Featured Futures Mk. II is over nine months old but the regular posting has only been going on for the first six months of this year. That quickly came to mean posting every Monday with book reviews and every Friday with birthday story reviews, while only posting one or two Wednesdays a month with “Links” posts.
I’m 90% certain this will crash and burn but I’m going to try to keep doing all that and post something every Wednesday with, say, extra book reviews and a monthly discussion of whatever TV shows and movies I’ve seen. We’ll see.
Meanwhile, here’s a supersized “Links” post.
- Approaching Perimelasma – novelette by Geoffrey A Landis. I wasn’t really thinking about it when I discussed this story in “Birthday Reviews: Blish, Ellison, Jones, Landis” but this is online so everyone can check out how great it is for themselves.
- Campbell and Wilhelm | Adventures Fantastic / Keith Laumer Sends a Message | Futures Past and Present . Despite often covering the same birthday authors, I think this is the first time Featured Futures and Adventures Fantastic/Futures Past and Present have covered the same story as happens here with Campbell’s “Forgetfulness.” Without drawing the connection between them that I drew by covering “The Mile-Long Spaceship,” this post also discusses Wilhelm and some of her other stories. The other post discusses Laumer but I don’t know that Laumer has “fallen into neglect.” These days, with ebooks and most any used book you want to find available at various internet sellers, it’s hard to gauge interest and, either way, everyone goes through spells. After having a lot of work available up to 2012/13 or so, he did have a lull but with Worlds of the Imperium (Dover, 2017), Three by Laumer (Gollancz, 2017), Bolo (Phoenix Pick, 2019), Rogue Bolo (Phoenix Pick, 2020), and even Keith Laumer’s Retief (Library & Archives Canada, 2020), he has five physical books in four years, which beats most living authors. But it is important to emphasize that Laumer was more than just Retief and Bolo, however wonderful those are, and this post does that. (My reviews of stories by these authors were in “Birthday Reviews: Campbell, Haldeman, Laumer, Wilhelm“.)
- Destination Moon: A 70th Anniversary Appreciation. My blog has been kindly described as having “intensely detailed analysis” but is terse compared to this guest post on Centauri Dreams. (Warning for the spoiler-averse: the section “The Film” goes through the whole plot but, even if you skip that, there are four other sections to explore.)
- Retro Hugos: “The Big and the Little” | Adventures Fantastic. Here’s another view on this story which I reviewed recently. And here’s the tag for all the reviews in the series so far: Retro-Hugos | Adventures Fantastic.
- Titan is drifting away from Saturn 100 times faster than we thought | Space. Assuming this rate is constant and you get your threescore and ten, Titan will be, not 2.8 inches, but 25 feet further away. When you consider that the current difference in just the periapsis and apoapsis of Titan is over 100,000 miles, it seems less dramatic, but it’s still interesting. (You never want to be necessarily off by two orders of magnitude in anything.)
- ‘Standard model’ of cosmology called into question by new measurements | Space. The Hubble Inconstant. Houston, we have Hubble trouble.
- Solar Orbiter spacecraft makes its 1st flyby of the sun | Space. Wonder if they’re using a Solaroid camera.
- Interstellar Shift: The New Horizons Baseline. Megaparallax from a distant spaceship.
- Panel: NOAA bowed to political pressure in Dorian dispute. One example of many.
- Sen. Sherrod Brown’s new DATA act would shift the burden to protect personal data from consumers to companies – The Washington Post. This is politics/tech, not science, but still some uncommonly good sense. So it’s doomed. I got this link from Edward M. Lerner’s blog and his title of “If only …” indicates that he thinks the same.
- Death from above? Fireball may have destroyed ancient Syrian village | Space. Not a good headline, but an interesting article about fragmented comet fireballs possibly destroying at least one of the earliest farming settlements.
- Candidate designs reviewed for ‘Teacher in Space’ Christa McAuliffe coin | Space. There’s a moral quandary here as, for some unfathomable reason, they’re only making 350,000 and I want one so I don’t want to tell anyone about this, but everyone should know about it.
The History Blog has been on fire lately.
- The History Blog » Entire Roman city mapped without digging. Look, Ma! No hands!
- The History Blog » Isaac Newton manuscript with toad vomit plague cure for sale. “Well, I’m a physicist, not a physician.”
- The History Blog » London’s first public theater unearthed. Chase too many comments and you will catch none, so all I can manage to say is that this is a very interesting article.
- The History Blog » Happy birthday, Alfa Romeo! The 1967 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale is pictured above.
- A massive volcanic eruption may have contributed to the rise of the Roman Empire | Popular Science. Here’s a non-History Blog article that is as much science as history (it’s from a science website) but seems most interesting from the historical angle. Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Lend me your earmuffs!
- The Retrenchment Syndrome | Foreign Affairs. This is a very important article which argues against a naive, pacifist foreign policy. It argues that “[r]etrenchers do not acknowledge that U.S. withdrawal often leaves a vacuum that enemies and adversaries are eager to fill” and, more specifically, that “[d]isengagement from competitions overseas would cede influence to others, such as the Chinese Communist Party, which is already redoubling efforts to promote its authoritarian model.” The article isn’t perfect (the line that the 2019 Syrian withdrawal “complicated” things is comical understatement, though it at least calls it out for the mistake it was) but it’s very good and timely.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The whole time-travel-to-the-dinosaurs sequence printed from June 22-July 4 is great but here are some highlights to convince you: “I’d explain, but…” / Say “Chee–aigh!” / Perks of Being the Boss. And here’s a great Sunday strip: Sportsmanship.
- xkcd: Low-Background Metal. Fortunately, this isn’t about music because that metal should always be as radio-active as possible…
Speaking of… rock and cover!