vilakins: (zen)

Congratulations to all of you others who knew answers, and to [livejournal.com profile] astrogirl2 who got 7/10.

I'm surprised no one got #8 though. The name stuck for me because they named the computer that as Sigourney Weaver was doing the voice and that was the name of the computer on the Nostromo in Alien.

The questions )

The answers
  1. Joe: first published in the March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.
  2. Dr Chandra, from the film 2010.
  3. Hari Seldon, in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.
  4. Zen. There was also a portable AI with attitude called Orac. The computer on Scorpio was called Slave.
  5. The Ultimate Computer, written by D C Fontana, episode #53, in season two.
  6. Hex, created by Ponder Stibbons and some student Wizards in the High Energy Magic building, first appearing in the novel Soul Music.
  7. The Tomorrow People which first ran between 1973 and 1979.
  8. Mother, voiced by Sigourney Weaver.
  9. Earthsearch, written by James Follett, and first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between January and March 1981.
  10. Mr Smith, at his core a Xylok, a member of a crystalline race which crashed to Earth as a meteorite some 60 million years ago.
Further to #5, [livejournal.com profile] kernezelda pointed out that the computer voice was provided by Scotty's actor, James Doohan, and that M-5's creator, Dr Daystrom, was one of the few prominent African-American characters in the series.

The questions and answers (from a local SF mag) came from the Wiki entry on Computers in Fiction.

vilakins: (beta delta)

First up, have a look at what a 5Mb flash drive looked like in 1956. :-) Greg calculated it could store the equivalent of 63,000 punched cards.

And now, for anyone casting about for a challenge during their time off, a quiz about fictional computers which I nicked from a local SF magazine. I will publish the answers in a day or two. No cheating and looking answers up! I will confess that I only knew five.

Quiz: Computers in SF

  1. In one of the earliest fictional descriptions of a device analogous to a personal computer, in a 1946 short story by Murray Leinster, it was called a 'Logic'. What was its name?
  2. Who programmed the Hal-9000?
  3. Who designed a computer-like device called the Prime Radiant to store the psychohistorical equations determining the future development of humanity?
  4. What was the name of the Liberator’s computer in Blake’s 7?
  5. Which original series Star Trek episode featured an experimental computer designated M5?
  6. What is the name of the magically powered and self-building computer housed at the Unseen University?
  7. In which TV series was a biotech computer named TIM a major character?
  8. What was the name of the ship computer of the Axiom in WALL-E?
  9. ANGEL 1 and ANGEL 2, the Ancillary Guardians of Environment and Life, are the control computers of the starship Challenger in which radio series?
  10. What is the name of the extraterrestrial computer installed in the attic of Sarah Jane Smith's home in The Sarah Jane Adventures?

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (parker cool)

I finally have a new PC, all black and silver! It took so long because Greg held out for a new model that's just been released. It took much of the weekend to set up with my old files and a lot of the stuff I use, but I'll have to buy a new version of Photoshop Elements if I want that, and I still need to reinstall a few things like Artrage. We now have a scanner and printer again (because they're attached to my computer) and my graphics tablet works; yay!

I really like the new keyboard too, and I hadn't realised just how bad my mouse's scroll wheel had become. Windows 7 and Office 2010 have a lot of nice features too. I'm fairly impressed.

Anyway, some links!

First up, some wonderful SF NASA posters in the styles of Star Trek (with added Space Station), Reservoir Dogs, The Matrix, the Ocean films, superhero comics (vrooom!), Indiana Jones, Star Trek (2009), Harry Potter, and more, even Snoopy. Seriously cool!

This one's for Sherlock fans: [livejournal.com profile] karadin made a Sherlock birthday cake complete with edible John and Sherlock!

vilakins: (nikau (NZ!))

A couple of days ago I arranged to meet [livejournal.com profile] alicambs for lunch in Mission Bay, so of course it defied the inaccurate as ever weather forecast and rained all day. We mightn't have bothered meeting by the sea as we couldn't tell the grey water from the grey sky, or see across to any islands. :-( However we had a very nice lunch and an excellent conversation about SF and other things, and I'm sorry (for my sake) that Ali and her family will be living somewhere else.

Speaking of SF, I'm pissed off about our local series This is Not My Life. I was hoping for some interesting scenario like people on a generation ship being woken at intervals and living in an artificial environment, but no, they've gone for just what I wanted least (but was half expecting from the smugly preachy clues): the ruined planet scenario, our equivalent of the overpopulation or nuclear war obsessions of older SF. How unimaginative. And if Waimoana is meant to be the perfect community where people can have the chance of starting again and being better people without the burden of who they were before, it's not working, guys.

Probably only one person will even care about this, and discussion is welcome. I'll keep watching but If they start preaching, I'm turning right off.

vilakins: (books)

I am delighted to see that Terry Pratchett has a knighthood. Perhaps even Vimes would approve. :-)

I just finished reading Jingo yesterday, and rather think it joins my favourite Discworld novels. I loved this one: very funny (esp The Boat--yes, I did get the reference; Nobby finding his feminine side; Vetinari's hidden talents with melons, knives, and donkeys) and it had bite too. And of course there was the wonderful Vimes who ended up on a very short honours list himself. :-)

I've just started Saturn Rukh by Robert L Forward, grabbed from the library shelf because it looked like a nice bit of hard SF with interesting aliens. That may well all be true, but I'm very put off by his Mary and Marty Sue: the mission leader is the suggestively named Rod Morgan, blond, muscled, and handsome, and the pilot is Chastity Blaze. Blaze? For a rocket pilot? Who has the surname Blaze, and who calls their kid Chastity anyway? A touch of the Modesty Blaises by any chance? This woman is as tall and muscled as Rod, and has long. curly raven locks... and violet eyes. I've been reminded of this twice so far and I'm only on page 17. A brief flip though turned up at least one more reference to her eye colour just in case I forgot, and what is it with violet eyes anyway? They always sound bloodshot to me.

However there are aliens and hard SF so I shall keep going. At least Forward writes females doing real jobs.

vilakins: (books)

I am delighted to see that Terry Pratchett has a knighthood. Perhaps even Vimes would approve. :-)

I just finished reading Jingo yesterday, and rather think it joins my favourite Discworld novels. I loved this one: very funny (esp The Boat--yes, I did get the reference; Nobby finding his feminine side; Vetinari's hidden talents with melons, knives, and donkeys) and it had bite too. And of course there was the wonderful Vimes who ended up on a very short honours list himself. :-)

I've just started Saturn Rukh by Robert L Forward, grabbed from the library shelf because it looked like a nice bit of hard SF with interesting aliens. That may well all be true, but I'm very put off by his Mary and Marty Sue: the mission leader is the suggestively named Rod Morgan, blond, muscled, and handsome, and the pilot is Chastity Blaze. Blaze? For a rocket pilot? Who has the surname Blaze, and who calls their kid Chastity anyway? A touch of the Modesty Blaises by any chance? This woman is as tall and muscled as Rod, and has long. curly raven locks... and violet eyes. I've been reminded of this twice so far and I'm only on page 17. A brief flip though turned up at least one more reference to her eye colour just in case I forgot, and what is it with violet eyes anyway? They always sound bloodshot to me.

However there are aliens and hard SF so I shall keep going. At least Forward writes females doing real jobs.

SF DVDs

8 Jun 2008 03:35 pm
vilakins: (girl from space)

Last week I rented and watched season 1 of Quantum Leap because I've only ever seen a couple of eps and wanted something undemanding and entertaining. Well, except for the boxing episode which I skipped because giving people brain injuries is not a sport. Sadly, the first part of season 2 is out so, inspired by having seen Claudia Christian as a 50s dame, I resorted to my Babylon 5 DVDs--and I really don't think they've dated at all. I've seen three episodes, and yay for Ivanova, Garibaldi, and my favourites, Londo, G'Kar, and Vir. Last night's ep was Born to the Purple which I remembered thinking was fun when I first saw it, but with hindsight, not so much.

I also have two boxed sets of Star Trek eps chosen by a fan collective, a nice selection I shall work my way through. I was disconcerted to see Spock's father as the Romulan commander last night in Balance of Terror; I suppose it's how Mark Lenard got the part.

SF DVDs

8 Jun 2008 03:35 pm
vilakins: (girl from space)

Last week I rented and watched season 1 of Quantum Leap because I've only ever seen a couple of eps and wanted something undemanding and entertaining. Well, except for the boxing episode which I skipped because giving people brain injuries is not a sport. Sadly, the first part of season 2 is out so, inspired by having seen Claudia Christian as a 50s dame, I resorted to my Babylon 5 DVDs--and I really don't think they've dated at all. I've seen three episodes, and yay for Ivanova, Garibaldi, and my favourites, Londo, G'Kar, and Vir. Last night's ep was Born to the Purple which I remembered thinking was fun when I first saw it, but with hindsight, not so much.

I also have two boxed sets of Star Trek eps chosen by a fan collective, a nice selection I shall work my way through. I was disconcerted to see Spock's father as the Romulan commander last night in Balance of Terror; I suppose it's how Mark Lenard got the part.

vilakins: (SF)

After a discussion with [livejournal.com profile] kerravonsen about why I hate a certain plot device, I decided I'd post here about the SGA episode 'McKay and Mrs Miller'. First of all, let me assure you that apart from said plot device and an instance of pervasive sexism, both of which I will address below the cut, I loved this ep. It was funny and just what I needed after a crap day at the office, making me laugh a lot. I highly recommend it to anyone who knows SGA, and I bet there's heaps of fiction based on it.

Most of what follows is about certain issues rather than the ep itself, but there are still a few spoilers.

The good, the bad, and the illogical )

vilakins: (SF)

After a discussion with [livejournal.com profile] kerravonsen about why I hate a certain plot device, I decided I'd post here about the SGA episode 'McKay and Mrs Miller'. First of all, let me assure you that apart from said plot device and an instance of pervasive sexism, both of which I will address below the cut, I loved this ep. It was funny and just what I needed after a crap day at the office, making me laugh a lot. I highly recommend it to anyone who knows SGA, and I bet there's heaps of fiction based on it.

Most of what follows is about certain issues rather than the ep itself, but there are still a few spoilers.

The good, the bad, and the illogical )

vilakins: (SF)

We just celebrated the 60th anniversary of Roswell by watching the DS9 episode Little Green Men (Ferengi at Roswell), and since we were in a time-travel mood, we also saw the SG1 ep 1969 (Sam in pink glasses, hippy Teal'c and the war with Canada). :-)

vilakins: (SF)

We just celebrated the 60th anniversary of Roswell by watching the DS9 episode Little Green Men (Ferengi at Roswell), and since we were in a time-travel mood, we also saw the SG1 ep 1969 (Sam in pink glasses, hippy Teal'c and the war with Canada). :-)

vilakins: (winter)

It's been a lovely long mild autumn, but today, though still sunny, is suddenly winter. The temperature dropped to 6C overnight, and we weren't ready for it at work. I had to sit in an unheated meeting room for two hours this morning and the air was so cold my lungs hurt for the hour afterwards that it took me to warm up in my office.

I want to stay home tonight by the heater, but I booked another bead-working class. I'm sure it'll be fun when I get there, but I so don't want to go out.

In other news, found on B7 mailing lists, is the promising announcement that Kudos, who made Life on Mars and Spooks (which I haven't seen) are making a new SF series, Outcasts which sounds very like Blake's 7, and deliberately so. I'm a little concerned about the reference to one of them being a deviant (please don't give us a real pervert) and the comparison to the new BSG. I hope they don't go for the shaky hand-held badly-focussed mock-doco pseudo-realism of BSG (which uses it even in the CGI shots) which I found seriously distracting and annoying, or the thinly-disguised contemporary politics and issues but In Space which both bored and depressed me till I gave up.

I'll definitely give this a go though in the hopes it won't be another Torchwood.

vilakins: (winter)

It's been a lovely long mild autumn, but today, though still sunny, is suddenly winter. The temperature dropped to 6C overnight, and we weren't ready for it at work. I had to sit in an unheated meeting room for two hours this morning and the air was so cold my lungs hurt for the hour afterwards that it took me to warm up in my office.

I want to stay home tonight by the heater, but I booked another bead-working class. I'm sure it'll be fun when I get there, but I so don't want to go out.

In other news, found on B7 mailing lists, is the promising announcement that Kudos, who made Life on Mars and Spooks (which I haven't seen) are making a new SF series, Outcasts which sounds very like Blake's 7, and deliberately so. I'm a little concerned about the reference to one of them being a deviant (please don't give us a real pervert) and the comparison to the new BSG. I hope they don't go for the shaky hand-held badly-focussed mock-doco pseudo-realism of BSG (which uses it even in the CGI shots) which I found seriously distracting and annoying, or the thinly-disguised contemporary politics and issues but In Space which both bored and depressed me till I gave up.

I'll definitely give this a go though in the hopes it won't be another Torchwood.

vilakins: (SF)

They may have cancelled SG1 (which is a pity because I'm enjoying season 9, and Claudia Black turns out to be a great comedian) but it seems there's a third series planned. They're also talking about some straight-to-DVD films like the Babylon 5 ones we're promised.

As for season 9, I have two little spoiler questions. )

vilakins: (SF)

They may have cancelled SG1 (which is a pity because I'm enjoying season 9, and Claudia Black turns out to be a great comedian) but it seems there's a third series planned. They're also talking about some straight-to-DVD films like the Babylon 5 ones we're promised.

As for season 9, I have two little spoiler questions. )

vilakins: (books)

I don't want to post about depressing RL when the unreal sort is so much better (that's what URL stands for, right?) so here, have a book cover. It's from an old collection of SF short stories I got for half-price from the pawn shop today, and the maniac in the picture reminded me of a certain disliked Blake's 7 character. I should explain for those who don't know B7 that well that he preferred life as a labourer in the construction grades because Real Men use their muscles, not their brains.

Jarvik does his nut )

vilakins: (books)

I don't want to post about depressing RL when the unreal sort is so much better (that's what URL stands for, right?) so here, have a book cover. It's from an old collection of SF short stories I got for half-price from the pawn shop today, and the maniac in the picture reminded me of a certain disliked Blake's 7 character. I should explain for those who don't know B7 that well that he preferred life as a labourer in the construction grades because Real Men use their muscles, not their brains.

Jarvik does his nut )

vilakins: (dreaming)

I didn't realise that the SF mag Amazing still existed. After buying several from the 50s at the local pawn shop (along with a lot of others of the same vintage) I went back today to see if they had anything else in. I found two modern Amazings from 1999 and 2000, and they look pretty good too, packed with good stories and reviews of SF novels. One has a cover featuring a lovely painting of Lyta and G'Kar which matches a story about them by JMS; among the others, there's also a Heechee novella by Frederik Pohl. The other has Captain Proton on the cover and a story about him; how geeky is that--a story about a fictional character's favourite fictional character?. One of the other stories is a Harry Harrison alternate history. Pretty good reading for $5 each.

And here's a different look at a White Christmas that a friend sent me. Vila would approve.

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas )

vilakins: (dreaming)

I didn't realise that the SF mag Amazing still existed. After buying several from the 50s at the local pawn shop (along with a lot of others of the same vintage) I went back today to see if they had anything else in. I found two modern Amazings from 1999 and 2000, and they look pretty good too, packed with good stories and reviews of SF novels. One has a cover featuring a lovely painting of Lyta and G'Kar which matches a story about them by JMS; among the others, there's also a Heechee novella by Frederik Pohl. The other has Captain Proton on the cover and a story about him; how geeky is that--a story about a fictional character's favourite fictional character?. One of the other stories is a Harry Harrison alternate history. Pretty good reading for $5 each.

And here's a different look at a White Christmas that a friend sent me. Vila would approve.

I'm dreaming of a White Christmas )

vilakins: (books)

Thank you, those of you who gave me advice about the 50s SF paperbacks. I bought all 55 of them, beating the guy down to half price ($2.50 each). I have Amazing, Astounding, Analog, Galaxy, Fantastic, and something more prosaically called Fantasy and Science Fiction. And since I now have 10GB of storage, I shall load up the more lurid covers into an LJ gallery at some point and reserve the right to spam you lot with them. Actually I have more evil plans than that but my image manipulation skills may not be up to them...

I'm going to enjoy reading them. I've already noted some very well-known SF name on the covers.

vilakins: (books)

Thank you, those of you who gave me advice about the 50s SF paperbacks. I bought all 55 of them, beating the guy down to half price ($2.50 each). I have Amazing, Astounding, Analog, Galaxy, Fantastic, and something more prosaically called Fantasy and Science Fiction. And since I now have 10GB of storage, I shall load up the more lurid covers into an LJ gallery at some point and reserve the right to spam you lot with them. Actually I have more evil plans than that but my image manipulation skills may not be up to them...

I'm going to enjoy reading them. I've already noted some very well-known SF name on the covers.

Pawned!

16 Dec 2005 07:20 pm
vilakins: (books)

The local pawn shop has 50s SF paperbacks for sale: Analog, Astounding, Amazing and others, all $5 each. I'd have bought the lot if there hadn't been about 30-40 of them. So my questions are:

  1. Which have the best quality fiction? The covers, with green aliens and scantily-clad blondes are not much help.

  2. Which are best to collect / invest in?

  3. Should I just buy the lot?

Pawned!

16 Dec 2005 07:20 pm
vilakins: (books)

The local pawn shop has 50s SF paperbacks for sale: Analog, Astounding, Amazing and others, all $5 each. I'd have bought the lot if there hadn't been about 30-40 of them. So my questions are:

  1. Which have the best quality fiction? The covers, with green aliens and scantily-clad blondes are not much help.

  2. Which are best to collect / invest in?

  3. Should I just buy the lot?

vilakins: (screen)

Snurched from [livejournal.com profile] lizamanynames and [livejournal.com profile] communicator. This is the Science Fiction Film Canon, 50 most influential (not necessarily best or worst) films as listed by John Scalzi in his Rough Guide to Science Fiction Films. Bold those you've seen; italicise those you want to see, and strike those you have no desire whatsoever to put before your retinas (ever and/or again).

My list )

vilakins: (screen)

Snurched from [livejournal.com profile] lizamanynames and [livejournal.com profile] communicator. This is the Science Fiction Film Canon, 50 most influential (not necessarily best or worst) films as listed by John Scalzi in his Rough Guide to Science Fiction Films. Bold those you've seen; italicise those you want to see, and strike those you have no desire whatsoever to put before your retinas (ever and/or again).

My list )

vilakins: (cally alien)

Someone on an SF mailing list directed me to an interesting post on [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll's LJ.

If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would you choose?

If you could add one, what would you add?
I commented there but I decided I'd like to know what you think. My picks are:
Get rid of the hackneyed civilisation where--gasp, how original!--women are oppressed. Even Farscape and Firefly have done it. Use some imagination already.

I want more alien aliens. How about furry aliens, or insectoid ones instead of the usual humanoids, and let's play with gender with a little more imagination. How about societies with several sexes, where you need more than two to procreate, or a hive society? Anything but clichéd old recycled human ones.
But you knew that. :-)

vilakins: (cally alien)

Someone on an SF mailing list directed me to an interesting post on [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll's LJ.

If you could make one convention of modern SF go away, which one would you choose?

If you could add one, what would you add?
I commented there but I decided I'd like to know what you think. My picks are:
Get rid of the hackneyed civilisation where--gasp, how original!--women are oppressed. Even Farscape and Firefly have done it. Use some imagination already.

I want more alien aliens. How about furry aliens, or insectoid ones instead of the usual humanoids, and let's play with gender with a little more imagination. How about societies with several sexes, where you need more than two to procreate, or a hive society? Anything but clichéd old recycled human ones.
But you knew that. :-)

vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (wonderful)

I just heard that we're to get Battlestar Galactica, Carnivale, and Lost on TV here. I never saw the original Battlestar Galactica (except for an old TV film a friend made me watch at uni, memorable only for the line--as they were about to crash onto Earth--"Do you realise the gravity of the situation?" and a taxi driver who looked like Ronald Reagan) but I'm looking forward to it after all I've heard about it. I've also heard good things about Lost and Carnivale, but know nothing about them. I hope they treat them better than they did Farscape.

But yay!

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