Turns out H+: The Digital Series just ended

I was super-psyched about H+ in September of 2011 when I first heard about and I even liked the Facebook page to “make sure” I got updates about it… That didn’t work out so well (mostly because I don’t actually check Facebook that much and when I do, it’s usually to like something my wife posted so our friends will be more likely to see it and get jealous – or maybe happy for us – or else to answer questions on the Fantasy Basketball Coaches Facebook page).

So, I just saw a Sponsored Post about it on my Facebook (which kind of tells you something about how much the Facebook algorithms are designed to make money that it takes a Sponsored Post about a page that I already liked in order to get my attention) and it turns out that H+: The Digital Series is already over (unless there’s another season coming but I haven’t watched it or read anything about it to know if that’s the case).

It actually works out quite well, because Fringe just ended (even though at the time of this writing I still have 3 episodes left to watch), so now I have something else to satiate my scifi cravings. (Although I’m not sure for how long, since, while there are 48 episodes, they all look to be about 4-7 minutes, so at most it’s about 6 hours)


Short Story Saturday: Warriors vs. Timberwolves


“Sir, Captain Sir! Rush and Bogut are down just outside of Minneapolis. Radar shows that the wolves are closing in.”

Captain Curry looked up from where he sat lacing up his shoe. He wasn’t yet sure if he could trust Private Barnes. The young recruit showed flashes of promise, but proved inconsistent so far in their time together. Of course, he knew that was what other said about him and his goddamn ankle. He pulled tighter on the lace to make sure his boots were secure around the surgically repaired joint.

“Can we take them out with rockets?”

“No, sir. They are not in range.”

“How far into the woods did those two go down?”

“Not far, sir. Only a few clicks. The satellite shows sparse trees for another few kilometers before the forest gets any denser. There’s a large field that borders the forest. Should make it easy to get low and find a good position.”

“Do we need to watch out for bobcats in the area?”

“No, sir. The wolves had a run in with them earlier this week and were chased off. This is a new area for them. My guess is they’re getting hungry, perhaps a bit desperate. It looks like there’s only nine left in the pack.”

“That’s not many. But we need to be careful; they took out that rogue group earlier this week. We don’t want to end up like that. Those mavericks should have been able to fend off the wolves, but they took them down. They’re wily animals, and cunning.”

“Sir, yes. That is true, sir.”

Captain Curry bent down again to double-check his boots. Everything looked good. On the inside, though, it still felt shaky. It was probably all just in his head, but the ankle he injured 3 years prior had never really seemed to heal properly. His team needed him to lead, though, and he wasn’t the kind of man to let a little lingering pain hold him back.

“Let’s go,” he said to Private Barnes.

A short time later, the drop ship zipped toward the field, Captain Curry and his band of warriors ready to jump in and save their squadmates from the vicious teeth and deadly claws of the wolf pack. The buzzing of the engine made it hard to hear anything, but as soon as they’d jumped to the earth and the ship turned away, the arena for the upcoming battle went silent. There was probably a family in the farmhouse adjacent to the field in which they’d landed. They might be the only spectators that night. But Curry and his warriors would save them from the same savage fate from which they needed to rescue Sergeant Bogut and Corporal Rush.

Curry’s ankle twinged, even landing in the soft grass field. He cursed it, wishing not for the first time that he’d opted for the bionic replacement. At the time he’d talked himself into believing that he could perform just as well with his real, natural body after he’d healed from the surgery. But he heard the whispers that went around HQ, people wondering if he would ever be the same run-and-gun officer who people thought would lead the warriors into a new era of dominance. But the people he’d worked with back then were gone, replaced by youngsters, newly enlisted, and guys like Bogut who might never see a battle again.

The team scurried across the field, taking up positions spread around the perimeter of the woods. Curry watched and saw the glowing green eyes of wolves circling. Their body language said exactly what Barnes had thought: they were scared and desperate, their pack had been decimated and they were just trying to hang on.

“On my mark, we try to take them down from here,” Curry said, flipping his mic live. “Barnes, Thompson, you take the shots. Lee, Landry, prepare to move inside. Three, two, one, mark!”

Several quick bursts of fire tore threw the woods, taking down branches and splintering trees. Curry saw the wolves duck and scatter, but a moment after the gunfire stopped, they were back.

“Not working from out here,” Curry said, “Lee, Landry, get in there!”

The two hulking big men crashed into the forest, barreling towards the pack of wolves who looked scared and more than a little unsure. Two of them, though, a light wolf and a dark one jump straight into the path of the two Staff Sergeants and raked them with their claws, sending the officers back a few steps. The pair of wolves tried to get a grip on the warrior officers with their long canine teeth, but Curry’s warriors rebounded from the initial assault and tossed aside the two animals brave enough to resist. The rest of their pack had already turned tail to find a new hunting ground.

Curry rose from his crouch and called for the drop ship to return. He hadn’t done much, but most of the time it was better to play to your strengths and use what worked. He recognized the wolves were too fast to hit from long distance, so they got up close and secured the victory from a meter away instead of seven.

Lee and Landry came back helping Bogut and Rush into the ship. They pulled away from the site and Curry was sure they all wished it could always be so easy. As the ship sailed back toward base, Curry noticed a large swell of clouds on the horizon and lighting slashing from them, torching the ground below. Thunder echoed in the distance. He sure hoped they wouldn’t have to ride through that to get home.

Six Sentence Sunday

The intro to the Valkyrie Project 2 (no working title yet):

Our hero spins, a violent but controlled dervish with a Raptor pressed firm in each hand, spitting venom bullets in wild arcs. His back jostles against the strong, hard back of his partner as they dance a reaper’s tango across a cold durocrete floor. Outnumbered but over-trained, they move as a single entity, one person with four arms, four guns, firing as fast as the guns pointed back at them.
In a theatrical presentation of the scene, scores of bodies would fall over railings, letting loose strings of stray bullets in a last attempt to take down the hero.
The bodies in real life, though, mostly just slumped back after being hit, merging with the shadows of the long alley, melting into the darkness as they faded into death.

Ready to Pull the Plug on Revolution

I can say that I honestly thought the computer at the end (spoiler!) was the best actor in the first episode of NBC’s new Revolution.

I hate to be the overcritical, Negative Nelsy, but seriously guys… this? I guess Journeyman was too complicated and verging on finding some real emotions, as was the more recently canned Awake. So, instead of trying to once again to find a family dynamic that works, they kill off the mom and dad right away, kidnap the brother to use him as the plot, and then throw in an uncle that the daughter/heroine has never met. So many emotional bonds to work with right off the bat! (yes, sarcasm)

Where do I go from there? I mean… Let’s see: The leader of the bad guys is black and the hunky guy who turns out to also be a bad guy is latino, but all the good guys are white. Or how about the pudgy computer geek who provides the necessary comic relief to break through all the tension that is built up? (more sarcasm) Or the obvious Katnissification of the heroine (in spite of the androgynous nickname “Charlie”) via sweet bowhunting skills? (Even if they came up with that somehow before Hunger Games, did no one think it was going to look very unoriginal [at best] or pandering [at worst]?)

Then there’s the risk taking – and lack there of. Lost took risks from the very first episode, raising all sorts of questions (that we all assumed would be answered at some point), but Revolution raised only one question: Why did everything turn off? (Okay, I guess it also, for me, raises the question of what could have turned off not just electricity, but also the batteries of cars and engines of airplanes? Perhaps I am actually too much of a geek to be able to suspend disbelief for that one – or maybe some physics geek can convince that it’s actually theoretically possible.) That question of “Why?” is a plot question, though, and I think that’s my main beef (and I realize this now that I’ve studied writing a bit). There’s no character questions. In Lost, you have plot questions about how the plane crash occurred (equivalent to the question of why the power went off), and also what the smoke monster was, but, through the ingenious/risky use of the flashback, it begged the question of what all the characters were doing on the plan and what their backstories were. In Revolution, I don’t care about any of the characters. I mean, sure I want Katniss Charlie to find her brother, but again, that’s really more of a plot device since the characters don’t really have any connection other than the assigned labels of brother and sister.

I guess I should have gone with the canceled shows part last because that’s probably I want to talk about next, but blog posts don’t have to be structured as well as fiction, right? Anyway, maybe this is just the jaded perspective of someone who refuses to get cable, but it seems like most of the shows that people watch these days are on cable. And I think they’ve started to figure it out… Let me start with an example: Breaking Bad has 13 episodes in its longest season. Perhaps more relevant to the “writing” of fiction in which I partake: Game of Thrones is only 10 episodes per season. If broadcast networks would shorten the required length of season for their serial series, then I feel like we could keep the best shows (cough*Fringe*cough) around longer. I know: syndication and all that. But seriously, 22-24 episodes is a lot. Especially once a show moves further away from an episode-by-episode arc to a season-long arc. Again, maybe it’s just the jaded perspective of a dedicated sci-fi geek, but it seems a lot harder to make shows with an individual episode plot for a sci-fi show. Fringe did a good job of this (but they basically copied The X-Files format for that), but then when you had to have actually seen the show in order to follow what was happening, the ratings wheels started falling off. (The show was just as good, they just lost a lot of viewers)

I have no real idea if it would work, but with the cable shows doing it, it seems like it has to be worth a try… It probably wouldn’t have made a difference for Revolution… but I think that overall it would/will make for better, tighter, more tense, more interesting shows (especially sci-fi) and maybe not force the networks to come up with new crap just to cancel it after half a season.

Fringe is Ending (The Good Way)

FOX was kind enough to give Fringe a renewal for a final 13 episode season. I’m not sure if JJ Abrams had to pay someone off to get that, but if he did, I appreciate it. I still have a couple episodes to catch up on before the final 3 of this season come out, but I’m very relieved to know that the writers (producers, actors, etc.) will be able to finish out the show in (what I imagine is) the way they want it to end. Much better than Firefly, which had to cram in 2 hours what was probably 3-4 seasons worth of material (or in Joss Whedon’s case maybe 8-9 more seasons).

Look, it’s the smaller final season of Fringe

1Q84 fills up 3 MP3 CDs

And I am lucky such things exist

I get a lot of audiobooks from the Chicago Public Library and most of them are at least a few years old. The result of getting these Old-In-Internet-Years books is that, while the do come on CD (as opposed to cassette), I have to rip all the CDs and then convert them to audiobooks in iTunes. It’s not usually that bad, when I get something like Storm Front or Murder on the Orient Express, but (after waiting 2 months for it to arrive after placing it on hold), my next audiobook is 1Q84. Amazon lists it at 944 pages. The back of the audiobook lists it at 46 hours, 46 minutes or 38 compact discs. That’s a lot of discs to rip.

But, the back of the audiobook also says this:

Thank you Brilliance Audio! It might have taken me another 46 hours and 46 minutes to rip 38 CDs to my computer (or at least like 10% of that)… But instead, I was able to transfer the 3 MP3 CDs in about 15 minutes. With all that extra time, I was able to write this blog post and still have plenty of time to get back to more reading and writing…