Tag Archives: sci-fi

Nerd Rock: Rush

Círdan’s note: Welcome back music lovers. On Monday, we kicked off our Nerd Rock series with the psychedelic Pink Floyd. On Wednesday, we tuned in to the revolutionary Led Zeppelin. Today, we take a listen to the band Rolling Stone called, “Geek Gods” — Rush! This blog series was developed by one of our high schoolers, Ethan, a.k.a. spock0528. Hopefully he will continue it in the future, but for now we hope you walk away with at least a few new favorite songs. Let us know in the comments! Also, make sure you read the introduction and his explanation of what makes rock music nerdy in Monday’s Post before continuing to this one. Enjoy!

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Rush

Rush is the nerdiest band of all time. Other bands may feature themes that nerds can connect to but the members of Rush are nerds in the same we are nerds. Because of this, the Canadian progressive power trio has a large and loyal fanbase big enough to rival wp-1462844629413.jpgthat of the Grateful Dead. The band is made up of three of the greatest musicians of all time. Geddy Lee not only plays the bass like a boss but also sings and plays the keyboard at the same time causing him to be rated the #1 bass player of all time by WatchMojo. Alex Lifeson’s guitar skills are legendary (rated second best underrated guitarist by WatchMojo) and (depending on who you talk to) Neil Peart is the greatest drummer of all time using a straight-up orchestra of drums that John Bonham or Keith Moon never used. Peart also served as the main lyricist, writing epic sci-fi and fantasy stories while addressing other elements of nerd culture. The music of Rush is everything a nerd could want:  intelligent, perfectly calculated and downright epic.

Rush formed in 1968 in Toronto. The original lineup consisted of high school friends Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson along with drummer John Rutsey. They were mostly a heavy blues rock band taking cues from AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. wp-1462844647848.pngThey released their first album in 1974 where it achieved moderate success with the song Working Man. However because of health problems, Rutsey had to quit the band leaving Rush without a drummer. They recruited Neil Peart who easily surpassed Rutsey as a drummer. Peart also became the band’s primary lyricist. Peart was a major nerd and wrote songs based off works of fantasy and sci-fi. On the band’s next album Fly by Night the group experimented with longer and more complex songs, such as on the song By-Tor And The Snow Dog, which told the epic tale of two fantasy creatures fighting. The album also featured Tolkien references on the song Rivendell.

By Rush’s third album, Caress of Steel, they had gone full prog (progressive rock), now telling epic fantasy stories on over-10-minute-long songs, such as The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth. This obviously put them at odds with their producers who wp-1462844600867.jpgwanted shorter and more accessible songs. Rush refused to comply and released 2112, an over 20 minute long seven part science fiction epic set in the future where rebels battled the evil “Priests of Syrinx” with the power of music, on the album of the same name. The album proved successful, and Rush was beginning to make a large fan base with young nerds who connected with their music. Throughout the rest of the 70’s Rush released more albums filled with songs about greek gods, robots, space travel, immortality, talking trees, and black holes, and though critics either ignored or bashed them, Rush had reached “cult status” with fans.

Listen to the second movement of 2112:

Listen to the nerdy The Trees: 

By the 1980s, Rush began to incorporate synthesizers into their music — meaning Geddy Lee had to add a third job to his role in the band. They began to get radio airplay as well with songs like The Spirit Of  Radio when they started writing shorter songs. In wp-1462844590355.jpg1981, the album Moving Pictures came out which features (at least what critics will tell you) their best set of songs. Rush gradually used more and more synths on their next four albums. However, the use of synths didn’t mean the music got any less awesome. Songs like Natural Science and Countdown show Peart’s geeky love of science and the excitement of space travel, while the song Subdivisions discussed the struggle of not fitting in, basically being a nerd.

Watch the music video for Subdivisions: 

By 1989, Rush had returned to a harder guitar-driven sound with the album Presto and continued this throughout the 90s with albums like Roll the Bones and Counterparts. Though it looked like the band was over after Peart suffered a major personal tragedy, the band returned wp-1462844548883.jpgin 2002 with Vapor Trails leading to Snakes and Arrows in 2007. Rush latest album, Clockwork Angels, released in 2012, was an epic concept album later adapted into a steampunk, dystopian fiction novel. In 2010 the documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage was made telling the story of the band and their struggle of being constantly overlooked. They were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years later and recently celebrated their 40th anniversary with the R40 tour, rumored to be their last major tour.

Watch the trailer for the R40 tour: 

Watch the trailer for Beyond the Lighted Stage:

That’s it for now. I hope you all will check out these awesome artists!!! Nerd (and Rock) On!

Coming Soon: The Beatles, The Who, Queen, Jethro Tull, Iron Maiden, and David Bowie.      

For one final video, take a listen to the epic The Spirit of Radio:

Send us an owl: What is your favorite Rush song and why? What other bands do you consider to be nerdy? Leave us some song suggestions in the comments. 

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Buy a Great Series, Support Grey Havens YA!

You can probably tell that here at Grey Havens YA, we love books, and that makes it pretty exciting when the authors of those books love us back! This holiday season, the brilliant Colorado author Stant Litore is offering readers a chance to buy some great books and support Grey Havens YA all in one transaction. Keep reading to find out how!

fb_img_1448597602611.jpgStant has been a constant supporter of the Grey Havens Group, and we consider him a member even though he doesn’t live in the area. He is a part of our community, and we are honored to know him. Some of you may remember that he was one of our guest authors at the Grey Havens Real Myth and Mithril Symposium last April. It was there that he really started to connect with and experience the magic that is Grey Havens YA. In a follow-up post about the event, he writes: “Talking with these teens who are fully embracing, unashamed, their love of the imagination — all I can say is that I would have given a great deal to be part of such a group when I was a teen.”

Stant is the author of many daring works, but it’s his first series that’ll hook you and reel you in as a fangirl for life: The Zombie Bible. These five* books re-imagine Biblical stories and ancient legends as if they were set in the larger context of humanity’s constant struggle against hunger…. and the hungry dead.

We don’t think we need to say any more than that, because we know you’re intrigued already — but we will! Reading Stant’s series will not only enrich your imagination and engage your philosophical thinking, but when you purchase the Silver Edition Digital Box Set before the end of December, 50% of the royalties will be donated to Grey Havens YA.  All for only $5.99, 60% off the individual price! What a great deal!

Read more from Stant’s post on his website:

GHYA is a shoestring-budget operation, and I want to help by giving them 50% of my royalties for The Zombie Bible: Silver Edition Digital Box Set to GHYA through December 31, 2015. Please help me by sharing the word and, of course, by buying the books! If I can get GHYA just $250, that supplies their book budget for the spring. If I can get them $500-$1000, they’ll be able to increase their membership, or perhaps get equipment to replace the truly archaic and at-the-brink-of-breaking computers and projectors they currently work with.

zombiebibleStant is an incredible human being, and we’re so glad to be able to offer you such a fun and easy way to support us this season. Who knew you could do your Black Friday / Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday shopping AND support Grey Havens YA at the same time?! Thanks, Stant! Click here to see the other ways you can support us.

*The Silver Edition Digital Box Set includes The Zombie Bible Volumes 1-5. Volume 6 will be released in 2016 — so go ahead and get caught up now! 😉

Send us an owl: Which is your favorite Stant Litore book?

The Top 25 DS9 Episodes

Círdan’s note: And now for some Trekkie fun! Our very own spock028 lists the top 25 Star Trek: Deep Space 9 Episodes. What do you think? 

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Time to count down the best of the best!!!

25. Children of Time

The Crew are forced to make an impossible choice: Leave a planet and kill all of their future descendants or stay and never see their homes or families again. One of Star Treks best moral dilemmas.

24. The Wire

Who is Garak? One lie leads to another and the result is an awesome episode.

23.  Civil Defense

An engaging man vs machine story, Civil Defense shows that whatever can go wrong will.

22. Whispers

O’Brien returns to the station to find everyone has turned against him. What we get is one of DS9s most mind bending episodes.

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21. Little Green Men

Quark, Rom and Nog crash land in Roswell 1947. Shenanigans ensue.

20. The Search Parts 1 and 2

The crew enters Dominion Space to find the Founders. Not only is the episode excellent, we also get introduced to the U.S.S Defiant.

19. Through the Looking Glass

Sisko has to impersonate his alternate self to convince his alternate wife to fight against an alliance of Klingons, Cardassians, and Bajorans that enslave humans in an alternate universe. Need I say more?

18. Past Tense

Sisko has to play the role of an historical figure he accidentally causes the death of when he and Bashir get sent back to 2024 in a transporter accident. Avery Brooks gives one of his best performances of the series.

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17. Necessary Evil

The best Odo murder mystery story, Necessary Evil reveals dark secrets from Kira’s past. The best parts are the flashbacks that show when Odo first meets Kira, Quark, and Gul Dukat.

16. Our Man Bashir

The most funny DS9 episode, the crew is forced to play roles in Dr. Bashir’s James Bond type holosuite program. The catch: If they die in the program they die in real life The James Bond references are hilarious and every actor hams it up for this loving parody.

15. Covenant

Kira finds out Gul Dukat is the leader of a demonic cult. The fact that the cult members are portrayed as real people is what makes it so creepy. Marc Alaimo and Nana Visitor both give great performances.

14. Image in the Sand/ Shadows and Symbols

The Season 7 opener has Sisko and Jake going on a spiritual journey, Kira and Odo negotiating with the Romulans, and Worf, Martok, Bashir, O’Brien, and Quark battling to avenge Dax. The story is big, epic, small and emotional at the same time.

13. It’s Only a Paper Moon

After losing his leg Nog escapes reality and hides in the holsuite. This episode recieved praise from veterans for realistically showing whats it’s like to come home from war.

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12. Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges

With a title that means “In times of war, the laws fall silent” you know it’s gonna be good. Bashir stars in this intense and complex political thriller that debates morality.

11. In Purgatory’s Shadow/ By Inferno Light

There is just so much awesomeness in this two parter. Cardassia announces their alliance with the Dominion, we get to see Worf take on a bunch of Jem’hadar, Enabran and Garak have a touching moment and we learn a shocking secret about Bashir.

10. Rocks and Shoals

The second episode of Season 6’s opening story arc, Rocks and Shoals shows that the Jem’hadar can be complex characters while giving us an action packed story. Meanwhile Kira is unable is to work next to the Dominion and we witness one of the most disturbing and shocking moments in the series.

9. Trials and Tribble-ations

The crew is sent back in time to the original U.S.S Enterprise to prevent Captain Kirk from being murdered. Hilarious and well edited, this episode clearly shows the differences between the two series.

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8. Hard Time

O’Brien is given memories of being in jail for 20 years. While he struggles to readjust to station life he must come to grips with the things he did in jail. Dark and mind bending, this is one of the series’s best.

7. The Siege of AR-558

War is Hell. It’s a simple message but its hammered down hard in the violent episode that’s unlike anything you’ve seen in Star Trek before.

6. Favor the Bold/ Sacrifice of Angels

The end of Season 6’s Dominion War story arc, this two parter features the epic battle to retake DS9. Not only does it feature one of Star Trek’s best space battles, it also tells a sweet and heartbreaking story of Gul Dukat and his daughter.

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5. The Visitor

Jake Sisko throws his life away attempting to get his father back after he is lost in an accident. The story is complicated but it’s the father and son bond that makes it so great. The end scene is just beautiful. I cried.

4. Far Beyond the Stars

Sisko has a vision he is living in a segregated 1950s America working as a science fiction writer who writes a story about a space station in the future called DS9. The scenes of racism are hard to watch and Avery Brooks gives his very best performance of the whole show.

3. Duet

This was the episode where I knew DS9 was the best Trek of them all. This Season 1 episode is a simple yet effective story that is as beautiful as it is disturbing. When a Cardassian arrives on the station Kira goes to extreme lengths to have him captured. But is the Cardassian who he says he is? Is he a simple file clerk or a  murderous psychopath?  The episode is held together by an amazing performance by guest star Harris Yulin.

2. What You Leave Behind

DS9’s finale accomplished everything it needed to. Every character is given a satisfying sendoff and every story arc is tied up wonderfully. The episode features the shows best ship battle and the final showdown between Sisko and Dukat. An amazing ending to an amazing show.

1. In the Pale Moonlight

Sisko attempts to have the Romulans enter the war using any means necessary. Bad decision leads to bad decision and Sisko is forced go against every one of his values. I could never imagine this episode working in TOS (The Original Series) or TNG (The Next Generation). It’s something only DS9 could accomplish, a dark, haunting, episode that questions whether the ends justify the means. Strong performances by Avery Brooks and Andrew Robinson add to the fact that In the Pale Moonlight is not only the best DS9 episode, but one of televisions greatest episodes of all time.

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Send us an owl: Is your favorite episode on the list? Do you think Deep Space 9 is the best Star Trek of them all? Let’s hear all your thoughts! (I might not reply for a while, I’ve got a Star-Trek filled Netflix queue awaiting…)