inter_linked: All About Robots

In inter_linked, the androids are the stars of the show but they’re not like the ones you’ve seen before in fiction!

Fast Learners

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

The androids of inter_linked aren’t hard-programmed and made with specific rules or Laws like in Assimovian fiction.

Instead, they are tested extensively to learn from human behaviors and develop stronger reasoning.

In the real world, this is a concept called “Machine Learning”, which is currently being studied and nowhere near the intelligence level of a fully-functioning android. (they can play Atari, though!)

Mirror, Mirror

Image result for human and robot

When machines learn from humans, however, it means that sometimes they pick up behaviors or ideas from us that don’t exactly make sense to them.

In one chapter in the second half of the story, an android hurts himself and Anny treats him with a bandage – even though some glue and duct tape would do fine. The android sees the bandage as a symbol of healing and caring, even if it isn’t the most practical solution.

Looks Are Everything

blue plastic robot toy

The androids may seem pretty human, right? Well, they sure don’t look it.

There are two major manufacturers of androids so they come in two varieties:

One are shaped like humans, but they’re made entirely out of metal and plastic parts and have bright LED eyes that can display a myriad of different expressions. Many androids Anny and WISR meet along the way look like this.

One are shaped like humans, but they’re made entirely out of metal and plastic parts and have bright LED eyes that can display a myriad of different expressions. Many androids Anny and WISR meet along the way look like this.

The other kind are made with soft and squishy with huggable silicone and lightwight plastics to make them more human-like. But unfortunately, regulations gotta regulate and budgets gonna… budge? So instead of spending the time and effort and money and research figuring how to articulate a face and make it not creepy, they slapped a big ol’ computer monitor on the top and called it a day. Androids like WISR can display tens of emoticon expressions and maybe play Pong if he gets bored.

He also wishes you would not hug him.

Come meet these amazing machines!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:
www.interlinkedtheseries.com

Songs About Space

While I may have compiled some instrumental science and space-themed faves, and discovered plenty more along the way, there’s something to be said for songs that sing about space too.

Here are a few of my favorites:

(please note: I’ve excluded songs with boring, earthly things like “sunlight” and “moonlight” but songs about being on or travelling to the moon or sun made the cut)

1. “Drops of Jupiter” – Train

The moment that slamming piano line comes blasting in, you know you’re about to be taken on a journey through the atmosphere, to make your way through the constellations, to dance along the light of day.
Although Train has more or less distanced themselves into the generic (and kind of annoying) flavor of pop, 90s and 00s kids will remember this hit.

2. “The End of All Time” – Stars of Track and Field

Like Train above, the way the piano mixes into this long-forgotten track brings a celestial vibe that’s hard to beat. Throw in an electric drum machine and the occasional electric guitar and you have a winner.
(and yes, I’m fully aware that I’m the only one who even remembers this one, but Pandora suggested it once upon a time and more people should listen, and also it was on Grey’s Anatomy once.)

3. “Angels on the Moon” – Thriving Ivory

I’m not entirely sure what “angels on the moon” means: maybe it’s an obscure drug reference, or perhaps it just means some really vivid daydreaming, either way this song has the soapy operatics of its contemporary My Chemical Romance with the voice and grit of The Smashing Pumpkins.
Thriving Ivory is one of those bands that tried oh-so-very-hard to make it, and they enjoyed some minor fame at the time, but they never quite hit the big time. Which is unfortunate, because in a sea of emo wanabe’s, at least they were unique.

4. “Arthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do)” – Nadeah

Come on, everyone, you know the words to this 80s power ballad “IF YOU GET CAUGHT BETWEEN THE MOOON AND NEWWW YOOORK CIIIITTTYYY…!” Another song about New York and the Moon, this highly dramatic song comes from a goofy comedy . Considering there’s a few million miles between the two aforementioned locales this song is wonderfully silly.
The version I’ve included here is a cover from a compilation album called “Hollywood, Mon Amour” that tried to turn 80s cheese into viable, modern tracks. It most of the way works!

5. “Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen

Unlike the other dramatic ballads above, this upbeat, instant cheer number needs no introduction. There’s something about the way Freddie singing about being “a shooting star, leaping through the sky like a tiger defying the laws of gravity” that makes you just want to get up and take on the entire universe. This is especially true if the urban legend of him doing the entire track in one take after downing a fifth of vodka is real.

6. “Like a Star” – Corinne Bailey Rae

This stellar track has been a staple of chillaxing playlists since it hit the charts in 2002 and it’s hard to miss why. No matter how bad you may feel, just throw on this soothing song and all your worries will melt away.
Similar to Norah Jones’ jazz-pop-fusion blend here across the pond, Corinne’s music is like your favorite local Fair Trade single-source coffeehouse but you know… without dealing with people.

7. “Cosmic Love” – Florence + The Machine

Like most other Florence tracks, this is a big, big sound, for all that it starts out relatively unassuming. But don’t worry, Ms. Welch and the relentless pounding of a timpani break in quickly enough.
Again, as with other + The Machine productions, the music video is worth watching, if even just for the cool, surreality they seem to create just by existing.

8. “Major Tom” – Shiny Toy Guns

Out of all of the high-minded concepts and continued stories out of music, “Major Tom” is one of the strangest. Was he a literally an astronaut from the imagination of the Space Race? Was he a heroin junkie, with space being a metaphor? Was he the “Rocket Man” of Elton John fame? Who knows at this point.
Of all the songs in this strange, strange Expanded Universe of music, I decided to pick this one because it’s happier than Bowie’s original (it always makes me super crazy sad) and because I like it. So there. This cover always makes me really happy, too.

9. Champagne Supernova

I don’t care if it sounds like they’re saying “supernoVAR”, if one of the Gallaghers is a jerk (no, I don’t remember which), and the song makes zero sense when you think too hard about it, I still love this song.
Even cooler than that, NASA named a real-life space explosion after them!

10. “3030” – Deltron 3030

Called “Ice Cube’s Eccentric Cousin” (they really are related!), Del the Funky Homosapien put together this future-space-rap opera concept album with his fellow soon-to-be Gorillaz alums like Damon Alburn and Dan the Automator that landed on the soundrack of Tony Hawk Underground and was promptly forgotten.
Not that I’m much of an authority on such things, but man are these hooks fire. I’m not sure when we’re going to see such a genre-bending concept again, but until then I’m going to keep spinning this.

Obvious Things I Didn’t Include:

Any of your favorites not make the cut? Are you cursing me forever for disliking Muse?
Shout at me in the comments!

If you’re ready to take a journey to outer space, check out the brightest new star in science-fiction!

inter_linked The Series is the fun, sarcastic story of a girl and her android.

Follow the adventures of Anny and WISR as they try to help every robot they can, while the hardest part of the journey is putting up with each other.

Absolutely free to read:
www.interlinkedtheseries.com

Science Fiction That Has (Supposedly) Already Happened

The thing about science-fiction is that many of the classics were written a long time ago with a vision of the future that was very different than the one we ended up with  (where’s my hoverboard?!)

Many of their timelines run right into the present day meaning we should already be seeing:

Megaman

Image result for megaman

Capcom’s classic video game series is set in 200X which limits the possibilities to 2000-2009. While the later games are much farther flung into 21XX, it’s clear that the Super Fighting Robot should be here by now.

What We’re Missing

Sentient Three Laws Compliant robots, semi-magical elemental weapons, and – oh yeah – a massive machine apocalypse and total totalitarian 1984 government.

I, Robot

Image result for i robot isaac asimov

In a similar vein, Isaac Asimov’s 1950 short story collection about a future after the development and implementation of thinking machines. The stories are only loosely related but are set in the years 1996-2064 which means a lot should already be in motion.

What We’re Missing

We haven’t quite reached the giant computers that control the world, and Asimov’s vision excluded things like the internet and cell phones while machines ran on actual punched paper. But the positronic brain should have been invented in time to be traumatized by The Hunchback of Notre Dame and here in 2018, we should have space colonies on even the most distant, hospitable planets.

.hack//

Image result for dot hack sign

This strange anime-and-video-game series came out of the early 2000’s fueled by the afterburn of Y2K paranoia. While the originals were oddly set only a few years after their release dates, starting around 2006, the more recent works stretch into 2030.

What We’re Missing

In this fictional 2005, a massive virus hacks absolutely every computer in the world, bringing modern society to its knees. Afterwards, everyone uses only one OS with only one multiplayer game, the most massive of MMO’s in history. Having only one game to play must’ve gotten old very fast.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Image result for nineteen eighty-four

This one’s pretty obvious, the year is right there in the title. This novel about an omnipresent government and perpetual surveilance gave rise to cool terms like “doublethink” and “Big Brother is Watching You.”

What We’re Missing

This one is especially eerie because in an age of Cambridge Analytica, Happiness Indexes, and cell phones that probably spy on us, we seem to be moving towards this and fast. Just, y’know, three decades or so late. We may not quite have an Oceania yet and there’s not yet one single Party (as far as we’re aware) but things seem to be zooming along towards something… Orwellian.

 

Oh, and let’s not forget the end of Back to the Future where they go to the actual future… now!

Related image

Which is your favorite on this list?
Anything I missed?
Let me know in the comments!

Soundtracks to Write Sci-Fi To

image courtesy of Bejeweled 2

Science-Fiction may not be what I’m writing professionally at the moment, but it’s one of my very favorite genres of reading, writing, and movies.

After putting together my list of favorite fantasy soundtracks, a good friend of mine mentioned how hard it is to find science-y songs that aren’t too operatic and pack a good, action-y punch.

So while resisting the urge to throw in some more Skyrim (it’s set on a different planet! They have two moons! One of the games is on a space station!) I came up with these:

Megaman ZX

“Black Burn” and “Green Grass Gradation”

Oft-forgotten entries in the Megaman video game series, ZX and ZX Advent definitely deserve more spotlight for their music alone.
“Area O – Black Burn” is dark and intense with a hard-hitting beat while “Area A – Green Grass Gradation” is a bright and cheery bit of electronica that still somehow gives an organic feel.

Daft Punk

“Derezzed” and “End of Line” from the TRON: Legacy soundtrack

Can you ever go wrong with Daft Punk? This French duo put together an awe-inspiring score for this sequel to a sci-fi classic that almost outshone the mind-blowing visuals.
“End of Line” is a brilliant mixture of the good old-fashioned synthesizer and classic video game sound effects while “Derezzed” was given a wicked music video with laser robot horse jousting. What more could you want out of life?

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

“Electrodrome”

Mario Kart is known for having some of the best atmospheric music in video games, from dark and foreboding lava castles and haunted houses to bouncy mushroom farms, busy highways, and of course, neon electric anti-gravity superdomes.
“Electrodrome” is an upbeat and enthusiastic track that will put you in the perfect mood to launch blue shells at friends and enemies.

Cyberpunk 2077

“Hyper”

When the one song of the only release trailer is already a mega-hit, you know an upcoming game is going to be epic.
Cyberpunk 2077 was announced in this year’s E3 conference with the track “Hyper”, full of intense, thumping synth beats that bring you back to the days of Vangelis and Depeche Mode.

Transistor

“We All Become”

Music from Supergiant Games has already been mentioned in a previous post and for good reason – Darren Korb always puts together amazing tracks that support deep and beautiful worlds.
Transistor is their second game which blends vintage art nouveau and glossy futures. While the instrumental version is featured here for less distracting play, Ashley Barrett once again lends her soaring voice to the version featured prominently in the trailer and can be found here.

Jet Set Radio Future

“Concept of Love” and “Shape Da Future”

 

Another forgotten franchise, Jet Set Radio and its sequel Jet Set Radio Future are set in a world of totalitarian governments, pirate radio stations, and rebel roller-skaters where magic vinyl records can summon demons.
The soundtrack of Future is most notable in its original trip-hoppy electric beats and vocal collages the likes of which Tony Hawk could only dream. It also features a personal favorite, the goofy “Aisle 10”, a vocal song about falling in love with a grocery store clerk.

Bejeweled 2

“Silent Conquest”

Released in 2004, this oldie-but-goodie of an addicting video game featured epic visuals that became computer wallpaper mainstays for a decade and and an even more epic soundtrack.
While the entire score is worth listening to – award-winning composer Peter Hajba never disappoints – “Silent Conquest” is the crown jewel of the list, so to speak. Action-packed beats and melodic turns motivate and inspire in this track.

You can listen to the whole playlist here:

What are your favorite sci-fi soundtracks? Any I missed?
Let me know in the comments!

See Also:

The Characters of Faehunter: Character Playlists
Soundtracks to Write Fantasy To