Articles related to science fiction

Video showing the technology of the future, according to Microsoft

A couple of months ago Microsoft released this video in which some of the technological advances which are shown working and believe to have developed in the immediate future.
All that shows video, highlight the following:

  • Spectacular digital "paper" newspaper plasma screen but it is flexible type and light.
  • Mobile devices are an evolution of PDAs and telephones, and are able to interact with any other dispotivo with which they are.
  • Large windows transparent, ubiquitous presence, which are touch screens Minority Report (they already exist ... but not of this size).
  • Cards and credit cards "paper" but fully interactive.

Anyway ... a whole array of new devices that promise the next 10 years will be very interesting at the level of interaction between computers and humans.

Review of "HARVEST OF CENTAUR" by Eduardo Gallego and Guillem Sanchez - NOVA Ed B.

As every year, the Nova Collection Ediciones B publishes the winning book Short Novel prize UPC Science Fiction. This year's winning book is "Harvest Centauri"Eduardo Gallego and Guillem Sanchez.Harvest Centauri

Like all books NOVA Collection, the book includes a presentation of Miquel Barceló (without detracting from the content of the books, the presentation of Miquel Barceló is one of the best things about this collection). In this book also it gave the conference included Lois McMaster Bujold in the ceremony of the UPC awards. Still, I've missed you too advertize any of the finalists and the winning play section UPC students ... are usually interesting and different works, and in previous editions published them in the same book by the winning work ... What will the crisis?

Let's talk about the book:
La trama transcurre en un futuro lejano en el que nuestra galaxia está colonizada por humanos, pero por dos grupos separados que habían perdido contacto entre sí. Los de un brazo están más desarrollados en ingeniería y disponen de buenas naves espaciales, larga vida y androides de combate (con sentimientos) y que físicamente son indistinguibles de los humanos. En el otro brazo de la galaxia es la biología la ciencia que se ha desarrollado más, y sus habitantes son capaces de crear edificios a partir del desarrollo natural de árboles y plantas, son pacíficos y sociables, y aun a pesar de ser capaces de colonizar planetas de distintos sistemas, no disponen de naves que rivalicen con las de los humanos del otro brazo.

Only by developing the "first encounter" and the subsequent relationship between the two groups of settlers of the two arms, the book and promised to be interesting, but the authors have not been satisfied with this and have included in the plot to a powerful alien species it is dedicated to plant life different planets, and then returns to "pick up" their harvest.

Following this argument, some of the remaining planets to collect, are located in the human site arm which has developed more biology, and the imminent danger that leads to the appearance of these aliens causes the representatives of the two companies human unite to collaborate and solve the mystery of harvested planets.

As this is a short novel, the book is read in a couple of days and leaves you wanting to know more about human colonies and the interaction between them.

About the Authors: Eduardo Gallego is a biologist and professor of mycology at the University of Almería. Guillem Sánchez He is an economist and military history buff. Together they make a good tandem. I had not read anything about them so far, even though Miquel Barceló indicates in his preface that both are known in the world of Science Fiction Spanish, so we'll look to amend my mistake and read more books by these authors.

In short, a book 100% recommended, which leaves a good taste and makes for a fun weekend.

Review of "ATLANTIS: A short history of a Platonic myth" by Pierre Vidal-Naquet - Ediciones Akal

Unlike the books I've been writing reviews, Atlantis: A short history of a Platonic myth It is not a book of science fiction. This is an essay written by Pierre Vidal-Naquet walking and analyzes the emergence of the myth of Atlantis in the Western world literature.Atlantis Pierre Vidal-Naquet

The book begins with Plato in 355 B.C. when Atlantis appointment and described both his work Timeo like in Critias. The author comes to our present time, via Rome, the Renaissance, for the works of Jules Verne, and even our Mn. Cinto Verdaguer which speaks of Atlantis in his eponymous poem.

Among other issues, also it analyzes how the Hitler era Germans take over the item and include it in their mythology, becoming the Aryan race, the race of the descendants of the Atlanteans. From this premise part of the argument of many science fiction books I've been chronicling in this blog.

After analyzing all available information about Atlantis, the opinion of Pierre Vidal-Naquet is that the myth of Atlantis was literally "invented" by Plato as a metaphor to illustrate an imaginary and utopian Athens, and that eventually the myth and history are mixed giving rise to numerous speculations about the origin of this lost continent, the descendants of the Atlanteans and the evolution of language and the Atlantean culture.

In the book, the author uses to include many interesting antique prints with maps of possible sites of Atlantis that have been published over the last 2000 years.

In general, a scholarly book, with lots of footnotes page (sometimes the note occupies almost the entire page) but we read with little effort to the minimum that a certain interest in the subject is taken. 100% recommended if you want to know more about Atlantis.

The "Rules of Acquisition" of the Ferengi and real life

Last week I had a "experiencia revival"Related to one of my favorite hobbies in what is Science Fiction: the universe Star Trek.

He was quietly reading the tweets of the people I follow, when I found a few twits published by Sean Donahoe they were clavaditos to Rules of Acquisition de los Ferengi: If "profit"Here ... that if"profit"There ... until I took the liberty to contact him and ask him if he had ever read the Rules of Acquisition. I said yes but had not realized that his advice seemed both to these rules. Quark a Ferengi Deep Space Nine

The Ferengi (or Ferenghi) are a humanoid species originating from the planet Fenginar that physically are characterized by their large ears, punteagudos teeth and prominent frontal lobes. A sociocultural level, the Ferengi are a very interesting species that maintains a culture based on trade and follow a code of conduct called "Rules of Acquisition"(Sorry, I could not translate giving the meaning in English).

At first viewing Star Trek (This loooong time ago) each time a Ferengi cited a rule, pointing me in a book ... Some of them are excellent and very helpful in doing business. Others are not so applicable, but at least get you to smile.

Just one of the first rules I heard and wrote down, is one of the most try to use when I work (as a mantra) ...:
Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.”
Is very good.

Ferengi Some golden rules that can be applied to any business:
Good customers are as rare as latinum, treasure them.
The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife.
Every once in a while declare peace. It confuses the hell out of your enemies.
Ask not what your profits can do for you, ask what you can do for your profits.

In total there are 280 rules. Divertísimas all ... and some, like those mentioned above, very useful in real life.

On the Internet, the web that it collects all and indicates who and where he recited the first rule is: Rules of Acquisition

Review of "invasive treatment" of Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston - Nova

After reading the penultimate sequel Ender's GameI promised myself not to read anything more than Orson Scott Card. When from Nova published the latest sequel, I did not buy it, even though I bought all the books published this collection. Not that I have anything against Orson Scott Card (I met him in Mataro Hispacon in 97 and I've read almost everything published his Nova de Ediciones B). But he was sick of sequels to Ender and books aimed at an increasingly young audience and without any grace or orientation toward science fiction.Invader treatment, Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

When I saw that Nova published Invader treatmentI was tempted to not not buy it, but reading the back I saw that was not set in the Ender universe and perhaps could give another chance to CSOs. I'm glad to have given it ... although I'm not sure that this book can be attributed to CSOs. I explain:

As indicated the same as OSC and makes Miquel Barceló in his foreword, the book was written by Aaron Johnston from a story published in Analog CSO in 1976. So although the characters are typical of CSOs, the rest of the book it is not.

Make no mistake, the book is written by Aaron Joshnston not by CSOs. Although CSO hand can be seen in the plot and setting.

¿Es o no es un libro de OSC? ¿O es un libro escrito a medias como indican en la portada al mostrar los dos autores?… yo pienso que no, que es una novela escrita por Aaron Joshnton (un guionista amigo de OSC), basando el argumento en una narración de OSC, supervisado todo por OSC, y utilizando el nombre de OSC para vender más… pero bueno… eso no quita que el libro está bien, aunque para empezar, además de no ser OSC el autor, tampoco se trata de un libro de Ciencia Ficción aunque se publique en la colección Nova de Ediciones B, si no que es un Thriler Biolotecnológico, por más que Miquel Barceló quiera justificarlo en el prólogo.

The plot tells the story of several characters and mysterious "healers" who are biologically enhanced. These healers have a virus that adapts to individual genetics for which has been created, and allow any genetic disease cure the person to whom he inoculated. So in theory, they have the cure for many diseases until today mortals. The bad thing about this virus is that for a few days, is deadly to other humans who are close to the sick, which makes it extremely dangerous. And the bad thing is that the curators believe in a new religious cult invented by its leader, promising them "happy world"And above all healthier.

We must acknowledge that even though there is a clear protagonist, all characters are treated in depth and acquire the dimension that gets to empathize with some and hate others. This is something that CSOs often do well in their books and this has certainly veiled it so well.

También vemos la mano de OSC en los dilemas que se plantean los personajes en temas como la ingeniería genética y la evolución de los humanos. Se trata de saber si los virus que modifican nuestro genoma son o no son la respuesta a nuestros problemas, o sobre qué consecuencias puede tener para una sociedad el que se investigue más sobre este campo, con el fin de poder modificar nuestra especie.

Aquí, como en otras cosas, discrepo de OSC y por lo tanto la mayor parte del libro me la he pasado estando a favor de “los malos”. Para mí no hay duda en que en algún momento tendremos que modificar el genoma humano y adaptarlo al medio en el que nos encontremos en cada momento. De lo contrario la colonización de Marte o las largas estancias en el espacio no van a ser posibles… pero ya sabemos que las creencias de OSC le impiden aceptar esto, así que el libro acaba postulando en contra de la investigación en ciertos campos de la ingeniería genética y el autor pone los virus que reparan el ADN en manos de un desequilibrado megalómano que quiere conquistar el mundo, advirtiéndonos así, de los peligros de disponer de este tipo de tecnología.

Overall, the book is well written, can be read well, engages, has pace and ultimately, a book that makes you think it is. So my verdict is a book by Orson Scott Card and Aaron is Joshnston, is that it is 100% recommended.

Review of "THE HEART OF THE MATTER" Ignacio Garcia-Valino, Plaza Janes

He Heart of the Matter Ignacio Garcia-Valino, is not a book of science fiction, although part of his argument takes place in scientific circles and many of the dilemmas posed the protagonist are rooted in particle physics.The Heart of the Matter

The book tells the life of Lucas Frias, a promising specialized in quarks and subatomic particles, working at CERN and who has sacrificed everything for his career scientist. The death of his partner in a car accident that Luke used to make a parenthesis in his life and while trying to investigate the causes of the accident of your partner realize that almost did not know.

At the same time, the author places the character in various settings around the world (Geneva, Madrid, Paris, Chile, etc.) and makes him interact and discuss Science with such diverse types as psychics, mentalists, ultra skeptics, and of course, other particle physicists.

The book contains an interesting quote that the author extracts from a fable by John Godfrey Saxe and that reads as follows:

Hace mucho tiempo, en un bosque del Indostán, se reunieron cuatro ciegos que presumían de sabios, porque podían reconocerlo todo a través de las manos. Fue a visitarlos un estudiante, para aprender de su sabiduría, pero antes decidió probar si su fama era cierta. Se internaron en el follaje y el hombre les pidió que reconocieran lo que les ofrecía.
One of them said he had a snake in his hands, as he touched something elongated that was moving. The second said he was touching a stout tree with a rough bark. The third claimed that it was tied to a rope hanging from some high branch. The last one hit a firm and solid surface, and concluded that it was a wall. Everyone believed they were right.
The student warned that the four were wrong, therefore, playing only the parts, had been unable to recognize the whole. Thus one had felt a trunk; the other, a leg; the third, the tail, and the fourth, the elephant's side

This fable is used by the author to illustrate the state of Particle Physics, indicating that scientists, like the sages of Hindustan, try to understand the nature of this branch of science as the elephant of the fable: fragmenting and crumbling it. In the end, as in the fable, they fail to unify the theories.

Although the author does not openly indicate this, he is making a clear allusion to the theories of the Weak Nuclear Force, the Strong Nuclear Force, the Electromagnetic Force and the Force of Gravity, which separately all make sense, but there is still no theory the only one that can explain them together.

The book is entertaining, and the scientific speculations are interesting and treated from a very rational point of view.

The only criticism is that at the plot level, the book is simple and only develops one plot line. At the character level, again it is simple, and only two characters gain dimension: the protagonist and his partner.

Still, it is a book that reads quickly and leaves a good taste in your mouth. Perhaps I would not give a 100% recommendation, but 90%.

Review of "THE LAST DAY OF CREATION" by Wolfgang Jeschke - Quantum

The Last Day of Creation It is a book that really worth reading: it is entertaining, with an original plot, it gives a different view of Atlantis and is pure science fiction of time travel.The last day of creation, W. Jeschke

As it relates to the author, as the title of this post, it is Wolfgang Jeschke, A German author recognized internationally, but I confess I did not know and therefore had not read anything from them before. I'll have to remedy this.

The book begins narrating different episodes that are extraneous objects near the Mediterranean, although seem to come from a very distant past, are made of materials that have been around for little, or in some cases, which have not yet been made up.

It also explains how some of these anachronistic objects end up being revered as relics by the Christian tradition.

A second part of the book takes place during the decade of the 80s of the twentieth century (moment in which was written the first edition of this book) where we have the NASA and the US Navy have just discovered that it is possible to travel to the past.

The third part of the narrative is set in the distant past in which only Homo sapiens sapiens are those who have reached the future ... but not only those of our timeline.

With reference to Atlantis (I'm dedicating myself to read books that talking about it), located in Bermuda and is a refuge where men who have traveled to the past and have been stranded in time refuge. In this way it explains both the strange phenomena that were so popular last century in Bermuda, as well as the origin of the legend of Atlantis. The explanation is quite convincing.

The book reads well and hooks, so in three or four days with some free time, can be read.
There are only a couple of negative things ... and are not the fault of the author, but I fear it is the work of the translator:

  1. In several chapters of the book talking about the theory of Tectonic plates and instead of writing "tectonics"The book states"Teutonic"But not once (that could be considered a typo) does several times, in different places and with variations of the word. So as the author is German and the plates are "Teutonic"When the book states that"there are strong tectonic movements in the border area of ​​the Mediterranean basin"Gives a little laugh to imagine a whole group of Germans moving through the Mediterranean and modeling the relief.
  2. The other is in vocabulary ... the author refers several times to a lateen sail boat sailing the Mediterranean. The captain indicated that at different times during sleep or rest should "tie the oar". The author is referring to the tiller, Which lateen boats is rather like an oar, but not a paddle is a "cane". I do not know what should write in German author ...

These two stories do not remove the book is 100% recommended and worth reading and spend a long time thinking about paradoxes, anachronisms and in different time lines.

Review of "THE CODEX OF ATLANTIS" Stel Pavlou of - The Factory

codice atlantidaFollowing my "Year Atlantis", this Christmas I read "The Codex of Atlantis" No. 1 in sales in the United States and Italy (as indicated by the editors in Spain). Just in case, the editors have published Thrillers collection rather than on Science Fiction, which is where it really should be, I guess to see if the sales figures are emulated in other countries. (I get? ... I think you go for the 5th edition).

The book is interesting and well written to be read evasion.

A nivel de teorías sobre la Atlántida es bastante original. Parte de la base de que los atlantes eran una sociedad avanzada, con conocimientos más allá de los de nuestro tiempo en campos como la nanotecnología, conductividad, estados físicos, etc. Sus construcciones eran a escala planetaria y aún quedan algunos restos de ellas. Como en las teorías de Platón, fueron destruidos por el Diluvio… aunque en el libro vemos que el Diluvio es la consecuencia de una catástrofe a nivel de Sistema Solar, que puede volver a repetirse.

According to the thesis of the book, all the monuments of antiquity are connected and are actually part of a machine on a planetary scale, capable of saving humanity or condemn it. The task of the players is to try to be the first of these premises, rather than the total annihilation of the human species.

... And they do, but just barely.

As a curiosity, commenting at one point in the book, talking about the biological timing of the banks of jellyfish, the author uses to explain the resonance and makes one of the protagonists explain how Huygens in 1660 when he was ill in bed, he noticed that the pendulums of two of its timepieces ranged at the same time when the clocks were coming. If they moved causing them to lose the pace, they came back after a while to move in coordination. If the clocks are separated, they not tuned.

This reminded me of a video demonstration of this same effect, but this time, illustrating tuning 3 metronomes.

This tuning approach is the same that governs the movements of groups of animals: groups of fireflies, flocks of birds that change direction, fish stocks, etc.

I like to find non-academic books that leverage to popularize science!

Review of "REAL TIME THROUGH" by Vernor Vinge - Icarus Ed.

"Through the Real Time" an entertaining book that raises a good story, even though it actually three books written at different times is.

The book presents us with time travel, but only forward, using a technology that allows the creation of bubbles enclosed in a kind of ecstasy all that is left inside, getting no time passes for those who are locked inside.

The book extends over millions of years and narrates the history of mankind.

The frame is divided into two parts. The first, places the reader in the near future in which humanity is recovering after a nuclear disaster caused by a world war. This part is fun and is pure literature "steampunk".

The second part is more Science Fiction of all life (to speak) and explains how humanity's future, in the distant future ... although most are not human because something has happened in the XXIII century and have only left the humans who for one reason or another were emburbujados.

The book presents a future society in which humans must live in different times and access to different types of technology (depending on the time they were emburbujados), and consequently with different social models. The main task of this society is to perpetuate the human species, even though the few hundred copies of remaining humans.

To encourage a bit more plot, the author includes a murder, a police century and to some alien.

100% recommendable.

The operating system we saw in Minority Report is here

Just because of being based on a novel by Philip K. Dick, Minority Report and promised ... but also the team of Steven Spielberg worked thoroughly in the creation of all future technology to give credibility to the story and to justify the advances that had led society where no one commits crimes ... why the police stops them before of (Pre-Crime) occurs.

Watch the trailer of the film:

Watch the trailer of the film:

Well, this technology is already a reality. And we can see it in action in the video that appears in this post Engadget.

Impresses the capacity of the screen, use gloves operator and the interaction between the screen and the work surface. Play games with this interface has to be a pass.

Hopefully soon have a commercial use.