The martian – A proper sci-fi opera

The Martian from Andy Weir is one of the most astonishing sci-fi operas of this decade, is a proper hard science fiction book. It is a must for genre lovers.

«If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of implode. If none of those things happen. I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death»

A few weeks ago I was on Netflix and I saw that they added The Martian.

I love this movie and with the book, they form a comprehensive mix of explanations, visual effects, and scenes that at some level are better in the movie.

Andy Weir is the first author that had written a book in peer review.

This means that while he was publishing chapters of it on his blog, scientists from all over the world helped him with the creation of the book.

Setting the genre:

This is, I think, the best pure sci-fi opera ever done but let me explain this concept.

Everyone use to relate Star Wars, Stargate, Star Trek, and all these kinds of movies in the branch of science fiction but this is partially wrong.

If Star Wars is not at all a science fiction movie but a fantasy opera, then Star Trek is a nice mix between the genres as Stargate is.

They concentrate the main opera on the relationship and wars between different planet and civilizations.

But I guess we can speak better about this on another occasion.

The Martian is pure and absolute science with the limitation of it being part of a plot that needs a poetic license on his structure.

A new concept of a villain:

Another merit of The martian is to be a considerable part of the natural evolution of the genre of which it wants to be a part of.

In the 80s or 90s, the big villain was an alien fleet that wanted to destroy or conquer the world. In the last years, the big enemy to defeat is time.

Look for example in Interstellar when the planet Earth is on the edge end we are running for space colonization to save our own species, even if it is not really necessary in that movie.

Now! Today more than before we are starting to project colonization on other planets and Mars is the closest. It is actually the first that we are going to colonize (hopefully soon)

So Andy Weir is punctual on writing about the remote possibility of someone lost in our space colonization.

Furthermore and ending this, is praise to mankind’s ability to solve a massive problem by doing this TOGETHER because this is the key to the salvation of Mark Watney.

He is strong and he wanted to survive so he used his knowledge to do that but on Earth, they cooperated to reach the great result of an even fictional, marvelous rescue.

The Martian plot:

Mark Watney is a NASA astronaut on the 3rd humanity mission on the red planet.

During a really unnatural storm, while all his crew gets safely on the ship, he gets stabbed and stays on the planet.

First thing: Open a daily journal for who will found your body.

Second: Food. They are American,  the author wrote the plot around the Thanksgiving day so a year and a half of potatoes.

Third: Heat, so let’s unbury a radioactive and mortal radioactive thing that, in the unlucky case of a potential incident could kill a person.

The book is the journal of a man who gave everything for surviving. Mankind was never such united for saving a single person.

It is funny when it needs to be and sad when it needs it.

Mark Watney itself:

Looking at scientific reviews of the movie, I found that Mark’s behavior in his situation is not totally wrong.

Still alone, on the surface of an alien planet, he is able to take his situation with a considerable amount of lightness.

If you think, this is normal.

If we gonna send somebody in such a mission, they must be able to face a huge amount of problems with a lot of cold blood.

And we are speaking of a man who grows potatoes on an alien planet with his own shit. No jokes here.

While watching the movie for the first time, I imagined how it could be the moment of Ares 4 arriving on Mars with Mark waiting for them from a few days on the site.

Luckily everything took a different road because, after all this wasn’t a horror book.

This will easily become a cornerstone of science fiction or at least, in the martian bibliography.

Reading this is a must so recover it.


Related posts:
Martians – The origins of the myth
The three-body problem a Chinese sci-fi masterpiece

If you want to know something more about the RTG, the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator:
Staying warm with a box of radiation on ‘The Martian’


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Martians – The origins of the myth

Giovanni Schiaparelli.

I’m proud to tell this story because this dude came from my city. He was born in Torino on March 14th, 1835. In his early life, he showed a passion for astronomy and after a degree the University of Torino and at 27 he became director of the astronomical observatory of Brera.

One day he decided to test the 218mm Merz telescope and because of the opposition of Mars, he thought: “Why don’t start to study our red neighbor?” So he became a pioneer of the red planet. Almost everything we know is because of him but at once it happens the unimaginable.

He start to speak about the channels of Mars and on his book Life on Mars he wrote:

«Piuttosto che veri canali della forma a noi più familiare, dobbiamo immaginarci depressioni del suolo non molto profonde, estese in direzione rettilinea per migliaia di chilometri, sopra larghezza di 100, 200 chilometri od anche più. Io ho già fatto notare altra volta, che, mancando sopra Marte le piogge, questi canali probabilmente costituiscono il meccanismo principale, con cui l’acqua (e con essa la vita organica) può diffondersi sulla superficie asciutta del pianeta.»

Now keep this in Italian that we came back on it in few rows (I hope).

A few years later a French man called Camille Flammarion important astronomer and precursor of the science fiction as well as the supporter of the idea that other world could be peopled, wrote a book called La planète Mars et ses conditions d’habitabilité.

These two books arrived in the hands of an American gentleman called Percival Lowell, a third astronomer that was looking as well on the canals on Mars.

He read the book of Flammarion and after he translated the book of Schiaparelli.

When he arrived at the aforementioned sentence, Lowell translated in this way:

«Rather than true canals in a form familiar to us, we must imagine depressions in the soil that are not very deep, extended in a straight direction for thousands of miles, over a width of 100, 200 kilometers and maybe more. I have already pointed out that, in the absence of rain on Mars, these channels are probably the main mechanism by which the water (and with it organic life) can spread on the dry surface of the planet.»

In English, there are channels that are a natural formation and canal that is an artificial structure while in Italian is a single word for both. Schiaparelli meant Channels but Lowell, on the tail of Flammarion, supposed he spoke to artificial irrigation systems.

The Lowell map of Mars with canals and aliens…

This was the time when we were starting to build the canals of Suez and Panama so our mind was traveling and even the astronomer had given up to the idea that on Mars there were artificial structures.

Like collective massive pareidolia.

In the late years of his life Lowell was obsessed by mars and Martians and thanks to him, today, the sci-fi writers have a job.

He was even able to see martians fleets that was facing wars with our planet.

So! Let’s ready for the first contact but please. Don’t even try to send a white dove because all of us know what happen last time we mixed doves and martians.


Related posts:
The martian – A proper sci-fi opera

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The backpacker laws – The Murphy’s laws of travelers

The backpacker laws is a big traveling project about experiences.

When in the same sentence there are rusks and cats is easy to think about the perpetual motion that rewrote the physics. The buttered cat engine of Murphy & Co.

However, sometimes we can find these unlucky catastrophic structures even in fields that are not strictly connected with daily life.

I think is possible to adapt this kind of structure to the travels.

These laws will be based on personal experiences of me and you that have the courage and the time to follow this madness.

Whoever had some kind of strange experience can contact me to organize this amazing document and everything will be published on here.

This will be the final deposit for travel experiences processed in a funny way and together we can create something amazing.

Law 1: [Well know as the law of the safe shelter] – May 5th, 2015
If you are sheltered and the weather is uncertain but you can choose to stay there or just pick up the tent (that is quite better for a backpacker) you can be sure that, if you choose to move, the uncertainty of the weather will drive to the worse.

Axiom 1: [Marshmallows and fire] – August 6th, 2017
– A man with beers in a fire spot will be the center of the evening.
– A man with marshmallows in a fire spot will be a god.

Law 2: [Weather in the UK] – September 5th, 2017
When there is clean weather it couldn’t rain. But the UK doesn’t know this so it rains anyway

Law 3: [The 1st Schrödinger-ish cat law of space] – February 24th, 2019
In a house with at least a cat and a suitcase (even with more boxes around), the cat will entirely fill the space in the luggage.

Good luck with your travel.


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Enter the void – The afterlife tale of a young boy

I found out about “Enter the void” in a youtube channel that spoke about lucid dreaming and when the guy spoke the plot I supposed that I had to watch as soon as I could so in few days I solved this gap in my movie knowledge.

The plot is not so difficult so I think that speaks about spoiler is even wasteful but let’s start to analyze the story.

Oscar is a drug addicted guy who goes to live in Japan for finding new drugs and, fully tripped with LSD, receive the visit of a friend who asks him to deliver some drug in a pub called “The Void”.

This guy passed the last days speaking with him about the Tibetan book of the dead, an Asiatic old book about life after the life and the reincarnation.

After a few minutes guess what.

The main character died and let’s start with this trip of the soul that follows gap by gap all the passages described in the book until the final choice of the next life.

Basically, we live the three level of Oscar “passing away”: The life, the mind the soul…
And we live it via flashbacks of his life.

The great of the story is that while the soul follows his after-life trip he is forced to relive the most important parts of his life and this is helpful for the emotional bond with Oscar even if you passed a life that you can recognize in his own.

Coming little modified from the version shown on Cannes, there are not fewer words than brilliant and magnificent for describing how this movie got to the people that watched it.

Maybe it liked so much because it literally goes beyond the boundaries of reality. It shows the afterlife in a way never taken before.

But, before seeing it not that may not be for everyone.

It contains explicit sex, drug use, spinning camera, blood, gay sex, psychedelic images. Not for everyone.

But if you are brave enough, go for it. Enter the void is waiting for you


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The penguin lessons – The story of a friendship

The penguin lessons is one of the stories that open a breach in my heart.

Actually, this book is one of my favorite of all times, and this is remarkable if you think that I got it only to complete a 2×1 offer in a supermarket.

I don’t even remember the other book, probably one I didn’t care a lot.

Reading the cover, you’ll learn that this is a true story and an autobiography.

So, If you start with this assumption, after half the book, you can guess they are kidding you. But please have the courage to read this and you will not regret.

This book talks about the astonishing friendship between an Englishman who lives in Argentina and Juan Salvador, the penguin who changed his life.

Tom is a teacher in an English school in Buenos Aires and, on holiday in Uruguay, he finds Juan mired in an oil puddle where all the other animals are dead.

Somehow Juan captures the attention of the guy who decides to bring the penguin with him with the idea to put him back into the sea the day after.

But we know that life is not always easy to plan and the penguin starts a relationship with the man that decided to bring him in Argentina in a journey that can be defined epic.

In a blink, Juan Salvador is the mascotte of the school, he will leave his print into the life of the students, above all of the shy Diego ones, who will break his shell thanks to the penguin.

But after all the most important fact about this friendship is the evolution of the point of view that Tom has about mankind and the world.

As I told before, on the title page is wrote “A true story”.

Well, I smiled when I read for the first time but then I can say that is a kind of likely story even because is seasoned with reflections of the author about the impact of the man on the environment and a lot of funny moments…

I’d like to share an extract that I personally liked.

«I had little doubt that what I was witnessing on this beach was the inevitable consequence of a hideous collision of cultures. When the instinctive, annual compulsion of seabirds to migrate met a vast, floating oil slick dumped at sea through human thoughtlessness and greed, there was only one possible outcome: The utter and complete annihilation of those penguins. This would have been indescribably ghastly had it been the result of an accident. That it should be the result of deliberate actions taken in the full knowledge of a likely consequences defied any kind of rationalism or acceptance»

Trust me. The penguin lessons is surely the next book you want to read


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Obscurials in the mankind – The artistic death

Obscurials are one of the worse things that a wizard can become in the Wizarding world

Even if I’m not the kind of fan who make theories and read all the books a hundred times, I loved every single Harry Potter movie and even Fantastic Beasts.

Is impossible to don’t like the way in which a woman converted all her frustration, all her sadness in an unforgettable opera.

But I guess that this is the main concept of art: Keeping out all your feelings and converting them into a passion.

In the last movie, we have known this new black creature, the result of the suppression of a gift. We can not use magic because the others will not understand.

Yes, the magic, our magic, our imagination, our passions, our skills and the possibility to show to all of us that we can do something of majestic.

They don’t understand. Not because they are not able to do something great.

Understand me, guys. I have total and unconditioned hope that everybody can be the smith of unimaginable. But they don’t understand and they will not.

But maybe we are wrong. Maybe this is the reality. Maybe none of us is special at the end and we are crazy to think that something of amazing can be forged in our brain.

So? So we must suppress that spark, we must kill that before someone could see us.

Is not a big matter because this dark creature can be buried inside us and never come out.

The real purpose of our life is to stay eight hours for days doing something we don’t give a fuck, because this is normal.

Yes! This is what happens nowadays and this dark force is inside all of us.

And for our humanity’s sake, we must find the courage to free this indomitable force into the world.

Don’t worry will not destroy the planet like in the movie but will surely change our world and society, almost like a good idea.

The main moral of this post is to find the courage to convert your passions and skills into something amazing… Exactly like aunt Joanne did. Or maybe, mentioning Inception:

«Do you want to take a leap of faith or become an old man filled with regret waiting to die alone?»

I’m not the person that has the right to read in her mind and pretty sure she didn’t mean this when she created the obscurials but, like in every art piece, there is a high variety of reading keys and damn… This is one.


Related posts:
Ideas – The bricks of progress

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Are books and blogs so different?

The other day I was listening for an audiobook and, at once, I hear something that gave me the deep desire to interact with the author in that exact moment.

It was the onset for a tete-a-tete joke.

I definitely said something like «Come on, why can’t I tell you my joke?». It was kind sad moment but is finished when he says what I was thinking… Almost. I’m digressing sorry.

I passed a few hours to think about how could be better if possible, to interact with the author of a book step by step during the reading of the opera.

It was relatively possible with Andy Weir because he published the chapters of his novel on his blog for peer reviewing but that was a book as well.

And then I thought. Wait, such a thing already exists. Is not the same thing, but it gets close enough.

Which is the media that allow you to discuss with a person about his idea?

Well! The best answer actually is a blog. Now, in the last decade, you can do as well with youtube, with vlogs (video blogs).

Are we saying that books and blogs are the same things?

Well! Yes and no.

No, because they are deeply different. Ones tell a story in a (we always hope) linear and understandable way. There is a beginning, something in the middle and an end.

A blog in the other hand is a list of different thoughts that the curator post periodically.

Imagine now about a person that do both a blog and a book. It tells the same story but in both ways.

Well! In many cases happens.

A book is filled with the thoughts of the writer and the blog as well so is possible that a story, even if is fantastic or basilar or sad or anything, contains the heart and soul of who wrote it. In a blog, you do it in a surely most direct and less concealed way.

In a blog, you do it in a surely most direct and less concealed way.

So here we are. We have the change to interact directly with an author, with someone that has something to say and can give and get almost immediate feedback.

I’m not saying that blogs should replace a book, I won’t dare at all. This was just a personal thought so please people, go ahead and don’t dare stop writing books or curate blogs.


Related posts:
Are really books better than movies for storytelling?
Books vs eBooks – Choose your side

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