Monday, October 31, 2016

Rogue Star by Michael Flynn - Boor Report #164

15/15/2016

I am not sure how I feel about meeting my reading goal for the year.  I goodly chunk of it has been from audio books.  Does that make it wrong?  It's not like I didn't "consume" it, it's just that I didn't do so with my eyes.  It feels a little bit like cheating.

Audio books are certainly trending with the public, it is a real growth area of literature.  Amazon's Audible, and audio books in general, have enjoyed a 20% increase in sales in 2015 over 2014.  So I guess I am on-trend in that regard.

Okay, that said how was the book?

Fantastic!

I must say that Flynn has mastered the "literary" hard science fiction genre.  His characters are brilliantly true-to-life, they feel like real people; driven and flawed like all of us.

The book continues from the first seamlessly even though it skips ahead a bit, with the Far Trip mission nearing its destination and the construction of the LEO space station in full swing.

Throughout the book are the messy, human shenanigans that are so common in life.

I have to say that Flynn's depiction of humanity in space was a far better read than Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy.  But it occupies the same, distinct part of science fiction that cannot be ignored; that of the well-researched and plausible speculation that is so important in sparking the imagination.

Flynn's ability to keep the plot moving is what sets his work above Robinson's as he was able to keep my attention.

This book is nearly 20 years old and the only detail it departs with reality is the level of sub-orbital and low earth orbit activity that takes place.  Nothing in the book is out of the realm of the possible.

I was simply captivated by the story.

I must say something about the narrator, Malcolm Hillgartner.  This guy was terrific, his ability with voices and accents was staggering.  There are so many characters in these books that I was completely impressed with how he was able to keep them straight and to recall them.

He brought the whole thing to life.

Michael Flynn

Malcolm Hillgartner


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Born of Man and Woman by Richard Matheson - A Short Story Review


30/150/2016

This was a horrid little tale.

By that I simply mean the writing was crisp and brought me right into that little, terrible basement where the story takes place.

It was stark and unapologetic and brilliantly written.  But, being confronted with the cold hatred of the two antagonists, made me hate being human.

The author had skills to make me feel so strongly in only three and a half pages.

Excellent read.

It will stay with you.




Monday, October 24, 2016

Beyond: Our Future In Space by Chris Impey - Book Report #163

14/15/2016

I found this book to be a page-turner.  The subject of space exploration; past, present and future has always captured my imagination.

Impey did a nice job of informing the reader on how we got to here without getting bogged down in the details of the history of space exploration.

These broad strokes of background expertly puts today's program, both government and private, into focus.

The near future looks to be held back only by money and a bit of engineering.  I found myslef wishing that it's five years from now.  I want to know how it all turns out.

Where the book lost my interest was the final section, which looks at the far future.  One where we are no longer content with our solar system but are now making moves to interstellar travel.

My own personal interest is in the near future; how do we go back to the moon and then Mars?  Asteroid mining and generally moving human activity off the face of Earth, that's what really intrigues me.

The book would have felt funny if Impey did not tackle the subject of voyages beyond the solar system.  Most science fiction is based on this type of journey.

The book is very approachable, well written and makes a complex subject come into focus.  There is no doubt about where we are going, the sub-title says it all:  Our Future In Space.

I enjoyed the book very much and I am glad I was able to read it.

Chris Impey's website -  http://chrisimpey-astronomy.com/

Chris Impey