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Hallo! Unsure if you've played either Lost Planet or Animal crossing, but looking between your two recent posts with Chibi's and those mechs, had thought to ask your thoughts on such a cross-over? Either way, keep on arting. The concepts are all very nifty!
Big mech smol pilot is always a fun dynamic
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GDI campaign impressions
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by @Opcn News piece on the "Never Built New York" art exhibition. via r/RetroFuturism
Me, having not reading the 3 books I recently bought and just having trouble with finishing.... anything:
Also me: Finishes reading Axiom's End in 11 hours
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by @Keltik 'Beyond The Moon'. Three episodes of 'Rocky Jones, Space Ranger' edited together. Unlike competing TV space shows 'RJ,SR' was filmed, giving it a more upscale look. Watch for Leo Penn, future 'Star Trek' director & father of Sean. (1954) via r/RetroFuturism
Finaliștii pentru premiile Hugo 2021
Finaliștii pentru premiile Hugo 2021
Cel mai bun roman
Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery / Saga Press)The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tordotcom)Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tordotcom)Piranesi, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books)
Cea mai bună nuvelă
Come Tumbling Down, Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)The Empress of Salt and Fortune, Nghi Vo…
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Cyborg X50-C1 by P7-J5
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Here and Now and Then - Mike Chen
B-: great concept, but the characters were very much a weak point.
Kin Stewart might be a normal family man now, but he was once a time-travelling agent from the year 2142, stranded in the early 21st century after a mission went wrong. When he is finally retrieved 18 years later, he’s forced to leave his wife and teenaged daughter and return to a life and fiancée he barely remembers. But when he finds a way to keep communicating with his daughter Miranda, he’ll take it: even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel.
I think the biggest problem with this book is that the future cast was so much weaker than the present cast. For instance, Kin’s relationship with his wife is only in the first bit but it’s wonderfully realized and really cute. He spends the rest of the book reconnecting with his fiancée Penny, but that relationship is never as interesting as the one he left behind.
Also Penny is insufferable. She’s a doormat, and her struggles opening a restaurant are treated with the same weight to her as Kin’s struggles trying to parent his daughter from fifty years after her lifetime. And, like. I recognize this is great doormat representation! I am also a doormat! But she’s just so annoying about it I really disliked when she was on page.
I think the weirdest part about this book was the vast disconnect in priorities. Like, Kin’s whole life was stolen from him, and his best friend Markus is only worried about if Kin will keep going to soccer games.
I also wish more time was spent with Kin and Miranda, which I think was by far the most interesting part of this book. I think Chen tried his best to show Miranda’s point of view under the constraints of his narrative structure and their separation, but I would have liked more.
Props for a really great job thinking about how time travel agencies would work, but sadly negative props for it being hidden from everyone in the future, leading to Kin having to pretend he wasn’t away for 18 years from Penny. Like, it makes sense for the story, even if I didn’t like it, but it doesn’t make sense in-world that time travel is a secret.
Diversity report: decent background diversity.
MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY
Hi! Get ambushed with more scenes I’m never going to do anything with but that I kinda like as I explore my characters. Today on showcase: Adilus Dend
The ship was on fire, and the sensation of suspended death as the floor listed towards the planet brought was all too familiar to Adilus’s feet.
He grabbed a person by the arm as the man ran past. “Go to the shelters. Make sure the children make it to the escape pods.” He stared into the man’s eyes until certain the job would be done.
He took hold of the railing, using it to balance out his bad knee and hip as he made his way towards the bridge, fighting the tide of people streaming for the chance at life the pods held, as more of the ship succumbed to the void. A rolling volley struck the hull, and the drifting for the surface got faster. They were on course to plunge right into the planetary shields. The ship would be incinerated as it passed through, leaving nothing but droplets of molten metal to free fall to the surface.
He fumbled in his uniform for a key to the door, cursing his once-nimble fingers as he did. He pried it out, slid it over the barrier, and barged in. Surely enough, nobody was at their posts. Adilus rolled his eyes. Civilian liners. The slightest sign of trouble and discipline evaporated.
He made his way to where the propulsion panel usually was, only to find it contained a bank of environmental control modulators. The old bridge models worked perfectly, fine, why were they changing things around, when an old fool might be the only thing between a ship and disaster? He huffed.
Adilus found the proper controls on the far side of the room, and by the time he got to a chair his hip was fit to buckle. Instinct said to put all power to the forward engines, attempt to reverse the descent. Experience and training told him to make a bank job of it. He smiled, recalling the battle over Ghor, back when he still fought for the Empire. Simpler times. Darker times, but simpler. He shook himself. This was no time for reminiscing.
He pulled power from the stabilizing engines--stabilizing the ship wasn’t much good when it was actively in a planet’s gravitational lock, which would stabilize it just fine, and also falling. The diverted power was sent entirely to the right side of the ship, trying to turn their descent into an arc, at which point he could switch course and put them into orbit. If this worked, that is. If he failed, well, one sentimental old man was hardly a great loss. He could at least buy time for the rest of the people to get to escape pods.
He felt a tugging at his shirt, and his hands faltered on the controls as his eyes looked down away from the screen. The two watery brown eyes that met his belonged to a child, and now his heart faltered.
“Hey there little guy. Where’s your parents?”
“The-” the boy sniffed- “the boom...”
Adilus knew those words. He’d heard them before, from other distraught little ones, in the aftermath of other firefights. They were probably watching the stars out of a viewing port when the attack struck. As if cued by his thoughts, another rolling volley hammered through the ship. Another few and there wouldn’t be any engines left to work with. The child resumed sobbing, and suddenly Adilus was in grandfather mode, working his way out of the chair and, against his hip and knee’s protest, crouching down to look the child in the eyes, at the boy’s level. “I know this is all terribly too much, but we’ll get you back to them.” He reached out, almost choking on the lie, pulling the boy closer, letting the child bury his face in the old soldier’s broad shoulders. “Do you know how to get to the escape pods?” He knew the answer as soon as he asked the question, thinking of the maze of corridors it took to get there. And the kid was hardly in any state to wander off alone, with the alarm systems blaring as the scent of stale air crept in, the vents and doors across the ship sealing shut to try and prevent the air from leaking out.
The little face confirmed his worries with an emphatic shake of the head.
Adilus wrapped his arms around the boy, remembering his purpose in the room, lifting him up, again despite his knee and hips’ staunch protests. He retook his seat in the chair at the control panel, searching for something to do, anything to slow the ship’s descent. He could see little dots, support crew ships, maybe some planetary defense to fight the raiders, taking off on the ground. There was no way they would get there in time, not without turning off the planetary shield, and no sensible administrator would sign off on that with a Nebula-class warship actively firing on a civilian cruiser just above.
Adilus rested his hand on the little boy’s back, moving it in slow circles, as the tears continued to soak into his shoulder.
“Mister sir?” The little boy blubbered, “are we gonna crash?”
Dark sadness gripped Adilus’s heart. “It won’t be so bad.” It was a nonanswer, and they both knew it, even if the boy didn’t know the word for it. The little face buried itself back in his shirt.
Adilus felt another wave of shots rock the ship, and sure enough, the engine diagnostics were reporting no fewer than seventeen critical failure points. They were dead in the expanse. Or rather, they were without power. A jarring screech as the ship, build for space, began to groan louder under the force of gravity from the planet made it very clear they were moving. Just not in a good direction.
There was nothing more Adilus could do. He leaned back in his chair, trying to use his large form to offer the child what little comfort he could. It could never be enough. He closed his eyes.
It was all his fault. The Syndicate had been emboldened by him and Vendale, and now they were here, attacking a core world, a wealthy one, wealthy enough to afford a planetary shield no less, probably because of some tip that he, Adilus Dend, newly retired Grand Admiral of the Ravens, Chief Executive Emeritus of Dend Industries, former General of the Imperial Navy and the Galactic Confederation, one of the least valuable but most symbolic targets in the galaxy, was on board a little-armored and unarmed civilian cruiser. He could only hope that whatever rat let the secret loose would have his just penance, but he knew there was no justice in the galaxy. If not wasn’t for the little boy in his arms, why should there be any for him? He’d lived a good life. He’d used his luck already.
Dend had been counting the seconds until another barrage. It should have come already. He opened his eyes, looked out the massive window, and almost didn’t get time to register what he saw there before he was thrown out of his chair, the ship’s sudden fall halted by a massive tow cable, mounted to the rear of a liberated freight liner. The Stalemate was with them, gun banks seemingly on fire, and missiles were streaking though the intervening space between it and the Syndicate warship. The little escape pods were all clear and flying towards the planetary shield gate. Dend felt like standing up and whooping a victory cry, but he didn’t want to disturb the boy, who was now looking up, chin still firmly tucked into Dend, but he was looking up.
Dend stood slowly instead, hip pain still there but forgotten, and hobbled to the communications board, sending a hailing signal to the tow ship.
The captain of the vessel accepted the signal, and the smiling eyes of Commander Brynn met Adilus’s.
“Sorry it’s not much of a rescue, Grandpops, but we do what we can.” Brynn turned, shouting some orders to her own people, swarming around the ship.
“I’m just glad you’re here, my girl.”
“Don’t get sappy just yet, save that for when you’re back at the Roost. You should’ve seen Pops when when we got word you were under attack. “Retired my bullet,” “Get out there and teach those wastes of oxygen how things work in my stellar space,” “When that old man gets back here I’m never letting him retire again,” you know.”
Adilus settled back into his chair, putting his hand back on the little boy’s back, moving it in those slow circles again. “Yes, I do know.” He smiled. Retirement didn’t suit him anyway. “I do know.”
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“On The Subject Of Furbies”
So I’m currently in the process of setting up a writing website for uni/career stuff (just a wix site, though I might add a custom domain if I can afford it), but in the mean time I thought I’d post one of my short pieces of writing on here. It’s about Furbies, domestication, and evolution.
In mammalian biology, there is generally considered to be two standard forms in the arrangement of a creature’s optical array.
One form is optimized for a wide field of vision with minimal blind spots, achieved by having eyes placed on either side of the skull. This form allows an animal to maintain a full picture of its immediate surroundings at all times, even when performing tasks such as drinking or grazing, when it has to place its head close to the ground. This form is usually exhibited in prey animals.
The second form is optimized for the tracking of fast-moving objects, precise depth perception, and vibrant colour vision. This is achieved by having both eyes close together on the front of the skull in a ‘binocular’ formation. The second form is found almost exclusively in predatory animals, regardless of whether they hunt by ambush or pursuit.
This pattern is very obvious when you look for it. For example; mice have their eyes on the side, while cats have their eyes on the front.
What’s coming next might prove to be a bit of a shock. I’d advise you to sit down if you haven’t already.
Furbies have predator vision. The common or garden Furby is in fact a predatory animal.
To gain a full appreciation of this fact, we need to understand what a Furby is. Contrary to popular belief, the variety of Furby kept as a pet is a creation of the domestication process, and not how the species exists in the wild.
The first instance of a Furby in the academic record comes from 1735 when the species was documented in Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus’s “Systema Naturae”. While never seeing a living animal, he conducted his studies on the species through a pair of wet-preserved specimens shipped from New Caledonia. One of the two specimens was so large that no glass jar could be found to house it, and it had to be shipped to Linnaeus in a large cask of brandy.
He classified the species as “Platypus astranguloi”, meaning flat-footed strangler. He believed them to be related to the more famous duck-billed platypus, and while this isn’t quite correct, Furbies are indeed one of the six extant species of monotreme, and the only one to be domesticated.
As it turns out, this binomial nomenclature is an incredibly apt one for the species, as wild Furbies can be up to fourteen feet in length, and kill their prey via constriction. They feed mostly upon New Caledonia’s flightless bird population, with fully-grown adults able to take down animals as large as feral turkeys. They are theoretically large enough to eat human children, though outside of old wives’ tales there are no cases of this occurring.
Scientists aren’t quite sure what bizarre ecological pressures caused a monotreme to evolve into a long-bodied constrictor on par with a boa or python, but the leading theory is that the absence of land-dwelling snakes on the island left the ecological niche open. New Caledonia’s only snakes are the seafaring kraits, which the Furby has been known to eat.
The series of events that lead to Furby domestication started in 1864 when nickel was discovered on the island. The arrival of French nickel miners devastated the Furby’s natural habitat, destroying nesting sites used for thousands of years.
The destruction of these nesting sites lead to a decreased quantity of potential mates for the Furbies, and they were soon forced to turn to inbreeding. This lead to widespread musculoskeletal deformities in the Furby population, and the short-spined “pom-pom” form that is now so iconic of the species.
Short spine disorder is a deformity that can affect many different mammalian species but is most often seen in canines such as the domestic dog. It occurs when the vertebrae of the spine fuse together with cartilage, resulting in an animal that is dramatically compressed and entirely lacks a neck.
These new short-spined Furbies could not survive in the wild, as their condition prevents them from constricting their prey. It reduces them from an adult size of fourteen feet down to a mere six to eight inches.
It also renders them near-immobile, as wild Furbies move like snakes through rectilinear locomotion. A Furby's small "feet" are actually pelvic spurs, small skeletal structures free-floating from the pelvis evolved for fighting and attracting a mate.
While the exact story of how the Furby ended up in captivity has been lost to history, it is believed that a clutch of short-spined Furby hatchlings was found by a prospector, who smuggled them home to France to give as presents to his two daughters.
Soon, Furbymania overtook Europe as Furby Fancier societies began popping up to proliferate the species. By 1879 there were over eighteen hundred members of the British Furby Fancier’s Society alone, split across twenty regional chapters.
The Furby Fanciers began producing new breeds of Furby, selecting for traits such as coat colour and texture, eye colour and beak roundness. These early breeds include the “leopard” Furby, bred to have rosetted spots like a big cat, and the “mohair” Furby, bred for a thick, curly coat resembling the wool of an alpaca.
Queen Victoria was famously presented with a mated pair of Furbies by visiting French aristocrats in 1891. The male was a brindle coloured mohair named Barnabus, and the female was a rare salmon-breasted angora named Paris. They reportedly lived in a birdcage, and subsisted on a diet of chicken livers, whole quail eggs and kippers. The animals produced a clutch of four puggles, but none of them made it past infancy due to an inherited genetic condition present in the angora breed. The animals were amongst Victoria’s menagerie up until her death in 1901, but it is unknown if Edward VIII kept them after that.
Modern Furby Fanciers are more adventurous with selecting traits, creating an arms race of bizarre Furby breeds. First came the “stargazers”, Furbies bred for thickened tapetum lucidum, allowing their eyes to shine vividly even in daylight. Then came the
“crystal” breed, bred for ossiferous calcium deposits on their facial cartilage that resembles shiny crystals.
The latest craze in the Furby community is the “oddbody”, bred for a long constricting spine just like its wild ancestors. The first clutch hatched in 2016 received international media attention, being dubbed “freaks of nature.” The general public had grown so used to the pom-pom deformity present in most domestic breeds that a more natural Furby was seen as freakish.
The oddbody breed doesn’t quite resemble its wild ancestors. Their length tops out at around seven and a half feet, and they’re astoundingly docile for creatures of their strength and power. Still, they trigger something in almost everyone who witnesses them, a sort of deep primal discomfort striking into that peculiar part of the human imagination that doesn’t quite inspire words.
But when you look upon them with their sharp beaks and predatory gazes, keep one thing in mind; the Furby is not the only one with cruel and hungry eyes. The next time you find yourself staring into a mirror, you’ll see it for yourself. Humans also have predator vision.
JURASSIC PARK (1993)
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i need to stop reviving dead memes
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Dystopian Space Refugees
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Daily sketch 13 april 2021
Phaedra from Starslammers
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