Phoebe Cornelius, the protagonist of “The Ether of Space,” the second of the five long stories in this collection, makes a living explaining scientific concepts to laymen. This is Andrea Barrett’s forte also. Three of these stories are set in the wings of some great scientific discovery: Phoebe is trying to comprehend Einstein’s Relativity; her son Sam becomes a pioneer in the relatively new science of genetics; and an earlier story explores the impact of Darwinism on the younger generation of scientists in America. In all these cases, Barrett explains the underlying concepts with great clarity.
“This is not a book about the great Austrian physicist, Ludwig Boltzmann, nor, despite its importance in my life, is it about Antarctica. It is more about time and chance and the images and dreams we bring with us from childhood which shape who we are and what we become. It is about science and atoms and starry nights and what we think we remember, though we have made it up.”
In Leonard Rosen’s superb mystery, ALL CRY CHAOS, Henri PoincarÃ©, fifty-seven, is a veteran Interpol agent who believes that it is “better to let one criminal go free than to abuse the law and jeopardize the rights of many.”
November 3, 2011
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Foreign Detective, Interpol, Mathmatician, Permanent Press, Philosophical, Sciences Â· Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Debut Novel, Sleuths Series, World Lit
THE QUANTUM THIEF by Hannu Rajaniemi is a tremendous first novel, first published in Great Britain last year and now in the US. It is a wild adventure story taking place centuries from now on Mars. The solar system has been colonized by our descendents, not all of whom get along. Technologies based on quantum weirdness are everywhere. Robotics has progressed well beyond true artificial intelligence. Jean le Flambeur, master thief, is broken free from prison to steal some time. This is what might be called hard science fiction in that the science is an intelligent and informed extrapolation of what we now know or speculate.
YOU ARE NOT A GADGET is a passionate and thought-provoking critique of Silicon Valley from behind its ramparts, and a must-read for anyone interested in the ways technology is affecting our culture. In his first book, Jaron Lanier, a visionary leader in the development of virtual reality technology (and the man who popularized the term), sounds the alarm: our humanity is under digital attack as the software that increasingly governs our lives impoverishes what it is to be a person.
EQUATIONS OF LIFE by Simon Morden is a profoundly dystopian romp that takes place approximately twenty years in the future and it is great fun to read. Unlike much of contemporary science fiction, the science is pretty much correct as befits an author with a Ph.D. in planetary geophysics. It is the first in a trilogy, to be followed by THEORIES OF FLIGHT and DEGREES OF FREEDOM, all featuring Samuil Petrovitch, scientific genius, physical wreck, reluctant hero, and academic fraud.