Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fred's Reading Report (May 2009)

May was slower for reading than April was. April, with the effort to do the "Books That Stick With Me" project kind of burned me out (you'll note I still have not posted the entry dealing with those books!). Toss in family problems with my parents and my in-laws, well, it has been busy.

I did get some reading done, though!

Short stories bounced quite a bit, mostly due to one collection. The short count stands at 227, with the goal of at least 365 short works for the year. Looks like I'll have no trouble making at least that!

For longer works, the count stands at 121. In May, I read Fire and Rain (Pete Abrams, part of the Sluggy Freelance series of comics); MegaTokyo, Volume 5 (Fred Gallagher), Futures from Nature (Henry Gee, editor), Watch on the Rhine and Yellow Eyes (John Ringo and Tom Kratman) and Mamotte Shugogetten, Volumes 01 and 02 (which are two books each) (Minene Sakurano). As usual, reviews are lagging reading!

June will hopefully slow down on the family side. Early indications are not promising, alas.
Side Stories

John Ringo and Tom Kratman: Watch on the Rhine (Baen Books; August 2005; ISBN 978-0-7434-9918-7; cover by Kurt Miller).

John Ringo and Tom Kratman: Yellow Eyes (Baen Books; April 2007; ISBN 978-1-4165-2103-7; cover by Stephen Hickman).

After finishing up John Ringo's Gust Front, I had a choice in how to proceed with Posleen tales. Go on to the next solo effort, When the Devil Dances or branch off into these collaborative efforts? I decided to try these two, as in terms of chronology, they take place before When the Devil Dances, even though they were written later.

Collaborative? I should clarify. While there are two names on the jacket, John Ringo makes it clear in this episode of the podcast Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing that the books are primarily Tom Kratman's efforts. Ringo is a one-man publishing empire on his own; he had to farm out some of the side stories of the Posleen war and has done so with Tom Kratman and with Julie Cochrane (who has been the primary writer on three books dealing with a minor character from one of the Ringo solo efforts). Ringo maintains control, adds ends and odds, but most of the work here is Kratman (or Cochrane, with those books).

On to the books! Both concern the early days of the Posleen conflict and both are set on Earth. The focus of Ringo's two earlier works in the series (if you go by chronology) were the United States and offworld, these take place (respectively) in Europe (primarily German) and Central and South America (primarily Panama). (Interestingly, I am aware of two unpublished works that show the invasion in the Middle East and in England; hopefully these see the light of day sometime).

Watch on the Rhine is the weaker of the two efforts in several ways. In notes for the book, Ringo and Kratman talk about how the book grew out what was to be a collection of short stories by other author's set in the universe, and at one point the book was paired with another story dealing with Japan, the Philippine Islands and the Posleen. The book feels like a expanded short story; some areas that would receive loving detail in a Ringo solo work are hurried through. The writing was weaker (when compared to Yellow Eyes). I also found it hard to deal with the characters.

Yes, you've heard it before...the book deals with rejuvenated Waffen SS tankers fighting the Posleen in Germany. The subject of endless debate at some of the online discussion groups, the decision to use that as subject matter certainly drew attention to the book. I had less difficulty with that, than it took quite a while to find one sympathetic character and one very unsympathetic character just was never drawn well enough to make him interesting.

It's also a pretty depressing book. Sure, millions are saved...but just about every character dies (some pretty horrible deaths) and being a "middle tale" of an extended series, we dont' really come to any resolution.

On to Yellow Eyes! This entry into the chronology concentrates on the strategic assets of the Panama Canal. Knowing that this will be vital to keep the United States going during the long invasion, it is reinforced both with troops (an already stretched resource) and equipment. Naturally, the double-crossing aliens that are "helping" us are trying to keep things from going too well; while this is explored somewhat in Watch on the Rhine, it is drawn up in more detail in this tale. Information on what happens in much of South and Central America is outlined; most of the action takes place in a relatively small area in and around Panama.

The book shows how Kratman grew as an author in between the time he wrote his first entry in the series and this volume. The character's are more detailed, and there are more sympathetic characters you can "hook" onto. People still die horribly, but there are some glimmers of hope as well. And, there is one long-running sequence involving one Posleen in particular. That poor bastard...

Both books end with epilogues set downstream from these books and hint at what is to come. It will be interesting to see how this plays out with the later books, especially the next Ringo solo effort and the next Ringo-Kratman collaborative effort later this year (there is already a Ringo-Cochrane collaborative effort out and waiting for me on Mount Toberead).

Yellow Eyes is the better of the two; Watch on the Rhine was a good read (and a fast read), but suffered from being an earlier work.
Natural Shorts

Henry Gee (editor); Futures from Nature: 100 Speculative Fictions from the Pages of the Leading Science Journal (Tor Books; November 2007; ISBN 978-0-7653-1805-3; cover by Howard Grossman).

This book consists of 100 short works (plus a short introduction) from the pages of the well-known and considered science journal Nature (I spotted it at the bookstore and this is one that is constantly recommended to me...but at $10.00/issue and about $200.00/year, I'll have to pass!). Gee ran short (very short) stories in the magazine as a way to get readers to think. The stories range from very good to very bland; not surprisingly, the best are by established science fiction writers. Others, not so much (for example, why did it take ten...I kid you not...ten writers to come up with the short work A Concrete Example?). The stories are arranged alphabetically by author. Sometimes this ends up with an interesting combination (like two stories on post-humanism or trans-humanism coming together), but in most cases, there are no consistent themes.

I found the book better to be read a few stories at a time or even one story per day. They're short...sometimes too short, but some are packed with an idea that expands within you given some time. If you cram too many into one sitting, the unpacking does not happen.

Made up of: Introduction: Nostalgia for the Future (Henry Gee); Cognitive Ability and the Light Bulb (Brian Aldiss); Don't Imitate (Gilles Amon); Check Elastic Before Jumping (Neal Asher); Twenty2 (Nate Balding); Under Martian Ice (Stephen Baxter); Party Smart Card (Barrington J. Bayley) RAM SHIFT PHASE 2 (Greg Bear); A Life with a Semisent (Gregory Benford); Damned If You Don't (Lucy Berman); The Punishment Fits the Crime (David Berreby); Toy Planes (Tobias S. Buckell); A Concrete Example (J. Casti, J.-P. Boon, C. Djerassi, J. Johnson, A. Lovett, T. Norretranders, V. Patera, C. Sommerer, R. Taylor and S. Thurner); The Aching of Dion Harper (Arthur Chrenkoff); Improving the Neighborhood (Arthur C. Clarke); Omphalosphere: New York 2057 (Jack Cohen); Picasso's Cat (Ron Collins); My Grandfather's River (Brenda Cooper); Sandcastles: A Dystopia (Kathryn Cramer); Adam's Hot Dogs at the End of the World (Jeff Crook); The Party's Over (Penelope Kim Crowther); Transport of Delight (Roland Denison); The Perfect Lover (Paul Di Filippo); Printcrime (Cory Doctorow); A Brief History of Death Switches (David Eagleman); Only Connect (Greg Egan); At the Zoo (Warren Ellis); The Liquidators (Michae Garrett Farrelly); In the Days of the Comet (John M. Ford); Ars Longa, Vita Brevis (James Alan Gardner); Are We Not Men? (Henry Gee); It Never Rains in Vr (John Gilbert); Gordy Gave Me Your Name (Jim Giles); Nostalgia (Hiromi Goto); Spawn of Satan? (Nicola Griffith); Take Over (Jon Coutrenay Grimwood); Speak, Geek (Eileen Gunn); Heartwired (Joe Haldeman); The Forever Kitten (Peter F. Hamilton); The Road to the Year 3000 (Harry Harrison); Operation Tesla (Jeff Hecht); Making the Sale (Fredric Heeren); Subpoenaed in Syracuse (Tom Holt); Men Sell Not Such in Any Town (Nalo Hopkinson); Total Internal Reflection (Gwyneth Jones); Bringing Up Baby (Ellen Klages): Semi-autonomous (Jim Kling); Product Development (Nancy Kress); I Love Liver: A Romance (Larissa Lai); Avatars in Space (Geoffrey A. Landis); COMP.BASILISK FAQ (David Langford); Gathering of the Clans (Reinaldo Jose Lopes); Taking Good Care of Myself (Ian R. MacLeod); Undead Again (Ken MacLeod); Words, Words, Words (Elisabeth Malartre); My Morning Glory (David Marusek); Don't Mention the "F" Word (Neil Mathur); Meat (Paul McAuley); The Candidate (Jack McDevitt); A Modest Proposal for the Perfection of Nature (Vonda N. McIntyre); The Republic of George's Island (Donna McMahon); The Stars My Incarnation (Robert A. Metzger); The Computiful Game (Paul Steven Miller); Oscar Night, 2054 (Syne Mitchell); The Visible Men (Michael Moorcock); The Albian Message (Oliver Morton); Photons Do Not Lie (Euan Nisbet); Stranger in the Night (Salvador Nogueira); Tick-Tock Curly-Wurly (Gareth Owens); Daddy's Slight Miscalculation (Ashley Pellegrino); Brain Drain (Frederik Pohl); Great Unreported Discoveries No. 163 (Mike Resnick); Feeling Rejected (Alastair Reynolds); The Trial of Jeremy Owens (Peter Roberts); Prometheus Unbound, at Last (Kim Stanley Robinson); Dreadnought (Justina Robson); Falling (Benjamin Rosenbaum); Panpsychism Proved (Rudy Rucker); The Abdication of Pope Mary III (Robert J. Sawyer); The Charge-up Man (Catherine H. Shaffer); From the Desk of Jarrod Foster (Biren Shah); Pluto Story (Robert Silverberg); Madame Bovary, C'est Moi (Dan Simmons); Tuberculosis Bacteria Join UN (Joan Slonczewski) For He on Honeydew Hath Fed... (Paul Smaglik); A Man of the Theater (Norman Spinrad); Ivory Tower (Bruce Sterling); Play It Again, Psam (Ian Stewart); MAXO Signals (Charles Stross); Golden Year (Igor Teper); Paratext (Scarlett Thomas); Murphy's Cat (Joan D. Vinge); Win a Nobel Prize! (Vernor Vinge); A Leap of Faith (Theo von Hohenheim); Nadia's Nectar (Ian Watson); Statler Pulchrifex (Matt Weber); All Is Not Lost (Scott Westerfeld); The Key (Ian Whates); The Godmother Protocols (Heather M. Whitney); The Great Good-Bye (Robert Charles Wilson); Pigs on the Wing (K. Erik Ziemelis).

Counts as 101 entries in the 2009 Year in Shorts.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the beautiful Trifid Nebula in the constellation Sagittarius. Growing up, I would always hunt up pictures of the Trifid Nebula in astronomy books I took out from the library.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us Messier #106, a galaxy that was actually not found by Charles Messier, but his friend Pierre Mechain. Since Messier added it to Messier's catalog, it gets tagged with a "M" number.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

An Odd Patch

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a wide view (can you say "new computer desktop image"?) of one of the more puzzling parts of the sky: NGC 3372, the Great Nebula in Carina, home of Eta Carinae.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pipe and Steam

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a number of dust clouds first recorded by astronomer E.E. Barnard. I've observed a couple of these and they are quite strange looking!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Moonbase Alpha

WolframAlpha. Something new to play with!

So, while we wait for me to gear up...some trivia!

1) What were the three original character classes in the original D&D?

2) What company currently owns the rights?

3) What was the 1981 book and movie (starring a young Tom Hanks) about the dangers of Dungeons and Dragons?

4) Who were the two co-authors of the original D&D?

5) What nation's military has a written policy banning the playing of D&D?

This should be "easy as pie" for most of my gaming friends!
Yea, Verily, I Have Been Much Absent of Late...

Last week was Carnival Week and I worked the kitchen again. Saturday (4 hours), Monday (five or six hours), Tuesday (8 hours), Wednesday (8 hours), Thursday (8 hours), Friday (12 hours), Saturday (16 hours) and Sunday (11 hours). Those are approximations, but you'll see why I have been "invisible".

A lot of hours, but that is nothing compared to some of the folks who do this year after year. The planning process is year-round and things start getting more and more active from around January or so of each year.

I've got blisters on my fingers!

Anyway, I'll try to catch up. I'll also probably post my "Carnival Shuffle", list of songs played while slaving over that hot stove, cooking batch after batch of meatballs, sausage, onions, peppers, pretzels and more!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows IC 443, the Jellyfish Nebula. Now I have a problem...use this one or yesterday's picture for my new desktop image. I guess I'll just need to buy another computer!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stardust Memories

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a pretty unique one. Meteor enthusiasts recorded two years worth of observations (over 240,000 meteors) and developed this grid. Think the sky never changes?

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows M31, more commonly known as the Andromeda Galaxy. Under clear and dark skies (a rare thing where I live!), M31 is a "naked eye" object.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Fred's Reading Report (April 2009)


A split here for this month's entry (and the reason for the delay). At the beginning of April, I was challenged to participate in a "15 books that have stuck with you" meme (this seems to have morphed on Facebook to become "15 books in 15 minutes"). So part of this month's efforts went to re-reading and choosing those books. I'm still working on my blog posting for the project, so "below the fold" you'll see the books listed. Yes, it is more than 15 books. Yes, eventually I'll find a way of including all the books in a list of 15. Watch me sing, watch me dance!

Anyway...April. Total number of books read, including the ones for the project: 83 (!!!!!) Total number of short works read, 119 (but that list needs serious updating, I am well ahead of that number in that "reality" thing).

I doubt (I know!) I won't be able to match April's count again for the rest of the year. Frankly, the project exhausted me (other things exhausted me this past month). Expect more of a sprinkling for the rest of the year!


Project books!!! (watch for the blog entry; that will eventually replace this list):

Edwin A. Abbott: Flatland (annotated edition, introduction and notes by Ian Stewart, Perseus, 2002) (tie in Taylor and Carroll)

Poul Anderson: The Enemy Stars, Poul Anderson (Lippincott, 1958) (tie in Simak, Robinson)

J.D. Bernal: The World, The Flesh and The Devil (Indiana University Press, 1969) (infuences on Clarke, Stapledon, connections between Clarke and Stapledon, Zebrowski).

Bernal sphere

Mark Bowden: Blackhawk Down: A Story of Modern War (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999) (tie in Coyle, Drake, Haldeman)

Jack L. Chalker: Midnight at the Well of Souls (Del Rey, 1977), Web of the Chozen (Del Rey, 1978)

Arthur C. Clarke: 2001: A Space Odyssey (NAL, 1968) Connections: The Planet Strappers, also Simak, Stapledon, Sagan, Zebrowski.

Hal Clement (Harry C. Stubbs): Mission of Gravity (found in The Essential Hal Clement, Volume III: Variations on a Theme by Sir Isaac Newton, NESFA Press, 2000)

Harold Coyle: Team Yankee (Presidio Press, 1987)

Michael Crichton: Eaters of the Dead (Bantam, 1977)

Justus Dahinden: Urban Structures of the Future (Praeger, 1972)

Samuel R. Delany: Nova (Bantam, 1975; Vintage, 2002)

Arthur Conan Doyle: The Complete Sherlock Holmes (preferably annotated) (general list of works)

David Drake: Rolling Hot (Baen, 1989), Paying the Piper (Baen, 2002)

Harlan Ellison: Deathbird Stories (Collier, 1990)

Richard P. Feynman: Six Easy Pieces--Essentials of Physics Explained by its Most Brilliant Teacher (Helix Books, 1995)
Six Not So Easy Pieces: Einstein's Relativity, Symmetry, and Space-Time (Helix Books, 1997)
Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun (W.W. Norton, 1996)

Raymond Z. Gallun: The Planet Strappers (Pyramid, 1961)

William Gibson: Burning Chrome (Ace, 1987) Neuromancer (Ace, 1986), Count Zero (Ace, 1987), Mona Lisa Overdrive (Bantam-Spectra, 1989)

Joe Haldeman: The Forever War (Thomas Dunn Books, 2009)

Frank Herbert: The Dragon in the Sea (Doubleday, 1956); Under Pressure (Ballantine, 1976)

Thor Heyerdahl: Kon-Tiki (Rand McNally & Co., 1950)

Rudyard Kipling: Barrack Room Ballads & Departmental Ditties (Grosset & Dunlap, 1920)

Fritz Leiber: Ill Met in Lankhmar (White Wolf Publishing, 1995) (Swords and Deviltry and Swords Against Death)

Charles B. MacDonald: Company Commander (Bantam, 1982); A Time for Trumpets: The Untold Story of the Battle of the Bulge (Bantam, 1985)

R.A. MacAvoy: Tea with the Black Dragon (Bantam, 1983)

John McPhee: Annals of the Former World (Farrar, Staus & Giroux, 1998)

Walter M. Miller, Jr.: A Canticle for Leibowitz (review here) ().

Patrick O'Brian: Master & Commander (I only read Master & Commander, but I'd put as "essential" the whole series, for all love!) (W.W. Norton, 1970)

Gerard K. O'Neill: The High Frontier (Morrow, 1976)

Leslie Peltier: Starlit Nights (Harper & Row, 1965; Sky Publishing Corporation, 1999)

Frederik Pohl: The Heechee Series: Gateway (St. Martin's Press, 1977), Beyond the Blue Event Horizon (Del Rey, 1980), Heechee Rendezvous (Del Rey, 1984), Annals of the Heechee (Del Rey, 1987), The Gateway Trip (Del Rey, 1990)

Tim Powers: The Annubis Gates (Ace, 1983)

Steven Pressfield: Gates of Fire (Bantam, 1999)

John Ringo: Into the Looking Glass (Baen Books, 2005)

Spider Robinson: Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (Ace, 1977), Time Traveler's Strictly Cash (Ace, 1981), Callahan's Secret (Berkley, 1986)

Carl Sagan: The Cosmic Connection (Anchor Books, 1973)

Michael Shaara: The Killer Angels (Random House, 1974). Roll in Blackhawk Down, Charles MacDonald. Forever War.

Clifford D. Simak: City (Old Earth Books 2004), The Goblin Reservation (Putnam, 1968)

Cordwainer Smith (Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger): The Rediscovery of Mankind (NESFA Press, 1994) and Norstrilia (NESFA Press, 1994)

E.E. "Doc" Smith: Spacehounds of the IPC (Fantasy Press, 1949; Pyramid, 1973) (tie in Ringo and Taylor, Chalker, Vinge)

Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (Gollancz, 1999) (tie in Bernal and Clarke, Zebrowski, Cordwainer Smith)

Connection: Freeman Dyson

Connection: Dyson Sphere

Travis S. Taylor: Warp Speed (Baen Books, 2004)

Unknown: The Psalms (commentary by Kathleen Norris) (Riverhead Books, 1997)

Jack Vance: The Compleat Dying Earth (SFBC, 1998)

John Varley: The Ophiuchi Hotline (The Dial Press, 1977)

Vernor Vinge: A Fire Upon the Deep (Tor, 1992), A Deepness in the Sky (Tor, 1999)

Jack Williamson: The Legion of Space (Fantasy Press, 1947)

George Zebrowski: Macro-Life (Haper & Row, 1979)

Roger Zelazny: Doorways in the Sand (Harper, 1976)
Young Flandry

Ensign Flandry, Agent of the Terran Empire, looks like Keith Laumer's Retief and acts like A. Bertram Chandler's Grimes in this piece of art for an upcoming Baen Books release!
Warp Factor Two!

Marc Millis continues to ride the coattails of the new Star Trek film and push his overpriced book.

Two items of interest in the current "issue" of The Internet Review of Science Fiction (gee, guys, the website is looking a little ad-crowded!). Heather Smith takes a look at J.R.R. Tolkien and The Hobbit. (How's that movie, going, by the way?) Brent Kellmer inteviews Jay Lake.
All That We Need Is The Air That We Breathe

Astronaut Leroy Chiao has been guest-blogging at Gizmodo on his experiences with the Soyuz and the ISS. Some pretty nifty stuff there, but I wish the column was longer than the micro-format that has been employed. Maybe he has a book in him?

Meet and greet. Soyuz entry. Pre-launch jitters. First feelings. Brushing your teeth. Living on the ISS.
Across the Space Frontier

Gizmodo looks at one of my favorite non-fiction books. The "Collier Space Program" had a big influence on me; I would guess it had an equally big influence on many who actually got to light the candles.

Now those alien grays, they're the ones you need to watch out for!
This Stuff Is Far

Two antennas of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have been linked to observe the planet Mars. The eventual goal is to link many radio telescopes to create one honking huge "virtual" antenna.
Ares Review

A document outlining the proposed Ares launch vehicle released ahead of NASA's budget noise. More coming...

Addendum/Update: FY 2010 budget request. No Discovery II or Leonov mission... Human spaceflight plans will be reviewed (read "more delays are coming). Hey, look, still no NASA Administrator! Priorities, priorities... Much internet hashing commences. Direct 2.0? Shuttle extension?
The Pastel City

A review of M. John Harrison's The Pastel City. Man, I haven't read that since my girlfriend gave me a copy...that she got from her job at Chain Store Age & Supermarkets. (That, by the way, would be the woman who became my wife some twenty-five years ago!)

Good stuff. If you like Clark Ashton Smith, Jack Vance or Gene Wolfe, you might want to give it a try. Bantam-Spectra came out with an omnibus trade paperback a few years back.
Print On Demand

Newsday wants to start charging for web content. Didn't The New York Times try this and found it wanting? In other news, The New York Times hails the new Kindle (or would that be the newer Kindle) as the savior of newspapers. Maybe. Probably not. Content, guys. Relevance. All that silly stuff...

Addendum: More details on the newer Kindle with additional adoration from The New York Times. Jeff Bezos is gonna save us! More links at Slashdot.
Desperate Times... for desperate measures. Another failing franchise looks for a way of cutting in on the action. Hey, Beeb, I'm sure you can do better!
The Manga Book of Databases?

That...and other entries at...Geek Books!
Drink the Koolaid

The biggest technology cults. Let's see, cult of Palm, cult of Newton, who knows, maybe I'll be joining the cult of Linux some day!
The Crowded Sky

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us the Perseus Cluster. Not a star cluster, a galaxy cluster!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Home Grown

Hey, kids...let's build a giant telescope in the basement!

(In all seriousness, there are plenty of articles in magazines like Astronomy or Sky & Telescope with articles such as this and multiple books...kits, semi-kits and more...ranging in skill ability from basic to very advanced. So if you've got the bug, there are plenty of ways of fulfilling it.)
Strong as Silk

Improving spider silk with an injection of metal. elevators anybody? What would happen if you injected it with buckyballs?
Like Being On Drugs

Will Avatar (James Cameron's first project since, like, forever) be like being on, you know, drugs? Man, I keep having these flashbacks to, like, you know, Woodstock.

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows one of the stranger sights of the night sky...NGC 2392, the Eskimo Nebula.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Majorcan Mouse-Goat

Dorothea Bate and her discoveries as a naturalist.
The Beginning of the End

This reminds me of a really bad science fiction movie (seriously, you could have dropped this into the middle of one bad SF movie in particular): a town will fight a cricket invasion with music.
The Whale

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 4631, a spiral galaxy seen edge-on (from our perspective). It's been dubbed "The Whale Galaxy".

Friday, May 01, 2009

That Time

The latest issue of Ansible is up!

In Spellcheck Veritas. From the Philadelphia Inquirer's feature on Samuel R. Delany: '"His range of characters was unprecedented," said Philadelphia sci-fi and fantasy writer Michael Swankier, author of The Dragons of Babel.' (5 April) Later the piece quotes a curator at the SF Hall of Fame saying that SRD was 'writing in opposition to the golden age of science fiction, with its brassy broads and manly dudes with ray guns' -- an era which, as PI staffer Tirdad Derakhshani helpfully adds, was 'ushered in by Asimov and Heinlein'. Ushered in? H'mm.
It. Has. Arrived.

I've got my copy of David Drake's In the Stormy Red Sky. You know, the one that stars Captain Fred Kiesche, RCN?
Near and Far

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a meteor streaking through the Milky Way.