Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jussi K. Niemelä, Osmo Tammisalo: Keisarinnan uudet (v)aatteet : naistutkimus luonnontieteen näkökulmasta

A pamphlet which proves that most of so called ”woman’s studies” is pseudoscience. An entertaining book. :-)

Pamfletti, joka kritisoi naistutkimuksen älyttömimpiä ylilyöntejä, etenkin sentyyppisen naistutkimuksen, joka yrittää pitää sukupuolta kokonaan sosiaalisena konstruktiona. Varsin meheviä puppugeneraattorilainauksia merkittävimpien kotimaisten naistutkijoiden teksteistä, joissa ei ole päätä eikä häntää. Eikä kirjoittajilla ilmeisesti edes lukiotason biologian tai minkään muunkaan luonnontieteen alan opintoja. Kaikkeen sitä kanssa yhteiskunnan rahoja hukataan, kuten koko sukupuolikäsitteen kieltämiseen. Lopuksi pamfletissa osoitetaan varsin pitävästi, että suuri osa naistutkimuksesta täyttää pseudotieteen kriteerit. Ihan viihdyttävä kirja.

116 s.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Extremes: A Retrieval Artist Novel by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

A book from the “Retrieval Artist”-series. A former cop Miles Flint is now a retrieval artist. His job is to find the “disappeared” who have escaped to avoid (usually) alien justice. His job isn’t to find them to bring them to justice, but find them if they don’t have to hide anymore or if there is some sort of family emergency or other such situation. There are also “trackers” who act as bounty hunters and try to catch the disappeared and bring them to justice.
During the biggest sporting event of the moon, the annual marathon one contestant is found dead on the track. That as such wouldn’t be extremely unusual – there have been casualties before – but the police officer and former work partner of Miles Flint soon discovers that the death wasn’t natural. Someone has committed a murder and tried to cover it by passing it as an accident.
At the same time, a tracker is working undercover as a voluntary helper in the marathon and is trying to find an especially notorious criminal who might be taking part to the event.
Meanwhile Miles Flint gets a strange job offer from a very prestigious law firm, which usually employs its own retrieval artists. Why doesn't the firm want to – or can - use its’ own assets?

The three separate threads run through the book and slowly intertwine more and more. The beginning of the book was fairly slow and it took some time get going, but action intensified all the time towards to the end to almost catastrophic proportions. One of the better science fiction detective stories I have read. The writing was enjoyable and the plot (after it really started) was exiting and the characters were well drawn and above all, they weren’t stupid.

388 pp.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Analog Science Fiction and Fact, June 2012

Seems to be a below average issue.

Crooks • novelette by Paul Carlson
The story happens in a future where robots are becoming more and more common and intelligent. A trucker has some trouble with robbers and there appears to be some sort of plotting going on. A very fractured story with a lot happening, but I really wasn't able to understand what all the fairly superfluous details really had much to do with each other’s or the "mail plot". Seemed to be more exposition than story. **½
Food Chained • novelette by Carl Frederick
A few exobiologist are studying a solar system where spectroscopy has indicated some marks of life. There are not supposed to be able to land, because of concern biological exposition. A part their spacecraft malfunctions and they are not able to return home - or at least it would take 90 years. And relief crew could come at most in twelve years or so. As the characters apparently are stupid beyond belief, it takes a fair amount of the to remember that they have a lifeboat which is capable landing on a planet. One of the crew decides to stay in the ship, and invent a cryosystem so that he could survive the 90 years of travel to earth. For some reason it doesn't occur to him that a better solution would be to wait for the relieve crew. Meanwhile the idiots on the planet behave like bloodthirsty idiot savages and kill everything they can, instead of exobiologists with university degrees until they get their comeuppance. A pretty bad and stupid story. Feels just like a below average story from the Galaxy magazines I have been reading. There apparently is only a single one those creatures on the planet!? **
Titanium Soul • shortstory by Catherine Shaffer
A young woman, who is a sociopath, gets an artificial ”conscience”. She has some rough time adjusting to it as she isn’t familiar with emotions. A pretty good story, which is perhaps slightly too short. ***+
A Murmuration of Starlings • shortstory by Joe Pitkin
A disease starts to spread around the world. Starlings seem to spread it, and it turns out to be extremely hard to destroy such a common bird. Harder than it is supposed to be.
Somewhat too short story for all ideas contained in it. Now there is far too much exposition by dialogue, and far too little is actually being shown. A slightly longer form might have suited the story better. ***
An ounce of Prevention • shortstory by Jerry Oltion
A grandfather comes to a moon colony to visit her daughter and granddaughter. There is a culture crash as the grandfather is a throwback from fifties ( or forties..) He is so irritatingly conservative that the story is hard to take or even believe. The daughter has some interesting means of preventing hr daughters resentment against the grandpa. ***-
The Fine Print • shortstory by Michael Alexander
A vignette rather than a story. A meteorite which was found from Antarctica contains a message beyond the stars. A very short story which just describes the discovery, nothing more. ***
Darwin's Gambit • shortstory by Emily Mah
A story about young agoraphobic girl who is on exploration trip to Ganymede. There are problems ( which wouldn't really be problems: due to accident there’s a cloud of debris around the ship. They supposedly can't decelerate as the debris would hit the ship and destroy it. Really? Don't they have any kind steering rockets? An extremely small acceleration in terms of a few centimeters per second would give high enough acceleration to prevent any damage to ship from the debris, but would be enough to clear the ship from any dangerous objects in just a few hours.) the story is pretty fragmented, and it was hard to get what caused the final accident.***-
A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy • shortstory by N. M. Cedeño
A detective who has been revived in the future tries to adjust the new customs: there is no such thing as privacy - if you try to get some you raise a lot of suspicions. A woman who still wants covers her windows asks for his help as she believes that someone is following her. A pretty nice story - all aspects of the future might not have been too convincing, but writing was and the story entertained. ***½

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Galaxy Science Fiction, September 1953

A fairly bad issue, the writing of most stories is aged and bad.

The Touch of Your Hand • novella by Theodore Sturgeon
A man who lives on a planet with apparently only farming technology has found the remains of an earlier technological civilization. He wants to recreate it and commands the other people to start building a tower which would be a symbol for his rule and beginning of the new start. The others surprise him, though. The point and background of the plot are delivered in a literal lecture a few pages long, which seemed like a pretty clumsy way of exposition. Otherwise a pretty well written story. ***+
Worrywart • shortstory by Clifford D. Simak
Some very unlikely events happen: a serious plane crash with no casualties, a dog escaping a ditch by himself where he has been stuck for days in spite of all rescue attempts, and an almost certain war is avoided. A newspaper copyreader notices those happenstances, and tries to find what has caused them. He finds a man with no formal education who has been crippled since childhood, and who has been healed mysteriously. He seems to be able to bend reality. The ending didn't really work and it was left too open. ***-
Problem on Balak • shortstory by Roger Dee
The aliens have captured a crew of a space ship. They will be released only if they are able to distinguish a real human (who has been captive for years) from an alien who resembles the human completely and has all of his memories. There is a solution, a little too easy solution. A very simple and not too good story. ***-
Far from the Warming Sun • novelette by R. D. Nicholson
A former dictator of earth escapes to Titan. There apparently is a colony of displaced former leaders. That is about all the story there is. There is a LOT of exposition as discussion - as extremely boring and badly written exposition. Every single character is an annoying prick. Not to mention the most badly written female character ever. A very bad story. *
New Hire • shortstory by Dave Dryfoos
People star their work career after their 40th birthday. A man leaves his family for his first real workday. He has understudied under an older man who he is replacing. As the first task, he kills the 75 years old he is replacing. A short story with nothing really captivating, writing was below average. **
Half Past Alligator • shortstory by Donald Colvin
Aliens with no initiative at all, learn to take things to their own hand by playing baseball. Exactly as bad story as it sounds. *½
Delayed Action • novelette by Charles V. De Vet
A planet has a unique tourist attraction, a real Moebius strip where gravity behaves strangely. Even though it is a popular travel spot apparently no one has ever studied at all, and no one has even walked on it for more than a little distance. A man follows another to bridge further than anyone before and finds that he is transported in time. He has lost his memory, finds a job and lives his life until he almost robbed. A pretty bad story with less than stellar writing. **-

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Martian Time-slip by Philip K. Dick

The book happens in a future Mars where more and more people are moving. Schizophrenia has become extremely common as well as other mental illnesses. A plot has several eccentric characters: A former schizophrenic who may or may not have cured from his illness, an autistic boy who might be able to see to the future, businessmen who want to make a fortune by grabbing a land area before a new development is started and the original inhabitants of Mars who resemble Australian aborigines and have common genetic roots with the earth humans. And everything isn’t what it seems to be or might not even be real. A fairly typical novel for Philip K. Dick where the reality is anything but fixed and mental illness and drugs are thematically important. The book isn’t among my favorite Dicks. At places it was too confusing with too many characters who were sometimes hard to keep track of (the characterization wasn’t one of the strong points of this book) and the plot moved at very slow speed for the most part. Apparently, the book was first a novella which later expanded to longer form, and I believe that the original form might have suited the story better - but as I haven't actually read the novella I might be mistaken.

220 pp.