Friday, August 14, 2009

Gardens Of The Sun, Fifth Chapter

Every day, the Brazilians brought more people to the dead city. Their search parties spread out across the face of Dione, entering and securing every garden habitat, oasis, and shelter, rounding up the inhabitants and transporting them to Paris for processing: a brief interrogation, confirmation of identity, injection with a subdermal tag. An industrial process, inflexible but efficient. The city’s net and every copy of its data base had been destroyed or corrupted during the war, but the Brazilians had assembled a list of malcontents by trawling news boards, public forums and private discussion groups, personal mailboxes, and registers in the nets of cities that had survived the war unscathed. Anyone who had ever been a member of any civic agency, had served on Paris’s council or any of its committees, or had spoken out against reconciliation with Earth, whether in private or in public, was dispatched to the maximum-security jail, formerly the city’s correctional facility and now much expanded. Of the rest, pregnant women and women or men nursing babies were sent to a maternity camp; everyone else was told that they could either work for the Three Powers Authority or spend the rest of their lives in a prison camp.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Future Science

From Discover magazine, two short stories, one by me, the other by Bruce Sterling, both absolutely free:

Shadow Life
: In the post-economic future, big-ticket science is dead and amateurs hunt aliens using gear scored cheap on eBay.

Open-Source Science: "If you can read a popular-science publication (and enjoy it), then you most likely have enough brainpower to help us make massive scientific breakthroughs..."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

All Quantum Flux, All The Time

The Onion lets us in on the secret of writing best-selling science fiction. At last I know what I've been doing wrong, all these years.

(via Kim Newman)

Currently watching: Adam Curtis's It Felt Like A Kiss - a greatest hits compendium of the great chronicler's secret histories of the twentieth century (BBC iPlayer - not available outside the UK).

Currently reading: Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice - psychedelic PI mischief in LA in 1970.

Currently suffering from: an awesome cold. It isn't swine flu, but it'll do until swine flu comes along.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ring Strike

First, an amateur astronomer discovered a mysterious flux of energy on the surface of Venus. Then another amateur astronomer spotted the aftermath of a small asteroid or comet striking Jupiter's atmosphere. Now the Cassini orbiter has returned a spectacular image of the effect of an unknown body plunging through the underside of Saturn's F ring. The bright peak is ring material dragged beyond the ring-plane by the impact; the dark line stretching away at an oblique angle is the shadow of the peak cast across the F ring, stretched a long way out because Saturn is almost at equinox, with the ring system at right angles to the sun.

At one point in The Quiet War, a combat spacecraft plunges through Saturn's rings. I never thought that I'd be able to see what it would look like in real life . . .

Gardens Of The Sun, Fourth Chapter

Cash Baker was woken by degrees. Surfacing to a confusion of light and clamour, sinking back, surfacing again. He knew that he had been badly injured and that he was still gravely ill, but he didn’t remember what had happened. The surgeon in charge of his recovery and rehabilitation, Doctor Jésus McCaffery, told him that his singleship had been attacked by Outer drones. One of the drones had exploded close to his ship and a fragment of debris had punched through the ship’s hull and pierced Cash’s head. His ship had saved his life by putting him in hibernation; after he’d been rescued, Dr Jésus and his crew had kept him in an induced coma, repaired the damage by regrowing parts of his brain and modifying the artificial nervous system that had enabled him to fly combat singleships, and then brought him back to consciousness in a series of carefully managed steps.

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