Tag Archives: Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Space.  The final frontier.  Damn, it’s big and shit.

These are the voyages of the Starship SPOILERPRISE.

BQB here with a review of Star Trek: Beyond.

J.J. Abrams’ third Star Trek movie is out.  This go around, Kirk and Co. get lured into a distant nebula, ambushed and stranded after crashing on a desolate planet run by the evil alien Krall.

The crew has an artifact Krall wants in order to do evil shit…and they fight and shit and that’s about it. I’ll let you watch and fill in the details on your own.

I applaud J.J. because he seems committed to honoring the spirit of the old show/movies even though the 35+ crowd that Hollywood typically doesn’t give a crap about is the only demographic that would care.

Sulu’s totally gay and homage is paid to the late Leonard Nimoy, as well as to the original cast.

Sorry to give this spoiler but at one point a photo of the original cast is shown from the 1980s/1990s movies when they’re all in their 50’s and are wrinkly and gray haired and shit.

Millenials, old people used to look like that and they let them into movies anyway.  Now they just botox the shit out of themselves until their 95.

Idris Elba is great as Krall.  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban and everyone turn in great performances.

There are times when it almost feels like they’re parodying the original show.  Karl Urban’s impression of Dr. “Bones” McCoy is just too good.

There are attempts to appeal to us ancient folk – we’ll be ancient dust particles by the time Kirk comes around.  Alien Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) for example, enjoys rap music.  As she explains, she “likes the beats and the yelling.”  The other characters note that it is considered classical music.

I wonder which of our hits will be considered classics in Kirk’s time?

Kirk also rides a vintage motorcycle against the aliens – a move that might have been campy but since it was done right, it worked.

I enjoyed it.  Honestly, I think the second one in this series (the one with Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan) was the best of the three.

This one has it high points but there’s something about it – maybe by now we’ve all come to know these new versions of the original characters.  Maybe the plot wasn’t as involved as the other films – I don’t know.

I’m not saying it was bad. I just think the second was the best and this one didn’t top it. But it is still worth your time.

Very sad about Anton Yelchin’s tragic accident.  Yelchin played Chekov in all three of the new movies including this one.

Nothing reminds me of the fragile nature of life than when a celebrity dies before his/her movie comes out and there I am, sitting in the audience, watching that person larger than life on the big screen yet in my mind I’m thinking “Oh, sigh, that person sadly isn’t with us anymore.”

Finally, just an observation.  All the evil aliens are ugly.  All the nice aliens are – well I’m not sure if “hot” is the right word lest I get accused of having a thing for aliens but all the nice aliens are pleasant looking.

Krall for example has a permanent angry glare and his henchman aliens all have sharp teeth whereas heroine Jaylah is basically just a hot chick who had some designs drawn on her face with magic marker.

Therefore, the plight of stereotypical ugly typecasting exists even in space.  In the next film, I demand that the crew have an officer who is a hideous alien with sharp teeth. #OscarsSoPretty

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Daily Discussion With BQB – Star Trek

Happy Friday 3.5 Readers.

The new Star Trek movie is out today, so I’ll ask, what is your favorite Star Trek episode or movie?  The original, the Next Generation, all the other shows, movies, etc.

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Pop Culture Mystery of the Week

Geeks, nerds, and assorted poindexters, get your butts on over to popculturemysteries.com – Follow the page  and check back for the Pop Culture Mystery of the Week!

This week’s mystery is “Why Does Capt. Kirk Like Sabotage?” A guy in the future enjoying a Beastie Boys song from the 1990s?  That’s crazy!

Or is it?!

Can’t stand it, I know you planned it…

Are you a writer? Do you love pop culture? Most importantly, DO YOU WORK FOR FREE?!!!  Then let BQB know if YOU, YES YOU would like to be deputized as a pop culture detective and be assigned your very own pop culture mystery!

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#31ZombieAuthors – Day 23 Interview – Peter Cawdron – Outsmarting Zombies

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FIND THIS ZOMBIE AUTHOR ON:

Amazon        Website      Twitter

My guest today is Peter Cawdron, who comes from the land down under.  I don’t have to pay the Men At Work a royalty for saying that because Peter is an honest to God Australian zombie enthusiast.

Peter’s the author of the Z is for Zombie series of books which include What We Left Behind and All Our Tomorrows.  These books tell the story of teenager Hazel, who in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, searches for Steve, David, and Jane, the only people who ever understood her.

An avid fan of such classic science fiction writers as Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton, Peter is also a prolific science fiction author in his own right.

I wonder if there’s an extra charge to call Australia?  Aw screw it, the bill for this phone goes to Alien Jones anyway.

G’day Peter.

NOTE: BOLD=BQB; ITALICS=Peter

Q.  I just discovered that my perpetually angry uncle, who I thought never understood me, is in fact, the only person who ever understood me and what I need to make it in the world.  Unfortunately, he’s dead, though he visits me in ghost form from time to time.  Your protagonist, Hazel, feels like only three people understand her.  Is she really that confounding or is it typical teenage “no one gets me” angst?

41CT9h3vOuL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)A.  Teenage angst is cliche, and yet there is an element of personal growth we all go through where we’re learning about the world afresh. I don’t know that it stops as an adult, at least, it shouldn’t. It hasn’t for me. I’m always learning, and not just intellectually. Emotional learning is often more important than facts or figures. I think that’s one reason why coming-of-age books have such universal appeal. It’s a chance to re-learn and renew, regardless of how old we may be. 

In my novel What We Left Behind and the sequel All Our Tomorrows, we see life through the eyes of a teenager struggling toaccept the end of the world, fighting to make a change. All too often, it is the upcoming generation that is the catalyst for change. Us old farts need to respect that, listen and understand. It’s the youth of today that can change tomorrow, and that’s the message common to my novels as well as books like Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and so many others. Change is good. It’s the status quo that’s scary.  

Q.  As a zombie fan, I’ve noticed that in most zompoc tales, zombies are never referred to as “zombies.”  They’re “walkers” or “the undead” or “creepers” and so on but never zombies.  Your characters refer to them as “Zee.”  Why is that?  Is “zombie” too informal?  Will we ever crack open a novel where a writer has a character saying, “Holy crap!  It’s a zombie!”

A.  Oh, they’re called zombies in What We Left Behind as well as Zee, but Zee makes things more personal, and I think that’s important. Zombie stories are notorious for being impersonal. Survivors are often portrayed as brutal if not more brutal than the zombies themselves, whereas zombie stories are really about survivors. And what is a zombie but a survivor that fell and failed. Zee makes that more poignant, reminding the reader that zombies aren’t simply cannon fodder. To the survivors, they once were as we are, and the term Zee keeps that fresh in mind.   

Q.  How did you get into the zombie craze?

A.  My kids love The Walking Dead, and I enjoy it too, but I get frustrated with the inaccuracies. Gasoline, as an example, has a shelf life of about nine months. Diesel’s a little better, but will be pretty nasty after a couple of years. So at some point everyone’s going to be walking, or riding bicycles or horses. The SUV might look like the ultimate zombie killing machine, but it’s not sustainable, so in All Our Tomorrows, they drive around in a Tesla with the doors stripped off and the seats torn out to keep the weight down, charging the car with solar panels. For me, it’s fun to consider practical stuff like that. 

Zombies are dumb, right? So what’s the greatest weapon in the zombie apocalypse? Smarts. I’ve tried to write novels that have smart, unique solutions to the zombie apocalypse rather than relying on shotguns and machetes all the time. Shotguns might work on the zombie in front of you, but the noise is going to bring in a dozen more zombies, while a machete is just plain stupid. It’s going to get stuck every time. 

41IgGgymVqL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Q.  You’re also a sci-fi aficionado.  One work of yours that caught my eye is Little Green Men, about a crew of space travelers who set down on a frozen planet and are attacked by, sure enough, little green men.  Is a story about trustworthy, non-murderous aliens possible?  Does it say anything about us as humans that we have a tendency to think the worst about the possibility of life on other planets?

And by the way, I have a colleague named Alien Jones who is in fact, a little green man.  He’s been totally above board thus far, but do you think I should keep an eye on him?

A.  Little Green Men is brutal. It’s a homage to Philip K. Dick and has an alienesque feel to it (Alien Jones would love it), but yes, it is possible to write about trustworthy, non-murderous aliens. Anomaly is my best selling novel, having sold over 75,000 copies.  Anomaly was my debut novel and even today, a dozen stories down the road, it still outsells everything else I’ve written. If you enjoyed Carl Sagan’s Contact, you’ll love Anomaly.

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As for Alien Jones, he’s clearly hampered by a paranoid companion 🙂

Q.  On your Amazon page, you talk a bit about the difference between general and “hard” science fiction.  Could you explain it for my 3.5 readers?

A.  Hard science fiction is a misnomer. 

Science fiction shouldn’t be hard to understand or hard and inflexible. There’s merit in keeping scifi as accurate and plausible as possible. There’s always a degree of handwavium in science fiction when authors start projecting their thoughts into the future, but the limitations of concepts like the speed of light actually add to the realism of a story. 
As much as I love the Star Trek reboots, I cringe when they ignore common sense. There’s one scene in Star Trek Into Darkness where Kirk is on the Klingon home world some undisclosed number of light years away from Earth, and he calls up Scotty on his handheld communicator. Scotty is in a bar on Earth and answers Kirk’s technical question. To me, that’s a wasted opportunity. Even if Kirk was somewhere within our solar system, say on Mars, Scotty couldn’t have a realtime chat like that, he’d be waiting at least half an hour for a message to arrive. Communication between star systems would be like the letters of the 1700s taking months to years to transit the globe. Star Trek Into Darkness wasted a wonderful opportunity, as instead of taking the lazy, easy way out, the writer could have used that limitation to drive up the tension. Sure, Scotty’s got the answers. But he’s not there, so Kirk has to figure it out on his own and that’s far more rewarding for the audience than watching Kirk being given a get-out-of-jail-free card. 
Hard science isn’t difficult, it’s just plausible and believable, and it makes stories more gritty and realistic. 

Q.  Peter, thanks for taking my call.  Before I go, do you have any advice that might help my friends and I survive the East Randomtown Zombie Apocalypse?

A.  Think before you act. Remember,

  1. You’re smart. They’re not. 
  2. They have numbers. You don’t.  
 Keep those two facts in mind and you’ll do fine. Oh, and keep a copy of What We Left Behind handy, you might find some good tips in there. 
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Ask the Alien – 3/15/15 – Why I Can’t Vaporize the Yeti, Vaccinations, Crooked Lawyers

Greetings Earth Losers.

The Esteemed Brainy One

Alien Jones here, beaming the answers to the great questions of the universe straight to your laptops, cell phones, iPads, Kindle Fires, Samsung Galaxies, and yes, even to you oddballs who still cling to your blackberries, desperately trying to party like it’s 2003.

First, let us address the proverbial elephant in the room.  Our esteemed Blogger-in-Chief, one Mr. Bookshelf Q. Battler, has been taken captive by the Siberian Yeti, after having his compound overtaken by the same aforementioned ne’er-do-well snow monster.

Truly, this is a sad state of affairs.  Already, I anticipate your first, second, and third questions:

Q.  Alien Jones, you are the most badass alien in the universe, a master of all manner of lethal technologies and advanced weaponry.  Surely, you can remove a Yeti from Bookshelf Battle HQ.

A.  Certainly I could.  However, have you ever heard of Star Trek’s “prime directive?”  In short, it is a rule that prevents Star Fleet officers from interfering with the advancement of alien civilizations, thus allowing beings to develop on their own.  My home world has a version of that rule.  It goes by the less interesting name of the “Don’t Help Aliens With Stuff Rule.”

Q.  Why are you referring to humans as aliens?  You’re the alien.

A.  To me, you’re the alien.

Q.  If you have a rule against helping alien civilizations, why are you writing a Q and A column on a book blog with 3.5 readers?

A.  My illustrious emperor felt that humans were so colossally stupid that there was some wiggle room.  Either I nudge humanity in the right direction or cheese stuffed crust pizza and reality television will spread across the universe.  We scientists refer to this much feared event as “The Great Dumbening.”

Now then.  I didn’t receive any questions this week, which is surprising.  Not to be rude or anything but to borrow a line from The Simpsons, “what you people don’t know could fill a warehouse.”  So, I’ve decided to ask myself a series of questions surrounding a topic that some of you Earth creatures have been wrestling with lately.

Q.  Alien Jones, should I have my kid vaccinated?

A.  If your Doctor advises it, then yes.

Q.  But vaccines cause autism!  I’ve heard so many anecdotes about kids getting vaccinated and then becoming autistic.

A.  Anecdotes aren’t science.  Your kid wears diapers.  Do diapers cause autism?  Your kid breathes air.  Does air cause autism?  Your kid watches Barney.  Do people in purple dinosaur costumes cause autism?

Q.  But we live in such healthy times compared to the days of long ago.  Surely, small pox or measles can’t be that big a deal.

A.  Picture me slapping my three fingered hand against my cranial dome in disgust, as I realize I know more about your world’s history than you do.  In the dark ages, long before vaccinations were invented, various plagues and diseases swept through one country after the remigho-syringenext.  Every village had a man who would push a cart through the streets just to collect all the corpses.  The reason why you don’t see people dropping like flies these days is due in large part to vaccines (the idea of which we aliens beamed into the minds of your most prominent doctors because it made us sad you were all croaking like frogs on a log).  Ultimately, it makes no sense to this alien why humans would put their children at risk for contracting a medieval disease that was put out of commission by medical science long ago.

Q.  But my doctor’s medical opinion might be that my kid should not be vaccinated.

A.  That is entirely possible.  There are some kids with medical issues where a vaccine could pose a problem.  But at least you based the decision not to vaccinate on a medical professional’s advice, and not a comment made by Jenny McCarthy on a day she decided to wear pants.

Q.  But you can’t prove that vaccines don’t cause autism.

A.  I can’t prove that you’re not wearing invisible underpants forged from solid gold.

Q.  And why should I take your word for this?

A.  You should absolutely not take my word about any of this.  In fact, if any crooked lawyers are reading this, be aware that I am a fictional alien that exists in the mind of a blogger, and therefore my word should not be relied upon as medical advice.  You should contact a doctor, who will be able to give you a medical opinion as it applies to your individual kid’s situation. Bookshelfbattle.com, its nerdy proprietor, and this Alien Correspondent do not in any way, shape, or form hold anything written on this site as medical advice that should be relied upon.

Q.  Why do you dislike lawyers?

A.  Because they are the same people who made a world where a car company that put out an obviously fictional advertisement in which a car is driven on top of a train felt it necessary to add a clause warning people against trying such an obviously ill-advised and impossible endeavor.

*Nissan Rogue “Commute” Commercial

No offense, but my esteemed emperor wrote humans off as a lost cause at the exact moment that he realized you are all so stupid that this commercial required a statement at the bottom of the screen that read “Fantasy, do not attempt.  Cars can’t jump on trains.”

I’m doing my best not to insult humanity but it’s just that, you know, on my world, we’re able to watch this commercial and already understand that we should not attempt to jump a car onto a train.

But I suppose companies must provide ample warnings to assist the simplest of a simple species.

One more question likely on your mind:

Q.  If this site is occupied by the Siberian Yeti, how are you posting on it?

A.  My species invented intergalactic space travel.  I’m pretty sure we can get a post onto a blog.

HONORABLE MENTION

While I received no inquiries this week, shout outs to:

  • Anita Lovett of Anita Lovett and Associates for tweeting a request for the twitosphere to help Bookshelf Q. Battler raise the 4000 follower ransom required to remove bookshelfbattle.com from unjust Yeti occupation.  The rest of you were content to allow BQB to waste away as a Yeti hostage.  For shame.  For shame, I say.
  • Krissy Penner of cricketsareok.com for submitting video proof of alien existence (I could be wrong, but that guy on the left looks like a colleague I met as a cadet in the Intergalactic Exploration Corps).  Counterargument – this video may have nothing to do with aliens but rather, is a rap performance.
  • Bookshelf Battle Blog Followers, you might notice that BQB has been promoting some of you through other forms of social media.  He has been on a real “pay it forward cosmic karma” kick lately.  If you aren’t cool with it, just let him know, but I assume it’s his way of thanking those who aid in his quest to double his readership from 3.5 to a whopping 7 readers.

Thank you for your time, 3.5 readers.  I must now travel to the planet known as Moikro.  I am on a very sensitive diplomatic mission, namely, to convince two separate alien species to stop bogarting each other’s space snacks.  They’re about to go to war over who gets to keep the planet’s supply of buffalo wing chip dippers, and my friends, it will not be pretty if diplomacy fails to win the day.

Alien Jones is the Intergalactic Correspondent for the Bookshelf Battle. Do you have a question for the Esteemed Brainy One? Submit it to Bookshelf Q. Battler via a tweet to @bookshelfbattle, leave it in the comment section on this site, or drop it off on the Bookshelf Battle Google + page. If AJ likes your question, he might promote your book, blog, or other project while providing his answer.

Submit your questions by midnight Friday each week for a chance to be featured in his Sunday column. And if you don’t like his response, just let him know and he’ll file it into the recycling bin of his monolithic super computer.  No muss, no fuss, no problem.  

Alien Image Courtesy of “Marauder” on openclipart.org

Syringe Image Courtesy of “Remigho” on open clipart.org

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Nimoy’s Last Tweet

Inspiring to the end, the final tweet of Leonard Nimoy, the actor who played Mr. Spock on Star Trek:

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In Defense of Shatner

Today, the Prime Minister of Israel gave a historic speech before Congress.  Also, a vocal critic of the Russian president was shot to death recently near the Kremlin.

But if you’re a nerd like me, the big issue on your mind is:

WAS WILLIAM SHATNER IN THE WRONG FOR NOT ATTENDING LEONARD NIMOY’S FUNERAL?

Shatner, who played Capt. Kirk on Star Trek opposite Nimoy’s Mr. Spock, stated he was unable to attend the funeral of his longtime co-star as he had already committed to a Red Cross fundraiser in Florida.  Over the weekend, he was bombarded on Twitter by critics claiming he should have dropped everything to make it to the service of the man who portrayed his highly logical science officer.

Was Shatner wrong for not going?images-2

No.  In no particular reason, here are some reasons why:

  • Shatner is 83 years old –  I don’t claim to know what’s on his mind.  I’m not a mindreader.  All I know is the older I get, the more accepting I become of the fact that death is an inevitable part of life.  Every funeral I attend, the less debilitated I am when I lose someone dear to me.  Loss of a loved one never becomes less painful, but one eventually grows steeled to the fact that death happens.  Therefore, I know that by the time I (hopefully) reach eight decades of life, I’ll be able to soldier on while still feeling bad about the loss of a dear friend.  In other words, for a person who has lived a long life, it is possible to keep a stiff upper lip and attend a planned fundraiser while still feeling bad about the loss of a friend at the same time.
  • Logistics – Again, Shatner is 83 years old.  To drop everything, charter an expensive jet at the last minute, fly all the way back to California and then attend a funeral?  That’s going to take a lot out of a young person, let alone an old timer.  (Capt. Kirk I apologize for calling you old but what the heck, it’s a defense).
  • Commitment – Shatner had committed to a fundraiser.  Would the people involved with the event have understood had he left?  I don’t know.  I assume so, but I can’t speak for them.   Obviously, the Red Cross is a cause that’s important to Shatner and he didn’t want to leave people who worked hard on a special event holding the bag.  That’s admirable.
  • Friendship – Shatner and Nimoy worked together since the 1960’s.  I have no idea what their friendship was like behind the scenes, but I have to imagine there was enough respect there to get them through a TV series and several films.  Again, I’m not a mindreader.  Neither are the critics.  Bottomline – I’m sure Shatner loved and cared about his colleague very much.  No one has the right to tell him he doesn’t.

Finally, what would a Vulcan say about all this?

ME:  Hello Mr. Vulcan.  Should William Shatner drop a charity event he committed to, spend a ton of money on a last minute private jet charter to fly across the country only to attend a funeral that in the end, probably won’t make him feel any better about losing his friend anyway?

VULCAN:  No.  That would be highly illogical.  Stay at the charity event.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

There you go nerds.  Let’s give our Captain a break.

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Long Before Being Nerdy Was Cool…

Statement by the President on the Passing of Leonard Nimoy

Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.

I loved Spock.

In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.” And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that. Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today.

I just want to point out one part:

“Long before being nerdy was cool…”

We are now in a time when being nerdy is cool.  Do you remember a time when it wasn’t?  I do.  It wasn’t fun.  Kind of bittersweet, isn’t it?

The White House has official stated nerdy=cool and recognized Nimoy as a pioneer of nerdyness.  We live in good times.

Well, ok, aside from all of the other atrocities you hear about on TV everyday…but beside those, we live in good times when it comes to being a nerd.

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A Sad Day for Nerd Kind

RIP Leonard Nimoy/Spock. I have set my phaser on sad.

What was your favorite Spock moment?

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Let’s Talk Sci-Fi – What’s the Difference Between an Android and a Robot?

Gonna go out on a limb here and guess this is a robot.

Gonna go out on a limb here and guess this is a robot.

Geeks, dweebs, nerds, and poindexters of the world, assemble, for I have a doozy of a question for you.

What is the difference between an Android and a Robot?

As we’ve previously discussed, I’m working on a science fiction novel, and seeking the advice of nerds everywhere for help.  Don’t be offended by being called a nerd.  It’s a badge of honor, really.  Frankly, who wants advice about robotics from a non-nerd?

This is total nerd stuff, baby.

I find that in the science fiction world, the words “android” and “robot” are often used interchangeably.  But should that be the case?

The best advice I’ve found thus far:

“A robot can, but does not necessarily have to be in the form of a human, but an android is always in the form of a human.”

– Edmond Woychowsky, TechRepublic – “The Difference Between Robots and Androids, 2010

Click here for Woychowsky’s Full Article

Well, wait a minute.  That sounds simple enough at first, but what about C3P0?  He and his buddy RD2D are invariably referred to as “droids” in the Star Wars universe.  Haven’t you heard the infamous line from Obi-Wan Kenobi, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for?”

C3P0 has a torso, arms, legs, a face with eyes, he is definitely modeled after a human, but he’s also built out of a golden colored metal, his arms and legs only move so much, his eyes are pretty much just sockets, and there’s just a slit where his mouth should be.

That’s not exactly a human, is it?  What did Edmond have to say?

“It can be argued that an android should be able to pass as a human in natural light. So, if you subscribe to this belief, C-3PO from Star Wars and R. Giskard Reventlov from Isaac Asimov’s The Robots of Dawn are robots, not androids.”

Seriously?  So George Lucas got something wrong?  In addition to Jar Jar???

So, if you take this android vs. robot information seriously, then C3P0 is a robot.  The robots from the film I, Robot, starring Will Smith, are robots (that’s a given, since they didn’t call it, I, Android).

Rosie, the Jetson family’s maid, is a robot.  C3P0, Rosie, and the I, Robot bots, all might have human-inspired designs, but if you were to see them, you would say, “Hey, that’s a robot!”

Apparently, the question of whether an “artificial being” is a robot or an android boils down to whether or not you can tell when you first meet said being.  As Woychowsky notes, Data from Star Trek: Next Generation, does appear to be a human, “albeit with an odd complexion.”

As an additional example, I would submit that Ash from the original Alien movie is an android.  He was so passable as a human that this is actually a major plot point of the film – he was passing as a crew member but in secret, was an android with a special mission.  For part of the film, the audience doesn’t even know he’s not a human.

So what say you, readers?  I need your nerdy opinions, because the novel I am working on, and sadly, procrastinating on, might feature robots, or it might feature androids, but I want to make sure I’m using the right terminology so that my nerd credentials are not questioned.

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