I Sort of Read This Science Fiction Trip Through Space-Time #sciencefiction #scifi #space #physics #book #wormhole #review

Ring is the last of Stephen Baxter’s Xeelee Sequence, and judging by Amazon reviews, it’s the least popular book of the series with 3.5 stars from 57 reviews. I had trouble getting through it, not because it’s hard science fiction with characters who frequently explain physics to each other (as other reviewers complained) but because it felt repetitive. Surely, I thought, the book already told me this about photino birds, about how the spaceship will tow wormholes around, about the characters’ near-immortality provided by nanotechnology.

Great ideas I couldn’t stick with
Diving into the Sun is neat, the ginormous interstellar spacecraft are cool, and the craft left behind by the Xeelee are amazing, but the story felt tedious and I could only read for a short time before taking a break.

After reading all of the first few chapters, I began to skim the first sentence of each paragraph and then one sentence per page, stopping to read when something new was introduced. I would have given up but, as chance had it, I had no other new-to-me books handy at the time.

Others enjoyed the story much more, “I absolutely flew through this book! It was amazing,” and love the vast sweep of space and time covered by the book – to the end of the universe.

The day I checked on Amazon, there was a paperback edition in English available but the only digital edition was in German. I guess that’s what happens as publishers put their backlist on Amazon – Ring is copyrighted 1994.

#Wormhole_Adventure With a Twist in This #ScienceFictionBook

Fold

I don’t like the cover much – but since I picked it up I guess it worked.

I tore through 340 pages in two days and stayed up past my bedtime. The main character, Mike, has a rare eidetic memory – he notices and remembers an amazing amount of detail about everything. Since the book is mostly from his point of view, Clines writes all that detail down. An eidetic memory is annoying at times.

At first, I was worried I needed to remember all that detail, too, but not so – Clines reminded me of anything I really needed to enjoy the story.

Mike – protagonist
I loved the vision Mike has of his own mind as swarms of black ants and red ants carrying bright bits of memories and thoughts, arranging them, seeking patterns, and drawing conclusions. Since Mike is also off-the-scale high IQ, he doesn’t simply remember – his ants figure things out. His mind exists and functions outside his core notion of who he is, and feels very real.

Premise
His job, for a lifetime friend who manages projects for DARPA, is to find out what’s going on at a top secret project. Once you accept that the American government would agree to allow scientists they fund to keep everything a secret from them – everything except the claim that “it works” – the story is off.

At first the technology seems to be generating a wormhole SciFi readers will recognize. A pair of devices, drawing enormous electrical power, transports people between them instantaneously. But there’s a wonderful twist that fits well with real-world hypotheses in physics – at least, as far as I can tell from the popular media.

Story’s opening
The book opens with a government agent returning home from a business trip, apparently psychotic. The two characters in that chapter never appear again. It’s the kind of exciting opening considered vital to hooking readers.

The story begins in Chapter Two where we meet Mike. The significance of that first chapter does tie into the story in about twenty pages. Great. I hate teases that hang out there forever.

What the story offers
Every story’s “gotta have” a love interest. In this story, the love interest actually relates to the plot and allows Mike to discover something important. Nicely done.

There are references to popular culture – for example, to Harry Potter and Star Trek. One character looks like Bogart in Casablanca. Some of this is used to reveal the plot – I won’t write any spoilers. But even if you’re not a Trekkie, I think the way it’s presented will work.

The story builds slowly at first – Mike finds things that are odd and unsettling.
About a third of the way through there’s a gruesome incident. In the second half, the situation grows increasingly fantastic. The origin of the technology is a bit hard to swallow, and the story leaves science behind.

There’s one nitpick that nagged me. Clines has something happen regarding liquid nitrogen – in the “real” portion of his world – that I don’t think could. He mentions it a few times, so I actually stopped reading to look it up on the Internet. But I kept reading because… what the heck. It’s a fun story about an engaging character.

What’s not to like?
People on Amazon who rated The Fold below 4 stars found the eidetic memory annoying after a while or thought the build-up was more fun than the conclusion of the book. Some felt the “superman” intelligence of Mike should have figured out what was going on sooner.

I haven’t read Clines’ other books, but apparently the ending of The Fold is similar to the ending of another book.

Oddly enough, since readers supposedly love action, some reviewers preferred the build up to the action-packed conclusion, even saying the ending felt like a different story.

But 80% love it…
And me, too. It’s a fun read, great for a vacation or a plane trip. If you start it on a weeknight you may be tired at work the next day, because you’ll stay up way too late reading.

Glitch – novel by Kate Rauner – discovery in a futurist world

Glitch FINAL May 2014 SMALLER FILE (533x800)To celebrate the first anniversary of my science fiction ebook, Glitch, I’ve re-issued the book with a new cover. Available from Amazon for Kindle for 99¢; or download a FREE copy from Smashwords in any of the major electronic formats and at Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Flipkart, Inktera, and Versent.

At Spaceport America in the desert southwest, Rob Shay is a mission controller for Xplore, the world’s premiere space exploration company. During routine calibrations on a client’s spacecraft, Rob and his mission crew make an incredible discovery: a glitch in space that opens an impossible path to a star and its planets.

Serendipity led to the discovery and serendipity may prevent its exploration. All Rob wants is to be part of exploring the Helios system, but problems keep getting in his way. The Board of Directors believes Rob found a glitch in the instruments rather than a glitch in space. The control crew must convince them the glitch is real. Only then will international spacecraft explore the Helios system.

Glitch Cover Final 5JUN13

Original retro-style cover

Support and opposition come from unexpected sources. Although the Helios mission is sustained by many subscribers to the universities’ missions, not everyone in the world wants to see humanity travel beyond Earth. Space exploration is a private industry, but governments try to claim control. Xplore is in the business of exploration and business concerns come first. Rob struggles in a world he can’t control, trying to stay with his mission while bigger problems rock the nation. At least Rob finds some sympathy from his once-girlfriend who runs a telescope-for-hire business in Australia.

Rob lives in near-future Spaceport America, a real place just beginning operations in New Mexico. With its distinctive, geeky futurism, Glitch presents a world where you might one day live.

Read an excerpt now: Continue reading

Glitch – my new Sci-Fi enovel Chapter 2

Glitch Cover Final 5JUN13You can read Chapter 1 here

Glitch is available now for $2.99.  You can read a longer excerpt or purchase Glitch for Kindle on Amazon or, for all other e-formats, read a longer excerpt or purchase at Smashwords  For a limited time, you can purchase Glitch for half-price at Smashwords.  Use coupon code YS46M before July 31.

Glitch is available at Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Apple, Inktera, Versent,  Kobo, Diesel, and on Smashwords .

Chapter 2 Glitch

As he sat with his coffee cradled in one hand, Rob tapped his virtual keyboard and displayed an animation of MEG1 to the center wall screen.  Xplore’s systems built the animation from the telemetry being received.  MEG1 rotated the satellite Trisha had selected towards the sun.  With another tap, Rob sent the satellite’s visible-light image to the left wall screen.  Mars slid slowly across the left screen as MEG1 rotated into position and the sun moved into view in its place.

For someone standing on Mars, the sun would look about half the size it does from Earth, and no brighter than the sun might appear on a cloudy Earth day.  But floating in black space, with nothing for comparison, MEG1’s image of the sun seemed exceptionally brilliant.  The sun was so bright it swamped out the view of any background stars and dominated the screen.  Rob adjusted the zoom until the sun occupied a quarter of the screen’s surface.  The sun sat right in the center once MEG1 had completed her rotation, and Rob relaxed back into his chair.  His work was done, barring trouble, and now he could just watch the data stream in as the researchers at Arizona and UPMC exercised their instruments. Continue reading

Read a Free Excerpt of “Glitch”, my new Science Fiction eNovel

Glitch Cover Final 5JUN13Glitch, my new science fiction ebook, is available at Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Apple, Inktera, Versent,  Kobo, Diesel, and on Smashwords 

Chapter 1 Spaceport America

“Welcome to Spaceport America Industrial Park”.  A soft, reddish light was mounted above the sign and the words stood out clearly in the darkness.

Rob still got a bit of a thrill riding past that sign.  The Spaceport terminal’s distinctive curve against a clear sky was a familiar sight to residents and tourists alike in New Mexico.  Even if they could not afford an expensive joyride to space, everyone wanted to see the Spaceport.  Tourists never came to the industrial park.  But this was where the real work was performed.  This was where Rob had worked for the past five years, since he dropped out of the University of Arizona’s doctoral program in favor of some real, hands-on space exploration.

Rob could see the main terminal in the distance, laid out like a huge butterfly half buried in the level sands that stretched between White Sands National Monument and the Elephant Butte Reservoir.  The building’s rim was outlined in lights, shielded and tinted red to preserve views of the dark, starry sky.  Dry, barren mountains rose against the horizon behind the Spaceport terminal, though they were hidden in the darkness as Rob rode in.

The Smart Cab dropped Rob off in front of Xplore’s building.  Xplore specialized in space missions.  Design, assembly, and mission control functions were housed in this building, along with the business offices.  It was near the center of the block.  The largest buildings and most prosperous companies were housed on Xplore’s side of the street.  Behind them stretched the Spaceport’s launch facilities.  A few gantries for vertical launches were visible, outlined in red lights. Continue reading

Debut eNovel “Glitch”, a Story of Discovery and the Unexpected, Now Available

Glitch Cover Final 5JUN13

This is the original retro-style cover. I’ve reissued the book with an updated cover.

Kate Rauner today published her debut novel Glitch, a science fiction story that begins in New Mexico’s Spaceport America. Kate tells the story of Rob Shay’s incredible discovery: a glitch in space that opens an impossible path to a star and its planets. Serendipity led to the discovery and serendipity may stop its exploration. Space is a business and business concerns come first. Not everyone in the world wants to see humanity travel beyond Earth. Governments try to claim control. Rob and his friends struggle to stay employed as even bigger problems rock the nation. At least Rob can get some sympathy from his once-girlfriend who runs a telescope-for-hire business in Australia.

Glitch is a hard science fiction story set in a near-future world, rooted in today’s trends and technologies; a world messy enough to be real and real enough to live in. A fun read for the summer.

For a limited time (Friday June 21 through Wednesday July 31) an electronic book version of Glitch, normally priced at $2.98, will be available at half price.  Use coupon code YS46M.

Available at http://www.smashwords.com and major online retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Baker & Taylor Blio, Page Foundry and the Diesel eBook Store.

Available for Kindle, Nook, iPad, and all major electronic formats.

Read a FREE excerpt of Glitch at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/katerauner or check back at this blog.  I’ll be posting Glitch excerpts.

Glitch, my new science fiction ebook, is available at Amazon , Barnes & Noble , Apple, Inktera, Versent,  Kobo, Diesel, and on Smashwords .

Related links:

http://www.smashwords.com

http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/katerauner to purchase in most major e-formats.  Also available from http://www.amazon.com/author/katerauner

http://www.facebook.com/kate.rauner

http://www.twitter.com/katerauner

http://spaceportamerica.com/