I have no idea if that's the French word for "randomicity" but it gets the point across, don't you think?
  • I think I might actually be enjoying "StarDriver Kagayaki no Takuto" more than the World God Only Knows anime, this season; the manga of the latter is better, and the former is just so weird. I daresay it was about time for an 18th-century dandy-themed mecha, and the Fish Girl's song is awesome. My only complaint is actually a joke, so that's pretty cool—plainly the bad guys should be winning, since their goofy outfits indicate they're much more committed.

  • Similarly, "Shinryaku! Ika Musume" is fricking hilarious, like Keroro Gunso with moe...and yet oddly enough I think it has no connection whatsoever to Plana-chan. It sorta freaks me out that those two concepts arose independently (de geso).

  • I am however very pissed off that Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo seems not to be coming out in the US. I want to be able to show my friends and family the utter egomaniacal hilarity that is Leopard! Plus, and this is really funny, even in this show where the laws of physics are more like guidelines, the orbit elevator's still at the equator (that's why the launch facility's in a jungle).

    Anyway though, did anyone notice that Leopard is basically King Julien, the lemur from Madagascar? Except with an antimatter cannon.

  • So another of the Take That's in my SF book is "ship that sucks", in the slang of the Chinese space stations one of the characters grew up on, is yíngkē—Mandarin for "firefly". The slang for "overrated self-important ass", similarly, is faht joehng.

    But I'm not content merely to snag loogies at Whedon; the latter term arose because, in my fictional future history, the colonization occurred during an era when the Neo-Confucian and Communist authorities were trying to discredit Buddhism. The phrase "image of a Buddha" is still used as an insult, though, despite there having been a Buddhist revival.

    It's called cultural setting, kids.

  • And yes, I'm aware Whedon's name is actually short for "Joseph". You know, like Stalin.

  • So apparently nothing nominated for the Hugo Award this time around involves space in any way. Rage, rage, rage. But then, of course it doesn't. When two of the three most prominent shows set in space completely ignore space in favor of their ill-thought out simplistic dystopias, why would lit-SF bother with space at all, when the simplistic dystopia is so much less labor-intensive? Why do you think we call it soft SF?

    I don't think I'm off-base in blaming Battlestar Galactica and Firefly for the woes of space SF, but I do think some of the blame must also be borne by certain policy shifts regarding NASA. The only time NASA should be involved in PR is when it's trying to drum up support for its own missions; it has no obligations to any other aspect of the politics of this dirt-water gravity well. Is it 60s-era idealism to hope that we might leave space exploration apolitical? Apparently it is.

  • On a lighter note, you know what's fun? Show someone the opening, probably on YouTube, of Soukou no Strain. Then have them try to guess what classic story it's based on. Give them a hint after a few minutes: two of the female leads are named Sara and Lottie.

    Yeah, "A Little Princess" with mecha. Ooooooookay then.

  • My sister once wrote a mecha/SF version of Peter Pan that rather rocked, and frankly, I'm forced to conclude, everything's better with mecha. Romeo and Juliet would be better with them, admit it—remember in the DiCaprio one how "longsword" became the name of a gun? Imagine if the next scene is them launching his Longsword mecha. Yeah, damn right. I honestly don't know if there are any exceptions to this rule.

    One that I thought of doing is a mecha Punic War, where each Carthaginian mecha has a child in its core, providing power—letting Hannibal angst about it, since we know he actually did have a third brother, whose name is rather notably not recorded—while the Roman mecha are powered by a thing called the Scaevola Drive. The way that works is, the pilot sticks his right hand into a flame while saying, "This is so you will see how negligible is the flesh to one who has great glory in view."

    Don't tell me that wouldn't rock out loud.


penny farthing said...

Romeo and Juliet with Giant robots would be awesome! Because chicks dig giant robots.

Yep, everything really is better with them. I'd nearly forgotten about that Peter Pan thing - thanks. It was fun to do.

And, yes, the Punic War with mecha would be pretty much the most epic thing ever. But the most badass thing ever would be the Iliad with mecha.

Why is there a trend to stick random zombies and vampires into every book, and not giant robots?

penny farthing said...

I forgot to comment on the Hugo Awards thing too - as much as I love steampunk, it saddens me that so much scifi is trending that way. See, I don't really consider steampunk science fiction, at least not often. Jules Verne came closest and he technically wasn't steampunk, since back then that was just science fiction in general.

Most steampunk has only a passing acquaintance with science, like if they run into each other in a train station, steampunk will sort of nod with a strained smile, hoping it doesn't have to remember any specifics about the last time they met. Most steampunk writers don't even try to explain how any of their tech works, beyond "steam and clockworks", and sometimes "Tesla coils".

When "Five Fists of Science" has you beat when it comes to technobabble, it's time to just admit you're writing fantasy, and even fantasy ought to at least be consistent.

Now I admit I don't do the calculations for various gases lift capacity for my airships, and make sure my machines speed and weight stay within their material's tolerances, but I at least suggest some vaguely plausible ideas when it comes up occasionally.

Rant concluded. People better write some damn space books!

Sophia's Favorite said...

Well, a lot of steampunk is actually science fiction rather than fantasy, but it's soft science fiction. Sure, admittedly Difference Engine knows as little about sociology or economics as the Flat Earth Society does about astrophysics, but those are the sciences the story revolves around.

The Foglios, who do Girl Genius, call their thingy Gaslamp Fantasy, I think because they feel (rightly, or at least idealistically) that steampunk ought to involve more than just period gewgaws and random wackiness. Of course they'll be lumped together at the bookstore, but SF and fantasy are in the same section anyway. Mostly because the same people read and write both.

As for not checking the specific tolerance of the materials, yeah, not even I'm obsessive enough to calculate all that (though I do lie awake at night worrying that everything I've written is unrealistic).

Anonymous said...

I worry about that too.....

And I'm too lazy to log in from my blog, but it's Claire, on my break at work.