Tag: science fiction

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Corporations as Nations

 

Science fiction often predicts future technologies, quandaries, or at least identifies a general direction of development. These days, the genre is most often associated with off-Earth adventures, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Another common theme has elicited fewer comparisons to reality in mainstream press: government by mega-corporations.

We limited-government conservatives and libertarians recognize the problems and dangers of regulatory capture. We know that over-regulation of industries can lead to revolving doors and cozy deals that give the largest corporations unjust advantages over smaller companies.

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Book Review: All the Plagues of Hell

 

There are few better pure storytellers than Eric Flint and David Freer. Individually they’re entertaining. Together, the result is splendid. “All the Plagues of Hell,” by Eric Flint and David Freer is the latest novel in the Heirs of Alexandria fantasy series. Set in the middle of the 15th century, it’s alternate history. In this world magic works.

This book centers on Count Kazimierz Mindaug, a long-standing series villain. A Lithuanian nobleman, he fled Lithuania after a failed attempt to kill its leader, Duke Jagiellon (possessed by the demon Chernobog). Mindaug took shelter in Hungary serving the evil King Emeric of Hungary and Countess Elizabeth Barthody. Both were killed earlier in the series. Mindaug escaped, but their destruction left Mindaug with no protector against Chernobog, vengefully pursuing Mindaug.

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I got an idea for a sci-fi novel the other day. But it relies on wormholes and I am not the astrophysics junky, nor sci-fi aficionado, that some of you are. So perhaps you can answer a couple questions. Bear in mind, because this regards a fictional setting, I am more concerned with believability than […]

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Quote of the Day: Texans

 

“A whole lot. And a whole lot more [expletive] human battleships,” he says. “And every single one of ’em is crewed by the angriest, most [expletive] off, most fanatical, most vicious humans you’ll ever run into. They call themselves Texans.” Tnk’rkr The Wise, as written by Oshay

One of my hobbies is writing in a collaborative story/strategy game called From the Ashes. One part weaponized spreadsheet, one part role-playing game, one part writing project, and 100 percent geek, it is one of my main forms of relaxation. Most of the players are college-aged or older, several have kids of their own, and the group is fairly fun to hang out with. As you can imagine, the language is a bit rougher than around here at Ricochet. The link above is definitely not CoC-compliant.

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Book Review: ‘Star-Wheeled Sky’ Marvelous Sci-fi Entertainment

 

Second novels are frequently worse than the first. It happens so frequently that it’s called the second-novel curse. Brad R. Torgersen defies this curse. “A Star-Wheeled Sky,” by Brad R. Torgersen, a science fiction novel, the author’s second, offers a fresh take on interstellar conflict.

A millennium before this story takes place, humanity fled a war-ravaged Earth in slower-than-light colony ships. A few reached star systems connected by a faster-than-light transportation network, the Waywork. Node points, called Waypoints, offer instantaneous transportation to another star system in the network. The builders, the Waymakers, abandoned the network long before humans arrived. They remain unknown.

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‘The Valley of Shadows’: An Unconventional End-of-Days Novel

 

John Ringo wrote “Under a Graveyard Sky,” the first book in the Black Tide Rising Series in 2014, which is a novel about a zombie apocalypse; since then he added three more. Then he invited his author friends to play in his world.

“The Valley of Shadows,” by John Ringo and Mike Massa is the first collaborative novel added to the series.

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This Week’s Book Review: Shadow Warriors

 

They are five teens with family problems. Cal’s dad is a drunk. Letty’s parents are too busy fighting to care about her. Tony is homeless after his drug-addict mother died. Sasha’s foster parents see him as a payday. Opi’s stepmother wants Opi’s inheritance – even if that means killing Opi.

Shadow Warriors, a science fiction novel by Nathan B. Dodge opens showing these five’s family situations. The teens soon have bigger problems. They have been secretly drafted to fight in an interstellar war.

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Book Review: ‘Uncompromising Honor’ Regains Focus of Early Books

 

David Weber started the Honor Harrington series in 1992 with On Basilisk Station. The series now contains 14 mainline novels, six anthologies, and 15 spinoff novels. Enormously popular, series books have occasionally threatened to become an unconscious parody of the series, through Weber ending each novel with a battle bigger and more destructive than the climactic battle of the previous book.

“Uncompromising Honor,” by David Weber, is the 14th and latest novel in the mainline of the series. Instead, it may be one of the series’ most original books since the first three.

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The first story is Robert Heinlein’s The Year of the Jackpot. A consulting statistician with the unlikely name of Potiphar Breen observes that many strange social trends are on a strong upswing. One such trend: young women removing all their clothes in public. Potiphar sees one such disrobing in process, shoos away the police, covers […]

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This is more or less a call for assistance from the Ricochet Brain Trust ™. Larry Niven once wrote a series of sine qua non’s for speculative fiction in which interstellar civilizations can even exist. Chief among these was that there needs to be a means of breaking the light barrier, i.e. faster-than-light travel. Now, […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. More

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(The current riots and car-burnings in Sweden reminded me of this post from 2013) The government of Sweden didn’t do a very good job of protecting its citizens and their property from the rampant rioting that took place in late May. Government agents did, however, fulfill their duty of issuing parking tickets…to burned-out cars. More

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Book Review: Everyday Jobs Turn Wondrous in Blue Collar Space

 

What will it be like when humans are living and working in space? Ordinary folk, like those who live down your street? Blue Collar Space by Martin Shoemaker offers one vision. It is a collection of short science fiction stories set on the moon and Mars, and Jupiter orbit.

The settings are exotic. The jobs are ordinary. EMTs, sanitation workers, teachers, doctors, factory workers and miners feature in these stories. A few stories fall into the category of space adventure. “Not Close Enough” deals with a first manned mission to Mars — sort of a first manned mission to Mars. The explorers from NASA, ESA, Roscosmos, JAXA, and space agencies from India, Australia and China are not allowed closer to Mars’ surface than Martian orbit. There is a sort of spy adventure in the short story “Black Orbit,” with smugglers and secret agents.

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Let’s Talk About “The Expanse”

 

About seven months ago, a kid I work with told me about a science fiction TV show he thought I’d enjoy. It was a little something called “The Expanse.” It had a great premise. The only problem was that it was on the Syfy channel.

If you’re not familiar with Syfy, until they rebranded themselves a few years ago, they were the Sci-Fi Channel, a cable station nominally devoted to science fiction television. The only problem is that … their programming was terrible. If you need an example of their garbage programming, they’re the folks behind Sharknado. The fact that they changed their name to “Syfy” should tell you everything you need to know. But I was assured, by my coworker, that this one series was the shining gem of the network and that it was worth watching. And, boy howdy, was he right.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. More

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