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A Universe without FTL

FTL stands for faster than light travel. This is one of the standard tropes of science fiction. It may involve warp drive that turns space travel into an analog for ancient sea voyages, or the trip may be instantaneous once you’re far enough from Earth’s surface. However, faster-than-light travel will require the discovery of new laws of physics that may not exist. This leaves us with the other options for traveling in a universe without FTL.

The Paranoid Squint of Tim Powers

Tim Powers is my literary hero. He creates secret histories in which historical events are “explained” through fictional embellishments which completely alter history’s meaning. Secret histories have been written by Alexandre Dumas, Gore Vidal, Umberto Eco, and they are especially associated with genre writers like Elizabeth Bear, Steve Berry, and above all, Tim Powers.

Powers’ approach is rigorous. He never allows his fiction to contradict any known historical fact (and he knows a lot). He does, however, allow his fictional additions to make full use of magical and science fictional elements.

Book Review: “Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Series 1”

A family friendly Star Trek parody that’s funny and pays tribute to the original – and it isn’t “The Orville”. It is “Space Traipse: Hold My Beer” by Karina Fabian.

I’ve long been  a fan of Karina Fabian’s work. We were both involved in the “Infinite Space, Infinite God II” anthology. I’ve reviewed several of her works such as her novel “Discovery” based on her Space Nuns stories. (These definitely ace the Bechtel test.) And I’ve followed her “Space Traipse” stories since the very beginning. That’s why I was honored to be one of her beta readers, though the first set of stories are now out in print and on Kindle.

J.P. Medved Brings Justice, Inc. to the Laissez Fair

The innovative sci-fi thriller Justice, Inc by J.P. Medved makes an appearance at a libertarian gathering. Here are some photos.

New Fiction for Halloween: The Grey Men

Logan casually glanced at the grey man in the corner. No one else in the room saw it, but he knew it was there. It slowly traced a path through the room, soaking up the sparks and noise the last child in the room had left. Logan looked down at his own hands. His medication was wearing off. He wouldn’t leave a scent or trail after that.

The doctor was waiting for him to give him his attention. “Logan, is there something you want to tell me?”

“No.”

“Do you know why you’re here?”

“You want to change my medication again.”

“Do you understand why we need to do that?”

 

New Sci-Fi Book Review: The Far Shore By Glenn Damato

“The Martian” meets “1984”. Modern young adult literature meets realistic science fiction. But what is “The Far Shore” by Glenn Damato really about?

Reviewed: The BBC’s “Brave New World” Movie

The BBC is well known for its science fiction. Doctor Who is simply the most well-known. They have also been making science fiction movies based on classics like “1984” and “Brave New World”. The 1980 BBC version of “Brave New World” stands out for both its innovative style and its respect for the source material.

Larry Niven’s Forgotten Fictional Universe

The “Known Space” fictional universe includes characters like ARM agent Gil Hamilton and a Pak Protector’s unwitting human victim, Jack Brennan. Those storylines are mostly forgotten. The Man-Kzin Wars set in this universe is so popular that there are multiple, recent short story collections published based on it. The most famous storyline is the Ringworld Saga. There’s even been discussion of a TV show based on it.

Then there’s “The State Series”. It shares a few assumptions as the Known Space universe. Earth’s population hits 15-20 billion, a tyrannical oppressive government takes over to control population and manage resources. In the “Known Space” universe, the government had mother hunts for illegal births and suppresses disruptive technology. However, it is not totally oppressive. The rich may drive race cars and live in restored English villas while millions live in a single room apartment that recycles everything.

In “The State”, the government that arises is far more oppressive and echoes the worst of Communist regimes. Food, water and other essentials are carefully rationed for the working class. Births are strictly controlled and done per eugenic guidelines. There are even checkers, political officers, based on the Soviet Union’s chekists.

The Psychology Underlying Robert Heinlein’s ‘Friday’

The titular character “Friday” in the novel of the same name is an artificial person. She’s quite human, but she was created in a lab, born via an artificial uterus and raised in a corporate crèche. Her society sees her as inferior, and she sees herself as inferior. That is despite her greater speed, strength and intelligence. I spent a while wondering why, and then it hit me. It is as much due to her upbringing as the much vaunted “conditioning”, though both are by design. Furthermore, social engineering (or a good PR campaign) of broader society has been undertaken for the same purpose.

Why New Exoplanet Discoveries Explain the Dearth of Aliens

Drake’s Equation is a simple formula for estimating the odds of finding intelligent aliens. At first glance, the massive number of exoplanets we’re finding in surveys suggest that there are plenty of opportunities for aliens to develop. However, there are several reasons why the other findings are discouraging.

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