On Auto

So I'm cruising along at 350, enjoying some big puffy cumulous formations and breathing some sweet pistachio synth air, when Boom, the dash starts flashing bright enough to wake you out of a chem dream, the car screams to a mid-air halt and a blue'n'white floats over with a sour-faced cop in the window.
"Sir, may I see your bios and lightband?"
"Uh, sure, officer, what seems to be the trouble?"
"Sir, were you aware that you were altering your cloud course through that last bank?"
"Alter... Officer, I was just admiring the view when..."
"We have a heat impression of both your hands ON the steering stick."
"Well, I was just resting them for a moment, I mean, it's a beautiful day and..."
"Sir, when was the last time you texted during this flight?"
"Tex... I, I was just in touch with my friend about the party on Rexus9, and HE was saying..."
"Your transmit log indicates that conversation w…

Wake me When We Get There

There was a fascinating article somewhere (that’s the problem these days –there’s so much info everywhere, it blurs together) about the realities of long-term space travel. Which means what?
Look, the thing is, for the foreseeable future, we’re going to get to places like Mars or Titan (Saturn’s most promising life-possibility moon) in the coming generation or two and by scifi standards, it’s gonna take forever-ish. Seven months each way to Mars, years and years to Titan. Wanna go? Think of what a hero you’d be on Earth. If you made it. Or didn’t. Or actually managed to get there and return in say, 40 years. Who knows, if you travelled fast enough, you might even come back younger! And wouldn’t that be a great thing to mull over with all that free time in space?
So to the practical. As of the latest science, you can’t simply seal yourself up in a pod and chemically induce some kind of suspended animation and wake up refreshed and ready to go 7 years later, as the ship’s AI calmly inf…

Where was the future in the year 1700?

From all the info I can gather, science fiction got its more or less official start in the early 1800’s with the appearance of one Dr. Frankenstein. Written by Mary Shelly in 1811, it basically crowned her the Mother of Science Fiction. Try smoking that one, guys…
But prior to that, we have a distinct lack of evidence of anything quite so fanciful and a big part of the reason is, in my mind at least, for lack of things electric. Oh, there were drawings from Galileo – fantastical ones – and a great TV series based on his life as well. But story telling? Not so much. You need to have some basic understanding of possibility in order to dream in scifi and without having any clear concept of propulsion, for instance, how are you gonna get there?
It looks like it may have taken the industrial revolution to get the wheels turning, from laying powerful railroad systems around the world, to great migrations into the cities, factories, efficiency, suffering and overcrowding – the kinds of conc…

Shooting the Moon

Dateline 1871
There has been examination of the makeup and content of the moon that encircles the earth, with fanciful poetry and lore of the Man who lives there. Undoubtedly, his face is plainly visible at times, a sign from the heavens that he beckons us with open heart and good will.
Astronomers tell us the orb is outside the reach of Man, but the engineers at Winchester now believe it is indeed within the realms of possibility to construct an instrument with such length and power as to create a predictable trajectory that with recently devised chemical compounds affixed therein, power a massive projectile capable of striking its surface with some assurance of accuracy.
The bullet casing has been estimated at a circumference of 3 meters in width and 6 meters in length, sufficient for a coterie of scientific scholars to enter into a padded and succinctly prepared interior and travel the distance without physical harm.
It is of the political opinion that such a journey would do great jus…

The Future of the Future

How lame is our current culture going to look to someone exploring it a hundred years from now? You could start by considering life in 1917, as American was embroiled in World War 1. There’s a scary thought. Will someone be writing “You could start by considering life in 2017 as America was embroiled in WW3.” Yikes…
Let’s figure on that not being our history and how about another bite of that nice fresh-baked brownie you got at the dispensary?
OK: 1917. Candlestick phones, Model T’s, women’s suffrage, bowler hats and new-fangled typewriters. Quaint, but relatable. Which is to say in the hundred years between now and then, we progressed faster than a speeding freakin’ bullet, going from 17 mph to 17K mph and developing technology absolutely and unimaginably magical. How much of what we are today could a smart reader like yourself have figured on back then? Commuter jets? Gay marriage? Pop Tarts? VR? Chuckie Cheese? Rock ‘n’ Roll??
So the Q that keeps rattlin’ around in my head is if t…

Caution: Only 87 Years to Go…

In 1999, whispers turned to talk, turned to shouts, turned to panic that at the stroke of midnight 2000, most every computer on Earth would reset itself to the year 1901 and turn of the lights of the First World.
The Millennium Bug was an unplanned disaster in the making, fueled by the temerity of early programmers foolishly building in 2-digit year designations next to the 2-digit month and date. Remember how it unfolded? First, a lot of tech companies made a lot of money by combing through mainframes and laptops and reprogramming them to recognize four-digit year numbers, instead. And then, at the stroke of midnight 2001, the trillion or so other processors, from car radios to toaster ovens, looked left, looked right, and then muttered a collective “whatever” and continued to burn the edges of that artisanal bread that was going stale on the kitchen counter.
Much ado, indeed. Fast forward to today, and we’re a society that now has an 8-digit date standard. Yay, us! Look at how forw…

We’re All Voice-Over Stars

I’ve been involved in the VO world for decades and have watched it change dramatically, then become commercially disrupted and change again, then socially and change again.
In the entirely different world of the 1960’s and 70’s voice-over artists were a neat little boutique extension of the entertainment business, who worked mostly out of three cites: New York (by far the largest market), Chicago and LA. 
To be a VO talent was to be represented by a union talent agency and be a card-carrying SAG and AFTRA member. Your agent brought you into their offices several times per week to record demos of radio and TV commercial copy, then the tape operator edited several auditions together onto a reel-to-reel tape and messengered it over to the advertising agency for review and hopefully, a booking.
There were stars in the voice-over world, quite different from any other types. They were only known to the agencies and each other and enjoyed both the faceless anonymity of being regular people in …