A Guide for Science Fiction Beginners

 

The definition of science fiction as a genre has been an ongoing debate. Loosely defined, science fiction is set in a world that may differ or mirror our society in its use of science and technology. It talks about changes and encountering the unknown. It questions our ideas of society, morality and the use of knowledge. It also mirrors our society so we can reflect on our mistakes and avoid making the same decisions in the future.

The Pioneers in Science Fiction

Considered as one of the three sub-genres of speculative fiction, science fiction as a literature has evolved over the years since Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels. Although some would argue that it’s not science fiction, it has elements found in most science fiction novels today, like Gulliver’s encounters with dystopian and utopian societies. It inspired a sub-genre of adventure stories. It was followed by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein which examined the dangers of taking science to another level without considering moral responsibility. Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea started a trend in stories about exploration and travel to unknown places. H.G. Wells was the first writer to introduce the idea of time travel with The Time Machine.

 

Science Fiction Essentials

Today there are dozens of science fiction subgenres like alien invasion, cyberpunk, hard SF, military SF, space opera and steampunk.

If you’re new to the genre, here are some of the books to help get you started. Outstanding books from the different subgenres were selected for the list.

 

Space Odyssey Series by Arthur C. Clarke is composed of four novels. It’s the blueprint for all the other space opera novel about the human race trying to extend its reach to its neighboring planets.

The Forever War by Joe Haldeman is the best example of military science fiction and the exploration of the concept of time dilation in interstellar voyages. It is told from the point of view of a soldier who spent his life fighting for a war that lasted for centuries.

 

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson is the ultimate zombie and post-apocalyptic novel. Told from the point of view of the only human survivor in a plague, it deals with the loneliness and frustration of being the last of his kind.

 

Try Dune Series by Frank Herbert and Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov for interstellar civilizations. Dune is set thousands of years in the future and explores a technologically advanced society which ironically has banned the development of artificial intelligence. Foundation is about the preservation of galactic civilizations with the waning of the Galactic Empire. It will seem familiar to readers who have read about the rise and fall of ancient human civilizations.

 

1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury are three of the best dystopian books ever written. Everything else that came after them are like recreations. They explore the psychological and emotional chaos that happens when the protagonist realizes that the totalitarian society he lives in does not bring him happiness.

13 Feb 2017

Boost Your Creative Juice!

5 Ways to Get Over a Creative Slump

 

Experiencing a creative block happens even to the best of us. A creative slump, also known as the blank page syndrome, is often caused by criticism, lack of inspiration or mental burnout. While going through a creative slump might feel like the end of the world to you, there are some things that you can do to overcome this problem. Here, we’ve listed down some tips that will surely help in getting your creative juices pumping again.

  1. Change Up Your Daily Routine

One factor that puts most people into a creative slump is doing the same thing every day. Being stuck in a routine for a long time keeps you from feeling inspired, thus stunting your creativity. So instead of sticking with your routine, change things up and challenge your thought process. Instead of using your laptop, write down your thoughts with a pen and paper; or work outdoors instead of staying in your office. Remember that even the smallest change is already enough to trigger your senses and get your creative juices to flow.

  1. Be Positive

Being creative can be difficult when you surround yourself with negativity – but you can easily get away from this by simply thinking of happy thoughts. Start by complaining less and hanging around optimistic people. This should be enough to save you from a creative slump, since being in a positive environment will surely make you feel inspired.

  1. Exercise

Incorporating exercise in your daily routine can impact the way your mind works. Not only will working out keep you physically healthy, it’ll also help in improving your mood by releasing a hormone known as endorphins. People often experience creative slumps because they forget to care for themselves. So make sure that you make your well-being your top priority.

  1. Daydream

Although your teacher may have scolded you for doing it in class, daydreaming can actually be a great way to get over your creative slump. Doing so allows your brain to relax while imagining different solutions to the issue that you’re trying to solve. This permits you to see the big picture and be an open-minded person.

  1. Accept It

Beating yourself up because you’re experiencing a creative slump won’t get you anywhere. So instead of criticising the faults you made, learn to accept and embrace them. Failing to produce creative thoughts won’t weigh on your skill to produce good work. So embrace the moment that you’re going through a creative slump and challenge yourself to get over it by being true to your emotions.

Going through a creative slump might not be the best thing that could happen to you, but experiencing one may actually help in boosting your creativity. So avoid excessively beating yourself up whenever you experience this issue. Instead, ensure that you follow these simple tips to help you overcome your creative block once and for all.

09 Dec 2016

Will Money Make You Happy?

 

Here in Singapore, you work hard because you need money to live. Actually, the higher the pay, the happier you will be however, many people beg to disagree. Money will make you happy until a certain point in time. Once you attained everything that you ever wished for, money will no longer give the same effect.

Hand drawing unhappy and happy smileys on blackboard

Of course you think this is odd since money can buy all things even happiness. How good it feels not to worry about money and the future but you have to know that there are some studies that prove money is not everything. You will not understand it unless you experienced it.

Take Evan Spiegel’s example. He is a twenty three year old CEO of a startup company called Snapchat. In the past months, Wall Street Journal reported that he turned down an acquisition offer of $3 billion from Facebook. In the minds of ordinary people, he is crazy for turning down such offer. But on his end, additional money will not make him happy since he is twice rich already without the acquisition offer.

Those who are bewildered about his decision said he made a great mistake but tech guys understood his decision. The topic of wealth and happiness is complicated and topics about it are coated with judgement. So will money make you happy? Here are some interesting thoughts:

very-happy-young-man-in-a-rain-of-money

Relationship will make you happier than money

There is an argument that the more money you have, the happier your life would be. The truth is, you do not need money to maintain the level of happiness. Happiness reflects on the relationships that you make and the quality thereof.

Money will only make you want more

If you think about your money and everyone else’s, you will always feel poor. You have $10 million dollars but when you learned that your neighbour has 11, you will feel poor hence you strive to make more money – which is not that fun.

You end up working all the time

You work hard to be rich unless you are an heiress. You see some rich people on television enjoying and living the life. If you got rich through hard work, you will spend most of your time cultivating your money and you end up hustling work and family.

The lesson here is whether you have an extravagant living or a simple one, money will certainly not make you happy. Money is just superficial. Look for deeper things like knowledge and inner peace. Your days will be happier that way.

Boy with Cash

03 Oct 2016

7 Things You Can Do to Be Happier  

According to this year’s World Happiness Report, Singapore is the world’s 24th happiest country based on factors like life expectancy, social support and generosity of people. If you ask the people though, most of us would probably say there’s still plenty of room for more happiness. Here’s seven ways to have that.

13-scientifically-proven-ways-to-be-a-happier-person

  1. Maintain good health. Multiple studies have found a strong relationship between people’s level of happiness and their state of health. Simply put: the healthier you are, the happier you are also. So if you want to brighten up your life follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and take adequate rest.

 

  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Our culture promotes a very goal-oriented philosophy, which consequently makes many of us work ourselves to exhaustion. Well, bad idea. Overexerting ourselves and punishing ourselves when we don’t reach our goals almost always leads to bad health and feeling miserable.

 

  1. Join a group. Being a member of a group who shares your passions and interests will reduce feelings of anxiety and melancholy. So find an activity that you can do with other people, whether it’s regularly working out at the gym, discussing literary works with a book club, or contributing to a good cause in society.happier-at-work

 

  1. Practice gratefulness. All too often, we take for granted the things that are readily available to us, failing to see how much comfort it brings to our lives. To illustrate, just consider that the nearly-costless clean water coming from your tap is unavailable to 783 million people around the world.

 

  1. Learn to let things go. In the total scheme of things, so much of what “composes” our lives don’t’ really matter. This isn’t to say that you should have a care, but only that you should temper your emotions and reactions based on the real importance of each thing.

 

  1. Find solutions not problems. Do you know people who just can’t seem to run out of things to complain about? Terrible company, aren’t they? If you want to be happier, focus on solutions not problems. Treat setbacks as opportunities for learning and change rather than something permanent that you’re helpless against.

 

  1. Commit to happiness. Many people say they want to be happy, but do nothing to actually attain it. The thing is, happiness isn’t some random thing that just falls on anyone. To be happy, you have to consciously will yourself to be so and to cultivate positive emotions.

HappierTravel

21 Jan 2016

The Basics of Organizing Files

The files keeps on coming and you cannot seem to control or put a halt to it. This is understandable, especially if you are managing a business. Organizing a file is also helpful for students. It is important that you organize your papers so when you need it, you will know where to look. You will not waste time looking for it. Organizing files can be very difficult and challenging but if you know simple steps, you can make everything orderly. Just think that managing will be beneficial to you and the people around you. So, how can you organize your files?

file cabinet detail

Regardless of the nature of your work, there is a general way of organizing files in a file server. Do not think about how difficult it could be. Here are some steps that you can follow:

1. Gather all files. If you have the time to organize your files, you should first gather all the files. Do not be discouraged when you see bulk of papers because that is just part of it. You will surely get through it if you are willing. Gather soft and hard copies of your files.

2. Sort it out. After gathering all your files, it is time to sort everything out. You should identify categories. For example, you should separate notices, bills, memorandums, letters, etc. Sorting out is easy if you identified the categories or types.

files-2

Label files. For hardcopies, things are easier to sort out. The next thing that you should do is label your files. Even in online dyna server from Singapore this is a good practice. You have identified the categories and start from there. You can purchase readymade labelling materials and items from bookstores. But if you are willing to go through the troubles of customizing your labels, you should do it. You need coloured papers, coloured pens, scissors, glue, etc. Good luck on your art project!

 3. Determine where the files are going. If you have lots of papers, you should obtain filing cabinets. Make sure that your filing cabinets have many dividers. For your electronic files, consider storing them in a file server. If you are not familiar about Singapore file server, it is time that you get to know it. File server is commonly used in schools and offices. File server is the efficient way of sharing or storing of computer files.

files-3

If you find it hard to organize things, you should ask help from friends. If you do not want to ask help from friends, you should allot time for this activity. This is not easy so you will need a lot of time to keep things in order.

You can get other ideas online if the things mentioned above are not helpful. It is important here in Singapore and the whole world that everyone keep track of documents and files. Keeping everything in order should be promoted. Every company here in Singapore has the responsibility to teach their employees of organizing documents.

Every school has the duty to teach students to organize school files and documents. Even in the house, parents should practice organization. You see, organizing files are beneficial for all. It would be greatly appreciated here in Singapore and the world if all people know how to take care of their documents.

05 Dec 2013

Behaving Right at Public Transport

Even if you are in a public transport, it is imperative that you behave right. A video of someone spitting and misbehaving at Woodlands bus interchange last October has gone viral on Facebook. The video shows a man spitting at a woman and getting aggressive. The security staff successfully subdued the man. As for the SMRT management, they reminded the passengers to be polite and that wrong actions will not be tolerated.

behave-1

There is no book discussing the right behaviour when you are in a public transport. But we all know the value of respect. Respect will keep public transport peaceful and a pleasant experience for everyone. Here are some things that you need to remember when riding a public transport:

  • Do not be too loud. Some people treasure silence. No matter how loud you are, it is imperative that you keep your tone low. If you are talking with someone, as much as possible lower your voices so you will not disturb others especially those who are sleeping.
  • Do not complain when the bus stops. It is understandable if you are in a hurry but what is not understandable is you complain every time the bus stops or every time there are elders slowly moving towards the door. If you do not like that, perhaps it is better if you grab a taxi.
  • Offer your seats to the elderly or pregnant women. The basic etiquette is to offer your seats to the elderly or pregnant women. This is not only for men. If you are a woman and you see elders or pregnant women, it would not do you harm if you offer your seats.
  • Do not invite trouble. Do not get too aggressive and invite trouble. Things are better if you talk with your mouth not with your fist. If you have something to say, say it and avoid getting into troubles. If you repeatedly get into trouble, you will be surprised you are in Facebook or the national television.

These are just simple things that other people ignore sometimes. Remember that all people want to reach their destination in one piece. If you have problems with the system, you should go to the right person.

25 Nov 2013