Hal the Sun Speaker – Part 2

Hello Imaginary Friends,

My wife and I have bought a house and are in the middle of moving and setting things up.

Since I don’t want to neglect you any more than I have, I’ll be posting a multi-part story. It was recently rejected by an anthology but I plan on resubmitting it.

I really like this story. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

Start Reading at Part 1

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Read moreHal the Sun Speaker – Part 2

Hal the Sun Speaker – Part 1

Hello Imaginary Friends,

My wife and I have bought a house and are in the middle of moving and setting things up.

Since I don’t want to neglect you any more than I have, I’ll be posting a multi-part story. It was recently rejected by an anthology but I plan on resubmitting it.

I really like this story. Let me know what you think.

Enjoy!

800px-Giant_prominence_on_the_sun_erupted

Read moreHal the Sun Speaker – Part 1

Calculating God – Book Review

Calculating Gob by Robert Sawyer has an interesting premise. Aliens believe that Earth’s fossils could help find proof of God.

Robert Sawyer is a Canadian Science Fiction Writer and Futurist. You might have seen the name when you watched Flashforward on ABC a few years ago. He wrote the book, of the same name, that the show was based on.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Sawyer after he gave a talk at the Museum of Science and Tech in Ottawa. He’s an engaging speaker, which that comes through in his writing. There are science facts and ideas that could have been dull but he managed to parse them out and make then interesting.

Below is my review. For more information on how and why I review books read my post here.

Characters

Sawyer’s characters are always interesting. They always feel well rounded and real. This book isn’t an exception. Each character is believable and likeable, even the aliens. The only exception is the villains they felt like an afterthought. It felt a little shoehorned in and they were a bit boring.

For characters, I give it 4 out of 5

Writing Style

Sawyer has a unique writing style that is understandable and educational. He makes even controversial or heavy subjects interesting. Unlike some hard sci-fi authors, I don’t get the urge to look up every fact to see what he means. He explains it that someone with my limited science background would understand.

He has a wonderful way of combining dialogue and facts. I find it makes a reader feel like they are having a discussion with the characters.

I give it a 5 out of 5.

Story

Most of the time I feel that the discussion in his books, doesn’t overwhelm the story. In this case, despite the strong characters and the great premise, I find that the story felt like a vehicle for the philosophy and science rather than a counterpart.

I give the story a 3 out of 5

Fun

The story was bare bones but the character interactions were highly entertaining. Lines like, “Take me to a Palaeontologist.” Make the book enjoyable.

Another rare and wonderful thing about this book was its lack of judgement. Whenever a book discusses God, I expect to get a lot of defending for one point of view. Sawyer never pushes one point of view over the other. It was unbiased, interesting, and informative.

It’s not the first book by Sawyer I’d recommend friends to read but it’s certainly a lot of fun for those who are interested in the philosophy.

I give it a 3 out of 5 for fun

Overall

Final score is 75%

Armstrong 3 – Part 2

You might remember the Armstrong 3 from this Word of the Day story.

***

It had been two years since Angel and the others had set off on their mission to explore space. The crew of the Armstrong 3 had yet to meet any intelligent life. They’d discovered a native space creature that the crew nick named the Space Manatee but no intelligent life. If it wasn’t for Alina Pierre, the biologist and botanist, Angel would have been extremely uncomfortable on small ship with the four other men. Angel was a small woman who had trouble staying still; she had graduated from flight school at the age of fifteen and won the assignment to the Armstrong 3 when she was just seventeen. It was just a few days before her nineteenth birthday and she was feeling restless.

“What’s wrong Angel?” Alina spoke her name with a French accent which reminded her of home.

“I know… but well when I volunteered twenty years out in the black didn’t seem so long. Or boring for that matter.”

“I can understand but we have discovered over a hundred new life forms since we’ve left.”

At this statement Angel wrinkled her nose. “Yeah but except for the Manatee they’ve all been microscopic. I’m sorry but I’m a pilot and a weapons expert, microbes don’t really make life interesting for me.”

Before Alina could reply the captains voice rang over the loudspeaker. “We have an unidentified object forty degrees to starboard. All hands to your posts.”

Standing Angel smiled and ran out of the garden bay saying, “Finally something interesting.”

* * *                                                    

“We have the object on camera sir” said Sidney Smith, his black hair still ruffled from sleep.

It was roughly triangular with semi circles jutting out, and made of some form of polished metal.

Everyone was silent as they beheld what could only be a craft or probe made by intelligent creatures.

“Sid, try contacting them, try all frequencies and send the universal greetings.” said the captain.

Accessing the pre-recorded greetings in every known human language, Sidney turned and asked, “You don’t actually believe that they speak any of our languages do you?”

It was at this point that Angel walked onto the bridge and took her post. She nodded at the captain and gasped as she looked at the object. It was slowly turning a reddish colour and the point of the triangle moved to point in their direction.

“Sir, I’m getting an increase in energy on the ship, they’re either powering up engines or weapons.” Sidney sounded a little tense.

“You can’t tell which?” asked the captain and Sidney shook his head, “Evasive manoeuvres Angel let’s make sure we’re out of their way whether they’re trying to leave or fire. Make sure to keep playing the greetings, they might get the message eventually.”

The small triangular craft followed them as Angel moved the ship to avoid attack. It was more manoeuvrable then the Armstrong Three. The craft fired on them four times in quick succession and Angel managed to avoid all but one.

The captain ordered them to fire back and within moments two missiles were flying out towards their new enemy. The two missiles collided with the ship, exploding on impact. The blast left small amounts of debris and a lot of questions.

To Be continued…

Armstrong 3

Todays word: Anecdote

* * *

“There are great days in the lives of men and great days in the life of humanity. Today Fredrick is the later.” The man spoke with a deep British accent, his silver hair was trimmed short and his beard was long. He wore a standard NASA spacesuit, holding his helmet. From the pre-launch stage he looked like a benevolent father.

“My fellow Human’s, not since the days of the first moon landing have we attempted something so bold, so dangerous, and so historic. I captain John Tiberius am about to leave this earth on humanities first deep space mission.” Tiberius let the crowd cheer before he continued, “When I was a young boy, I lived for everything related to space. I like you, have had the privilege to live in a century rife with humanities expansion into the stars. I watched the fist colonies be placed on Eris and cheered in front of my television, but I wanted more, I wanted to humanity leave our solar system and explore the great universe. Now I have that chance, we all have that chance.” The anecdotal and hopeful speech made the crowd cheer even louder.

Tiberius lifted his hand to quiet them before he concluded, “It’s on this spot exactly two hundred years ago that man first arrived on the moon. It’s only fitting that this is the same spot we leave to explore the unknown area’s of space. Wish us luck and pray for us.”

Walking off the stage Tiberius put on his helmet and climbed the staircase up into the ship. Behind him was his second in command Frederick Holnikov, who waved and followed him up. Once on the bridge Tiberius nodded at, Angel Lachance, their pilot, Sidney Smith, their engineer, and Alexander Lee their doctor. It was a six person crew and each of them had been trained in two major professions in order to prepare for the trip.

“Good speech captain” said Smith.

“Thank you m’boy thank you.”

The countdown started and everyone fell silent. The only sound inside the ship was the crews jagged breath and the only sound outside was the terraformed wind. Once it reached zero the ship took off, slung out into the darkness of space by the maglev energies.

The launch was simple and the news stations declared that the Armstrong 3 was headed towards the edge of the solar system. Opening their solar sails they sped up to a maximum speed of 250 Megameters per second. At those staggering speeds they’d reach Eris base, on the edge of the solar system, in just under two days. If there had been no main asteroid belt it would have taken them less time but as it was they had to lower their sails and glide through the man made pass.

Read Part 2