Reviews for Writing Speculative Fiction: A Nerd's Guide
Destron chapter 17 . 7/6/2005
Very interesting series of articles you have here. I'm trying to come up with stories that poke fun at some of these conventions. Say, do you have anything to say about virtual reality or VR? Once a buzzword in 1990s sci-fi, now seems passe or is it?
M.Flames chapter 17 . 7/3/2005
"The desktop computer I’m using to type this column has about the same processing power as the human brain. The difference lies in the designs. The desktop computer is a CPU with several input devices (keyboard, mouse, etc.) and output devices (monitor, printer, etc.). The desktop is made of metal and plastic. The human brain is an ad hoc, inefficient biological computer that only uses 11-13 (or somewhere around there) of its maximum capacity. The “complexity” of the human brain isn’t so much the “amount of processing power”- It’s the “operating system.”"

I would like to see your source for the use of "11-13 (or somewhere around there) of it's maximum capacity." Do you believe any brain could operate efficiently with 80% of it removed?

Do a google search for "people only use 10 percent of their brain". My first result is "Neuroscience for Kids - 10% of the Brain Myth". Key word: Myth.

The rest of your analogy is pretty shaky. You clear it up a bit in the rest of the essay but this paragraph is misleading and essentialy pointless.

Overall you cover a lot of good points, but you're a bit misleading on parts and you could benefit from providing some more external links regarding adaptive programming.
Kreen chapter 17 . 7/3/2005
How about New Age and Occult Powers?
Aaron chapter 16 . 6/28/2005
Hey, Jave, why not go into computers or scifi time spans?
Haku chapter 16 . 6/28/2005
Nice new chapter. Just as a note (and perhaps a little helpful hint, if you like) another aspect of good horror is the "close to home" idea, which was mainly brought about with early Gothic horror/sci-fi writers back in the Victorian period. This is why Bram Stoker had Dracula attacking in such places as Whitby and London, why H.G Wells had Martians attack semi-rural Woking and why Dr Frankenstein was chased by his creation even in places such as Ireland in Mary Shelley's novel. Rather than sending a small "exploration team" to some exotic location (be it an unexplored tropical island or "uninhabited" planet) and then having them get picked off by monsters, it's much scarier when the monsters could be on our front doorsteps.
A fan of good sci fi chapter 1 . 6/28/2005
I can definitely understand your points. No one likes bad writing.

But honestly? This is a website for amateurs. That means there are a LOT of cliches (everywhere, not just sci fi ~ have you taken a look at some of the poetry recently? Or the vast majority of fiction?) in the stories.

We all just have to put up with it. Why? Because no one gets better without practice and constructive criticism. And because it's worth looking at all those HORRIBLE stories on the off chance you might find a fabulous one.

Furthermore ~ have you considered that some people enjoy what you consider trashy and cliched? Ever notice that some of the stories that seem really weak in plot and completely unrealistic have hundreds of reviews? If it makes them happy, let them read it and let them write it. Just do your part and write what you consider good sci fi and encourage others that are trying to do the same. People will read what they like.
Mbwun chapter 16 . 6/27/2005
Interesting chapter, though I find it a bit odd that you plug some of the worst horror movies ever as good examples-Event Horizon, for example. It tried hard, but it fell far short, even with Sam Niell and a script based off one of the most frightening books I've ever read. Alien, however... that was a good'n, though it, and the sequel Aliens, spawned a million-bajillion cliches.

Hmm. As far as self-plugs go, if anyone's looking for a completely dispicable villain/monster aside from the ones Jave already mentioned, my story "Worse Things in Heaven and Hell" has a demon that likes disemboweling people and drawing things with their blood...

~He Who Walks On All Fours
M.Flames chapter 16 . 6/27/2005
This isn't a guide for horror, so much as a list of various horror stereotypes. While perhaps interesting, I don't see what the point of this chapter is.
Scraper chapter 15 . 6/16/2005
Very useful list on war terms! By the way, due to various technical reasons I was only able to read the info on the Platform today.

I got a few glimmers of ideas and I'm trying to make something out of them. Please give me time because I got LOADS of homework along with all the other stuff I need to do. Thanks for understanding.
Mbwun chapter 15 . 6/15/2005
WMD is a rather inaccurate term that only recently became jargon (thanks to the fucking idiots at CNN). NBC (nuclear, biological, and chemical) or ABC (atomic, biological, and chemical) say it better, and have been used by the military for decades.

Good chapter, though... it really highlights the complexity of military operations, something that's oft overlooked in even professional stories. Like, say, supply trains... I think Honor Harrington is the only series I've ever read that even discussed supply trains, and even then, only briefly.

~He Who Walks On All Fours
Mbwun chapter 14 . 6/15/2005
The quote is indeed Heinlein; it's from "Starship Troopers." Good chapter, though you might delve into the reasons behind the high tech better stereotype in mil s-f. In several 20th-century conventional wars, namely the First Gulf War, high tech *did* carry the day, against potentially overwhelming numbers.

~He Who Walks On All Fours
Scraper chapter 14 . 6/11/2005
Good point with the entire High-tech isn't always better than low-tech. Kinda like what happened in my neighborhood. The police with their guns and sheilds and tear gas couldnt disperse an angry mob because they threw rocks back at them.
Mbwun chapter 12 . 6/7/2005
Hell, even a scientist race wouldn't make it to space without mechanics to build their designs...

~He Who Walks On All Fours
Scraper chapter 12 . 6/5/2005
I noticed there is something new here. Come to think of it, I never noticed that before. Most alien races ARE all very one-sided, an entire planet with its entire population devoted to just one hobby.

Nice of you to add Human-Alien romantic relationships. But I'm hoping you could expand the topic just a little bit more. I've always wondered how a person could kiss a humanoid without dying from some interplanetary bacteria or something.
firefly7071 chapter 11 . 5/30/2005
o.O' I need to use this. -scribbles down URL on the everpresent notebook- Seriously. I'm thinking about writing a sci-fi type story (still can't decide on first or third person) and this is just... oy.

Nice point about the bullets-vs-laser thing.

Now all I need is a setting and a few side characters and I'm good. XD
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