Weekly Sci-Fi Review

As always, I try to bring in posts that are contemperary and classic for ‘Net purusal. Classic hard sci-fi is hard to come by now-a-days that hasn’t already been hashed and rehashed again, but Allen Steele’s Spindrift is a refreshing hard science sci-fi tale because Steele’s use of the tech is so believable according to reviewer Lois H. Gresh:

Spindrift is clearly in the domain of classic hard science fiction. Abundant details about ships and shuttles fill its pages. The technical descriptions of Spindrift are so clear that one wonders if Steele hired alien engineers to construct it for him. It is assumed that readers already know that telomerase manipulation could extend life; that readers are familiar with tropes such as hyperspace travel and biostatis; and that they have heard of astrobiology. While the human characters have love affairs—straight as well as gay—the romance is primarily offstage. But always center stage is the science.

Spindrift is clearly a non-Singularity novel which clearly fits in with one of Vernor Vinge’s scenarios without a technological Singularity.

I have read some of Steele’s Coyote trilogy and the series stands out as a political statement for the state of the US condition now as it extrapolates 70 years into the future. Also the human story is excellent. In short, I recommend Spindrift due to my past experience reading Allen Steele.

Modern sci-fi author/college professor Cory Doctorow is my kind of kook and a person I would aspire to be if I had to start life over again. Not only is he a Singularity writer, but he does it in such a way that you would’ve thought you were reading tomorrow’s newspaper. On his website Doctorow has everything you could want concerning sci-fi, tech links, bio, news, articles, pretty much all of the standard fare, but most of all, you can download free short stories from his latest anthology Overclocked.

I love it when the younger authors born in the Information Age post downloadable stories on their sites. It helps introduce the authors to an audience that may just happen to buy a novel when one comes out, to hell with the copyright bullsh*t. And this guy even has podcasts of his stories!

Jerry Pournelle is another of my regular classic authors I have read in years gone by. His stories were militaristic in nature and probably wouldn’t be too popular right now, but if a person looked past that, his characters he developed were three dimensional, not cardboard cutouts.

The first story I read was King David’s Spaceship, only when I read it, it was serialized in  Analog Science Fiction/Fact as “A Spaceship For The King”. The story was one of the first in a line of stories set in a future history called the  CoDominium Series. Pournelle reminds me of Robert Heinlein in a way because of his love of future military, but that doesn’t diminish his talent. But truth to tell, I would find some of these stories a bit “juvenile” now since my interests are in other areas of science and fiction.

Here’s the Amazon.com link to purchase King David’s Spaceship and other Pournelle stories: http://www.amazon.com/King-Davids-Spaceship-Jerry-Pournelle/dp/B000ERTSSO/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-3968640-0844943?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1180209576&sr=1-1

And now it’s time for me to kick back and watch the Phillies and Braves game since the Yanks are getting rained out. Ciao.


8 responses

  1. Nap-time too. Tip jar open, I need change for the weekend!

  2. OT but Yanks and Angels didn’t rain out, Yanks got beat 3-1.

    Yanks have no pitching this year. 😦

  3. You’re leaving me in the dust with all of this stuff, Dad. I haven’t been into the sci-fi outside of the Star Trek and Star Wars mania.

    I did read a book with a character by the name of Kor Danay… a “man” in the truest sense of the word. In fact, in this story, no person could call himself a “man” without the prowess that this person had. His mind was so developed that he didn’t need physical tools or conveyances to get him around… he willed himself to wherever he wished to go, and teleported objects around.

    The final test of a “man” was to send his mind’s power out to a star, encircle and capture it’s solar power, then redirect that power to anyplace in the universe and destroy whatever object or planet they chose. Here’s a review I found of the book… maybe you’ve run across the book in your travels: “The Scarlet Sage”

    “In Manly Banister’s science fiction classic, Earth has been under the rule of the Trisz for generations. Seemingly benevolent but the Trisz are really looting the planet, for the Trisz feed on pure energy and are robbing Earth of its water supply and all else that makes it habitable. The only hope of Earth lies in the Scarlet Order of Men, the one planet-wide organization that the Trisz tolerate because it is disguised as a religion. The Scarlet Order of Men’s only hope lies in Kor Danay, the young mutant whose mental powers are the result of centuries of psychic research by the Order.

    Kor Danay’s only hope lies in Lady Soma, the woman who has sworn to kill him. But, dying could be Kor’s and Earth’s best hope. With his psychic powers he just might become a God if he dies. And as for Lady Soma, every God needs a Goddess!”

    Sound familiar? It’s an oldie!

  4. I have heard of it in fact, but I admit I actually know little of it. It sounds like old space opera/fantasy type fiction.

    SciFi.com reviews alot of fantasy stories now, but fantasy isn’t really my shtick.

  5. Come to think of it, it sounds alot like the Dune saga. Paul Atreides was a result of generations of controlled breeding by the Bene Gesserit order to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, a precognative superman who has immense mental powers.

    He couldn’t send his power out to a star, but he could control people with his voice, was an incredible warrior, could foresee the future and had the memories of all of his bloodline forefathers going back generations, drawing on their experience.

    That’s pretty god-like too.

  6. What we have with The Scarlet Order of Men is the attainment of total and absolute mastery of the universe by man. There is no need for conveyances; starships of any kind. There is no limit to man’s power. He is a god.

    It is fiction, but still in the hopes and desires of every human being to have absolute control of their destinies. Technology is a means to an end, just as money is a means to absolute power for many. We ascribe to the level of society that the Organians of “Star Trek” fame possessed. They were truly gods to the humans of the 23rd Century.

    Yes, we have to crawl before we walk. We need technology for now, but it is an encumbrance in the long run. The Scarlet Order of Men attained what was always available to them, inherent within themselves… divinity.

    Singularly speaking…

  7. I’m getting a kick our of der Kurier. Some strangers have better stories than others – and many times the fact/fantasy line is malleable.
    Mack Reynolds used to write about war in a diffferent way. I recall one premise was about a super technologically advanced power that was defeated because it went bankrupt promulgating war against technological inferiors who used guerilla tactics and recycled weapons against their opponent. I’m thinking Vietnam era here.
    If you do meditation, here’s one that blew me away. First, you have a familiar favourite fantasy locale that you are comfortable with, same as always. Then, sitting comfortably erect, you visualize your consciousness reaching to the stars from your head and to the center of the planet from your feet, sensitizing yourself to energy phenomena, visualization, whatever counts as sensory reception. I haven’t done that for years but the last comment reminded me of it. It should be refreshing.

  8. Oh, right. Deep breathing exercises are de rigeur for that.

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