Tag Archives: science fiction

Incorporated Slaughter

Harold was accustomed to confined spaces, having lived in a prison space his entire life. First with his siblings when he was but a youngling and now in his single solitary space that grew lonelier by the day. He never quite knew the reasoning behind his imprisonment nor was he aware that he was in fact imprisoned at such an early age. But like all naïve children Harold became aware of the injustices of the world and found out that he was a part of one. Because he was born different Harold was stripped of his freedom and forced to live a life of confinement.

He peered out every day from his only view, a small crack in the wall, to see others roaming freely and experiencing the world’s offerings as frequently as they wished. He longed to explore the unknown and the unexperienced and with every passer by from his small cracked view Harold felt a pang of jealousy and yearning. His dreams, when not interrupted by night terrors, were vividly imaginative worlds of explorative abundance. New tastes, sights, smells and other sensations were found at every turn and in every nook and cranny. Harold’s dreams were his only means of escape from his dismal life and if he were somehow deprived of them too, Harold thought that he would soon die with his last robbed freedom.

Harold knew little of his enslavers except that they often joked with one another about his situation as if it were some masterful joke that they were greatly benefiting from. He resented them with every ounce of his being and when he wasn’t dreaming of epic journeys Harold would turn the tables and take the place of his enslavers, treating them exactly like he was treated. Sometimes in these dreams the cruelest enslaver, locked in the smallest of spaces, would look up at Harold, who was now much larger, and plead for compassion. Harold would look down and laugh but this laugh was not of enjoyment it was a disgusting cold laugh that would immediately wake Harold up, sweating and panting. This was a night terror and it scared Harold to imagine himself like them.

One day, during his normal routine of switching between dreams and watching the world outside his crack, Harold was startled as his prison space was opened up. The enslaver outside beckoned Harold to follow him, which he did, though not without trepidation. He could never trust these cruel beings. As he turned from his confinement he saw that the other prisoners were also being let out of their spaces then placed in a long line. Harold grew anxious as he was led to the end of the line where he and the others were continually hit and slapped and forced to follow as it slowly progressed further and further onwards.

Harold’s anxiety grew until a burst of light so magnificent and warm suddenly hit him. Harold looked up and saw a yellow circle in the sky. It hurt his eyes to stare but it was such a wondrous and welcoming sight that the discomfort didn’t matter to him. Tears streamed down his face as a soft weeping started up from the prisoners. The world was beautiful and at last they were experiencing it. Harold looked down and found his vision had been blurred from the warm circle, he also noticed that the line was being led into another building across from the prison spaces and could only make out the word “rhouse” from the sign at the top of the entrance. Mesmerized with everything that was happening, Harold followed on.

Later that night a truck was loaded up with many packages from the “rhouse” building. Sammy, a young prisoner, peered on from her prison space as the engine revved into life. A light shone onto the side panel revealing the logo “Simpson & Farley Meat Co. – Fresh Pork”. Sammy watched until the truck faded into the night then, with a soft grunt, turned to her siblings and went to sleep. That night she dreamed she was the truck driver and drove off into the countryside on an epic journey.

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Read It

Ender's Game

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card was the first sci-fi book I ever read. I remember being forced at school to choose a book from the shelf to take home and read for a book report. Not only did I not care what book I read, I didn’t even look at what I picked up when I chose (I know, I’m a total badass). Let me just say that my loathing for books stopped that day when I got home.

Ender’s Game was a total escape from reality. Imagine a world where there is an impending war with an alien race that resembles large ant-like creatures with a hive mind. Overpopulation has meant that birth restrictions are in place and the only hope for humanity lies with a six year old boy and a battle school found in space.

Ender is Earth’s saviour and the novel focuses on him and his journey. Being the third child he is loathed by many in a world where birth restrictions are in place to stop an already large population. The reason for his existence was sanctioned by the government who are slectively breeding stable-minded soldier children. His brother and sister before him were considered as candidates for battle school where these selected children go, but his sister Valentine was too caring and not violent enough while his brother Peter was the polar opposite. Ender is the equaliser in the family and is sent off to battle school where the escapism starts.

In battle school whole platoons of children live together and train together in preparation for mock battles fought in zero-gravity. The school is run by military officers who alter the rules and living environments to produce the most efficient and swift minded child-soldiers. Ender quickly rises to the top and is discovered to be a tactical genius able to turn a bad situation into a good one.

The alien race are called the Buggers and are a big theme in the novel. Almost everything that happens in battle school happens to serve the ultimate purpose of defeating the advancing alien species.

I’ve never been one for connecting with characters, if there is enough action and a good plot I couldn’t care less about how emotionally connected I get to a character, but in Ender’s Game I was really rooting for Ender the whole way through. The kid goes through a hell of a lot at the hands of the military, but in the back of his mind he knows it’s necessary for the greater good.

This is a sophisticated novel meant for anyone. The plot is engaging and multilayered with enough action in between, the characters are well written and the pace is consistent.

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Film It

Considering my hermit-like behaviour these past few weeks you’d probably forgive me for not knowing about the new Star Trek movie that is going to be released next year some time during the American summer… FUCK YES! I say. I just hope to god they don’t butcher the thing, like they have obviously done for the prequel to “The Thing”. I have read both positive and negative thoughts for the upcoming film which is to be expected with such a diverse fan base, but the one underlying anticipation is whether or not the movie will target Trekkies or aim for the general public like it did for the 2009 film. I’m guessing it’ll be the latter, but who cares. It has been so long since anyone had gotten a Trek movie right that it was a refreshing feeling to sit down and watch one that was well written and action-packed. If I have to sacrifice a little fan knowledge for a winning formula then so be it. I just hope Hollywood doesn’t screw it up this time around.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming Star Trek film?

Who do you think will be the villain(s) this time around?

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Read It

Because of upcoming mid-semester exams I’ve been bogged down with a fair bit of study lately, which has not given me much time for anything science-fiction. I’ve corrected this wrong and ordered four classics that I’ve been meaning to read. They’ll be arriving when my exams finish on the 21st of this month. In the meantime I’ll give a quick overview of what I’ve bought.

 

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death (1969)

This is a satirical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about the WWII experiences and time travelling journeys of a soldier named Billy Pilgrim. One of the classics in science-fiction that has been read by many non sci-fi fans the world around. This is considered to be one of Vonnegut’s most influential and popular novels and I’m definitely anticipating this one.

 

Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

This is a true science-fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human who has returned to Earth in early adulthood after being raised by Martians on the planet Mars. The novel explores his interaction with – and the eventual transformation of – earth culture.

 

Darwin’s Radio (1999)

This one comes from the author Greg Bear. In the novel, a new form of endogenous retrovirus has emerged, SHEVA. It controls human evolution by rapidly evolving the next generation while in the womb, leading to speciation. The novel follows several characters as the “plague” is discovered as well as the reaction of the public and government.

 

The Forge of God (1987)

Another novel by Greg Bear this time one about an alien race and Earth’s demise. The Forge of God was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1987, and was also nominated for the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1988. Can’t wait for this one.

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