Sunday, November 22, 2015

Analog Magazine The 1,000th Issue!

You may have noticed that my previous post included the first story of this issue.  I was toying with the idea of writing a separate post for each individual story.  This was simply because I've been randomly reading from the magazine, a collection of Alberta based mysteries and a non-fiction book about the food industry.  With three things on the go I haven't been posting here at all and I was beginning to feel that I should upload something.

Part of me wants to give proper credit to each author without making a post too long with pictures and website links.  Then, if I post for each short story like I do for novels, it seems I'm just trying too hard to add content.  It's a first-world problem to be sure.

It seems likely that my goal of reading 100 short stories in 2015 will not be met but I will come close, enough to be happy that I've challenged myself to it.  I tend to follow my nose when it comes to reading and that can lead to neglecting challenges that I've set for myslef.

But what about the June 2015 issue?

I read every page and found it to be wonderful.  This is the kind of SF I love and I feel lucky to have a copy in my sweaty hands.

I've subscribed to the magazine for years and only manage to read one or two issues a year.  Part of the reason I resubscribe every year is simply to support the magazine.  The other is that I love the cover art.  The stories become a bonus whenever I decide to read an issue.  Besides, paper lasts a long time, if taken care of.

One of the things I do not like about the physical issues is how fragile the covers are; they smudge, tear and fade while I read them.  Starting with issue 1000 I've doubled my subscription to include a digital copy that I read on my iPad.

Below are my thoughts about the offering of this installment to Analog's long history.

The Wormhole Wars -  by Richard A. Lovett - 42/100 - my god the science went right over my head. Thank goodness there was a scene at a bar with coins to explain things. It was a very good first contact story with crisp believable dialog and a good dose of wit.

The Very Long Conversation - by Gwendolyn Clare - 43/100 - Language.  What an interesting twist on our understanding of it.  This was a warm, gentle piece that takes its time to reveal itself. 

It reminded me how unprepared we are to encounter something truly alien.

The Kroc War by Ted Reynolds and William F Wu - 44/100 - If you liked World War Z, the book, not the movie, then you'll be happy to read a space opera done in thensame style.  

Like WWZ I liked how this story was able to capture so many stories in so few pages. 

Well crafted and left me thinking that this world they created could be just as big as Star Wars.

Reynolds -
Wu -

Strategies for Optimizing Your Mobile Advertising by Brenta Blevins - 45/100 Taking wearable technology and advertising to the next logical level.

Well thought out and seemingly inevitable.

The Odds  by Ron Collins - 46/100 - Ooh.  What a wondeful couple of pages!  This opens the door to en enormous epic. This could be the very beggining of a new novel. I don't know. I must look the author up on the internet. 

Hugely cinematic. 
The Empathy Vaccine by C C Finlay - 47/100 - Genetic modification through an IV treatment. What if you could change your personality traits with a visit to the doctor?  Would you try to become more assertive or compassionate?

It's an interesting question in a story that has an interesting answer.
Three Bodies at Mitanni  by Seth Dickinson - 48/100 - Picture humanity sending out seedships to colonize the galaxy.  Now imagine a trio of people sent out to check on and judge the results.  Their mission is to decide which colonies are a threat to the very society that sent them out.

A heavy subject, to be sure, and the author worked the story with the gravitas it deserves.  It had all the elements of a good science fiction story without it being about that.  No, it was an exploration of what it meas to be human and how we adapt to survive.

The story takes place late in the mission, having already visited and pasing judgment on two other worlds, we see how deeply the crew has been affected by their previous decisions. I came away from this story wishing I could have witnessed those previous decisions. 

"Always leave them wanting more," is the saying; I think seeking out the author's other works is recommended.
Ships In The Night by Jay Werkheiser - 49/100 - A spacer walks into a bar and begins to tell the patrons a story about one of his trips. 

I just love stories where people are people and space travel is as common as driving a car.  This makes way for human centric adventures.  I belive an author gets it right when the story can take place in the past, present or future because people are people, you know?

The Audience by Sean McMullen - 50/100 - A fasinating take on a first contact senario.  It takes the classic question of "how much information do we share with an alien race?" and boils it down to one person's decision.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Wormhole War by Richard Lovett - Short Story Review


My god the science went right over my head. Thank goodness there was a scene at a bar with coins to explain things. It was a very good first contact story with crisp believable dialog and a good dose of wit.

Richard A Lovett's website is here:

Richard A Lovett

Monday, October 12, 2015

Jamie Oliver, The Kitchen Crusader, Unauthorised Biography by Gilly Smith - Book Report #147

At first I was a bit wary of this book.  It was the word "unauthorised" that raised a warning flag.  To me, it sounded like a volume that would do nothing but tear the guy apart, otherwise why wouldn't it be authorized?  

What I found was a well researched story of his early life, culled from many print and TV interviews.  I found it was actually quite balanced in portraying the man.

I must confess that I am a giant fan of Mr. Oliver. He has changed everything about how I cook and how I purchase food. So I really wanted to just like the guy.  I really didn't want to find out that he was some kind of jerk you'd never want to be in the same room with.  According to Smith, Oliver is pretty much what you see on TV.  

The dark side that is Jamie Oliver, like many rebels (think Jobs or Musk), is that he can be single-minded in his pursuits.  This can lead to stresses in his marriage and create friction with the institutions he has targeted.  This guy has the ability of Thor and can come in with a great big hammer and smash things up.  But it is his passion that ultimately comes through and even though he may have upset people along the way, most concede that he is doing good things and is working form a noble place.

Much of the book dug deeply into his movement to improve food quality in the UK's schools and how it has impacted other movements, such as Slow Food and the local/organic trends in food culture.

It sure made me think more deeply about my own food hang-ups and gave me some positive energy to continue on the path of consuming better quality ingredients.  The local/organic thing is much more than eating healthier but there is also a very real economic impact that results from the purchases we make.  This should also be considered when deciding to buy local or not.

I would recommend this book as it will get you thinking about food culture, agriculture, pesticides and making informed choices.

The author's web page is:

Gilly Smith

* * *

I found this at a lovely used book store on Whyte Ave, uninspiringly called The Edmonton Book Store, but don't let that discourage you.  I have never seen such an outstanding collection of non-fiction in one place, plus, the basement is a literal treasure trove of western Canadian history.  I must go back soon.  They are located at 10533 82 Ave.

Visit the website at -

* * *

I will be donating this book to my library in the hopes that somebody else can get behind the notion of paying attention to what we eat.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance - Book Report #146

Subtitle Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Think what you will but you've got to agree that Elon Musk is a very interesting man.  He's often been described as a real world Tony Stark of the Iron Man comics and movies.  And in many ways he is; in at least how motivated he is to think outside the box and to see his vision come to fruition.

He is a billionaire who is unafraid to risk all of it to make things work.  To him, it seems, money is only a tool, much like a hammer, to achieve his ultimate goals for humanity.  Money is a luxury most people lack and he is using his for a greater good.

I was fascinated by this book.  I took every opportunity to read a page or two when I could not devote a nice slice of time to it. He is also sometimes compared to Steve Jobs, at least in how abrasive and quick to fire people who do not meet his expectations.  Unlike Jobs he is motivated by forcing humanity into a sustainable and space faring world of the science fiction he read in his youth.  Not be creating a gadget.  He is not content with the pace of progress we've been experiencing for the last 50 years.

I've got to say; I agree with him.  Ever since Apollo ended the promice of  a technological, space-traveling future has withered away.  The world needs risk-taking, motivated individuals like Tesla, Edison, Bell, Diamandis, Branson, Jobs, Berners-Lee and Musk.  These folks, and so many others, have transformed our world in profound ways, making the world a better place.

On the subject of Musk; only time will tell what his contributions will do to transform our live.  He certainly knows what he wants to get out of his endeavors - nothing less than Mars!  Just think about all the ancillary benefits this kind of goal would bring to people around the world.  The massive effort needed would employ so many folks that it is staggering to even contemplate.

Think about how many new jobs, jobs that did not exist 30 years ago, have been created by the adoption of the Internet. Musk will not be satisfied with anything less than a paradigm shift in humanity's direction as a single people.

In any case I found the book fascinating and I am so glad I had the opportunity to read it and learn about this interesting man.

Ashlee Vance's web page is here:

Elon Musk
Ashlee Vance

Monday, September 28, 2015

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin - Book Report #145

Is there anybody who hasn't been touched by Steve Martin's work?  Stand up comedy, movies, books and music; this guy has pretty much done it all by following his passions and his heart.

This memoir chronicles his early years, from childhood to the height of comedy stardom.  In it he talks about his personal life without ever getting creepy about it.  His style is straight forward and honest much like he was telling you stories after dinner, in the living room.  His intelligence, thoughtfulness and humour seep into every passage making this a wonderful experience.

Hearing how he felt and dealt with lack of fame then and abundance of it was refreshing.  I was very happy to get the pay off I wanted from this: why did he turn his back so completely from stand up?  His answer is honest, intelligent, understandable and respectful to his audience.  I have come away from this only wanting to know more about this unusual man and with the desire to embrace the other aspects of his entertainment career, namely his novels and music.

I experienced this as an audio book and I recommend anybody to do so as well.  There are many benefits from this format; firstly it is read by Mr. Martin with his rich, warm voice, plus he also replays some of his best bits on stage and some things that did not make the show.  With his ability to deliver lines, you don't want to leave it to yourself to get it right.  The added bonus of the audio book are the musical interludes between chapters and the short performance at the end, all performed by Martin.  The audio book is a very rich experience.

Better yet buy the paper book and the audio version, it would make a terrific set.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - Book Report #144

This novel has been on my radar for a while.  When I heard Steven Spielberg was set to direct the movie version (2017) I decided it was time to read it.

The story takes place in the near future (2044) where climate change has destroyed the economy as we know it today.  There is more poverty than North America is used to and people escape their unhappy lives through a virtual reality version of Second Life, known as the OASIS.

That time period's Steve Jobs, who created the OASIS, falls ill.  Upon his death it is revealed that he has left his vast fortune hidden somewhere in the OASIS.  But it's not THAT easy, whoever is lucky enough to find it has first to find three hidden keys to unlock three hidden gates where he or she will be challenged solve the various puzzles and tasks within the gates.

The story begins five years after the "game" was revealed and no one has found the first key.  Our narrator is Wade Watts, a teenager who lives in "the stacks", poverty stricken and living without his parents in an aunt's trailer.  Life is not pleasant for Wade and he spends as much time as he can in OASIS within the relative safety of his secret lair buried deep within a pile of junked cars.

The story leaps off the page in a very cinematic way making it easy to envision Spielberg's touch.  The novel is steeped in 1980's pop culture and video game history.  What I found interesting is that the book is considered YA making me wonder what the appeal could be to Millennials with such a dense reference to those days.  It felt like it was written for me by an author who is only 7 years younger than me.

And yes, I got almost all the references and enjoyed this story very much.

I certainly recommend it.  It is an easy read and flows quickly.  There is not a lot of dialog but the narration is effortless.

The author's website is here:

Ernest Cline

Friday, September 11, 2015

Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku - Book Report #143

Once again, in an effort to see the good in the world, I turned to Kaku's book about the future.

He covers eight broad subject areas, looks at where the technology is today and a year or two from now.  Then he takes on the futurist role and expands the subject to the near future (present to 2030) followed by mid-century predictions (2030 to 2070) and ending with speculation on the far future (2070 to 2100).

The book looks at the future of:

The Computer
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Space Travel

He ends the book with a bit of creative fiction; a day in the life of a regular office worker which brings all the technology discussed and shows how he interacts with it.

I liked the book but I did not love it.  But that's not really a flaw of the author or the book, it's just that some areas, like nanotechnology and space travel, are either in their infancy or have been so neglected that it's difficult to believe some of the changes predicted.  Some of the topics lent themselves to believable extrapolation while others felt like pure guesswork. 

Each topic is its own entity and does not lead into the next, meaning you can pick and choose which chapters to read without losing anything by skipping one or reading them out of order.

The strength of the book is that it will give you a sense of wonder and hopefulness for the future.

Now if only we can get humanity to just get along with each other we can get down to the business of creating the future depicted by Kaku.

You can find the author's website here:

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Further Adventures of Slugger McBatt by W P Kinsella - A Short Story Collection - BookReport #142

Before I get into the stories let me just say that if you love baseball, the history of it, the pace, the slow understanding of it; you will love this book.  The collection is about people, legends, history, summer heat, scams and troublemakers.

It is a wonderful collection.  Kinsella can tell a story.

Distances - 32/100. A stranger comes to town and befriends two young men.  Together they arrange a challenge game made up of the local high school team and a Division One team.

The stranger treats the boys well but he's certainly up to something. 

This was a wonderful story, perfect for a sunny day with a cold beer.  Good thing that's how I read it.

Reports Concerning the Death of the Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat Exaggerated - 33/100.  Wow.  This story took me by surprise but I liked it.  Just sit back and enjoy a story of an extraterrestrial who just happens to look exactly like sports mascot.

The Further Adventures of Slugger McBatt  - 34/100- A touching story of an awkward boy who befriends the jocks of his school through his cartooning abilities.  It is a universal coming of age story that is directed to those of us who struggled with athletics. 

Frank Pierce, Iowa - 35/100- This story read like poetry, a lazy remembrance of a hot, midsummer day on the prairies. It's about the legend of how a small Iowa town just - disappeared. 

Of course it's more than that; what truly stuck with me was the heat of a blazing hot afternoon. 

K Mart - 36/100 - This was an emotionally complicated story about a high-schooler growing up in a remote town, his friends, a young girl and a suicide. 

Regret and release. Memories and diverging paths. 

Sad and lovely. 

The Valley of the Schmoon - 37/100 - A one sided conversation in the dead of night driving to Seattle. The driver, an old player turned catcher's coach, is telling stories to his passenger, a rookie about to play his first games in the big league. 

The world is passing our narrator by as he reminisces on how life used to be and how the game has changed. 

It seems to be a truism of aging that the world can somehow leave you behind without your realizing it. 

Punchlines -38/100 - There's one on every team - a trouble maker, somebody who always winds up in some kind of trouble either with the law, a husband or in a hospital.  The kind of person who has never grown up can be fun in small doses but can wear a team down if he can't be controlled.

There tends to be a reason these types of guys keep acting out and in this story it still kind of works but it won't be long before in makes a reader groan.  Still it's a good read.

The Eddie Scissons Syndrome. - 39/100 - I'm not quite sure how I feel about this story. It ends too soon and too abruptly.

A college student and former designated hitter prospect is injured and takes a job as a teacher's aid with a professor studying pathological sports liars: people who brag about playing in the big leagues but haven't.

They track down an old man in a VA hospital to uncover his story.

The professor's motivation is never made quite clear and the reaction of the student made little sense to me either.

Sadly, this is the first story that did not work for me.

Come to think of it, the opening paragraph was wonderful. I must have read it four or five times just for the joy of it.

I could have been another Greg Luzinski.  A sportswriter wrote
about me that I run forward with the same speed a mixer full of
concrete moves backward.  I'm built close to the ground; my
teammates used to call me Dumpster.  Just like the "Bull" I was big
and slow, but I could hit the ball a mile with great regularity.

Diehard - 40/100 - An old friend has died.  What to do with the ashes.

Beautiful, hopeful and heartwarming. A lovely story.

Searching For Freddie - 41/100 - A sports reporter chases a base stealing legend across time and across America.

Yet another hart-warming story about a baseball legend who spent very little time in the Bigs but made an impression on people.   There is an understated magic to this story that made me sigh and sit back in my chair with a smile.

Conclusion - 

Let me say this book was a joy from start to finish. Highly recommended.

You can find Kinsella's website here:

W. P. Kinsella

Monday, August 10, 2015

Star Trek: The Typhon Pact: Paths of Disharmony by Dayton Ward - BookReport #141

Let me first say that I love Dayton Ward's work but I hated this book.

I so wanted to like it, I really did but the plot was so dull and you can tell that Ward's hands were tied behind his back. 

The plot revolves around the Andorians and their eventual backing out of the United Federation of planets. 

What?! You think I spoiled it? This is the fourth book in the series - knowing that you can bet that the alien race being explored is, or will be, in the Typhon Pact. The whole "Gasp!" surprise was telegraphed in the title!  Which made the first 400 pages nearly meaningless. 

The best parts of the book, and what I love about Ward's writing, is how real and believable the secondary characters were; conversations and humour came naturally and made me believe in the Star Trek universe. 

That boring political shit that Ward was forced to write about felt stiff and unnatural.  I could only read ten pages at a time before I would either fall asleep or wish I could do something more interesting, like clean the toilet or, well, clean the toilet again. 

Hey, you can't win them all. But after this one I am considering donating the rest of the un-read books in this series to my local library. Or I might just recycle them; so far this series is beyond dull. Every author has been shackled by the editors at Pocket and made to row the ship in their decreed direction. There seems to be far too much editorial control going on. 

Dayton Ward is a fantastic author who can plot and pace a book like no one else and I love his ability to breathe life into characters.  His ability to create believable and humorous dialogue is his best quality as an author.  To be honest I think I need to read is non-tie-in books to get the true measure of the man.  Reading this particular book I can hear him pounding his fists against the walls of the tiny editorial cell he was dropped in.  There is a large talent lurking here and it needs to be set free.

Don't be afraid to visit Ward's blog, The Fog Of Ward, you'll get a measure of the man there.  Trust me, he's worth reading.

Dayton Ward

Monday, August 3, 2015

Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser - Book Report #140

One more in my quest for the good in the world. Here Glaeser makes a compelling and well researched argument that the city is humanity's best invention.

I came to this book after listening to the Freakonomics podcast from May 6, 2015 titled Could The Next Brooklyn Be ... Las Vegas?!  Listen to that as a good companion to the book.  You can find it here:

Everything you love and hate about city life is explored; the very nature of crowds,  people bumping into each other and exchanging ideas has led to advancements in science, business and the arts. 

By compressing people and building up, instead of sprawling out we take up much less land and reduce our individual carbon footprint. 

My favourite thought came from chapter 8, titled Is There Anything Greener Than Blacktop?  "If you love nature, stay away from it."

He also tackles the difficult subject of cities in decline, think Detroit of today and New York of the 1970's and how cities have re-imagined themselves over and over again. 

All in all I found this book to be a fascinating read. It made me think of where my city is doing things right and where it is not.

Edward Glaeser

Monday, July 20, 2015

Virgin Galactic, The First Ten Years by Erik Seedhouse - Book Report #139

Not to distance myself too far from my science fiction roots my next book to help restore my faith in humanity was the story of Virgin Galactic.

You may have heard about Richard Branson's next way-out business venture; after the success of the Ansari X Prize Branson invested in Scaled Composites to create Spaceship Two and sell tickets to space.

The book tells the story of suborbital flight from it's beginnings and of all the challenges faced with this type of flight.

But the author also delves deeper into the challenges of the first ten years of Virgin Galactic up to and including the tragic crash of October 2014.  Getting this business off the ground (take the pun if you want) requires patience, bravery and deep pockets.  Luckily Branson has all those qualities but I fear that the entire project is in danger of being abandoned - How much more money can he put into this?

Given that I grew up watching the Apollo program, I really want this project to succeed.  As far as I am concerned there should be moon bases all over the place and we should be on Mars by now. Opening space to commercial ventures is the only way space will be truly explored.  Why?  Because there is money to be made up there!

Back to the book - found it odd.  Don't get me wrong, I liked it very much and got more from it than I expected, it's just that it felt like I was reading a paper-bound version of a Wikipedia page.  Maybe it was all the website links listed at the end of each chapter, maybe it's the output the author, I can't put my finger on it. 

And speaking about the author, Seedhouse should be wearing a cape!  Author, astronaut, ultra-long distance athlete, master's degree in medical science, paratrooper -  how can a person like this not be genetically engineered?  Maybe he will simply explode from doing so much.

I kid, but really, this guy is a modern day version of Doc Savage.

Virgin Galactic

X Prize - Ansari X Prize

Scaled Composites

Erik Seedhouse

Monday, July 13, 2015

Around The World In 80 Days by Michael Palin - Book Report #138

If you listen to the news you must feel, as I do, that we are living in a pretty shitty place and a pretty shitty time.  The world is not like that.  As a matter of fact it is much, much better than what we are being bombarded with in the media.  I'm not saying terrible things are not happening, they are, but it's not the only thing going on.

Because I needed to let some sunshine in and feel good about things I've turned to a few books that focus on the good that people do.

To start off I returned to my hero Michael Palin.  It was way, way back in 1988 that Michael took the challenge the BBC offered him to travel around the world following the path of Jules Vern's character Phileas Fogg.  Could the journey be done in modern times given how the world had changed since the book was published in 1873?

This book is the companion to the TV series and it is best if you take the time to watch that to get the full experience.  I read the paperback edition that holds a copyright of 1999. The original hardback was published in 1989.

The book is presented as a series of journal entries and included two sets of pictures of his journey.  Not only does Palin describe the places he saw and the food eaten but he also describes his own doubts of his ability to pull off being a presenter.  He also goes to describe the adventures of his crew, lovingly called Passepartout, after Fogg's companion in the novel.

The overwhelming generosity of strangers and the openness of people is something I found surprising and touching.  A wonderful tonic to restore your faith in humanity.

Michael Palin has made a positive impact on the world.

Michael Palin has two websites.  The first one is dedicated to his travels and you can read each book on-line!

The second one is also very, very interesting if your are interested in the man himself.  Wonderful. Check out his Ramblings page.  Also wonderful.

Michael Palin

Monday, July 6, 2015

Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire by David R. George III - Book Report #137

This is an interesting series in that it is much more an exploration of the adversaries encountered in the Star Trek universe than it is stand alone adventures from the different shows.

Each book so far, has taken individual characters out of their usual environment and entangled them into a specific culture that has been at odds with the Federation.  So far we've scrapped with the Breen, the Gorn and now the Romulans.

There are really two stories here; first, Spock is still on Romulus still trying to re-unify Vulcans and Romulans.  This was established in the TNG television shows and makes for a nice transition to the book.  The other plot line follows Benjamin Sisko as he continues to struggle to define his life and move on from his experiences in the Celestial Temple.

Both these plot lines happen at the same time as the Romulan Empire tries to avoid a civil war.

By the end of the book I have acquired a deeper understanding of the Romulan culture which will help underpin future novels.

To be honest, I'm a fan of Star Trek, but I find myself wondering how big a geek I really am.  I read these books to try and recapture a bit of the sense of wonder and excitement I got from the television shows.  This series definitely pushes our characters forward and it is those Federation characters I come to the books for.  I am less interested in the political structures of every bad guy we've encountered.

That said it just means the series is not my cup of tea -  it is not a reflection of the author's ability to write an interesting story.  In each case so far, I've wished I was following the story from the bridge of a Federation ship but I've always come away feeling like the universe has been made richer for it.  I just personally find it a bit of a slog to get through.

David R. George III

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Human Division/Episode 2 - Walk The Plank by John Scalzi


Yikes! What a gritty story.

Unlike Episode 1 we are presented here with an audio transcript of an interview from a dying man who survived an attack by pirates. (yes! space pirates! cool.)

The poor survivor thinks he made it to safety but he, quite literately, dropped from one dangerous situation into another.

I was hoping we'd pick the story up with the same cast of characters from Episode 1 but instead I found the universe Scalzi has created expanded before me.  I loved the grittiness of it.  Space is hard and it takes tough people to occupy it.

I am now a giant fan of Scalzi.  This guy can write in any style he wants and make the story a pleasure to read.

John Scalzi's website is here:

John Scalzi

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Human Division/Episode 1 - The B-Team by John Scalzi


Scalzi is a fantastic writer.  In no time at all he can build a believable world filled with likable characters.  The disadvantage I had with this story is that it is deep into the Old Man's War series.  But even by dropping into the middle of the story The B-Team was a small enough that I could grab on to the plot points of this particular mission and enjoy it thoroughly.

I really enjoyed this one; the dialog was crisp and fun and I particularly liked that these people were not considered the best-of-the-best which made the whole thing sing for me.  But there is a lot of information to gather to fully understand what is going on in this little adventure.  There are enormous political divisions that gives the whole thing more meaning.  Space opera is like that and space opera is good, it's just a bit intimidating knowing there are many books that I missed.

The trick is to whet a reader's appetite to dive into the world that was created.  Scalzi did a fantastic job in getting me interested in the story as a whole without taking anything away from the short story I was reading at the time.  It did it's job; it entertained me and got me hooked on the back list as well.  I will read one more from the Human Division then put it down to read the first books of the Old Man's War series.

John Scalzi's website is here:

John Scalzi

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sentience Signified by J. L. Forrest from Analog Magazine, May 2015


Another first professional sale!  At least according to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.

This was a well-realized First Contact scenario.

What I loved best was the ease the author wrote this story.  It felt like Forrest has been writing, and publishing for years; there was nary an info dump or needless exposition anywhere.  The story was paramount and details were revealed as needed an in the context of the story.  This is an author to keep an eye on.

I loved the interaction of the main character with the AI of the orbiting ship.  There was structure and protocols in every aspect of the mission that I found reassuring.  I found that I just slipped into the story without having to spend much effort getting my head around the rules and ways of the world the author created.


J.L. Forrest's website is here:

J. L. Forrest