May 26, 2017

Weekend Reads - RAW 170526

This week we is very science heavy since I've been reading a lot of Astronomy and Space articles. But at the end there's an article on writing your first novel. Of special interest this last week is that Tabbies Star is staring to dim again so a lot of telescopes are trained in that direction.

If you haven't seen my latest video yet, I discuss Tabbies Star and a possible scenario about what could be happening alone with a novel Pandoras Star by Peter F Hamilton, it's worth a look.

There's also my latest articles:

So when it's time to relax this weekend, grab your favourite beverage and enjoy exploring the galaxy with the following articles

The perplexing cosmic object known as "Boyajian's star" is once again exhibiting a mysterious pattern of dimming and brightening that scientists have tried to explain with hypotheses ranging from swarms of comets to alien megastructures.

When NASA announced its discovery of the TRAPPIST-1 system back in February it caused quite a stir, and with good reason. Three of its seven Earth-sized planets lay in the star's habitable zone, meaning they may harbour suitable conditions for life. But one of the major puzzles from the original research describing the system was that it seemed to be unstable.<\b>

A recent study on a space anomaly that has perplexed scientists for years has some suggesting that it could be explained by a parallel "bubble universe" — although there are other, more standard potential explanations, as well

An interstellar thruster, a Martian farming kit and an artificial gravity lift are just three of NASA’s latest investments. The space agency has announced funding for 22 projects that could help astronauts venture further into space than ever before. Some of the designs aid NASA’s plans to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, while others may support later missions to different solar systems.

Netflix seems to really be on an ‘80s kick lately, as in addition to the upcoming sophomore season of Stranger Things the streaming giant has just announced new series that’s a prequel to Jim Henson’s cult classic The Dark Crystal.

Assaph Mehr is a software product manager who moonlights as an urban fantasy novelist. Here is everything Mehr learned on the path to becoming an author — from the actual writing to publishing and marketing the finished work. If you think you have a novel buried inside you, this guide will help you get it out.

Head over to my Facebook page The BistroMath to join the conversation. While you're there 'like' it so you are notified when new posts are up.  You can also follow me on Twitter or Google+. To do so click on the images below.
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May 24, 2017

Redshirts by John Scalzi | DNF

I was really excited to read Redshirts it had all the hallmarks of a story I thought would like.   It's a story that pokes fun at some of the Science Fiction tropes, kind of like Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or any of Terry Pratchett's Sci-Fi or Fantasy novels.

Here are the notes that I took while still reading it:

  • A lighthearted read with Scalzi’s trademark humour.  
  • It breaks the '4th wall' quite a bit which is a bit jarring to start of with.
  • Blatantly pokes fun at science fiction writers and the tropes however it does grow on you and get better and better as the story goes along.  

Without giving away to much of the plot the story deals with existential crisis and the topic of whether we have free will to determine our own fate or if it's all ready been predetermined for us and we can't escape it.

In the end though, I found it hard to suspend my disbelief while reading it and this has hampered my enjoyment of the book.  It could be that the plot doesn't take itself very seriously at all or just my state of mind at the moment but I hope to be able to pick it up again at a later time and enjoy it.

Have you read Redshirts? If so what did you think?

DNF means Did Not Finish. When reading for enjoyment we sometimes come across a book which we can't finish. If you aren't enjoying a book stop reading it immediately and go onto another one you will enjoy. Don't take this as a failure on your behalf, just chalk it up to experience and move on.

Just remember to enjoy reading more and thinking more... with your favourite beverage, of course!


by John Scalzi

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It's a prestige posting, and Andrew is even more delighted when he's assigned to the ship's Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn't be better ... although there are a few strange things going on:

(1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces

(2) the ship's captain, the chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these encounters

(3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Suddenly it's less surprising how much energy is expended below decks on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned an Away Mission. Andrew's fate may have been sealed ... until he stumbles on a piece of information that changes everything ... and offers him and his fellow redshirts a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives ...

Interested? Get yourself a copy by clicking here: Redshirts

In these post titled 'Up and Coming Reads', I want to provide you with some suggested reading material. These are books which look interesting to me and that I'd like to share with you. The links will be affiliate links, so if you going to make a purchase at Amazon I'd appreciate you using the link. Doing so will help me buy more books so it should be a win-win for us both.

Enjoy reading more and thinking more... with your favourite beverage!

Head over to my Facebook page The BistroMath to join the conversation. While you're there 'like' it so you are notified when new posts are up.  You can also follow me on Twitter or Google+. To do so click on the images below.
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May 21, 2017

Pandora's Star | #5 Treasures from the Bookshelf

Want to travel the galaxy, but can't find a spaceship within five light years that you can hitch a ride on? Well, here we'll see how Science Fiction can be instrumental helping you do that and for less than $30 a trip. The towel's optional!

With KIC 8462852 or Tabby's Star in the news again, I thought I'd get cracking and finish editing a video I started months ago.  Here's the results. Enjoy with your favourite beverage, of course.

Interested? Click here to get a copy.

May 19, 2017

Weekend Reads - RAW 179529

This week's breaking news, apart from the new Star Trek Discovery TV series trailer dropping, is the amazingly well preserved dinosaur found in a quarry, by accident! Along with that we look at how science fiction writers are shaping our future, the next mission to Pluto, encasing radioactive material in glass plus much more.

So this weekend when it's time to relax this weekend, grab your favourite beverage and have a read of the following articles.

Start by reading through my latest three articles:

May 17, 2017

Discover | Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black

If you're in the mood for an Apocalyptic Alien Invasions story then this is the book for you. This debut novel by J. Patrick Black, is brought to life by the many narrators of the book, each one represents a different part of the society of Ninth City.

Seanan McGuire, author of Magic for Nothing, says that "Ninth City Burning is simultaneously an epic fantasy, a science fiction adventure, a coming of age story, and a delight."

Fans of Ender, Harry Potter, Starship Troopers, and manga-style armored mobile suits will find Black’s debut the perfect ticket to a fantastic new world…This thrilling kickoff to an action-packed series will appeal to those who enjoy science fiction mixed with fantasy.

Have you read it yet? If so catch up with me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know what you thought.

May 14, 2017

Revenger by Alastair Reynolds, A Quick Look

This article started off as an Up and Coming Reads however I was able to read Revenger before that post went live, so here were my initial thoughts before reading:

We all love a good swashbuckling adventure filled with pirates and buried treasure... so this type of adventure set in space has placed this book to the top of my To Be Read list. Alastair Reynolds is a good old school, Hard Sci Fi writer and I'm very interested to read his version of a space pirates adventure.

It splits the difference between Firefly and Chris Wooding’s Retribution Falls novels, albeit with more of an emphasis on the sci in sci-fi than in either of those tall tales.
Niall Alexander

After Reading...

May 12, 2017

Weekend Reads - RAW 170512

This week we look at exo-planets and the colonisation of space (or if we really need to). Along with the regular reading stuff like how to read 200 books in a year... it's possible.

So when it's time to relax this weekend, grab your favourite beverage and have a read of the following articles.

You can start off with some of my stuff like: