Reviews written on books by other authors (mostly Science Fiction)

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.

Al mismo tiempo, el autor sitúa al personaje en diversos escenarios del mundo (Ginebra, Madrid, París, Chile, etc.) y lo hace interactuar y discutir sobre Ciencia con tipos tan diversos como videntes, mentalistas, escépticos ultras, y cómo no, otros físicos de partículas.

El libro contiene una cita interesante que el autor extrae de una fábula de John Godfrey Saxe y que dice lo siguiente:

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.
Uno de ellos dijo tener entre sus manos una serpiente, pues tocó algo alargado que se movía. El segundo dijo estar tocando un árbol recio y de áspera corteza. El tercero afirmó que se traba de una soga que colgaba de alguna rama alta. El último chocó contra una superficie firme y sólida, y concluyó que era una pared. Todos creían tener la razón.
El estudiante advirtió que los cuatro estaban equivocados, pues, tocando sólo las partes, habían sido incapaces de reconocer el todo. Así uno había palpado una trompa; el otro, una pata; el tercero, la cola, y el cuarto, el costado del elefante
.”

Ésta fábula la utiliza el autor para ilustrar el estado de la Física de Partículas indicando que los científicos, al igual que los sabios del Indostán, pretenden entender la naturaleza de ésta rama de la ciencia como el elefante de la fábula: fragmentándola y desmenuzándola. Al final, como en la fábula, no consiguen unificar las teorías.

Aunque el autor no lo indica abiertamente, está haciendo una clara alusión a las teorías de la Fuerza Nuclear Débil, la Fuerza Nuclear Fuerte, la Fuerza Electromagnética y la Fuerza de la Gravedad, que por separado todas tienen sentido, pero aún no existe una teoría única que pueda explicarlas conjuntamente.

El libro es entretenido, y las elucubraciones a nivel científico son interesantes y tratadas desde un punto de vista muy racional.

La única crítica es que a nivel de trama, el libro peca de simple y sólo desarrolla una línea argumental. A nivel de personajes, de nuevo peca de simple, y sólo cobran dimensión dos personajes: el protagonista y su pareja.

Aún así, es un libro que se lee rápido y deja buen sabor de boca. Quizás no le daría un 100% de recomendación, pero sí un 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 "CULTURAL TOURISM" José Antonio Donaire - Vitel • the Editions

Cultural tourism, between experience and ritual"It is a book worth reading by little you feel a certain interest in tourism.

The author knows what he's talking and knows the subject, not in vain is a specialist in tourism management in historic cities (among others related to geography and tourism topics).Turisme Cultural - José Antonio Donaire

Although in principle the book is aimed at an academic audience, the content is treated in a pleasant and at the same time is an amazing scholarship. It is recommended for all audiences.

The book is really dense in content, so it's not a book to read at a stretch. It is rather a bedside book. Something to read for a while and then stop to reflect on reading.

Some of the topics covered in the book are:

  • Culture (in capital letters) vs culture (lowercase)
  • The image of a destination vs. the real identity of its inhabitants
  • How is a cultural tourist
  • Cultural tourism is an experience or ritual

With deft skill, the author will introduce topics that seem simple and goes by going to dilemmas that require reflection, and eventually force you to leave the book aside, like it or not, and force you to think about what he said to you a opinion and position yourself to one side or another.

It also includes some interesting thoughts on web 2.0 and its applications in tourism issues.

Anyway ... A real pleasure to read.

Blog author: José Antonio Donaire
Publisher website: Vellum Publishing

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.

Review of "THE SECRET OF ATLANTIS" by Clive Cussler - Pocket Ed.

Following the books about Atlantis, today I dedicate this review to "The Secret of Atlantis", a book written by Clive Cussler, author of numerous best sellers.el-secreto-de-la-atlantida

Por norma general, sólo compro este tipo de libro (el best seller de bolsillo), cuando en verano me quedo sin literatura y tengo que acudir a un Caprabo a comprar algún libro. Con éste libro hice una excepción y lo compré con nocturnidad (era tarde) y alevosía (lo hice adrede aunque no a traición, ya que lo compré en mi librería de siempre). La cuestión es que estaba mirando qué nuevos libros de Ciencia Ficción habían salido y vi este libro en una de las mesas en las que se colocan los libros destacados… y puesto que el 2008 es mi “año Atlántida”, lo compré.

The book is not bad, as all of Clive Cussler, reads well, get hooked and you keep attention on the book.

At the level of Atlantis, not an innovation compared to other books I've read on the subject. In this case, the book is based on descriptions of Plato and places Atlantis in the Atlantic, but indicated that continental drift has led to the South Pole.

The plot is based on the premise that the Nazis found Atlantis at the South Pole and established a base there, which has lasted until today. New Atlanteans, besides Nazis are clones, prepare the icing pole to cause the death of other humans as they shelter in giant ships. The protagonists have a mission to thwart these plans.

It explained so may not seem an attractive plot, but the truth is that it is. So as summer book is fine. As a book to think and reflect, better find another.

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?

El argumento versa sobre el descifrado de unos mensajes alienígenas que llegan a la Tierra. El primero de ellos lo descifra una joven investigadora del SETI, que también se encarga de enviar su respuesta. 38 años después, llega un segundo mensaje y de nuevo, la investigadora del SETI esta vez anciana pero habiéndose aplicado un tratamiento de rejuvenecemiento (que ha fallado y que la ha dejado a las puertas de una muerte por vejez) lo descifra, mientras que su marido, cuyo tratamiento ha funcionado bien, explora su nueva juventud.

En el libro se discuten el papel de la tecnología en el desarrollo futuro del ser humano, cuestiones morales sobre los tratamientos para alargar la longevidad de las personas, el aborto, la existencia de Dios y otros muchos dilemas morales a los cuales Sawyer nos tiene acostumbrados a plantear en sus libros.

Como el resto de obras de Robert j. Sawyer “Vuelta Atrás” es 100% recomendable y merece la pena dedicarle las pocas horas que se tarda en leer.

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 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.