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"Aircraft Carriers in Space" (Thanks, Todd Lappin!)
Has sci-fi affected the way that our navies conduct warfare?
CW: This is a question that I occasionally think about. Many people point to the development of the shipboard Combat Information Center in World War II as being inspired by E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman novels from the 1940s. Smith realized that with hundreds of ships over huge expanses, the mere act of coordinating them was problematic. I think there is a synergistic effect. I also know a number of naval officers who have admitted to me that the reason they joined the Navy was because Starfleet Command wasn't hiring.
Henry Rothwell has an epically long, epically snarky review of Prometheus, entertainingly and engagingly written. Its fundamental point is that science fiction films are visually consistent, not logically consistent (the opposite of science fiction novels, which is why I'm a pain in the ass to take to sf movies). Rothwell gets there by pretty humorous means.
The first duty of the captain is, naturally, to decorate the Christmas tree. Because it’s Christmas apparently. Charlize Theron reminds him that there is a mission briefing. He informs her that he has yet to have breakfast. He’s been asleep for two years, and decides to decorate a Christmas tree (while smoking a cigar in a closed environment) before he has breakfast. We realise that the crew selection procedure was yet another casualty of the cuts required to ensure that they had a sodding big spaceship (SBS from here on in).
At the breakfast table a rather nice biologist (played by Raef Spall, son of Timothy) introduces himself to a grumpy geologist, who is very rude. Later on, he confirms he’s the geologist, by shouting “I’m a geologist, I fucking love rocks!” as if that was the most pressing point that needed explaining. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The current point that needs explaining is the implication that these two crew members have managed to make it this far without actually meeting each other, and are plainly incompatible. It seems that at least one part of the crew selection procedure took the form of a raffle at an arsehole convention.
Through the years, Ray Bradbury attended several major space mission events at JPL/Caltech. On Nov. 12, 1971, on the eve of Mariner 9 going into orbit at Mars, Bradbury took part in a symposium at Caltech with Arthur C. Clarke, journalist Walter Sullivan, and scientists Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray. In this excerpt, Bradbury reads his poem, "If Only We Had Taller Been."
(Thanks, Stephanie L. Smith)
Hank Chapot sez, "You've published two links to my research about the 1937 police corruption scandals in San Francisco, November and February, 'the long lost Atherton Report.' After all the research, I wrote a novel. 'Bordello Politique'. Its an e-book available in most formats on most sites. Dolly Fine was the first profit sharing madam, she enrolled her girls in Social Security. She was wiretapped, raided and dragged before the Atherton grand jury. First woman in California indicted for contributing to the delinquency of (8) minors."
When Dolly’s elegant brothels are raided without warning, she is outraged. Her houses are raided, her girls are jailed, her money is stolen, and she’s dragged before a grand jury to testify against the cops she’s been bribing for years. As if that isn’t bad enough, she loses her immunity when her bail bondsman/crime boss buddy is named the “fountainhead of corruption” in an expensive, incendiary civil investigation called the Atherton Report. The good citizens of San Francisco command the mayor and the police commission to crack down on gambling, good-time girls and crooked cops, and Dolly is left high and dry. She tries to save herself but can’t count on anyone—can the city really come clean? Bordello Politique is a true crime story from a city searching for its center between the Great Depression and the World’s Fair.
Zhi Zheng, Hongchuan Zhao and Dongbai Song from China won Evolo magazine's 2012 Skyscraper design competition. My favorite, however, is the runner-up (above) which crawls up the side of the Yunnan mountains. Designed by Yiteng Shen, Nanjue Wang, Ji Xia and Zihan Wang, it has the advantage of being neither outrageously science fictional nor horrible: consider the third place winner, a concept design for kilometer-high landfill silos.
Victoria Johnson revisits the maps we "wandered into" as kids:
If I ruled the world, or at least a publishing company, all books would contain as much supplementary information as possible. Nonfiction, fiction—doesn't matter. Every work would have an appendix filled with diagrams, background information, digressions and anecdata. And of course, maps.
I did not accept that I was a map nerd until the day I caught myself scoffing at geological implausibilities in a map in a pulp fantasy novel. An excellent coffee-table compendium is J.B. Post's Atlas of Fantasy, but the itch may be scratched immediately with Google and TVTropes' entry on Fantasy World Maps. Artist Jon Roberts specializes in making them. Mapblogger Jonathan Crowe has an overview of resources for following suit.
Pictured above is fantasy epic Elfquest's world of Abode, a personal fave, and refreshingly geologically plausible until you start thinking about biomes.
Previously: Wondrous, detailed map of the history of science fiction and Maps.
Illustration: Kurt Caesar (?)
Tell me the difference between these two pieces of text. Read the rest
Read the rest