Fifty years ago this October the world was brought to the brink of catastrophe when the United States and the USSR squared off over the stationing in Cuba of Soviet medium range ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. Less than two years later the greatest film treatment of the absurdity of nuclear warfare and one of the greatest films of all time was released by the visionary director Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Read More..
Aaron K. Brumley
While perusing the science fiction shelves in a used bookstore a certain spine caught my eye. “DON’T PANIC” it read, “NEIL GAIMAN”. ‘What on earth could that be?’ I thought, ‘Surely it couldn’t be that Neil Gaiman?’ But it could and, to my delight, it was. As it turns out, long before Sandman launched Gaiman to prominence, he penned what the cover describes as “The Official Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Companion”. Read More..
The incredible work of Neal Stephenson first came to my attention in an unusual fashion, as a promotional treat bundled with a new video game. Were it not for Specter VR, one of relatively few games available for the Macintosh platform at the time, an item so weird in mid nineties Kansas it had to be special ordered to lay hands on a copy, I might not have learned of Stephenson until years later. When the game arrived I was surprised to discover that inside the strange triangular packaging was a dense paperback tome entitled Snow Crash. Reading this novel was a revelation. I had no idea fiction could be like this. Never before had I experienced novel so filled with exciting ideas. A fascinating ingenuity and profusion of novel concepts permeated the thing and yet Stephenson did not balk at pursuing the most outrageous flights of fancy. Reading this book left my mind humming with an intense excitement about the almost magical possibilities of the technology. The future was almost here and it was going to be incredible. Read More..
In light of last night’s spectacular successful landing of the Curiosity rover on the Martian surface, now is the perfect time to read about the space program. Two books which frame the history of human space flight very well are Michael J. Neufeld’s Von Braun and Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Space Chronicles.
One could be forgiven for thinking that everything interesting in the history of space flight happened in the United States and Russia during the Cold War. While this is largely true, neither the US nor Russia can claim credit for launching the first man made object into space. Read More..
Are seven authors better than one? No. Nevertheless, The Mongoliad: Book One by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, E.D. deBirmingham, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, and Cooper Moo is still an intriguing and exciting adventure. Set at a point during the Mongol incursions into Europe at which the possibility of total Mongol conquest seemed most dire, the story is broken into three threads: Read More..
As the second season of HBO’s Game of Thrones drew to a close Sunday night with a spectacular smorgasbord of plot thread cliff-hangers, I couldn’t help thinking there just wasn’t enough space in ten episodes to do justice to the source material. While the first season remained very true to its paper and ink counterpart, the second season made larger departures from A Clash of Kings, the book upon which it was based. This may be because the second book of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire begins to become a little too complicated for the television program to handle. Read More..