Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: The Martian

The Martian
The Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Good
The Martian begins with a bang, as an American astronaut is wounded and stranded on Mars. Left alone with his best chance of rescue years away, he scrambles to find ways to extend his meager resources.

Characters in the book are likeable, and at times, laugh out loud funny, especially the main character. It's almost impossible to NOT cheer for him. He's a problem solver with a monstrous slate of problems.

Pacing was well done--and though there is a LOT of science and math in this book--Andy Weir pulls off making every bit of it interesting. And lets admit it, when the difference between four and five watts will save your life, it's interesting. Mr. Weir explains why the astronaut does everything, and draws the reader in.

As far as the audiobook goes, the narrator is Ray Porter. Ray-frickin-Porter people! If you haven't listened to his audio work, you are truly missing out. He's my absolute favorite and the best in the business.

The Bad
My only complaint with this book was the ending. It was over far too soon. It was exciting and finished well, but I would have liked more. Just a little. 10-20 pages. 50 tops.

The Spin
This story is so good that it's being made in to a movie (coming out in 2015). That's good news for the book, bad news for the director and crew. They have to take a story with the action and thrills of Apollo 13 or Gravity, and bring it to life. If they screw it up, fans of the novel will not forgive them. A lot of the material will translate to film, but they'll have to make a slightly different approach.

Either way, read or listen to this one before the movie comes out. You'll be glad you did.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 11, 2014

Zombies And Babies: A Comparison

Walking Dead Action Figure
Photo Credit:




A Comparison

I noticed a small infant walking recently and my writers mind commented how this innocent child had the unsteady gate of the walking dead.

And thus, this side by side comparison was born.

Zombies Babies
Varies depending on location. Influences include, but are not limited to: air temperature, humidity, wind speed, cloud cover, and Earth rotational axis (i.e. seasons). Usually stable between 97 and 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit. If babies are sick, they will fluctuate out of this range.

Zombies have varying degrees of mobility depending on the method of their creation. From shambling walkers to brain hungry speed freaks, zombies provide never ending guesswork when it comes to each individual undead.

If zombies continue to decay, then it should be expected that their mobility will lower over time. I've always thought they would begin initially fast, but slow down as decay and depleted resources take their toll on the zombie.
Infants begin bearing weight on their legs at three months. By six, they're beginning actual mobility, whether it's crawling or scooting (a fascinating ritual where the child contorts various muscles in an effort to move, then hopes to have the mental acuity to remember said exertion).

Babies begin taking their first shambling steps between eight to eighteen months. The steps are cautious at first, but build speed over time as muscle memory improves.
Zombies have a never ending hunger for human flesh. Some legends state that braaaaiiiinnnsss are the food preferred by the living dead, in deference to any other organ or tissue. This drive forces them to shamble from one location to the next in an eternal search for their next meal.

Zombies a capable of feeding themselves.
As with all humans, babies hunger can be satisfied with the proper feeding. The preferred food of babies is milk, specifically the milk produced by the female of the species. While chemical cocktails have been made to replicate this milk, babies cannot survive without these nutrients.

Babies are initially unable to acquire their own food and must be fed by older members of the species. When a baby does become hungry, it has a built in alarm system to alert the parent figure that the necessary sustenance is immediately required.
Mental Capacity
This would also be influenced by how much braaaaiiiinnnsss the individual has lost before undeath. Zombies have generally lower mental capacity, allowing instincts for self-preservation (food, safety) to rule their remaining faculties. Some flesh eaters even bypass these base instincts in a quest for their next meal. Babies have very diminished mental capacity initially, but rapidly alter this weakness by increased brain cell production that continues until late in their teens.

Many parents have argued, this brain development is not fully complete until a self-sustaining job is acquired.
Zombies possess the distinct odor of rotting flesh. In addition to this scent, individual zombies may acquire additional aromas based on the locations they've moved through (i.e. sewers, subways, or someone's lower intestines). Babies have the rare ability to change their scent. One moment they smell fresh and clean. The next, they're covered in substances in varying shades of green/brown with the consistency of paper mache paste. God help you if you run out of wet wipes now, because these odors come straight from Lucifer.

As the infant grows, these scents are retained, but divide based on gender. Females will generally be well fragranced, while males will intensify their body's inborn ability to create noxious fumes (i.e. stink).
Attention Span
Zombies are attracted to noise and light, but these only stimulate them in their never ending search for food. Generally speaking, zombies will ignore anything 'out of sight, out of mind.' Babies have an ever growing attention span. Shiny objects and items that make noise are of particular interest. While they may initially suffer from 'out of sight, out of mind,' they make up for this with an intense curiosity about everything (because everything is new).
Fear Factor
Anything that wants to eat you is going to make people run, regardless whether the predator is a lion or tax attorney. Granted, any tax attorney running at you--regardless of the temperature of their blood--is enough to strike fear in the stoutest hearts. The only survivable remedy is to place another tax attorney between yourself and the approaching litigator. During a zombie apocalypse, any warm blooded lawyer is a suitable buffer between anything coming at you. Babies cause varying degrees of intense fear. While this fear is readily apparent in the singles community, this fear can also be seen in the eyes of those whose youngest offspring is within ten years of leaving the 'nest.' Many men in this stage of life will fear infants like, well, the walking dead.

Some women are generally immune to this fear regardless of age or occupation, while some men carry irrational levels of fear.
Final Assessment
As detailed by the preceding comparison, zombies and babies have many initial similarities. These common ties widen as babies develop and zombies decay and rot. In fact, with the exception of body temperature, zombies and babies are frighteningly similar.

This difference leads me to the only obvious comparison that was not performed: heart beat. Zombies have none and babies do. This inherent quality of babies separates them from zombies by the greatest margin. Were it not for the zombies lack of a sufficient cardiovascular system, zombies would still be considered 'human.'

However, this was a comparison between zombies and babies, not pre-teens or young adults, so I can only ass-u-me that because there are so many similarities between zombies and babies, they are in fact one and the same. Don't believe me? Stick your finger in a teething baby's mouth. Them suckers bite.

Popular Posts