Tag Archives: Science fiction detective stories

Science Fiction Becomes Reality

IMG_9518Science that seems like science fiction

Recently, scientists have succeeded in implanting false memories…

Into mice.

Wow!  http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/jul/25/false-memory-implanted-mouse-brain

But how far away are we from doing this to humans?

I swear this phenomena has already happened between my mother and me. We both can be at the same moment in time and both carry away totally different memories of what happened or what was said.

“You remember, you said…”

“I never said that!”

“Oh yes, you said…”

Insert discussion here that is totally different from how you remembered it.

Human memory at best is faulty and subject to personal viewpoint interpretation.

But deliberately implanting totally false memories?Origin of a comet

That’s scary.

The Bourne Identity movies may not be too far off in the future. And the opportunity for implanting false memories to use as a coverup to hide government programs is frightening.

Or what about implanting memories that could be used in the entertainment industry a la Total Recall. The lines of reality and fantasy might become blurred as we experience totally false memories that we can purchase from, ah say, Amazon Online.

Hmmm…I have a few in mind already.

Now there’s a science fiction story for you.

Still with a horde of baby boomers getting older and older, the hovering threat of memory loss, Alzheimer’s and Dementia has pushed exploration of how memory functions to the forefront of science. We are trying to find out what memory is, and how we can protect our ability to remember.

A Dr. Blaylock is doing a lot of research on memory loss and is discovering surprising facts about the role diet plays in accelerating or preventing it. According to his research, absorbing certain metals plays a role in memory loss. Cast iron skillets, lead, aluminum cookware, eating certain fish and getting flu shots all contribute to a build up of various metals in the body, and may contribute to memory malfunction. Other villains are MSG, soy, and aspartame often found in prepared foods.salmon

Health science is focusing on how we can prevent disease rather than having to find cures, or rely on medications so heavily.

Thank you, Dr. Oz. No wonder your program is popular.

Extending memory through computers and cloud storage for all the events and people we want to remember is exploding. We’re no longer keeping photos on dusty bookshelves, but are storing our pictures in the computer or in the cloud.

More than memory loss, what about a total loss of identity?

The DisappearedThis week I read The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. The story is not only about people who erase their memory, but who completely erase their identity and assume new ones. They need to disappear for one reason or another.

This is the first book in her popular Retrieval Series and touches on how the law has to provide a framework for various alien cultures to get along together. Unfortunately, these laws are not always just or fair to humans.

The story’s main character is recently promoted cop Miles Flint who is glad to leave the spaceport beat and move into covering the Dome. However, because of his spaceport experience, he has the bad luck to be called in for a crime on a space cruiser containing ritually disemboweled bodies that reflect a Disty vengeance killing. Next a ship of two human children abducted by Wygnin leaving moon orbit for their home planet is detained. Finally, a civilian calling herself Greta Palmer sends out a MayDay from a space yacht, reporting that she is being hunted by the Rev. To make things interesting, he is paired with an abrasive female detective whose record at headquarters describes someone with behavior problems.

Miles Flint has his hands full figuring out what is going on, and things are only going to get worse when he realizes that the largest service, Disappearance Inc., that helps humans hide and find new identities to escape alien forms of justice has just sold out its extensive list of clients.

Cases years old are resurfacing and humans are being sold, abducted or killed in the process.

I found this a fascinating exploration of alien jurisprudence wrapped in an absorbing, emotional story of three varying tales of desperate human groups, trying to deal with the horror their lives have become because they unintentionally broke or violated an alien law.Consequences K. Rusch

If you like detective stories with a science fiction framework, you’ll enjoy The Disappeared. And you may enjoy the others in her series too.Extremes-K.Rusch

Next week I’ll talk about the fascinating subject of…ah….hmm…, er…how about I get back to you on that later?

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Award Nominated Science Fiction

IMG_9512The Locus Award nominees are out.


I find that certain awards contain a goldmine of good science fiction: the Hugo Award, The Nebula Award, The John Campbell Award, Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Locus Awards.

However, be wary of just any award as sometimes they are scams and not handed out by qualified people. The other problem with even the well known and prestigious awards is that they are dominated by traditionally published authors. Self published authors often don’t have the contacts or the knowhow to get nominated that the big publishing houses do.

I certainly don’t have any of the committee members on speed dial.

I foresee that eventually the self published author will take a more prominent position in the awards programs, but right now I don’t think the big houses want that to happen. Sometimes that means the reader misses out on some good science fiction. The current self published author is still trying to figure out this marketing thing and how to get in touch with his/her readers. Hello.

Use of WeaponsOne of the top names on the nomination list for the Locus Award is Ian Banks. I read Matter and currently have Use of Weapons on my reading table. His winning a nomination has encouraged me to read that and look into his Culture Series. So stay tuned there.

I recently did a blog on detective science fiction and an associate from my book club e-mailed me to suggest The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds. Reynolds has won the British Science fiction Award and been nominated three times for the Arthur Clarke Award and once put on the short list for a Hugo. He writes a hard science space opera story.

The kind I like.

He also has a PHD in Astronomy and has a day job as an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency.

So there’s hard science involved.

The PrefectThe Prefect takes place in the Revelation Space universe, but is a stand alone novel. Tom Dreyfus is a Prefect whose beat is the Glitter Band, a teeming swirl of habitats that orbit the planet Yellowstone. This is a multiverse of space habitats that cater to all and any quirk of human nature.

Some of them very strange.

Dreyfus’s deputies are Sparver, a hyperpig and Thalia, a human, who is daughter of a cop supposedly gone bad. Law enforcement officers carry a whiphound as a weapon of choice and deal with everything from downloaded personalities to genetically altered humans. Be prepared to encounter an evil entity that is an uploaded consciousness trying to destroy humans, a computerized and murderous being called the clockmaker, a top level lawmaker who is a mole for evil who makes him believe he is doing good, and various odd habitats including one for sadists. Thalia, his deputy, gets trapped in a habitat that has a robot uprising and has to fight her way out using her creativity.

All good science fiction stuff.

I found the novel intriguing for its fast paced action and futuristic setting and technology.

Meanwhile, I’m having fun working  in edit mode on my next scifi adventure–Touching Crystal. I plan this one to come out in November after it goes through the meat-grinder of my writers’ group.

I have already submitted it to an outstanding Beta tester and the Orycon Professional Workshop Critique. Using their comments, I am making it even better.

Whereas in Space Song Richard Steele uncovers a secret genetic human modification program, in Touching Crystal, he has to deal with the impact of the sentient crystal beings who augment certain humans, giving them extraordinary powers. Stay tuned.

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