Were You a Stereotype?

When reading a book or watching a movie or TV show, I’ve often noticed the typical stereotypes. You know, like the jock, the nerd, the cheerleader, the goth, and so on. Were you a stereotype when you were a kid or teenager? How about now?

I was a nerd. I was always good at math and science, as well as computers. I was programming when I was 7, reading science books and encyclopedias, and I was very quiet. In high school, I moved into the geek category. Still a nerd, but I became a big Star Trek fan. Now, I’m still a geek. I still love science and Star Trek. But I’m also a big sci-fi and fantasy fan.

However, in school, I never wore a pocket protector or glasses. I played hockey. I was a strong skater. I loved skiing. My classmates in school thought I couldn’t do sports because I was a nerd, so always kept me as a goalkeeper. I hated that. Now, I’m not as quiet, I am often talking, and I love the outdoors and hiking. I guess I don’t fit the stereotypes 100%.

How about you?

Flash Fiction #9 – The Dragons of Mount Fuji (Flash! Friday)

It’s time for Flashversary at Flash! Friday, and that means that there are actual prizes for winning.  Their theme was quite open, so any genre was fine.  However, it had to be based on the picture shown, which involved fire.  Dragons are optional.  I decided to include dragons.  Usually their limit is 140-160 words.  This time, they wanted exactly 150 words.  So, here is my entry:

The Dragons of Mount Fuji

They said there were no dragons. I now know this is not true.

I’m safe in my steel and concrete apartment building. Smoke is rising from the mountain. The smouldering city around me is covered in a grey ash. But it wasn’t like this yesterday.

It started with a rumble. The dragons awoke with a roar and burst from the mountain surrounded by smoke from their fire. Lightning electrified the smoke. I didn’t know dragons could do that.

The announcements over loudspeakers, TV warnings, and our cell phones told us to close all windows and doors and stay inside. I stayed inside for hours watching the news. That’s all there was on TV. Fires ravaged the city. Ash obscured the view. The dragons were magnificent.

I couldn’t wait any longer. I opened the storm shutter. It was so grey! But there it was. I knew then that dragons were real.

I hope you enjoyed it.

Authors Answer 5 – Foreign Language Books

We all know that books aren’t just in English.  They come in many languages, and some are translated into English.  The oldest novel is Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji) by Murasaki Shikibu in early 11th century Japan. While I have not read the book, I have seen an animated adaptation of the book.  But what about our authors?  What have they read?

Two of the original pages of Genji Monogatari.
Two of the original pages of Genji Monogatari.

Question 5: Have you read any foreign language novels, translated or not? What would you recommend?

S. R. Carrillo

I mostly read Japanese translated literature and usually of the darker nature – After Dark by Haruki Murakami and Audition by Ryū Murakami (no relation). I have a few more on my TBR (such as just about everything by Haruki Murakami but specifically 1Q84 that I can recall) as well as some others I haven’t gotten memorized. Oh, and the Bible, obviously. I recommend trying it out – other cultures’ literature are so different from our own as well as the language used, it provides insight into minds that aren’t formed like our own. I wanna read more, from other languages of course, as well.

H. Anthe Davis

I don’t know any foreign languages well enough to read a novel in them, alas; I probably shouldn’t have switched language courses between high school and college.  But I know that Albert Camus’ The Stranger was originally in French, and I wrote a post including that recently — it was both philosophically interesting and one of the books that I think set the tone for some of my own writing.  (If you can imagine it translated into action-fantasy.)  Anyway, it’s always been a favorite.

Paul B. Spence

The two that immediately come to mind are Solaris and All You Need Is Kill.  Both are good stories.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

This is going to be a quick answer, because I’m almost positive that the answer is no. It is possible that I’ve read something that was translated, but I’m pretty confident that I would know if that had happened, so I’m going to just go ahead and assume that it’s a no. I guess I’ll have to see what the other authors say so I can broaden my horizons!

Amy Morris-Jones

I just finished reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera (in translation). It occurred to me when this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature was announced that I’ve read very little award-winning literature from other countries, so this was my first step to remedying that situation. It was very clear from the opening sentence why this novel is considered a treasure: “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” The novel is broad in scope, focusing on the many different shapes, sizes, and ages of love—but it’s so much more than a love story. Although Gabriel Marquez seems to have an unusual need to explain far too much about the main character’s bodily functions, this is definitely a novel worth reading.

D. T. Nova

I’ve never read a novel in a language other than English, and not that many that had been translated. I know there are some that I should read, but out of the ones that I actually have, I suppose the one to recommend is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

I think the only non-classic novels I’ve read that were originally in a foreign language were a Gundam novelization and a Fullmetal Alchemist tie-in.

Jean Davis

I do read a couple authors for whom English is not their first language, though they are written in English. Jo Raven writes good steamy YA romance.

Caren Rich

I had trouble with this question.  Beyond the Bible, my non English book education is sad. Does non-Southern books count? I didn’t think so.  After lots of research I’ve only found a few non-English books. “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel and I loved it.  I’ve read a few children’s books, but I’m not sure if they were originally written in English or not.  I’ve read “The Reader” by David Kross.  The best I can say is, it was very well written, but it really disturbed me. I don’t read many non-English books.  I just don’t, or if I have I don’t know it.  Gabriel García Márquez is on my TBR list, but that’s all I have.  Please send recommendations!

Elizabeth Rhodes

While not examples of novels, I have read Friedrich Durrenmatt’s play The Visit.  I’ve also read The Inferno, The Iliad, and The Odyssey (one of my favorites.)  All of these were translated versions.

Linda G. Hill

Oops! Linda’s a bit busy this month, but should be back next month!

Jay Dee Archer

As far as novels go, I don’t believe I’ve read any from another language.  However, I have read some short stories in Japanese (that’s right, not translated).  One of them is the famous Momotaro.  I do have Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey in my to be read list.  I’d also like to read some Haruki Murakami and more.  One of my challenges is to read a book from every country, most of which would be translated.

How about you?

Have you read any foreign books translated into English or in their original language?  Recommend some here!

Wanderers – an Impressive Short Film

This short film, made by Erik Wernquist and narrated by Carl Sagan, has been going around the internet recently.  Wanderers shows what life in the solar system could be like in the future.  Haven’t seen it?  Well, watch it right here.  It’s best if you watch it full screen and in HD.

This is what I’d love to see in the future.  It feels like it’s too far in the future, though.  I would love to do these things.  Can you imagine flying like a bird in Titan’s atmosphere?  Or cliff jumping off Miranda’s huge cliff?  That just seems amazing.

I wish we could encourage the world’s governments and space companies to push for a future like this.  I know, many people will say we need to fix the problems on Earth first.  Unfortunately, I don’t think these problems will ever go away.  There will always be corruption.  But trying to improve our technology and aiming for the solar system will have a trickle-down effect.  I think we would be a lot farther ahead if it weren’t for politics.

So what do you think?  If we could have a future like this, what do you want to do?

Transportation in Speculative Fiction


Living in Japan, I get to experience a wonderful and efficient train system. Coming from a city that had only one train line (though more are coming), I felt like Japan was a futuristic country. I’m a huge proponent of public transportation, especially trains. So I often think, what will it be like in the future? And what was it like in the past? Speculative fiction addresses a lot of this.

In fantasy, most transportation is on foot, by horse, coach, or ship. Sometimes more advanced forms of transportation are used, like trains or even airships.

But what about in science fiction? Spaceships are the obvious answer. A lot of novels show spacecraft, but not so much about on planets. What do they use? Most likely environmentally friendly. In the air, I can imagine aircraft that fly above the atmosphere to travel long distances quickly. Scramjets are an example, and this technology exists today. How about land? Are there personal vehicles? How about things like trains or maglev systems? One thing I don’t see much of is travel by sea. Do they use boats? I can imagine hobbyists still using sails.

So what do you think would be used for transportation in 26th century Earth? And what have you seen in science fiction novels?

Damn You, TheWalkingDeadAMC!

Something major happened in The Walking Dead in this week’s episode.  Shortly after the episode ended in the eastern United States, the official AMC page for the show on Facebook produced a major spoiler.  This was before people on the west coast or anywhere else in the world could watch it.  I was pissed off.  And judging from the comments on that post, so were many other people.

Unbelievable that a network would tell everyone the biggest event in an episode of their flagship TV show, and not even think that there are many people who don’t want to know about it until they see it.

AMC, you screwed up.

Month in Review – November 2014

November saw the start of Authors Answer, which has proven to be quite popular.  The month was pretty busy, though it didn’t reach October’s numbers.  It almost did! October had the number of views boosted by live-blogging two typhoons.  November didn’t have that advantage, which shows that the past month was a statistically better month. This blog now has 606 followers, an increase of 40.

November Stats

While October had wild fluctuations and an artificially boosted daily average because of live-blogging, November had a more consistent number of daily views.  The busiest day was November 21st with 96 views.  Not one day reached 100.  November had a total of 2,033 views, making it the second consecutive month with more than 2,000 views.  That brings it to a total of 23,364 views.  There were 40 posts in November, bringing it to 676 total posts.

The month ended with 3,662 comments, 364 comments coming in November.  That’s a big improvement!

The top 10 countries were:

  1. United States (1,467 views)
  2. Canada (142 views)
  3. United Kingdom (96 views)
  4. Japan (69 views)
  5. Australia (27 views)
  6. India (22 views)
  7. Norway (20 views)
  8. Austria (19 views)
  9. Spain (9 views)
  10. Ireland (8 views)

Top Posts

The top five most popular posts written in November are:

  1. Authors Answer 1 – Writing Studio (68 views)
  2. Authors Answer 2 – Guilty Pleasure (55 views)
  3. Authors Answer 3 – Character Beliefs (53 views)
  4. Human Behaviour Mysteries (50 views)
  5. Writers, Do You Also Do Art? (49 views)

My most popular post written before November was yet again INTJ – An Analysis of My Personality with an impressive 93 views.

Posts that you really should read are:


I got only 1 review written for the month, though 2 are on the way.  Actually, make that 3 on the way, because I’m about to finish reading a book tonight.  Here is this month’s only review:

Social Media

Let’s check out my Twitter and YouTube accounts.

On Twitter, I have 2,230 followers, an increase of 60, while I follow 2,276, an increase of 62.  I may have to do a little bit of a cleanup of inactive accounts soon.  I have 6,225 tweets in total, 60 coming in November.  I’m slacking a bit on Twitter, I know. I need to do some more on there.

On YouTube, I’ve had a very slow month.  YouTube had been taking its time processing videos, so I kind of lost motivation to upload while it was being a pain.  I have 35 subscribers, which is unchanged from last month.  There are 6,957 views in total, with 157 coming in November.  Like I said, very slow month.

Looking Ahead to December

I’m kind of expecting late December to be a bit slow, mostly because a lot of people will be on vacation, and so will I.  I’ll keep up the daily posting, including the days I’m on holiday.

Authors Answer has been an incredible success, and will continue with four more questions for December.  I’ll be working on getting three reviews done, as well.  And I have a big project in the works regarding Hugo and Nebula Awards.  It’s a kind of interesting exercise, but you’ll see when the first part is up.

I look forward to more interactions with my readers in December!