Gerry Anderson announces that he has Alzheimer's

Truly a tragedy. If the name Gerry Anderson doesn't sound familiar, maybe some of the shows he created do: Thunderbirds and Space: 1999. There are other shows, but those are probably the two most prominent. I only ever saw bits of Thunderbirds and never saw an episode of Space: 1999, but Anderson was a major figure in science fiction and I know a lot of older geeks and nerds grew up watching his shows.

My hat's off to him. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease that no one should ever have to deal with.


A question of blogrolls

Specifically, how many is this blog on? I'm going to be asking this on two of my other blogs, but I'm just a wee bit curious as to who is linking here. :) I know TamsinP, Desert Scribe, Maj. Diz Aster, and Matgc do. Part of the curiosity is born from the amount of traffic Rayguns has been getting almost since its inception; clearly I must be doing something right!


Anyone ever hear of this game? Orion: Combat Near the Speed of Light?

Click to embiggen.
I heard about this game while reading an article on Atomic Rockets and it looks interesting. Here's BoardGameGeek's description:
This is a game of combat between ram ships moving at near light speed in the Great Nebula of Orion. Each player commands a fleet or ram ships armed with missiles, X-ray lasers, etc. The primary tenet of the game is Einstein's theory of special relativity and how it affects movement and communications. The game includes 7 scenarios which may last from 1.5 to 8 hours. Also included are advanced rules and notes from the designer on the game mechanics, concept, and how these relate to physics.


On the next How I Met Your Carnifex

Shield Brother.
I would love to see the reaction if this happened during a WH40k game.

"How in the hell did a dude in a flak jacket and armed with a rifle take down a Carnifex!?"
"With lots and lots of ammo, apparently."

(via ThunderStorm)


Finished The Honor of the Queen

I'm feeling a bit under the weather at the moment, so I'll try and write something more about it during the week. In nutshell, however, I really liked it. The space battles were absolutely brutal, but exciting. I already mentioned my least favorite part of the book, but it didn't detract from the book as a whole. The ending felt a bit rushed and overdone, however.


Gundam, it's a Gundam!

Check out what I snagged at a yard sale last Sunday.

According to Toyarena and several other websites, this thing retails for over a hundred smackers and I got it - and hold on to your britches, boys and girls - for five dollars. Clearly, the Nerd Gods like me. The Strike Freedom Gundam is a beast of a model that when completed, will measure 1.7 feet in height and just shy of 2 in width. I've never watched Gundam SEED, but this sucker looks like a real badass!

Progress, however, has been slow. I'm not going to lie, my enthusiasm for this project has been sapped a bit by the amount of wire work required. You see, the thing comes with LEDs for the head, arms, and chest, and it took several hours just to assemble the head (which required assembly of its light and battery compartment), right arm, and base (another battery compartment assembly). The latter came with two long, flat metal pieces that run up from the base to the pole that the Gundam will sit on. I'm going to work on it again tomorrow and try to put the left arm together and make progress on whatever comes after that.

I have no idea where the heck I'm going to put it. I don't even want to consider that yet.


In which I almost stopped reading The Honor of the Queen

Because of one section. I'll explain it after the jump, to spare anyone who might become uncomfortable by it. Also, spoilers. Suffice to say, however, I almost quit reading the book for good.


RIP Caroline John

Admittedly, I wasn't aware of who she was until just now, which is unfortunate. John played Liz Shaw, the Third Doctor's first companion on Doctor Who. She died today at age 71.

xkcd's Exoplanets will make you feel small

Imagine if just some of those planets contained the right conditions for life and some of those had life. While not a believing in the UFO/alien abduction nonsense, I do wholeheartedly believe that there is life in the universe - it's simply too vast for there not to be. If, on the other hand, we are the only living things in this great big mess, then it is the most tragic thing ever and something worth weeping over.

Now, if you really want to feel insignificant, hit the jump.


I actually forgot that they were making an Ender's Game movie

Or that there was a production blog on Tumblr. In case you weren't aware of the movie, it stars Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff and some kid named Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin. Jimmy Pinchak and Abigail Breslin (the only name, aside from Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, and Harrison Ford that I recognize) play Peter and Valentine Wiggin, respectively. Meanwhile, Kingsley will be playing the legendary Mazer Rackham, and Bean will be played by a kid named Aramis Knight.

Here's to hoping the movie won't suck when it comes out Fall 2013.

Christ, David Weber writes brutal space battles

Reading The Honor of the Queen yesterday and got to one of the space battles and while not an overly long affair, it was pretty intense and brutal.

And I'm just under the halfway mark. I may have to turn to hard drink to cope, if there are any other battles in the book, and there probably are.

Things worth checking out

A list of interesting blog posts:
  • EXONAUTS! has a helpful post for anyone looking to create their own starships, be it for gaming, fiction, or real world use.
  • A Fantasy Reader reports that ebooks made more money during the first quarter of this year than hardcovers, but both were thoroughly trounced by paperback.
  • Meanwhile, GAMMA WORLD WAR! has a most interesting post about how, during World War II, the Swiss basically booby-trapped the living hell out of their country as a precaution against possible German invasion. You'd think the fact that every household in a nation of several million people being legally required to own a firearm would be enough of a deterrent, but I guess you can never be too careful.
  • And here's a list of five of the strangest exoplanets ever, via popcorndoorknob.


I've seem to have caught a meme

There's a meme going around lately wherein you post what you've just read, what you're reading right now, and what you plan on reading next. It looks fun, so what the hell, hit the jump to see my selection.


Sci-fi movies get a bit pulpy

A chap named Tim Anderson created pulp book covers based on three classic science fiction movies - Aliens, Blade Runner, and The Matrix. I like them, especially the way they each have wear damage, just like an old paperback you would find at a thrift shop.

You can check out the rest over at Poster Collective. h/t to fuck yeah, science fiction.


Image inspiration: Jack Houston and the Necronauts

Saw this on Jay's EXONAUTS! blog. It's the cover for a potential point-and-click computer game by Warbird Games, which they describe as "...a traditional point & click graphic adventure game set in an Edgar Rice Burroughs/Frank Frazetta inspired sci-fi world of bubble helmets, rockets ‘n ray guns!" Sounds fun, provided it gets made. Warbird is currently running a fundraiser on IndieGoGo (a Kickstarter-esque website) and while their goal is modest, $1999, they're currently sitting at $899 with only 12 days to go. Going by the concept art, which is both on their IndieGoGo page and their website, it looks like it might be an interesting game. Honestly, I think it probably would work better as a tabletop RPG, but that's just my opinion.

As for the inspiration part, the picture is the kind of adventure scifi that I've itching to write at some point soon. Space suits, ray or laser guns, mostly ignoring hard science in favor of entertaining adventures, the sort of thing that seems to be missing from most sci-fi lit nowadays.

Random thought: who cleans the Enterprise?

Or any vessel in Starfleet, really. You never see Riker, Spock, Janeway, or Dax break out the old Dirt Devil and can of Pledge and I can't imagine that the ships have some kind of housekeeping department (hmm, would those be red/gold shirts?). Starbases and space stations would, and maybe the Galaxy and Sovereign classes due to their size, but not the smaller Mirandas, Excelsiors, and such. A possibility that occurs to me is maybe they clean using the ship's transporters? Maybe the main computer is tasked with scanning the ship for dust and dirt with the internal sensors, then beams the stuff into space. A more likely possibility is that the air filtration system on Starfleet vessels are just so damn good, that nothing ever gets dusty. Man, I would kill for that, especially when it comes to allergies.

Heh, the mental image of Picard vacuuming is priceless, though.


Space Suits and Combat

Because if you’re going to have a blog called “Rayguns and Space Suits”, then you better post something about space suits! Anyway, the genesis for this nugget of a post came from random thought that crossed my mind the other day. I noticed that in a lot, if not most, military science fiction and space opera, you never see the crew of warships wearing space suits during combat situations. Star Trek (specifically during the Dominion War), Star Wars, Babylon 5, and Battlestar Galactica are all examples. It’s just odd that if you’re about to go into battle or if there is a potential for combat - such as patrolling a border shared with an adversarial state, an area rife with trouble, etc. - you would wear a suit to protect yourself from loss of atmosphere, life support, etc. David Weber’s Honorverse is a good example of what I mean. In the first book, On Basilisk Station, there’s a scene where Honor Harrington and her crew don suits prior to combat. Granted, a ship’s crew wouldn’t need to wear a suit if they’re part of a Home Fleet or just jaunting from port to port.


Oh look, a picture of the Doctor and his new companion


Nothing to say other than I like the way the Doctor dresses. It actually reminds of the First Doctor's style of dress for some reason.


Of escape pods and wargaming

Not the escape pod you're looking for (via Wookieepedia).
Recently* over at the excellent Super Galactic Dreadnought, Desert Scribe made a post about escape pods he made using swanky beads his wife gave to him. Even before I got a quarter of the way through the post, ideas were already flitting around my head, about prospective uses for escape pods in space-based wargaming. What if when ships are destroyed, their respective players have to roll to see whether or not any crew escaped. Maybe there could even be an option to have the crew abandon ship if the vessel is damaged badly enough. If the roll succeeds, the player then rolls to see how many pods make it on the board.

Then things get interesting. The pods are stationary and can be retrieved by either side. If the player rescues them, they gain points for each pod. Its the same if their opponent captures them. On the other hand, the enemy has the additional option of simply destroying the escape pods for points, although there should be some kind of roll involved to balance it out, otherwise, they’ll just blow the pods away every time. If a player does decide to snatch up the pods, the ship they send has its movement drop to the slowest speed, if not stopping altogether. If their ship has shields, they have to drop them and their field of fire is restricted due to escape pods floating around.

Another idea is that if you do rescue escape pods from one of your own ships, any crew lost on the rescuing ship can be replenished.

So, thoughts?

*Okay, so it’s been like two weeks since the post went up. I’m lazy, sue me.

In which this blog wins an award

Apparently so! CaptainSciFi of the eponymous blog has award me (and five others, but let's not quibble over mere facts) the Kreativ Blogger Award. Granted, I don't know why, but again, let's not quibble over facts and just run with it. Unfortunately, whoever created the Kreativ Blogger Award forgot to make a trophy to go along with it, so I'll just make one and mount up on the ole wall here.

*Takes out a marker and a scrap of paper, and scrawls Kreative Blogger Award Winner across it. Then takes a staple gun, presses paper against wall and staples it to the wall* Ah, excellent! Now, could someone please bring me a staple remover and if it's not too much of a bother, some gauze? I seem to have stapled myself to the wall here.

But in all seriousness, thanks to CaptainSciFi for the honor.

RIP Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

Certainly a surprise, but not a terrible shock; the man was 91 years old after all. Doesn't make it any sadder, though and literature and humanity as a whole as lost a giant. There's not much I can say that others haven't already, but he definitely left a mark and Fahrenheit 451 will stand throughout time as a warning against censorship and the danger of simply not reading.

Farewell and godspeed, Mr. Bradbury.


The Ghost Brigades - A review

So, as I previously mentioned, I just finished The Ghost Brigades, the second book in the Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi. Here’s a one word review of the book: Awesome. And here’s a two word review: Frakking awesome. That not enough? Well, hit the jump for a longer one. Spoiler warning, though.

Just finished The Ghost Brigades, review coming soon

It was a good, though.


George Lucas retiring, Kathleen Kennedy taking over

Yup. George Lucas will remain CEO and co-hair of Lucasfilms., while Kennedy handles the day-to-day stuff. Maybe know we'll get some more Star Wars movies, like an adaption of the Thrawn Trilogy. I vote for Nathan Fillion as Han Solo.

We'd probably end up with Ryan Reynolds instead. Never mind.

But anyways, Lucas wants to go back to making "experimental" movies like he did before Star Wars, like THX 1138. Good luck to him on that and thanks for all the great movies.
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