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Review of "UNINHABITED SPACE" Jerry Oltion - Quantum, Ed Via Magna.

Uninhabited spaceUninhabited space I could not tell if a science fiction book or not ...

The book consists of two distinct parts, one part type Dutchman mixed with science fiction novel, then, clearly a part of Fantasy and semi novel Epic. So it becomes difficult to classify in a single genre.

El argumento nos presenta un astronauta desencantado con el plan actual de exploración espacial (que se limita a enviar astronautas a la Estación Espacial Internacional) y que sueña con poder volar algún día a la Luna. La acción se sitúa unos años en el futuro y todo empieza el día siguiente del funeral de Neil Amstrong, cuando un cohete fantasma, idéntico a un Saturno V, aparece en Cabo Cañaveral y despega hacia la Luna. Esto se repite de forma fija durante tres meses, hasta que nuestro astronauta decide entrar en una de estas naves fantasma e ir a la Luna en ella… pasando antes por la Estación Espacial Internacional a recoger a una “amiga”. En el viaje a la Luna descubren que cuando la humanidad tiene interés en la nave, la nave funciona, y cuando la humanidad pierde interés, la nave se vuelve invisible. Así que les queda claro, que la realidad la crea el pensamiento conjunto de la humanidad y que por lo tanto tienen que canalizar la voluntad de la humanidad (todo muy Zen hasta aquí… y a mí me hubiera gustado que desarrollase más esta parte desde un punto de vista científico).

Cuando regresan a la Tierra, la novela da un giro total hacía la Fantasía y se explora cómo sería nuestra sociedad si con el pensamiento se puediera crear la realidad… lo malo es que no lo analiza desde una perspectiva científica, sino desde la fantástica… hasta crean dragones voladores a partir de la voluntad de la gente y hacen aparecer el Rey Arturo… por suerte, también tenemos la CIA que desea controlar los poderes canalizadores/creadores que poseen nuestros protagonistas, y hacia al final, aparece también un dictador en Europa que intenta conquistar el continente con un ejército creado con la mente de su pueblo y canalizando su voluntad a través de él. Por lo que a mí respecta, pierde interés a partir del momento en el que los astronautas regresan a la Tierra, aunque es un libro que he leído en 3 días porque engancha, está bien escrito y es imaginativo.

The book is based on a novella Jerry Oltion who won the Nebula Award in 1997 and bearing the same title as this: "Abandon in Place". About the author, I recognize that he did not know and had never heard of him. In the review on it that is included in the book he is said to have been a gardener, stonemason, carpenter, oil, Ranger, Surveyor, disk jockey rock, typesetter, proofreader, editor, computer specialist, an extra in films, excretory and driver garbage truck ... also indicates that the author of a hundred short stories and a dozen novels.

Overall a weekend book, which does not think much (beyond the issue of whether actually create reality with our thoughts), but it is entertaining and can be read well is. 100% recommended if you do not have high expectations.

Review of "TITAN" Ben Bova, the Factory of Ideas

This is a book of science fiction classic that will appeal to fans of the books of CF is lifelong. In him we have space exploration, descriptions of new worlds, sense of wonder that spreads the reader, sociological analysis of companies subject to the restrictions that entails life in a small habitat, etc.Titan Ben Bova

Read a book like this, from time to time, is comforting, but at the same time, is remind a how much has changed science fiction, and therefore how long it takes reading novels of this genre ... and unequivocally, it always ends remembering how old a ... but ... let's leave this issue and focus on "Titan".

Reading "Titan" dirías que estás leyendo una novela escrita en tiempos de los dos grandes maestros ya difuntos: Asimov y Clarke. Pero no… Ben Bova la escribió en 2006. Una vez conoces este dato, no puedes evitar pensar si este Ben Bova, será o no será el mismo Ben Bova editor de Asimov y de otros muchos autores de Ciencia Ficción, ganador de un sinfín de premios y mítico en el mundo de la CF… y resulta que sí, que es el mismo. Lo que nos lleva a pensar ¿qué edad debe tener Ben Bova? Menos mal que tenemos a Wikipedia que nos saca de estos apuros y nos ofrece este tipo de información. Así que descubrimos que Ben Bova nació en 1932, que por lo tanto, tiene 77 años (Ver ficha de Ben Bova in Wikipedia) And that indeed is the same Ben Bova who have spent years following through the books we read, but which, as far as I'm concerned, there was a silence that has lasted nearly a decade.

It is not surprising then that the book written by this author seems out mismamente an open fracture time in our library. It really is from another time.

Bromas aparte, el libro está bien escrito y la narración tiene ritmo. Se lee muy rápido, excepto quizás algún trozo que hace referencia a una campaña electoral en el hábitat en el que viven nuestros protagonistas (y que imagino que no es culpa del autor, sino de la saturación en campañas electorales que sufrimos los lectores), y deja buen sabor de boca.

El argumento nos narra las aventuras de varios personajes que viven en una gigantesca nave colonia (que recuerda mucho a las naves de los diversos libros de Rama de Clarke) y que orbita en el espacio próximo a Saturno. En esta nave encontramos a científicos que están estudiando a Titán (uno de los satélites de Saturno), encontramos a científicos que están estudiando los anillos de Saturno, encontramos a astronautas jubilados, a un administrador del hábitat que no tiene escrúpulos a la hora de perpetuar su poder en el mismo, a exiliados políticos, y a un sinfín de personajes secundarios que dan dimensión al resto de personajes y crean un contexto en el que puede desarrollarse una historia creíble e interesante.

The book without hesitation, is 100% recommended.

I read somewhere that this book had been written taking advantage of the interest generated by Titan following the landing of the European spacecraft Huygens, who was traveling inside the NASA spacecraft Cassini and reached Titan in January 2005. It is possible so be it, although the Castilian version of this novel has come a little late to Spain and here in 2009, almost no one remembers or Huygens and Cassini as names of spacecraft and space missions, but as scientists who they took their name.

While writing these lines I realized that I knew nothing of these ships for some time and I have sought information. I discovered that no news about them since July 2008 ... I guess Huygens should be abandoned on the surface of Titan and Cassini should be orbiting Saturn sending data to NASA ... so ESA is concerned, the mission ended in 2008.

For those who want to refresh your memory on these ships, here are the links:

We talk to each other.

Review of "HEAVENS REFLECTED" by David J. Williams, Ed Via Magna. - Quantum

Skies Reflected a different book. It is a novel of Science fiction fresh and entertaining tells stories that intertwine 3 and lead both the Earth-Moon system and through cyberspace.Mirrored heavens

Its author, David J. Williams, debuts with this novel and is perhaps why it has something special that is not found in other books: the approaches are different and both scientific and social developments are also different. So, it's so interesting both for the story that tells how the atmosphere.

The book tells us three stories mechs Y razors (In some cases the same sex, in others of the opposite sex), which have different missions and end up converging on an unexpected end.

The mechs They are more or less what would be an elite commando, someone with special training missions high physical violence.

The razors They are more or less the same, but trained to work in cyberspace and enter through any network to hack all kinds of systems and information legally or illegally.

The mechs and the razors They can work together or separately, and both the former and the others have no qualms about killing ordinary citizens.

Society in which pass the adventures of our five protagonists is a company located in the XXII century in which humanity has already built a space elevator (hopefully not be necessary to wait as long as in the book) but contrary to what we believe would be an advanced society, this is not an idyllic society in which nations are understood, but quite the opposite: in the first chapters of an unknown faction lift loads and shows how weak were the foundations of peace which it had led to the construction of this great engineering work.

The mission of some of the protagonists will be to discover the saboteurs of the space elevator, the other is fleeing for reasons unknown to us, and which is decoupled is killing someone who will make the balance of power runs decanting by one of the sides involved in the game that we discover along the narrative.

In this story we have colonies on the moon, spacecraft, transport of all types, combat drones on Earth ... and we have great metropolis in which there is a span without building and whole areas that are post apocalyptic. Some of the players have contributed to the destruction of any of these major cities. The world is divided into two parts, the Western and Asian (Europe is part of Asian side), and both a part and the other coexist affluence and misery.

Overall, this is a novel that keeps pace and engaging, although initially a bit disconcerting. The action scenes involved in our mechs Y razors They are well told. The chapters are very short and will explain the three stories that intersect on up, it forces the reader to be attentive and watch carefully what happens every time. It is a good book and easy to read despite its 590 pages.

100% recommendable.

There is a website where you can learn more about this work and recreating society: http://cielosreflejados.com/

Review of "Philip K. Dick, TALES COMPLETE V" by Philip K. Dick - Ed Minotauro.

This is the fifth installment of this collection of short stories by Philip K. Dick. Each and every one of them worth being read, and this is no exception.Philip K Dick, V Full Story

All short stories by Philip K. Dick have something special ... something that only this author is able to get from the first paragraphs of his stories: a promise that something big will happen and he will tell us. As an example here's the first paragraph of one of the 24 stories included in this release, the story is entitled "I hope to arrive soon”:

After takeoff, the ship routinely checked the status of the sixty people who slept in cryogenic tanks. It appeared an anomaly in the subject number nine. His electroencephalogram showed brain activity.
Shit << >>, said the ship
.”

These four lines are enough to stay hooked and want to read more. It is not surprising that the author is of the opinion that "what matters it is not what happened, but how to tell the tale". Dick is a master telling stories.

Although as Thomas M. Disch indicated in the introduction of this release, the books of Philip K. Dick are written for writers, not readers. Thomas M. Disch refers to the fact that at the end of reading the stories of this author have the feeling that there would a very good novel "long". And in fact films like Minority Report, Total Recall (I do not remember his name ... is Castilian Schwarzenegger on Mars) or Blade RunnerThey are based on short stories by Philip K. Dick. All these stories appear in the collection of 5 short stories deliveries of the latter book is part. Specifically in this fifth installment stories written between 1963 and 1980 are collected.

Some of the stories are hilarious, others leave you bemused, others are worthy psychedelic stories, so typical of this author ... and there are even some of them that surprises with its hardness. I am referring to "Las Prepersonas"A story that chronicles the lives of members of a society in which abortion is permitted up to 12 year old children. That is, parents have the option of "abort"Freely until the children reach age 12 and are no longer"pre-persons"To become people with rights. A story that makes one wonder.

At the end of the book, the same Philip K. Dick says each of the narratives and helps place them in their creative context.

The book is 100% recommended.

Review of "Neuropathy" by R. Scott Bakker - Ed Minotauro.

NeuropataI do not usually speak ill of the books I read before buying because I make sure that I liked ... this will be the exception that proves the rule. What a roll of a book!

The title and the synopsis on the back cover promised a science fiction novel, based on biotechnology and mind control. "Manipulating the human brain is easier than you think"Indicates the cover ... but no. Not science fiction. It is a story about "neuras"A psychologist talking with a neurosurgeon friend, whom some futuristic touches are given to look like science fiction.

It may be my fault ... and maybe someone with training in psychology may find the book fascinating. To me it made me endless. I almost left half ... I got the feeling that a lot of subplots are straw to fill pages of a book that purports to be a scientific basis supported by recent discoveries in consciousness research, but does not engage, I do not understand and whose characters have no depth (except the 2 main characters).

La historia va sobre un psicólogo, profesor universitario, que es un fracaso en la mayor parte de aspectos de su vida (hijos, matrimonio, carrera…). Todo cambia cuando una noche un antiguo amigo llama a su puerta y le confiesa que ha estado trabajando éstos últimos años en un proyecto gubernamental orientado a la neuromanipulación. A partir de ahí, la trama se lía con subtramas y con personajes secundarios que no pintan ni cortan nada. Los diálogos entre el psicólogo y su amigo se hacen interminables. Se pasan páginas enteras discutiendo sobre lo que es realidad y lo que es ilusión en nuestros pensamientos y en nuestras vidas… y encima utilizando frases del tipo "(...) we adapted from the neurorradioquirúrgicos stereotactic devices themselves, which are used for superimposing particle beam to burn tumors.”

Anyway ... only recommend if that is not anything better to read, or if psychologist is ...

Reseña de “TARDOR D’ESTIU”, de Mònica Esbert – Ed. Columna

Tardor d'EstiuTardor d’Estiu es un libro que se lee de una sola tirada y en menos de 3 horas. Está bien narrado y los personajes tienen profundidad. Cuando terminas la lectura, no puedes evitar preguntarte qué será de su vida, cómo les irá fuera del libro. Esto no es fácil en una novela corta.

Esta es la primera novela corta escrita por Mónica Esbert, aunque me consta que ha escrito otras. También ha escrito obras de teatro y relatos cortos.

La autora nos narra la historia de una joven que siente que la persiguen por la calle y que en un momento dado intenta establecer contacto con su perseguidor y entender quién es y qué lo motiva a seguirla. La obra está narrada en primera persona y nos habla de amor, odio, muerte y todo un sinfín de aspectos de la vida que pasan por la cabeza de la protagonista mientas conversa con su enigmático seguidor e intenta saber más sobre él.

Es una obra de ficción que resulta creíble y que consigue recrear escenas de la vida con las que somos capaces de identificarnos, y es precisamente ésta verosimilitud la que convierte la historia en un drama que hace reflexionar y hace que nos preguntemos qué haríamos nosotros si fuésemos la protagonista de esta historia.

La novela le valió a Mónica Esbert el Premio Valldaura de Novela Corta en el año 2001.

El relato es original y el final inesperado. 100% recomendable.

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.

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.

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.