This is Sci-Fi, Issue 7: The Gauntlet, Clarke, and Ghost in the Shell

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Sci-Fi post on Sci-Fi & Scary
This is Sci-Fi is a sampling of science fiction news across the mediums. From movies to books, to real life, and any bits in between that I can think of to list. This is by no means a comprehensive list of what’s happening, but it should whet your appetite!

This is Sci-Fi’s Quote to Consider

“Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts.”
– Brian W. Aldiss


Science Fiction Movies

Sci-Fi Movie Suggestion of the Week

Movie cover for Piranha Sharks Sometimes you just need to watch Piranha Sharks destroying New York City. This gem was released in 2014 and had a budget of less than a million dollars. The CGI is laughable, the poster has a phallic symbol in undead green getting reading to be devoured by sharks, and the dialogue is… just as bad as you’d expect.

It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty perfectly entertaining.

Synopsis: Great white sharks bio-engineered to be the size of piranhas with the purpose of living in rich people’s exotic aquariums terrorize New York City when they get into the water supply and do what great white sharks do best.

Watch the Piranha Sharks trailer.


Opening this Week (March 31st)


Movie poster for Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell Synopsis: In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.

Starring:  Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano

Watch the Ghost in the Shell trailer.

Side Note: Pretty much the only thing I know about this movie is that by hiring Scarlett Johansen, they white-washed it. Not the best advertising if that’s what the average person knows, yeah?



Featured Science Fiction Photo Art

Picture of the Calabash Nebula

The Calabash Nebula, pictured here is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the sun. (Photo from NASA: Hubble)

The Sci-Fi Zone: Arthur C. Clarke Trivia

I think it’s safe to say that every science fiction fan knows the name Arthur C. Clarke. But beyond the fact that he’s considered one of the Big Three of science fiction, has won a buttload of awards, and wrote those Space Odyssey books, how much do you actually know about him? Here’s a few fun factoids we cobbled together through various sources.

  1. He was knighted in 1998.
  2. He had his own scuba-diving school in Sri Lanka.
  3. He had contracted polio in 1962, and then got whomped with post-polio syndrome later in life.
  4. He was an avid protector of gorillas.
  5. The first book he published was a nonfiction work on Interplanetary Flight.
  6. He won his first (of FIVE!) Hugo Award in 1956.
  7. There’s an asteroid designated “Clarke” for him. (Asteroid No. 4923)
  8. He was good friends with Rupert Murdoch
  9. His award-winning novel, Rendezvous with Rama, has been ‘optioned for film’ for years, but has never made it to the big screen.
  10. He identified as a pantheist when he entered the army, and then later as an atheist.



Science Fiction Books

New Releases

Book cover for From Ice to Ashes

From Ice to Ashes Synopsis: Kale Drayton knows his place. As a Ringer born on Titan, he’s used to keeping his head down and his mouth shut—no matter how much the Earthers abuse him or his own kind berate him. So when he’s caught stealing from a wealthy merchant, he’s lucky to be sentenced to low-paying maintenance work on a gas-harvesting ship instead of life in a cell . . . or worse.

But when his mother is quarantined, Kale finds himself backed into a corner. To pay for her medicine, he needs money—the kind of money he’ll never make sweeping floors and cleaning ships. So when he receives a mysterious offer asking him to do a simple job in exchange for his mother’s treatment, Kale takes a chance once more. All he has to do is upload a program onto his employer’s ship and all of his problems will disappear.

What starts as a straightforward smuggling gig soon reveals its shattering repercussions. The people who hired Kale are more dangerous than he suspected—and he’s more important to them than he ever could have imagined.


Book cover for The GauntletThe Gauntlet Synopsis: When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked into a mechanical board game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand—a puzzle game akin to a large Rubik’s cube—they know it’s up to them to defeat the game’s diabolical architect in order to save themselves and those who are trapped inside, including her baby brother Ahmed. But first they have to figure out how.

Under the tutelage of a lizard guide named Henrietta Peel and an aeronaut Vijay, the Farah and her friends battle camel spiders, red scorpions, grease monkeys, and sand cats as they prepare to face off with the maniacal Lord Amari, the man behind the machine. Can they defeat Amari at his own game…or will they, like the children who came before them, become cogs in the machine?



The Big Three’s Big Three

Book cover for FoundationBook cover for Stranger in a Strange LandBook cover for 2001 A Space Odyssey

Science Fiction on the Web

(That’s all I found worth sharing, sorry. )

The book for Dare 2 Discuss: Science Fiction will be Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space.

Date: May 17th. (So you have no excuses. Plenty of time to read it!) Time: 7 PM EST

Location: Sci-Fi & Scary Forums.

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3 Responses to This is Sci-Fi, Issue 7: The Gauntlet, Clarke, and Ghost in the Shell

  1. I love the two ‘Ghost in the Shell’ tv seasons. I do not care for the films as much. I am underwhelmed at the thought of Scarlet Johanson as Major Motoko.

    • gplus-profile-pictureLilyn G says:

      I’ll be curious to see the reviews that start coming soon. Honestly, while I think ScarJo is attractive, I’m not a huge fan of her. She seems kind of… cardboardy.

  2. Brian Bixby says:

    I’m not a big fan of Scarlett, either, to judge from the few of her films I’ve seen. Yet I find it definitely a sign of the times that it is less controversial for her to play an alien disguised as a human, as she did in “Under The Skin” (which I did see), than for her to “whitewash” “Ghost in the Shell.”

    I need not go into the social and political reasons why cultural appropriation is a one-way street. I have mixed feelings on the matter. I do not care to see one society exploit the culture of another because it is more powerful. Yet, much art (in the broad sense of the term) derives from artists doing just that, refashioning the old into the new for people who were unfamiliar with the old.

    So do I go watch this new “Ghost in the Shell” and judge it as art for art’s sake? Or do I add my socio-political perceptions, and judge it, perforce negatively, on that basis? If I go see it at all, it will probably be both. But I won’t be happy about having to do so. I like my politics IN art, not ABOUT art. Naive, I know.

    I think back to two recent examples of Hollywood Americanizing EUROPEAN films, “Let the Right One In” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” That’s seen as a bit more permissible; instead of talking about cultural appropriation, people will say the native film was more authentic in both cases. And (having read the books and seen both film versions), they will be right. Yet I would argue that the American versions had their own charm.

    And your thoughts, Lilyn? I take it from your comments that you disapprove of casting Johansson. An unnecessary affront to the original, do you think?

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