Tag: science fiction

A Sino-American Battle in Space


The time is the near-future, perhaps 50 years from today. Commercial space is a major industry. Human presence in space is continuous and widespread. The United States even has a manned and armed spaceship in cislunar: space the Borman. Not a warship, it is a space-faring Coast Guard cutter, an orbital beat cop.

“Frontier,” a science-fiction novel by Patrick Chiles opens in this setting. Marshall Hunter, a new graduate of the Space Force Academy, wants a piece of that action. He wants to explore space.

Hunter’s dream is an assignment aboard the nuclear-powered Borman. He busted his final check flight on the first go-around. Although he passed it the second time around, he believes he is bound for a dead-end assignment due to the screw-up. His worst fears seem realized when he is given a headquarters posting.

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Sometimes people will ask, “What do you think will happen in the future?” My general response is, “Have you read any good science fiction lately?” I remember years ago reading H.G. Wells novel The Time Machine. Toward the end of the book, the time traveler fast-forwards himself thousands of years into earth’s future. He finds […]

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About 13 months ago I published Charis Colony: The Landing on Kindle Direct. Kristina Hofstede, a friend in the Netherlands who attended the discipleship school at the Augsburg House of Prayer a few years ago saw it and volunteered to design a new cover. I finally put the work up last night. It looks like […]

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A Return Trip to the Past and Future


In Michael Z. Williamson’s novel “A Long Time Until Now” First Lieutenant Sean Elliott and nine US soldiers traveling in a convoy in Afghanistan suddenly found themselves flung into the Earth’s Paleolithic Age. Other time-displaced people from throughout history were with them. All had been accidentally displaced through a time travel experiment conducted by the Cogi, people in the far future. The Cogi eventually rescued them.

“That Was Now This Is Then,” by Michael Z. Williamson picks up the story after the soldiers’ return.  Some have been discharged; others remained in the Armed Forces. All are trying to pick up their lives.

Now they are being recruited for a new mission in the past. The Cogi need help. It turns out Elliot and his team were not the only American soldiers stuck in the past. The Cogi have found another group. Worse, a Paleolithic human displaced forward in time shows up in a now-time American base.

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No one seems to care very much about what I have to say regarding Werner Jaeger or Hal Foster, and why should they? But I can always rely on getting interesting comments when I write something about popular fiction, especially spy thrillers and the like. I am fascinated by genre fiction, and in particular how […]

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Bob Was There Too


I just finished reading Artemis, by Andy Weir. Yes, I know it’s been out for *checks title page* five years? Really? Man, I am slow at this kind of thing. The good part of not staying up-to-the-minute on these things is that I can get the book from the library because nobody else has it out. The bad thing is that nobody cares about what you have to say by then. But sometimes I’m early; sometimes I… hold on, I’m going to need to get a proper hipster beer to fortify me for this next part.

Now that I’m drinking a Triple India Pale Ale double dry hopped with Simcoe, Callista, and Kohatu,* I can tell you that I’ve been a fan of Andy Weir’s for longer than you have. I’ve read his first novel. No, not The Martian, this is the unpublished one called Theft of Pride. You’ve probably never heard of it. He had a download link on his website. No, not his current website; galactanet, the old one where he hosted his webcomic Casey & Andy. Hold on…

An Attempt to Rescue Tsar Nicholas


How would the world have changed had the Russian royal family not been murdered in 1918? Especially had they escaped Bolshevik captivity to serve as a focus for an anticommunist movement?

“The Romanov Rescue,” by Tom Kratman, Justin Watson, and Kacey Ezell, explores that possibility. It is an alternate-history novel, in which an attempt to rescue the Romanovs is mounted.

The authors posit a scenario where Kaiser Wilhelm decides to back an effort to rescue cousin Nicky and his family from the Bolsheviks. He sets in motion a mission to free the Russian Royal Family in December 1917.

The Hunt for the Mesan Alignment


The sprawling science fiction series involving Honor Harrington started in 1993, with “On Basilisk Station.” Nearly thirty years later it is still going strong with nearly thirty novels and six anthologies in five different threads.

“To End in Fire,” by David Weber and Eric Flint is the Honorverse’s latest arrival. Part of the “Crown of Slaves” strand of the saga, its focus is on the genetic slavery in the far future. The slave-sponsoring planet Mesa, and the self-emancipated slaves of planet Torch, feature prominently.

Earlier in the series Honor Harrington’s Manticorian conquered Empire Mesa. Manticorian with their starfaring allies in the Grand Alliance also defeated the Earth-based Solarian Empire. The Grand Alliance was formed after the Solarians – headquartered on Earth and making up the Core Worlds of human-occupied space – attacked Manticore.  That war and earlier wars between Manticore and Haven were triggered by the Mesa-based Alignment. Mesa was taken to subdue the Alignment.

Teens Saving the Earth’s Future in a Devastated World


John Ringo’s “Black Tide Rising” series presents a world devastated by a bio-engineered viral plague. The plague destroys upper-brain functions turning the infected into mindless cannibals—effectively zombies. It’s highly contagious. It’s contracted through blood-to-blood contact with the infected—usually as they attack those not infected, to eat them. The series focuses on how survivors cope with the collapse of society.

“At the End of the Journey,” by Charles E. Gannon, is the latest arrival in the “Black Tide Rising” series. It follows the story of American teenagers who begin a senior year summer cruise aboard sailing ketch Crosscurrent Voyager just before the plague strikes. Sailing alone from the Galapagos to the South Sandwich Islands, they’re able to avoid the plague

This was related to an earlier novel, “At the End of the World.” In it, the ship’s ex-Special Air Service captain dies of a preexisting condition, but not before preparing his teenage charges to run the boat themselves and to fend off both the infected and those remaining human that mercilessly prey on the weak after society’s collapse.

An Arthurian Tale in a Science Fiction Future


In the far future, civilization experienced a catastrophic collapse in the centuries-ago past.  Jon of Dun Add is reforging isolated pockets of human habitation into a unified and civilized whole. His Hall of Champions is a tool in this effort. This fellowship enforces justice across Jon’s realm. Pal is one of Jon’s newest knights, and one of the most respected.

“The Serpent” by David Drake is the third novel Drake’s Time of Heroes series. It presents Pal’s adventures in this possible future. It follows “The Spark” which introduced Pal and “The Storm,” which showed Pal maturing into his current role.

Hunting Aliens and Traitors for Fun and Profit


Earth had been invaded by aliens from outer space, the Visitors. After a devastating war, humanity drove the invaders off. The victory was costly, but eventually the Visitors withdrew to Mars.

“The Family Business,” a science fiction novel by Mike Kupari, takes place in that invasion’s aftermath. Nathan Foster is a bounty hunter. He occasionally tracks down murderers and drug dealers, but his primary quarry are war criminals and human traitors who collaborated with the Visitors.

Located in Prescott, Arizona, it is a family business. His understudy and assistant is his fifteen-year-old teenage nephew Ben, Nathan’s only surviving relative.  Also assisting Nathan is Shadow, a genetically enhanced Doberman-Shepherd mix, a trained attack dog. His partner and office manager is Stella Rickles.

An Unconventional Admiral in a Critical Assignment


Rear Admiral Terrence Murphy is the son of a famous admiral who died winning a critical battle in a decades-long war between the Terran Federation and the Terran League. Recently Terrence Murphy won his own battle. That minor success does not erase his reputation as a clothes’ horse and a fop. It is enough to win him an appointment as military governor of a backwater stellar system, though.

So opens “Governor,” a new science fiction novel by David Weber and Richard Fox. It is set in a future where humans occupy thousands of planetary systems scattered across the galaxy.

Human planets are split into several polities. The largest is the Terran Federation, centered on Earth. The Terran League is its main rival. The two have been locked in a stalemated war for decades.  Part of the reason for the stalemate is the Federation is unwilling to commit the resources to win the war.

About Those UFOs. I Have a Theory.


One night in the spring of 1980, shortly before midnight, I left my dorm room at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico, got in my pale blue 1972 VW Super Beetle, and drove west into the desert toward the tiny town of Magdalena. Magdalena, population 900 or so, isn’t precisely the middle of nowhere. The middle of nowhere, and my destination, was about 20 miles further west, in the high desert basin known as the Plains of San Augustin. The 1947 “Roswell Incident,” much featured in UFO mythology, purportedly occurred on that isolated plain, but that isn’t what drew me there that clear moonlit night.

The Very Large Array (VLA) is a group of 27 radio telescopes spread out in an enormous Y on the Plains of San Augustin. The dishes, weighing more than 200 tons each on their multi-story gantries, can be moved by rail to vary the size of the Y, the legs of which can be more than 20 miles long at their greatest extent. Using a technique known as interferometry, the array can achieve, in some instances, the resolving power of a single dish with a diameter equivalent to the span of the array.

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Have I got an infrastructure project for you! Let’s shift the Earth’s axis of rotation. Yes, you heard me right: let’s move the poles! The present locations of the north and south poles are sub-optimal. Too much real estate is locked away in the freezers of Siberia, Canada, and Antarctica. We should move the poles […]

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Cruising the Ancient Mediterranean in a Modern Cruise Ship


Eric Flint’s Assiti Shards stories are alternate history series where people from the present are cast into the past by shards of time-shifting artwork striking the Earth. It started with “1632,” with a West Virginia small town transposed with space from Thirty Years War Germany. In 2017, a new branch of the series began. In “The Alexander Inheritance,” cruise ship Queen of the Sea gets sent back to the ancient Mediterranean, the year after Alexander the Great’s death.

“The Macedonian Hazard,” by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff, and Paula Goodlett continues Queen of the Sea’s ancient voyage. It follows the cruise ship’s adventures navigating the narrow waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the narrow minds of Seleucid leaders attempting to control pieces of Alexander the Great’s disintegrating empire.

The Queen of the Sea won uneasy neutrality in “The Alexander Inheritance,” becoming a floating embassy for the various civilizations ringing the Mediterranean. It hosts passengers from most, serving as a platform where they parley. It also crossed the Atlantic to establish a settlement on Trinidad, from which it extracts fuel to keep the ship going.

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This is, I suppose, about as off-the-wall as a question can be, but my memory has once again failed me.  Many many years ago I read a story, surely science fiction, wherein the author posited that the number of pleasing musical score had to be a finite number.  As I recall, there was something in […]

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