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Comment I'm surprised no one's mentioned this yet, but... (Score 1) 1021

what about reading what established authors in the field consider to be good science fiction? James Blish was famous for this, even to the point of being a critic of his own work. He wrote for a time under the pen name William Atheling Jr in several science magazines. His articles are collected in the books "The Issue at Hand" and "More Issues at Hand".

Robert Silverberg wrote "Science Fiction 101: Where to Start Reading and Writing Science Fiction" which is an awesome (and humble at times) look at what made his fiction better, what he learned in the process of writing it, and what he thinks are great stories by other authors.

Two favorites on the subject from Ursula K. Le Guin are "The Wave in the Mind" and "The language of the Night".

And finally, "Zen in the art of Writing" by Ray Bradbury.

If this were a class I was teaching, I'd have the class read some of the stories mentioned by the above authors, then go on to read what the authors thought of them. Granted, the class may not be about writing, but it does help build an appreciation of the craft to be able to follow the various styles of writing them, the processes involved, etc.

Comment Re:What a crock of shit (Score 1) 173

What I found interesting is the total lack of understanding about the technologies involved. NOTHING that was listed is "high-tech" in terms of only being available to the US military. For instance, infrared cameras, both near and far, have been in use around the world for the last 10-15 years. You can modify most any CCD camera to see in the near infrared range by removing the filter element that blocks IR. For far IR you can use the CCD cooling kits available in astronomy magazines (along with suitable optics). I don't know about AIFEX, but the CBR suits they dragged out of storage for us to use were about 10-15 years old and not in that great of shape. I'm sure much better suits can be had abroad from chemical supply companies. One of the reports I read also brought up the attacks where forces dressed up in stolen US uniforms to bypass security and initiate an attack inside a base (I forget which). Because we all know the opposition forces inside Iraq are using EBay and Craigs List to buy US Army uniforms shipped from the states, instead of having an agent swipe them out of a warehouse INSIDE Iraq. Same with the IR goggles, MREs, CBR suits, etc if they wanted 'em. I have to agree with the posters that mentioned this as being a fear-mongering attempt. The problem is, the frumpy old non-technologically inclined representatives of our government will agree with this nonsense when spoon-fed to them by "experts", and will follow right along with the party lines of "something needs to be done!". I expect any day now they'll react in shock and dismay to the revelation that Iran has access to "them there inter-tubes" as well.

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