Archive for January, 2008

1.933 cms, The Space Eater by David Langford

January 25, 2008

In the last installment of “memorable“, we discussed a slim-chance number, 1 in 300.  This time, the number is terribly small, 1.933 centimeters – in diameter and you get another phrase as well …


If you go to my “About Paradox and Spike” page, you’ll see my interest in “hard science” sf; so why am I remembering and recommending a story about a “Force zombie killer?”  Because Forceman Ken Jacklin, fighting to keep order in a war-torn London, has died 46 times and has gotten used to dying in combat, although he doesn’t have an interest in anything else any more …

My answer is a pair of phrases.  Jacklin offers to take one of the firsttimers into town at night for recreation.  Of course most of the lights and generators are out or smashed.  “Some places, back alleys especially, we were picking our way just by the nova lights in the sky.”

What remains of the government picks Jacklin to go to the one stellar colony to prevent them from making AP/Anomalous Physics experiments themselves.  To get there, he and the tele(pathic)com officer will go through an AP gate – 1.933 centimeters wide …

The original 1983 Space Eater pb was reprinted in 2004 as The Space Eater, trade paperback and as a Space Eater Kindle edition.  There are plenty of used 1983 pb versions available for the budget-minded.

I’ll be doing a post about Greg Bear’s use of new physics in his novels Moving Mars, Eon, and Anvil of Stars.

Memorable‘s next installment will consider a terribly large number – 1.5 times ten-to-the-twelfth.


One in 300 by J.T. McIntosh

January 21, 2008

This installment of “memorable” has two phrases, actually.  Both are from the same tale of doomsday.


[cover by Ed Valigursky, Ace Books, 1955]

Our sun’s solar output will go up a couple percent soon – time to move!  But how?  Have the great manufacturing centers build lifeships.  One pilot, ten passengers, and enough ships for every “one in three hundred” of Earth’s population to try to fly to Mars.  Madness!  But it helped some of the world to deal with doomsday…  Here’s McIntosh’s opening:

“I ignored the half-human thing that ran at my heels like a dog, crying, “Please! Please! Please!”  …  I was twenty-eight, Lt. Bill Easson, and a more unremarkable young man it would have been difficult to find.  but now through no fault of my own, I was a god.”  Lt Easson is in Simsville, pop. 3261, to secretly pick in 3 weeks the ten people he would try to fly to Mars.  “Lt. Bill Easson, god!”


Galactic Center series – Gregory Benford

January 8, 2008

I’ve discussed In the Ocean of Night, because of a memorable scene in one of the original stories, and referred to the fact that it became the first of the Galactic Center series and future history 7 years later with the publication of Across the Sea of Suns in 1984.  Then, across the next 10 years, Benford detoured from Nigel Walmsley’s interstellar travels to jump a hundred thousand years into the future near the Galactic Center, not too far from the Eater embedded in the galaxy’s core.  Telling of the remnants of desiccated Snowglade’s Bishop clan, endlessly running the deserts, avoiding the latest mech attempts to kill them, legs pistoning in a 150 kilometer an hour stride, Killeen and his father trying to watch over his son Toby, Benford spun out a trilogy about their own interstellar wanderings.

Finally, in the sixth and culminating volume,  Sailing Bright Eternity, in 1995, he picks up Nigel’s story, pointed to in a indirect reference in one of the Killeen trilogy, to the Taj Majal replica he built after arriving in the Center.  Both sets of characters intersect as the mechs try to keep the galaxy clean of organics, Naughts being of no use to Ones.  The fabric of normal Space-Time twists into multidimensional esty layers at the edge of the core’s black hole as the characters plunge into strangeness and possible safety.


An introduction to Paradoxically

January 3, 2008

I recently let some friends know about this blog, after I populated it with some posts and pages first.  But then I realized they need some background.

I’ve been involved in the 3D virtual world since Nov 2006 and my main avatar is Paradox Olbers.   So this blog is for both Paradox about SL [Second Life] and Spike MacPhee about sf and RL [Real Life].  The emphasis in this blog is on aspects of Second Life, space construction as shown and written about in sf and non-fiction, and my reading.   Welcome to my blog!

A second blog is about Second Life, the SciLands, and my island Spindrift, Spindrift Island in Second Life.

Oh, and I have almost half of my sf/fantasy/astronomical art collection uploaded to the Illustration Exchange. Have a look at the other collections at IlluX [Illustration Exchange] – there are 79 collections there, an amazing stockpile of great art by hundreds of artists (not sortable by artist, but you can google the site to pick an artist and sift through thousands of paintings and drawings there.

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