Monday, April 14, 2014

Tempus fugit ...

Tempus fugit. Times flies, indeed. Four-and-a-half years since I last posted here at Kosmosflot. Fact is, I took a break from science fiction for many reasons. Witnessing John Ringo's raging melt down at Windy Con in 2008 was one. Later on, reading John Scalzi's condescending words about straight white males was another. The science fiction section at my library and local bookstore (only one store left!) are filled with fantasy novels or depictions of women looking like Conan the Barbarian or Jean-Claude van Damme. Not my taste, and not my interest. And hardly a spaceship to be found anywhere, alas. I occasionally pick up a Baen book, ahem, from the library. But when the usual Baen-style extreme politics start hitting me over the head, I put it back.

I found myself rereading the works of Roland Green (Starship Shenandoah), Robert Frezza (A Small Colonial War), and revisiting favorites like The Mote in God's Eye. I follow Bill Keith's science fiction, always have, and I was happy to see he will be the guest of honor at Pittsburgh's Confluence 2014 science-fiction convention. Yay, Bill!

So why come back to this orbital zone? Mainly because of a kind fellow in Japan, Joseph Ficor, who's been a fan of my short stories. Joseph was kind enough to create a pdf collection of my works, complete with a cover and artwork. I need to take pen/keyboard in hand and write another Kosmosflot story to show my appreciation to him. And even though cats on the Internet have bigger followings than this little blog, I shouldn't abandon it out of disgust for the low state of science fiction these days.

And what else of science-fiction interest has come my way? Monsters in Motion sent me notice of this new, beautiful plastic model of the Cosmostrator, from First Spaceship on Venus, (German: Der Schweigende Stern - "The Silent Star"), adapted from Stanislaw Lem's story The Astronauts. I may have to volunteer my now 12-year-old son to help me assemble it. We just finished a model of the USS Arizona for his Pearl Harbor history project, so we've had some practice. Did you know that plastic model cement is now scented orange? I miss the heady fumes of the original Testors glue.

In May the new Godzilla film will premiere, and I hope it will be a good one. The new movie will be a horror film, just like the original Gojira, and not some campy hokum. The trailer looks promising. I was disheartened at first when I read an interview with the director, who said he wanted to change Godzilla's origin. Oh no, I thought, that is awful. But after seeing the preview trailer, and the revelation that the American atomic and hydrogen bomb tests in the south Pacific were not really tests, well, I am more confident that the new movie will properly honor Big G's origins.

When I was six years old, my father was serving in the US Navy, and we were living in New Jersey, not far from Lakehurst Naval Air Station, famous for the crash of the Hindenburg airship back in the 1930's. Dad told me I had to get up early Saturday morning, that there was something special on TV that I would enjoy. He helped me wake up, made me a cup of that good Navy cocoa, and for the next 90 minutes I was spellbound. The film was, of course, Godzilla, King of the Monsters, the American version of Gojira, dubbed, starring Raymond Burr. Dad knew I loved dinosaurs and had loved seeing Gorgo, the British version of Godzilla, when I was younger. It's one of my fondest memories of my father, and Godzilla became one of my favorite movie monsters. Thanks, Dad.

And I want to recommend Los Últimos Días, a very well done post-apocalyptic tale from Spain. It's refreshing that it's not a zombie story, and no ugly aliens causing the end of the world ... at least none that we see. It's the story of a man in Barcelona when the big crack-up occurs, desperately seeking his pregnant wife after the human race is paralyzed by mass agoraphobia. No one can survive going out of doors, and civilization is soon on the skids. The story kept me captivated, and the final scene is surprisingly touching, one that every parent who loves their child will understand. The film is in Spanish, and I watched it with subtitles. See it if you can.

D’os Vadanya,



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