Literature

The Human Division by John Scalzi

The novel “The Human Division” by John Scalzi was published for the first time in 2013 putting together a number of short stories published previously. It’s part of the “Old Man’s War” series.

The Colonial Union is working hard diplomatically with various alien species to try to build new alliances or at least to make new deals and avoid more wars. The situation is made more complex by the fact that someone seems intent on sabotaging those efforts, for example by destroying the spaceship on which a human ambassador is traveling.

Ambassador Ode Abumwe is forced to meet an alien delegation with very little time to prepare after her colleague who was supposed to lead the diplomatic mission was killed. Harry Wilson is only a lieutenant of the Colonial Defense Forces (CDF) but his intelligence work gives him the authority to assist Abumwe and Captain Sophie Coloma, who is on alert to prevent her spacship from getting destroyed.

Political travails of Time travel by Gouthama Siddarthan

“Political travails of Time travel” (“Kaalap payana Arasiyal”) by Gouthama Siddarthan was published for the first time in 2018 with the English version translated from the Tamil by Maharathi.

Partly an essay on time travel, partly a commentary on two short stories on the subject by two masters of science fiction such as Ray Bradbury and Alfred Bester with the addition of some touch of fantasy, “Political travails of Time travel” is a unique work for the intertwining of its various parts. Gouthama Siddarthan starts from Stephen Hawking and an Indian folklore story about a tree of time to make some reflection between the serious and the facetious about the nature of time.

Apex by Ramez Naam

The novel “Apex” by Ramez Naam was published for the first time in 2015. It’s the third book of the Nexus trilogy and follows “Crux”. It won the Philip K. Dick Award.

Kaden “Kade” Lane has written out the Nexus backdoor that can allow some attacker who discovers it to literally take possession of people who installed it into their brains but he must find ways to spread the update. To do so, he must first avoid ending up in the American government’s hands and his hope could come from India.

In the USA the presidential election time has come, a vote that will determine the future as it rarely happened during the nation’s history. President John Stockton is determined to be re-elected and to maintain strict anti-Nexus laws, but the secret of the lab in which experiments were carried out on children with Nexus leaked triggering strong protests with a faction willig to add to the chaos. A new front is opened with China with mutual accusations of interference in domestic politics, who’s interested in a clash between the two nations?

Philip Kindred Dick was born on December 16, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. From the beginning of his career, Philip K. Dick offered his readers stories in which the boundary between reality and appearance is very thin or even reality is anything but certain such as “Eye in the Sky” (1957), “Time Out of Joint” (1959), “The Man in the High Castle” (1962), winner of the Hugo Award, and “The Penultimate Truth” (1964). From this point of view “Ubik” (1969) represents in some ways his peak.

In the early 1980s Philip K. Dick worked on the screenplay for “Blade Runner” but died on March 2, 1982 after a stroke. At his request, he was buried next to his twin sister. After his death his fame grew noticeably with a new wave of reprints of his novels, the publication of some that had remained unpublished when he was alive and the production of movies and TV shows adapted from his works. Dick has become an object of study, also as a precursor of postmodernism, with a reputation that has long gone far beyond the science fiction genre.

The short story “Terminal” by Lavie Tidhar was published for the first time in 2016.

Anyone willing to go to Mars as a colonist has the opportunity to make the one-way trip but on jalopies, one-person spacecraft, not exactly safe. A swarm of jalopies is traveling to the red planet with all the risks involved, but people like Haziq have left everything, including his family, to go and live on Mars. To spend the time, travelers listen to music like Mei or talk to each other over the radio to break up their loneliness, sometimes even communicating with people like Eliza, a nurse working in the Earth’s orbit.