My Favourite Content Creators – Guest Post by Jonas

I’m not young. I remember a time back when we rode dinosaurs. Ok, maybe I’m not that old. But I do remember growing up without the internet. I’m somewhat fortunate in that in my late teens I *did* go to a private school that offered students laptops and internet access. So I had a bit of a jump on the rest of my generation.

There’s a lot of great (and not great) stuff out there. But growing up as a budding nerd, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to share and talk about my passions. Plus I was limited in the opinions I could find based on geography. Sure I could go to a Star Trek Convention. But the only people who I’d be able to interact with were those other people who were there.

Now, of course, you can connect with a fellow nerd who is on the other side of the planet in a few seconds. And it’s so much easier to find and spend time with local humans who may share your passion.

It’s also so much easier to consume media that dives deep into topics you are interested in. Talk about the philosophy of Star Trek. The history of miniatures gaming. A documentary on the making of your favourite video game. I wanted to take a moment to share some of my favourite content creators.

Note they’re all YouTubers mostly because it’s the content delivery medium I am most familiar with and the platform, despite them “optimizing” it on and off, it’s pretty user-friendly.

1. Moviebob

Moviebob *is* my favourite content creator. He dives deep into a whole host of nerdy subjects. And even topics I’m not interested in, I’ll still usually watch. I never thought I’d be interested in Yogi Bear’s collar, I was wrong. Also COMICS ARE WEIRD! (Seriously, search “Moviebob” and “comics are weird” you won’t be disappointed. I mean, unless you don’t like comics.)

Really That Good: Superman:

About Yogi Bear’s Collar:

2. Steve Shives

Steve talks about Star Trek and Social Justice Issues. I don’t always agree with him on both. But I’m always edified by the experience. He just did a video about the new Star Trek: Picard trailer and I enjoyed it.

Channel URL:

https://www.youtube.com/user/stevelikes2curse

3. How to ADHD

It’s not nerdy per se. But I think it valuable.  I have ADHD, it’s….challenging. This channel has helped me understand myself better. It’s also helped me know I’m not alone in my struggles.

Channel URL:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nPM1_kSZf91ZGkcgy_95Q

4. Lindsay Ellis

Another brilliant media commentator. Also someone who, even on topics I’m less interested in (like Game of Thrones) I’m still interested in her opinions. If I were half as smart as she is, I’d be twice as smart as I am now. Oh! And she was nominated for a Hugo award for her Hobbit Trilogy.

The Hobbit, A Long Expected Autopsy:

5. Noclip

I love video games. I also enjoy learning more about the games I love. Danny interviews industry luminaries and dives deep into how some amazing games came to be. If you’re a fan of the Witcher 3 or 2016’s DOOM, I really recommend checking out those documentaries.

Channel URL:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0fDG3byEcMtbOqPMymDNbw

Bonus: Mick Gordon talking about the creation of the DOOM Soundtrack

6. Guerilla Miniature Games

In addition to video games, I also enjoy tabletop games. In my experience, there is a dearth of commentators on the industry who bring insightful industry knowledge and who aren’t governed by “hot-takes”. Ash is one of those and the discussions on issues of the day are well worth listening to.

Channel URL:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbO4Vs1vlAA9hz7Ad7IMgug

About the Author

Jonas is a nerd who loves many many different nerdy things…. Except Anime! Anime was a mistake!

If asked what he thinks is most under-rated in nerd culture he’d probably say Babylon 5.

*Note* All opinions are those of the author and not JenEric Designs.

Sailing the Rubble of Galaxies – Proof-of-Concept

Every once in a while I get an idea for a novel but I’m not sure how well it’ll transition from brain to page. So I take the story out for a test drive. I call it a Proof-of-Concept and wrote about it here.

I’ve had this idea stuck in my head for the past few weeks -and I think I like it. I love the idea of a warship’s crew needing to find something else to do when there’s no war left.

Of course they’ll turn to piracy until the real threat shows itself again. It would borrow a lot from Arthurian myth but with a little Pirates of the Caribbean feel.

Let me know what you think.

Sailing Rubble of Galaxies

“Nice of them to design these cells with portholes,” admired former security commander, Nessa Muldune. It seemed like a strange waste of outer hull but she appreciated being able to see the stars.

“Shut up traitor,” sneered her jailer. Lieutenant Alfred’s disdain was a relief after the months of him awkwardly hitting on her. “We’ll be at New Mars soon and you’ll get what’s coming to you.”

The United Martian Empire (UME) Camlann was a Starcruiser class ship, with a crew of twenty-three. Her mission was to explore the other edges of the galaxy for any and all resources that could help in their war against the Ares Republic.

“Alfred, take a walk.” Doctor Anson made sure the man knew it wasn’t a suggestion.

Waiting until he’d left, Nessa said, “Peri, if you’re here to tell me how much you’ve always hated me I don’t want to hear it.”

The perfectly androgynous face of the ship’s Doctor broke into a smile. “You’re an idiot Muldune, but I don’t hate you. I agree with what you did, but they expect us medical types to be Peacers.” It was one of the worst insults for a Martian to be called a Peacer. Peace would only happen when the Empire’s enemies were all dead. Any other opinion was heresy.

The Doctor shook their head in either annoyance or amusement, Nessa couldn’t tell, and added, “I just wanted to tell you I’ve looked over the logs and I’m going to testify for you at your court-martial.”

“But that could get you thrown in here with me.”

“Doubt it. There are perks to one of my fathers being an Admiral. I’m not the only one who thinks the Captain went too far this time.”

Lifting her hand, Nessa said, “No. Shut up. Until we’re safely in dock on New Mars, I don’t want to hear about it and I don’t think you should talk about it either.” Pointing at her ears and then the walls, Nessa added, “What you’re saying could be taken as the M word and you know how the Captain doesn’t like that word.” The last person to hint at mutiny had been spaced without a trial. Her multiple commendations, stellar military record, and Red Star of Honour were the only reason Nessa wasn’t sleeping with meteors.

”Fine, but you’re not alone in this and I wanted you to know that.” Peri smiled again and turned to leave.

“Thank you. Old friend.” They’d served together for nearly twenty years, since Nessa’s first tour of duty when she was a green fifteen-year-old ensign.

Alfred walked back in and started saying crude things about the Doctor. Nessa ignored him; she was doing the same thing she’d done countless times since she’d been put in here. She went over the incident to see what she could have done differently.

They were pushing the limits of known space when they’d gotten a distress call. It was old earth Morse code. When they arrived at the coordinates they found three ships; an Ares Bird-of-Prey, an ancient frigate and a third ship they’d never seen before.

The ancient frigate was what was giving off the distress code. It must have been five hundred or more years old. Nessa’s first mistake was to suggest that the frigate might have star-maps that could lead them back to earth. The Captain had laughed at her and mocked her for her silly superstitions. He was one of the many Martians who were convinced all sentient life had evolved on New Mars.

They’d hailed the Aresian ship and received no answer, but when they hailed the unknown ship it answered with what sounded like a riddle.

Myrddin searches for Arthur

It was all they’d say. It seemed like it was a recording on repeat. When the mysterious ship opened its gunports, the Captain had ordered her to open fire. She hesitated and she still didn’t know why. It was like she froze. The Captain had thrown her to the side and fired on the ship himself.

It had done nothing, their weapons didn’t even dent the ship. The Captain was furious and ordered her to fire on the Aresian ship. Their stardrive was powered by antimatter and the explosion would be more powerful than their weapons.

It was at that point that she’d ruined her career by saying, “Sir, we can’t. If those aliens are powerful enough to take a full blast from our ion cannons, we need to get access to their tech, not blow it up.” And she’d made it worse by adding, “Not to mention that frigate could hold the key to finding our original home world.”

“New Mars is my home world you Peacer trash. Take the traitor to the brig.” To the security guards credit, they both looked uncomfortable jailing their commanding officer. The captain had blown up Aresian ship and the frigate with one hit. The alien ship had given off one unintelligible message before it exploded. The Camlann barely made it out on time, thanks to its top of the line Stardrive.

Now she was on her way to a court martial and, if she was lucky, a life time sentence of hard labour on some mining asteroid. If she was unlucky, she’d be put in the Colosseum for sport.

Nessa felt the telltale wobble of the Camlann’s Stardrive powering down and looked forward to once again seeing the planets of the New Mars system; it was the crown jewel of the empire.

The ship shook violently and all she could see out the porthole was an asteroid field. Something was wrong.

“Brace for impact. We seem to have gone off course.” The Captain’s voice sounded calm.

Nessa felt sick. There’s no way they’d been off course. Out her porthole, all Nessa could see was darkness and meteors; she should have been able to see New Mars, it’s yellow dwarf and the other five inhabited planets.

Something had happened. The Captain’s voice came back on, “Oh Gods! What have they done!”

Artificial Gravity

The movie Lucy has me thinking about science and science-fiction. If you haven’t heard about the movie here’s the trailer.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVt32qoyhi0&w=560&h=315]

The premise is flawed. Ridiculously flawed. It got me thinking about other concepts that are flawed or that seem out of place.

Artificial Gravity

This is a normal trope for Science-Fiction space shows but it’s rarely based in science.

Some, like Babylon 5 or 2001 a Space Odyssey, use centrifugal force. (That’s when you spin something to simulate gravity.) However most will hand-wave the technology away and just say they have some sort of way of creating a Gravity Field.

Star Trek has gravity plating in its ships. It creates a gravity field that can be adjusted.

The obvious reason for this trope to exist is simplicity. TV and Movies don’t want to spend millions of dollars creating realistic anti-gravity and audiences want to see their hero’s walking and talking like normal. In stories, it simplifies the storytelling. You don’t have to look into how people and objects would move and it’s less alien to a reader.

But take the concept one step further. If we could control gravitational forces with such ease, why hasn’t anyone applied the tech to something else like weapons, flight tech, or space travel?

A gun or grenade that could control the gravity around an individual would be devastating. Increase the gravity by ten times from 1g to 10g in a second, you’d seriously hurt someone and probably kill them.

The problem with most science-fiction worlds is that Artificial gravity is incongruent with their level of technology. With the artificial gravity of Star Trek, they could easily have created artificial and collapsible black holes. Think how devastating that would have been as a weapon.

In less violent fashions, if they can get the plating to apply in reverse to their ship, they wouldn’t need more than a tiny push to get off planet. They’d be able to nullify the effect of gravity on their ship and float off into space.

 

There are various other pieces of Science-Fiction that are unbelievable or incongruous. What’s your favourite?

PsyCorps Academy – Story and Proof-of-Concept

Hello,

I don’t talk with many other authors about their process for writing. It usually feels like prying. I’ve read lots of great books about the craft of writing and lot of blogs telling people how to write or how not to write.

I’ve learned that everyone does something different. I know that Stephen King normally writes his books in chronological order, while Neil Gaiman writes scenes and then ties them together. Some people plot out every scene and others don’t. Some type some use a pen or pencil.

One thing that I do that I’ve never heard anyone else doing was writing a proof-of-concept. I’ve done it for each of my novels so far and I find it extremely useful in find the right tone and feel. I find it extremely useful.

This post was a proof-of-concept for Parasomnia, and if you ever get the chance to read the novel you’ll realize that they’re completely different. What I learned from it was that I enjoyed the tone and the mirroring of dreams.

The following is a proof-of-concept for a novel I’m thinking of writing that’s set in the far future where 1 in a billion people is a Psionic. Each kind of Psionic is separated into a guild and that guild is like their family and decides what they do as a living. Precogs are the pilots and body guards, Telekinetic are the soldiers for hire, etc.

But at the core of the story I want it to be about a girl who has three of the eight possible powers and how she deals with training in the PsyCorps Academy. It should be a riff on the Boarding School stories, like Harry Potter, but in the future, with Psychic powers. I’d like it to have the feel of the Tamora Pierce Tortall novels (The Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small books), with a hint of Star Trek and Babylon 5.

After writing this I think it didn’t have the tone of awe or sci-fi that I wanted. I think the character acts too young for her age and I think I need to go to third person to better describe the effects.

I am still extremely interested in writing this novel and it most likely will be my 2015 writing project.

Read the Proof-Of-Concept after the break.

Let me know what you think. Please!

*Warning: There is some violence and an attempted sexual assault*

Read morePsyCorps Academy – Story and Proof-of-Concept