A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Star Cops

Star Cops TitleIt’s time for another edition of the Primer! We’re back at the end of the month with a British sci-fi/police procedural series that bears the rather unimaginative title of Star Cops. Set in the far off year of 2027, there’s now enough offworld presence that an international police force is established to help maintain law and order in the final frontier. Of course, like all international endeavors, that means a lot of nationalistic posturing and power struggles, on top of tight budgets and low manpower… this is starting to sound familiar, isn’t it? Don’t worry; the show takes a completely different, more realistic approach, but the question remains. Will Star Cops prove to be a bit more creative than its name would lead you to believe, or is it as inane as you fear?

Let’s take a look.

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4 Dangers of the Alternate Reality — Friday Four

That planet you’re orbiting may look familiar, but how can you be sure it’s the one you left behind? After all, whether you’re getting around with hyperspace, subspace, or something more exotic entirely, you’re leaving the normal universe, with its well understood physical laws, behind. If even the slightest thing goes wrong (or right), you might find yourself in a world both unsettlingly alien and uncomfortably close to home. Alternate universes, where your closest friends are dire enemies or the human race has succumb to tyranny. The rules of these places may go against everything you’ve fought for, but it’s hard enough to save one universe–to try to set things right in all the infinite universes is a task not even Sisyphus would envy.

No, the best you can hope for is to get home (which, if you ask Dr. Sam Beckett, is easier said than done), and here are some of the ways to make sure that happens.

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4 Ways to Beat the Cloaking Device — Friday Four

Ah, the cloaking device–bane of spacefaring warriors the multiverse over. How can you explode what you can’t see? It’s a question that’s hard for even the most brilliant minds to reliably answer, and let’s be honest, the warrior races of the galaxy aren’t exactly known for their critical thinking skills. But, from our perch outside the conflict, perhaps there are a few patterns we can spot that will crack this wide open, and defeat our cloaked menace once and for all.

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End of year check in

Been a while since the last post, hasn’t it? I’ve been having kind of a hard time lately and it’s made it difficult to write posts… this isn’t supposed to be personal so I’ll avoid getting into it too much. The views have really tanked as a result of the lack of new content, which makes me worry that I’ve thrown away all my progress, but what’s done is done.

But I’m not giving up, so don’t take it the wrong way.

I’m gonna try to get back to posting at least twice a month after New Year’s. That’s really the best I can offer at the moment, but I hope it’s enough to re-energize the place some. For now, happy holidays, and do come back to see what I’ve got next year.

A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Dark Skies

The Primer is back, unexpectedly as it may be, to cover little known 90’s UFO series and X-Files coattail rider, Dark Skies. Set in the 60’s with the backdrop of the cold war ever-present, Dark Skies poses an alternative to what you thought you knew about that time. But is being a period piece and limiting yourself primarily to UFOs instead of the SFF kitchen sink approach enough for this series to stand on its own, or was it right to be so quickly forgotten? It’s time to find out.

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4 Hazards of the Ubermensch–Friday Four

Super Soldiers. Augments. Transhumans. Call your pet project what you will, but the endgame is the same: to create a variety of human that surpasses our natural limitations. I won’t bore such a… “forward thinking” scientist such as yourself with trifling arguments like ethical and moral concerns about playing god or fostering ideas of supremacy. But for someone who seems to be so enamored with your own understanding Nietzche’s ideals, you might be interested in some advice on self-preservation, at least. Because if there’s one thing an engineer of a new race should be aware of, it’s the Hazards of the Ubermensch.

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4 Signs of A Doomsday Cult–Friday Four

The end of the world often looms large over sci-fi and fantasy settings; AI uprisings, alien invasions, experiments gone wrong and earth-shattering superweapons are just some of the ways your life could be cut short in an instant. After a while, people could begin to feel powerless, like their lives lose meaning when it could all be over regardless of what they do… so when someone shows up claiming they have the secret to salvation, who wouldn’t be at least a little inclined to listen? Be careful, though, because this smooth talking man with a plan might just have a very different goal in mind. Did you think people joined a doomsday cult for the fun of it?

Here are 4 things to look for when you’re trying to find out if this bold new group is actually selling snake venom instead of just snake oil.

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A Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer: Otherworld

Otherworld Title CardThe Primer is back with another odd, forgotten series: Otherworld. Originally debuting on CBS in 1985, Otherworld tells the tale of the Sterling family, who get lost in an alternate, dystopian world called Thel after being ditched in a pyramid by their tour guide during a once-in-10,000-years planetary alignment. Stranded in a world of androids, beastmen and authoritarian rule–how did they get there, and how can they get back? Given its short, 8-episode season, the odds are against them, but let’s find out. Read more

4 Signs Your AI Companion is Becoming Sentient — Friday Four

Jarvis AI Companion MarvelA great way to interface with your new technology is to give it a little personality. Make it responsive, reactive, maybe even predictive, and next thing you know it’s catering to your needs before you’re even aware of them. An Artificial Intelligence, or AI companion is a great option for those remote planetary outposts or long-term space voyages, keeping you sane when you’d otherwise be alone. But there’s a funny tendency with these sorts of AI to become far, far more than they were originally programmed to be, and they’re almost as likely to go crazy evil as they are to become a benevolent buddy. That’s a pretty convincing argument to at least keep aware of their development, so here are 4 indicative signs that your digital companion is evolving beyond its limitations.

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Coming Soon: The Resonance Enigma

Book 3 in the newly re-branded Dystopian Detective series is now available for preorder at a special price. Check the description for The Resonance Enigma below:

“Playing a game in the real world means you’re never logged out.”

To find a gamer’s killer, private detective Lance Canela must log in to the Augmented Reality Game, Resonance. But even in a virtual world, the machinations of the megacorps are always in motion. What secret lies within the game’s servers, and how does it relate to the strange girl waiting for her murdered friend to return?

ARGs are a topic that hasn’t been discussed much in sci-fi, so I’ve used my own experience playing games like Ingress and Pokemon Go to construct the story, which I hope will give it that feeling of authenticity that so many stories about gaming lack. Virtual reality, location-based gaming, and artificial intelligence come together to create a mystery that I think even those who aren’t gamers will enjoy.

Thanks for looking, and I hope you’ll give the book a chance. The previous two books, The Arcology and Eidolon, are already available if you want a headstart!

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