Sci-Fi Weekly Round-Up: 4.30.16-5.6.16

May 6, 2016

SCIENCE NEWS: 

 

Dr. Robot:

HAVE NO FEAR! Doctors aren’t being replaced by robots anytime soon…even though Johnson and Johnson have been trying…for a while. Much to their dismay, hospitals and doctors just weren’t buying into unmanned machines operating any part of the surgical process. Other robotic solutions HAVE been successful in the medical profession, but ALL of those solutions keep the medical professional in the driver’s seat.

 

OBSESSION - Triplet Planets:

We all know, or understand conceptually, that the universe is vast. VERY vast. So when three new planets, about the size of Earth, are discovered EXTREMELY close to us, it’s cause for excitement. The TRAPPIST telescope in Chili discovered these three beauties orbiting around a relatively cold star in the constellation, Aquarius, a mere 39 light years away. Scientists are already buzzing about the potential for alien life or even colonization. Exciting!

 

Call This Nearby Star, Magneto:

The Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has discovered that a nearby star has sunspots in different locations than those found on our Sun. Seems like NO BIG DEAL, right? Wrong.  Sunspots are a result of strong magnetic fields erupting on the surface of a star. Inside, there are charged particles twirling, causing these magnetic fields to rupture in a very distinct, and consistent pattern. Because the sunspots on Zeta Andromeda are located at the star’s poles, as opposed to the sunspots located around the equator of our Sun, astrophysicists believe Zeta Andromeda’s magnetic fields in the core must be formed differently.  Magneto, you slay me. Where is Charles Xavier when you need him?!

 

Measuring Black Holes – ALMA Maters:

Measuring the mass of a black hole, precisely, is hard. Really, REALLY hard. But if it isn’t hard, it isn’t worth doing, amiright? Astronomers have figured out that the best way to determine a black hole’s mass is to measure its gravitational pull on the stars and dust circling it. Using ALMA (Atacama Large Milimeter/submillimeter Array), Aaron Barth and a team of scientists out of the University of California at Irvine, measured the speed of carbon monoxide gas swirling around the black hole at the center of galaxy NGC 1332. Barth claims that ALMA is unique in that it can “observe disks of cold gas around supermassive black holes at small enough scales that we can clearly distinguish the black hole’s influence on the disk’s rotational speed.” Black holes are becoming less and less mysterious…

 

Second Place is the First Loser, Shock Wave:

Shock waves happen in the universe all the time, giving our scientists the ability to study the material between galaxies. The stronger the shock wave, the more data to observe and analyze. A student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, using data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, discovered that the second largest shock wave in recorded history occurred in Abell 655, a merging galaxy cluster. So, as you can imagine, scientists are reeling, chomping at the bit to investigate, study, and scrutinize this massive phenomena.

 

Boiling Water Scorches Mars’s Surface:

There’s a lot of water on Mars. Only problem, is that it’s frozen beneath the red planet’s surface. One time each day, when the surface temperature are at their peak, the water defrosts and rises to the surface. The atmosphere on Mars is dramatically thinner than the atmosphere on Earth, which affects boiling water. On Earth, it boils at 100 degrees Celsius, on Mars, 20 degrees Celsius. When that water raises to the surface, once each day, it immediately begins to boil. Studies now show that even in these small increments, the boiling water affects the sediment on the surface of Mars, and has likely cause a lot of the rock formations we now study. Sounds like a natural hot springs spa location to me!

 

Mars and that Ice Ice Baby:

We’ve known, for a while, about the frozen water underneath the surface of Mars…what we didn’t know, what how long it has been there. New studies show that volcanoes erupted underneath that same ice layer, BILLIONS of years ago, indicating that the ice has been present for at least that long. The combination of hot and cold climates makes conditions for microbial life, more promising. Ooooo! Does that mean there are water and fire monsters living beneath the surface of Mars? Coooooool!

 

Take Two, ExoMars:

The European-Russian ExoMars cooperation program launched part 1 of their mission on March 14, 2016. The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli will land on Mars in October.  It was determined this week that ExoMars part 2 will launch in 2020 and deliver the ExoMars rover, carrier module, and surface science platform to the red planet sometime later that year. This mission puts both the European Union and Russia in prime position for surface activity on Mars. The race is on!

 

The Odd Couple: Solar Wind and Pluto:

NASA’s New Horizons program keeps dishing out surprises about Pluto. This week, using the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument, it was determined that the interaction between Pluto and solar wind, is unlike any other observed in our solar system. Not quite like a comet, and not quite like a planet, Pluto acts more like a hybrid when it mixes with the continuous stream of charged particles from the Sun (solar wind), traveling at 100 million miles per hour. “These results speak to the power of exploration. Once again we’ve gone to a new kind of place and found ourselves discovering entirely new kinds of expressions in nature,” said Alan Stern from SwRI (Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX).

 

Pluto’s Surface is Sexy:

Ok, so maybe “sexy” isn’t the right word for it…but the New Horizons program has delivered some very elaborate, and impressive, pictures of Pluto’s surface. This is the first time we’ve been able to see images at this level of detail and THEY. ARE. BREATHTAKING. Seriously, Pluto is beautiful. Color was recently added to the photos by combining the high-resolution images from the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) telescope with color data from Ralph, a lower-res telescope in blue, red, and near infrared. Check these photos out. Like I said, breathtaking.

 

 

 

NEW SCI-FI BOOK RELEASES:

 

 

Admiral

(An Evagardian Novel)

Author: Sean Danker

Released: 5.3.16

 

He is the last to wake. The label on his sleeper pad identifies him as an admiral of the

Evagardian Empire—a surprise as much to him as to the three recent recruits now under his command. He wears no uniform, and he is ignorant of military protocol, but the ship’s records confirm he is their superior officer.

 

Whether he is an Evagardian admiral or a spy will be of little consequence if the crew members all end up dead. They are marooned on a strange world, their ship’s systems are failing one by one—and they are not alone.

 

ALICE Resurrection

Author: Charles Lamb

Released: 4.30.16

 

Colonel Jake Thomas has a mess on his hands. The losses on Klinan have gutted an already short-staffed defense force, and his people are scrambling to prepare for a possible attack, directly on earth. Combined with the seemingly erratic behavior of Sara, his number one go to girl, he is struggling to keep up.

Now, with unexplained transmissions originating in Europe, and an Alien visitor with questionable motives, he is awash in new challenges on earth and in space. Can the activity in Europe be a sign of troubles to come, or is it an indication of allies waiting to be discovered?

 

Beyond the Horizon

(Beyond Saga Book 2)

Author: Greg Spry

Released: 5.1.16

 

Ensign Maya Davis has had her sights set on the captaincy of a starship since she launched her first toy rocket into Earth orbit at age four. But not long after she departs the solar system aboard humankind's first interstellar vessel, New Horizons, sabotage cripples the ship, killing a third of the crew and stranding the expedition light years from home under the siege of hostile forces. Without knowing who she can trust, Maya must risk her life to get the crew home and prevent the genocide of the very exospecies Horizons set out to contact.

 

Bloodline

(Star Wars)

Author: Claudia Gray

Released: 5.3.16

 

WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE RESISTANCE

 

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

 

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

 

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing. . .

 

The Book of Phoenix

Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Released: 5.3.16

 

Phoenix was grown and raised among other genetic experiments in New York’s Tower 7. She is an “accelerated woman”—only two years old but with the body and mind of an adult, Phoenix’s abilities far exceed those of a normal human. Still innocent and inexperienced in the ways of the world, she is content living in her room speed reading e-books, running on her treadmill, and basking in the love of Saeed, another biologically altered human of Tower 7.

 

Then one evening, Saeed witnesses something so terrible that he takes his own life. Devastated by his death and Tower 7’s refusal to answer her questions, Phoenix finally begins to realize that her home is really her prison, and she becomes desperate to escape.

 

But Phoenix’s escape, and her destruction of Tower 7, is just the beginning of her story. Before her story ends, Phoenix will travel from the United States to Africa and back, changing the entire course of humanity’s future.

 

Camp Alien

(Alien Novels, Book 13)

Author: Gini Koch

Released: 5.3.16

 

The President and First Lady, aka Jeff and Kitty Katt-Martini, don’t get any downtime once the Mastermind has been revealed to the world. Not only do they have myriad high-level government positions to fill, but the scrutiny and pressure on this Administration has gone into overdrive.

 

The sudden reappearance of a long-forgotten adversary turns out to be the tip of the iceberg. New robots and androids attacking, old enemies making new alliances, and new aliens with interesting abilities almost overshadow the fact that the U.S. still has to host a peace summit at Camp David between Israel and Iraq. It’s clear that while the Mastermind may be down, there are plenty of others ready to take his place—and all that stands between them and success are Kitty and Company.

 

Kidnappings, rescues, creepy hideouts, a hidden black site, and a domestic dispute that could end Jeff and Kitty’s marriage are nothing compared to finding not one but two hidden labs where dangerous and deadly things are brewing.

 

Cataclysmos

(Book 1 Part 1)

Author: Michael Lister

Released: 4.2.16

 

The end. This is the way the world ends!

 

When the end comes it comes with astonishing speed.

It has been a slow build to the brink, but once the point of no return has been breached, night falls fast.

Disasters, avoidable and not, and the inhuman responses to humanity’s existential crises, every tipping point tipping us over the ragged rim, into a black abyss from which there is no return.

One man walks alone on a lonely road in search of his loved ones in a wasteland that used to be the world.

Though danger lurks around every bend of the desolate landscape he is undaunted and will be undeterred. His mission is simple if nearly impossible – find his family and friends who are still alive.

Encountering survivors who range from colorful characters to deadly adversaries, his journey is as much inward as it is outward, revealing as much about himself and the other survivors as the bleak new world they now inhabit.

Warned to stay away from the coast, he heads directly into danger, choosing death over a world without his remaining loved ones in it.

But is he too late? And if he’s not, is he up to the task of saving them?

 

Cumulus

Author: Eliot Peper

Released: 5.5.16

 

Lilly Miyamoto is a passionate analog photographer striving to pursue an ever more distant dream. Huian Li is preeminent among the Silicon Valley elite as the founder and CEO of the pervasive tech giant Cumulus. Graham Chandler is a frustrated intelligence agent forging a new path through the halls of techno-utopian royalty. But when Huian rescues Lilly from a run-in with private security forces, it sets off a chain of events that will change their lives and the world.

 

The adventure accelerates into a mad dash of political intrigue, relentless ambition, and questionable salvation. Will they survive to find themselves and mend a broken system?

 

Dissolution: A Dystopian Novella

Author: Lee S. Hawke

Released: 3.24.16

 

What would you sell yourself for?

Madeline knows. She’s spent the last eighteen years impatiently waiting for her Auctioning so she can sell herself to MERCE Solutions Limited for a hundred thousand credits. But when the Auctioneer fails to call her and two suits show up at her doorstep, Madeline discovers there are far worse bargains to be made.

 

So when your loved ones are in danger, there’s a bounty on your head and your entire city might turn out to be a lie… what would you sell yourself for?

 

Penguin Randomhouse recently released a series of Doctor Who books! Check them out!!:

 

 

Doctor Who: Battlefield

Author: Marc Platt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion

Author: Malcom Hulke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks

Author: Terrance Dicks

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who: Vengeance on Varos

Author: Philip Martin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who: The Visitation

Author: Eric Saward

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who and the Web of Fear

Author: Terrance Dicks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doctor Who and the Zarbi

Author: Bill Strutto

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Extinction Code

(Warner & Lopez Book 5)

Author: Dean Crawford

Released: 4.27.16

 

Twenty years after renowned paleontologist Doctor Aubrey Channing goes missing after making a spectacular discovery in the Badlands of Montana, Ethan Warner and Nicola Lopez of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s ARIES program are despatched to investigate bizarre links between the scientist’s disappearance and a legendary UFO encounter witnessed by hundreds in the Brazilian town of Varginha.

 

The Invisible

Author: Mats Wahl

Translated by Katarina Tucker

Farrar

Released: 4.26.16

 

One ordinary Monday morning in May, Hilmer Eriksson walks into his high school classroom and discovers that he has become invisible. No one can see him, no one can hear him. In fact, a police detective named Harald Fors arrives at school that very morning to investigate Hilmer's disappearance. The boy has no idea what's going on, but he's frightened, and he's starting to forget things – including what happened to him a few nights earlier. Detective Fors suspects foul play, and those suspicions lead him – trailed by the ghostlike presence of Hilmer – to a group of skinheads. These unpopular, disaffected kids are very vocal about their Nazi sympathies. But how does Hilmer's life intersect with theirs? As Fors scours the village and interviews area residents for clues, he begins to piece together the puzzle of Hilmer's disappearance. Meanwhile Hilmer waits, silently, to discover what has happened to him.

In this riveting mystery set in northern Sweden, Mats Wahl deftly alternates between the policeman's and the victim's points of view, as the story of a missing-persons case shifts with a sad inevitability into a heartbreaking murder investigation.

 

 

Lies, Damned Lies and History

Author: Jodi Taylor

Released: 5.5.16

At St Mary’s Institute of Historical Research, the historians don’t just study the past, they revisit it.

 

Behind the strait-laced façade of a conventional academic institution, the secret of time travel has been discovered and is being used for ground-breaking and daring historical research. The series takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through history: from the destruction of Pompeii to the trenches of the First World War; from the Great Fire of London to the burning of the library at Alexandria; from Bronze Age Troy to the time of the dinosaurs…

 

Meanwhile, within at St Mary’s itself, there are power struggles, romances and intrigues worthy of a book in themselves.

 

 

The Lost Stars: Shattered Spear

Author: Jack Campbell

Released: 5.3.16

 

The Syndicate Worlds continue to splinter as more star systems pledge allegiance to President Gwen Iceni, General Artur Drakon, and the new government they’re establishing at Midway. But the toxic legacy of Syndicate rule continues to undermine their efforts as the rebels encounter difficulty trusting one another and believing their new leaders’ promises of freedom from tyranny.

 

The Map of Bones

(The Fire Sermon)

Author: Francesca Haig

Released: May 2016

 

Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort, Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: whenever one twin dies, so does the other... - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/The-Map-of-Bones/Francesca-Haig/The-Fire-Sermon/9781476767192#sthash.jeabyTot.dpuf

 

Outriders

Author: Jay Posey

Released: 5.3.16

 

The start of a Military SF series from imprint best-seller and Tom Clancy game series writer Jay Posey.

 

Captain Lincoln Suh died on a Wednesday. And things only got harder from there.

 

Snatched out of special operations and thrown headfirst into a secretive new unit, Lincoln finds himself as the team leader for the 519th Applied Intelligence Group, better known as the Outriders. And his first day on the job brings a mission with the highest possible stakes.

 

A dangerously cunning woman who most assuredly should be dead has seemingly returned. And her plans aren’t just devastating, they might be unstoppable.

 

How do you defeat a hidden enemy when you can’t let them know they’ve been discovered?

 

You send in the Outriders.

 

Return of the Vibrius: Endless Horizons Sagas, Season One, Episode One

(Endless Horizon Sagas Book 1)

Author: Leeland Artra

Released: 5.1.16

 

Pioneer or Heretic?

She yearns for scientific freedom, but the church believes she’s a heretic. Their conflict changes the world.

Janali, a repressed genius, quietly conducts her scientific research. Her situation appears improved with the miraculous return of the Vibrius, her prototype ship, thought lost at sea. The ship’s arrival with its mysterious cargo puts Janali in a dangerous position of having to prove it isn’t contraband and defending the crew from church persecution due to their claims they’ve gone beyond the edge of the world and back.

 

 

Ring of Fire IV

(The Ring of Fire, Book 25)

Author: Eric Flint, David Brin, David Carrico, Virginia DeMarce, Charles E. Gannon and more

Released: May 2016

 

A cosmic accident sets the modern West Virginia town of Grantville down in war-torn seventeenth century Europe.  It will take all the gumption of the resourceful, freedom-loving up-timers to find a way to flourish in a mad and bloody time.  Are they up for it?  You bet they are.  The fourth rollicking and idea-packed collection of Grantville tales edited and introduced by Eric Flint, and inspired by his now-legendary 1632.  Plus: contains an all-new story by Eric Flint.

 

Star Force: Lost Destiny

(Wayward Trilogy Book 1)

Author: Aer-ki Jyr

Released: 5.1.16

 

When Humans are the hunted...

 

Two siblings are abandoned on an alien world as children when their father is killed, then taken in by one of his business associates and sheltered on their remote farm. Kept isolated from everyone else on the cruel, primitive world, their adoptive Calavari parents ensure that Esna and Teren obey their father's dying wish...that they never let anyone see them outside of their armor.

 

With no memory of where they came from, or even what race they are, the siblings follow their father's last wish and keep to themselves until fate conspires to bring them across the word HUMAN. Not knowing what it means, they soon get an education as they are labeled as such and immediately fired upon.

 

For on this planet Humans are hunted to the death out of fear of them bringing back those responsible for the great cataclysm that destroyed the planet long ago.

 

 

Straights of Hell

(Destroyermen)

Author: Taylor Anderson

Released: 5.3.16

 

Transported to an alternate version of earth where WWII no longer rages, Matt Reddy and the crew of the Asiatic Fleet destroyer USS Walker have been trying to find their place in a strange new world—only to now face a game-changing conspiracy.

 

Reddy and his crew fight alongside the felinoid Lemurians and Imperial allies to keep the reptilian Grik, a race growing in supremacy, from reconquering the Lemurians’ ancestral home on Madagascar. But exhausted, far from reinforcements, and wildly outnumbered, the odds seem greater than ever before.

 

As for the fate of the Americas, Don Hernan and the evil Dominion have gathered to annihilate the forces behind the walls of Fort Defiance as a shadowy power with an agenda all its own rises with chilling resolve.

 

As the war teeters on a knife-edge, a tipping point may have been reached at last—and cold steel and hot-blooded valor will remain the ultimate weapons.

 

 

Tipping Point for Planet Earth

Authors: Anthony D. Barnosky & Elizabeth A. Hadly

Thomas Dunne Books

Released: 4.26.17

 

Four people are born every second of every day. Conservative estimates suggest that there will be 10 billion people on Earth by 2050. That is billions more than the natural resources of our planet can sustain without big changes in how we use and manage them.

So what happens when vast population growth endangers the world’s food supplies? Or our water? Our energy needs, climate, or environment? Or the planet’s biodiversity? What happens if some or all of these become critical at once? Just what is our future?

In Tipping Point for Planet Earth, world-renowned scientists Anthony Barnosky and Elizabeth Hadly explain the growing threats to humanity as the planet edges toward resource wars for remaining space, food, oil, and water. And as they show, these wars are not the nightmares of a dystopian future, but are already happening today. Finally, they ask: at what point will inaction lead to the break-up of the intricate workings of the global society?

The planet is in danger now, but the solutions, as Barnosky and Hadly show, are still available. We still have the chance to avoid the tipping point and to make the future better. But this window of opportunity will shut within ten to twenty years. Tipping Point for Planet Earth is the wake-up call we need.

 

 

Wraith

Authors: Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Thomas Dunne Books

Released: 4.26.16

 

In Wraith, New York Times bestselling Reeves-Stevens team offer a no-holds-barred adrenaline rush perfect for fans of high-speed thrillers.

In 1995, the CIA made a breakthrough that they hid from the world because it would change everything in modern science—but some secrets can't stay hidden. A rogue force has learned how to make disembodied minds capable of lethal action. Ghosts have been weaponized, and now a Russian general has infiltrated the U.S. with a squad of "berzerkers"—an army that can't be killed because they're already dead. Only one person knew the general's plans, but she died in a car crash. The only person who can communicate with her is the cop who was at her side when she died—and now he must race to stop a force that could end life as we know it.

 

 

NEW SCI-FI FILM RELEASES:

None next week.

 

 

NEW SCI-FI TV SHOW PREMIERES:

None next week.

 

 

 

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