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Showing posts from October, 2012

Angels and Aliens

As a Christian science fiction writer, perhaps it's no surprise that I'm interested in both angels and aliens as topics for stories. What I do find surprising is that some people  don’t believe there is any difference between the two.  Such angel = alien correlation has a variety of forms: American Astronomer Carl Sagan pointed out in 1995 that stories of alien encounters here on Earth resemble stories of demonic capture of earlier times—or of the appearance of angels, or fairy creatures, or gods or demi-gods of even earlier times. Sagan believed that intelligent extraterrestrial life likely exists because he was persuaded evolution most certainly would not have produced life only on Earth—yet he denied that aliens would actually come to Earth and would clandestinely visit and/or abduct people (he was convinced if aliens had come all this way, they surely would have announced themselves). For him, the fact that these kinds of appearances have always existed demonstra

Zombie Physiology

So how does the zombie body function? How is it that only a head shot is guaranteed to kill one of them? As mentioned in a previous post on  Zombie Ecology , there have been multiple ideas of what a zombie is. The original concept of spirits animating dead flesh requires no physiological explanation--that's how it works just because it does. But the zombie stories that feature a virus, some sort of non-supernatural phenomenon animating dead flesh such as in  AMC's The Walking Dead , could use some scientific explanation. How is it that the zombies are able to move about when most of their major organs are non-functional? How is it they resist completely rotting away into skeletons? I've got some proposed answers (and I thank Paul Clyde and James Lehye for engaging in the conversation that inspired this post): First off, the easy stuff. Zombies don't feel pain because their brains don't function right...the pain signals arrive at what is left of their brain,

Eclectia and other Worlds Stranger than Star Wars in Fact and Fiction

Star Wars treated its fans to visually striking worlds, from the ice planet Hoth, to the desert world Tatooine, forest moon Endor, and others covered with ocean or city or lava. Or the Death Star itself, which was essentially a fully mechanical version of the moon. These planetary bodies were generated by a relatively simple method--take a climate or condition available on the Earth we know and craft an entire world out of it. The real universe is significantly odder that Star Wars. In our own Solar System, consider Venus. With its dense atmosphere, 92 times thicker than Earth's, at a pressure equivalent to a kilometer underneath the ocean, but hot enough to melt lead, lightning swept, with sulfuric acid rain, it forms its own particular version of hell. Or ice-covered Europa, Jupiter's moon, which highly likely has an ocean trapped under the ice, but whose surface is swept by a radiation that would be quickly fatal to humans because of charged particles trapped in Jupiter

The Devil's Hit List, The Underground--an atypical Christian apocalypse

Frank Creed, longtime Internet pal of mine, is the creator of a unique dystopian world. Starting with Flashpoint , he spun forth a view of a future (starting in 2036) in which a one world government persecutes any who does not conform to its dictated, uniform, one-world culture. This persecution, quite naturally, focuses on devout Christians, because they refuse to conform. "Wait a minute! We've heard all this before!" someone might object. "Almost every story about the future from an Evangelical Christian runs like this...first there is the Rapture, then the Antichrist takes over the world, then Christians are horribly persecuted, then Jesus comes back, and blah, blah, blah. Overdone--thus boring." If you're thinking that, you're wrong. Frank does not run the standard apocalyptic script. The One State simply takes over, no Rapture is required. And the method the underground church uses to fight back? They go genre, this series of t

Gravity...and starships...

You can't really talk about space travel without addressing gravity. Not only have I written a short story called "Gravity" (included in the anthology Aquasynthesis --but the story isn't what you might think), I've noticed that gravity is dealt with rather poorly in standard science fiction universes...for example, in Star Trek, no one ever floats in microgravity when the ship pulls into orbit around a planet. In reality that had at least as much to do with the fact that the series was filmed on planet Earth than any futuristic talk of "gravity plating" or the generation of artificial gravity on board Enterprise. Actual weightlessness is dealt with a little bit in the extended Star Trek films (notably VI) and series (in several episodes of Enterprise), but isn't it interesting that every planet seems to have the same gravity? Just like almost all aliens speak English, there are rarely any planets in which a human would be much lighter or much hea