NeinTein

March 10, 2019

Greenings Thirders

We see you continue to shoot all kinds of things into your low orbit.  You do know that low orbits aren’t really good for much as anything you put there just comes back to you, right?  Anyway, it’s getting quite crowded around your planet.  We project that in the next 50 years, assuming a modest pro-curve, that you will have surrounded your planet with so much stuff that you will no longer be able to get into orbit without hitting something.  But don’t worry, your climate will ensure that you aren’t able to do that.  Unless you are planning a mass adaption of your species.  Are you?  We would advise against it.  The species on Cicola 6 tried that and they may never escape the gore pits they all fell into.  But it’s your call.  Just give us a couple of days’ notice so we can stock up on YooHoo and burgers.

Nemesis Games, James A. Corey, Orbit, ISBN 978-0-316-21758-3, $27.00, 532 pgs.

It grows again.  We like this story as it comes the closest to what an emerging species push into their own system is actually like.  Well, without all the intra-species killing.Nemesis Games You are pretty much the only one that hung onto that behavior once civilization was discovered.  This one continues to follow the crew of the Rocinante as they take some well-deserved personal time.  This is the crew of the Rocinante so you know their personal time is going to involve getting involved in some interesting problems and issues.  And these are spread across your system from the belt to Mars to Earth.  Things are falling apart of have already fallen apart and are trying to be rebuilt or totally dismantled, depending on which side you are on.  We liked it a lot.  We enjoy this adventure and can only hope that more get produced before you all off yourselves.  Highly recommended.  Go, buy, enjoy, repeat.

Legion, Brandon Sanderson, Tor, ISBN 978-1-250-29779-2, $27.99, 352 pgs.

This is very interesting.  Stephen Leeds has something wrong with his mind.  To most he would appear to be schizophrenic, interacting with illusory stimulus that only he can Legionsee.  From his perspective however, these stimuli manifest as distinct individuals who are created when he focuses on a particular knowledge base.  So, from the outside he appears nuts but from his side he appears to be surrounded by distinct experts in multiple fields.  This makes him sought after as a detective who can solve the most complicated cases.  It also makes him want to spend his time by himself and out of the public eye.  And the entire time he is looking for a woman who is just like him, more or less, and who left rather abruptly.  We thoroughly enjoyed the way this was developed and presented and the cases that Leeds looks into are al pretty fascinating as well.  Very highly recommended.

The Stars now Unclaimed, Drew Williams, Tor, ISBN 978-1-250-18611-9, $24.99, 447 pgs.

Something called The Pulse has gone out and basically destroyed varying levels of technology on each planet it touches.  Some it leaves alone, others it knocks back to the stone age and the rest are somewhere in the middle.  This thing is never explained but just accepted as having happened, otherwise the whole story kind of falls apart.  WhileThe Stars Now Unclaimed we know of nothing that operates this way—things tending to be purpose built to achieve a specific end, and a frying pan that sometimes burned your eggs to a crisp while other times leaving them totally uncooked is not much of a device—we must also say that we have not see everything there is to see.  We keep an open mind but only because we think this might be representative of something.  Anycase, Jane is an agent for the Justified, a group that is searching the galaxy for enhanced beings—who just happened to be enhanced by the same Pulse.  We are sure it slices and dices as well.  Jane visits a planet and finds a young girl and rescues her from the clutches of the Pax, a race that believes that the Pulse has ordained them to be galactic masters.  Then it’s a chase back to the Justified home space with Jane breaking all the rules along the way and leading the Pax straight to her base, which is something they are never supposed to do.  It gets worse from there although the ending is not as bleak as one might imagine.  We found this one to be okay.  Will you like it?  Hard for us to say.  Some of you will.  Some of you won’t.  We did like the interplay between the characters.

The Razor, J. Barton Mitchell, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-8792-9, $26.99, 399 pgs.

This is about prison and the bad people who inhabit it.  The prison is set on a prison planet because at some point you have enough planets and don’t know what to do with them so you make a prison one.  Why they actually build the prison on the planet instead of just tossing prisoners out the door is kind of beyond us.  But here you are with a the Razorprison, actually a bunch of them, built on a prison planet.  Not only that but they planet they picked has an odd orbit which keeps pretty much one side to the sun (not really but just stick with us) and one side not to the sun.  This means that half the planet is boiling hot and the other half more than freezing cold.  There is a thin terminator where things are just right.  Why even be on this planet in the first place?  Well, there are minerals there.  But, what, you say, surely it is no economically viable to build prisons just to use prison labor to mine this stuff when there is a clear level of automation that could do it much cheaper.  Yeah, sure, but punishing people by sending them to a prison planet and making then work feels much better.  We are just surmising here on your behalf.  So, there’s a former guard who has been sent back as a prisoner, a doctor who is beholden to a nasty gang, and mysterious stuff occurring that puts everyone in danger.  Did we mention the unethical and highly dangerous biological experiments they were also doing on this planet?  No?  Our bad.

Okay, we found this interesting although the implausibility’s kept snagging in our eye stalks.  Maybe you can tolerate them more.  Hard to say.  We liked a couple of the characters.  But they were the evil ones so that may say more about us than anything else.

You return once again, like a moth to a flaming death.  Who are we to stop your repetitive destruction?  It’s like Brexit all over again.   To which a renowned British expert was heard to call out when posed this dilemma, “you want chips with that?”  Why, yes, yes we do, yes indeed.  And we’re taking them to the far side of the sun where your sister planet revolves in an entirely similar orbit although the planetary outcome is entirely different.  We’ll return. They’re not anywhere near as exciting as you are.  Eyes to the skies.

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Tenn

February 23, 2018

Greenings Thirders

We were returning from the Oort cloud and as we drifted past the orbit of Mars, Klaarg called us to come look at the car in our way.  Now, Klaarg sometimes spends way too much time at the back end of the ram scoop so we are used to his seeing the odd thing here or there.  But, true enough, when we got to the viewing area, there was a car, with a spaceman driving.  While it is true that in space no one can hear you spin the wheels (this is because of the lack of friction), it is also true that space will have a bigger negative impact on your wheels than road salt.  Just like no one wants to buy a sports car that has been driven in a snowy climate, no one will want to buy a car that was driven in space.  Ah well, at least there is plenty of parking up here.  We ended up giving the thing a wide berth because who knows how this spaceman got his car into space in the first place and we just had the ship detailed.

Thunderbird, Jack McDevitt, Ace,  ISBN 978-0-425-27919-9 $26.95, 369 pgs.

We liked this one.  It’s about native peoples.  You know, the ones you try to kill off first thing when you get to a new place.  When we say you, we mean you, not the global you, but the Earthling you.  Any case, these native peoples have discovered an artifact thThunderbirdat allows travel between places.  They are unclear where, exactly, these places are, other than that one is in space, one is on a different planet and one seems to be just outside a city and there are a lot more.  All of them are, evidently, inhabited.  This creates a number of problems, not the least of which is a demand for the artifact to be used to cull resources from these places (apparently regardless of the beings who may already be there), but that’s just you all over again.  There are, of course, any number of issues that could come up in a situation like this and many of them are brought to the fore, both the positive and the negative.  And, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference for what is positive now may be negative tomorrow.  The resolution is a somewhat unique one.  Like we said at the beginning, we liked this.  You will no doubt like it as well.

Kill All Angels, Robert Brockway, Tor, ISBN 978-0-7653-7970-2, $29.99, 315 pgs.

This is the third entry in the Vicious Circuit series.  We think it is the weakest of the three which we find a bit disturbing.  It is almost like Brockway ran out of good stuff and just Kill all angelsneeded to stumble to the end.  Then we remembered that he also wrote for Cracked which is not really known for its lengthy pieces.  We actually were a bit of a ways in before we even realized what series this one was connected to.  This is too bad because we enjoyed the first two.  We did.  You can go look.  Go ahead.  We’ll wait. We’ve got things to do anyway.  Okay now that you are back, and what, did you stop for pizza or something?  We do that some times and it always causes friction because Klaarg likes strange things on his pie.  In any case, the characters are all together again unless you consider their destructive self behavior to be not so much together.  One is a drunk, another is probably crazy, a third is an Empty One, and the rest are hanging on by their fingernails.  The other thing missing from this volume is humor.  It’s supposed to be funny but it’s really not so much.  We got through to the end.  You might be able to as well.

Waking Gods, Sylvain Neuvel, Del Rey ISBN 978-1-101-88674-8, $16.00, 336 pgs.

We talkwaking godsed about this one a few cycles ago but for those of you too cheap to buy a longer lasting version, it is now out in a more self destructible form.  We liked this one a lot.  Klaarg hated it.  But then it has giant robots and if there is one kind of robots that Klaarg hates most, it is giant ones.  Sure he really hates Roombas but for entirely different reasons.  If you have not gone out and found this yet now is the best of times.

Sci-Fi, A Movie Top Score Game, Lawrence King Publishing ISBN 978-1-78627-123-5, $9.99

With illustrations by Giordano Poloni, text by Aidan Onn and design by Elsa Benoldi, this scificard game is simple to play and can provide some amusement (and maybe a little argument) for those who consider themselves movie buffs.  Each card has a film on it with six items: Budget, Tech Spec, Cult Status, Future Foresight, etc.  Each item has a score.  The starting player selects an item, once cards are dealt out, and the player with the highest score for that item wins all the cards played that round.  That player then repeats and the game goes on until a single player has all the cards.  Or until Klaarg catches sight of the Forbidden Planet card with an illustration of Robby and destroys the deck.  It was fun until then.  Check it out if you will but don’t invite Klaarg over for a game.

 Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff, Henry Holt, ISBN 978-1-250-15806-2, $30.00, 321 pgs.

This is one of your alternate histories.  In it, a celebrity simpleton managesfire and fury to be elected president of one of your countries and hilarity ensues.  Kind of, sort of.  Frankly we found it very far fetched.  But, if you can imagine elephants building spaceships who are we to talk about fetched.  This is full of just eye opening wonder and we had moments when even our credulity refused to go along but we continued on anyway, right until the end. Which, we should note, does not happen here as this is not a complete story.  Surely there will be a sequel or perhaps two.  We would suggest Insane Clown Posse for the title of the next one but we understand that is already taken.  And by the way, why did they put a Klingon on the cover?

Here we are and you have, yet again, squandered your time.  Think, you could have been cooking something wonderful or baking bread.  Instead here you are.  Ah well, everything cycles and you will too.  Eventually.  Keep the door unlocked for us.  Let’s face it, if you are selected for a probing the last thing you want to do is return home to a broken door.


Knighn

December 23, 2017

Greenings Thirders

We have been struggling to try to figure out which of your holidays we should embrace.  Purely as a study opportunity of course, and, after a great deal of discussion and no small amount of agitation (Klaarg was very vocal that International Robot day was not an option), we decided on 4.  They all take place during this time period since selecting a holiday 8 cycles from now to celebrate seemed counterproductive.  Two have passed and we submit that we succeeded quite successfully in our celebrations and two more are coming up.  While it is most likely quite obvious which ones we selected, given that we most likely selected those which are also your favorites, in the name of science we feel obligated to full disclosure.  Thus, it was that we participated in National Plan your Epitaph day as well as King Tut day.  And we are planning big celebrations for Cremation Day (for when probing goes horribly wrong) and National Cupcake Day.   We almost chose World Kindness day but why be hypocritical on a holiday.  Next year we may select 4 different ones depending on which way the winds of choice and culture seem to be blowing.  National Monkey Day looks pretty good from here.

The Man in the Tree, Sage Walker, Tor,  ISBN 978-0-7653-7992-4 $26.99, 381 pgs.

We liked this one even though it kept putting us to sleep.  Seems there has been a murder on a spaceship. We’re not really sure where this ship is. It’s either in orbit around your planet, on the way to Saturn, or heading off somewhere else.  References to all three are throughout the text and confused us. But this is not the point.  The main person here isman in horny Incident Analyst Helt Borresen who is tasked with figuring out why the dead man was killed and who did it. The ship is full of cameras, unfortunately the murder took place at a time when all the cameras were down for an hour.  You would think someone would have anticipated this but evidently not.  Anycase, Helt starts gathering facts and people and working his way through his process.  We actually liked the writing of this a lot.  It is very well written, expertly so–jJust not very exciting.  It’s like a police procedural but done as a real police procedural so you get to see them filing papers, and moving documents and writing things down.  Klaarg was captivated but we think it was more because of the robot free future than anything else.  We recommend it for the writing but the plot needs a few more dead humans.

A Lot Like Christmas, Connie Willis, Del Rey, ISBN 978-0-399-18234-1, $17.00, 519 pgs.

At first we looked at this and thought, eh.  Then we relooked at it and wondered if it might not be a valuable way to gain insight into your species apparent fascination with lot likeholidays and time off from being productive.  Then we looked again and realized that Willis was not actually the editor but the constructor of the entire thing, and we thought, “Now that is indeed a fixation”.  Sure everyone probably has a holiday story to tell, maybe two, maybe even something with robots in it or sentient trees or dangling balls that do unexpected things.  But to produce enough content to fill this many pages?  We read, we enjoyed, we still wondered about the fixation though.  Still, if you are looking for something holiday like to make you drift from your reality, then this might be the perfect option.  We suppose it could have been worse.  Could have been arbor day.

The Waking Land, Callie Bates, Del Rey ISBN 978-0-425-28402-5, $27.00, 388 pgs.

We kept seeing this title as “The Walking Land” which we thought would be interesting but completely different.  This is one of those coming of age things and you do have to keep reminding yourself that this is about pre-humans (13 to 18) and not humans waking landthemselves so you have to give some leeway.  It is about Lady Elanna, who, for some reason, is devoted to the man who wrested her from her family and kept her hostage.  But, when she is accused of his murder, things change and she is forced to flee back to her homeland and her family, whom she seems to hate.  Once there she discovers she has powers and is betrothed to a king from another land who has no clue about ruling, and is also being touted as the savior of her land and people.  Um, she is not the clueless king.  All she wants to do is go to university and study plants.  While it is not noted anywhere, this is not a complete story but the first of????  We found it interesting enough, although we did have to keep reminding ourselves about the age of the people involved here.  If this is your kind of thing you will like it.  If it is not you won’t.  We can’t get any clearer than that.

The Book of Swords, Gardner Dozois, Bantam ISBN 978-0-399-59376-5, $30.00, 525 pgs.

We like swords, they hark back to a simpler time, when men were barbarians and women were , well, generally not well thought of.  Looking at American politics it is book of swordsamazing how little has changed.  Anyway, this is a collection of wonderful tales from sixteen fantasists.  We have to say we were involved from the first page through the last.  There is even a Game of Thrones tale (although seriously, what collection these days does not have one of those?)  We like these.  We like them a lot.  We have liked them ever since we stumbled across that Leiber fellow.  These are as good, in some cases even better.  And Klaarg likes to note there’s not a single robot in the entire thing.  The contents page reads like a who’s who of current and recent stars.  There is not a doubt that you will like this.  Will you like it as much as we do?  Hard to say.  We like it a lot.  Especially the Matthew Hughes, Ken Liu, and Garth Nix pieces, although the works by Scott Lynch, Walter John Williams, and Elizabeth Bear were close behind.  Did we mention already that these are all original pieces?  Go out right now and get a copy before it is too late.  Too late for what?  Hard to say but if it becomes too late you will be angry with yourself so go now.

Well, once again you’ve squandered your time here instead of putting the finishing touches on that fusion reactor.  The Earth cycles and we need to be off once more.  Watch out for that asteroid that’s dipping into your system.  It’s not actually coming that close but there is a planet killer and it’s out there, as we remind you over and over.  Keep a light on for us. Not that we need it, the ship’s got great headlights, but it’s the thought that counts.


The moon is falling, the moon is falling

April 24, 2011
Artist’s impression of how the surface of Plut...

Image via Wikipedia

We watched with some amusement the recent furor you raised among yourselves when your moon appeared larger than normal. Not that your moon appears even remotely similar in size from night to night due to atmospheric and distance vagaries, but who are we to point out a flaw in your logic systems? Regardless, as Klaarg pointed out, so long as it’s big enough to see it’s big enough to steer around. But that is neither here nor there, Klaarg just likes to point things out using navigator references, as if to constantly remind us that he is the only one with the spaceship license. Not that the rest of us can’t drive the thing, we just need to find the manual so we know which buttons to push at what sequence. It surely can not be that difficult.

Back to the moon (which is something that your species will apparently never do). You Earthers seem particularly enamored of the big dusty thing. You seem to think it rules your sanity as much as it rules your oceans. And speaking of which, just because you are almost 78% liquid (78.5% on Fridays during happy hour) does not mean that the moon has any influence over you at all. The internal magma of your nickel iron cored planet exerts much more influence on your bodies than the moon ever will. Well, unless it comes crashing down, then it will exert a huge influence, albeit for only a brief span of awareness. But, back to the moon. It does not have any influence on you. Criminy, the next thing you know you’ll be thinking that Jupiter or Saturn is somehow influencing you in your houses, or that the stars themselves somehow have some significance in what you do or who you are. Perhaps you should study your films like we do to better know about yourselves. Did not your famous philosopher, Aristophanes say, I watch, therefore I see? We thought so.

Let’s face it. Moons are everywhere. Your own system has hundreds. Even some of the moons in your system have moons. There is even Pluto, which you have decided is not a planet. Therefor it must be a moon of the sun. In fact the darn things are everywhere you look, in every system you pass through, in every galaxy we have been to. And we have been to more than one or two, we will have you know. Klaarg, says three. We have been to three. They all had moons. Lots of them. Big ones, small ones, round ones, elongated ones, lumpy ones, icy ones, liquid ones, whipped cream and cherry ones. No, we made that last one up. But the rest all exist.

We had planned an extended discussion of the lunar influence on your movie cycles but Klaarg, who is usually pretty reliable when picking up videos (barring run ins with robots) was unable to go this time due to cellular reconstruction and restitution. So, Ssthpppithicarssus, or Slippery as we sometimes call her, went in his stead. Slippery has a rare genetic disorder, and, in fact, should have been vaporized at birth but somehow managed to slip through the cracks in the birthing chamber and survived. This disorder sometimes randomly reorganizes the cellular structure of her memory centers. This is typically a harmless condition, unless she is out getting groceries in which case you never know what she will return with, or videos, which suffer the same end result. So, without saying anything more, we begin our discussion of your culture, your species, and your particular place in time and space.

Dinoshark is a documentary about two things: global warming and spring break, at least as far as we can tell. Evidently this prehistoric (look, there was history then too, just not many historians) shark became frozen in the arctic and global warming freed it just in time for a long swim to South America where it began eating people. Why it didn’t decide to just stick around Iceland or some other large island near where it got free is never really adequately explained but we are sure there were good reasons. There was a lot of swimming in this movie, both on the part of you humans and the shark itself. We’re not quite sure what the message is except don’t swim in water with giant sharks. The global warming piece seemed to get lost amid the bikinis and blood.

Mongolian Death Worm is another tale of environmental warning. This time it is the desert, where you are drilling for oil by pumping water into the Earth. Only your species would think this is a good idea. We can only ponder how dry your oceans would be in you had decided that hydro-fusion was the way to go to power your vehicles instead of using petroleum. So, you pump all this water into the desert which almost immediately angers the death worms living there. They then feel a need to come up and teach you a lesson. Of course if they knew how destructive humans are when it came to other species they would have gone in a different direction. Needless to say, humans win, death worms lose–if you can call remaining dependent upon petroleum winning.

I Am Number Four which leads us to reply, yes, but we really wished you had been number one. What more can we say. The only explanation was that the moon was full and the creator of this thing was thinking of something else. If only those thoughts had been filmed instead.

Well, we have once again not been able to discuss all of the videos that we had hoped to discuss. Of course we didn’t get to actually watch any of the videos we really wanted to watch anyway so maybe it’s a wash. Until next time, Spa Fon and always taste the Spooze before purchasing.