February 2020

Bay of the Dead by Mark Morris

The novel “Bay of the Dead” by Mark Morris was published for the first time in 2009.

Joe and Jackie Hargreaves are on the road when they come across a fog bank and find themselves miles away, on the outskirts of Cardiff, where they’re attacked by what appear to be zombies. At Cardiff University, some students go out to sea on a yacht but come across a fog bank and find themselves near the shores of Cardiff, where a group of zombies come out of the sea and attack them. Gwen and Rhys are awakened by strange screams and, when they go to investigate, they discover what looks like a tramp who is eating a cat. PC Andy Davidson answers a call with his partner Dawn Stratton and they find out that a man broke into a party.

The situation is confusing across Cardiff and Gwen contacts Jack Harkness to alert the Torchwood team. In turn, Andy contacts his ex-colleague Gwen for help in a situation that looks eerily like a zombie apocalypse. The fact that a scan of possible Rift activities indicates that Cardiff is sealed by some kind of barrier is another problem.

Evolutionary tree showing interbreedings between hominins

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” reports the traces of an interbreeding between the ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans with a population belonging to another species of hominins called superarchaics because they probably separated from other humans about 2 million years ago. A team of researchers led by anthropologist Alan Rogers studied the ways in which mutations are shared between various populations of Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans, concluding that certain sharing patterns indicate that there were five episodes of interbreeding between species including the one occurred over 700,000 years ago between superarchaic hominins and ancestors of Neanderthals and Denisovans.

Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and 7 of 9 (Jeri Ryan) in Stardust City Rag (Image courtesy CBS All Access / Amazon Prime Video)

“Stardust City Rag” is the fifth episode of the TV show “Star Trek: Picard” and follows “Absolute Candor”. It’s available in the USA on the CBS All Access streaming platform and in many other countries on Amazon Prime Video.

The starship La Sirena has reached Freecloud and Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) has found Dr. Bruce Maddox (John Ales), the problem is that he’s in the hands of Bjayzl, the boss of a criminal group on the planet. The woman intends to sell Maddox to Tal Shiar and the only hope of getting in the middle of the deal is to offer her to exchange him with the only alternative that can interest her: 7 of 9 (Jeri Ryan).

Dr. Rodolfo Sánchez and a male carapace of Stupendemys geographicus (Photo courtesy Edwin Cadena)

An article published in the journal “Science Advances” reports a study on Stupendemys geographicus, a giant turtle that lived in today’s South America between 5 and 10 million years ago, in the Miocene period. A team of researchers led by Dr. Marcelo Sánchez of the University of Zurich studied a number of well-preserved carapaces of this animal that provided much more information than the fossils previously available, such as the fact that the males had horns. It was one of the largest turtles ever lived with a carapace that could be up to almost 3 meters long, lived in the areas around fresh water and was probably prey to the gigantic alligators of the genus Purussaurus.

Babylon's Ashes by James S.A. Corey

The novel “Babylon’s Ashes” by James S.A. Corey was published for the first time in 2016. It’s the sixth book in the Expanse series and follows “Nemesis Games”.

The Free Navy devastated the Earth, threw Mars into a crisis and caused a deep division among the Belters, with Fred Johnson’s OPA struggling to maintain its importance. Many people try to escape to other solar systems through the portal but there’s no longer anyone able to regulate that traffic and prevent migrants from being attacked.

Necessity leads the former enemies of Earth, Mars and OPA to work together to try to prevent the solar system from falling completely into chaos. James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante return to the center of crucial events in an attempt to change the fate of the war against the Free Navy but its leader Marco Inaros considers them special targets to be strauck at any cost.