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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Frozen Sky by Jeff Carlson

Writers of the Future, XXIII

On Europa the talented Vonnie, armored in an AI suit, runs down ice tunnels on an alien planet to escape the pursuit of aliens chase her--eight-armed amphibian starfish. Curiously, the walls are covered in hieroglyphs and other biological tell-tales, suggesting sentience, or former sentience. As her crew dies, Vonnie must find her way to those coming to save her, yet her battle for survival battles with her desire that this alien life remains alive.

The deeply imaginative adventure quickly establishes his ability and is reminiscent of a Stephen Baxter tale.

"The Sun God at Dawn, Rising from a Lotus Blossom" by Andrea Kail

Writers of the Future XXIII

An epistolary story: told through letters from the genetically reincarnated King Tut to the genetically reincarnated Abraham Lincoln. Tut is young and slowly realizing the implication of being reincarnated in his far future: the difficulty of love as a museum piece, the difficulty of being a king without a kingdom and your former history, and the difficulty of politics making him the target and symbol of all that protesters dislike about world leaders, and finally the difficulty of finding out what the genetic museum curators actually have planned for him.

Stories told through epistolary form can be fun--seeing the world through another’s eyes but filtered for another, personal reader, which can create an interesting dynamic--but can also risk keeping the drama backstage. This one does not escape its risk; however, it does a great job addressing the fall-out of bringing someone back from the past.

Where's ET?

Carl Sagan's old saw was that because of the innumerable planets, there had to innumerable intelligent aliens out there somewhere. SETI has been looking for years. So why haven't we found them?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Philip Edward Kaldon, “A Man in the Moon”

Writers of the Future XXIV

Lunar astronaut Gene Fisher-Hall is dying from inoperable cancer. Dr. Richard Hellebore tries to keep him grounded but can’t when presented with a chance to watch the disease in low gravity As accidents add up and someone dies, NASA tries micromanage from Earth, but things don’t heat up until an enterprising reporter uncovers Gene’s concealed cancer.

While slightly unfocused, Kaldon’s story does a great job with Fisher-Hall’s catchy dialogue, voice and reasoning, reminiscent of Heinlein’s best work.

Douglas Texter, "Primetime"

Writers of the Future XXIII

The gripping "Primetime" opens with a time-traveling journalist always on the lookout for capturing the greatest moments of pathos in history--no matter how small. His instincts and the risks he takes gets him trouble but also promoted. But then his risks catch up to him when an accident lands him visible to an inhabitant of Japan during WWII--an inhabitant who wants to kill him and handlers who are forced to leave him stranded in another time since time travelers are only to be invisible spectators.

After such pyrotechnic display of drama, I searched for where Douglas Texter is now, expecting to turn up some gems. He's finished a Ph.D. and this satiric take on self-help confidence books: You're Not Very Important (Amazon print, Smashwords electronic). This is probably not the book to read if you're teetering on the edge of depression, but it is humorous.

Persistence in Young People

Men's Fitness discusses a study which suggests that young people get their persistence from fathers. It suggests the following may be the attributes of success:

  • Children feel warmth and love from their father
  • Accountability and the reasons behind rules are emphasized
  • Children are granted an appropriate level of autonomy
They cited this article, which cited Journal of Early Adolescence, although I did not discover the source research article after a cursory investigation. You may be more successful.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Robert Reed, "One Year of Fame"

Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2012

Robert Reed, "One Year of Fame"

As AI are gaining sentience, a writer in small rural community is beleaguered by newly intelligent AI, proclaiming his genius. At first he's put off by the attention, but eventually he starts writing again, refueled and reinspired. However, before he can complete his work, the AI reach another level sentience and ignore him again. He puts aside the work until a new group comes around. Worth reading.

Matthew Corradi, "City League"

Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2012

Matthew Corradi, "City League"

Dicing memory sims of another person, the first-person narrator learns that his memory of a baseball game differs from actual records. Digging deeper, a reflection of his face in a napkin dispenser shows that the person he thought was himself, is not. Moving piece. Nice diagnostic treatise on shyness.