The Longevity Thesis Book Video

Friday, August 31, 2007

Reviews for The Longevity Thesis - Reactions so Far . . .

"This beautifully written, action-packed story is full of mystery, suspense and pathos. Jennifer Rahn weaves an intricate tale about a young boy who is an outsider. He loses his mother at an early age and this profound loss shapes his entire destiny, by leading him into the field of medicine where he becomes fascinated with prolonging life.

Our protagonist faces much adversity and many obstacles in his quest for answers to the search for immortality and longevity. A classic tale of good versus evil that keeps us on the edge of our seat, rooting for Antronos to succeed."

Sigrid Macdonald
Author of D'Amour Road

"Who knew that the hallowed halls of academia were actually dark tunnels rife with intrigue, racism, murder and magic? The Longevity Thesis is Approved and Dr. Rahn graduates summa cum laude as the new face on the speculative fiction's Dean's List."

Timothy Reynolds
Author of Stand Up & Succeed

"In the desert, magic swirls through reality, as death spirals through life. Antronos is desert-born, transformed by it from human to a half-reptilian outcast. After his mother's death, he seeks the vast underground human community, free of the desert's uncanny influence. Despite his pariah status, he rises through the university, becoming the high prince Jait's personal physician and an associate of Sen Vernus, lead researcher in causes of mortality. Danger lurks behind such knowledge. In the deep pit of power and intrigue, friends turn enemies, and enemies become allies, some reverting, others not, through twists and turns of intrigue and terror. Antronos must come to terms with the desert he escaped if he is to understand the true meaning of longevity.

The Longevity Thesis is a curious tale, told in smoothly flowing prose. Often moody, sometimes touched with affectionate tolerance, Ms. Rahn's prose shifts easily between poetic expression and down-to-earth characterization. Like Peter Beagle's work, the story carries you along in a river of thought, only to let you emerge wondering how you got there. On occasion, I felt disoriented, wondering if the entire story was an extended metaphor that I didn't quite grasp. It probably is. But as with Beagle's work, one can read for surface story or for deeper meaning and be satisfied with either.

I found The Longevity Thesis to be both intriguing and unsettling. Fantasy novels often do not require great thought of a reader�one simply goes along with the ride. For Thesis, however, a reader can't just ride the waves of a story. Instead, you dip your feet into philosophy and moral thinking without quite realizing you've done it until afterwards, when your mind doesn't quite settle down again.

If you enjoy intrigue and magic, as well as delving into the delicious terror between life and death, you'll quite probably enjoy this book as much as I did."

Jeanette Cottrell
Author of The Shadebinder's Oath

"The Longevity Thesis is at turns darkly primeval and disconcertingly modern, grimly macabre and life-afirming: compounded together, these ingredients create a powerful and unsettling tale. The Temlochti State University is the centre of scholarship in an underground land, where the inhabitants have so long avoided the desert above them that many now regard the stories of its magic as mere superstition. Antronos, who has been touched by that magic, knows better. But even he does not suspect what ancient and unnatural beings are at work within the University itself, until his desire to study longevity places him in their power. Jennifer Rahn is a daring new voice in dark fantasy, and I hope that she will give readers a chance to explore this world further."

Jennifer Kennedy
Author of Dominion

"This book sucks. The villian was too hard done by. All copies should be destroyed by fire."

Sen Vernus
Professor Emeritus of Surgery, Temlochti University

Monday, August 27, 2007

Name Tag

OK, so Nina over at The Alien Next Door, has tagged me with a challenge to Google myself under "Images" to see what weirdness the internet spews up at me. At first, it was beyond mundane, but as I persevered, some interesting hits were generated.

1) From the game Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, I found "Qu Rahn". Dude is dead and wants his light sabre to be passed to somebody named "Kyle", who is supposed to have a powerful Jedi destiny. Kyle's also supposed to get a journal that tells him how to use the force. Ya man!

2) I am not the only Jennifer Rahn. This one was taken by a marine biologist of the same name. I very much doubt it's a self portrait.

3) They found me! This is from When I was a grad student, I published a paper using their products, and somehow they found the paper and listed it on their website to convince other users of how good their products are. (For those not confocal savvy, a glass bottomed dish is used for laser microscopy of biological samples, such as cancer cells. Specific molecules in cells can be imaged in 3D using this technique. Or, they can be used for conventional fluorescent microscopy. The glass is needed to get clear images.) For the record, their products are very good and reasonably priced. We got a JBC paper out of the data collected. (Check out the movies under "Supplemental Data".)

4) This is from the website of the Marine & Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center out of the University of Miami. Apparently, there is a third Jennifer Rahn out there who is a grad student at this facility. (Hmm. I'm detecting a trend here.)

5) This is from a friend's myspace. My first reaction was "ACK!" until I realised I was just coincidentally mentioned on the same page.

6) I don't know what this is. Perhaps I never will. But for some reason it's associated with my name.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

More Fun from CV23

As promised, here is the video of the medieval combat demonstration from ConVersion 23. Thanks to Dragon's Own for giving permission to post this. You're great, guys!

If you'd like to see more videos from CV23, skip over to Nina's Blog.

Dragon's Own Combat Demo

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Con Version 23

So . . . Guess where I went this weekend. CON VERSION!!!! This is the annual convention put on by the Calgary Science Fiction and Fantasy Society, and it was a lot of fun. Time to indulge in unbridled appreciation of all things SF & F. Here are the first pictures from the event. I've got some videos and a few funny stories to tell, but I'm so exhausted right now, this is about all I can manage until later.

Here I am (middle) with Tim Reynolds, Publisher of Comet Catcher Press and author of Stand Up & Succeed, and my own publisher, Gwen Gades of Dragon Moon Press. Tim was the reader for DMP who recommended that Gwen accept my novel.

This was at dinner on Saturday. Nina Munteanu, author of Darwin's Paradox, is a bundle of fun. So is Karl Johanson, Publisher of Neo-Opsis magazine. Nina has a video of him performing some magic on her blog.

Here I am with Nina and Brian Hades, the Calgary Publishing Overlord. He's the Publisher of EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy (Hades Publications), which Dragon Moon Press just became an imprint of.

Some Men in Black. (I could have sworn the blond guy was a hobbit that morning.)

A close encounter with Captain Kirk. (That's actually Roy from IFWA still in his Phantom of the Space Opera costume.)

Here is one of the knights from the Dragon's Own medieval combat club during a demonstration. These guys were pretty cool and gave me permission to post of video of them fighting, which I'll put together after I've had some sleep.

This gentleman was also from Dragon's Own.

That's it for now. I've got lots more to post, and some of it I promised I'd send to Nina for her blog. I hope she puts all of it up. Some of it's classic! Hee hee hee!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hellsing Ultimate Review

Warning: Some spoilage. Take home message: Hellsing Ultimate is definitely worth your time if you'd rather watch it instead of reading this.

Hellsing Ultimate is the second anime adaptation of the manga by Kouta Hirano. It is reportedly follows the plot of the original manga more closely, and the artistic style is supposed to be similar, with critics especially noting the heavy brushstrokes. I personally prefer the new series (currently finished up to episode 3), as there is more anime-esque humour in it, and the story is easier to follow. Be warned, however, this show is not for the weak of stomach. It's unapologetically gory and truly demonic, but there is still much to enjoy, as Hellsing is ridiculously slick and the music is excellent.

The first anime series, called simply "Hellsing", consists of 13 episodes that describe the adventures of a young British police woman, Victoria Seras, who is sent with her team to clear out a nest of ghouls and their controlling vampire. Unknown to the local police, there is no way they can win the battle, and all but Victoria are converted to ghouls. She is "saved" by the vampire hitman "Alucard" (Dracula spelled backwards), who shoots the vampire through Victoria's chest. Victoria is not finished with this world, however, and chooses to follow Alucard as a servant vampire. She doesn't realise what she's in for, and resists drinking blood and other demonic behaviours for quite some time, much to Alucard's dismay. When she does snap and give in to her demon side, she is often horrified at her new abilities and inclinations.

Alucard is "owned" by the Hellsing Organisation, and takes orders from them. How this came to be is not addressed in the original series, but in the remake, it is revealed that he was once Count Dracula, who was defeated by Abraham Van Helsing, and is now slave to the Hellsing clan. (It is speculated that the misspelling of the manga title was deliberate.) You'd think that Alucard would resent his current station, however he gets a kick out of the attitude of Integra Hellsing, his commanding officer, and he clearly enjoys his work. The artists of both anime series make no attempts to conceal or soften his demonic behaviour, even where his protégé Victoria is concerned. He is one slick, gun-toting monster, who constantly changes his hair length and eyeball size/number.

The Hellsing Organisation is an ordained group of Protestant knights who have been fighting vampires covertly for hundreds of years. The current leader is Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, who inherited her knighthood from her father at the age of 12, bypassing her uncle, who was willing to kill her for it. It was her attempted murder, and the blood from a gunshot wound, that woke Alucard in the first place, as he had been kept in the Hellsing Family's basement as a corpse since his defeat. In the first anime, Integra is consistently a woman of steel, whereas in the second, she seems inexplicably hopeful that Alucard will somehow attain compassionate inclinations towards humans, and is bewilderingly surprised when she sees what her own vampires can do. She also displays vacillating softness towards Victoria, who is in all aspects, a soldier and a pawn.

The main story arc follows the appearance of a new type of artificial vampire. These creatures are made by implanting dead humans with a special kind of microchip that records telemetry and sends it back to a home base. The ancestral home of the Hellsing Family is attacked by these, wiping out nearly the whole army, leaving only Victoria, Alucard, and Walter – the Butler and former Hellsing Trashman (now Alucard's post). Walter is still a badass himself, whose favoured weapon is a collection of microfilaments that can slice through metal. Not surprisingly, Alucard and Walter get on very well.

As the story unfolds, it is revealed that the microchips are part of a project initiated by the still functional Third Reich, and it is hinted that they are interested in Alucard as a potential template for the ultimate human race. Some apparent bias seeps into the story, when a representative of the unacknowledged "Iscariot Organisation" of the Vatican (Section XIII) mentions that they have been funding the "Millennium Project." This part of the story had been greatly toned down in the original series.

So if you choose to watch it, I'd say watch Hellsing first, to get the gist of it (since otherwise you'll have to wait for the remaining episodes), and then sit back to really enjoy Hellsing Ultimate. I wouldn't watch them the other way around, since the presentation of Hellsing may prove unsatisfying.

Hellsing Ultimate gets a full 10/10 stars.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Longevity Thesis Video

Well, let's try this again. Here is the updated video. The old one was pulled because of some issues that needed to be resolved. I apologise to all the very nice people who so quickly left me comments, but I've gone and deleted them. Please repost! (If you are so inclined.)

So here's the final vid, and I would like to thank all the people involved in making it for their patience and kind support.

The Longevity Thesis

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