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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Earth Afire (The First Formic War, #2)Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book, along with Earth Unaware, is an interesting read, but not so much for the characters, but for the situation. It is interesting reading about plausible technological advancements and their usage, like mining asteriods for metal in deep space. Some of the technology isn’t as believable as other, like the gravity laser that can disrupt the gravity of any object, like a planet. Mini Death Star, right there. But none of the ships can go faster than the speed of light, including the aliens, so that’s a refreshing change from a lot of science fiction. It begins with a family of deep space miners who see the alien vessel coming to earth and want to warn people about it, but because of technology limits as well as bloated bureaucracies, plus the radiation the alien ship emits, no one gets the message until the aliens are nearly there, and no one believes it until the aliens actually do come. Once they do come and start invading, no one can agree with each other and it just becomes a big mess, which the aliens take advantage of, to an extent. It’s like politics today. The characters didn’t really feel strong to me, just representative of different factions on Earth, trying to cooperate for a common goal. My biggest complaint would be about the aliens, the formics, or better known as the buggers by those who have read the Ender books. There wasn’t much description of them, but I was hoping for something more original. Basically, they are ant men, who swarm in hordes but don’t seem to be that smart, despite advanced technology. The comic book versions don’t get props for original design, either. But the book still makes an interesting read, especially since Ender’s Game is coming out as a movie soon.

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Animation

Here’s a link to some videos I did a few years ago in school. The one with the dragon is probably the most fun. You’ll have to click it to get it going, and if it stops, there’s something you can clikc on to continue it on (it’s a flash video, and probably won’t work on your ipad). Have fun. http://www.barrettmatthew.com/videov2.html

    Here’s the beginnings of a new short story

I was there when he descended from the stars.
    First came the sign. A ball of fire lighting the night sky. Omen of evil, or of hope. A few moments later, he came floating down slowly, unharmed. His armor glistened in the darkness. He landed in our main plaza, kneeling as he touched the ground.
    Few were up at that hour, but soon everyone was roused to see this stranger. At first we weren’t sure if he was a friend or an enemy, but within minutes, seeing the man’s smiling face, the elder pronounced him a friend. More than a friend.
    Our savior.
    Just when we needed one, as the orcs were gathering. For years, we had held them off, using strategy, traps, and negotiating. Some tribes would go to war against us, but since they were disorganized, we were always able to survive.
    Now, though, things were changing. Rumors were had of an orc who had rediscovered magic. Normally, we didn’t believe in that, as neither orc nor human knew anything but legends of it, but with our savior descending from heaven, we were forced to rethink our views. Even if the rumors were wrong, the tribes were uniting. And it wouldn’t be long before they attacked us. They had always envied us and our little valley within their land. Now they might have the means to exterminate us.
    But we had the means to fight back. Fate was on our side.
    Travis was what he called himself. Different than us, with pale skin, short dark hair, and a stubbly face. Others began to copy him. I thought it blasphemous.
    He came with a magic stick. Once he used it, to show us. Light burst out of it and burned what it touched. He assured us it would kill any orc that came his way. Strong and tall, with eyes that analyzed everything, his only fault could be that he was a bit too free with our women. But perhaps taking on flesh was hard to control. I couldn’t blame him, as our women were tempting. Yet I fear I sin when I get jealous, especially when he talks to my sister Akisha, who is completely enamored of him.
    He had been here only a few days when he announced that we would lead an offensive against the orcs gathering outside the valley, coming closer to the only pass that led into the valley. Disperse them, frighten them, while they were still weak. Maybe then they would leave us alone.
    We were eating roasted chicken one night, the head warriors encircling the fire pit, when he made his announcement. “Tomorrow is the day we fight! I did not come here to live in fear!” He had an accent, but could speak our language and understand us. He said he studied our ways from the stars before coming down. Looking at me, he said, “I want Ahmet to be my second in command. I have heard good things about him and trust his instincts. I know little about the orcs, so he will guide me.”
    My face flushed red. I bowed myself to the ground. This was too much of an honor; it was unseemly. But Travis came over and pulled me up, smiling. He may have studied us, but he was different and didn’t know all our customs. I suppose I could forgive him. He was a foreigner and our savior.

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