Tag Archives | science fiction

Star-crossed lovers

The being had crossed all of known space to find her, Lola LaBozla, the smartest woman on Earth. It had tracked her from Earth orbit using the prototype of her own wearable artificial intelligence unit and spaghetti cleanser (AIUSC), that while bulky, had a certain caché and definitely worked with her fish-net stockings. Of course, she realized right away that a being from another star system was using the AIUSC to track her movements, and she was intrigued. Who was this person? Was it a person, or was it some kind of hive mind that inhabited a pile of pasta bacterium?

She was relieved to discover that it not only an individual, but he had a form that was more or less humanoid. She felt this was further evidence of the Anthropic Principle. He had two arms, two legs, and a giant mouth in the middle of his face that had possibilities. His reflective bug-like eyes and claw like hands were a little off-putting, but she was encouraged by the size and girth of his cranium.

She just hoped he wasn’t too attached to the shower cap.

Laying off the pasta? Read some of my long fiction — guaranteed gluten-free!

Alltop is never without its ablutions hat. Originally published, October 2011.

William Shatner’s Inaugural Address

(After Winning the First Post-Two-Party Presidential Election)

william shatner, president

Friends, Americans, Countrymen! Lend me your ears. I come to bury our two-party system, not praise it.

I stand before you today, not as a conqueror, not as pop icon, but as your President. An American president.

Now, what I say next is not said with malice, but I bet you few, pathetic, angry, angry Republicans left standing now regret amending the Constitution so the Governator could be eligible, don’t you? Eh? Just a little bit?

Come on, a robot against Captain Kirk? It’s insulting!

Our new system will have to adapt, to find new worlds, to boldly go where no POTUS has gone before. I gotta’ tell you, this is more fun than pantsing George Takei.

They told me to be Presidential, so I should say that I intend to bring our country together. No more petty infighting between two groups that basically represent the same interests. We can look forward to petty infighting amongst dozens of groups, which represent the same interests.

My party, the Federation Party (or the Star Trek Party as it’s known to the Twitterati) is open to all Americans. It is a cooperative party, an optimisit party, which is why WE are forming a government. If we can cooperate with the Star Wars Ascendancy Party of America and the American Stargate Association, then we can cooperate with anyone. Even Ralph Nader.

I’m looking forward to working with my Vice-President, Mark Hamill. He looks easy to control. I like that. I’m not sure about Richard Dean Anderson. The agreement is that we’ll make him the Secretary of State, but I’m not sure he’s up to it. I think we should give him Transportation or Energy where he can do less damage, but the agreement was State, so what the hell.

This is my inaugural address, so I should give you some kind of indication of where I plan to take the country in the next four years. Space, naturally. If I don’t do something space-wise the fanboys are going to crucify me. Seriously, the only reason I’m not wearing a Starfleet uniform to this thing is that I threatened to turn everything over to Hamill if they made me wear it.

So Mars, definitely. And whatever new gizmos we can come up with. Personally, I want a phaser that will allow me to stun Leonard Nimoy’s cryogenically preserved head whenever he starts to go on a policy rant. He helped me run a great campaign and he’s gonna be a terrifying Chief of Staff.

But today is all about me!  And America. Yay America!

And for all you Canadians, filled with pride there is finally a Canadian-born President of the United States, I have some good news and bad news. First the good: the border crossing is going to be much easier. You won’t need a green card to work in the USA anymore. And I’m going to insist to the CRTC that you get to watch American Super Bowl ads.

Bad news? We’re gonna’ need Alberta. And the Winnipeg Jets, for some reason.

The End

Now vote with your wallet, and buy some long-form satirical fiction:

Writing: driving you slowly mad

This is an image of The Isolator, purportedly invented by Hugo Gernsback the science fiction pioneer, and clearly, loon.

I haven’t dug into this, so it’s possible this is a hoax, but at the source website, this madness is taken at face value:

The “Isolator” is designed to help focus the mind when reading or writing, not only by by eliminating all outside noise, but also by allowing just one line of text to be seen at a time through a horizontal slit. via A Great Disorder

As the author at A Great Disorder points out, this “solution” for the problem of distractions perhaps takes the solution a little too far. Only allowing the author to see through one tiny slit seems especially mental. Particularly for those of us who, in the 21st century, have atrophied memories, and are incapable of keeping the previous line in our head. How can we maintain paragraph continuity, let alone the continuity of an entire novel?

I imagine The Isolator is the perfect piece of equipment if you want to write some kind of dadaist masterpiece.

Or, if you suffer from even minor claustrophobia, a complete breakdown.

On the other hand, the air supply arrangement does offer certain possibilities…

Alltop has one of these in its bedroom. Originally published October, 2011.

Planet of the Knob-heads: why do lit-ah-rary types look down on SF?

So what is it about science fiction that causes “literary” types to look down upon it? Like any genre, SF has its bad and good. No scratch that, like any writing, there is both bad and good. I’ve read plenty of unreadable “literary” fiction. But SF seems to get more derision than other forms of genre writing, perhaps unfairly. Many important books are SF.

Fantastic Adventures cover - half-naked woman on giant snakeYet, try to get Margaret Atwood to admit she writes it; yes, she writes SF (though anti-technological, like Michael Crichton) and some of it’s pretty good: The Handmaid’s Tale, for example. But no, she won’t cop to it. And I understand, because then she’d be lumping herself in with …. the pulps.

I’m not trying to say that there wasn’t any merit to them, but the covers … whoa, Betty … the covers … the covers … [sound of Mark pouring water over his massive, shaved scull, coursing down the rolls of fat on his neck]

What I love about the covers is the uninhibited yearning, for example, this scantily clad woman riding a giant snake. Yes, sometimes a giant snake is just a giant snake, but in this case, a Freudian interpretation is in order.

The real variation seems to be in HOW the women are scantily clad. Fantastic Adventures seems to go for the low-cut strapless dress, while Science Fiction clearly starts there and quickly jumps to the bikini-skirt combo. Of course, neither of them had anything on Spicy Adventure Stories (though these are not really science fiction), and none of these can hold a candle to Saucy Movie. (My guess is they had some kind of requirement that the artists show at least one nipple, or make up for the lack of nipple some other way. (For example, she’s being held by a fireman, or Satan, or even worse, a pirate! Arrrr!!))

Here are a few of my favourites:

Science Fiction Quarterly

pulp fiction cover - Science Fiction QuartlerlyIf you’re not showing some nipple, then the woman/victim/love interest could be in the arms of a psychotic space-dude! This guy has some kind of transparent helmet on, but it sure isn’t because he has to haul away his woman-prize through the vacuum of space. His nipples are exposed. I’m not sure if this picture is as villainous as it seems: if her arms were bound, I’m sure they would be dangling like her legs. As it stands, they disappear behind his buttocks. I’ll let you draw whatever inference you may.

Science Fiction

Science Fiction - pulp magazine cover of robot abducting scantily clad womanHoly crap that chick is flexible! Her back is arched enough that she can see that her toe is almost dragging on the ground. Good thing she wasn’t wearing her tight jeans that morning. Good thing she’s hardly wearing anything at all. She’s probably thinking, “why couldn’t I get kidnapped by something good, like a buff sexy fireman or a nice-smelling pirate, for God’s sake. Instead, I’ve been abducted by some chicken-legged robot with a knob-head and these six bizarre little arms that look like baby’s arms with apples instead of fists. Hey, wait a minute ….”

Fantastic Adventures

fantastic adventures - pulp cover magazine of robot with horrified womanOkay, this is getting too easy. A suspiciously shaped robot threatens a woman in a skin-tight flesh-toned dress. (And a little fashion tip for all you girls who plan on being accosted by perverted automatons on the cover of a pulp magazine — pink dress and red hair — no. Go for something white and wispy, which will be more alluring and let your hair pop.)

I will say this for her, unlike the other women, she looks genuinely horrified. Of course, you would be too if you had a six-foot condom-shaped robot shaking its business at you.


princess leia - future magazine coverOne look at this and I thought, “It’s Princess Leia! George Lucas had a subscription to Future!”

Seriously, that is the Proto-Princess Leia bronze boob beguiler.

No doubt this suppurated in George’s imagination for a couple of decades until he got a chance to unleash it (pun intended) in Return of the Jedi. Thus, George paid it forward, and fucked up at least two generations of impressionable young gentlemen with this evil, suggestive image.

Damn you Future magazine, and your series of salacious covers!

princess leia cover 2 - future magazine

Now to counteract all that sexist cheese, here’s a selection of ground-breaking SF, culled from Time’s “top 100 books” and the BBC’s top 100:

  • Brave New World
  • 1984
  • Animal Farm
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Naked Lunch
  • Dune
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • The Stand
  • The Clan Of The Cave Bear
  • Neuromancer
  • Watchmen
  • Snow Crash.

Still not sure what SF is? This handy chart may help. (Thanks to Robert Runte for pointing me towards making it.)

So, your turn — what SF book rocked your world?

Alltop thinks SF stands for San Francisco. Originally published, October 2009.