Fantastic Voyage Review

I came across this particular text when I was browsing through an actual bookstore, and added it to my list almost entirely because of the author on the cover; everything I've read of Asimov's, from his Robot books, to two massive compilations of his short stories, to Foundation, which is one of my most frequently referenced books, has been enjoyable, so I figured I was pretty safe to add Fantastic Voyage to my reading list, even though the description didn't sound very compelling to me. It's surprising, therefore, that I mostly found this story disappointing.

Blood Magic S1:E9: Unbalanced Re-Release

Some of the episodes I've written for Blood Magic have been memorable to me, for one reason or another: the first two because I wrote them and revised them so many times before they became part of this series, the season one finale, Borivat's story in Cracks in the Ice, or even the recent Contaminant. In some cases it might be because of the amount of time I spent on the writing, or how difficult the writing was, or, less commonly, how much I personally enjoy a given episode. Should I admit that I remembered very little about Unbalanced before I did my pre-revision re-read?

A Very Bad Terrible Part of Speech

inspires strong opinions.  Most people, and even many authors, use rules of grammar and understanding of grammar as best practices that help enable clarity of communication.  Some people, like me, get a little too fixated on the rules of grammar, like avoiding dangling prepositions.  The outlier is a particular part of speech that many people, and not just those who wield the pen on a regular basis, apparently love to hate: adverbs.

Einstein’s Fridge Review

This is as much a history book as it is a science book, so it strongly appealed to my polymath tendencies (I should really write a post about the polymath/Renaissance Man concept). In fact, if I were going to teach an introductory course on thermodynamics, or wanted to introduce someone to the topic, I would highly recommend this book, rather than using a more traditional textbook.

New Section Transition

By now, you may have seen our post announcing that IGC Publishing will no longer be hosting advertisements, or at least noticed that advertisements are no longer appearing on the site. That for the most part doesn't affect the site's formatting, but it did mean that I needed to develop a different way to indicate a section or chapter break in our stories, since I had originally intended to use the advertisements like commercial breaks. So I broke out my limited graphic design skills, and attempted to create something suitable.

Eight Amazing Engineering Stories Review

Recently, I've been twitching for a more rigorous intellectual challenge for the science and engineering side of me, which has led to me researching the millennium problems, designing scientific experiments, and adding books like Eight Amazing Engineering Stories to my reading list. In other words, I was rather looking forward to this as an interesting and in-depth look at a selection of technologies and the stories of how they came to be. Unfortunately, it turns out that what I consider in-depth is a little different from what people writing a companion book for a series of YouTube videos considers in-depth; so yes, I have to admit that I found this book a little disappointing, and am glad that it only took me a couple of days to read, but that does not mean you should stop reading this review, or even that you shouldn't read the book. Let me explain.

Framing Stories

For our purposes in talking about framing stories, we will define the story being framed as the plotlines explored directly by the narrative. To take a well-known example, look at Harry Potter. The plotlines of the character arcs, and combatting Voldemort, are the core story. A framing story could be if there were a line at the beginning or end of the books saying "based upon the diaries of Harry Potter, Wizard." Which takes us conveniently to the next set of definitions we need to supply.

Bloodline Review

Not to be confused with Bloodline, by Conn Iggulden, which we reviewed last year. I'm sure that won't confuse the search algorithms for the site at all. This happens to also be the first book whose title is not strongly reflected by a component in the book; the closest I came up with for the name's inspiration was a vision Lindon has at almost the end of the novel. All of that, however, is getting ahead of ourselves; the relevancy of the title was far from the only thing different about this latest instalment in the Cradle series (I will link to the reviews for the previous books in the series at the bottom of the post).

A Rational Defense of Manned Spaceflight

As computers have become more advanced, faster, and more capable, the arguments in favor of manned spaceflight have become weaker, and space travel has increasingly become the domain of machines.  Long before the invention of the microchip, Isaac Asimov proposed exactly this, describing unmanned, computer-controlled space exploration vehicles that would be able to venture into territories too extreme and too dangerous for humans.  That vision has come to pass, and it is now commonly argued that humans are indeed too soft, vulnerable, and unreliable to utilize in spaceflight, and that removing them from the paradigm removes the weakest link.  Manned spaceflight has largely been relegated to an oft-maligned holdover of Cold War international competition and patriotism.  This is a mistake.