National Science Fiction Day

I borrow this one from the US list of national days. I do it because science fiction is, and was, very important to me. From ground-breaking thoughts to differents points of view, from larger-than-life characters to incredible lifeforms, science fiction is a game changer for me. Learn what you “should” do here.

Today is also the birthday of Isaac Asimov. If you don’t know who he was, then you’re very young or very misinformed. Take a look around and get yourself on track. Ad Astra!

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Farewell to 2018

When flown without tethers, the Avrocar was unstable and could reach top speed of only 35 mph. (U.S. Air Force photo)

You know, it’s “that” time of the year. Yep. The last day, time for check and balances and all that. A time to think about all the excellent stuff we planned and to realize what happened when reality took its toll from it. To tell the truth, it’s also one of the peak dates for suicides.

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Daniel M. Bensen – Junction

Author: Daniel M. Bensen

Title: Junction

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

[Advance reader copy, due to be published on January 2019]

 

Synopsis: There’s a wormhole in New Guinea and, while much isn’t known, one thing is for sure – on the other side is a planet similar to ours, with a habitat suitable for life. Japanese nature show host Daisuke Matsumori will be one of the first to visit Junction, a patchwork planet of competing alien ecosystems. But his exploratory party crashes in the wilderness and members continue to die. What is causing these deaths? At first it seems clear that is must be an alien predator or the hazardous landscape, but Daisuke starts to wonder wheter human politics might be more deadly than alien biology.

Review: 

One of the significant challenges of science fiction is world building, a key factor for any novel-length work. If the author fails to deliver a believable world, then everything else fails, no matter how good could be the prose or how accurate could be the cast of characters. It’s a dangerous game, balanced between the need to portray something different from reality and the challenge to win the suspension of disbelief from the readers.

Daniel Bentsen apparently doesn’t like to play safe and starts this novel with a bang, placing a wormhole on Earth. That’s a bold move for sure, followed by another – on the other side of the wormhole (!), there’s a planet that connects an unknown number of wormholes (!!), each with a different ecosystem in the closeness.

Add to the mix one of the most peculiar cast of characters ever seen, set up as an exploration party in this strange new world, then put in a massive dose of well-built scientific speculation about different life forms and biochemistry (yay!) plus the familiar thrill of the adventure and a whodunit that leaves corpses scattered along the path. What do you get? Well, it’s one of the most unique science fiction novel in the last ten years or so. What’s even more interesting is that there is the potential for much more, for more novels or even a shared universe, all along the n-ways to get in and out of Junction.

The pros of this book are about originality, solid bases on real science (biochemistry), humor and some great choice in the development of the main characters.

The cons of this book are about a lack of perspective about the potential of such a discovery in the “real” world. We get a lot of hints about the tension between countries and such, but it’s the weakest part of the book.

Where to find it: Flame Tree Pressamazon.com

Vote: 08,00 / 10,00.

Five reasons to say NO to the Global Compact for Migration

A few days from now (10-11 December 2018) will be held in Marrakesh (Morocco) a United Nations conference for the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration (from now on, GCM).  This will be the end of a long journey for GCM, and a very important step in the fulfilling of the  New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.

As previously stated in the title of this post, I’m all against this agreement. I’m also fully aware of the growing problem of forced migration all around the world, not to mention the growth of a number of endogen factors that will likely cause more migration in the near future.  To state the obvious, I’m not some kind of racist nutcase.

I’ve spent a bit of time reading the full GCM text, available here courtesy of the UN. Well, it’s not what the mainstream media are trying to sell.

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The Chuck Wendig Case

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The news about Chuck Wendig and the end of his work relationship with Marvel have been making the rounds in the social media in the last few days; if you don’t know what’s going on, then please refer here for the public statement by Wendig. By now, I haven’t found any statement available online about this matter from Marvel.

In a nutshell, Marvel decided to fire Wendig for reasons unrelated to his projects and without any prior litigation between the firm and the author. According to Wendig, that happened for his political activism on the social media. It looks like that Marvel evaluated all the adverse reactions about this activism as a serious marketing problem for its products and acted by consequence.

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