Tag Archives: movies

Mass Special Effects Andromeda

Mass Effect Andromeda

The Mass Effect franchise is like many other scifi franchises, from Star Wars to Halo to Star Trek, in that there are ancillary spin-off stories created in fiction, plus toys, puzzles, jewelry, even clothing and coffee mugs. I went into Game Stop today and talked to someone about my idea to have a competition to narrate gaming and movie trailers, like The Voice but for books. He suggested a theater as a possible venue, since the library and mall are both policy averse to such a new idea. (Bought a puzzle and created a video out of it using humor, incorporating several other video elements previously created. See what you think, below.) Are you aware that there are many current and upcoming audiobooks related to gaming and Star Trek/Star Wars franchises? These are performed by pros, who regularly appear at conventions and ComicCons. I have met and/or interviewed some. Even Quaritch from Avatar (Stephen Lang) is a narrator of audiobooks (for the Sandra Brown novels.) The novels are in hardcover, of course, but listening to some of the same narrators that voice games adds an extra dimension to it, don’t you agree? For example, Wil Wheaton from Star Trek narrates Ready Player One, soon to be a Spielberg movie. Greg Bear is best known for Blood Music, which won a Hugo and Nebula award, but also penned three Halo novels, and was a founding creator of ComicCon San Diego, the largest. A new novel I heard was Take Back the Sky, hard military scifi. Mass Effect Andromeda: Initiation by Hugo winner NK Jemisin is due in November, and my own novel Fame Island, of course, was narrated by HK47 (Kris Tabori) of Star Wars Old Republic games. In any war, the ideal thing is to win “Hearts and Minds” rather than simply to blast everyone on the opposing team to oblivion (and they you.) And there’s a new Star Trek novel named just that: Hearts and Minds. I know that narrator, too. Robert Petkoff. And a fourth novel in the Mass Effect Andromeda series is coming in December: The Lost Ark. For a look inside the industry, try Blood Sweat and Pixels.

Mass Effect Andromeda Initiation

Mass Effect the Lost Ark

Transcendence movie

Deckard Enters a Bar

Blade Runner 2049


The Colony war was winding down. No longer were they seeking off world recruits among the masses. After Rachel’s expiration, Deckard had grown depressed and listless in retirement. As he dropped down into the microwave glide path of J.F. Sebastian’s former building, his Spinner’s vidphone activated automatically and a voice asked, “Business or pleasure?”

“Boredom,” he said.

There was no response. His vehicle came to rest in a designated slot near the entrance to a new structure which bled colors across his windscreen in the rain. The garage computer, having traced and approved his Spinner’s ID as a former police vehicle, had selected the VIP section. Deckard stepped out and looked up at the fake neon signage: Club Turing. He’s heard about the place. Without his portable SK machine, it might be a challenge. Out of curiosity, he stepped through the scan portal, had credits deducted, and took a table. Opposite some old school roulette wheels (which eliminated the electronic manipulation of results,) there were two stages for the girls. One was lit in red, the other blue. It was the latest gambling innovation: guess which dancer was real. After you bought a drink, you made a bet from your table, and touched one of two glowing—and anatomically correct—globes there.

Deckard was about to place his first bet when a girl sat next to him. She was blond with short hair, and wore a green thong bikini and clear plastic high heeled shoes. “You look familiar,” she said, giving him a wry smile.

“I’ve never been here before,” Deckard responded. He figured that if she was an android she’d have accessed his entry data, and intended to fool him into thinking she’d been arrested in his past. If she was a replicant, maybe she used the tactic on everyone. On the other hand, if she was real, that was another matter. In either case, the object was to fool the patron up close and personal, getting him to wager much more than the price of a drink. “I was just curious,” Deckard added, by way of explanation.

“Handsome too,” the girl said.

Deckard chuckled. The lie was no clue. Touching her would be no clue, either. Amazing, what the flesh factories could produce. He decided to try another tactic. “Do you like poetry?” he asked. “Because I have a poem for you to read. You can tell me whether you think it was written by a replicant or not.”

He tapped his vid pen twice on the table, and it projected a text image. The girl read the poem and shrugged. “Hard to tell,” she said. “But if I had to guess, I’d say you wrote it.”

“And am I a replicant?” Deckard asked.

“No, you’re not.”

Deckard smiled and made his bet, thinking, How would you know?


© Jonathan Lowe

science fiction

More Deadly Than the Unabomber

Manhunt UnabomberThere have been many bombers, but “going postal” is a phrase which began due to several infamous USPS shootings, sparking discussion about workplace violence. It spawned books and a violent video game, Postal. While the Unabomber case was a significant tech-related case involving three deaths and 25 injuries, a more deadly incident in Edmond, Oklahoma was chilling: when postal clerk Pat Sherrill, about to be fired, turned his rage on co-workers, killing 14 and wounding five more. Within a decade 11 rampages at post offices ensued. Why? The monotony of the job, the relentlessly by-the-numbers demands of management, and mental illness. (Employee screening is lax: former military are given preference, regardless of their unresolved issues on battlefields.) People can “snap.” As for Ted Kaczynski, he is a Harvard educated mathematician now in supermax prison in Colorado. Unlike OJ Simpson, he will never walk free. His manifesto, which he preferred to call an “article,” discusses technology as the enemy of freedom, and he has things to say about AI, too.

unabomber manifesto

Apparently, he was friends with Timothy McVeigh of the Oklahoma City bombing, who was also at the prison prior to execution, and had things to say about Osama bin Laden wanting to access technology to pull a power play in a nationalistic sense, something that must be stopped. He also questioned the tendency of the media to produce fake news.

fake news PostalOn Oct. 10, 1991, former U.S. postal worker Joseph Harris shot two former co-workers to death at the post office in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The night before, Harris had killed his former supervisor, Carol Ott, with a three-foot samurai sword, and shot her fiance, Cornelius Kasten, in their home. After a four-hour standoff with police at the post office, Harris was arrested. His violent outburst was one of several high-profile attacks by postal workers that resulted in the addition of the phrase “going postal” to the American lexicon.

Harris, who was born in prison and had a lifetime of psychiatric problems, was fired from his job in April 1990. Harboring a grudge against his ex-employer, he began to stockpile automatic weapons, grenades, and ninja swords. Two years later, he learned that he had lost as much as $10,000 by investing it with broker Roy Edwards. Dressed in a black ninja costume, Harris entered Edwards’ Montville, New Jersey,home and handcuffed the family. After sexually assaulting Edwards’ wife and two daughters, he shot Edwards to death. Since hundreds of investors had lost money while dealing with Edwards, police never even considered Harris a suspect in his death until after the mass slaying on October 10.

Arguing that he was insane, Harris’ lawyers said that he had told psychiatrists that he was driven by the “ninja spirit” to commit the crimes. In 1992, Harris was convicted of both the Montville and Ridgewood attacks and was sent to death row. But in September 1996, two days before a New Jersey State Supreme Court battle to overturn its death-penalty law was to start, he died of natural causes.