April 2019

Star of the Sea by Una McCormack

The novel “Star of the Sea” by Una McCormack was published for the first time in 2016. It’s the fourth book of the Weird Space series and follows “The Baba Yaga”.

A few months have passed since Delia Walker went through a portal that connects our universe with that of the mysterious aliens known only as the Weird when a girl arrives claiming to be her daughter. For the people who knew the woman it’s difficult to accept a situation that seems impossible but on the planet Stella Maris it would be only one of the many oddities.

Stella Maris was already an anomaly, a world outside the Expansion where there was peace between humans and aliens, either Weird or Vetch. In the Expansion there are those who don’t accept that situation but what’s really happening? Even within the Expansion’s Intelligence agents believe different truths and being on the wrong side can be dangerous.

Callichimaera perplexa was a very strange crab that lived 95 million years ago

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” reports the discovery of a marine arthropod dating back to about 95 million years ago, during the Mid-Cretaceous period. A team of researchers led by paleontologist Javier Luque of the American Yale University announced the discovery in Colombia and in the USA of hundreds of exceptionally preserved specimens of various species that include the one so far unknown that they named Callichimaera perplexa. It’s a crab that represents the oldest swimming arthropod known after the extinction of sea scorpions, which occurred about 250 million years ago. Its strange features could lead to rethinking the definition of crab.

Doctor Who - The Sun Makers

“The Sun Makers” is an adventure of the fifteenth season of “Doctor Who” classic series, which aired in 1977. It follows “Image of the Fendahl” and it’s a four parts adventure written by Robert Holmes and directed by Pennant Roberts.

Cordo can longer pay taxes that are getting higher all the time and decides to end his life. The arrival of the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson) interrupts his suicide attempt and the man explains to the two travelers the reasons for his desperation.

A study of coelacanth skulls offers clues to the evolution of vertebrates

An article published in the journal “Nature” reports the results of a study of the skull of Latimeria chalumnae, one of the two species of coelacanth existing today. A team of researchers led by Hugo Dutel of the British University of Bristol subjected several specimens to very sophisticated tests to create reconstructions of their skulls and brains from the fetal state to the adult state. The aim is to study these fish considered a living fossil to better understand the evolution of the skull in vertebrates and also the reason why the coelacanth brain occupies only 1% of the cranial cavity.

The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross

The novel “The Nightmare Stacks” by Charles Stross was published for the first time in 2016. It’s part of the Laundry series and follows “The Annihilation Score”.

Alex Schwartz, also known as Alex the Vampire, started working for the Laundry after receiving an offer he couldn’t refuse. His first task is supposed to be routine and his main concern is that it’s in Leeds, his hometown, with the anxiety about meeting his parents and telling them a cover story about what happened to him. The positive note comes from his meeting with Cassie, a local student who seems to find him interesting.

On a parallel Earth a not-exactly human civilization developed upon magical powers is planning to invade what for them is another Earth. The king’s daughter is sent as a spy to gather information on the civilization of humans to assess their power and facilitate the invasion. To infiltrate humans, she takes the form of Cassie, a student from the place she arrives after crossing the bridge between the universes.