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    The human colony on the planet Argo has long explored and exploited the technology left behind by an extinct alien race. But then an archaeology team accidentally activates a terrible weapon...
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    "Seldom does a storytelling talent come along as potent and fully mature as Mike Brotherton. His complex characters take you on a voyage that is both fiercely credible and astonishingly imaginative. This is Science Fiction."
    -- David Brin

    "Star Dragon is terrific fare, offering readers a fusion of hard science and grand adventure."
    -- Locus Magazine

    "Star Dragon is steeped in cosmology, the physics of interstellar travel, exobiology, artificial intelligence, bioscience. Brotherton, author of many scientific articles in refereed journals, has written a dramatic, provocative, utterly convincing hard science sf novel that includes an ironic twist that fans will love."
    -- Booklist starred review

    "Readers hungry for the thought-provoking extrapolation and rigorous technical detail of old-fashioned hard SF are sure to enjoy astronomer Brotherton's first novel."
    -- Publishers Weekly

    "Mike Brotherton, himself a trained astrophysicist, combines the technical acuity and ingenuity of Robert Forward with the ironic, postmodern stance and style of M. John Harrison. In this, his debut novel, those twin talents unite to produce a work that is involving on any number of levels. It's just about all you could ask for in a hardcore SF adventure."
    -- Paul di Fillippo, SCI-FI.COM

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A couple of interesting science/science fiction top ten lists

April 5th, 2008

First, here’s a cool list of inventions that should be invented, with a science fiction theme.   These include interstellar travel, terraforming, space elevator, energy shield, panacea, anti-gravity, bionics, municipal global wi-fi, a transatlantic tunnel, and ocean colonization.   I’m down for some of these, but don’t think all are possible or practical.   I mean, I personally don’t like to swim.

This other list is cool, too, but retro.   It’s about ten “impossibilities” conquered through science.    I added the quotes because not all these things were impossibilities (duh, or they wouldn’t be conquered), and because it wasn’t scientists doing the evaluation.   My favorite is the very first one:

In his 1842 book The Positive Philosophy, the French philosopher Auguste Comte wrote of the stars: “We can never learn their internal constitution, nor, in regard to some of them, how heat is absorbed by their atmosphere.” In a similar vein, he said of the planets: “We can never know anything of their chemical or mineralogical structure; and, much less, that of organized beings living on their surface.”

We, of course, have figured this out with a high level of confidence.   Back in graduate school I wrote a 62 page midterm exam working out the structure of the sun and other stars on the main sequence for one class, and had another class devoted to stellar atmospheres.   I consider this sort of work, understanding stars, to be one of the greatest triumphs of science.

The rest of the list is pretty good and interesting, too, although I have quibbles here and there, and there’s even some overlap with the other list depending on the distinction between “space flight” and “interstellar space flight,” as well as between “energy shield” and “force field.”   There are some items I’ve blogged about before, like invisibility (as a superpower you can have now/soon), and quantum teleportation (which I think again is unfairly characterized here).

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