A team of scientists studying a star system far from home send a plea for help to those they left behind. It will take nearly 30 years to get a response. What question is so important it’s worth waiting half a lifetime to get an answer?
Nobody expected a meteorite to wipe out the Eastern Seaboard, but we had as little chance as the dinosaurs of surviving the ensuing climate catastrophe. There was only one way out: the space program.
The Atargatis was found deserted and covered in blood. Footage showing all aboard being eaten by mermaids was dismissed as a hoax. But now Imagine Entertainment plan to send a second ship to prove the lovely ladies of the sea exist. What can possibly go wrong?
By the end of the twenty-first century, we’ll know we are not alone. We will have pushed forward with our own evolution. We will have brought our worst nightmares back to haunt us from the past. And Dan Brüks, stubbornly baseline, reliant on pills to keep up with his tweaked peers, will head into space with a crew that has transcended humanity in search of God.
Blindsight: the ability of the cortically blind to respond to stimuli they cannot (consciously) ‘see’.
Also: a Hugo-nominated hard SF novel by Peter Watts, which asks us what makes us human and whether – in the face of demonstrably more viable alternatives – it’s all it’s cracked up to be.
My second whole-hearted 5★ read of the year comes from the irrepressible Randall Munroe of XKCD (my favourite stick figure strip – sorry OOTS). This book applies almost serious science to daft questions, although Munroe reserves the right to adapt both the question and the answer for scientific and comedic effect. Also, better stick (wo)man diagrams.
Third time lucky. I had no problems engaging with The Steerswoman on this attempt and enjoyed it as […]
Henry Whittaker is a ‘useful little fingerstink’. Born to a gifted Kew gardener in the reign of George III, his ambition and determination drive him across the world and to the heady heights of Philadelphia society, reinventing himself as one of America’s richest men. His daughter Alma is a marvel: intellectually gifted and impeccably educated, if socially awkward. The novel is a majestic epic weaving historical facts into a fictional tapestry as she struggles to understand the mechanisms of creation and alteration in the age of Darwin.
This is one of those books I'm going to be grateful to for being popular, without having got […]
Ally is mad, or so her mother assures her. Mad, weak and sinful. Only physical penance and dedication to a good cause can save her.
Religion, art, psychology, women’s suffrage and Victorian medicine all come under the scope in this excellent historical novel about one girl’s journey to define herself and claim her future.
…stands for Benoit B Mandelbrot. Tonight, dizzykj and I attended the Air Accordion Society, which turns out to […]