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    Discussion forum

    Edge of Tomorrow: A great science fiction movie and a better video game movie


    Post #: 224
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2014-06-16 13:20:14.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Movies



    I love science fiction in all of its forms: books, movies and TV, and video games. I grew up reading Asimov and Clarke, loved 2001 and Star Trek, and spent far too much time playing Space Invaders and Asteroids. In the decades since, each form of media has influenced the others: first awkwardly (like the CD-ROM "interactive movies" of the 1990s and the painful video game movies like Super Mario Bros) and then later more cleverly and subtly.

    Edge of Tomorrow feels like a movie that is so well-executed, with all three mediums blended together so seamlessly, that it may be the perfect science fiction film for our age.

    The movie stars Tom Cruise as Major William Cage, a "media relations" officer who wants desperately to avoid actual combat. Unfortunately for him, the world’s military is preparing for an invasion of France in order to push back alien "Mimics" who have overrun Europe. The surly General Brigham (Brendan Gleeson) doesn’t much like Cage’s type of officer, and railroads him so that he ends up at Heathrow airport, assigned to a squad that is getting ready to land on the beach with the first attack wave.

    Although the attack was meant to be a surprise, the Mimics are ready for them and the soldiers come under heavy fire. Cage, who has has no combat training, is unable to even take the safety off of his powered battle suit. He and the rest of the misfits who make up "J Squad" are overwhelmed by Mimics and quickly killed. Cage manages to take an unusually large blue Mimic with him by exploding a mine, and dies with the alien’s blood on his face.

    He wakes up at Heathrow airport again, seemingly transported a day back in the past, although he remembers everything that has happened. He is unable to avoid his fate, however, and ends up shipping out again and getting killed again, albeit in a slightly different way. At this point the movie starts turning into a much grittier version of Groundhog Day, with Cruise taking on Bill Murray’s task of trying to figure out a way to escape his predicament. In one of his loops he runs into Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), a military heroine who had led her troops to humanity’s only significant victory against the Mimics in Verdun. Before they both get killed, she tells him to seek her out when he wakes up.

    The rest of the movie involves the two soldiers trying to work together to figure out why Cage is time-looping and how they can use that information to fight the Mimics. Because of the military and science-fiction theme, the repeating day mechanic starts feeling less like Groundhog Day and more like the feeling of playing a difficult video game where you have to respawn at the beginning of the level. Director Doug Liman said in an interview that the parallel was intentional, explaining that the movie is just the latest in a series of video game-inspired films he has directed, starting with The Bourne Identity.

    Edge of Tomorrow is based on the Japanese young-adult novella All You Need Is Kill. The film keeps most of the character and plot elements, although it transfers the setting from Japan to England and France. It’s a solid science fiction flick with everything you might want: aliens, time-travel, and futuristic soldiers walking around in advanced battle armor. Despite the fantastical elements (such as time travel) it remains science fiction because it attempts to explain these effects through scientific principles and not supernatural intervention. The writing is crisp and the actors (particulary Emily Blunt) are believable and human.

    I saw the movie yesterday with my wife, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. It was the perfect Father’s Day activity and everyone enjoyed it. Definitely worth seeing.

    Comments (1)

    Views: 6043


    Writing when you’re too tired to write


    Post #: 223
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2014-03-31 21:40:24.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Writing, Work

    That side panel on the left of my blog continues to taunt me. Beyond the Expanse! 100% Complete! Now in Editing!

    It’s been in editing for months. I think I’ve edited about five pages so far.

    My excuse is that I’m tired from my job. Working at DemonWare has been a thrilling roller-coaster ride so far. I’ve never had the pleasure of working alongside so many smart people. There’s an endless amount of interesting technical things to learn, and an endless amount of things to write. This is a company that has grown explosively over the last few years and they desperately need someone to tame the mess of information that they’ve created.

    So desperate that they’ve renewed my contract for another six months.

    I’m thrilled, naturally, but a part of me wonders if that damn sidebar on the left hand side of my blog is going to have to sit idle even longer.

    Up until now I’ve felt that all I could do was come home from work, eat dinner, maybe watch a bit of TV, and then collapse into bed. It’s an easy excuse. This is a demanding job at a company that demands top performers and gives them top salaries and benefits to match. With these demands, surely I need to conserve my mental energy to be able to give my best work, right?

    And yet I wonder.

    Every day I come home and I don’t work on my personal projects, I feel like I lose something of myself. And if I keep losing myself, won’t that just lead to a diminished soul, and thus a diminished work performance?

    So I’m trying something new. Every day, for as long as I can keep it up, I’m going to do something creative for myself. It could be writing, it could be editing, it could be anything. Today is the first day, and I’m writing this blog post. It’s not much. But it’s something.

    There are a lot of excuses for not working on your dreams. But not very many good ones.

    I’ll see you tomorrow.

    Comments (2)

    Views: 4861


    Knotty Geeks Episode 34 - The Last Coffeewa


    Post #: 222
    Post type: Podcast
    Date: 2014-02-02 21:00:43.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Knotty Geeks

    More coffee is always better, right?



    It’s a new year, and Jeremy and Terry have a lot to catch up on! Jeremy has a new job, which is very exciting, and even includes free food! Then the disussion turns towards Jeremy’s new NaNoWriMo novel, "The Last Bonjwa". While consuming vast quantities of coffee, Jeremy and Terry discuss everything from fixing plot holes to improving the cover.

    Links from the show:

    <ul>
    <li>Onomatopoeia at The Free dictionary</li>
    <li>My new company, Demonware!</li>
    <li>Renderosity - for commercial 3D models</li>
    <li>New laser printed material, lighter than water, strong as steel</li>
    <li>Bonus: Automation at XKCD</li>
    </ul>






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    Views: 5095


    The Last Bonjwa - My love letter to Starcraft


    Post #: 221
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2013-12-27 09:11:30.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Writing, Science Fiction



    I’ve watched hundreds of hours of professional Starcraft matches. I have my favorite players and teams who I cheered for when they won and cried when they lost. I’ve immersed myself in the unique and wonderful world of professional gaming, of this tiny (but growing) subculture called eSports.

    Today, I’m releasing my love letter to the game and the scene itself. It’s a full-length novel titled The Last Bonjwa.

    The Last Bonjwa follows the adventures of John "Heart" Wolanski, a professional Starcraft player living in Korea. It’s a few years in the future in an alternate timeline, so the names of players and teams are different, but fans of the scene will recognize many similarities to our own universe.

    John is nearing the twilight of his career, and the popularity of the game itself is waning, but he refuses to go down without a fight. But when he receives a threatening email, he is suddenly thrown into a world he knows nothing about, as he must fight shadowy forces who are out to kill him, all while trying to qualify for the biggest tournament of his life.

    The Last Bonjwa is a fast-paced action adventure, but it’s also a peek into the fascinating world of eSports seen through the eyes of a player. It is a sequel to my short story "The Stalker", in which John encountered an artificial intelligence inside the game itself.

    The Last Bonjwa is now available on Smashwords in a variety of eBook formats for all viewers, all DRM-free, for $2.99. No knowledge of the game is required to enjoy the story, but familiarity with it will make the tale seem even richer.



    Views: 5170


    I’ve started a new job!


    Post #: 220
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2013-12-02 17:22:46.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Work



    Today was my first day at Demonware, a really amazingly cool software company based in Vancouver and Dublin. Demonware writes software that handles matchmaking, leaderboards, and other online services for video game companies, primarily Activision/Blizzard.

    My job is a technical writer. It’s a contract position, but hopefully (crosses fingers) it will lead to a full-time gig.

    What’s really neat about the company is all the cool tools they use. They will grab any tool if it’s the right one for the job. Just look at the list:



    It’s also a really nice place to work. Lots of interesting and smart people work here. There are lot of them to meet. :) There is a ton of interesting work to do from a technical writing perspective-- tons of complex and powerful systems that could use more documentation. Anyway, I had a great first day on the job.

    Comments (15)

    Views: 10662


    Half an Operating System - the triumph and tragedy of OS/2


    Post #: 219
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2013-11-25 10:47:19.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Computers, Operating Systems



    Writing is a funny thing.

    As a young nerd, I was fascinated by personal computers and operating systems, and became a huge advocate of a funny operating system called OS/2. I spent a lot of time arguing about its merits on Usenet forums like comp.os.os2.advocacy. I moved on to Windows 95 when it was released, but always had a soft spot in my heart for IBM’s failed OS.

    Twenty years later, I felt like the need to tell the story was welling up inside me until I was about to burst. I wrote the entire first draft in two days. Today, the article has been published on Ars Technica.

    So did I take 20 years to write it, or two days? I guess it depends on your point of view. But I’m glad I wrote it.



    Views: 5247


    Knotty Geeks Episode 33 - To the Moon Part IV: Finalizing the Scenes


    Post #: 218
    Post type: Podcast
    Date: 2013-11-12 10:22:24.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Knotty Geeks

    It’s time to get down and dirty with plot outlining! In this episode, we take the outline we made for the first episode of the serial To the Moon and pick it apart scene by scene, finding flaws and discovering deeper character motivations.








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    Knotty_Geeks_Episode_33.mp3" width="290" height="24" />


    Notes from the show:

    Here's the outline we started with:

    1. Rich brings coffee to his co-workers at his company, Judd tells him he should be coding and let the secretary get the coffee
    2. Rich goes out to dinner with his ‘friend with benefits’ (let’s call her Melissa) talks about work and his dreams
    3. Rich talks to Judd about doing a Kickstarter for Lunar X-Prize, Judd has to be convinced
    4. Rich sets up the Kickstarter
    5. Waiting for the Kickstarter to see if it succeeds
    6. Success, and now panic, how are they going to do this?
    7. Rich tries to find a launch platform
    8. Judd phones him up saying he has a platform
    9. Rich finds out that Judd has defected to a rival X-Prize group
    10. Rich decides to launch his own anyway, without Judd’s help
    11. Rich finds a former Russian weapon launcher that will work for cheap
    12. Both Rich and Judd’s efforts launch and land on the moon
    13. Judd’s works, Rich’s robot appears to not work, but when he is packing everything up he finds a signal

    This is the outline that we ended up with:

    1. Rich brings coffee to his co-workers at his company, 7 people Judd tells him he should be coding and let the secretary get the coffee robotics some military rich egg prototype
    2. Rich goes out to dinner with his ‘friend with benefits’ (let’s call her Melissa (Mel) talks about work and his dreams
    3. Rich talks to Judd about doing a Kickstarter for Lunar X-Prize, Judd has to be convinced
    4. Rich sets up the Kickstarter leave no stone unturned"
    5. Waiting for the Kickstarter to see if it succeeds
    6. Success, and now panic, how are they going to do this? Judd calm Rich worries
    7. Rich tries to find a launch platform
    8. Judd phones him up saying he has a platform
    9. family connection gets launch platform for Judd, then rival team contacts him and makes him an offer, fame fortune, attractive girl etc.
    10. Rich finds out that Judd has defected to a rival X-Prize group he’s devastated they talk
    11. Rich goes out with Mel, talk, Mel says Rich decides to launch his own anyway, without Judd’s help Bouncy Ball
    12. Rich finds a former Russian weapon launcher that will work for cheap they make jokes he thinks oh no Russian mob but not really.
    13. Hard date for launch, urgently phone call Judd saying I’m sorry but I’m a winner , Rich lame comeback is that if Rich fails then Rich company fails and Judd’s shares are worthless.
    14. Both Rich and Judd’s efforts launch and land on the moon
    15. Judd’s works, Rich’s robot appears to not work, but when he is packing everything up he finds a signal but came in second.




    Views: 5267


    I’m doing NaNoWriMo!


    Post #: 217
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2013-11-04 15:39:06.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Writing, Science Fiction



    After finishing my third novel in my trilogy (it’s still in editing) and starting the planning for a series of short stories, I wasn’t sure if National Novel Writing Month was a good idea. I had lots of projects on the go, and what could I possibly do in a month?

    Then I remembered my short story The Stalker, which came out of my love for professional Starcraft. It had a lot of downloads in October, and for the first time even beat out my science fiction short story Starfarer. I had always told myself that if The Stalker did well enough I would make a full-length novel out of it.

    Well, this was my chance!

    The novel is called The Last Bonjwa and after three days, I’ve written 5,000 words, on pace for the goal of 50,000 by the end of November. I’m already really excited about this story because the faster pace of writing is showing up in the text itself. In just those first 5k words, our hero has won a tournament, gotten blackmailed, lost his best friend, got kidnapped, been interrogated by shady government people, had his apartment broken into, and was chased off a train by a tall stranger in a dark overcoat.

    I have no idea how I’m going to tie everything together but I’m having a blast trying. The novel is also kind of a love letter to the professional Starcraft scene and Korea itself.

    Look for it in time for the holidays along with Beyond the Expanse!

    EDIT: A WINNER IS ME


    Comments (3)

    Views: 4571


    Fun at the SIWC Book Fair


    Post #: 216
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2013-10-29 10:37:01.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Writing, Science Fiction



    I had an amazing time at the Book Fair last Saturday. It was a brand new experience for me and I couldn’t have asked for more.

    The Book Fair is an interesting event. Independent authors are mixed in with established traditional authors, so there was plenty of opportunity to meet people on the other side of the publishing equation. I shared a table with Don "DD" DeBrandt, a long-time science fiction and fantasy author who is working on his twenty-sixth novel! Don was a great companion and had lots of stories about his writing career. He was impressed with my poster and bet me a nickel that someone would ask for one of my autographed books before they asked for one of his. Hey, Don, you still owe me that nickel!

    I did sell a couple of copies of my book, but that wasn’t the main purpose of attending the event. It was mostly to get some experience and meet interesting people, and show my name as a local author. In all of these aspects it was a great success. People really did like my poster and asked me how I made it and how much it cost (Photoshop, and $40 at Kinko’s). I got to talk about science fiction and future technology with other writers and fans, which was amazing.

    I’m definitely going next year!

    Comments (1)

    Views: 4504


    I will be booksigning at the Surrey International Writing Festival, Saturday, Oct 26, 5:30 to 7:00 pm!


    Post #: 215
    Post type: Blog post
    Date: 2013-10-24 13:37:35.000
    Author: Jeremy Reimer
    Tags: Writing, Science Fiction



    This Saturday I’ll be at the Book Fair in the Surrey International Writer’s Festival! The event is at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel, 15269 104 Ave, in Surrey, BC. The event runs from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.

    I’m humbled to be included with so many amazing writers, and I’m really looking forward to the experience. It’s my first ever book signing, so please come out and say hello!



    Views: 5420