The universe is big. Your species, which believes it knows big, does not know the universe. Because of this you think two disparate things at the same time. The first is that the universe is empty because no one has come to crown humans as the kings of the universe. Ergo, since this has not happened the universe must be empty. The second is that humans are so important and so interesting that aliens are visiting here all the time. You can’t have it both ways you know. And, honestly, you are not that interesting. We should know. And you are not the kings of the cosmos, regardless of what you believe. Ticks of the cosmos perhaps. But that is another research paper altogether.
The Long Sunset, Jack McDevitt, Saga Press, 978-1-5344-1207-1, $27.99, 451 pgs.
Okay, perhaps there is one of you who understands the place of humans in the universe. The Long Sunset deals with a vast universe that is just not that filled with sentient species. Time has a lot to do with this. Intelligent species are not like turtles on the beach, all popping through the sand at the same time. It comes, it goes, it rarely lasts. Sometimes it goes in a nuclear flash, other times with the whimper of ecological misappropriation. Perhaps this is what drives the crew of the Eiferman when they find not one but two races as they are out investigating the origin of a video signal. One of these races is in the path of a black hole and the other, while they have the technology to assist in resettlement once a planet is reached does not have the means of transport. This leaves that task to the humans who must return to Earth and convince an increasingly xenophobic political system that reaching out is the thing to do. And not just reaching out but committing massive amounts of resources to build enough ships to make the movement of another planetary population possible. This is a bit of a dark vision. Fitting for the times for sure but something you should be aware of. Of course there are many ins and outs to the above, but that is for your discovery and not our telling. Take our word for it humans, you will enjoy this one.
Dayfall, Michael David Ares, Tor, ISBN 978-1-250-06480-6, $24.99, 288 pgs.
This is one of your post apocalyptical depressing future visions. In this case you have so managed to mess up your world that you have covered the planet in dense clouds. This has created year long periods of darkness for many parts of your world. New York City is one of those places. But an opening in the clouds is projected and the light is coming. Of course, being human you create a crazed doomsday cult about the coming of the light, or, Dayfall. But this is all just a back drop for this noir thriller which focuses on a fallen detective suddenly given another chance in a new city to make good as he works his way through the mystery put in his hands. Of course he is expected to fail which is how he got the job in the first place. And, in the darkness, much is not as it seems. We will say no more as the joy is often in the discovery and not in the being told. We liked it. Klaarg especially enjoyed it but he likes dark things so long as they are not robotic.
Good Guys, Steven Brust, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-9637-2, $25.99, 320 pgs.
We liked this one although we kind of hated the basic premise which devolved from the title. This is about a group of mutants, or humans with special powers, who have been scooped up by a secret agency and then trained to use their powers more fully but in the service of said agency. Thus the good guys theme. Are they the good guys, doing work for this agency? Or not. This all comes to a head as they are assigned a case of finding out who is magically killing, in various and imaginative ways, bad guys. So, if they are the good guys but they are hunting down someone who is killing bad buys does this remain true? Eh, you humans like things in black and white, unless you are white and they are black in which case you are just confused. Forgoing our dislike of the underlying existential discussion, we really enjoyed this one. It is well documented and enjoyable. Will you enjoy it? Do you enjoy good things? Need we say more? Just remember, if you do not like it we are not bad for the recommendation. You make your own choices. Get it anyway.
Leviathan’s Wake, James Corey, Orbit, ISBN 978-0-316-12908-4, $17.00, 582 pgs.
Klaarg picked this for our weekly reading group. He liked that it was big in scope, fully and accurately captured human behavior, and had no robots. In case you have been living in a cave, and many of you still do, this is not only a written text but a video presentation. So those of you who do not read, and many of you don’t, can take our advice and just watch instead. This is, essentially, you playing in your backyard. We say playing but what we mean is being self destructive. No one trusts anyone, Mars is at war with the Belt, which is at war internally, and with Mars, and Earth is at war with Mars and anyone who gets too close to Earth. To top it off, a few humans have gotten their hands on an alien protomolecule. Now, the first thing we learned in space school was to leave the protomolecules alone. They do bad things. Pretty consistently they do bad things. Of course this means that humans immediately grabbed on and started experimenting with it even though they had no idea of the consequences. Yes, indeed, it sounds exactly like something you would do. Almost all the other sentient species would give the bad little thing a boost into their sun. But not you. You immediately infect yourselves with it. Into the middle of all of this is a small group of people who find themselves almost always in the middle of the things that happen. It is through them that we learn much of what is going on. This is the first offering in a large group of offerings and, like we first stated, you can just watch the moving pictures if you want. We liked it. We liked it a lot. We are planning on continuing. And, yes, we know we are a bit late to the scene but it is impossible for us to stay current with everything you do.
Well, once again you have unwisely spent your time here instead of figuring out how to survive the coming ice age. Or, as one of your human philosophers recently said “He did what? Again?” Seasons change and so does the oil in the plasma coupling. We’re off to Mercury to take care of that. We’ll be back. The donuts are ours. Leave them alone.