Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


What if we got hit by a meteor?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Have you ever wondered?

Well, wonder no more! Scientists at UCSC have run a computer simulation of just such an event. There’s a pretty big meteor that has a 0.3% chance of hitting the Earth in 2880, but, not wanting to wait until the last minute, these folks decided to see what would happen if it hits us. Or, rather, our distant relatives.
Well, it might not be the most pressing concern, but it does provide some fodder for fiction. After all, these scientists are answering questions that a science-fiction writer might ask if they were going to write about such an event. They even have a picture of it, which I’ve linked to locally here. View image

It’s really a very interesting possibility, to me. Would new islands be created in the blast crater afterward? How would the ocean life change in that area? Would we have to deal with the darkening skies and changing temperatures that killed the dinosaurs? What will the Earth be like, say, 20 years after the impact? All very interesting indeed. Make a good story, or novel, eh?


Reading List and Review Update

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Playing a little catchup here.

I’ve read two books in about as many weeks and I’m just now getting to put something up about them.
The first is Beneath an Opal Moon by Eric von Lustbader, who also wrote the excellent book The Ninja, though it’s not related. His fantasy work is not quite as good as his modern fiction, but it’s pretty good. Okay, it’s not bad, but it’s not quite as good as I remembered it as a kid. Kind of pulp-fiction feeling, but a little less purple prose than a lot of things from that genre. Beneath an Opal Moon is about a navigator/adventurer tyring to find a way home, but getting entangled in someone else’s adventure. It ends up being a quest to prevent the end of the world. I know, I know, it sounds terrible, but it’s really not that bad. It makes nice Summer reading, anyway.

Another Summer read that suprised me was
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
by J. K. Rowling. I’ve been resisting reading this series simply because it’s so popular and because my wife and daughter have read it and are likely to sneak out spoilers on me. But, it, too, was a good, light Summer read. It really is a kid’s book, in spite of how it was billed, but, it still was engaging enough to capture my attention for a couple of days. And, thanks to stuff at my job, all I really wanted was some simple escapist fantasy, which this provided quite well. Of course, by now, everyone in the world knows the story of the “boy who lived”. If not, read the book or rent the video or just ask any kid under 15 who happens to be walking by a bookstore.

Until next time!


ConLang Generator Update

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Crescent

A young fan of my site challenged me last week.

Nikhil Sinha saw my ConLang Generator and thought it was cool, but needed a little work. I hate to admit it, but it really did need some improvements. I had a problem with duplicate created words. The script on which I based my version of the Generator didn’t sort out duplicates and I hadn’t gotten around to working out why. Well, thanks to Nikhil, I finally got off my big butt and did it. So, thanks, Nikhil, for getting me going on that again.

Oh, Nikhil has a conlang, too. It can be found at Nihilosc.


Furry Fuel Cells?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

Yeast based fuel?

Hmm, why not? Here’s an article on Wired News about yeast-based fuel cells. I think it would be a good blend of hard and soft sciences, if they can make it work on a large enough scale. I rather like the idea of yeast powering my car, for instance. A nice by-product of water vapor, theoretically cheaper fuel. Ah, there’s the rub. Will the oil companies let this fly? Somehow, I doubt it. But, what if it does?
Here’s a great chance to speculate on how a technology might alter our lives in the future. That is what great science-fiction authors do, of course. They make plausible predictions about what might happen in the future. Sometimes, they’re dead on right. Other times, not quite. But, the fun is in the speculation and the story they tell. So, will this ruin the smoggy skies of dystopian futures? Or, will it lead to completely biological cars? Get out your Imagination Helmet™ and get to writin’!


Digital Salvation

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Will that be cash, check or charge?

Technology keeps marching on, doesn’t it? Now, according to this article on Wired News, there’s a Canadian company that offers churches a new way of collecting donations. An interactive kiosk. What will they think of next? Will indulgences be autioned off on eBay? Will “independant” churches offer PayPal as a method of donation? I wonder what God thinks of all this? Does this offend his sight? Are the money lenders in the temple?
It seems strange to me, but then, I guess it’s harder and harder to collect money for charity these days. Who knows if it will even work? It sure is an interesting idea, though. Even if it is a bit frightening.

Will this become more common as we become more integrated with technology? Will shrines have donation kiosks available to distribute prayers for the faithful on their pilgrimages? Can a priest be replaced with a PERL script? Man, there are so many ideas for stories here that I can hardly imagine all the possibilities! Sci-fi religion at it’s best!


Digital Prayer

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

A digital prayer a day?

Hmm, well, why not? I mean, we can get other kinds of reminders to our phones or pagers, so why not a reminder to pray?
This article on Wired News really made me think about where we’re taking religion as a society. I’ve seen plenty of free Islamic programs for the Palm, so why not a generalized one? A simple PERL script or two is all it should take to send a random reminder to pray to any Internet-enabled wireless device. Or, a more generalized “spiritual” message could be sent. Or, really, anything that would be regular and in text format.
Personally, I like the idea of getting random reminders to make contact with God. It might be nice to have my cellphone, which I’ve come to think of as a tool of the Devil, remind me that God is watching me and that He does care about me. Why shouldn’t technology remind us of our spiritual selves? Just because the old Catholic church had issues with early scientists doesn’t mean that we should not make use of this kind of tool for spiritual awareness. I’d like to think that the modern Vatican, which is online now, would agree with me.

Hmph, maybe I’ll have to develop something to make that work. Stay tuned!


The Religion Matrix

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Is Neo the Messiah?

I wrote about this on my other site, Diary of a Network Geek, but it’s worth mentioning again. The Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article about religion in science-fiction, especially the Matrix movies. It’s interesting to me because I’ve seen similar connections myself for a long time. Back in college, I wrote a paper about how similar the Luke Skywalker character was to the archtypeal hero from myth. It’s a short hop from that to the archtype of the messiah.
I think there’s plenty of room for religion in fantasy and science-fiction. In fact, I think it’s essential that it gets included more often. Why? Well, because it’s an important part of human interaction and has been for a very long time. Think about how many wars were justified through religion. How often has science been hindered, or helped, by religion? If nothing else, religion can give us our regular rituals and holidays. Sure, Christmas and Easter are often very secular holidays now, but they are still based on religion.
And, religion can be a great motivator for characters. Crusaders and missionaries both can be very interesting characters to follow. Also, people trying to escape religious persecution can drive plot. Even some one seeking enlightenment can be an interesting story, if told right.

My point is this, religion is a part of our everyday life in one way or another and as an author, I would be foolish to overlook the possibilities it presents me. It’s not something I’ve seen too much of in literature for quite some time. I wonder why?


Dead Language Updated?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, so it’s not quite dead…

This is from the May 15 Wired News e-mail, under the section called “Furthermore”:

Recentis Latinitas
The Vatican’s Latin lovers — that is, those who love the ancient language of Rome — are issuing a new dictionary on how to say contemporary words like FBI and videophone. The book may never become a liber maxime divenditus — a best seller — if only because of its steep cost of 100 euros, but its release is causing a major buzz in literary circles. The Italian-Latin dictionary, Lexicon Recentis Latinitas, which joins two earlier volumes, A-L and M-Z, offers students of Latin, still the Roman Catholic Church’s official language, a way to refer to things that didn’t exist in Julius Caesar’s time. FBI, for instance, is known as officium foederatum vestigatorium. TV correspondents embedded with U.S. military units in Iraq might be amused to know that they filed stories via a telephonium albo televisifico coniunctum.


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