Sci-Fi Weekly Round-Up: 4.23.16-4.29.16

April 30, 2016




On April 28th, the Japanese space agency, JAXA, announced that its x-ray space telescope, ASTRO-H, is officially inactive. The telescope launched on Feb 17 and was up and running until March 27th. For the past month, JAXA has been trying to revive ASTRO-H, to no avail. WHAT. A. SHAME.


Claude Shannon, the First Computer Engineer:

April 30th is Claude Elwood Shannon’s birthday. If he were still alive, he would be turning 100 years old. Considered “the father of information technology” he graduated from the prestigious Massachusetts’s Institute of Technology (MIT) and was a mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer. He founded both digital circuit and digital computer design in the 1930’s and about a decade later, published a paper with findings that are the basis of information technology today.


Coincidental Alignment?

Black holes continue to be a hot topic of discussion in the science world.  A new study reports that a dozen out of an observed 64 galaxies, are discharging radio waves that are seemingly, aligned. Some scientists believe this is evident of a greater cosmic web, while other think this is purely coincidental. What do YOU believe?


Those Elements are Heavy, Yo:

Recticulum II, an ancient dwarf galaxy, may be the source of our heavier elements. Alexander Ji of MIT used Magellan telescopes in Chile to catalogue elements in Reciculum II. Seven of the nine stars observed in the galaxy, contained heavy elements…but only in amounts typically found during the r-process (the nucleosynthesis process in collapsed supernovae that produces elements heavier than iron).


Makemake’s Moon:

Ok, so we all know that Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf planet, right? It joined our other solar system dwarf planets, Ceres, Eris, Haumea and…Makemake. Makemake is in the Kuiper Belt (past Neptune) and now can join its dwarf planet friends and boast that it too, has a moon. That’s right – this week, it was discovered that Makemake has a moon of its own. No need to be lonely anymore, Makemake! (PS – How do I get a job naming new discoveries in the Universe? Makemake? REALLY?!)


Methane on Titan, a Cassini Discovery:

Cassini, NASA’s unmanned spacecraft in orbit around Saturn, has discovered a lake on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, that is composed almost entirely of pure methane. Titan is the only moon in our solar system hosting large liquid bodies on its surface. Since 2004, Cassini has discovered that almost 2% of the moon is covered in liquid...but the discovery of the TYPE of liquids in these surface reservoirs, is new.


Kepler – Back at it Again with the Exoplanet Search:

On April 22, the Kepler space telescope is back up and running. PHEW - What a relief. NASA’s Deep Space Network (DNS) made contact this past week and redirected the spacecraft toward the center of the Milky Way. It will start collecting data for Campaign 9, Kepler’s “gravitational microlensing campaign.”


Dawn’s Third World:

Who says NASA is a waste of resources? Dawn, a NASA probe that launched in 2007, has already orbited asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet, Ceres, and is prepared to journey to a third location. The destination is yet to be announced, but Dawn can certainly handle the mission. It’s equipped with ion thrusters, giving it enough power to enter, and exit, orbits. It’s the first probe EVER to orbit TWO space bodies…so why not try for a third. GO BIG OR GO HOME, amiright?




TONS of news about Mars this week. Considering SpaceX has made statements about colonization the next five years, I think a section dedicated to the Red Planet this week is a MUST:


SpaceX and Its Red Dragon Mission:

The future is now…well, it very well could be in May of 2018. SpaceX has publicly declared that they will launch a Heavy Falcon rocket and attempt to land it on Mars. SpaceX has made some major advances in recent weeks when they successfully landed a returning Falcon 6 rocket on a barge…but this mission, due to the weight of the Heavy Falcon and Mars's thin atmosphere, will be much harder. If they can do it, is the colonization of Mars closer than we can imagine?


Curiosity Kills on Mars:

Curiosity, NASA’s Martian land rover, is almost done traversing the most treacherous terrain on the red planet’s surface. It will go on to explore higher, smoother surfaces on Mount Sharp, leaving Naukluft Plateau far behind. The future examination sites are “three geographical units that have been key destinations for the mission since it’s landing site was selected.” Go little rover, go!


Mars and All Its Wrinkles:

Crazy things are happening in London town! The UCL (University College London) has released never before seen HIGHLY DETAILED images of Mars. Using a new image stacking and matching technique called Super-Resolution Restoration (SRR), UCL’s team of scientists produced images 5x more detailed than previous images of the red planet’s surface. Smashing!





1882: Custer in Chains

(Book 1 of Baen)

Author: Robert Conroy


A world where Custer survives Little Bighorn and becomes president goes seriously awry.


Following his unlikely but decisive (and immensely popular) 1876 victory over Sitting Bull and the Sioux at the Little Big Horn, George Armstrong Custer is propelled into the White House in 1880.



A Clash of Aliens

(The Human Chronicles Book 13)

Author: T.R. Harris

Released: 4.26.16


Adam Cain had been taken captive by the new mutant queen of the flesh-eating Sol-Kor invaders, while his trusty sidekick Riyad Tarazi made it safely back to the Milky Way.


Now Riyad sets out on a desperate mission to rescue Adam. His task appears impossible, as Adam is being held in another universe cut off from our own. The only person who can help Riyad is the immortal mutant genius Panur...who's disappeared somewhere in the galaxy with Adam's daughter Lila. In his search of the mutant, Riyad enlists the help of Lila's mother, the sensual Arieel Bol, along with the uninvited--yet always entertaining--Sherri Valentine.


Barren Cove

Author: Ariel S. Winter

Released: April 2016

Sapien is a relic of a bygone age, searching for meaning in a world where his outdated allegiances to a time long past have left him isolated and hopeless. Seeking peace and quiet, he retires to a beach house at Barren Cove, a stately Victorian manor even more antiquated than he.


He becomes increasingly fascinated with the family whose lives are entwined with the home—angry and rebellious Clark; flamboyant Kent; fragile, beautiful Mary; and most of all, Beachstone, the mysterious man whose history may hold all the answers Sapien has been searching for. As Sapien unlocks their secret loves and betrayals, the dangerous past of Barren Cove will indelibly change him...and who he is fated to become.



Blackhawk: Far Stars Legends I

Author: Jay Allan

Released: 4.23.16


Blackhawk. A wanderer, a man running from a dark and sinister past. A genetically-engineered warrior, a capable and accomplished killer, he is also a lost soul, a man who has fled to the deepest reaches of space seeking his true identity.




The Blondes

Author: Emily Schultz

Released: April 2016


The Blondes is a hilarious and whip-smart novel where an epidemic of a rabies-like disease is carried only by blonde women, all of whom must go to great lengths to conceal their blondeness.


Emily Schultz’s beautifully realized novel is a mix of satire, thriller, and serious literary work. With biting satiric wit, The Blondes is at once an examination of the complex relationships between women and a merciless but giddily enjoyable portrait of what happens in a world where beauty is—literally—deadly.






Blue Death: The Reckoning

(A Dr. Jack Middleton Series, Book 2)

Author: James Dillinger

Released: February 2016


A terrifying new virus that threatened to wipe out mankind has seemingly disappeared….


But Dr Jack Middleton knows much worse is to come.


The Mayor's Office greenlight the annual New York St Patrick’s Day parade despite Jack’s warnings to cancel - with devastating consequences. As a virus outbreak sweeps the world the future of the human race is at stake and Jack and epidemiologist Kate Sharpe must battle to find a vaccine.


Can Jack unlock the genetic virus code and save millions of lives? Or is he already too late?


Cobra Outlaw

(Book 2 of Cobra)

Author: Timothy Zahn


Cobra warriors: technologically enhanced human warriors designed to combat an implacable alien menace. Now, and not for the first time, the Cobras are facing trouble from their own kind.


The Broom clan of Cobra warriors finds itself pressed between two star empires headed for war. On the planet Aventine, the Broom's homeworld, pater familia Paul Broom has been taken prisoner by Commodore Santeros, an implacable operative of the Dominion of Man. Paul is due to have his memories sifted through by the dreaded and often destructive Dominion MindsEye in order to root out the location of legendary Qasamaa planet where huge advances in military hardware, particularly a svelte powered armor, might give the Dominion of Man an edge in a coming war with the alien Troft. Santeros hopes to strike a deal with Qasama and, if a deal cannot be struck, then Santores and the Dominion are prepared to take what they want.


The Darkling Child: The Defenders of Shannara

Author: Terry Brooks

Released: 4.26.16


After taking up his enchanted sword against the dark sorcerer Arcannen, Paxon Leah has become the sworn protector of the Druid order. Now a critical hour is at hand, as a beloved High Druid nears the end of her reign and prepares to pass from the mortal world to the one beyond. There is little time for Paxon to mourn his friend and benefactor before duty summons him. For in a distant corner of the Four Lands, the magic of the wishsong has been detected. Paxon must accompany a Druid emissary to find its source—and ensure the formidable power is not wielded by the wrong hands.


The Destroyer

Author: Tara Isabella Burton

Released: April 2016


In a futuristic, fascistic Rome, a brilliant, unstable scientist proves that she can transcend the human body's limitations. The test subject? Her own daughter. A mother-daughter mad scientist story, THE DESTROYER asks how far we'll go to secure our own legacies -- and how far we'll run to escape them.





Dune Time

Author: Jack Nicholls

Released: April 2016


Isolated in the desert with his brother, Hasan learns that there is more to the legends of the dunes than he initially believed.






Elusive Salvation

(Part of Star Trek: The Original Series)

Author: Dayton Ward


An all-new Star Trek adventure across time—the latest of the acclaimed Original Series novels!


The Arctic Circle, 1845: Escaping the tyranny under which their people have lived for generations, aliens from a distant planet crash land on Earth’s inhospitable frozen wastes. Surviving the harsh conditions will pose a challenge, but over time the aliens will migrate to more populated areas, with decades passing as they work to conceal their presence from their former oppressors, who continue to hunt them at any cost.


San Francisco, 2283: When a mysterious craft is detected entering the solar system, Admiral James Kirk is dispatched by Starfleet to confront the vessel. He meets with an emissary from the Iramahl, a previously unknown alien race who have come in search of their brothers and sisters thought to have gone missing in this area of space centuries earlier. Having recently thrown off the last chains of subjugation by another species, the Ptaen, they now believe their lost people hold the key to saving their entire race from eventual extinction.



The Emperor’s Railroad

Author: Guy Haley

Released: April 2016


Global war devastated the environment, a zombie-like plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place.

Conflict between city states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out.

Until now…


EMP Exodus - An EMP Survival Story

(Dark New World, Book 2)

Author: J.J. Holden and Henry Gene Foster

Released: 4.26.16


Cassy has joined with Frank and his group, and the group members declare themselves a Clan, pitting themselves as a group against the rising tide of darkness around them. Then the death of one of their own creates new tensions that may tear the Clan apart before it ever reaches the promised oasis of Cassy’s homestead farm. Worse, they are followed by a man bent on their destruction, who would take her farm for his own group if he can find it. As the Clan continues its trek, invaders solidify their iron grip over the Eastern Seaboard, opposed by a Resistance aided by a mysterious group known only as “the 20s,” whose identities and ultimate goals remain unknown. Events begin to unfold that will determine the future of Cassy and her new family, and possibly the future of America.


Game Changer

Author: Douglas E. Richards

Released: 4.27.16


Kevin Quinn is a Secret Service agent who believes the president needs to die, and is determined to make this happen. But when Quinn becomes the most wanted man in America, he finds himself at the epicenter of an insidious and far-reaching plot. Are the Russians behind it? The Israelis? Some other powerful group? And why does Rachel Howard, a harmless civilian neuroscientist, appear to be the most critical piece of the entire puzzle?


Hope: A Going Home Novel

Author: A. American and G. Michael Hopf

Released: 4.29.16


Neal managed to survive the initial weeks after an EMP decimated the grid and all critical infrastructures. Using his cunning, skills and mindset, he navigated the harsh new landscape. Life became harder when the weeks turned to months but still he survived. As he settled into his new normal complacency set in with it. At first everything was fine but then the deadly realities came to his doorstep. When tragedy struck all he wanted to do was give up, but a promise he had made kept him going, barely. He was a man without a home, a purpose and more importantly hope. That changed one day along a desolate highway in the desert. There he’d discover a new reason for living.



Hunting Mink

(Ultrahumans Book 3)

Author: Niall Teasdale

Released: 4.22.16


New Millennium City is in chaos. Gangs are fighting for territory, riots are breaking out, and Cygnus and Twilight have their hands full. But they are drawn away from their home town by the call of a fallen alien spaceship which may hold the secrets to Cygnus’s powers.


San Francisco, the City on the Bay, where an old enemy poses a new threat, and one of the good guys, Mink, is wanted for the murder of a hero. To get to the bottom of things, everyone is out to hunt down one of the most enigmatic Ultrahumans on the planet: the beautiful, mysterious Mink.





The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Leviathan

Author: Jack Campbell

Released: 4.26.16


Two Syndicate Worlds star systems have fallen prey to a mysterious fleet of warships—a fleet controlled entirely by artificial intelligence—that is now targeting Alliance space. The warships are no mystery to Admiral John “Black Jack” Geary. They were developed by his government to ensure security, but malfunctioned. If the Syndics learn the truth, the war with the Alliance will resume with a vengeance.



Red Angel: Book II: Raiders

(Red Angel Series 2)

Author: C.R. Daems

Released: 4.22.16


Anna and her Naval Intelligence Agency, NIA, teammates have a new high-priority assignment: foreign raiders who are wreaking havoc within the United Alliance of Stars. They hit high value targets, have access to inside information, kill the security guards, and leave no witnesses.

The NIA team soon discovers the raiders' system has been well thought out and has no weak links. The raiders prove arrogant, resourceful, and in no hurry to leave. So when the raiders discover the NIA team assigned to catch them broke the smuggler's organization, their solution's simple—kill them.


Sleeping Giants

Author: Sylvain Neuvel

Released: 4.26.16


A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.


Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.


But some can never stop searching for answers.



Author: Lavie Tidhar

Released: April 2016


Terminal by Lavie Tidhar is an emotionally wrenching science fiction story about people, who, either having nothing to lose or having a deep desire to go into space, travel to Mars via cheap, one-person, one-way vehicles dubbed jalopies. During the trip, those in the swarm communicate with each other, their words relayed to those left behind.






(Book 7 of Skolian Empire)

Author: Catherine Asaro

Released: April 2016


Major Bhaajan, a former military officer with Imperial Space Command, is now a hard-bitten P.I. with a load of baggage to deal with, and clients with woes sometimes personal, sometimes galaxy-shattering, and sometimes both. Bhaajan must sift through the shadows of dark and dangerous Undercity—the enormous capital of a vast star empire—to find answers. -










The Universe in Your Hand

Author: Christophe Galfard

Released: April 2016


Quantum physics, black holes, string theory, the Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, parallel universes: even if we are interested in these fundamental concepts of our world, their language is the language of math. Which means that despite our best intentions of finally grasping, say, Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, most of us are quickly brought up short by a snarl of nasty equations or an incomprehensible graph.


Christophe Galfard's mission in life is to spread modern scientific ideas to the general public in entertaining ways. Using his considerable skills as a brilliant theoretical physicist and successful young adult author, The Universe in Your Hand employs the immediacy of simple, direct language to show us, not explain to us, the theories that underpin everything we know about our universe. To understand what happens to a dying star, we are asked to picture ourselves floating in space in front of it. To get acquainted with the quantum world, we are shrunk to the size of an atom and then taken on a journey. Employing everyday similes and metaphors, addressing the reader directly, and writing stories rather than equations renders these astoundingly complex ideas in an immediate and visceral w


We Will Build

(The Kurtherian Gambit Book 8)

Author: Michale Anderle

Released: 4.21.16


The World Needs Protecting - Before they can build in space they have to GET into space.


There is a 'false queen' attacking vampires in Asia - Bethany Anne sends her Own to look into that.


The moon base needs to be settled, can Team BMW make it happen? Do they have enough people? CAN they get the right people to help?


John's cousin is now part of the team, will she make it?


There is a group looking to find them and they are using Barb to do it.





Captain America: Civil War

Written By: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Release Date: 5.6.16


Political interference in the Avengers' activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.






None next week.




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A dystopian, action-adventure trilogy set in San Francisco.

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