Bee-Line To The Future

BOOK REVIEW: "I Want the Stars" by Tom Purdom (1964)

Robert Bee's picture

I want the Stars is a 42,000 word Ace Double published in 1964. The story begins in medias res with an attack on an alien ship. The Horta, a group of telepathic aliens, are persecuting the Sordini, likeable amphibians that communicate via a color-based language. Intelligent races do not normally fight wars against one another in this future, but the humans intervene because the Horta are enslaving the Sordini. The attack on the Horta fails partly because humans have evolved into a peaceful race that does not often commit violence, and thus find the fighting psychologically difficult.

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COMIC REVIEW: "The Creeper" and "Unexplored Worlds" by Steve Dikto

Robert Bee's picture

It’s a great time to be a Steve Dikto fan: three different presses have recently released trades and hardcover reprints of his comics from DC, Marvell, and Charlton. DC released a folio-sized collection of The Creeper, a superhero Dikto created in 1968 after he left Marvel, and Charlton closed its superhero line.

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BEELINE TO THE FUTURE: The Future of Computer Interfaces

Robert Bee's picture

If you’ve ever seen Minority Report you may have been impressed with Tom Cruise’s gesture-based computer interface. The interface was cool and cinematic, as Cruise waved his arms around in swirls of colors, graphics, and information, but it required too much effort, your arms would get tired after awhile.

But it does raise an interesting question: will human-technology interfaces be radically different in the future? What will replace the mouse and keyboard?

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SCIENCE FICTION MUSIC REVIEW: "Seeking Major Tom" by William Shatner (2011)

Robert Bee's picture

Over the last ten years or so, I’ve greatly enjoyed William Shatner’s career, from his acting to his “musical performances.” I appreciate the camp and self-parody he displays on his CDs.

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SOFTWARE REVIEW: Out of the Park Baseball

Robert Bee's picture

In Robert Coover’s novel The Universal Baseball Association, the protagonist Henry Waugh creates a detailed stats-based baseball game played with dice, similar to games like APBA and Strat-O-Matic that many of us played as kids and beyond. He creates entire seasons with his eight-team league, keeping intricate statistics for the players and teams. He imagines back-stories and personalities for his players, serving as the league’s official historian as he records reams of articles and pages.

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BEELINE TO THE FUTURE: McLuhan's Centennial

Robert Bee's picture

2011 is the centennial of Marshall McLuhan’s birth. McLuhan was the first media critic in academia, a remarkable fact because today’s academia is rife with fashionable media criticism, with entire university departments studying TV, movies, and communications. When McLuhan first started writing about television and communication networks, English professors did not study popular culture, they wrote about Shakespeare and other canonized writers.

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BOOK REVIEW: "The Coming of the Terraphiles" by Michael Moorcock (2010)

Robert Bee's picture

I generally avoid “media novels,” such as Star Trek or Star Wars tie-ins because I think they harm the genre by taking shelf space away from original SF and F; however, I could not resist picking up Michael Moorcock’s Dr. Who novel because I’ve been an avid reader of Moorcock since my teenage years, and I’ve recently started watching Dr. Who via Netflix.

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BOOK REVIEW: "Selected Stories by Fritz Lieber" (2010)

Robert Bee's picture

It’s an exaggeration to describe Fritz Leiber as a forgotten writer, but he certainly is not as well known among younger fans or as prominent today as he deserves. Leiber won 6 Hugos, 4 Nebulas and 20 or so other awards such as the Lovecraft and August Derleth. Leiber is a major figure in the field of fantasy, SF, and horror, yet most of his work remains out of print.

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BOOK REVIEW: "The collected Stories of Robert Silverberg, Volume Two: To The Dark Star" by Robert Silverberg (2007)

Robert Bee's picture

I've written about this series in the New York Review of Science Fiction, but this is the first chance I’ve had to read volume 2, which contains much of Silverberg’s award winning and influential SF from the 60s. To the Dark Star went out of print rapidly and is now selling for prices such as $75 or $100 dollars online. Silverberg recently rereleased the first four volumes of the series for $5 apiece in Kindle, iPad, and Nook format, which is a tremendous deal. To the Dark Star has over a dozen stories, is over 500 pages long, and contains a lengthy introduction for each selection.

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BOOK REVIEW: "Stress Pattern" by Neal Barrett Jr. (1974)

Robert Bee's picture

Neal Barrett Jr. is one of those writers that I’ve been meaning to get around to reading for some time; several of his novels have been stacked in the teetering piles of paperbacks that constitute the décor of my home office. Recently, I picked Stress Pattern largely at random out of a bag of paperbacks I recently bought and read through it. The book is a short, 70s SF novel published by DAW books with the old uniform yellowish covers.

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