Author Archive: Eugene R.

How can you keep them on the farm?

With weather not conducive to raising crops, the Beamers met to discuss Leah Bobet’s novel about life on the farm after the Big Bad has been beaten, An Inheritance of Ashes.  Caught up in the family drama of the Hoffmann sisters and their struggles with missing husband, mysterious stranger, and recurring incursions of little monsters, …

Continue reading

Snow dwarf and the seven worlds

The biggest news in planetary exploration came out in February when astronomers announced that the TRAPPIST-1 system contained 7 terrestrial (Earth-sized) planets in orbit around their ultra-cool dwarf star, a little less than 40 light-years from Terra Firma. Named for the telescope that discovered the first 3 worlds in 2015 (the TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetIsmals …

Continue reading

Great god, Pan!

NASA’s Cassini probe, enjoying its last few orbits of Saturn, has been deployed to intercept many of the ringed planet’s orbital features at close range.  On March 7, it came close to the “shepherd” moon, Pan, and revealed its unusual shape. Pan has a large bulge (technically, an equatorial accretion disk) from the ring particles …

Continue reading

Growing oceans in the shadow of the magnetic balloon

Matt Williams on the Universal Science website has reported that a NASA study of terraforming Mars presented at the Planetary Science Vision 2050 Workshop suggests that a major factor in restoring an atmosphere and, eventually, oceans, could be an inflatable, magnetic-field generating structure placed at the Lagrange L1 point, gravitationally balanced on the line between …

Continue reading

Pass the dice and the channel changer!

Ty Franck and Dan Abraham’s popular space opera series, The Expanse, is about to come full circle, from game to book to TV show, and now back to game.  In a well-detailed interview with the authors, Andrew Liptak, writing on the Barnes & Noble blog site, tells of how Ty Franck, a successful entrepreneur, was …

Continue reading

An elephant or a Beamer never forgets

Coming off a week of 60-degree days mingled with 8-10″ of snow, the Beamers traversed a strange and sometimes dangerous terrain to reach their Safe Place (Panera’s), where they would sing 175 verses of praise or criticism (OK, more of the latter than the former) to Barbara Gowdy’s character study of elephants in Central Africa, …

Continue reading

To see the worlds in a pane of glass

Chinese artist/designer/architect Jian Guo, who works primarily with sf/fantasy subjects, has been working on a series of prints of the not-too-mundane bodies of the Solar System.  Using a flat, tessellated style that resembles the pieces of stained glass used in decorative and sacred architecture, the portraits of Sun, planets, and associated friends (the Moon, the …

Continue reading

Hail to the Chief (reader?)

In an interview with NY Times lead book critic Michiko Kakutani, President Obama discusses the books that he read while serving as Leader of the Free World.  One series that helped him gain perspective on his political troubles was Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past (known best by its first novel, The Three-Body Problem): It …

Continue reading

Nor any drop to drink 

At the start of a new year, the Beamers turned resolutely toward the Future.  Not a cheery Future, alas, but a realistic one of wars over water rights, right here in the US.  Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife depicts the struggles to survive in a drying Southwest, where states launch military raids to prevent other …

Continue reading

A clash of “Ego”

In the New Statesman, speculative fiction grandmaster Michael Moorcock reminisces on his friendship with grandmaster Arthur C. Clarke, and in particular about the making of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which film did not turn out to be the quasi-documentary on space travel that Sir Arthur was hoping it would be.  Unfortunately for the British author, …

Continue reading