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My working life has always centered around science and education, but writing fiction--mostly science fiction and fantasy--has been an accompaniment throughout; another mode of expressing thoughts and feelings about the world and universe. As a Peace Corps Volunteer I taught physics and math in Cameroon. I worked for ten years at research observatories, first NASA's Kuiper Airborne Observatory, and then at Lowell Observatory. Since 1999 I have been a staff astronomer and content researcher at Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California.
on Jan. 04, 2018 :
Sci-fi still lives. In this nifty exploration of a Galactic Encyclopedia network serving up the biggest chat room ever imagined, conversations span the far reaches of outer space.
Here we discover multifarious denizens of myriad alien Earths, all mysterious and charming. Some enjoy discussing with the story’s main character their best guesses about the meaning of life and everything. But this is not always easy, as the network’s AI interpreter necessarily skates lightly across inter-planetary idioms. It mediates mutually alien conversations in sometimes comically hit or miss ambiguity and sometimes almost poetically.
Out there, beings think different, and this reflects forward to the frustratingly weak conclusion of the piece. We are shown the marvelous How of events, but we never get to know Why it all was necessary. Instead, the book ends in a conventional action scene that explains nothing. On account of that, the book loses one of its five stars.
Sadly, the repetitive narration and turbid redundancy in language usage also loses the book a star, right from the very beginning. This makes the book no joy to wade through, though it’s an okay read if the eye can bludge past all that, while the images and ideas skip along.
Now let's imagine a galaxy where not all is as pretty as it seems on the surface. Where somewhere, for some coherent reason, there are beings not happy about the way of things, beings busily wanting more…. I want to know mor about them!
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)