Tag Archives: Steampunk

Interesting Things Keep Coming from NetFlix: Bright

One of the more intriguing trailers to come from ComicCon was the trailer for Bright, a new movie from NetFlix, directed by David Ayer and starring Will Smith. It looks like an alternate, modern day world that is mostly like ours, except it also has orcs and elves and magic.

There’s urban fantasy, but that makes me think of something like the Dresden Files or Supernatural, with our modern world and the secret underbelly of fantasy elements. There’s also something like Arcanopunk (Steampunk with magic), but it doesn’t look like they’re setting up a world with a heavily divergent path to the present.

So really, I’m not quite sure what genre to call this film, beyond “buddy cop.” But that’s also a lot of what makes it so interesting and makes us want to see it: what is this world they’re setting up? What is it like to live there? What is going on?

What do you think – are you interested in Bright? Let me know in the comments below!

The Definition of Science Fiction – Throwback Thursday

Over the course of Comparative Geeks, I crafted a series exploring this question of the definition of science fiction, by comparing it to fantasy, and by exploring the question from other angles. Each post was originally separated by months, so I’m going to pull it all back together and run it as a weekly Throwback Thursday for the next few weeks! 

I hope you enjoy, and the conversation is certainly not closed on these – tell me what you think!

If it wasn’t obvious so far, one of my favorite things is Science Fiction. The worlds we create, that become science fiction, are often so much fun. They are excellent ways to explore the world that we know and live in, as well as to extrapolate the future or what we might do in a wholly new situation.

For instance, here on Comparative Geeks, we look at how science fiction can inform our current world and our near future, how it can make us look differently at current issues or political situations. You can see our posts like this under the heading Science Fiction Today: https://comparativegeeks.wordpress.com/category/science-fiction/science-fiction-today/

I have also started looking at how science fiction and religion interact. Often, religion is strangely absent from science fiction – or is looked at as the mythology of the past. In particular, I have been working from a perspective in a particular science fiction novel, A Case of Conscience by James Blish. His thought was that the existence of aliens would be particularly troublesome to meld with faith. See my posts on this and others like it in Science Fiction and Religion: https://comparativegeeks.wordpress.com/category/science-fiction/science-fiction-and-religion/

However, underlying all of this is a singular question: What is science fiction? What does it mean, and what are we doing when we produce it, or enjoy it? I have a favorite definition, so let’s look at that, and at a few examples.

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American Exceptionalism 2 – Science Fiction Today

Happy Memorial Day! So I wrote a post recently about the future of America, but then I found my notes about the post and realized I had left a bunch out. I had left out the history of America, the past, the exceptional parts of America. So I thought for Memorial Day, we’d take a look at that.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

-Declaration of Independence

It’s really pretty well wrapped up in that. One way that we discussed American history in my history classes was that it was a continual reinterpretation of this phrase. Through the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, the rights movements of the 20th Century, and at this point right on up through the rights battles of today.

In there too – since it doesn’t say anything about specifically Americans being the ones with these rights – is the ideology that has led to so many people moving here. The history of the United States of America, and even the colony before it, is a history full of immigration.

Americans, what? Nothing better to do? Why don’t you kick yourself out? You’re an immigrant too?

-Icky Thump, The White Stripes

Much like the racial and gender and all rights movements, there has been a long history immigrant groups having a hard time at first, and over time becoming more integrated. The Melting Pot that is America.

Okay, so this is part of a series in our Science Fiction Today posts, which is a bit awkward I guess since there’s not a lot of science fiction set in the past… until you think of Steampunk.

I mean, okay, how about the most painful representation of Steampunk… Wild Wild West. Even just having Will Smith as the lead is an interesting move historically – and a lot of Steampunk follows that same lead. There is far more diversity in Steampunk, more women in science, things like that. We take our thoughts about our current world, our future – and we apply it to the past in these stories.

There’s a lot of backlash to all of these changes throughout history, and we’re still feeling some today. The sort of American Exceptionalism I talked about in the first post, the sort coming up in the political discourse today, is about trying not to change. But it has changed – America is no longer a predominantly Christian society (a great read about that would be The Next Christians), and it’s increasingly diverse. By resisting the inevitable changes in our society, we’re maybe not living up to the promise of the Declaration of Independence.

If it’s Memorial Day, and we are honoring those who have fought for freedom, then let’s pause and think on what freedom means. For all people, born wherever, from whatever background, to whatever future – freedom. All created equal, and deserving of a chance.

Building My Warmachine Army

I’ve run out of super glue, so for now, I thought it would be fun to chronicle a bit of my Warmachine construction. As I talked about before, the basic starter box (or Battle Box) comes without any instructions on how to build the models. I was a bit lost and concerned with this – there’s a lot of parts!

Luckily, when my additional models arrived, I found that the individual packs do come with building instructions!

Diffuser Box

More pictures to come, to show off my progress, and so you can see what I was working with!

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Catching up on our upcoming Gaming Con

A while back, I mentioned that some friends are working on starting a gaming con in our hometown. This is great, because something like this is both lacking, and not easily accessible anywhere else. Indeed, these same friends have flown down for PAX before, as the closest con.

I don’t think we’ll have anything so big as PAX, which is good. I’m looking to have some fun, and hoping to see a lot of people turn up wanting to play games. To that effect, I think things are off to a good start!

You can see the con at its website, PlatypusGaming.org. There’s a spot for donations, and I’m sure this non-profit would not mind getting a donation if you are so inclined 🙂 I also love the look of the lending library – I have played and learned about a lot of games from these friends, and they are taking this and spreading it. And that’s awesome.

Meanwhile, I am planning on helping run the war games demos with a friend, so below the jump I’ll be talking through a bit of our initial look at this – and my first foray into the tabletop war game, Warmachine!

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