Articles related to science fiction

Review of "Mars time" by Philip K. Dick - Minotaur

I've read most of the books I have written my favorite authors, especially those who unfortunately are already dead, but there is always someone who escapes and occasionally gives me joy. This is the case of "Mars time”. Tiempo de Marte - Philip K Dick

Last week, in my usual bookstore, I found a reprint of this book, that neither knew I was pending to read ... so I bought it and began "to work".

The book is the typical book of Philip K. Dick. With all its elements: people who dream but does not distinguish between dreams and reality, people with mental illness, some other person with severe depression, etc ... to a "pre-cog" (person because of a mental disorder is able to see the future or thinking of moving over time [as in Minority Report, for example]).

The book tells of the colonization of Mars and coexistence among the inhabitants of Earth and Mars Aborigines, who are Homo Sapiens Sapiens black, but involuted.

The book is written in 1964 so it's fun to see how the author deals with certain issues.

  • The company raised Philip K. Dick is totally sexist (women are either wives dimensional engaged in shopping and cooking are either more or less efficient secretaries are judged according to their physical attributes).
  • Since in the 60s was not known almost nothing about Mars, humans of "Mars time" are installed there quietly, without prior terraforming or any kind of environmental protection. In fact, it is understood that they do not need as other humans and are therefore assumed to colonize the planet is viable.
  • The canals of Mars are clearly works of its former inhabitants.
  • No computers.
  • Radio frequency communications are encrypted and certain messages, you need a "coding machine".

Anyway ... a book is a novella of the most typical science fiction of Philip K. Dick. Fully recommended.

Review of "Return", of Robert J. Sawyer - Nova (Ediciones B)

VUELTA ATRÁS, Robert J. Sawyer - NovaTurning Back "is a fun, entertaining book, well told, that transmits knowledge and that makes you think. What more can you ask a book?

The plot is about the deciphering of some alien messages that reach Earth. The first one is deciphered by a young SETI researcher, who is also responsible for submitting her response. 38 years later, a second message arrives and again, the SETI researcher, this time elderly but having applied a rejuvenation treatment (which has failed and has left her on the verge of a death from old age) deciphers it, while her husband, whose treatment has worked well, explores his new youth.

The book discusses the role of technology in the future development of the human being, moral questions about treatments to extend the longevity of people, abortion, the existence of God and many other moral dilemmas to which Sawyer has us accustomed to raise in your books.

Like the rest of Robert j. Sawyer “Back Back” is 100% recommended and it is worth spending the few hours it takes to read.

Reseña de “QUANTICO” de Greg Bear – La Trama (Ediciones B)

Quantico - Greg BearQuántico debe su nombre a la Academia del FBI en la que se adiestran algunos de los protagonistas de este libro. El libro sitúa al lector en un futuro cercano en el que prácticamente cualquiera puede desarrollar virus letales en su sótano, y donde el mundo vive al borde del caos a causa del terrorismo. Los protagonistas tienen que ir siguiendo una pista que se remonta a los casos de ataque por Antrax que tuvieron lugar en el 2001 y de los que aún se desconoce quién fue el culpable.

Con este libro Greg Bear hace una de sus incursiones en el “thriller_de_FBI” aunque le quedan algunos resquicios de Ciencia Ficción, sobre todo en lo que hace referencia al bioterrorismo y a la creación de virus que atacan selectivamente según la genética de sus víctimas.

El libro es interesante y se lee rápido, aunque no es de los que se rememora en ciertos momentos. Greg Bear escribe mejor cuando se dedica a la Ciencia Ficción al 100%.

Review of "THE WEB", Neal Stephenson and J. F. George - Nova (Ediciones B)

LA TELARAÑA, Neal Stephenson y J. F. George - NovaIn The spiderwebNeal Stephenson is passed to the subgenus "thriller_del_FBI" and bioterrorism, as has GregBear in Quantico and as have other writers of Science Fiction (note that it is not fashionable ICTP).

The plot takes place in several stages, all well described and credible. The protagonists have to contend with the threat of biological warfare weapons of mass destruction in the time frame of the first Gulf War.

The book gives us lessons of espionage, management of an election campaign for sheriff of a county, conflict management with your superiors and management of university projects ... so the less, it is interesting reading. All enlivened with intelligent humor and erudition of Stephenson.

The presence of one of the "bad" than capping using a NGO that as a marketing tool, use counter number of people they help, and that makes them look completely legal and good people.

The book contains ingeniosas.Ha thoughts really been a pleasure to read. It is 100% recommended.

Review of "THE BEST OF Connie Willis I" Connie Willis - Nova (Ediciones B)

Best of Connie Willis I"It is a collection of 11 short stories by this author.connie_willis

As there are in all collections a bit of everything, both literary quality level and at the level of issues. This book is no exception.

Some stories are really interesting and very reminiscent of some other books by Connie Willis. For example, reading the story "Fire Brigade", you can not help but evoke "The Book of Doomsday" (one of the works that I like about this author).

Another tale is that I liked especially the "Late Cretaceous" in which the consequences of a budget adjustment in a Faculty of History narrates. really hilarious situations occur.

Instead, stories like "A All my Dear Daughters" I found a story quite filling. But hey ... this is going to taste ... and I do not like it.

Overall, a recommended book is, or it is to better understand the work of Connie Willis ...'ll see how it looks "Best of Connie Willis II" when published.

Review of "ODYSSEY" Jack McDevitt - La Factoria de Ideas

ODISEA, Jack McDevitt - La Factoria de Ideas"Odyssey" It is part of the series The God Machine And you can see it. The first quarter of the book is only in a position to put the reader and makes you wonder more than once if you've not made a mistake and you've already read this book.

Another quarter of the book is dedicated to budgetary policy and to give an opinion on the marketing and very simple and primary public relations, which could have done without quietly.

Some of the characters are the same as Omega, Chindi Y Deepsix, aunque más maduros ya que ha pasado el tiempo. En esta ocasión tienen que conocer la verdad sobre “los jinetes lunares”, unas naves espaciales que aparecen cerca de sistemas cercanos a la Tierra y que amenazan algunas de las construcciones humanas fuera del planeta, entre las que se encuentra un colisionador de partículas construido en la órbita de un planeta fuera del Sistema Solar (obviamente, disponen de tecnología que les permite viajar a través del hiperespacio y por lo tanto, situarse en cualquier parte de la galaxia en tiempos razonables)… como en la mayor parte de las obras de esta serie, el libro se termina sin que quede claro quiénes son los visitantes de otro mundo.

A part that is interesting is that talks about space tourism and balance between research budgets and sources of income derived from space tourism.

The book goes well, but not of hitching.

Review of "The Glass House" by Charles Stross - Sci Fi VíaMagna

The Glass House It is an interesting book with two distinct parts.The Glass House

On the one hand explains the history of a society highly developed in the areas of genetic engineering, in which people decide to voluntarily cleared the memory and change the morphology of their bodies, where interstellar travel is by teleport and where wars They are made based on "worms" that erased the memory of their victims (both individually and on a global level). This part of the book is cyberpunk style and is a bit heavy.

On the other hand, we have the protagonists of this story as part of a sociological experiment and performing a estage 3 years in a closed habitat (The Glass House) Which recreate a similar to that of the twentieth century, almost without technology society.

We also have a murderer who follows in the footsteps of one of the protagonists and tries to kill it wherever you are, and even though he does not remember anything.

Closed habitat description is interesting and is somewhat reminiscent of the descriptions of the ships that are the characters of Arthur C. Clarke in stories like Rendezvous with Rama.

The society initially recreates the habitat reminiscent of the 50s: women who are obedient housewives home, men who go to work to earn a salary with which to support his wife, his children and his home. And together, on Sunday, they go to church to remain indoctrinated. The company is based in controlling the actions that deviate from this normal, on the basis of "what they will say"And based on public recriminations on Sunday in the Church. I could not help thinking of the social control exerted in some societies such as those found in Arab countries or even in some Spanish towns, where everyone is aware of all and in which the "what they will say"The law does comply normal.

The recreation of this society ensures that reading the book will smother much as the protagonists suffocate ... but there is no escape. In order to survive the protagonists will have to discover the true purpose of the Glass House, they will have to discover how to prevent this objective is met and have to deal with the murderer that seeks but does not know their identities.

Only one criticism, and not the fault of the author, the book is riddled with typos. So many that come to irritate the most patient reader (and I'm patient).

Nevertheless, the book is original and has an unexpected ending. Worth reading.

Reseña de “LUZ ROBADA”, de Gary Gibson – Quantum Ed. VíaMagna

Libro interesante que se lee rápido (o eso, o es que las vacaciones de verano me sientan bien). Dentro de la Ciencia Ficción lo clasificaría como “space opera”… protagonista que va de una parte a otra, todo con poca profundidad, pero con una historia que engancha.Luz Robada

El libro está ambientado en un futuro lejano en el que el secreto de los viajes superluminales está en manos de una raza alienígena llamada Shoal, que ejerce un control absoluto sobre esta tecnología y por ende, controla el comercio y la exploración de la galaxia. Las razas que desean utilizar esta tecnología deben ceñirse a las normas que dictan los Shoales, sin excepción.

Por su parte, los humanos (que utilizan la tecnología Shoal) están divididos en diferentes tipos de sociedad y mientras que unos han adoptado todo tipo de tecnología invasiva en sus cuerpos y por lo tanto llevan implantes craneales entre otros dispositivos, otros grupos han rechazado este tipo de tecnología y rehúyen a los que la han adoptado. Las estructuras sociales de unos y de otros también varían y despiertan el interés del lector.

La protagonista de esta historia es una ex piloto militar cargada de implantes y con un pasado turbio. A lo largo de toda la narración tendrá que lidiar con su pasado, con los extraterrestres, con mafiosos y con militares. También con naves que casi tienen sentimientos y finalmente con otra raza extraterrestre. Este personaje es el más trabajado y el que tiene más dimensión, aunque el protagonista Shoal también está bien tratado. En cambio, otro de los personajes principales, el humano mafioso, pienso que podría habérsele sacado más partido.

El libro tiene sus momentos divertidos, por ejemplo, los Shoales, que son criaturas acuáticas con tentáculos incluidos, utilizan nombres humanos de lo más sugerente. Nombres como: Comerciante-de-Excrementos-Animales, Rigor-Mortis, o Guardián-de-los-Secretos-Íntimos-de-los-Comprometidos-Involuntariamente.

Un libro 100% recomendable.

Review of "SPIN" by Robert C. Wilson - Omicrón

“SPIN”, de Robert C. Wilson – OmicrónRobert C. Wilson is an author that I know little. The only book of his that I read before "Spin” era “Darwinia"Published in 1998 and although he was a finalist for the Hugo Awards, I found there were not so bad ... although the focus of the main thesis of the book was original: a world where the more you use things more suited to use . For example, a chair not spent time ... it is better suited to one who has to sit at her. Or a knife dulls not use it so much ... on the contrary ... it becomes sharper and cut better.

The bad thing is Darwinia It was more fantasy than science fiction, so maybe it was not the author's fault, but simply did not like the book because I like Hard science fiction, not fantasy.

But back to "Spin”.

El libro nos explica qué pasa en la Tierra una noche en la que todas las estrellas y la Luna desaparecen. Un misterioso escudo (el Spin) aparece en torno a nuestro planeta y nos aísla del resto del universo. Por cada segundo que transcurre en la Tierra, transcurren 3,17 años fuera del Spin.

This book itself is Hard Science Fiction and forces exercise the brain-based well to understand everything that poses the author. We have: time passing differently in different areas, we have a shield that protects the earth from not who knows, we Martians are humans evolved, we have genetic engineering, have mysterious illnesses, rare religions, crazy magnates, etc ... etc ... in short, an enormous amount of ideas and new approaches on Science and Technology.

all a joy. 100% recommendable.

First images of the models of the future space elevator

Tomar un ascensor hacia el espacio puede sonar a ciencia ficción, pero en Seattle se está construyendo el primer prototipo de ascensor espacial.

Lo cierto es que aunque la imagen que muchos tenemos en la cabeza, es parecida a un ascensor más o menos común, la realidad sobre la que trabajan los científicos es un poco diferente. Para empezar, no se trabaja con un cable sino con una cinta ancha, fabricada con nanotubos de carbono… más bien, algo parecido a un monorraíl o una cremallera.

…Y en esto es en lo que están trabajando en Seatlle.

LiftPort Group company has a $ 570,000 grant from NASA to build in addition to funds from private investors and a business plan that is based on generating revenue from the first year of research.

How is a space elevator

The concept is simple. The lift is basically a cable, one end tied to a platform, which may be floating at sea or on land.

At the other end there is a satellite orbiting 35,000 Km floating above the Earth.

Goods such as parts of a space station, or human leisure travelers, are catapulted by the cable and into orbit, in a fraction of the current cost as coordinating the ups and downs of material, the strength of the gravity is who does most of the work.

How is being built: a new business model

La empresa LiftPort está divida en varias pequeñas empresas, que cada una por su lado, atacan una faceta distinta del enorme trabajo de ingeniería que supone la construcción de un ascensor. Así, existe una empresa que se dedica a encontrar la mejor manera de construir la cinta de nanotubos y a investigar la esencia de la cinta, otra que trabaja en la propulsión de la caja del ascensor y en la caja misma… también cuentan con una empresa que se dedica a promocionar el ascensor y con otra que gestiona los fondos.

El trabajo de cada una de estas empresas llevará a la invención y comercialización de muchos otros artefactos que serán útiles para otras industrias. Por ejemplo, parece que a raíz de las investigaciones han dado con una nueva forma de proceder a la vigilancia aérea, y también a un nuevo tipo de antenas que flotan en globos y que permitirían grandes redes wireless.

Así que está claro que el modelo de negocio de LiftPort se basa en ir obteniendo financiación a partir de la comercialización de todo lo que se invente por el camino. Porque recordemos que LiftPort no es una empresa de científicos (aunque los haya…) sino una empresa de ingeniería… y un ingeniero, un científico y un comercial… forman un trío que en manos de un financiero genera buenas expectativas, cuanto menos.

Las imágenes de la primera maqueta

Las imágenes que ilustran este artículo son de un robot llamado “Squeak”, que es capaz de subir por una cinta de plástico. Parece que este robot, a otra escala, es bastante parecido al futuro ascensor espacial, y según ha declarado Michel Lane, Presidente de Lift Port Group, el equipo que trabaja en la propulsión de la caja del ascensor, lo hace a partir del Squeak.

Una de las novedades de este robot es que funciona propulsado por un rayo láser enviado desde la base en la Tierra y que choca contra una plataforma dispuesta en un lateral del robot, haciéndolo avanzar.

Las claves del ascensor espacial

... But back to the elevator: the three pillars technicians to manufacture the elevator, and what works in LiftPort are:

  1. A robotic transport to withstand both the pressure at sea level, such as working more than 50,000 km from Earth. Questions: Are wheels? ¿Rails? cables?
  2. Finding super-tough material that will not collapse on its own weight when you have 100,000 km in length.
  3. Finding a source of energy for the robot. Solar energy? ¿Batteries?

Si se construye un ascensor que resuelva estos tres pilares técnicos, también podrá fabricarse una variante del ascensor que dejaría fuera de combate las lanzaderas de la NASA… ya que con alguna modificación, el robot y la cinta podrían lanzar el material y propulsarlo hasta la órbita de Marte o de cualquier otro planeta. Una vez en esa órbita, otro ascensor espacial podría bajarlos hasta la superficie. Y viceversa… desde Marte se podrían enviar materiales a la Tierra (…esto ya empieza a sonar a Kim Stanley Robinson en “Marte Rojo” Ed. Minotauro).

Las universidades, volcadas también en el proyecto

Michael Lane has been giving lectures and seminars in different universities in the Seattle area to get a large number of students seen his doctoral thesis in technologies related to the elevator.

And as expected ... it has appeared an American tycoon who created the "Elevator: 2010" which will reward innovation in the development of robots type Squeak and tapes material super resistant and propulsion systems that are viable for the lift.

The truth is that the elevator is a very attractive project that brings fame and money associated. Undoubtedly, the company that operate the first space elevator will have a strong advantage over its potential competitors. What is expected in the next 20 years, has up to 10 space elevators. The bad news is: it is not expected to be completed no elevator during the next 5 years, rather it is expected to be built between 8 and 10 years from now ...
… "Patience is the mother of science."

La primera cita del “Elevator: 2010” será en junio 2005 y el premio, 50.000 dólares… así que si eres ingeniero y te gustan los cacharritos que pueden ayudar a crear al primer ascensor espacial…ya sabes…

Enlaces interesantes para quien desee ampliar información:

  • Si quieres participar en el “Elevator: 2010”, ésta es tu web:
    Elevator: 2010
  • Si deseas conocer más a fondo cómo funciona el Ascensor aquí está la página web de la empresa que está construyendo el ascensor:
    LiftPort Group