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By TheophileEscargot (Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:20:21 PM EST) (all tags)
What I'm Reading: "The Well of Stars". K5 story collaboration? Me. Web.


What I'm Reading
Finished The Well of Stars, Robert Reed's sequel to the astonishing Marrow. Very good hard SF, nearly up to the standards of the original. Both books are traditional hard SF in a modern style, featuring a classic BDO of the Great Ship. A while back on K5 we debated the feasibility of even fast slower-than-light travel: people pointing out the difficulty of the interstellar medium hitting the hull. Even tiny particles of dust have a tremendous kinetic energy.

The Great Ship solves this partly through sheer size: big as a planet, its mass is roughly twenty times that of Earth. It's armoured with kilometres-thick incredibly strong "hyperfibre", and its leading face is covered with telescopes and lasers blasting away any troublesome comets, asteroids or motes in its path.

"Marrow" set the scene, but then took us deep inside the Great Ship itself. "The Well of Stars" deals with the ship itself. After a close encounter with a black hole at the end of Marrow, the ship's course is diverted through a dark nebula known as the Inkwell; in which lurk things than can challenge the Great Ship itself.

The tone is more external than Marrow as well; with less attention paid to the relations between the characters. On the plus side, you get classic hard SF set pieces, with scale and scenery harking back to the climax of the Lensman series. The ending strongly hints at at least one more book, too.

If you liked Marrow, definitely read this. If you like hard SF and haven't read either; start with Marrow as this gives away the plot.

K5 story
"The Well of Stars" makes me think about writing a possible sequel to Greg Egan and Stephen Baxter: SF's New Hard Men. Possible candidates for this one: Robert Reed, Peter F. Hamilton, Alastair Reynolds and maybe Linda Nagata. Have set up a contents table on ko4ting as Science Fiction: Bigger, Harder and Uncut.

Any takers? The Stephen R. Donaldson didn't really work on the Wiki because of people pulling in different directions, but this is more like POSD in that it could have sections that work semi-independently.

This time let's be clear and have a Creative Commons licence from the start though. And please no ASCII art unless you can make it work in multiple browsers in Wiki-markup and the Scoop HTML subset...

Annoyances. The boiler in the flat has always had occasional glitches, usually when it's cold, but it didn't work at all for several hours Thursday evening, or in the morning when I tried to have a shower. I got a guy to look at it last year and he couldn't find the problem. Not sure whether to get the landlady to try to call someone else out, or wait for it to get worse. Wish it would just either work or fail consistently.

Also, looks like work may well be banning HuSi: they keep bringing the web restrictions up and down. Looks like HuSi has been categorized as "Personal Web Sites" by WebSense which they're banning. They also keep trying to ban "Uncategorized Web Sites" (i.e. the Internet) but that blocks various internal sites too.

Computer tax proposed to replace TV licence.

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Ship ahoy | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
internal sites by martingale (2.00 / 0) #1 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:34:24 PM EST
If you keep some vital stuff in your husi files area, can you work out a way to break internal sites? We can't lose half the posters on this site just because some PHB thinks it's a good idea.
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
It depends by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #2 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:51:03 PM EST
On whether they can get the Uncategorized ban working. If they can't, I could theoretically do Rogerborg's thing and set up a proxy from home (don't know if I could be bothered though). Using IP addresses might or might not work.

If they get that working I can't see a solution though, as we'd then be restricted to Websense's whitelist of approved sites.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
I can recommend the SSL solution by Rogerborg (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:07:44 PM EST
Make it a habit so that it doesn't look like you're acting guilty after being accused of the heinous crime of slackage.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.
[ Parent ]
SSH/Lynx? by priestess (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:16:41 PM EST
Used to shell to my home machine and then use Lynx back when I was in a job that cared about these things. Not so pretty, of course, but hard to ban. Especially since it's my home machine that holds so many vital programming tools, and reference books ;)

Chat to the virtual me...

[ Parent ]
Marrow and Well Of Stars by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:04:27 PM EST
Old skool hard sci-fi of a type I haven't seen for a while. He seems to be a better writer than Baxter.

Priorities by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:14:08 PM EST
Probably, but his science isn't as hardcore as Baxter's. Baxter doesn't do many big giant space battles though...
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
space battles by martingale (2.00 / 0) #6 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:44:03 PM EST
If you like space battles, you should probably try David Weber. I'm told that his Honour Harrington novels are quite the thing. (I've been meaning to verify all this, but sadly I can't read that fast - and making dubious comments on obscure websites don't help).
$E(X_t|F_s) = X_s,\quad t > s$
[ Parent ]
I'd definitely be interested by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:36:34 PM EST
Not sure if I've read enough hard SF though to be honest, up until recently I've been much more of a new wave reader. I do know my SF history though.

I suppose I'd better get reading...

It's political correctness gone mad!

Updates by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:05:24 AM EST
Boiler. Landlady has arranged for a guy to come round between 3 and 5 PM, so I've taken the afternoon off. Most likely outcomes: either boiler will start working again as soon as he turns up, or I'll be stuck here all evening waiting in vain for him to appear. Or a combination of both.

Web blocking. Most unfairly, they've blocked husi as a personal web site, but left my co-workers blogspot blog alone. "Uncategorized" sites still work though.

Have set up apache at home and got it to serve static pages from http://localhost. Now I need to plough through the docs to work out how to set it up as a proxy, and just what kind of risks there are setting it up on an XP Home machine protected only by a software firewall. Dunno how much the dynamic IP address changes either. Could well be that they block the whole address range anyway.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

What? by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #10 Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 01:55:39 AM EST
Are you sure you're running XP? I tried that link and got the Debian placeholder page...
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Ship ahoy | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback