Links (2018-08-15)

Science Fiction

Birthdays

Linked names above go to bios. Linked names below go to free works online.

What a difference a week makes. From almost no birthdays, to almost a dozen. And still of high quality, as Forward wrote a masterpiece with Dragon’s Egg and a near-one with Flight of the Dragonfly. If you’re a Clement fan, you have to read them. Amazing to think that those two Gregs share the same birthday. Bear could do almost nothing wrong from about 1983-93 and, in the late 80s, Egan really came on the scene as the best SF writer of his era. Diaspora should have been as big as Neuromancer and his other novels and, especially, the collections can’t be missed, either. On a different note, I’ve said before I need to read more Lovecraft but it seems necessary to mention him even if I haven’t yet.

Gernsback basically made SF a thing, with April 1926 being perhaps the most important nominal date in SF. Boucher (like Gernsback, only more so) wrote fiction but is also more famous as an editor and helped bring F&SF into existence and also edited the excellent two volume set of A Treasury of Science Fiction. And Clarke brings us Clarkesworld these days.

Speaking of Gernsback, Wesso did a lot of the famous artwork for Amazing and others, while van Dongen did a lot for Astounding and more (such as a cover for the aforementioned Clement’s The Best of Hal Clement).

Finally, Roddenberry is, of course, synonymous with Star Trek. While Cameron is involved with many things I don’t care about or for, he’s connected with three of my favorite movies (Terminator, T2, Aliens) so that’s pretty good.

Happy birthday, all!

Science

Parker Solar Probe

This sub-section is a follow-up to “Links (2018-08-01)” (Science #7). If all goes reasonably well, I expect there will be at least one big popular science book about this. History! Speed! Danger! Discovery! It’s got it all.

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SouthEastern USA Special done right.

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Review: Apex #111

Apex #111, August 2018

Original Fiction:

  • “For Southern Girls When the Zodiac Ain’t Near Enough” by Eden Royce
  • “Prism” by Stefanie Elrick
  • “La Ciguapa, For the Reeds, For Herself” by J. M. Guzman
  • “Gasping” by Brandon O’Brien
  • “Jewel of the Vashwa” by Jordan Kurella
  • “The Barnum Effect” by Celia Neri

This Zodiac-themed “special issue” is guest-edited by Sheree Renee Thomas. All stories are short and all are fantasies (the last is a technofantasy). All but the first and last are in the first person. The first is in the second person and is one of three consecutive stories which refer to “you” heavily throughout the story. The first three are in the present tense while the next two are not purely, plainly, in the past. The second, third, and last are not entirely in English. The second is sprinkled with a sort of Spanglish, the third is is what I assume is a Dominican dialect, and the last is filled with minor ESL-isms and/or typos an editor and/or proofreader should have fixed.

Southern Girls” involves a woman, who seems like a placeholder more than a specific individual, getting a Tarot reading with an odd deck which speaks from and to a Southern nature. There is a magic voice doing most of the reading which could be stage magic and otherwise nothing fantastic occurs. “Prism” (Gemini) is a tale of twins (sort of) which tries to blend music, mirrors, and the occult into a revelation of self but is initially dull and consistently overwritten. (It also has an impressively dead metaphor: “The music is deafening, but now I can’t hear it.”). “La Ciguapa” (Libra) treats of the Dominican succubus but, like “Southern Girls,” seems to have stick figure characters in search of a plot as it more or less conveys that men are scum and “a Black woman” will judge at an apocalypse. “Gasping” (Aquarius?) describes “white people” finding a superficially human sea creature in Ireland and raising it in Tobago. The style did not make for an easy read. “Jewel” has a half-scorpion storyteller open with two lies before (possibly) telling the truth about her jealousy breaking a truce between the Scorpion Men and soft people who procreate with each other when they aren’t killing each other. “Barnum” (the protagonist is a Pisces) is about people developing an AI to write horoscopes but, when one of the developers survives a terrorist attack after following the advice of hers, she decides its sentient. The story’s biggest problems are its underlying silliness and its problematic English, though the protagonist seemed like an individual experiencing a bit of trauma and allowing need to collapse ambiguity.