Edward Willett

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The Space-Time Continuum: Aliens in Science Fiction

Having just posted my column from the February/March 2017 issue of Freelance, the magazine of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild (see previous post), it behooves me to be more timely and post the most recent column, from the April/May issue. And here it is! I remember being confused, as a kid, the first time I encountered the term “illegal aliens.” “Alien,” to me, had only one meaning: intelligent creatures from other planets. How could they be illegal? I wondered. Not being from this planet, were they really subject to its laws? Yes, I was a weird kid. Aliens are one of the great tropes of science fiction, as the length of the article in the ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:15, May 21st, 2017 under Blog, Columns, Science Fiction Columns, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

Gerry Anderson and me

So Gerry Anderson has died. I don’t know that I could say I was a huge fan of his shows—well, I liked UFO a lot, but the Supermarionation things, though I watched quite a few of them, weren’t just in the “uncanny valley” for me, they’d pretty much fallen into the “uncanny canyon” and were well on their way to the lowest depths of “uncanny hell.” The puppets might be well-suspended, but my disbelief never was. (Funny thing is, I never had that problem with the Muppets, which I love. Maybe because they didn’t even try to look human.) However, Gerry Anderson did have one huge impact on me: Fireball XL5 ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:15, December 27th, 2012 under Blog | Comment now »

Now I’m even writing in my sleep

Just before I woke this morning, I was dreaming in an unusual fashion: in my dream, I was disembodied and observing other people, writing a running commentary in my head, very much like the process of writing fiction when I'm awake. I can't remember ever doing that in my sleep before, but of course we only remember bits of what we dream.Anyway, when the alarm woke me, I was watching a woman, dressed in brightly colored clothes, leaving some sort of grungy-looking train station, and, mentally contrasting it with the bridge of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation, my dreaming brain constructed this sentence (or something very like it):"It was a shame, she reflected, ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 14:54, March 24th, 2009 under Blog | Comment now »

Like, wow, man: "White Rabbit" Star Trek

Classic Trek scenes set to Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". Jimi and Janis would both approve. (Via SF Signal.)

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:40, February 21st, 2008 under Blog | Comment now »

A real-life light saber?

Sounds more like a Star Trek phaser set on stun, to me:The LED Incapacitator works by emitting a strobe of ultra-bright, multicolored, pulsing light. Once pointed at an individual, the built in range finder measures the distance to the nearest set of eyes and then adjusts the level, output and frequency of this beam, to unleash an optimal and continuously changing pulse. This results in giving the eyes and the brain no time to adapt, and whilst temporarily blinding the subject, it also causes a disorientating effect. Hence, the subject is overwhelmed by the strobe both physiologically and psychophysically. Inventors of the LED Incapacitator, Bob Lieberman and Vladimir Rubtsov, say that the effect of having the light shone ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 4:14, August 12th, 2007 under Blog | Comment now »

Me, singing Star Trek

I'm not going to make it to ConVersion, Calgary's science fiction convention, this summer: the timing just didn't work out. But I'll still be present when the Imaginiative Fiction Writers' Association (a.k.a. "IFWits") perform their becoming-a-tradition musical (this year: The Phantom of the Space Opera). At their behest, I have recorded a rather frightening version of the theme song for Star Trek (the original series). Yes, it has lyrics! Yes, it's WAY too high for me! Yes, you can listen to it here!Enjoy! (Or not, as the case may be.)

Posted by Edward Willett at 19:03, August 1st, 2007 under Blog | Comment now »

From Babel Fish to Woohoo!

Today's Web column for CBC Saskatchewan's Afternoon Edition...*********If you've ever watched Star Trek, you've heard of the Universal Translator. The Universal Translator is a computer device that is able to instantly translate almost any alien language, no matter how bizarre, into American English.Of course, the Universal Translator doesn't exist...yet. But all over the Web you can find sites that offer you free online translation of selected text or entire Web sites. Do they work? How well do they work?Computer translation is more properly called machine translation, probably because the field is a lot older than you might imagine: in 1954 a successful experiment in machine translation was carried out in which ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 17:38, June 21st, 2007 under Blog | Comment now »

This looks…interesting

It's The Shatner Show at Uppercase Gallery in Calgary:Get ready for the summer of Shatner! An exhibition and publication of artwork depicting William Shatner, featuring the work of over seventy artists of diverse illustrative styles from Canada and the US. The caliber of participating artists is outstanding.Ohhhhhkay...

Posted by Edward Willett at 17:26, June 1st, 2007 under Blog | Comment now »

What is "Spock" up to these days?

Taking beautiful photographs of large nude women, of course.

Posted by Edward Willett at 22:24, May 12th, 2007 under Blog | Comment now »

Spock’s home planet in our sights?

I haven't posted anything Star Trek-related in, oh, days, so here's something:Science fiction may soon become science fact. Astronomers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have recently concluded that the upcoming planet-finding mission, SIM PlanetQuest, would be able to detect an Earth-like planet around the star 40 Eridani, a planet familiar to "Star Trek" fans as "Vulcan." 40 Eridani, a triple-star system 16 light-years from Earth, includes a red-orange K dwarf star slightly smaller and cooler than our sun. Vulcan is thought to orbit that dwarf star, called 40 Eridani A.No, I don't own a pair of pointy plastic ears. Why do you ask?

Posted by Edward Willett at 22:03, May 10th, 2007 under Blog | Comment now »