December 19, 2014

Mathematical Curiosities by Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann

On sale now.

Today, we’ll delve into the exciting and exhilarating world of mathematics. Wait, wait, come back…

This week we’ll be looking at Mathematical Curiosities: A Treasure Trove of Unexpected Entertainments out from Prometheus Books by Alfred S. Posamentier and Ingmar Lehmann. [Read more...]

Review: The Return of the Discontinued Man by Mark Hodder

A sci-fi classic!

Alt-history Steampunk has never been hotter. We recently finished up the fifth book in a brilliant science fiction series courtesy of Pyr Books.  We’re talking about The Return of the Discontinued Man by Mark Hodder, out earlier this month. This is the fifth and (final?) book in the outstanding Burton and Swinburne series. We’ve chronicled our addiction to this series in the past, starting with The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack up through The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Expedition to the Mountains of the Moon and The Secret of El Yezdi[Read more...]

Review: The Cosmic Cocktail by Katherine Freese

A stellar recipe!

It’s the hottest topic in modern astrophysics. What exactly is dark matter and dark energy? It is kind of amazing to think that astrophysicists do not yet completely understand just what most of the universe is made of. [Read more...]

Review: The Nebula Awards Showcase 2014

Out May 20th!

It’s out! One of the most prestigious awards in all of science fiction-dom is the annual Nebula Awards. Hey, Hollywood has the Oscars and the Grammys, and sci-fi has the Hugos and the Nebulas, as well as a scattering of other secondary awards. And every year around springtime, Pyr Books puts together an outstanding compilation of the “best of the best” as selected by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. [Read more...]

May 2014: This Month in Science Fiction

Ah, tis the month of May.

Perhaps April showers may bring May flowers, but here at Astroguyz HQ, it also marks the very precipice of science fiction movie blockbuster season. The X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy and Spider-Man 2 are all on our must see list. Is Marvel about to rule the world? And keep an eye out for those dark horse unknowns that often jump the gate just ahead of those sure-fire bets just prior to Memorial Day weekend. And hey, next year we’ll get a third Hunger Games, an Avengers sequel and a reboot of the Star Wars franchise… can the internet survive? Will fans take a shine to a galaxy far, far away according to Abrams? In the meantime, here’s some science fiction and more hot off of the press to keep you satiated: [Read more...]

Review: Liberty 1784 by Robert Conroy

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What if? Is a great historical thought exercise to play. What if the Germans got the bomb first? What if Gettysburg had ended differently? Are we existing in some sort of strange alternate history now, and is there a reality in which Paris Hilton is the lizard-tailed President of the United States? [Read more...]

Review: Faraday, Maxwell and the Electromagnetic Field by Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon

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Quick, what was the most pivotal breakthrough of the 19th century? And no, it wasn’t “steampunk”… it was our understanding of electromagnetism, a breakthrough that fundamentally altered our civilization. Electric lights, refrigerators, hi-fis and blogging wouldn’t exist without it. This week’s review looks at the lives and times of two inventors and scientists whose insights made the modern miracle of electricity possible. [Read more...]

Review: Five Billion Years of Solitude by Lee Billings

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Where did we come from as a species, and where is the party headed? What’s the expiration date for life on Earth, and just how common — or rare — are we? Those are the big questions in modern day science. This week’s review tackles the latest thinking concerning all of these weighty subjects and more. Five Billion Years of Solitude: The Search for Life Among the Stars by science journalist Lee Billings is a fascinating look at the state of the field. We’re talking astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life and intelligence, a truly interdisciplinary endeavor that encompasses all of modern science from physics and astronomy to biology and psychology. [Read more...]

Review: Operation Shield by Joel Shepherd

Out on April 8th!

If there’s one thing we love, it’s a non-stop space opera action adventure. Military science fiction has really come of its own over the past decades, as first popularized by Robert Heinlein and his classic Starship Troopers.

But what of the soldiers themselves? And what of a world where soldiers are custom tailored to fight and die? This week, we’re excited to bring you our review of the latest Cassandra Kresnov novel out from author Joel Shepherd and Pyr Books entitled Operation Shield. [Read more...]

Review: A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton

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So, you think you know maps? Author and historian Jerry Brotton will show you otherwise. This week’s review takes us through a fascinating trip back through history from an unusual perspective. A History of the World in 12 Maps looks at how we’ve perceived the surface of this planet we inhabit throughout the ages, and how we’ve grappled with depicting it over the millenia. [Read more...]

Review: The Enemy Within by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Out this coming April.

Ready for political intrigue?

This week, we break tradition a bit from our usual review of science and science fiction books to journey back into the tie-dyed era of the early 1960s and a murder mystery that takes the reader into the darkened recesses of Washington politics. [Read more...]

March 2013: This Month in Science Fiction

Ahh, the month of March has arrived. A time of growth, renewal and taxes. Spring is in the air, although it may not feel it for those of you stranded in snowier climes. And yes, we do indeed realize that for folks down under in the southern hemisphere, the reverse is true, as this month marks the onset of Fall. [Read more...]

Review: Mission to Mars by Buzz Aldrin

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America’s premier space pioneer has a vision for space exploration.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin has been there. A veteran of Gemini 12 and Apollo 11, Aldrin was the second man to walk on the Moon after Neil Armstrong and has since been a vocal proponent of manned space exploration.

And it shows, in his breathtaking new proposal for man in space entitled Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration. [Read more...]

Review: The Man Who Sold the Moon & Orphans of the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein

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This week, we return to “Lessons from Science Fiction 101,” with a look at a master of scifi.

We’re talking, of course, about American science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein. One of the “Big 3” next to Clarke and Asimov when it comes to golden age science fiction, no one was better a weaving in sociological issues into their future mythology. [Read more...]

Astro-Vid Of the Week: Down with Daylight Saving Time

Time for sundown on DST? (Photo by author)

This coming weekend, most of North America will perform that yearly Spring ritual of setting their clocks one hour ahead to Daylight Saving Time, or DST.  Now reckoned as the second Sunday of March, the DST shift for 2014 on March 9th falls nearly as early as early as it can this year, missing that mark by just one day. And three Sundays later, the European Union follows suit, shifting forward to Summer Time on March 30th. [Read more...]

Review: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield

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By now, you’ve seen the video.

Last year, astronaut Chris Hadfield’s cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity went viral on YouTube. This capped a hugely successful stint for Hadfield aboard the International Space Station for the Canadian Space Agency astronaut, and a great ad hoc publicity campaign via social media. [Read more...]

February 2014: This Month in Science Fiction

Boy, how about that recent polar vortex, huh? It’s a good thing that February is the shortest month of the year, at least from the climatic perspective of residents in the northern hemisphere. Of course, we’re writing this from our sunny refuge in Florida, where a “cold snap” means that one must dig through the backs of closets through the strata of clothing to don a light jacket before heading out. Oh, the inconvenience of it all, I know. Hey, we’ve paid our dues living many a decade in Alaska and Maine, and have since arrived at the same conclusion as many semi-retirees that movement to Florida isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. [Read more...]

Review: The Forever Engine by Frank Chadwick

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Saddle up and batten down those airship hatches… steampunk and alternate science fiction timelines lay ahead in this week’s review.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll briefly paraphrase ourselves once again. Steampunk is a genre that’s crying out for a flagship franchise. And it’s ironic that, with the legions of Con fans dressing techno-retro, there’s still not a Star Trek or Star Wars caliber series to quench the fans seeming thirst for all things steampunk. [Read more...]