Reading rec: Robert A. Heinlein’s “All You Zombies”

To take a break from writing Part II of my analysis of Robert Rodriguez’s The Faculty, I thought I’d toss out another recommendation for those looking for a quick read. Today’s reading rec is ” ‘— All You Zombies —’ “ by Robert A. Heinlein.

Published in 1959, ” ‘— All You Zombies —’ ” is the classic science-fiction time travel paradox. Initially, the story seems mundane enough at first: it is set primarily in a bar as one character tells another his life story. But, as time travel stories tend to do, things are not quite what they seem and what begins as a simple, straightforward tale ends up bending through time and space (and the reader’s brain as they try to follow along).

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First contact: The Faculty (1998)

1998 saw the release of The Faculty, directed by Robert Rodriguez. Recognized as a mix of classic sci-fi films—including Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and The Thing—and in the self-aware style of Scream, The Faculty explores the invasion of a high school by alien beings who first assimilate the teachers, then the student body.

The Faculty touches on a fear of conformity and assimilation into an inauthentic life. The film is set in a high school, perhaps the most appropriate setting for such themes. High school is widely recognized as the time in which adolescents begin exploring different groups in order to define themselves as individuals. Wrapped up in this phase is the fear of conformity, of succumbing to peer pressure and placing the will of the group over the individual. For The Faculty, this fear is symbolically reflected in the threat of assimilation by aliens.

The Faculty (1998) Football team

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reddit authors from /r/WritingPrompts and beyond

I’ve mentioned reddit’s /r/WritingPrompts before, but for those unfamiliar it is a subreddit dedicated to writing prompts. Users will either post a writing prompt themselves or respond to another user’s prompt. Contributors are a varied group: some are beginner writers, practicing the new freedom of storytelling; some are more experienced, polishing the finer details of the craft. All are there to share their creations.

From reddit and /r/WritingPrompts, a few books have been born. Here are some examples of reddit authors:

1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder

1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by Ryan Andrew Kinder (2014)Ryan Andrew Kinder, or /u/RyanKinder, is the redditor who resurrected /r/WritingPrompts from the ashes (or so the legend goes). Kinder has since published a collection of his best writing prompts.

Don’t use writing prompts? You might want to start. Writing prompts can be a good tool for authors who are stuck without a story to write about, or who want to do something a bit different and like the challenge of a preset scenario. From my experience with my novelette Two in the Bush, writing prompts can result in a genuine story which draws you in, a story you might not have come to without the prompt.

As reviewers have noted, these prompts are geared for a more science-fiction/fantasy crowd than other collections, so if you tend to write in genres other than these, this book might not be your style. But if those genres appeal to you, or you would like to look at prompts outside your comfort zone, Kinder’s collection of writing prompts might one for you.

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Breaking down the Independence Day: Resurgence trailer

If you recall my post from earlier this year, I am a big fan of the 1996 film Independence Day, or ID4 as it was stylized for its release. So, you can imagine my excitement now that the trailer for the new film is out. The sequel, titled Independence Day: Resurgence, or IDR, is set 20 years after the initial film—allowing for the aging of the original cast members—and focuses on the return of the alien threat.

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

Haven’t seen the Independence Day: Resurgence trailer yet? Let’s fix that:

No joke: I got a touch of goosebumps watching that the first time. I blame it on Whitmore’s speech . Really a nice touch to include the most iconic bit of the first film in this trailer.

Okay, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s go through it and see what we can deduce.

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When is it too late to join NaNoWriMo?

If you’ve ever thought of taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), you might have run into this question: when is it too late to join NaNoWriMo? Many people start planning for NaNoWriMo well before November, but for others life has a way of, well, getting in the way.

I ran into this problem the first year I heard about NaNoWriMo since I heard about it well into the first week of November. Though I was already lagging behind in word count, I still tackled the challenge and managed to finish by the skin of my teeth on the last night. But this might be the exception to the rule. At a certain point, no matter how determined you are, NaNoWriMo becomes unfeasible.

NaNoWriMo crestSo, how can you figure out if it’s too late to take up the NaNoWriMo challenge?

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