Sci-Fi Weekly Round-Up: 4.16.16-4.22.16

April 22, 2016

 

SCIENCE NEWS:

Nuclear Waste Do-Si-Do:

Hanford, Washington, is the home to 50+ million gallons of nuclear waste. Stored there during the Manhattan Project, a nuclear weapon research and development project during World War II, the location boasts 177 tanks, filled to the brim with radioactive junk. Problem is, the tanks, as old as they are, are leaking, forcing the transfer of the waste from tank to tank. It’s nuclear waste hot potato! Legislature to move the waste to the Yucca Mountain, a geological storage site that would contain the waste for 10,000 years, has been delayed since 1998. Call your senators and congressmen TODAY!

 

Gamma Ray, Oh Gamma Ray:

The number of known Gamma Ray sources in the universe quadrupled, according to a report from HAWC (High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory). There are now 40 known sources, including a “gamma ray constellation” called “the executioner.” These hot spots are arranged together to look like a human…a seemingly evil human.

 

Solar Winds and Comets - A Love Story:

Solar wind, charged particles unleashed from the upper atmosphere of the sun, has an interesting effect on the atmospheres of comets. It is now theorized that when the two come in contact with each other, they produce X-rays. The Chandra X-ray Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been watching two comets: ISON and PanSTARRS, approx. 90 and 130 million miles from Earth, respectively. Despite the variables of the two comets, Chandra observed X-rays produced on both.

 

Alien Space Dust:

Cassini, an unmanned spacecraft orbiting Saturn, has been sampling cosmic dust since 2004. It recently discovered 36 grains that aren’t native to our solar system. The grains were travelling at a rate of 45,000 miles per hour when they were seized, meaning they were moving too fast to be caught in the gravitational pulls of our solar system. They speculate these grains come from interstellar dust, the dust in between stars.

 

Venus, You’re So Hot and Cold:

Venus is hot. VERY HOT. Its atmosphere boasts a unique cloud covering that traps heat, making it hotter than Mercury, even though it’s further from the Sun. But we’ve known this for a while…it’s nothing new. What IS new is data from the Venus Express probe, a spacecraft that fell into Venus’s atmosphere in 2014. Scientists have been sorting through the data and have, for the first time, information relevant to Venus’s poles. Despite the planet’s scorching heat, the poles are ICE COLD.

 

Radio Silence:

Solar flares are unique in many ways, but most importantly, they are the only space weather event to travel at the speed of light, making them unpredictable. A very strong solar flare would affect our ionosphere and disrupt communication systems on Earth.  Scientists are using three solar flare observations from 2013 to better their understanding of the phenomena, and hopefully try and predict them…before they silence us...

 

Free-Floating Planets, The Final Frontier:

It is theorized that free-floating planets, planets in space that aren’t gravitationally attached to a star, outnumber stars in the universe. These objects are still quite mysterious because their origins are unknown…But the recent discovery of WISEA 1147, a free floating sphere within a young (approx. 10 million years old) solar system, has scientists theorizing that it’s the remnants of a brown dwarf star, as opposed to a planet, because of it’s age. This supports the recent discovery of countless brown dwarves littering the universe.

 

ALIENS!

 

This week, Science News focused a few of their articles on Extra Terrestrials. Here are the highlights:

 

Philosophies of the Middle Ages - Plurality of Worlds:

Since medieval times, philosophers have debated the idea of multiple universes.

 

An Exoplanet’s Guide to Supporting Life:

Scientists examine all the known elements that support life on Earth, and the validity of the circumstellar habitable zone, also known as the “Goldilocks Zone.”

 

Redefining the Rules of Life:

Remember when a life form that uses arsenic to build protein was discovered in Lake Tahoe in 2012? Alien life may require unfamiliar “ingredients.”

 

Here’s Lookin’ At You, Earth:

For years, astronomers have detected planets by watching their shadows pass in front of their host stars.  Maybe aliens are looking for our shadows, too...

 

Lions, Tigers, and Telescopes, Oh My!

In 2017 and 2018, two new telescopes, TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satelite) and the James Webb Space Telescope, will be launched into space, increasing our ability to identify life on other planets.

 

 

NEW SCI-FI BOOK RELEASES:

Chains of Command

Author: Marko Kloos

Released: 4.19.2016

 

The assault on Earth was thwarted by the destruction of the aliens’ seed ship, but with Mars still under Lanky control, survivors work frantically to rebuild fighting capacity and shore up planetary defenses. Platoon sergeant Andrew Grayson must crash-course train new volunteers—all while dulling his searing memories of battle with alcohol and meds.

 

Knowing Earth’s uneasy respite won’t last, the North American Commonwealth and its Sino-Russian allies hurtle toward two dangerous options: hit the Lanky forces on Mars or go after deserters who stole a fleet of invaluable warships critical to winning the war. Assigned to a small special ops recon mission to scout out the renegades’ stronghold on a distant moon, Grayson and his wife, dropship pilot Halley, again find themselves headed for the crucible of combat—and a shattering new campaign in the war for humanity’s future.

 

 

 

Coronation: A Kid Sensation Novel #5

Author: Kevin Hardman

Released: 4.16.16

 

As the grandson of the alien princess Indigo, Jim (aka Kid Sensation) has always known that, technically, he’s royalty. That said, he’d be the first to admit that he’s never lived any kind of regal lifestyle – no titles, no castles, no crown jewels… However, the arrival of a courier from his grandmother’s homeworld changes all of that in an instant.

 

 

 

Cursed: An Urban Fantasy Novel

(The Thrice Cursed Mage Book 1)

Author: J.A. Cipriano

Released: 2.7.16

 

My name is Mac Brennan and that's the only thing I can remember about myself. Not why I woke up in a dumpster. Not why my right arm is as black as pitch and covered in glowing red tattoos, and certainly not why a vicious death cult is after me.

 

Actually, that last part isn't true. I know why the death cult is after me. It's because I saved that damned girl from them. I didn't know who she was at the time, but I'd have done it anyway. I just don't like it when girls get beat up, call me old fashioned.

Still, I can tell she's hiding something behind those devilish eyes, and if I want to find out what it is, I'll have to help her.

My name is Mac Brennan. I have no memory, and I'm a werewolf-hunting, hellfire-flinging version of Faust himself. 

 

 

The Day After Never – Blood Honor

Author: Russell Blake

Released: 4.18.16

 

They said it could never happen - that the day would never come. They were wrong.

 

Five years post-collapse, former Texas Ranger Lucas Shaw is surviving hardscrabble in a kill-or-be-killed wasteland. When an enigmatic young woman enters his life with a desperate plea, Lucas must face impossible odds and battle an adversary who will stop at nothing to destroy them. Lightning-paced and gritty, Blood Honor, the debut full-length novel in The Day After Never trilogy, is a non-stop adrenaline rush set in a chillingly plausible dystopian future.

 

 

 

The Farmed

Author: Lisa Caskey

Released: 4.12.16

 

No one thought human beings would be forced to farm their own in order to survive nuclear war. But in 2033, the CIA set out to do just that.

 

For 60 years, this genetically perfect race has been immune to all disease...until one day, a plague rips through their community, and suddenly they are not.

 

Desperate to protect their elite, the government will stop at nothing to find a cure.

 

But they didn’t count on Winnie, a seemingly common teenage girl, who isn’t very common at all: she’s telepathic, extremely fast, and incredibly strong.

 

They arrested Winnie. They arrested Winnie’s mother. Now she is determined to stop the government and liberate her people. Even if it means losing everything she loves.

 

 

Fault Line

Author: Deborah D. Moore

Released: April 2016

 

Christine must overcome her pampered lifestyle in order to survive an earthquake—and more.

 

When a seemingly minor tremor escalates into a major earthquake, spoiled Christine Tiggs is stranded in the middle of it. Caught at ground zero of the violent catastrophe, Christine must overcome her fears and prejudices to stay alive and find her way home—on her own. And if she ever gets there, she still may not be safe. 

 

 

Join

Author: Steve Toutonghi

Released: 4.19.2016

 

What if you could live multiple lives simultaneously, have constant, perfect companionship, and never die? That’s the promise of Join, a revolutionary technology that allows small groups of minds to unite, forming a single consciousness that experiences the world through multiple bodies. But as two best friends discover, the light of that miracle may be blinding the world to its horrors.

 

 

The Last Wall

Author: David Annandale

Released: April 2016

 

Despite the Imperium’s best attempts to forestall the ork plague that is wrecking havoc in human space, an ork attack moon now hangs over Terra. 

 

As its malevolent presence gazes down at the Imperial Palace, terrified citizens run riot in the streets. In a last-ditch attempt to destroy the attack moon, a proletarian crusade is launched. Thousands of ships large and small head to the moon carrying billions of citizens, all eager to take the fight to the enemy. It seems the attack has a chance of success as the invasion force lands safely, but the orks have yet to spring their trap... 

 

 

 

The Running Man

Author: Stephen King

Released: April 2016

 

A desperate man attempts to win a reality TV game where the only objective is to stay alive in this #1 national bestseller from Stephen King, writing as Richard Bachman.

 

It was the ultimate death game in a nightmare future America. The year is 2025 and reality TV has grown to the point where people are willing to wager their lives for a chance at a billion-dollar jackpot. Ben Richards is desperate—he needs money to treat his daughter’s illness. His last chance is entering a game show called The Running Man where the goal is to avoid capture by Hunters who are employed to kill him. Surviving this month-long chase is another issue when everyone else on the planet is watching—and willing to turn him in for the reward.

 

 

 

 

 

Son of Justice

Author: Steven L. Hawk

Released: 4.12.16

 

For more than a dozen years, Eli has studied the art of war from some of the most skilled fighters on three planets. There's no question, he has what it takes to be a professional soldier.

 

There's just one problem. His father is General Grant Justice, the most famous man in the galaxy and leader of a new governmental alliance that unites four alien races.

 

When it comes time to enlist, the younger Justice has to make a choice. Rely on his last name and claim an automatic commission as an officer? Or enter basic training as a lowly private and earn his way to the top?

 

 

Winchester Undead

(INCLUDES Winchester Over (Book 1) and Winchester Prey, (Book 2))

Author: Dave Lund

Released: April 2016

 

An omnibus edition of the first two books in Dave Lund's Winchester Undead series.

 

The detonation of multiple nuclear warheads high in the atmosphere above North America destroys all the tools and devices of our modern lives, leaving the country in chaos. Next, an ancient virus is unleashed that steals death from humanity.

 

Bexar Reed and his family, along with their lifelong friends and fellow preppers, were prepared for the end of the world. They thought they were prepared for nearly every possibility—but they never thought the dead would rise to hunt the living.

 

 

 

NEW SCI-FI FILM RELEASES:

 

A Beautiful Planet

(Documentary)

Release Date: 4.29.16

 

An exploration of Earth and beyond as seen from the International Space Station. Narrated by Jennifer Lawrence.

 

 

 

 

 

Ratchet and Clank

Written by: T.J. Fixman, Kevin Munroe, Gerry Swallow

Release Date: 4.29.16

 

When the galaxy comes under the threat of a nefarious space captain, a mechanic and his newfound robot ally join an elite squad of combatants to save the universe.

 

 

 

 

NEW SCI-FI TV SHOW PREMIERES:

None next week.

 

 

 

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