Tag Archives: science fiction

Mobius by Christoph Weber

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: May, 2016 in Writers of the Future Vol 32

Genre: science fiction

Setting: a near future city on Earth

Summary: Liz is a detective with GeneCrime, looking for illegal gene-tweakers. She’s found a lab that seems a bit more sophisticated than usual. She’s attacked by what she thought was a corpse on a table within the lab. She wakes up four days later under the care of her father, a physician. Turns out, he’s figured out how to repair a person’s DNA to a pristine state, which can also return them from the dead. She has the last remaining sample of Mobius and must decide whether to destroy it, killing several people (including herself and her previously thought dead mother) because they won’t have access to Mobius, or allow the illegal virus to be used.

Final thoughts: Weber leaves the resolution of the story completely up in the air. He sets up a world where gene-tweaking is easy and just as often deadly as helpful. Liz is dead-set against all gene-tweakers, since that was how her mother was killed. Come to find out, it’s her father’s lab she’s raiding. He’s cured death with his special, gene-tweaked virus – isn’t it awesome! Liz isn’t convinced. So, he lays on the guilt. If you destroy the sample, you’ll kill his colleague. Not enough? You’ll kill yourself, since you’re infected with the same lethal virus he’s got. Not enough? You’ll kill your mother, that you didn’t realize I’d raised from the dead. And then the reader is left to wonder if that’s enough or she’ll just destroy it. If she wipes out the sample of Mobius, her father’s just going to create more, perhaps not in enough time to save the three people who’s lives are on the line, but he’s still got all his research.

Title comes from: Liz’s father named his virus Mobius, after the Mobius strip and the possibility of living forever.

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Virals by Kathy Reichs

As a icebreaker question, I’m asking everyone in my 80-person Environmental Science class to give me a book recommendation. This was one of those recommendations. I’m interspersing lighter books with a 1300+ page book I’m also reading, and this seemed to fit the bill.

Published: 2010

Genre: YA science fiction/mystery

Length: 454 pages

Setting: Charleston, SC, present day Continue reading

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White Dust by Nathan Hillstrom

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: January, 2016 in Asimov’s Science Fiction (read it for free at that link)

Genre: science fiction

Length: 10 pages

Setting: Earth, nearish future

Summary: Margery is in charge of a secret operation – she supervises a soldier who is copied to an alien ship where he is responsible for setting up shielding material against some hard radiation. The operation has been going well, but suddenly the clone isn’t focusing and using his time most effectively. Margery decides to clone herself into the ship to see if that will give her any insight into the operation. Her clone forces Margery to acknowledge why she enjoys running the operation so much (because she enjoys the power and control over someone else) and then replaces Margery with a copy of herself. She decides to just copy the clone of the soldier back home to improve results.

Final thoughts: This one got surprisingly dark. There’s just enough backstory to know the government is involved in researching some alien ship that currently has lethal doses of radiation onboard. The real story is with the cloning. Margery is working with alien technology that allows anyone to get cloned from one table to another. There’s a failsafe built into the table so only one copy can exist in each location at a time. When Margery decides to clone herself, she also discovers the cloning tables work in both directions. The original Margery is replaced by a clone of the clone. That clone decides it would be much more efficient to keep sending the soldier clones back and forth from the alien ship. Talk about an existential mindtrip – which version of yourself should have the right to exist? What happens when the original is replaced with an exact copy – is it really the same? If you keep making copies of copies, is there degradation of the signal? Not that Margery cares. She’s just figured out how to get more power and control.

Title comes from: When a clone is sent to the other table, the previous clone is destroyed and turned into a white dust that covers everything in the immediate area.

 

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The Sky, Falling by Anton Rose

This is the next short story in the Event Horizon 2017 collection of short stories highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: at Motherboard (follow the link to read it online for free – go ahead, it’s short)

Genre: climate change science fiction short story

Setting: near future, somewhere generic on Earth

Summary: Suref is heading up to his job as a sky engineer. As he walks up the mountain, he reminisces about his life. As he’s working on the platform, an accident happens. Suref falls off the platform and his parachute does not deploy. Again, he thinks about his life as he’s falling.

Final thoughts: A competent story that is only marginally science fictionish. Suref’s job seems to be monitoring the geoengineering of the atmosphere that humans have set up, most likely to minimize climate change without having to eliminate the use of fossil fuels. Because of his job, he had a long way (40,000 feet) to fall when he fell off the platform, which gives you lots of time to come to terms with your life, I guess.

Title comes from: Suref works up in the sky, and spends half the story falling out of it to his death.

 

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Fleet of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner

I’d seen a few reviews of this book ten years ago when it first came out. It’s set in the Known Space universe, but much earlier than the other books. Ringworld is one of those series that gets talked about so much I feel like I need to at least try a few of the books.

Published: 2007

Genre: science fiction

Length: 299 pages

Setting: 200 years before Ringworld, various planets Continue reading

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Twiceborn by C. L. Kagmi

Now that I’ve finally written up all of my 2017 books, I’m back to my usual schedule. I’ll get a post about my 2018 reading goals up soon, but Monday means short fiction. I’m still working my way through Event Horizon 2017, so this is the next short story in the collection highlighting authors who are eligible for the 2017 Campbell award for best new writer.

Published: September, 2016 in Compelling Science Fiction Issue 2

Genre: science fiction

Setting: the exoplanet Bharata, far future Continue reading

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Mutineer’s Moon by David Weber

For my last book of the year, I decided I was in the mood for some science fiction. I picked a random Baen book off my Kindle based on a title I was pretty sure would be scifi instead of fantasy.

Published: 1991

Genre: science fiction

Length: 320 pages

Setting: the Earth, near future Continue reading

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