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Terrestrial Human

I am addicted to reading. So of course I feel the need to pass on links to great sites to download quality books and stories from. File this under Geek, I guess, and all thanks to Jim Bean and the team of world-class authors he gathered under his wing…

The web site at Baen Books doesn’t have the look and feel of those slick multi-national conglomerates with unlimited marketing budgets. In fact, it reminds me of the internet version of the classic pulps, like Astounding, Analog, or Asimov’s (to mention just the A’s).

And the content is just like that; real people with a real commitment to quality writing, and getting that work out to the public. And other aspects of the classic pulps are there as well; the free exchange of ideas, the sense of community, the sense of wonder, and even the cover art of the site (the home page background, although the book’s cover art displayed is also quite nice).

Don’t be fooled by the look; if you pop the hood and look at the source code there is some very elegant scripting working on both the client and server sides of this site, beyond what FrontPage5.0 can give you. All of which makes me feel like I am among friends when I visit, but it isn’t the reason I feel the need to include this site.

The reason is the books, and the attitude.

For the books, just look at the list of authors who choose to use them as an outlet; Any publisher who can attract Poul Anderson, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jack L. Chalker, David Drake, Esther Friesner, Larry Niven, David Weber, and a host of others has to be doing something right.

I believe that something right is the attitude. Jim Baen seems to be someone who believes in what he is doing, and is doing it the way the folks who brought us WorldCon, Fandom, and the Pulps did; the Futurian Society would be proud! Let me give you some examples….

Attitude can best be picked up by checking their FAQs page.

Community means just that; a group of people exchanging ideas, agreeing (or more often not) on a range of concepts they hold in common, or at least want to explore together. Every sci-fi fan should have Baen’s Bar in their collection of BBS/Forum links. What makes this one even more fun is the fact that some of the the authors read them, have their own Topics, and often Post.

Commitment is here with a vengeance, and a twist. The twist is the authors and publishers are all, by nature, living in the future (or in some cases, the deep past). It is who they are, after all, and why they create these stories and worlds. So they bypassed the mistake the RIAA was making, and embraced the new technologies to enhance their goals, rather than alienate their audience with it. Kind of makes me wonder if Eric Flint knows Janis Ian (she is doing the same thing with her online music, although I doubt either of them considers themselves a leader or revolutionary on the Electronic Freedom front); he started with a casual comment to Jim B. that resulted in one of the best things the internet has to offer; the Baen Free Library! For those of you who believe in the Gutenburg Project, you will feel right at home here. And for the few Corporate Executives who wound up here by mistake, take note. This is a perfect example of appropriate use of technology to achieve your goals; the paradigm has shifted, and your marketing head will love emulating this (if they have the intelligence to understand what they are doing).

The bottom line is, visit and bookmark this site. The base URI is, and make sure to take your time checking out all the wonderful things you will find there!

Philip K Dick wasn’t any more prolific than most other authors.
But by my latest count, more of his stories were turned into
movies than any other author, with the possible exception of
Robert A Heinlein. And the Why of it matches with Heinlein as
well. RAH was looking for the core meaning of what it took for
a human to control the universe. PKDick was looking for the
answer to the question of what it is to be human.

Movies made from Dick stories include:

Novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, movie “Blade Runner”

Novel “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”, movie “Total Recall”
(also an uncredited writer in the TV series “Total Recall 2070”,
based on that same story)

Short Story “Imposter”, movie “Imposter”

Short Story “Second Variety”, movie “Screamers”

Short Story “Minority Report”, movie “Minority Report”

Short Story “Paycheck”, movie “Paycheck”

Novel “Colony”, TV Broadcast “Colony”, Radio Show “X Minus One”

Short Story “Nervous Breakdown”, short film “Nervous Breakdown”

The movie based on his novel “A Scanner Darkly”, called “Drug Taking
and the Arts”, released in 1994, might not be worth mentioning if it
were not for all the other folks who appeared in it as themselves:
Brian Aldiss, J.G.Ballard, Allen Ginsberg, Francis and Laura Huxley,
Timothy Leary, and a whole lot more. Or maybe the fact that this
one was a lot closer to being a documentary, rather than a scifi
story, is why I feel hesitent to include it here.

The PKDick links include:

Paycheck Trailer

IMDB Entry

I was still learning my way around TV Channels at this point. Also around streaming media types (although I had the basics of both down since the mid-90s). Always something to learn…

This TV Channel and Web Site may have started out being a poor cousin to the US channel, but it very quickly built its audience and defined itself. It used a number of tricks to pull this off; emphasizing science, space, and technology as current news; pulling the best independent and BBC shows on the topics from around the world; and showing programs like Dark Angel (which is airing nowhere in the U.S. right now) and Firefly (including the episodes that never aired in the original US schedule, and which is also airing no where else in North America).

I have no clue if they are associated with the US SciFi Channel legally or economically, but they began with the same spirit. The way they evolved was a bit different, though; they maintained the SciFi News program as a core concept, and avoided the scare-tactics pitfall. And while a lot of the programming choices are the same, they have a lot of content you can’t get where I live. I wish they had a live webcast of the channel, so I could watch it here!

Guess I better check out the audio/video links on the site; I might just get lucky! LOL

Yes, I have always been a Geek; this was my first blog entry that made that obvious, and also my first link into a science site, rather than science fiction. No sense being shy, if I am posting these for the whole world to read.

Space Dot Com is one of the best sites online for current space news and views. It has an easy-to-navigate structure, and a massive amount of content, on one of the best topics the human mind can come up with; the future, and how to get there!

The topics covered on the site include astronomy, planetology, astrophysics, aerospace technology, and a lot more. This is a site not to be missed; add it to your favorites today!

Space Dot Com

This was my first Blog entry, back in 2003. I started the site in 1993 as a way to get my bookmarks from any computer with internet access (not all that many, that year), and switched to a blog format a decade later.  As Holley says, I may be slow, but I get there in the end…

The funniest SciFi show of all time, Red Dwarf is a creation of the BBC.

The premise was simple. Our hero made a mistake (involving a kitten he tried to smuggle on board), and he was put in stasis until the ship got back to earth, where he could be cashiered out. But before that happened, another crew mate forgot to tighten down a shielding plate, and the entire crew died of radiation poisoning; the ship drifted into deep space.

As our story opens, it is 3 million years later; Dave Lister is awoken from stasis, and finds out he is the last living human being in the universe. His crew mates on the ship are a demented computer named Holly (started out with an IQ of 12,000; these days, an IQ of 12 is about the best it can manage); A Hologram of the poor sap who caused everyone to die, named Arnie Rimmer; and the descendant of the cat he smuggled on board that got him in trouble, named Kat.

From that simple start, a wonderful reality grows. An American version was tried, with Frasier’s Daphne as Holly and Treks Jadzia Dax as Kat, but no one bought it and tried to release it. Too bad, it would have been fun to watch grow. But the BBC version kept on evolving, and won a world-wide audience.
As I enter this info, 8 seasons of TV are behind us, and their first feature-length movie is in production. Several books have also been released, which expand and enhance the story.

If you don’t already know and love this show, you should check out the web site, and look to your local BBC/PBS station to catch it. My personal favorite is Season VIII, but all of them are good. Here are a few links to get you started…