Friday, October 18, 2019

Speculative Fiction Links of the Week for October 18, 2019

It's time for the latest weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with Joker, Short Treks and Star Trek, Watchmen, His Dark Materials, Gemini Man, The Lighthouse, Jexi, Wounds, Zombieland: Double Tap, Abominable, the latest version of The Addams Family, Activision Blizzard bowing to Chinese government pressure and much more. 

Speculative fiction in general:

Film and TV:

Comments on Short Treks and Star Trek in general: 

Comments on Joker:

Comments on the latest version of Watchmen

Comments on the TV version of His Dark Materials:

Comments on Gemini Man

Comments on The Lighthouse:

Comments on Jexi

Comments on the latest version of The Addams Family

Comments on Zombieland: Double Tap

Comments on Wounds:

Comments on Abominable:

Comments on Activision Blizzard bowing to Chinese government pressure:


Writing, publishing and promotion:



Classics reviews: 

Con and event reports:


Science and technology:

Free online fiction:

Odds and ends: 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Prediction Scorecard – and BONUS Spooky Halloween Stuff!: guest post by A.E. Williams

Here is another in our series of occasional guest blogs by A.E. Williams, author of Rocket Surgeon and Terminal Reset, amongst many other things, whose newly-released collection we featured on October 14th.

When I made my Predictions earlier this year, I was of course confident that I was, as usual, correct and would find them vindicated easily.
What I hadn’t foreseen was just how accurate I was going to be!

Take a look:

Intel will perfect a super-dense, 3D substrate for transistor manufacturing. This will pave the path for true AI.

New Neopet app was launched this year.

While there was not a real fire, the Trump China tariffs are a dumpster fire, causing similar havoc in the RAM market. So, I am calling this a win.

Christmas isn’t here as yet, so we will have to see what will become of “the ensuing chaos will make Venezuela’s troubles seem insignificant by comparison” bit.[1]

Trump’s Wall will be funded so hard, it will be able to be made of solid gold.[2]

President Donald J. Trump will successfully mount a re-election campaign that guarantees his second term. Near the end of that term, the 25th Amendment will be repealed[3]. The next thing that will happen is that Trump will follow in the footsteps of Mad Vlad Putin and Xi of China.

Due to his recent medical incidents, Bernie Sanders is out.
Elizabeth Warren is unelectable, imho, so the only chance is for a Hillary/Biden ticket…
Which will LOSE… because TWO TIMES NOW, the American public has not chosen a mature, white woman to become a President.[4]
And, it sure as hell won’t start now.

Hillary Clinton’s emails will finally be revealed to be 30,000 recipes for borsht and perogies. Embarrassed FBI agents will be forced to admit that this was known all along, but thought to be steganographically-encrypted nuclear launch codes.
Yeah, they are most likely launch codes[5]

The rest of the JFK files that the CIA has promised to release will mysteriously vanish. Rumor will have it that the Russians hacked their servers.
I am calling this a win…

Everyone who dies in 2019 will do so by finally embracing Camus’ view of absurdism, and a rash of really stupid ways to expire will hit the news.

 Examples include:
1)     Being sat on by elephants
2)       Eaten by pet geckos[6]
3 )      Walking under falling planes[7].

Also, 3) –

And, for your consideration, vis-à-vis Camus:

A lot of people will fall from cruise ships after a design flaw is discovered, in that these ships all require dihydrogen monoxide to float.[8]

Al Gore will become suitably incensed, and a new film will be released in November, initially titled “An Inconvenient Truth: Return to Terabithia.” Audience test-screenings will cause it to be renamed “Overboard.” “Mad as Hell

A new tax credit scheme, the “H2O Offset Credit” will be collected to stem the tide of awkward demises.[9]

A new pandemic of flu will become the Spanish flu all over again.
Fortunately, it will be confined to the poor, so no one will notice.[10]

"Because most of the world does not have access to the same level of prevention and medical care as developed countries, the greatest burden of any influenza pandemic can be expected to effect those least privileged,” researchers wrote in the journal of the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Many people will die of boredom[11], when lithium is depleted by Elon Musk[12] for use in the BFER, an ion-propulsion starship, which is the logical successor to his Mars initiative.


Musk will hollow-out Phobos, and adapt it into a generation ship.[13]

Oops. I guess he will just have to re-purpose it…

After travelling for FORTY-TWO years through our solar system, Voyager One will come into contact with a paranoid, depressed alien space probe. Hilarity will ensue…
A touching homage to Voyager, by Ann Druyan[14].


Humans will remain interested in small, glowing silica-glass and carbon-fiber devices, being charged exorbitant fees for the privilege of being entertained as they travel through absurdist fantasies, pitifully attempting to stave off their inevitable doom.

Star-struck entertainment enthusiasts will go supernova when Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye announce they are getting married in zero-gee[15], primarily for tax purposes. Astronomers and television executive pairings will then become a ‘thing.’[16]


A huge asteroid will hit Krakatoa. The resulting explosion will undo the Fujiyama disaster radiation problem, by creating massive tsunamis that force the radioactive particles to the sea floor.

Well, to be honest, the year isn’t over – YET…

Microsoft and Wells Fargo will embark on a plan to take over the cryptocurrency markets, using submerged server farms[17] for bitcoin mining. This will be discovered to have been going on for the last several years, and Microsoft and Wells Fargo will be blamed as the real reason for climate change.
You may need to connect some dots, or read between the lines for this one.

Windows 12 will come out, and all the people on Earth will be retroactively billed for the amount of $349.99 to pay for it.
I am counting this as a win.
Reason One: Microsoft changing the version number process was an unforeseen, but totally inevitable betrayal on their part.
Reason Two: Have you seen the pricing models for Office recently? Subscription services, baby!

The Moon will be named as the fourth planet. Titan, Europa, Ceres and a dozen other celestial bodies will be inducted as planets as well.
Pluto will still not be considered, primarily because of interorganizational snits between the Society.[18]
You know, every once in a while, I suggest something whimsical, to spice things up.
Then, THIS happens:

Effects from The Wave become evident![19]


As promised, here is a scary story about our weird world!

Now, I don’t want to leave you upset or anything about impending nuclear doom, (since we are all going to apparently be dead[20] in ten years from Climate Change™ anyway.)

But, let’s realistically assess:
           1)      The likelihood of a nuclear terrorist act:
Pretty much ZERO chance.

2)      An all-out nuclear global war:
Also, pretty much ZERO chance.

Now, given my admirable track record of Predictions, you might question why I make these two statements so conclusively.
One, I am conclusively stating that there is a MINIMAL chance, not no chance. So, even if I lose, I win! See?
Two, nuclear weapons aren’t just lying around, you know? There are many, many safeguards that will alert authorities to errant nukes, and finding one isn’t all that easy.[21]
Three, there has been a ongoing crusade for eliminating nuclear weapons, almost since the day they were invented[22].
It would be foolish to ignore the dangers posed by unfettered access to nuclear weapons by the unhinged or ideologically challenged, but, as we have seen, this kind of thing is rare in today’s complex world of politics.

So, don’t worry!
We are in good hands![23]

A.E. Williams
High Springs, Florida
October 15, 2019

[1] Personally, I am stocking up on ammo… 
[2] “It is to be noted that the funding will come from the rest of the world, and the Wall will keep Americans IN” – I am standing by this part. It’s not 2021 yet…
[3] This is the “remove the President because he’s nuts” amendment. The 22nd would also need to be modified or repealed…or ignored.
[4] Which made Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin very sad… 
[5] Benghazi, anyone? 
[6] Okay, YES, HE ate the gecko. Still, that’s a win…
[7] Not dead. Still, pretty close. Climate change will finish the job. So, a win…
[8] You’re welcome…
[9] You think I am making this shit up, right?
[10] This was slated to occur this year, the one-hundred-year anniversary of the Spanish Flu pandemic. In fact, this did occur! However, it was not reported in the Mainstream Media on the off chance that it would be labeled as ‘fake news.’ Look it up!
[13] Deimos is already an alien battlestar base, as documented in my short-story “Return of the Wanderers.”
[14] I think she qualifies as an alien, having been married to Carl Sagan. Also, you might have to sign up to read the whole thing. Go ahead! It’s National Geographic!
[16] This is only weeks away, in my humble opinion, based on Internet research.
[18] In other news, Pluto Planetary Deniers still large douches.
[19] It’s already here! Read all about it in TERMINAL RESET! Do you feel younger yet?
[23] I told you it was going to be scary! Happy Halloween!

About A.E. Williams:

A.E. Williams has a unique background of military experience, aerospace engineering and intelligence analysis. 
Born near Pittsburgh, A.E. Williams is man of a mystery. As a young man, Williams served the United States government in various capacities, which he then followed with ten years as an outfitter. Williams finally retired and moved down to rural central Florida, where he ran a medium - sized tilapia farm. He did his writing at night, usually accompanied by a bottle of Maker's Mark bourbon and a large supply of Classic Dr. Pepper and ice.
A.E. Williams is the author of the exciting hard science fiction series Terminal Reset, which is about the effects of a mysterious force from billions of miles away from Earth that was formed millions of years ago. When The Wave strikes, everything changes!