22 Ways to Celebrate Science Fiction Day

Today is National Science Fiction Day. Wait…National SF Day? Since no nation officially recognizes it, I suggest we rename it Galactic Science Fiction Day. After all, the Milky Way Galaxy has officially recognized it. Don’t believe me? Prove me wrong.

Dr. Isaac Asimov

January 2 is an apt date for SF Day. It’s Isaac Asimov’s birthday. Maybe. I seem to recall reading that Isaac wasn’t 100% sure of his birthdate. That ambiguity makes the date even more fitting.

Also, January 2 is so close to the beginning of the year that it seems to retain a connection to the recent past while also causing us to think about the promise of the year ahead. Rather a nice metaphor for SF.

If you’re wondering just how to celebrate SF Day, well, fellow Earthling, you’ve beamed to the right blog post. Here’s a list of 22 ways to celebrate. I hoped to list all 42 ways, but Heinlein’s Star Beast ate 20 of them.

  1. Read a SF short story or novel. If you need a suggestion for which to read, may I (ahem) recommend any of my stories? Click the Stories tab. Or you could read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, a classic that’s 200 years old this year.
  2. Watch a SF movie or TV show. Luckily, there are plenty of quality choices these days.

That takes care of the two obvious ways to celebrate. Now on to the more unconventional ways:

  1. Prepare and serve some SF-themed food and drink. You can get some great ideas for this in posts by Mike Brotherton, Meg Shields, Meredith Woerner and at a site called aliencuisine.com. There are, by the way, at least two mixed drink recipes called the Captain Nemo—this one, and this one.
  2. Listen to some SF-inspired music. You have plenty from which to choose, including movie and TV show sound tracks and various SF-inspired rock songs.
  3. Dress as your favorite SF character.
  4. Play a SF-themed video game.
  5. Write a fan email or letter to your favorite (living) SF author. (The Poseidon’s Scribe blog accepts comments. Just saying.)
  6. Write a review of a favorite SF story or novel.
  7. Build a model of your favorite SF vehicle.
  8. Grab a partner and play a game of 3-dimensional chess.

If your celebratory mood takes a creative twist, consider the following:

  1. Compose, or just hum, your very own SF song.
  2. Draw a picture of a musical instrument of the future.
  3. Write a SF-inspired poem.
  4. Imagine how life could be different for someone like you living 100 or 1000 years from now.
  5. Pick a current trend you’ve observed (social, governmental, or any type of trend), and extrapolate it in your mind, imagining the future implications.
  6. Make a list of possible future sports, or ways science may influence current sports.
  7. Draw or write a description of the most bizarre alien you can think of.
  8. Draw or write a description of your own SF vehicle. It can be any type of vehicle, traveling through (or within or athwart, or whateverwhichway) any medium.
  9. Draw or write a description of the house (or other building) of the future.
  10. Imagine what your current job will be like for workers 100 or 1000 years from now.
  11. Imagine your favorite super-power. What is it? What problems might occur if you had it? What scientific advances might have to happen for you to get that super-power?
  12. Write an outline for your own SF story or novel or screenplay. Or write the whole tale.

Happy Natio—er, I mean Galactic Science Fiction Day. Perhaps you can think of ways to celebrate that are beyond the imagination of—

Poseidon’s Scribe

Body Dialogue

Some say our bodies speak more clearly and honestly than our mouths do. I don’t know about that, but I think it will help your fiction if you show your characters using appropriate body language from time to time.

Body DialogueWhy? For one thing, body language helps break up long strings of dialogue quotes to keep the text more readable and interesting. Body language allows you to show internal conflict within a non-Point-of-View character by contrasting that character’s words with some clashing body language. Also, body language can emphasize the emotions of a character by going beyond mere spoken words.

Body language, or kinesics, includes such things as facial expressions, body posture, gestures, and tone of voice. Subdivisions of kinesics include Oculesics (body language of the eyes), Haptics (body language through touching), and Proxemics (body language using distance).

Author Amanda Patterson, founder of Writers Write, has provided a convenient online table that provides the typical body language expressions for many emotions.

There are a few ways you could use this resource:

  • As-is. Just find your character’s current emotion, and have the character display some or all of the body language manifestations. This may contrast a bit with what the character is saying, and that shows either internal conflict or deception.
  • Characteristic body language. For one of your main characters, establish a pattern where that character displays a particular body language much of the time, thus establishing a character trait and linking it to a predominate personality trait. Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo often crossed his arms, denoting aloofness, distance, and defensiveness.
  • Given that the table provides typical body language, consider showing one or more of your main characters exhibiting slight variations on those common traits. Those variations may say something about your characters’ personalities.

It’s not clear if body language is common across all countries, all cultures, or all time periods, so be careful and do some research before assuming a character would exhibit the body language you do.

Lastly, don’t overdo it. Just like long strings of dialogue get boring, so does too-frequent use of body language.

Jumping up and down while pumping my fists in the air, I’m—

Poseidon’s Scribe

November 29, 2015Permalink

Captain Nemo sighted at Darkovercon

Those who attended Darkovercon this year on November 24th and 25th got a chance to see me, dressed as Captain Nemo.

I’m the one on the right, by the way.  Why, yes, that is an electric pistol I’m holding; very observant of you to notice.  Not visible in this photo is the Captain Nemo motto “Mobilis in Mobile” on my chest.  My Nemo costume is based on the original illustrations, unlike the movie versions where Nemo appears either as a Navy Captain or an Indian Prince.  Jules Verne’s Nemo had abandoned connections with the land.  He was no military man, nor did he consider himself Indian any longer.  He was part engineer and part pirate, and his clothing reflected that.

 

Here’s my electric pistol.  Very steampunk!  The golden, jagged sights on top are reminiscent of the Nautilus submarine from the Disney film of 1954.  True, Nemo didn’t go around carrying a pistol.  The electric rifles mentioned in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea were only for underwater use, and the original illustrations show them to be similar in appearance to standard rifles.  I just took a little creative license.

 

And there’s the motto.  The Latin translates as “moving in a moving thing” or, more metaphorically, “free in a free world.”  Yes, you can find versions of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea where it’s rendered as “Mobilis in Mobili” where that last word ends in ‘i,’ but I’m told that’s plural, and singular was most likely intended.

Feel free to send me a comment if you (a) think I looked like Captain Nemo should look, or (b) think I looked too silly for words.  While I wait for you to type your comment, I’ll enjoy recalling how a childhood fantasy came real for–

                                                            Poseidon’s Scribe

 

 

December 2, 2012Permalink