Friday, November 28, 2008

Short Week


Good morning, Blog Buddies of the SciFi persuasion. It's been a short week because of Thanksgiving. I wanted to have a full review of GAMER GIRL ready for you, but I'm not finished yet. In support of techno-geeks everywhere, I'll leave you with my favorite Weird Al music video instead. Anyone who finds social stereotypes irritating can relate.

;)




;)


Have a good week and I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with love and good food!

Galaxy Quest

This is a spoof of Star Trek. While it pokes fun at the failings of the franchise, it also highlights the great things about it too. One of my favorite scenes is when Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver (of ALIEN fame) are racing through the spaceship and Sigourney yells, "Whoever wrote this episode should die!" Another favorite scene is when the teenagers Tim Allen disrespected because they were techno-geeks come to his rescue by explaining the advanced technology to him. Tim shouts, "It's all real!" And Branden yells, "I knew it!" I love this movie most because it highlights the importance of Science Fiction for young people. Forty years ago, Captain Kirk flipped open his communicator and today we flip open our cell phones in the exact same way, all because some techno-geeks were paying attention and got inspired.

Real Science

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Little Robots
http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Micro-Aerial-Vehicles/ss/events/sc/112108mavmicrospies
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Another Geek Makes It to the Big Time
http://videogames.yahoo.com/feature/-trism-spells-success-for-iphone-developer/1268382
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And for you storytellers in need of inspiration, another archaeological find-
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081125/ap_on_sc/sci_slave_ship_found

When Ya Gotta Go, Ya Gotta Go

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081123/ap_on_sc/space_shuttle When you pee in space, where does it go?

All in the Family for Thanksgiving

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081125/ap_on_sc/sci_sky_trio Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon get together.

Lost in Space: Watch the Tool Bag!


http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2008/11/watch-it-lost-s.html How would you like it if you lost your purse, wallet, or backpack and the whole world could watch it float by?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!



The guys in my husband's family do most of the cooking on the holidays, another excellent reason why I'm so glad I searched long and hard for just the right spouse! I'm making chocolate cheezecake topped with fresh strawberries.
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If you're feeling down today or for this holiday season, I have a book for you. It's for children, but I think people of all ages will love it and I'm recemmending it to grandmas and grandpas too. It's the extrordinary true love story of a couple who met as children. The guy was a prisoner in a Nazi death camp and the girl risked her life to bring him food every day. There's a copy at our local library, so there might be one at yours too. I remember being depressed as a young person and books like this one saved my life.
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In case you're wondering how the Science Fact crowd are spending the holiday, click on this link- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081127/ap_on_sc/space_shuttle

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Other Book Reviewers

Here's a couple more book reviewing blogs I'm adding to the links-
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The Bookie Monster http://bookiemonster.wordpress.com/
Don't let the name and the cute little monster fool you. This isn't a kiddie book blog. They review the Big Boys, like Terry Brooks, among others.
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Deliciously Clean Reads http://cleanreads.blogspot.com/

This blog is dedicated to reviewing truly great stories, which don't have cussing, gore, or graphic nookie. Don't think it's all sugar and sweet though. They love THE HOST by Stephanie Meyer there.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Chapter 11 Added to SCD Serial Novel

http://thestarcaptainsdaughter.wordpress.com/11/
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For now, I'll be posting Saturday and Monday mornings, since that's when readers pop in the most. At some point, I will make it available as a free download.
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If you're one of my Blog Buddies and also an Aspiring Author, I linked the blog to yours.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Girl Genius

I found this free online comic you all might like.
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I added it to the Great Stories for Free & Dirt Cheap too. http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2008/11/great-stories-for-free-dirt-cheap.html

Science Fiction & Fairytales

Here's an interesting article on Fairytales and Science Fiction Heather sent me-
One of the reasons people think the Fantasy genre is so hot with young people is because of fairytales, but, really, Science Fiction is just the geeky kid sister of Fantasy anyway.

Retro Star Trek- 'The Corbomite Maneuver


Too many people make assumptions based on appearances, leading them to make stupid mistakes or even commit horrible atrocities. The Enterprise encounters a fearsome-looking alien in this episode.
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Captain Kirk is obliged to play a poker-like strategy to get them out of being destroyed. By the end, however, his crew have learned things aren't always the way they seem. Here's the Memory Alpha article on this one- http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/The_Corbomite_Maneuver_%28episode%29

Real Heroes

Just posted my rant about Cookie Cutter YA Heroines, so I figured I'd say something about the guys. Any knight in shining armor can slay dragons, but it takes a REAL HERO to make a lady's computer work. I can tell you there are a lot of women my age who are kicking themselves for not latching on to this guy in high school-
Is Bill Gates, computer geek extrordinaire, still the richest guy in America or has he dropped to #2?

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Remember, girls, he doesn't have to be perfect. He only has to be *perfect for you* and the story's heroine, if there's romance involved.

Cookie Cutter YA Heroines

*Here's where to find these cute ducks, if you want them for your very own- http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/browse/processRequest.do?demandPrefix=12&sku=16/865-IP&mode=Searching&erec=15&Ipp=16&No=0&D=ducks&Ntt=ducks&Ntk=all&Dx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&Ntx=mode%2bmatchallpartial&y=10&N=0&requestURI=processProductsCatalog&x=26&sd=Cheerleader+Rubber+Ducks+-+Imprinted The Oriental Trading Company has an enormous variety of them."
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On with my rant.
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Is it just me or does it seem like heroines in most Young Adult novels were cut out of the same mold? They're always Caucasion (even if they're from another planet,) always have clear complexions, are always slender (although they complain that they're fat), and have it totally together. I have yet to meet an overweight, African American heroine with dyslexia who gets a volcano zit at least once a month. Now, I know enough to avoid books like THE GOSSIP GIRLS. I'm talking about my favorite genres, Historicals and Science Fiction/Fantasy. Besides what I've just complained about, the parents of Historical SF & F heroines are always dead, hateful, and/or hating each other.

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You'll never get me to read TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyer, because I just can't read about blood-sucking dead guys without gagging. It's just me. After giving birth so many times, I just can't stand the thought of blood. Don't mind me- you go for it. However, I was reading a review of TWILIGHT and the reviewer (an adult) was complaining about how klutzy the Heroine is and I thought, "Yes! Yes, now that's what I'm talking about!" What real teenager hasn't tripped over his or her own feet? Between 12 and 14 most of us were growing too fast to keep up and inevitable ran into walls and such. Maybe this is part of why Stephanie Meyer's books are so hot. Her teens are 'real.' I'm all for THE HOST, by the way. Just haven't had time for a review.
So, I'm wondering- why all the generic YA Heroines? Do authors and publishers not remember what it's like to be teenagers? Or, do they think girls want to fantasize their zits away when they read?

Real Science This Week

*See Kitten entry at bottom of this post.*
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Altogether now- eeeeeewwww! Doctor finds worm in woman's brain.


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India plants flag on the Moon!


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Prehistoric Park anyone? Mammoth DNA getting decoded.


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Weren't you dead? Scientists discover penguin thought to be extinct for 500 years.


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Two-Faced Kitten, Twice the Cuteness, Twice the Fun

Not YA SciFi, But Definitely of Help to Teens

I remember life as a teen, all the running around and eating at varied fast food places. Sure, most teens can gobble down junk food and never slow down, but I couldn't and I know a lot of today's teens can't either. Well, you don't have to stop running around and eating at varied fast food places. Get EAT THIS, NOT THAT by David Zinczenko and you'll learn what the least fattening fast foods are everywhere. We have this book and it's full of surprises. I'd always assumed a grilled chicken sandwich was the best thing to eat at McDonalds, for example, but actional the Querterpounder (no cheese) has the least calories. So, go, have fun, run around to the different fast food places with your friends, AFTER you've read this book.

Books I Found This Week

Remember, you don't have to buy any of these new if you haven't got the cash. http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2008/11/great-stories-for-free-dirt-cheap.html Although, I'd add them to my holiday wish list, if I were you.
GONE by Michael Grant. Of course, I didn't find it labeled as Science Fiction in the store, but that's what it is, Young Adult Science Fiction. A disaster wipes out the grown-ups. The teens and children have to survive on their own and then some of them start mutating. Here's the Amazon link with more description and a video- http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Michael-Grant/dp/0061448761/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227274184&sr=1-1.
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SKYBREAKER by Kenneth Oppel. This one sounds really Steampunkish. Love the cover art. Found it in my local library, so it's probably in yours too. Here's what Amazon.com had to say about it-
"In this breathtaking sequel to the Governor General's Award-winning fantasy novel Airborn, 16-year-old Matt Cruse flies higher than he ever dreamed. The former Aurora cabin boy, now a student at the prestigious Paris Airship Academy, is on a two-week training tour with a run-down cargo airship when his captain sights a legendary ghost ship. Matt recklessly heads skyward in pursuit--only to risk sacrificing his entire crew to altitude sickness. The Hyperion, lost in a storm in the dawn of the aviation age and buoyed high above the clouds for 40 years, is rumoured to hold great wealth, and Matt is suddenly the only person on earth who knows her coordinates.
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Soon, he and his upper-class sweetheart, Kate de Vries, are embarked on a dangerous aerial treasure hunt, along with Hal, the conceited pilot of a sleek, new altitude-friendly airship, and a mysterious gypsy girl named Nadira, who claims to have the key to the Hyperion's booby-trapped treasure troves. Drawing on the myths of Icarus and Prometheus, as well as classic sea adventures like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and The Poseidon Adventure, Skybreaker combines an action-packed thriller with a sensitive exploration of the limits of human ambition. Matt's jealousy of the self-made Hal (who he suspects has designs on Kate) and his own furtive attraction to Nadira heighten the emotional tension and raw suspense of the visceral scenes aboard the Hyperion, an ice-entombed version of the Titanic. With pirates, sky monsters, and disturbed spirits, not to mention enough bizarre flying machines to fill an aviation museum (even a bat-copter for Silverwing fans), Skybreaker confirms Kenneth Oppel's reputation as Canada's leading fantasy author for children and young adults. --Lisa Alward --This text refers to the Hardcover edition."
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Here's a review from The Best Reviews- http://thebestreviews.com/review31663
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The author has a really nice website- http://www.airborn.ca/index.html
CLOCKWORK HEART by Dru Pagliasotti. This was recommended as one of the best Steampunk novels. I'm trying to read it right now. I wanted to write a full review for you. The world-building is mind-blowing, the mechanical wings Taya flies with are really cool, the sensation of flying it easily imagined from the exceptional writing skills, and the story is good enough to keep you going. However, I'm a really character-driven reader and the Heroine is fairly generic, just your average early twentysomething, Caucasion-looking fictional heroine. I can't tell if there's a character arc at all. You know what a character arc is, right? It's how the character grows and changes over the course of the story. Anyway, Taya's pretty much got it together. She even has the sense to dump an incompatible boyfriend, even though he's really cute. If only she had zits or something, I could finish it. However, that's just how I am as a reader. You might not care. The world-building alone, I think, is worth picking up this book for. Here's a review by someone else who was gripped by this story more than me- http://fantasyscifibookreview.blogspot.com/2008/03/book-review-clockwork-heart-by-dru.html

Ever Lose Your Purse, Wallet, or Schoolbag?

Don't feel bad. Happens to the best of us.
Even if you become a brilliant astronaut one day, it could still happen to you. Such is life as a human being. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,454644,00.html

Copernicus Found!


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081120/ap_on_re_eu/eu_poland_copernicus Well, his remains are believed to have been found recently in Poland. I don't need to remind you who Copernicus is, right? If you're a science geek or a history buff, you know exactly who he is.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Space Shuttle Endeavor Blasts Off


Just a little while ago, Endeavor blasted off, bound for the international space station. Godspeed, Endeavor crew! Here's the article- http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/space_shuttle

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One of my life goals is to watch a night launch of the space shuttle. It must be so exhilirating to witness in person!

Not Science Fiction, but Definitely Young Adult

Kimber An at age 18.
I haven't been a young adult in a long time and I have absolutely no desire to be one again, despite the stretch marks and the need for a really sturdy bra. I remember how difficult it is. However, I am trying to hold on to two things most teenagers still have, but most adults don't - Empathy and Imagination. Anyone who can hold on to these two things as they become adults will survive and triumph over anything which comes at them. Here are a couple of non-fiction books to help out.
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ORGANIZING FROM THE INSIDE OUT For Teens by Morgenstern and Morgenstern-Colon My motto is 'Own Your Destiny.' This means taking control of your life and deciding for yourself what to do with it. The first step is to organize and see what you've got to work with.




THE ULTIMATE WEIGHT SOLUTION FOR TEENS by Jay McGraw I hear he has some other books for teens too. If you're an overweight teen, there are no easy solutions. On one hand you have people treating you like crap because you're different and on the other hand you have to be careful about diet because your body is still growing and needing certain nutrients. I've struggled with weight my entire life and I can tell you this - Your True Love Will Love You No Matter What. So, don't think you have to look like Miley Cyrus to get a boyfriend. You just have to find a guy with more than a couple of brain cells. I'm a lot skinnier now than I was on my wedding day.
;)
Kimber An at Almost Forty.
I'd much rather be me.

Retro Star Trek- the 'Miri' episode

Here's the Memory Alpha entry-

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The Enterprise crew finds a planet in which the entire population has died off, except the children. Then, they find out that the children die too, once they become teenagers. Understandably distrustful of adults, the children have a hard time accepting Captain Kirk's help.
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Remember, you can find Star Trek episodes and movies, as well as Star Wars and other Science Fiction greats, for FREE at most public libraries. Also, several t.v. channels re-run them regularly. You can put the DVDs on your holiday wish-lists too.

GAMER GIRL released yesterday!


Start checking the bookshelves for it or you can pop over to the author's blog- http://marimancusi.blogspot.com/ - to learn more.

New Video for ENDER'S GAME: ENDER IN EXILE by Orson Scott Card


Books for You

MILES, MUTANTS, AND MICROBES by Lois McMaster Bujold
Here's what Amazon.com had to say-

Product Description-

Two complete novels and a short novel in one large volume:
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Falling Free—The Nebula Award-winning novel. Leo Graf was just your typical efficient engineer: mind your own business and do the job. But all that changed on his assignment to the Cay Habitat, where children had been bio-engineered to have four arms (and no legs) to function in zero gravity. Now that they’re no longer needed, a heartless mega corporation is getting rid of them before they eat into the profit margin. Leo Graf adopted 1000 quaddies—now he had to teach them to be free.
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“Labyrinth”—When Miles Vorkosigan is captured while on a secret mission to a lawless world, his only hope of escape is an unlikely pair of allies: a quaddie and a teenage werewolf.
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Diplomatic Immunity— Miles Vorkosigan and his wife were heading home for the births of their first children, but a major diplomatic disaster is looming at Graf Station, colonized by the descendants of the original quaddies, and duty calls. Unfortunately, diplomatic immunity doesn’t carry over to immunity from a very nasty biological weapon. The downside of being a troubleshooter comes when trouble starts shooting back. . . .
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This author is so multi-dimensional. Here's a guest review of another Bujold book at my other blog, Enduring Romance, by Frances- http://enduringromance.blogspot.com/2008/11/cordelias-honor-by-lois-mcmaster-bujold.html
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DELUGE by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. This is another one by Science Fiction Greats.




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While we're on the subject of lots of water, here's a series of novels and comics from Yukito Kishiro, AQUA KNIGHT.




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SUPERNATURALIST
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ARTEMIS FOWL The Time Paradox by Eoin Colfer Gosh, I wish I had more time to read his novels.
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FEED by M.T. Anderson Scary and wonderful all at the same time.
Here's the Amazon ditty- This brilliantly ironic satire is set in a future world where television and computers are connected directly into people's brains when they are babies. The result is a chillingly recognizable consumer society where empty-headed kids are driven by fashion and shopping and the avid pursuit of silly entertainment--even on trips to Mars and the moon--and by constant customized murmurs in their brains of encouragement to buy, buy, buy.
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Anderson gives us this world through the voice of a boy who, like everyone around him, is almost completely inarticulate, whose vocabulary, in a dead-on parody of the worst teenspeak, depends heavily on three words: "like," "thing," and the second most common English obscenity. He's even made this vapid kid a bit sympathetic, as a product of his society who dimly knows something is missing in his head. The details are bitterly funny--the idiotic but wildly popular sitcom called "Oh? Wow! Thing!", the girls who have to retire to the ladies room a couple of times an evening because hairstyles have changed, the hideous lesions on everyone that are not only accepted, but turned into a fashion statement. And the ultimate awfulness is that when we finally meet the boy's parents, they are just as inarticulate and empty-headed as he is, and their solution to their son's problem is to buy him an expensive car.
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ONE SMALL STEP by P.B. Kerr
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THE HOST by Stephanie Meyer Here's a great review/discussion by blog buddy, Agent Z, on the blog of another blog buddy, Heather- http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net/2008/11/stephenie-meyers-host-is-it-science.html You couldn't pay me enough to read or go watch TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyer, because blood-sucking dead guys make me want to fling garlic around and run screaming into the night. However, THE HOST does sound like a really cool Sci-Fi ride.
THE GIRL WHO OWNED A CITY by O.T. Nelson This is a post-disaster story. The sole survivors are children. It's probably considered Middle Grade, but I did find it in the Young Adult. Hey, I'm pushing forty and I can enjoy stories with characters of all age groups.

Real Science Round-Up

China is bound for the Moon! Way to go, China. See you in the stars.
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Check out this article on finding planets orbiting other stars. Warp drive can't be far away now.
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Here's Lisa's run-down of extra-solar planets-
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And for inspiration for all you master storytellers out there, here's some news from archaeology-
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A 2000 year old earring - who dropped it? Was she fleeing an arranged marriage to be with her one true love? Was she the daughter of a powerful Roman official and her boyfriend a penniless Jew? Did she convert to Christianity and draw the ire of other religions? Or was she just out shopping for a new hat?
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A new pyramid found in Egypt! Well, if you haven't watched STARGATE you won't know why that's so cool.

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For more cool news from from the world of archaeology and history, check out the blog of Michelle Moran, author of NEFERTITI - http://michellemoran.blogspot.com

Girl Power This Week

Lisa Paitz Spindler brought the new t.v. show, SANCTUARY, to my attention. http://www.lisapaitzspindler.com/blog/2008/11/07/danger-gal-friday-dr-helen-magnus/ Here's the Wikipedia article to learn even more- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_(web_series) It started out as a web series, interestingly enough, and has been picked up by ther SciFi channel. What fascinates me the most is that the main Heroine is a mom and her daughter is another a kick-butt heroine in the story. That's as rare as Tribble teeth in the Science Fiction genre. In fact, the only pairing like that I know of is in my own stories. Being a mom myself, it's going to be challenging for me to make time to watch this show, which is a bummer, but my babies are more important.
;)

THE MARTIAN CHILD


While it's not actually YA SciFi, I think this movie deals with issues you all face every day, coming to terms with differences. Should be out on DVD by now.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

The Five Most Scientifically Plausible Science Fiction Movies

I fall into the 'So what?' camp for scientifically plausible Science Fiction. Remember when Obi-Wan was chasing Jango Fett through the asteroids in Star Wars Attack of the Clones? I loved the sound they made when they blew up! My pragmatic husband said, "There is no sound in the vacuum of space." And I'm like, "So the stink what?! It's so cool!" Little wonder JURASSIC PARK is the only one of the five movies I liked.
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Anyway, here's the article- http://news.yahoo.com/s/newsarama/20081107/en_newsarama/the5mostscientificallyplausiblescifimovies

Star Wars THE CLONE WARS

I haven't watched these. Not interested. Too much action and not enough character development. But, that's just me. You might like them. Here's a link to learn more about them and to view a few free episodes- http://www.starwars.com/theclonewars/

Retro Star Trek- 'The Enemy Within'

A transporter accident splits Captain Kirk in two, one Kirk is his peace-loving, reasonable self and the other is his agressive self. While his reasonable self tries to reign in his agressive self, his agressive self goes a little crazy and gets a little too frisky with Yeoman Janice Rand.

http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/The_Enemy_Within_%28episode%29
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Star Trek and its four offspring, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise can all be seen as reruns on a variety of television channels, including Spike and the SciFi channel. Episodes can be downloaded from iTunes and bought on DVD. eBay is a cheap place to find DVDs and videos. I've also found them at thrift stores and the public library.

Authors & Author Associates!

If you want your books showcased here, please email me! I don't have the time to hunt your books down. Sometimes I learn about great books and seek them out, only to find a poorly put-together website, which requires more time and clicking on my part. Young people are Internet-saavy! Make it fun and easy to find your books.

Books I Dug Out of the Library & Thrift Store For You

AN ACCEPTABLE TIME by Madeleine L'engle. This Time Travel is part of a quertet of books by this famous author. In fact, they're such classics they have they're own wikipedia entry- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Quartet.
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MOSSFLOWER by Brian Jacques. Okay, this one isn't exactly Science Fiction, but it looked cool.
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REAP THE WILD WIND
and RIDERS OF THE STORM by Julie E. Czerneda. These aren't Young Adult and I haven't read them, so I can't tell you they're wonderful. However, they do sound reeeally interesting. I like Science Fiction about alien or alternate Earth cultures. The cover art is outstanding too.