Book Review: Second Contacts

So what happens after first contact? Leaving aside War of the Worlds scenarios where one race is completely destroyed, after the initial shock, what’s it like five or fifty years into  a universe where we know we’re not alone? Human history provides several possible outcomes: ranging from genocide to colonization to occupation to friendship and political alliance to the innocuous missionary outposts or even lone, Marco Polo figure.

Each of these come up in Second Contacts at one point of another, but this is a Canadian anthology . . .

Read my full review at AE.

Book Review: The Affinities

Wilson imagines how a series of neurological, psychological and physiological tests might determine a sort of modern-day Zodiac, sorting humankind into “affinities” based on their deepest truest selves. Early on, he makes the point that the families we’re born into might be arbitrary, but he does suggest that being loved because you’re part of the same affinity with someone rather than because of a shared genetic lineage comes with its own problems.

Read the full review at AE.

Back to School, Belatedly

Well, time for some updates. I’ve still been writing, just not here. For this September past I penned a little essay for AE, appropriately, on education-themed science fiction. Perhaps just as appropriate a topic as the school year draws to a close.

You’ll notice my opening paragraph refers to the proverbial cocktail party. Often, when a person is going to pontificate on their career, and especially public perceptions thereof, they start off with, “When I meet people at cocktail parties . . .” I don’t actually go to a lot of cocktail parties, but in fine speculative as well as Einsteinian tradition: assume a perfectly spherical cocktail party. . . .

No, I’m half-kidding. But really, if I’m at the proverbial cocktail party, or some near analogue (gas-station nacho bar), and introduce myself as a teacher, I really do find it gets people talking. But I’m more interested in the deep thinking of smart writers on the topic than your typical non-educators. Thus, the essay. Please read it here.

Book Review: The Three Body Problem

As time goes by and I keep thinking about the ideas in this novel, I’m increasingly convinced that Three Body Problem will go down in science fiction history as one of the all-time great works. This novels asks some of the deepest questions there are in science, and in a compelling and imaginative way.

No quote from the review this time. I just wanted to give my heartfelt recommendation for this work. You can read my (perhaps understated) review at the WFP.