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Light Sail (or Solar Sail)
A form of propulsion for spacecraft; a sheet of lightweight material reflects light from the sun or other light source.

Originally appeared in Sail 25 by Jack Vance, published in Amazing Stories in 1962. Also known as Gateway to Strangeness and Dust of Far Suns.

And what comes to mind the moment you hear light or solar sail? 2010’s Tron:Legacy! The sequel to 1982’s Tron (which was ineligible for Best Special Effects because it used a computer!) was a visual feast with a great soundtrack by Daft Punk. (And those who criticized this film as an inept sequel really need to watch Tron again – it’s BAD.) The film starred Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, and Michael Sheen.

Want to sail lightly through the writing waters? Nicola at Burggraf's Blog takes us on a gentle journey that enlightens!

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Moon Walk
Very early realistic depiction of walking on the moon in low gravity.

First appeared in Brigands of the Moon by Ray Cummings, published in 1930.

One of the best movies depicting our first moon walk is the underrated film, The Dish, released in 2000. Set in 1969, it depicts the true story of an Australian satellite dish’s role in our first steps on the moon. Sweet, funny, and not lacking for sheep, it starred Sam Neil, Billy Mitchell, Roz Hammond, and Patrick Warburton.

And of course, I can’t mention moon walk without including Wallace and Gromit: A Grand Day Out! The boys head to the moon in a homemade rocket to sample cheese.

We can’t mention moon and cheese without thinking about author M. Pax. Her stories aren’t cheesy – they are out of this world. But she often reviews those cheesy movies so we don’t have to…

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Neutron Disruption Blaster
Beam pistol which splits neutrons into protons and electrons, releasing enormous energy.

This appeared in a short story by H. Beam Piper, The Complete Paratime, published by Astounding Fiction in 1951.

Marvin the Martian! While that’s not exactly one of the devices he used, it’s probably in his arsenal. Marvin’s most recent big screen appearance was 1996’s Space Jam, staring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Wayne Knight, Theresa Randle, Bill Murray, and a slew of Loony Tunes characters and basketball stars. Now, what happened to the earth-shattering kaboom?

Stephen Hayes at the Chubby Chatterbox is still waiting for that kaboom. And if it doesn’t happen soon, he just might instigate it. In an artistic way, of course…



New Releases

Choose A Way Auckland by Rhonda Albom
An interactive city guide by local travel writer and photographer Rhonda Albom.
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble,Kobo, and Choose A Way

Martinis with the Devil by Alexia Chamberlynn
Find it at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and Smashwords






Fan of Guardians of the Galaxy? Did you know knowledge engine (basically a computer) was that old of a term? Think there might be a movie or two that used the term Moon Walk before it appeared in a story? Following those awesome bloggers? Picking up some new books? Or are you still waiting for the earth-shattering kaboom…?