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A Celebration of Heinlein: A Tor.com Blog Symposium

In anticipation of the new Tor Books release,  Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1, 1907-1948: Learning Curve, the good people over at Tor.com have put together a fantastic, online blog symposium. Longtime fans, readers and writers, these esteemed contributors celebrate one of the most-loved masters of the genre.

Along with John, the panelists  consist of:

  • Mitch Wagner
  • Jo Walton
  • Pam Dean
  • Charles Stross
  • Sarah Hoyt

Patrick Nielsen Hayden kicks it off with an explanation and John wanted me to direct you his own piece entitled, “Strangely Human”.

Participation is highly encouraged in the comment section, so please head on over and share your thoughts.

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Ten Great Directors Who Flopped in Sci-Fi

It’s Wednesday again! Time to drop whatever you are doing and head to filmcritic.com for John’s latest column.

John explores the topic of celebrated and renowned directors who couldn’t quite transition into SF despite  success with  films outside of the genre.

As usual, please leave your comments on the filmcritic.com site.

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The Last Colony Wins A Seiun Award

The Last Colony recently took home the Japanese Seiun Award for Best Foreign Language Novel of the year. These awards celebrate the best work published in Japan for the previous year and are compared to the Hugos. You can find a list of all the winners here.

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A Word From The Jury Of Awesomeness

I have it from a rather reliable source, that the finalists have been chosen for the Wheaton/Scalzi fanfic contest! According to this anonymous source (who most assuredly doesn’t have three camera stalking cats and likes sunsets, nor writes award winning fiction and who doesn’t happen to be on hiatus at this very moment),  there will be an announcement in the next week or so.

Aren’t you just dying to know?

To tide you over, here’s a little ditty by my darling daughter to celebrate Wil’s involvement in the new season of the web series, “The Guild”.  If you haven’t seen it, you are truly missing out on one of the most creative and funny things on the web.

As an aside, I did promise John I won’t go all Kathy Lee Gifford on you guys, but I couldn’t pass this one up. Allyson’s only going to get older and I won’t be able to embarrass her like this anymore.

(If you look at the beginning of the comments, even Ms. Day herself liked it.)

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Kate Baker

Video Game Neuroses

Allow me to take you on a journey of my little quirks which only present themselves while behind a computer screen.

During my World of Warcraft days, it took effort not to refer to myself in the third person.

“Kate waves hello.”

“Kate would like a slice of pizza.”

When you emoted in game as much as I did, the language of the game wanted to rewrite my thirty years of proper communication. Luckily, it didn’t happen very often.

Then came the Battlefield series of games. No flag pole in my town was safe from the thought that I must first change the colors and defend it with my life. It was only when the Old Glory was in my rear-view mirror that I snapped back into reality.

Then came the incredibly lucid dreams from which I could not wake. Instead of experiencing any game with a buffer of keyboard and screen, my horrifically calculating subconscious placed me in the stories. There I was, decapitating zombies with the pull of shotgun trigger or wiping Boomer bile off my clothes. Other dreams included following behind a heavy from Team Fortress 2 and hitting invincibility with my medic gun, only to be stabbed in the back by a spy or set on fire by a fire happy pyro. “You did well!”

Borderlands presented a different crazy; chests. No, not the pretty bosoms of Lilith or Mad Moxxi. I had to open every single locker, washing machine, lunch box, toilet and treasure box the game put in front of me. Conversations like this were common fare when playing co-op with friends:

“Where’s Kate?”

“Uh, I don’t know, she was here a minute ago. We gonna fight this monster or what?”

“Oh sorry guys,  I was trying to get to that red chest up on the ledge. I sorta fell.”

Mass Effect and the sequel presented a clear case of OCD with planet visits and scanning for resources. I pretty much strip-mined every planet that I came across. There were moments where I felt guilty, wondering if I’d get a message across my screen that the citizens of a raped world were coming after my ass, but alas, there was no penalty in the game for being greedy.

Kate will not speak about Torchlight though. (Dammit!) That game just enables treasure compulsion on so many levels. There is an actual achievement for breaking as many barrels you can.

I hate you video game developers.

So tell me I’m not alone in my video game neuroses. Have you ever experienced anything similar? Has any game left you frustrated that you didn’t complete all the available quests? Do you feel compelled to play through a game more than once?

The Doctor is in.

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The God Engines Now Available In Apple’s iBook Store

John also wanted me to let everyone know that The God Engines is available in the Apple iBook Store! Broadening his horizons a bit, John wrote a truly engaging dark fantasy novella. I highly suggest you read this 2010 Hugo nominated work if you are looking for something to both challenge and terrify you.

So since I have an iPad Mini, I thought you’d like to see how pretty the cover looks on a color display. I’m sure it looks even more awesome on a full size device.

You’ll need to download the free iBooks store app on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch. Once you do, go to the store button on the upper right hand corner, and then click the magnifying glass on the bottom of the app to search. The book comes up when you type either the title, or “John Scalzi”. In fact, when you type in John’s name, most of his other work is returned in the search as well.

Happy reading!

So, how do you like that Apple? (See what I did there? Yeah I know, it was lame but amused me all the same!)

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Pondering Inception’s Sequel Odds and Revisiting the Bechdel Test

 

Hey boys and girls! It’s that time of the week again and since John is on vacation, I get to tell you to head over to filmcritic.com for his weekly column!

John dips into the mailbag and answers some questions that have come up in reponse to his last few columns. Click on through to the other side and please leave comments there.

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Kate Baker

My Dice, Let Me Show You Them

Let me show you my dice.

As you can see, by this really cool photograph that I took while playing the Star Wars RPG, mine are a fuchsia, glittery color. Hey, I left you enough hints despite it being a black and white photo!

Every month or so, a few friends and I get on a webcam and Ventrilo and attempt to role play in the Lucas universe. (Man, that totally didn’t sound as geeky in my head as it did when I typed it out.)

I know from hanging around here at the Whatever that a lot of the readers are gamers. So I have to ask, what color are your dice and more importantly, what do you play with them?

Btw – Hi, I’m Kate and I’m a geek.

P.S. See that natural 20? That’s all I roll.

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