Thursday 13: Things I learned from reading Sci-Fi

  1. McNugget’s will some day be all-natural health food, relatively speaking (Caves of Steel, Asimov). Apparently our diet will consist largely of yeast grown in vats.
  2. My cockroach problems really aren’t so bad (Starship Troopers, Heinlein). Mr. Rico has to face giant bugs carrying death rays. Don’t watch the movie, by the way, it does not do the story justice.
  3. Don’t trust your computer (2001, Clarke). One of the early stories about a computer that goes nuts and kills everyone. If you use Windows, you know what I’m talking about.
  4. Don’t drink while sitting on an 8th floor window ledge (Inferno, Niven & Pournelle). The protagonist did this and woke up in Dante’s version of Hell.
  5. You can’t get away from bugs by moving to the desert (Dune, Herbert). Giant sandworms are everywhere. Fortunately, you can ride them.
  6. Asteroids and burritos are a bad combination (The Dragon’s Nine Sons, Roberson). This really cool alternate future history has the Mexic Dominion (a cult nation that worships Mexico’s ancient bloodthirsty gods) on a secret asteroid base.
  7. It’s a bad idea to make Libertarians angry (Freehold, Williamson). This piece of Libertarian science fiction is sort of a Klingon’s version of utopia — justice served by dueling, armed citizens, and a highly efficient military.
  8. It’s a bad idea to set your alarm clock for too early a time (Coyote, Steele). One character wakes up early from cryosleep and has to spend the rest of his life alone on a starship.
  9. Never take your wedding ring off (Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Donaldson). In this story about a modern day leper, we find that a white gold wedding ring has enough power to stop all the forces of evil.
  10. Cats are telepathic (On Basilisk Station, Weber). Specifically, the book is referring to a race of six limbed tree cats. But you know the regular ones are telepathic also.
  11. Puns are magic (A Spell for Chameleon, Anthony). I probably read 10 books from this pun-based fantasy series.
  12. Those secret Vatican organizations? They’re here to help (Carpe Demon, Kenner). These books are about what Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be like if she grew up, had kids, and lived in the burbs. The heroine works with a secret demon-fighting organization in the Vatican called Forza Scura.
  13. Make sure you have good health insurance (War of the Worlds, Wells). The big powerful aliens with their war machines all died from the common cold. Apparently, they didn’t even have an HMO.
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