Reviews, please


Tomorrow I will publish the two shortstories “Dust” and “The Road” in a Kindle e-book at Amazon.


Talking to Extraterrestrials

NASA has recently published the book Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication, in which more than a dozen scholars analyze what challenges mankind will face the day Earth gets in touch with an extrasolar civilization. The 300-page book looks, for example, to archaeology and anthropology for clues to decoding extraterrestrial messages. Editor Douglas A. Vakoch explains what issues that might entail:

“Like archaeologists who reconstruct temporally distant civilizations from fragmentary evidence, SETI [Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence] researchers will be expected to reconstruct distant civilizations separated from us by vast expanses of space as well as time. And like anthropologists, who attempt to understand other cultures despite differences in language and social customs, as we attempt to decode and interpret extraterrestrial messages, we will be required to comprehend the mindset of a species that is radically Other.”

The book can be download for free in three formats here — link >>>

Space Habitat Architecture

Designer Bryan Versteeg has developed realistic designs for a hypothetical permanent space settlements, called the Kalpana One. I am not skilled enough to judge the feasibility of his ideas, but they look both plausible and beautiful. You can see his pics and films here — link >>>

The Kalpana One space habitat by Bryan Versteeg

Urbs Mobilis — the Nomadic Town

Traditionally on Earth, the pastoral nomadic lifestyle stands in opposition to the sedentary city lifestyle. Ibn Khaldoun, an Arab philosopher of the 14th century, was the first to formalize that observation in social science terms in his book Muqaddimah, in which he analyzed the rise and fall of medieval Arab realms. However, technology occasionally provides the right tools to overcome constraints posed by nature.

Here is a article on how to construct nomadic towns with technology that is only slightly more advanced that what Earth possesses today — link >>>

So such a construct would fit into the worldscapes of SF-games like Traveller (the ship-borne towns in Nomads of the World-Ocean are a maritime equivalent), Star Wars D6 (consider the Jawas’ village-on-tracks in Episode IV), and 2300AD, where human corporations exploit alien worlds for their natural resources. The 2012 movie John Carter introduced the “walking” city of Zodanga, a more spectacular-looking science-fantasy version for Barsoom (the “Mars” of Edgar Rice Burroughs). And the picture below shows us a dieselpunk rendition. Ergo, this is a flexible concept that suits plenty of SF sub-genres.

Semper mobilis — the motto of the roaming cities.

Mission to Innerspace

When I was a boy in the late 1960s, undersea exploration was almost as exciting as space travel. The French oceanographer and film-maker Jacques Cousteau, master of the research ship Calypso, was a weekly fixture in the Swedish TV schedule (merely two channels in those days).

Innerspace was one word coined for the dark vastness of the ocean depths, which were supposed to be colonized by man in “the near future”. However, the allure of the deep seas soon faded, partially because most of those ambitions turned out to be beyond the capabilities of available technology.

But the visions have not died fully — the third generation of the Cousteau clan is nowadays at work beneath the ocean with state-of-the art tech: link >>>

A 21st-century Cousteau endeavor.