Feeding Martians & Earthlings Alike

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So it turns out that The Martian might have been onto something all along. Yes, the movie with Matt Damon.

Scientists have now proven that not only can potatoes be grown on Mars, which could be of enormous value when we colonize the red planet. Not only will our first generation of Martians benefit from this research, but so might the hundreds of thousands of Earthinglings suffering from chronic malnutrition and starvation.

No, it won’t solve all our food-related woes, but it’s a step.

Read the article here on Futurism

Universe, Star System or Galaxy?

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In my ‘Infinite Worlds’ series, (which starts with ‘If It’s Easy’) a previously unknown planet is discovered in an alternate universe. The scientists who discover this world call it Terra Geminus. Without giving too much away, the initial expedition finds the planet is not only colonized but already named New Olympus! Confusing? Not really. It’s common for one group of people to call a landmark one thing, and another group refer to that same landmark by a completely different name.

I knew sooner or later, I’d have to decide where in the skies my imagined planet of Terra Geminus resided. I already knew the planet would not be in our skies…but where? Did I focus on its immediate galaxy? Was it in a solar system?

Before I drove myself even further nutty, I knew it was time to buckle down and learn the differences before I made a mistake there was no coming back from. So, here’s what I learned.

A star system is a large number of stars and accompanying bodies with a perceptible structure. (Sounds a lot like a galaxy to me)

Our solar system is a collection of eight planets and their moons, comets, asteroids, gases and star dust in orbit around the sun.

A galaxy is a system of millions of stars, gas and dust, all held together by gravitational forces.

A universe is all existing matter and space as a whole containing vast, uncountable numbers of galaxies.

So then my question changed. Did I want to focus on only the planet or the larger galaxy it belonged to?

My overall plan is to tell the stories of other characters on other worlds, all of whom will be in the same galaxy, and will all have some degree of interconnectedness.

(Think of knots in a web. Connected, but still on different points within the web)

I knew then, that I had to name the galaxy as well.

Just as Earth is but one body in our Milky Way galaxy, so too will Terra Geminus/New Olympus be just one planet of many in the Claudisius galaxy. There are other worlds, stars, comets and gas balls in the Claudisius galaxy of course. There are scientists, dreamers, cartographers, xenobiologists and explorers as well, all roaming about and having adventures.

If it’s Easy’ introduces us to two of those explorers, and ‘Infinite Worlds’ shares more of their story with us, and allows us to go with them on the adventure of a lifetime as they race to save an expedition to Terra Geminus. Like our own lives, small grains on a large planet, in a larger galaxy in a vast universe.

After all, we can’t possibly be the only life among the stars.

Here’s A Question For You…

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Question time, my lovely reader!

Can you name any science fiction, fantasy or speculative fiction books that have

  • indigenous/Native/First People as leaders of a culture/planet/world
  • queer/LGBT/trans/gender-fluid cultures portrayed as commonplace
  • disabled folks (visible or otherwise) as world leaders

 

If you know of any, shout out in the comments below and expand our reading horizons!

 

Next time, a review of Fletcher DeLancey’s fourth book in her brilliant ‘Caphenon’ series!

The Caphenon

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I’ve been thinking about this book for days, trying to pick out a favorite character, or favorite part of the story. I can’t. There are just so many great elements, themes and snippets of dialogue.

I admire the way the characters are presented, and developed. Early on, even before we see the Caphenon, the characters become people, seemingly REAL people. We are presented with a plausible world that we can nearly touch, such are the world building skills of the author. We are drawn into this world so vividly that we feel the windows explode, we feel the ground shake when the ground-pounder walks by and we mourn at the Flight of The Return ceremony.
It was a sad twist that the two people most suited for each other could not be together, but I hope we see more of them in future books. I was impressed by the explanation of FTL flight, because it was so easily understood! The science was so deftly woven and explained that it becomes a reasonable, vital tool that supports the main stars of this book, the characters.

The quality of the e-book needs mentioning here too. I read a great deal, fiction and non-fiction, across a wide range of topics and from a wide range of publishers. I did not find one error in this e-book. Not one. I could go on for hours about how much I appreciate the care and eye for detail that has gone into this e-book, this story, and how readable it is. I could, but I won’t.

Simply, I have fallen in love with Alsea. If Lhyn and Ekatya go back, can they take me too?

If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to. If you have read it, please let me know in the comments what you thought. Surely I cannot be the only one who thinks Fletcher DeLancey is a brilliant genius!

The Jakkattu Vector: A Review

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Any reviewer, or just the most honest among us, worth their salt is supposed to declare when we’ve been given an advance copy of a book. So, in that vein, I’m going to go on record and tell you straight up that I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
That being said, I can say this is the deepest, most intelligent book I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. It is thoughtful, and thought-provoking. It makes you question bits of our own world without you even consciously realizing it. At first, it’s hard to draw parallels, but they are there. Some more obvious than others, but it’s kind of a ‘a-ha!’ moment when you do see them. When you begin to understand how the book-past got the characters to where they are, it’s a bit of a shock. But this book is the wisest speculation of our future I’ve read. There is genetic manipulation, an altered, poisoned world. There is injustice, cruelty and yet…There are those who question everything they’ve been taught. They seek freedom from lies and accepted truths born of fear and the lure of what is easy.

This book is one of those you should re-read every six months or so. Not only because it’s simply that great, but because I promise you’ll notice something new each time you read it. Some clever description, some characteristic you hadn’t noticed before, or maybe another new parallel between Tyler’s imagined world and our own.


I am a new fan of P.K Tyler. I have every intention of buying every word this author has written.
You should too. Read with an open mind, consider it all carefully and prepare to have your mind blown.

Asgardia-Home of The Norse Gods, Or Humanity?

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Are you tired of political squabbles here on Earth? Bored with unpredictable, killer weather season after season? The solution is simple. A proposed ‘space nation’ called Asgardia is now accepting applications for future citizens.

Yes, you read that correctly.

By October 14th of this year (2016), a whopping three hundred thousand people have already applied. The founder and major proponent of the concept is aiming for one million. But, don’t write this guy off as a crank just yet. He’s not some unstable fella with grandiose ideas. Igor Ashurbeyli is not only a nanoscientist, he’s also the founder of the Aerospace International Research Center and Chairman of UNESCO’s Science of Space committee.

According to the website,”Asgardia is the prototype of a free and unrestricted society which holds knowledge, intelligence and science at its core along with the recognition of the ultimate value of human life.”

There are three parts to the concept behind Asgardia – philosophical, legal and scientific/technological, and the underlying essence is peace in space. They want to serve everyone, regardless of their personal welfare or the prosperity of the country they were born in. Asgardia also sees a need to rise above the “unresolvable conflicts” of countries on Earth. One of their legal principles is that Asgardia not interfere in relations between states on Earth, and they’d like the same in return, thanks. They also want to see universal law and astropolitics replace geopolitics and international space law, enabling developing countries to have free and direct access to a scientific base of knowledge in space. Another of Asgardia’s goals is to protect Earth from asteroids, comets and a variety of other space threats.

Asgardia is applying for nation status with the U.N, complete with plans for a flag, insignia and anthem. But recognition as a nation requires territory, citizens and support from member nations also within the U.N. Asgardia will launch a satellite next year, but it will be unoccupied. Does that count as territory, no matter how many ‘citizens’ Asgardia claims? It’s too early to say if the idea will find support among the U.N membership.

The founder is quick to point out that he is not selling pieces of land on the moon, or selling anything at all – right now. Work is currently paid for from private funds, but there is room for crowd funding as well as private donations.

In the meantime, anyone can apply for Asgardian citizenship

Will you?

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One Billion Down…

 

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It’s a shame we don’t hear more about the quest to understand the universe around us.

For instance, did you know there was a satellite cruising around the sun, mapping the stars?

The European Space Agency  launched a spacecraft back in 2013 to do just that.

Using  a billion-pixel camera and two telescopes, Gaia has produced a one-of-a-kind space cartography wonder…the map of the heavens that reveals the placement of a billion stars.*

Think about that for a moment…

A billion stars.

It’s crazy to think that out of that many bodies out there in space, we’re the only inhabited rock.

What do you think, are we alone in the universe, or is the day coming that visitors from elsewhere in space come knocking at our door?

*You can find the full article here

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