fantasy

Should Some Questions Go Unanswered?

MIB3“Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.”

This is what people tell Agent J (Will Smith) in Men in Black III every time he asks Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones), “How did you get this way?”

The whole movie turns on this question.

Boris the Animal, a boglodite (a species of parasite-like aliens), escapes from the LunarMax prison on the moon, and travels back in time to kill a young Agent K before K blows off Boris’s arm in 1969. Boris succeeds and puts the earth in grave danger of being invaded by the boglodites. Agent J has to go back in time to save K and the earth.

When we got in the car after the movie, my husband gave me a pointed look. “Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to. Sounds like a lesson someone I know should learn.”

“In what way?”

Deadpan, in a perfect Admiral Ackbar imitation, he said, “It’s a trap!”

And I laughed, not just because we’re Star Wars nerds, but because, in a way, my husband was right. Women are particularly fond of asking questions we don’t need or want the answer to.

Do these jeans make my butt look big?
Do you think she’s prettier than me?
What do you think of my hair?

We force people to lie to us, or get angry with them when they don’t.

Not every question should be asked. Not every question should be answered. Some questions only torment us and the person we ask.

But sometimes, even if we don’t want the answer, we may need it.

Through the Men in Black series, Agent J believes his father chose to be absent while he was growing up. He carried around a lot of resentment and pain. Because he refuses to stop asking and refuses to accept anything less than an answer, he finds out the truth. His father was a hero who died helping Agent K save the world from Boris the Animal.

And what was it that made K the way he is? Seeing the young James (Agent J) hop out of the nearby Jeep only moments after his father is killed and ask about his dad. K flashed him with his memory eraser so that he wouldn’t remember being there.

Knowing that answer helped J both personally in accepting that his father didn’t willingly abandon him, and professionally in understanding and appreciating his partner more. The answer hurt him, but it also helped him.

The same can be true for us, but the tricky part is learning the difference between a question we don’t want to know the answer to yet need to, and a question we ask out of our own insecurity or immaturity.

Did you cheat on me?
Are you still drinking?
Is my novel ready to publish?
Do I need to lose weight?

The answers to those types of questions might hurt. We might not really want to know. But knowing the answer is for the best.

How do you figure out whether a question you don’t really want to know the answer to is one you need to ask anyway?

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

Do You Listen to Advice?

Are we alone in the universe? If not, should we try to make contact?

At the start of Battleship, scientists have found an Earth-like planet the perfect distance from its own sun to sustain life and big enough to have its own atmosphere. They don’t know if an intelligent species lives on the planet or not, so they send out a message using a deep space satellite.

One scientist assigned to the project worries this is a bad idea. “If there is intelligent life out there and they’re able to travel here, it’ll be like Columbus and the Indians. But we’ll be the Indians.”

Confident in human superiority, no one listens to him. The aliens show up years later as the Navy’s RIMPAC joint naval exercise opens. They’re not friendly.

Lieutenant Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) serves on a destroyer, and is out on the Pacific for RIMPAC. The aliens set up an impenetrable bubble, cutting off three ships from the rest of the fleet, and quickly destroy two of them. Because the captain and XO of his ship are killed, Hopper ends up the senior officer on the remaining ship.

Hopper is the worst possible choice for command. He’s been a screw-up his whole life because he’s too proud to listen to the wise advice of the people around him, and he allows himself to be goaded like a child. Before the alien attack, he was set to be dishonorably discharged for fighting with the captain of another navy’s ships. His natural intelligence and creativity are useless because they aren’t tempered by common sense and self-control.

You can tell by the looks on the crew’s faces that they think they’re doomed. And they might have been, except for one thing—Hopper finally listens to someone else. He takes the advice of his chief petty officer to retreat rather than ramming the alien ship with his destroyer the way he wanted to.

As the battle for earth continues, Hopper and his crew survive and destroy the alien ships within the bubble because he becomes humble enough to learn from others. He allows the Japanese captain (the one he fought with) to teach him a trick using water displacement and weather buoys to map an enemy’s position without radar. And when their destroyer finally goes down, they have only one ship left—the retired battleship Missouri. None of his men know how to operate the battleship, so Hopper humbles himself again to ask for help from the Korean War veterans, who most of the world sees as obsolete.

It’s important to trust our gut and to seek out creative solutions to problems. But there’s also a place for listening to people who have more experience and more wisdom than we do. We can’t always see our own shortcomings.

The closer we get to our goals and the more skilled we get, the easier it is to forget how much we still have to learn and how much wisdom older, more experienced people have to offer. It’s especially easy when the advice we need to hear comes from the lips of someone we don’t like. But if we don’t humble ourselves enough to at least listen, our arrogance can actually prevent us from achieving our dreams.

How do you decide when to listen to advice and when to go with your gut?

Join me on Facebook if you want to hear what I thought about the movie as a movie, apart from the cool lesson.

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

Behind the Scenes: The Official Game of Thrones Cookbook

A Feast of Ice and FireGames of Thrones started as an epic fantasy novel, became an award-winning HBO series, and now it’s a cookbook.

As soon as I found Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer’s blog The Inn at the Crossroads (with the awesome logline, “In the game of food, you win, or you wash the dishes…”), and found out they’d authored the official Game of Thrones cookbook, I knew I had to interview them.

A Feast of Ice and Fire contains a forward written by George R. R. Martin along with recipes from King’s Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, the mysterious lands east of Westeros, and other locations we’ve come to love (or hate), and a guide to dining and entertaining in true Seven Kingdoms style. So without further ado…

As a fantasy geek and amateur foodie, I was incredibly excited to find out someone was bringing the richly described meals from George R. R. Martin’s books to life. Where did you come up with the idea to create a cookbook based on the Song of Ice and Fire series?

Well! One day, last March, we were sitting in the kitchen, and had the sudden desire to eat lemon cakes. However, a quick Google search didn’t really lead us anywhere, and didn’t bring up any results for Game of Thrones food blogs, so we began to research and experiment with recipes ourselves. And, since we recognized it for a cool thing, we decided to start a blog to chart our culinary adventures and be able to share them with others.

How did this go from an idea to a book deal?

We emailed GRRM to let him know about the blog, never even expecting him to write us back. Of course, we were thrilled when he did, and mentioned that his publishers had taken notice of the blog as well. From there, we worked directly with Random House to develop the cookbook. It’s been a real labor of love, and they have been very supportive of our vision for the book.

Did you find it intimidating to email George R. R. Martin?

It was a bit intimidating, for sure. We never really expected him to write us back, but he did, and was incredibly kind and appreciative of our efforts. 

Where did you learn to cook? And how did you find taste testers for the more exotic dishes?

We are not professional cooks, either of us, but we both grew up in families of cooks and avid eaters. It was tough getting even our friends to try some of the stranger dishes, and there were a few things that only we tried. For the most part, though, we had a queue of eager volunteers! In fact, we had an email list for emergency eaters when we were in the crunch period before our deadlines, since we were making four or five dishes per day.

What’s the process you go through in re-creating each recipe so that it’s both faithful to the book and tastes good?

For most recipes, we have a two-fold approach. We find an historical recipe that most closely matches the description in the books—this can be as old as the ancient Romans, or as relatively new as the 19th century. We make that historical dish as accurately as possible, according to the original recipe, only adding ingredients to match GRRM’s description. It can be very tricky to follow the older recipes, which often don’t even have measurements, cook time, or other crucial details. There is a lot of trial and error involved.

We give ourselves a little more leeway with the modern version of dishes, allowing for more liberal interpretations and lists of ingredients. We usually find a few recipes that we like the look of, and combine them, drawing on our own bookshelves and the internet. 

There is often a misconception that medieval food is gross, but we really haven’t found that to be true. The preparation of a lot of dishes has changed over time, such that a modern pork pie will be savory rather than sweet. But that doesn’t mean that the currant-filled pork pie of Henry VIII isn’t also awesome and worth trying. Ultimately, we have very open minds; if we think a dish isn’t good, we don’t publish it, and keep searching and experimenting until we find one that is.

How many tries on average does it take to get a recipe right?

Sometimes, it’s beginners’ luck and we get it on the first try. Sometimes it takes a few attempts, and some we are still working on, even now! For the most part, though, I’d say we make them two or three times, once to try, and another one or two times to perfect. Of course, that’s all before photographing for the blog, and we’ve made some of the cookbook recipes at least ten times by now. 🙂

What recipe was the greatest challenge to re-create due to scarcity of ingredients? How did you manage to overcome it?

The full meals are the hardest to recreate, since they are composed of so many different elements. Sometimes it’s tough to get several seasonal ingredients at the same time, or to splurge financially for all the specialty items for a particular dish or meal. We occasionally make a substitution, but since we’re sticklers for authenticity, we mostly just wait until we can make it right.

Are there any recipes you refuse to make?

You know, a lot of folks get caught up on the weird foods, but they make up a very small portion of both blog and cookbook. There are a few dishes we either won’t or can’t make, usually for gross-out factor or illegality. An example of the first is olives stuffed with maggots, and the latter is heron. Basically, if something is legal and affordable, it’s probably on our list of dishes to try. We’re currently looking for camel—GRRM threw down a lot of culinary challenges for us in Dance—but we have tried rattlesnake, eel, crickets. 

I know it’s a bit like asking a mother to choose between her children, but which recipe in the book is your favorite, the one you’d recommend people start with?

A really solid starter recipe is the one for Honeyed Chicken. It’s very easy to make, and delicious. As for favorite dishes, Chelsea loved the mead-marinated venison for the Robert Baratheon themed meal, and Sariann loved the Banbury Cakes, the historical half of the Buns on the Wall dish in the cookbook.

You can get a sneak peek at some of the recipes featured in the cookbook at The Inn at the Crossroads. A Feast of Ice & Fire releases May 29th, but you can pre-order your copy from Amazon or Barnes and Noble now.

Have you read any of the books in the Song of Ice and Fire series or are you watching Game of Thrones on HBO? Is there a particular food you’re dying to try (or would refuse to eat)?

Please help spread the word for Chelsea and Sariann’s launch by sharing this post!

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

How Do We Know If Someone Has Truly Changed?

Once Upon A Time on ABC

How can we tell if someone has truly changed? How many chances should we give someone before saying “no more”?

The knotty nature of authentic change is a theme Once Upon A Time comes back to again and again. Sydney Glass has the chance to change from being Regina’s spineless, love-sick toy to a man of honor, but allows her to continue to use him. Emma changes from someone who’s alone because of her fears to someone who’s slowly building friendships and desperately wants to get back her son.

Each layer of Mr. Gold’s story especially returns to the nature of change.

In “Skin Deep,” we find out that Mr. Gold isn’t only Rumplestiltskin, but also the Beast to Belle’s beauty. She falls in love with him the way we knew she would, and believes it’s still possible for him to change. And she thinks she’s found the way—true love’s kiss.

Instead of escaping when given the chance, Belle returns to him and kisses him. The curse starts to break, and Rumplestiltskin jerks away. He demands to know what she’s doing. He has his chance, but he refuses to take it.

We see it again in “The Return.” Disgusted by what his father has become, Rumplestiltskin’s son makes a deal. If he can find a way to get rid of his father’s magic that doesn’t hurt either of them, his father has to agree to do it. When his son finds a way to take them to a world without magic, Rumplestiltskin turns him down. He has the opportunity to give up the power that’s making him cruel and evil, but he won’t.

I think the writers of Once Upon A Time keep coming back to the theme of change because we as people are forced to come back to these questions every time someone we trusted hurts us. I also think the writers, perhaps without knowing it, stumbled on part of our answer.

The motivation to change can’t be external.

Our love can’t make someone change. Blackmail or threats can’t make someone change. Not really. Any appearance of change will only be temporary.

I believe in second chances. I believe that people can change. But they have to want it. For their own sake. Outside forces might act as a catalyst, but the desire to change has to rise from within us.

Rumplestiltskin claims he’d be willing to change, but when it comes down to it, his heart still values his power more than his loved ones. Yet each time he walks into an episode, I’m rooting for him to find redemption almost as hard as I’m rooting for Regina to get her just desserts. One of the reasons I still have hope for him is that we see this balance shifting. We see the struggle happening within his heart. He’s passed up every chance he’s been given so far, but some people are more stubborn than others. It takes more for them to decide to change, and it’s dangerous to give up on people too soon.

As part of his backstory, we see that, even once he loses his son through his own cowardice, Rumplestiltskin refuses to accept it. He blames the Blue Fairy for stealing his son. When he thinks his son has finally returned to his life, though, it forces him to face how it was truly his choice that separated them. He’s the one who needs forgiveness.

True and lasting change involves not only desire but also taking responsibility for how our own decisions brought us to the point we’re at.

Even with those two lampposts, the path to change is long and windy and often unclear.

Since I don’t have all the answers, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. What helps you decide if someone has truly changed? How many chances do you give before drawing the line in the sand?

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

Do You Ever Feel Like You Don’t Fit In?

How to Train Your DragonIf you’ve ever felt like you don’t fit in, you have something in common with a Viking teenager named Hiccup.

Hiccup is the scrawny, clumsy, yet creative son of the Viking chieftain in the Dreamworks movie How to Train Your Dragon. No one quite understands Hiccup’s unique ways of doing things. More than anything he wants to kill one of the mysterious Night Fury dragons who attack his village, because he thinks that if he does, he’ll earn his father’s respect and won’t be the laughingstock of his tribe any more. All of Hiccup’s attempts to fit in only make him stick out more, and the girl he has a crush on thinks he’s a loser.

At times I’ve felt a lot like Hiccup. I grew up a sparrow in a family of blue jays. I desperately wanted them to like me and be proud of me. I wanted to feel like I fit in and was accepted, but I couldn’t hide how different I was. Like Hiccup, my weirdness always reared its head at the most inconvenient times.

But Hiccup figured out quicker than I did that, when you’re willing to be yourself, you’ll find truly creative solutions to the problems you’re facing.

One night, during a dragon attack, Hiccup manages to use one of the weapons he’s created to bring down a Night Fury, but no one believes him. He goes out looking for it on his own, planning to cut out its heart and bring it back as proof.

The only problem is that, when he finds the dragon, he can’t kill it. He’s the first Viking in 300 years who wouldn’t kill a dragon. He sets it free instead and thus begins a friendship that seems to prove he’s the world’s worst Viking. The dragon, who Hiccup names Toothless, shows him everything the Vikings thought about the dragons was wrong, and eventually their friendship helps save the village.

If Hiccup had been like every other Viking, the cycle of Vikings killing dragons and dragons killing Vikings would have continued until one wiped the other out. It’s always been the people who are brave enough to be themselves who come up with the greatest innovations.

Leonardo da Vinci. Albert Einstein. Steve Jobs.

And, eventually, if you stay true to yourself, you’ll find people who like you for who you are.

Near the end of How to Train Your Dragon, the girl Hiccup likes asks him what he’s going to do about the fact that his father has chained up Toothless and is headed to destroy the dragons’ nest.

“Probably something crazy,” Hiccup says.

Her lips quirk into a smile. “That’s more like it.”

She and the other Viking teens help Hiccup because, over the past weeks, they’ve learned to like him just the way he is, quirks and all. In the end, he also earns his father’s respect. He never would have earned it by trying to fit in.

I wish I could tell you I earned what I wanted from my extended family, but I haven’t yet. I have seen a little progress, a little hope. Even if they never come to accept me, I have a husband who does, and parents and a brother who believe in me. And in being myself, I’ve found friends both online and offline who like me just the way I am, in all my nerdy glory. For all of you, I’m very grateful.

Have you struggled to fit in only to have it fail? Have you been able to finally find people who accept you and like you just the way you are?

If you enjoyed this post, please enter your email below to receive updates when I put up a new post.

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

7 Tips for Increasing Creativity

Kreativ Blogger AwardI’ve been award the Kreativ Blogger Award from one of my favorite bloggers, a sister nerd, and just an all-around nice person—Jessica O’Neal. It’s a huge honor to receive this award from her. Thank you!

As you’ve probably guessed, this award comes with some rules:

1. Thank the person who gave it to you.

2. List 7-10 random facts about yourself. I’m putting a twist on this. Since this is the Kreativ Blogger Award, I’m going to give you 7 tips for increasing creativity instead.

3. Pass the award on to 6 deserving bloggers and let them know about it.

I’d also like to thank the lovely Ingrid Schaffenburg for awarding me with the Versatile Blogger Award. If you’d like to see the seven (hopefully) interesting facts I shared about myself, please check out my Versatile Blogger post.

Now on to the promised tips…

Marcy’s 7 Tips for Increasing Creativity

Spend 30 minutes on Deviant Art. Choose three pictures that immediately inspire a story idea in your mind. Write down three to five sentences about each.

Take a nap, but not for the reason you think. Have you ever noticed how great ideas often come when you’re waking up or falling asleep? According to Dr. Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, this is because the relaxation from napping allows your mind to form new associations and connections between ideas.

Add color to your life. Paint your nails blue or purple or orange. Chalk your hair. If you’re a man, buy a tie or a shirt in a color you wouldn’t normally wear. For some reason, adding a little bit of crazy color to your life makes you feel like a true artist and that frees you from the fear holding you back.

Be silly. Okay, here’s the deal. If I’m going to share my super-secret silly tips with you, you have to promise not to laugh at me. (I see your crossed fingers, by the way.) I have a toy drawer full of slinkies, paddleballs, bubble blowing liquid with wands…you get the idea. I also own a hula-hoop. Find what works for you, but sometimes all it takes to be more creative is to break the stress by doing something a little goofy.

Do logic problems. Logic problems are one of my guilty little addictions. I never go on a long trip without a book of puzzles to solve. They train your brain to think outside the box and make connections that aren’t instantly obvious. You can find great free logic problems with a Google search or order a book of them from Amazon for traveling.

Defend your position. Ask a friend to question your ideas and play devil’s advocate. In defending your position, you’ll be forced to think about it in more depth than before, face the flaws, and come up with inventive solutions.

Give yourself some distance when working on important projects. People who leave things to the last minute because they “work better under pressure” might actually be sabotaging their creativity. Studies summarized in Scientific American have shown that the more psychological distance you can get from a problem or challenge, the more creative your solutions will be.

What does psychological distance mean? It comes in different forms. You can distance yourself in time. You can imagine the problem belongs to someone else and come up with what you’d tell them. You can imagine a change in the geographical location either of yourself or what you’re working on. (And you know what would help with that – going to a new ethnic restaurant 😉 )

Now I have the pleasure of passing this award long.

Ginger Calem – Each week Ginger comes up with what she calls “WritersButt Wednesday” where she gives exercises, health tips, and absolutely mouth-watering recipes.

Jenny Hansen – Jenny’s More Cowbell blog is about all things more and it has a little bit of something for everyone from pregnancy advice to tech help for the technologically challenged to really shocking underwear.

Jen Kirchner – Jen started a new series this year called Sci-Fi Pin-Ups and she also has awesome game reviews for girls.

Melinda Vanlone – Melinda recently moved from a simple blog to a website, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Best of all, she designed it all herself.

Stacy Green – If you love true crime, you’ll really enjoy Stacy’s Thriller Thursdays. Sometimes the crimes were solved, but sometimes it’s still a mystery.

Emma Burcart – Emma’s blog is one of open-hearted honesty. When you go there, you feel like you’re sitting down with a friend for a much needed chat. I don’t think you can over-estimate that quality in a world where so many things seem rushed and impersonal.

What’s your favorite tip for increasing creativity? Have you tried any of the tips above?   

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

Top 10 Science Fiction and Fantasy My Little Ponies

Rebecca Enzor fantasy authorI’m excited to bring special guest poster Rebecca Enzor to you today. She’s a nuclear chemist who writes young adult and new adult fantasy and magical realism, and each Sunday has a Custom Pony of the Week feature on her blog where she highlights customized My Little Ponies based on books, TV shows, movies, or comics. Because of how much I love these customs, I asked her if she’d put together a Top 10 list of her favorite science fiction and fantasy My Little Ponies. We’re getting an extra treat because some of these ponies haven’t even been featured on her blog yet!

**************************************************************************************************************

First, I’d like to thank Marcy for asking me to guest post! It’s always nice to know someone loves the Custom of the Week feature on the blog 🙂

To give you a little bit of background information, My Little Pony is what originally got me into writing. When I was in fourth grade we had a city-wide competition in which everyone wrote and illustrated a book (my spelling and grammar might have been worse than my artistic ability at that point!). The book I wrote was called “My Life with Pone” and was all about a My Little Pony who was my invisible friend. Years later, in college, I started collecting ponies again and found a nifty little RPing community that allowed you to play as a pony in Dream Valley. I was hooked. I haven’t stopped writing since (I have sold my pony collection though – I had to pay for my wedding somehow!).

So now, my Top Ten Sci-Fi/Fantasy inspired My Little Pony customs:

#10: Harley

Harley Custom My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m cheating just a bit with Harley, because I’m the one who customized him, and as you can see, my artistic talent has not evolved much since fourth grade (those yellow dots are stars, by the way). I added him to the list because Across the Universe is one of my favorite books ever. It’s definitely the best book I read last year. And the author, Beth Revis, is a huge My Little Pony fan! When I found out she would be coming to town in November, I had to make a pony for her, and Harley was born. I can’t think of a character that deserved to be immortalized in pony form more than Harley.

#9: Doctor Whooves (by Jill Baguchinsky)

Doctor Hooves Custom My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit of a cheat again, because Doctor Whooves is actually a character in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic television series. But that doesn’t make him any less of a custom pony – he’s just customized by Hasbro! And who could resist snuggling up to the Doctor in plush form? Not me. Plus the customizer won last year’s ABNA in the YA category and her novel, Spookygirl, will be hitting shelves soon!

#8: Madam Em

Madam Em Medusa Custom My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you can’t guess who this pony is based on then you don’t know your mythology very well. With her mane full of snakes, Madam Em is Medusa-inspired. The detail that went into this pony is amazing, and if you visit the customizer’s DeviantArt page, you’ll see that she puts just as much detail into all of her beautiful customs.

#7: Deadpool

Deadpool X-Men Custom My Little Pony

 

Oh Deadpool, you have my silly little X-men loving heart. There was a time, in fact, that I played *coughownedcough* an X-men/MLP crossover RP. And one of my very best RP buddies played Deadpool. So to find a Deadpool pony custom was a real treat. And one that I think Deadpool himself would appreciate.

#6: Neytiri

Neytiri Avatar Custom My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a biologist, I thought the Avatar films were really interesting. As a writer, the storyline was decent. And as a person who loves colorful, pretty things? I thought the film in IMAX 3D was amazing! So when I found this Neytiri pony, it immediately became a favorite of mine. And guess what? The customizer has published a novel too! You had no idea there were so many authors who loved MLPs did you?

#5: Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter Custom My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I admit it. It’s the colors that really do it for me in this custom. There are at least a dozen other Mad Hatter customs that I’ve seen on Deviant Art, but the color scheme on this one sets it apart. And all those curls! And the tiny Doormouse! I am in so much love with this pony I can’t even explain it.

#4: Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood Custom My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This pony is absolutely amazing. From her sculpted clothing, to her fur coat, to her wolf mask and other little accessories, this twisted version of the Red Riding Hood fairytale has all the details just right for the wolf-as-the-victim twist. Since I first saw her, she’s been a favorite of mine.

#3: Howl

Howl's Moving Castle Custom My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, it could be the fact that Christian Bale voiced the role of Howl in the film adaptation that makes me love this character so much, but I think it’s actually the beautiful story arc that really does it. And this gorgeous half-pony/half-bird Howl does him so much justice. The detailing on the feathers is amazing, and the little Calcifer so adorable!

#2: Aragorn

Aragorn Lord of the Rings My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You didn’t really expect me to make a list of my Top Ten Sci-Fi/Fantasy customs without a Lord of the Rings pony, did you? Plus, have you ever seen a pony with a beard? The customizer even went so far as to put a magnetic wire in the sword so that Aragorn could “hold” it with the magnet in his foot! Now that’s dedication to your craft. (This customizer has also made a Legolas pony, and has plans to continue with the other characters as well.)

#1: Starbuck

Starbuck (Kara Thrace) Battlestar Galactica My Little Pony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You would think with all the stunning custom ponies out there it would be hard to choose a favorite, but ever since I saw Starbuck, I knew she was my all-time favorite custom pony ever. This pony is the reason I started the Custom of the Week feature on my blog. The character is one of my all-time favorite characters ever, with one of the strangest character arcs I’ve ever come across, and I think this custom captures her perfectly – right down to the thick eyebrows that give her the perfect Starbuck expression.

I hope you enjoyed my Top Ten Sci-Fi/Fantasy custom ponies. You can find all of the story-based custom ponies that I’ve featured on my blog by clicking on the Custom Pony link in the sidebar.

Did I miss one that was your favorite? Which ponies make your Top Ten list?

Grab Bag of Links (March 3)

Go ahead. Reach your hand in and grab some word candy. You know you want to 🙂

For Fantasy and Science Fiction Lovers

Why Luna Lovegood Should Have Been Harry Potter’s Girlfriend by Ellie Ann on Slacker Heroes – I’ve never been a fan of the Harry-Ginny pairing. I always thought Harry and Hermione should have ended up together, but I have to admit that Ellie makes a really good case for Luna being the perfect match for Harry.

What Buffy the Vampire Slayer Taught Me by Julie Glover – Even if you don’t like fantasy, this post has some great insights.

The Castle of Vlad Dracula “The Impaler” by Debra Kristi – The real story behind the rise of the vampire myths is creepy and doesn’t sparkle.

The Meaning of Life

Playing to Your Strengths by Jenny Hansen on Gene Lempp’s blog – Why is it that we spend so much time trying to fix our weaknesses? Wouldn’t we be better off focusing on our strengths?

My Best Relationship Was In Third Grade by Emma Burcart – Excellent relationship lessons no matter your age.

For Writers

Leaping Smart: Useful Steps for Authors by August McLaughlin – Common sense is an uncommon virtue sometimes, which makes me grateful for the posts full of wisdom and common sense August routinely writes.

6 Simple Steps for Customizing Your Facebook Timeline by Laura Christianson – If you’re like me, you hope Facebook stops making so many changes. In the meantime, here’s a quick tutorial to help you get set up on the new timeline.

The Visceral Connect by Rachel Marks on Speculative Faith – Keys for making your readers feel the emotions your characters are feeling.

Jane Friedman’s Secret to Battling Procrastination – Time is a limited commodity. Jane Friedman has some good advice for making the most of it.

Do you have a favorite link you’d like to nominate for my next grab bag?

Enter your email address to follow this blog:

Icarus and My Fear of the Sun

I have an unusual fear, one I don’t normally talk about. I’m terrified of ending up like Icarus.

Join me today at Jessica O’Neal’s Sexy Little Nerd blog for my guest post about Icarus and my fear of the sun. And while you’re there, be sure to read some of Jessica’s other posts. Her blog is nerd paradise and one of my favorites 🙂

Four Reasons Battlestar Galactica Isn’t Just for Sci-Fi Fans

Please welcome back my husband Chris for a guest post on why he thinks one of our favorite science fiction shows, Battlestar Galactica, isn’t just for science fiction fans. If given a chance, Chris is convinced it would appeal to almost everyone.

********************************************************************************************************************

Picture Source: google.com via Marcy on Pinterest

I’ve written about Battlestar Galactica before, but only in passing, and only comparing a single BSG character to Star Wars’ Wedge Antilles. But BSG is one of the few science fiction shows with appeal for all kinds of viewers (such as Marcy, a Trekkie, and me, the Star Wars equivalent to a Trekkie), so I decided to put together this post to tell you all why I absolutely love Battlestar Galactica—and why you probably would, too.

Great Storytelling

The plot of almost every BSG episode was believable, interesting, and extremely engaging. We started off buying just the first season, but very quickly added the remaining three seasons because the story was just that good. And many were the nights where we stayed up until 2am or later, until we could barely keep our eyes open any longer, because we always wanted to watch “just one more,” to see where the story went. The writers had a talent for ending on a cliffhanger.

A Realistic Depiction of the Future

Star Trek has phasers and transporters and replicator technology. Star Wars has lightsabers and turbolaser cannons and the HoloNet. The Stargate series has interstellar gates. But none of these technologies are all that realistic when you look at today’s technology level and its likely rate of evolution even 300 years into the future.

In contrast, all the ships in Battlestar Galactica use kinetic weapons (weapons that don’t contain an explosive or electric charge). These range from a sort of machine gun in the nose of the human’s Viper starfighters to the nuclear-tipped missiles hurled by the Cylon basestars. Even the depictions of the Vipers’ maneuverability were more accurate than you’d expect, and included the use of attitude thrusters to move the ship around. Astronauts already use less sophisticated attitude thrusters today.

Galactica used an internal phone and intercom system, and lacked the comm badges, comlinks, and viewscreens of Star Wars and Star Trek. Galactica’s computer systems, even when networked, required several minutes to run complex calculations, and the comm systems in BSG all seemed to feature the type of distorted transmissions I would expect to hear over such long ranges.

Basically, I think the technology in Battlestar Galactica is closer to the technological reality we’ll have in the next couple hundred years.

A Unique Villain

The biggest sticking point for most science fiction is having a flat villain. If you don’t have a unique, believable, engaging villain, the show just doesn’t work well. Fortunately for us, BSG doesn’t have that problem. The Cylons (cybernetic organisms originally created to serve humanity) gained sentience and revolted against their former masters, disappearing after the first human-Cylon war and appearing again after 40 years to destroy the Twelve Colonies.

But the Cylons aren’t your typical cybernetic organisms. While the original Cylons looked like many depictions of futuristic robots, the Cylons have evolved and gained the ability to look just like a human, indistinguishable from a real person. The look, sound, and feel just like a real human, and the sleeper agents don’t even know they’re a Cylon until their sleeper circuit gets tripped. About the only difference between a “skin job” and a real human is that the female Cylons’ spines glow red during sexual activity.

And worse for the human survivors of the Cylons’ nuclear bombardment of the Colonies, the Cylons possess a Resurrection Ship, which automatically downloads a fallen Cylon’s memories and experiences into a new body and activates it, creating a never-ending stream of cybernetic warriors bent on grinding their former masters into so much interstellar dust.

How do you even fight against an enemy like that?

Engaging Special Effects and Cinematography

I found the special effects and cinematography of BSG to be top-notch. One of my favorite things about the show was how a lot of the exterior, long-distance shots were shown. Rather than the standard, steady, zoomed-in fare you get in most film, BSG has a lot of exterior shots that look like they were recorded on a hand-held camera, with the field of view zooming in too fast before resolving itself, and the recording itself being shaky, as would befit a distant observer.

For those of you who already love BSG, what do you think made it such a great show? If you haven’t seen Battlestar Galactica before, has this convinced you to watch an episode on Netflix?

Enter your email address to follow this blog: