Thursday, January 28, 2010

NASA Rover Spirit Hopelessly Stuck

On May 1, 2009 NASA's Martian rover Spirit became bogged down in loose sand that NASA now admits it will not be able to free itself from. After researching methods that might free the rover and trying many different maneuvers, as of January 26th 2010 NASA said that none of the maneuvers proved effective, thus dooming the rover to remain in place. However controlers feel that there are many experiments that the rover is still capable of performing so will continue to operate the craft until such times are the solar cells can no longer charge the system's batteries.

The twin rover missions were to last only 90 days. As of NASA deeming the Spirit rover as no longer a mobile platform, mission elapse time stands at 6 years and 22 days since landing or 24.6 times the planned mission duration.

Gizmodo article

Joseph Devon is calling all artists!

Hi! I just received this email form writer Joseph Devon of Probability Angels fame and I though there might be a few of you that might be interested in the project:

Hey all,

I'm just writing to let you know that I've launched a major contest over at Details are here:

Basically I'm putting out a call to all artists asking them to submit original creations based on Probability Angels. Then when May rolls around my panel of distinguished judges will be picking a winner who will get to choose from a list of prizes containing some really great products like a Wacom Tablet or Adobe Illustrator. At least I've been told that these are really great products. I use Word.

There are more details over at the site at the above link.

For my review if Mr. Devon's Probability Angels novel, click here

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The How in science now means How in Hell is this Science?

I really couldn't resist this...I was laughing so hard, even though I totally agree with their statements, thinking, let those among us that have not watched really big big things...toss the first stone!

The Onion (Update: reader Dorn made a point that to be honest I should remind everyone that the ONION is a comedy site which I think is extremely funny and dead-on. So, for those of you that are taking issue with the article, IT'S MEANT TO BE FUNNY people...come ON! Thanks Dorn) via Boing Boing is reporting that the highly popular cable network The Science Channel is coming under a bit of fire for airing content that is considered by some to be a bit high brow. To which the Science Channel is resisting.
  • Science Channel president Clark Bunting told reporters Tuesday that his cable network was "completely incapable" of watering down science any further than it already had.
  • "Look, we've tried, we really have, but it's simply not possible to set the bar any lower"
  • Bunting said that they couldn't in good conscience "make science any more mindless or insultingly juvenile. "We already have a show called Really Big Things, which is just ridiculous if you think about it....
  • Plus, there's Punkin Chunkin." "Punkin Chunkin, for Christ's sake," added Bunting, referring to the popular program in which contestants launch oversized pumpkins into the air using catapults.
  • Debbie Myers, general manager of the Science Channel, said the cable station has maintained a balance of 5 percent science content and 95 percent mind-numbing drivel..
  • "At this point, having the word 'how' in a show's title is about as close to scientific investigation as we get," Myers said.
  • As evidence of their refusal to further water down programming, network sources pointed to a number of proposed shows they've abandoned in recent weeks, including an animal-based bungee-jumping program called Extreme Gravity, and Atom Smashers, a series that was was roundly rejected by focus groups as being "too technical" and "not awesome enough."
(ok, I give up...I can't see to type the rest here Extreme Gravity!?? I think my brains just leaked out my left ear...)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Bionic Eyelid's Time Is Nigh

Yes, it would appear that the bionic man or the proper android is being built one small piece at a time. Explain you might ask... ok, case in point:
  • This from a recent article in IO9
  • Researchers at the University of California at Davis Medical Center have been working on an artificial eyelid muscle.....
  • Electronic impulses coming from a tiny battery driving an artificial muscle would allow stroke victims and others to restore their blinking.
Medgadget article

Cassini discovers strange hills on Titan

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has found hills with odd radial patterns on Titan, Saturn's largest moon. As you can see in this picture, the hill top, center has straight line grooves as does the hill in the lower left quadrant. Stranger still is the hill, lower right which has an even stranger star shaped pattern. The grooved mounds, located in a northern hemisphere, are about 50 miles wide and about 200 feet high, and the patterns had not previously been seen on Titan before. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory theorize that the patterns might be caused by tectonic forces, such as the forces that pull the crust of a planet apart, or rainfall that leads to erosion.

The Robocop Rap

I found this strange rap video on SFSignals and I do mean strange. It's a synopsis of the Robocop movie done to rap. Oh yeah, it's every bit that odd. At times it's funny and then at times bringing some of the ultra violent scenes of the movie into sharp focus. But almost glorifying them. It's both good and bad to awful. The good? Well it takes some of what made the movie a cult favorite and feeds it to you in one continuous ten minute rap, the bad? The rap gets on your nerves, and the awful? It's nine minutes too long.

The Faking Hoaxer's Shuttle Collision

Here is a very scary example of how difficult it is to trust and believe what you are seeing. From the very capable hands of The Faking Hoaxer is a shockingly realistic short film of a catastrophic collision of a shuttle with an unknown object. This very clever person has put out several short and VERY believable films, that on occasion have been so good that some nefarious folks have renamed as official NASA documents and have foisted them on the public as the real thing.

TFH has quite a list of very realistic video. Click here for his youtube page

NASA Considering single person flight suit

Personal flight has been at the heart of all innovation in flying. Tim Sayell sends in an article in the New York Times detailing a hybrid of vertical take of planes, helicopters and a wee bit of jetpack. Called the Puffin, it is still in the theoretical stage at NASA. The Puffin is designed to be 12 feet in length, with a total wingspan of 14 and a half feet; it would weigh in at 300 pounds. The major difference between the Puffin and personal jetpacks is the Puffin's helicopter-style blades powered by electric motors.

Click here for complete NY Times article

Sunday, January 24, 2010

WINNERS: 2009 Aurealis Awards

Here is a partial listing of the 2009 winners of the Aurealis Awards.

The Aurealis Awards, honoring works of SF, fantasy, and horror by Australians.

Here are the science fiction category winners

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL: Wonders of a Godless World, Andrew McGahan
BEST SCIENCE FICTION SHORT STORY: 'Clockwork, Patchwork and Ravens', Peter M. Ball
BEST ANTHOLOGY: Eclipse 3, Jonathan Strahan (editor)

For a complete listing of all categories you can click the link here or the article title

Friday, January 22, 2010

Man to Break Sound Barrier Jumping from Edge of Space

Remember that scene from the latest Star Trek when Kirk & Sulu jump from space onto that futuristic drill platform? One of the seriously cool scenes in the movie. Well it seems the idea is still alive in Felix Baumgartner who has it on his mind to jump from the edge of space in an effort to break the sound barrier, and do it while in free fall. The last person to make a jump of this magnitude was United States Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger. Kittinger jumped on August 16, 1960, from an altitude of 19 and a half miles. Baumgartner will make his record breaking attempt sometime in 2010 as part of Red Bull's Stratus mission from a height of apx 20 miles!

Click here for a link to a short film on the jump.

Gizmodo article

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Questor Tapes being developed for TV

From I see that Gene Roddenberry's The Questor Tapes are once again on tap for TV.
  • Roddenberry Productions has entered into a deal with Ron Howard’s Imagine Television to develop Gene Roddenberry’s 1970s pilot "The Questor Tapes" into a new TV series.
  • In the 1970s, after the end of the original Star Trek on NBC .... Gene Roddenberry developed a number of sci-fi TV shows which were turned into pilot TV movies, but never picked up as series.... One of these projects was called "The Questor Tapes" which was originally conceived as a television series pilot about an android (played by Robert Foxworth) with incomplete memory tapes who searches for his creator and his purpose. The pilot aired as a TV movie in January of 1974. Star Trek producer Gene Coon also worked on the pilot with (Gene and ) Majel Barrett Roddenberry .... NBC had agreed to a 13 episode commitment, but after failing to agree on changes with Roddenberry, the project was scrapped.
There are a bunch of other really interesting facts about Gene Roddenberry's post Star Trek career. You can read more here

What if Earth had Saturn style rings?

Roy Prol gives us an animated tour of an Earth with just such a ring structure. Plus some killer views of what it would look like from the surface at different locals on the planet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Award Winning Author Kage Baker Fighting Cancer

Sfscope writes that 2004 Theodore Sturgeon Award winner Kage Baker has gone public with her ongoing battle with cancer.

From the article:
  • ...originally diagnosed with uterine cancer... in late December, the cancer was discovered to have metastasized to her brain, and she had brain surgery on 26 December. Three weeks later, the tumor had regenerated to the size of a golf ball.....There are also five tumors in her lungs.
  • She is now undergoing both radiation and chemo therapy, and according to her caretaker, Kathleen, "they do seem to be helping.....
  • Notes and letters are welcomed at either materkb at gmail dot com or 331 Stimson, Apt. B, Pismo Beach, California 93449 USA.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Review: District 9

District 9
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Produced by Peter Jackson
Written by Neill Blomkamp Terri Tatchell
Starring Sharlto Copley - Jason Cope - Robert Hobbs

District 9 the movie is really a mixed bag. Some of the elements have become well worn science fiction movie cliches. How many times lately have we seen the huge alien craft slowly drift to a stop above a large Earth city? Or the aliens on-board are stranded and want only a place to live peacefully? Or say we keep the ship but have aliens incomprehensible to humans. If you take these few simple framework elements you can well image or understand District 9. No one knows why there are here, their huge ship is totally derelict (but it is still staying aloft? huh?) The aliens themselves are barely humanoid and after 20 years no one seems to know any more about them.

As the movie opens, there is a plan to move all the aliens to a different holding area, well away from the City. In charge of the "eviction" and move is a somewhat suspect government agency (as like many quasi legal government agencies, in other movies, those of District 9 have a very suspect agenda. ) Whos' efforts are spear headed by a government toady that has virtually no clue how to accomplish the move other than what is in the manuals. Needless to say misunderstanding and violence escalate quickly.

District 9 is a bit disconcerting because it almost gives the feeling that it doesn't quite know what it wants to be. It starts out as a "documentary" documenting the "history" of the move from District 9 and the actions our government buffoon. However as the action speeds up and the violence increases, the movie moves to a cinematic format but at the end drops back into the documentary style.

Though confusing at times, the movie is far from a bore. In earlier movies, like Independence Day, we are never quite sure how the aliens as a whole look. Those of District 9 are very well rendered. Given where the aliens are kept, nothing is whole, or for that matter clean. It really puts a wonderful new spin on alien slum. wow. Plus the anti hero we usually have in movies of this sub genre (say like Riddik ) is incorporated towards the end of the film, but even though, it is really hard to empathize in this instance. But I am not going to give anymore away for those that might be waiting for the DVD

And the dvd is a home run!!! We have a director's commentary, though he tends towards geo politics, we have deleted scenes! LOTS of them. Plus several short featurettes on visualizations and execution of elements that brought the movie along. This is what makes a dvd live for me and this is a feast.

This is a sci-fi movie dvd collectors disk for sure. I would give the movie an 8 because many of the elements are far from new, but a 10 for a well executed dvd so that is a 9 overall. Good addition to your library.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Video Short: Laser Cats 5 from SNL

A spectacularly bad and outrageously funny SNL skit with the help of James Cameron and "Ripley", plus a rip on I think every Cameron movie he ever made. It's Laser Cats 5

Thanks to Gizmodo for the post

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Hunter Space Cannon

The idea of cannons for shooting things into space have been around since the start of science fiction. Who has not seen the short silent film of ladies loading a cannon to fire a projectile at the moon. And of course giant cannons have been in the news for ages, from chemical fired giants to electric rail guns.

According to a recent article in popsci,
  • John Hunter wants to shoot stuff into space with a 3,600-foot gun.
Why? Well launching material into orbit now cost in the vicinity of $5000 per pound. Hunter's gun can do the job for $250.

From the article:
  • Hunter wants to operate the gun, the “Quicklauncher,” in the ocean near the equator, where the Earth’s fast rotation will help slingshot objects into space.
Plus having the gun in the water means that it can be repositioned quickly for different launch windows.

A gun of this nature would not be people rated however. The g/load on payload at launch is 5,600 Gs which would crush a human. The Quicklauncher would be only for fuel tanks and ruggedized satellites.

popsci via Boing Boing

Thursday, January 14, 2010

MIT's Food Printer! WTF?!

Have you heard about the MIT project called Cornucopia? No? Well here is a description:
  • Cornucopia's cooking process starts with an array of food canisters, which refrigerate and store a user's favorite ingredients. These are piped into a mixer and extruder head that can accurately deposit elaborate combinations of food.
Yep, that's right, Cornucopia is a food printer! And as you can see...not just pretty pictures of food or pictures ON food....printed food. Can Star Trek's synthesizer be far behind?

You know, I got to say one thing though.."done that"....looking at how this is done, yep, anyone of us that has had a can of cheese Whiz, a cracker, pepperoni and Jalapenos has spent a night "printing" up some good eats. lol

MIT Cornucopia via Gizmodo

Doomsday Clock moves 1 more minute away from midnight

Clock Announcement 2010 from on Vimeo.

On January 14th, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist adjusted the "Doomsday Clock" back one minute to 6 minutes before midnight.

The reason for the change was, as the Bulletin stated was:
  • Encouraging Progress Seen Around Globe in Both Key Threat Areas: Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change.
The decision by the BAS Science and Security Board was made in consultation with the Bulletin's Board of Sponsors, which includes 19 Nobel Laureates.

From the article:
  • Created in 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the Doomsday Clock has been adjusted only 18 times prior to today, most recently in January 2007 and February 2002 after the events of 9/11. By moving the hand of the Clock away from midnight--the figurative end of civilization--the BAS Board of Directors is drawing attention to encouraging signs of progress.
Read the complete article here

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Darwin Awards for 2009!

I know, not really Science Fiction, but I really love the Darwin Awards and there was a fake list going around on email, so I thought I would update with the real deal.

2009 Runner Up Double Dip (3 June 2009, North Carolina) Greensboro was inundated with four inches of pouring rain in two hours, stranding several cars on flooded roads. Rosanne T., 50, was not deterred. She hopped on her moped and drove to a convenience store where she "possibly had a beer," according to her mother, before deciding to blunder home through the storm. She phoned home to say, "My moped has two rubber wheels, Mom, I'll be fine." North Carolina does not require a license to own a moped. Ms. T. had acquired hers two years previously after a DUI conviction. The Highway Patrol had blocked off several roads that were inundated with water, including Rosanne's path home. But she rode right past the officer and the barriers, lost control of her vehicle, and fell into the swollen creek below. The officer retrieved rope from his vehicle and proceeded to haul her from the water. He then interviewed the woman, probably inquiring about her motivation for speeding through a roadblock during a flash flood. When the officer returned to his patrol car to call for assistance, Rosanne took the opportunity to escape--by jumping back into the creek! The officer attempted to rescue her again, but alas, it was too late. The victim's mother speculated that her daughter's motivation for jumping into a flooded creek was to rescue her drowning moped. "She loved that thing."

2009 runner up Dying to Go (12 April 2008, Florida) Traffic was moving slowly on southbound I-95. Shawn M. had recently left a Pompano Beach bar, and now he was stuck in traffic. As the saying goes, you don't buy beer--you just rent it, and Shawn couldn't wait another moment to relieve himself. "I need to take a leak," he told his friends. Traffic was deadlocked, so the waterlogged man climbed out, put his hand on the divider, and jumped over the low concrete wall... only to fall 65 feet to his death. "He probably thought there was a road, but there wasn't," said a Fort Lauderdale police spokesman. The car was idling on an overpass above the railroad lines.

2009 Winner Crushing Debt (26 September 2009, Belgium) The city of Dinant is the backdrop for this rare Double Darwin Award. Two bank robbers attempting to make a sizable withdrawal from an ATM died when they overestimated the quantity of dynamite needed for the explosion. The blast demolished the building the bank was housed in. Nobody else was in the building at the time of the attack. Robber One was rushed to the hospital with severe head trauma; he died shortly after arrival. Investigators initially assumed that his accomplice had managed a getaway, but the second bungler's body was excavated from the debris twelve hours later. Would-be Robbers One and Two weren't exactly impoverished--their getaway car was a BMW.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Golden Ratio Discovered in Quantum World

Hidden Symmetry Observed for the First Time in Solid State Matter ScienceDaily (Jan. 7, 2010)   Researchers from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), in cooperation with colleagues from Oxford and Bristol Universities, as well as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK, have for the first time observed a nanoscale symmetry hidden in solid state matter. They have measured the signatures of a symmetry showing the same attributes as the golden ratio famous from art and architecture.

When applying a magnetic field at right angles to an aligned spin the magnetic chain will transform into a new state called quantum critical, which can be thought of as a quantum version of a fractal pattern. 

Prof. Alan Tennant, the leader of the Berlin group, explains "The system reaches a quantum uncertain -- or a Schrödinger cat state. This is what we did in our experiments with cobalt niobate. We have tuned the system exactly in order to turn it quantum critical."

By tuning the system and artificially introducing more quantum uncertainty the researchers observed that the chain of atoms acts like a nanoscale guitar string.

The research team is publishing these findings in the Jan. 8, 2010 issue of the journal Science.

Friday, January 08, 2010

New video from Symphony of Science "The Unbroken Thread"

New Symphony of Science video/mp3 every bit as good as the previous offerings and possibly the best yet!

See more videos and music at Symphony of Science's website

New Tech being considered for airport security

Xnewsman sends in an article from the Los Angeles Times detailing some of the purposed technology being considered for airport security after the recent aborted attack Christmas Day.

Some of the purposed ideas have already been rejected as too costly or at risk of rights violations. But some, have still managed to garner enough interest to still be considered.
One of the most unusual is for all intents, mind reading. The system that Israeli-based WeCU Technologies has devised and is testing in Israel projects images onto airport screens, such ... symbols associated with a certain terrorist group or some other image only a would-be terrorist would recognize. The logic is that people can't help reacting, even if only subtly, to familiar images that suddenly appear in unfamiliar places.

Read the complete article for other ideas still being seriously considered

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Oldest landwalker prints found

Tim Sayell sends in an article that details a find that is going to force a rethink on when land animals evolved.

Up until this find, the transition from fish to land animals was thought to have occurred about 380 million years ago, with the earliest complete evidence for a four-limbed animal with digits which date back to between 374 million and 359 million years ago.

Now, with the discovery of distinctive footprints, around an ancient muddy shore-line in what is now Poland, have set the clock back to about 397 million years.

According to the article:
  • had bodies shaped somewhat like crocodiles, with fin-like tails and stumpy legs. And some of them were pretty big, reaching up to about 10 feet (3 meters) in length.
AP photo

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Refirbed Hubble finds oldest galaxies ever....

From Wired I am reading about some of the new astronomical science being done with the newly upgraded HST.

From the article:
  • (Using the Hubble Space Telescope) astronomers have identified three galaxies (formed) only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. The faint galaxies may be the most distant starlit bodies known, each lying some 13.2 billion light-years from Earth.
  • If the researchers are correct ..... then Hubble is seeing light that reveals the galaxies as they first appeared just 480 million years after the birth of the universe....
As the universe continues to expand, galaxies at the farthest edge have their light shifted to the red end of the spectrum. Again, from the article:
  • In September, two teams ... reported finding galaxies with redshift values of seven to eight, corresponding to an era about 700 million years after the Big Bang. Now, the researchers estimate that another three galaxies imaged by the camera have a redshift of about 10, which if confirmed would be the largest redshift ever measured.
Wired article Tim Sayell sends in a link to the yahoo article


Monday, January 04, 2010

Review: DVD - Monsters vs. Aliens

Monsters vs. Aliens
Directors Conrad Vernon Rob Letterman
Reese Witherspoon
Seth Rogen
Hugh Laurie
Will Arnett
Rainn Wilson
Kiefer Sutherland
Stephen Colbert

According to the plot, Earth does, it seems, have a great deal of monsters about. However an ultra secret government agency "even saying the name is considered treason" is tasked with collecting and secreting them to an equally secret prison facility. In this facility we are introduced to B.O.B. (Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate): An indestructible gelatinous mass created when a genetically-altered tomato was injected with a chemically-altered ranch dessert topping, voiced by Seth Rogen, Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D: A brilliant but mad scientist who, in an experiment to imbue himself with the resilience and abilities of a cockroach, ending up with a giant cockroach's head and some personality features of the cockroach - and thanks to the voice talents of Hugh Laurie (House), The Missing Link, oft referred to as just "Link": A 20,000-year-old fish-ape hybrid who was found frozen and thawed out by scientists, only to escape and wreak havoc at his old lagoon habitat - voiced by Will Arnett, Reese Witherspoon voices Susan Murphy, aka Ginormica: hit by a radioactive meteor on her wedding day, which causes her to mutate and grow to a height of 49 feet 11.5 inches. There is Insectosaurus: Formerly a 1 inch (25 mm) grub transformed by nuclear radiation into a 350 feet (110 m) monster with the ability to shoot silk out of her nose, but there doesn't seem to be any real dialogue going on though, however Link seems to be able to carry on a conversation with Insectosaurus. These monsters were to be kept in isolation to protect Earth however when an alien craft lands in the USA ("the only place where UFOs ever land!!") our menagerie is pressed into service to help protect the very people that needed protection from the monsters! Simplistic as the plot seems, it manages to work on different levels that are bound to appeal to many others.

This motley crew is headed up by their keeper/jailer what have you, General Warren. R. Monger who claims to be 90 years old and is hilariously voiced by Kiefer Sutherland.

Other voice talents are Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar the evil alien, Amy Poehler as Gallaxhar's sarcastic computer and Stephen Colbert as impulsive and dimwitted President Hathaway. Colbert fans will absolutely love the way he voices the president. It's 100% Colbert goodness. Plus Sutherland's General W.R. Monger is like a maniacal Gunny R. Lee. The throw away lines that Monger has are precious. Stuff like "and that's why I always wear a parashute!" or ".... giving her gigantic size and power!" but it's what he is doing with his hands that is priceless. Or Colbert's "I guess robots DO eat lead!" or "who wants to freeze my head?" priceless!

Monsters was the first animated movie shot directly with advanced 3d tech and even though the dvd I had was regular video, you are struck by how clear and deep each scene seems. Even though the paddle ball is only 2d it still seems to jump right out of the screen at you. The attention to detail is astounding.

As a movie, it's harmless entertainment. Some of the humor is a bit risque and a lot that could be suggestive but again it really is harmless and funny. Mostly it's supposed to be a morel play, but you can quickly tell that it was an excuse for the most part just to have a party. I wonder if that is a sign I am too old, when legitimate movie making sounds like a bunch of teens at a kegger. That doesn't mean don't bother with the rental, far from it. Even the 2d version is some of the best animation I have seen. I really think they have set a new bar and much higher.

So after watching the movie and enjoying myself I decided to push my luck and look for extras....Mother load. Where as the shallow gene pool of the creative elements of GI Joe were twinking over how creative they THOUGHT they were in their commentaries, Vernon and Letterman wax poetic about the people that helped them get this movie made. They are proud of the end product and the time and dedication it took. Instead of busting on their movie (though in truth I don't see where or what they would have to complain about) they spend the whole movie explaining how things were done, how everyone rose to the challenge that the movie presented and time after time funny anecdotes concerning the voicing talents and crew. Then a short film on how the 3d was produced and just how ground breaking it really was. A whole reel of outtakes believe it or not! and a collection of music videos from other animated movies. It was a cornucopia most certainly!

How would I rate this DVD? Monsters vs. Aliens is an excellent example of an animated comedy and is certainly at the top of its game. It certainly stands head and shoulders above some of the live action films I have watched lately. In my mind it does exactly what it sets out to and does it in fine style. I would think this would be a worthy addition to your dvd library and certainly is well worth renting let alone buying. Go for it.... I think this is a 10

Sunday, January 03, 2010

AntipodeanSF # 139 is ready for your reading pleasure!

Ion, editor of AntipodeanSF online flash fiction magazine sends in a note:
  • Just a quick reminder to you all that AntipodeanSF, Issue 139 is now available for your reading enjoyment online. AntipodeanSF is at the usual URL:
  • Http://
I went over to see what's up and wow, looks like one of the best issues yet! Here is a list of stories:
  • Aloha Or Bust By Jamie Richter
  • Upgrade By Aidan Doyle
  • Cloned By Chris Castle
  • Pod 5534 By Michael Cooper
  • Fabcola: 'Tis The Season By Shaun A. Saunders
  • Killing In The Name Of By Joe McNamara
  • Diagnosis By Pavelle Wesser
  • Useful Stuff By Gitte Christensen
  • One In One Out By Alice Robinson
  • Hourglass By Liam Thorpe
I haven't read them all yet, but about half and I would have to say not a bad one in the bunch. Kudos ION!

Review: Eclipse Two - Jonathan Strahan editor

Eclipse Two
Edited by Jonathan Strahan
287 printed pages
Night Shade Books

Again, I know I am a bit slow at getting out reviews, but I just don't see how you can review what you haven't read. Maybe if it's a complete crapfest, but otherwise, I would rather give my opinion cover to cover.

So the latest in the Eclipse series. First impression is Strahan is a very competent editor. His feel for the genre is every bit as good as Carr or Dozois, and Eclipse Two reflects that easily. There doesn't seem to be any underlying theme, but still manages to set itself off from the "best of" crowd. Don't get me wrong, I love best ofs, Eclipse feels more like an anthology. But it does swing some big stories, The absolutely (no pun intended) Exhalation by Ted Chiang or David Moles Down and out in the Magic Kingdom. And go ahead, and start the cat calls because I loved Skin Deep by Richard Parks when I first read it and it fits so well in this volume. Or The Hero by Karl Schrodeder. What a fantastic image huh?

Sometimes it's the last story that really drives the ideals of the collection home and Strahan really does that in style. I had not read Alastair Reynolds Fury before so it was like finding a hidden gem. Oh believe me, with 15 top notch stories, there were many a pleasant find but Fury was very special. I mean how can you go wrong with ancient empires, robots, evil all spread across 30k years of history? You can't! I loved it! What's more, I am willing to bet that you would too!

Brazil restarts space program

Hey sci-fi fans, have we seen this coming or what? Even the country I seem to recall in some stories that Brazil becomes the object of interest as global resources dwindle. So as science fictionary as it sounds...

From the Los Angeles Times article:
  • The nation is reviving its space program as part of a push to secure its territory. 'In the coming era of scarcity, we're going to have to defend what we've got,'
Of course the effort is not all sabre rattling. Brazil honestly wants to become a player in the global satellite business, but as global resources dwindling, a portion of it's efforts have got to be high ground defenses.

Brazil of course is not pointing fingers. They realize that a threat might come from neighbors, China or even the US. hummmm

So what kind of resources are in play? Well again from the article:
  • Over the last two years, has made one of the world's largest oil discoveries off its Atlantic coast, a find that could propel it into the first rank of oil exporters by 2015. The nation also boasts enormous deposits of gold, uranium and iron ore and is the world's largest exporter of chicken, soy, sugar and beef.
Wow, can the corporate wars be far behind? Complete article