Plague Strikes!

December 30, 2008

At my house.  Yup, I’m sick.  In case my 3 regular readers were wondering what happened to me, I decided to fight my way through the haze of cold medicine to post this little update.  I will post again when I am feeling better or manage to stay awake long enough to finish reading a book and blog about, whichever comes first.  And may you not be struck by the plague at your house.


Free Fiction

December 26, 2008

Ok, so it’s not science fiction.  But anytime an author shares their work with the public just to share, it is worth a mention.  This book is a horror novella by Brian Knight called Heart of a Monster.  Mr. Knight is apparently sharing some of his previously published works with the general population for free at his website  Right now this is the only work available for free, but he indicates others will follow.  I haven’t read it yet (I’m still working my way through Chirstmas books), but I checked out some reviews that indicated it is worth the time to read it.  Thanks to The Undead Rat for showing the way to this find.

Star Wars The Musical?!

December 26, 2008

Seriously.  I read an article about it in the St Petersburg Times on Christmas Day.  My initial response was WHAT THE ****?!?!?!  Are you kidding me?!?!?!

However, I then read past the title of the article.  The show is actually called Star Wars: A Musical Journey, and it is not a musical per se.  It is going to be 2 hours of clips from all 6 movies with accompaniment by the Royal Philharmonic of London.  There will also be an exhibit with props, artwork, models, and costumes from the movies.  While I am not a Star Wars uber-fan by any stretch, I can see where such fans might enjoy this show.  It is apparently a live version of a video made in 2005, now available at IMDb (click here to see it).

The show opens April 10th, 2009 in London as the start of a European tour.  As of yet there is no American tour scheduled, but I imagine it will only be a matter of time.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2008

Just a quick post – in addition to my new Nano (yippee!) I also got some new sci fi books.  Reviews of Idoru by William Gibson and A Scanner Darkly by Phillip K. Dick will be along just as soon as I can read them.

I hope you are all having a great Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate.

Angry Ghosts – Allen Farnham

December 23, 2008

Ok, this is another one from Authonomy.  It suffers less from the lack of formal editing than some I’ve read there.  The grammar and spelling are fine (some on the site have major issues in that area) though it could still use a little more polish, mainly because it has several abrupt transitions that need to be smoothed out a little.

The story starts off with a fantastic first chapter, which describes the annihilation of the human race at the hands of a mysterious race of blue-skinned aliens.  The aliens were not after conquest, they had simply observed humanity, which was starting to colonize other planets in our solar sytem, and decided we were too aggressive and war-like.  So they decided to strike first and exterminate humans completely, to prevent a future war.

Now skip ahead some 900 years.  A small group of humans on a far outpost struggle to survive, living on an asteroid whose resources they have long since stripped.  They are a small group, with numerous genetic defects from not having enough genes in the pool to start with.  They are a military society that has been gentically enhanced to be bigger, faster, smarter, and stronger, and they are brutally ruthless in taking what they need from the enemy that thinks it exterminated their entire race.  Individuals are classed by the job they do, with every person, even those with defects, doing work necessary to the survival of the whole.  The main characters are Thompson, Argo, and Maiella, an Operator team that goes out on “collection” missions to hijack enemy ships.  They operate in complete secrecy, using guerilla ambush tactics to snatch ships for needed resources.  Every member of their group is entirely devoted to survival at any cost, and their only law is that one will not harm another human or allow a human to be harmed.

When the aliens they have been hijacking start fighting back with a new stealth technology, the humans, who call themselves the Cadre, have to adapt fast or risk the destruction of the last remnants of humanity.

Any more would spoil the story for you.  I really enjoyed this book, particularly the main characters who are well rounded and fleshed out.  It has some decent action scenes too.  I also like the glimpses into the alien culture early in the book, showing the division in their society over the decision to exterminate humanity.  It sets up some interesting story lines for the next book.  Oh, yes, I forgot to mention this is the first book in a series.  Go check it out, and explore the Authonomy site while you’re at it.

Aliens on Earth?

December 22, 2008

Check out this creature from the deep at Pink Tentacle.  Although, technically, it is a lot of creatures working together in specialized functions to make a complete organism capable of surviving.  If you imagine it in space instead of the ocean depths, it’s not hard to see it as an alien.  Heck, even in the ocean it’s not hard to see it as an alien.  It is definitely alien to me.

Also, I’m curious as to who videoed it.  Was it an umanned sub, or did someone actually go down to 770m (2526 ft) below the surface to look around.  I would volunteer for that job! (I’m a scuba diver and I love deep dives – of course in scuba gear the pressure at that depth would crush a person instantly, but I could go in a sub.)


December 22, 2008

I figured out how to make them thar’ fancy links!  Now, for those of you who actually read my posts, go check out the  wiki article on the real Charles Babbage and his Difference Engine.