The Cruel Stars


So let me drum up a little early excitement for a new book and universe being launched by John Birmingham on the 20th of August, 2019.

As you can see from the above image, the book is called The Cruel Stars. It is the first in a series of books based on humanity’s far future. You can read the premise on the link I included above, Lord knows the professional marketing types do a better job with that stuff than I.

Full disclosure: I was part of the beta process for Cruel Stars. I’ve read the first draft of the book, and it is pretty damn good. Read a lot of sci-fi, and JB nailed it with this space opera.

Of course it bears the hallmarks of Birmingham’s style. Hard hitting action. Realistic good guys and bad guys, with plenty of shades of gray. A living “world,” or worlds, rather.  Excellent scenes, memorable lines and solid interaction. A well planned plot that drives implacably to a can’t-put-me-down ending. What this guy writes is worth reading, there is a reason he is one of my top three authors.

Me, I’m putting my money where my mouth is and I’m pre-ordering two hardcopies. One for me, one for my dad.

Sometimes the wait is worth it, and this is one of those cases.

Go ahead, pre-order a copy. You know you want to.

Some other stuff I’m keeping my eye on.

An article caught my eye the other day, it seems that another object is hurtling toward us from deep space, and if it impacts the planet it will carry quite a punch. A 50 megaton punch. I rather dislike large meteorites, they can cause no end of trouble. However, we’d still be huddling in caves from the dinosaurs if one wouldn’t have really smacked us 66 million odd years ago. If a big enough one hits us again, it’s back to the caves.

Also, read about a Chinese researcher who has done the first gene-editing on a human embryo, the purported purpose of the experiment was to prevent future HIV infections. Hate to say it, but gene editing is the wave of the future. And it’s a wave we may not want to ride. However, the curious tinkerer types simply must keep messing with the latch to Pandora’s box. Read the article and ask yourself if a child is a suitable vehicle for an experiment- the parents opt in, but the kid has to deal with any unforeseen effects. Unethical seems an understatement.

Finally, another probe has landed on Mars. The Insight probe will be drilling down into the surface and relaying data back to scientists here on Earth. My mind boggles at how you can shoot an unmanned spacecraft to a planet hundreds of millions of kilometers away, hit the target, successfully decelerate, land, and deploy a sensitive scientific instrument.

I know I’ve been critical of NASA from time to time on this site, but hats off to the team responsible for the latest of a string of Mars exploration vehicles.


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