putting the science in science fiction

Drift Science and Compatibility

In (somewhat belated) honor of K-Day, I submit unto the fandom a canon-supported theory of drift compatibility and testing, based on PPDC officer UIDs.

ex. 1 (graphic)

ex. 2 (additional canon examples)

Raleigh Becket   R-RBEC_122.21-B
Mako Mori   R-MMAK_204.19-V

Stacker Pentecost   M-SPEN_970.89-Q
Hercules Hansen   R-HHAN_832.84-G
Chuck Hansen   R-CHAN_512.66-D

Newton Geiszler   S-NGEI_100.11-Y
Hermann Gottlieb   S-HGOT_471.120-V

DEFINITIONS

Harlowe-Sheehan-Parker Compatibility Index: Ranging from 100 to 999, the HSP index indicates range of compatibility with other drift-capable individuals. The lower the number, the smaller the range of potential drift partners for the individual in question. A person with a lower HSP score is less flexible in dealing with dramatically different brainstyles, and requires a drift partner with either significant shared life experience, a high mutual degree of trust, or a close CORO pattern. Someone with a higher HSP score is significantly more adaptable to drift partners of disparate backgrounds, experience, and CORO profiles. Observe above how Stacker Pentecost and Herc Hansen have extraordinarily broad indices and thus may drift with nearly anyone.

CORO pattern: CORO patterns are shorthand for cognitive architecture, how a person thinks, processes input, makes decisions, etc. The range for CORO patterns is 1 to 99. If two people have the same CORO, they can establish a stable drift connection. Whether or not they can sustain a drift is a different matter, but generally being within twenty points of each other is enough to have a solid drift whether they get along or not. Mako and Raleigh are two points apart: they are Jaeger soulmates. Note that Stacker and Herc are five points apart: they are also Jaeger soulmates. Observe that Hermann’s CORO number is 120. The zero stands for a medical exemption, recommending against drifting due to his illness. Otherwise, he and Newt are a point apart.

Juno Keeler Trauma and Stress Tolerance Rating: Ranging from A to Z, from most stable to most easily destabilized, the Keeler rating (also abbreviated KTSTR, pronounced ‘kitster’) measures emotional volatility and resilience, and is also used as a general indicator for how likely someone will go to pieces inside the drift. Less precise than the HSP index and CORO pattern, the Keeler rating is based on in-person psychological evaluation and consideration of any previously lived trauma and/or extant mental illness. Note that a high Keeler rating does not contraindicate drifting, merely offers a warning for potential difficulties. Newt’s high rating is likely due to a mood disorder; Mako’s may be attributed to Tokyo. Observe also how close Raleigh and Chuck are to the beginning of the alphabet. Raleigh arguably had a fairly stable upbringing and, especially given his rating was handed out pre-Knifehead, a mature and level emotional response. Chuck might also have had a stable childhood before Scissure, and his low Keeler rating indicates he is not overly damaged by the experience, he isn’t emotionally-compromised, he’s just an ass.

IF YOU FEEL INCLINED TO USE THIS IN WORKS OF FICTION: I offer this drift science to the fandom for free, no catch, under a creative commons license. Adapt as your fanfictional needs require so long as no profit is involved. I thought the idea was too good not to share. If you do use it, please credit and/or link back to me, and feel free to message me also because I want to see what you do with it.

This is canon-compliant until canon proves otherwise. Go forth, beloveds, AND CREATE!

I can’t believe school is encouraging me to kill already. 

anonymous asked:

is there something you've always wanted to write, a theme a kink, a romance, etc, that you haven't yet?

Oooo, the list is long, anon, and probably too long to be put here. But I can talk about some of the stuff I’ve been thinking of lately:

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

What are your most favorite and least favorite film genres?

I tend to think I don’t have a favourite genre in film nowadays. I watch a wide variety of films and genuinely try to be open minded about what I watch, not to the extent that I go out of my way to watch things that don’t interest me, but I try not to be put off or ruled by genres.

That said (and trying to answer the question) my route into films was from an interest in horror and science fiction and I think science fiction would still make up a large percentage of the films I watch and like. That’s still a bit of a cop-out answer because science fiction can cover so many types of film, from Star Wars to Frankenstein to Alphaville to Upstream Color to The Wrong Trousers, etc, etc, so it’s a bit of a fluid genre but at least more concise than Drama or Action.

As for least favorite, throughout my “film life” I’ve always had a pretty strong disinterest in Westerns and generally avoided them although I’m not really sure why that is. There were some exceptions: I really liked Sergio Leone’s “Spaghetti Westerns” and I’d always watch Mackenna’s Gold when it was on TV, although I think Julie Newmar had a lot to do with that. However as I said, nowadays I’m trying to be more open minded and thanks to some releases by boutique labels here in the UK I’ve watched some Westerns I’ve really enjoyed like My Darling Clementine, Forty Guns, and Man of the West.

Charlie Hunnam, Rhoticity and Raleigh Becket; OR, Good Sir, What Even Is Your Accent?

I am not a linguist, nor am I any sort of articulation or phonology-affiliated professional. That stated, my collegiate area of study was English Writing, which included multiple linguistics and language-history classes, I am a native speaker of North Midland American English, and I have beyond-passing familiarity with French language and speech pathology. What follows is a theory, and it may not be a popular one, but I just can’t take it anymore: I have to talk about Raleigh’s (and therefore Charlie Hunnam’s) accent, and how it pertains to characterization.

Hold onto your butts. We’re gonna get meta.

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#ThrowbackThursday

In 1965, Frank Herbert introduced the science fiction world to the futuristic, epic universe of Dune. The best-selling novel led to five book sequels, movies, TV miniseries, games, songs, and inspired other popular science fiction including Star Wars.  

Andy says:

“Dune is a world: a planet, an ecosystem, and a society that is integral to this coming-of-age science fiction classic. Like Tolkien, Frank Herbert creates a detailed map of another place and time–but Herbert’s world is based on science and technology, not magic. The book takes on climate change, the exploitation of natural resources (and human beings), and the way that monopolies can distort politics and society.

And…it’s a ripping good action story. There are weird societies, giant sandworms, human computers, a disgusting evil Baron, and a boy who comes to manhood as he attempts to conquer his adopted desert planet..and beyond.

So put on your stillsuit, take a dose of melange, and revisit Paul Atreides as he becomes the mysterious Muad'Dib . Or if you’re lucky–take a trip there for the first time.”

How To: Creating Aliens in Science Fiction Writing

Contributed by Dave Robertson


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The Background

For years, science fiction gave us aliens that were upright, bipedal beings that looked like variations of humans. Some were small and green, some had pointed ears, but they looked very much like humans. Those “aliens” were made to look like that for a variety of reasons. For television or movies, putting makeup on a human was much easier and more cost effective than trying to create, make, and animate a creature. The second reason was that moviegoers could still identify facial expressions if an alien was just a human actor with make up. That made it a lot easier for everyone from writers and actors to producers. But if you’re creating a race of aliens for your next sci-fi epic, you can do better than modified bipedal people if you think of biology and evolution.

The Science Behind Us and Potential Aliens

Have you ever wondered why so much health research is done using mice? It is because humans and mice share 95% of the same genes. Yep, change 5% of what makes us human and you’ve got a small rodent. So what are the chances that half way across the galaxy, in another solar system, with entirely different DNA, the creatures look basically human? Not likely.

Applying the Science to Your Alien Characters

So, how do you create an alien race? First consider their biology. All life forms have to take in, digest, and expel nutrients. They all have to interact with their environment in some way; they need to see, feel, or smell what’s around them. They need to have some sort of nervous system to process what they sense.

If you are creating an advanced race that can fly a spaceship, and fire weapons, they need some way of holding and manipulating objects. Consider that there are a number of ways these functions could be carried out and human anatomy isn’t the only model.

For example, a human has a fairly simple stomach that typically holds about a liter of food, while a cow has a complex, four part stomach that can hold up to 25 gallons. Both provide the same basic function, but the two creatures could never look similar, based on their biology. A bee has two antennae, three simple eyes, and two compound eyes. They see many more frames per second than humans and can see polarized light. Bats use a form of radar to echo-locate obstacles and prey. Humans have two eyes, each with hundreds of small photoreceptors.

There are a number of ways that an alien creature might sense its environment and that would affect its physiology, its appearance, and its behavior.

For example, If an alien race received most of its sensory information from its sense of smell, it would deal with humans very differently. It is known that humans release different chemicals based on their emotions. We would be unable to deceive or lie to those aliens about what we were thinking or feeling!

Humans have what is called “external bilateral symmetry”. We have a left leg, and a corresponding one on the other side, a certain number of ribs on one side, matched by the same number on the other side. If you drew a line from your forehead down to the ground, right down the center of your body, all the main structures and appendages on each side match the ones on the other side. There is no telling whether an alien would have such symmetry. There might be biological reasons for a lack of symmetry or their world may not even have symmetry. No central nervous system? radial symmetry? Prehensile body parts? Creatures on Earth have all these diverse qualities, why wouldn’t a distant race be at least that different?

Another consideration is the type of environment where your aliens live or evolved. Creatures adapt over time to survive in their environment. Monkeys have adapted light, strong bodies and long arms to live and move in trees. If they were to live in a more open environment, like the savannah, they would be too weak and slow to avoid predators.

But, here’s a more extreme example: there are organisms on Earth that live hundreds of feet below the ocean’s surface.The pressure down there is massive and light doesn’t reach those depths. These creatures live near hydrothermic vents in the ocean floor where superheated sulfides and metals are released into the ocean. The temperatures there are 200-300 degrees, beyond boiling. The water only remains liquid because of the incredibly high pressure. It’s dark down there, extremely hot, and full of what we might consider toxic chemicals. Yet these organisms thrive and survive there, living off the hydrogen sulfide. They have adapted to a very extreme environment.

There is another category of creatures on Earth called scotophiles, creatures that live in complete darkness. In the darkness, they cannot see, but neither can the predators. Consequently, they do not develop any of the bright colors or natural camouflage that other creatures have. Instead these species, over time, undergo a process called troglomorphy. Their eyes diminish or disappear, they lose their pigmentation and become colorless, pale, or even translucent, their appendages get larger and they develop long antennae to sense their environment. In short, they look the way they do because of the conditions they live in. Your aliens should too.

When you’re creating an alien race think of the conditions where they would live and thrive. What unique biological traits would they need? Think of their biological processes. Do they get most of their sensory input from their eyes? antennae? Do they echo-locate like bats? What kind of nervous system or digestive system do they have and how would that change the way they look? Look at the diversity of life right here on Earth and make your aliens at least that different.


About Dave Robertson

Dave Robertson is a writer living in the big sky country of Montana. He writes advertising copy, articles, and web content to pay the bills and fantasy, horror, and science fiction to exercise his brain. His latest novel, Strange Hunting II is available on Amazon.com.



 

The Establishment Has Always Hated the New Kids

The Establishment Has Always Hated the New Kids

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  “I hope that when the New Wave has deposited its froth and receded, the vast and solid shore of science fiction will appear once more.”  – John W. Campbell, frothing about the New Wave If you spend a lot of time studying history, you’ll know that it helps to put the slings and arrows of the present into perspective. If you’ve been reading science fiction for the last ten or twenty years, you…

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anonymous asked:

da vinci-->bosch

  • Da Vinci:Which area of the sciences do you enjoy the most?

Wow social sciences definitely i am a sucker for studies about learning or healing 

  • Michelangelo:If you could own a classical statue in the form of any figure from myth, religion, or even modern fiction, who would you choose?

Build me a goddamn chimera 

i want a big 3 headed beast pls

  • Raphael:Do you have a good relationship with your mother?

Yeah, almost always. it gets tense but it’s mutually respectful and loving.

  • Titian:What is your favourite mythological story?

I like icarus and daedalus, a lot

  • Veronese:If you put on a big feast, what would you serve?

Hm okay, watermelon feta and walnut spinach salad, and then homemade pasta with 3 tomato pasta sauce, and then a pie probably, like cherry maybe. thats the best i can do, the idea of even that much cooking would be like, all day and i’d be tired probably

  • Bosch:How do you have fun? (What is your favourite ‘Earthly Delight’?)

i really like going to parks and hanging out, and writing is good when im alone. dancing too!! oh man dancing!!!

I am back. Thank you all for your patience.

I finished 1984 so prepare for quotes, as usual. I am simultaneously reading Fahrenheit 451 and Black and Brown Planets: the politics of  race in science fiction. Neither of these books are on my May Goals list but 1984 put me in the mind to read Fahrenheit 451 and I reserved Black and Brown Planets: the politics of  race in science fiction from my local library and there is another hold on it so I need to read it quick.

And as I said in my last post, Black Sci-fi Matters is becoming less of a personal blog so I want to know what you all would like to see. Or what you want to see less of. Please let me know because I want to give you all something that you will enjoy and I want to connect with you all more.

Again, thank you.

Stars and signals

Just an interesting idea about stars that I have made. I haven’t found anything remotely similar to so I’m putting it out there.
So let’s talk about stars. Big balls of plasma that are nuclear fusion reactors floating around in galaxies. The closest stars to us about 5 to 10 light years away. Stars come into existence and they inevitably fade out or explode. Over the course of their lives they emit cosmic radiation all over the electric magnetic spectrum pretty consistently.
But they also have this thing we’ve observed called sunspots. We really don’t know why other than its related to a magnetic field displacement. They occur in cycles, occurring about every decade, and when it happens, there is irregular amounts/frequencies of cosmic rays emitted.
So here is where my crazy idea comes in. Since the nearest stars are around 10 light years away, and the cycle of sunspots happens around every 10 years. I think there could be a connection. So let’s for a second think of a star like a neuron. One neuron fires an electro chemical signal to its neighbor, and that one fires, and through the combination of neurons firing across different links and connections data is processed and the collection of all these processes result in thoughts. Now neurons are micrometers apart so the transmission of electrochemical information is practically instant. So let’s supersize the neuron, star sized. Only instead of electrochemical signals it is electromagnetic radiation, and the separation is light years, and the time it takes to process and fire is years. You are probably seeing where I’m going with this. Stars could potentially be communicating like neurons transmitting signals across space in a medium we cannot understand. The sun is bombarded with data from other stars, data that’s been traveling for a decade. Then our sun goes all sun spotty and begins transmitting data of its own, like a relay, like a neuron. Speed up time to make years take milliseconds and then the very slow long distance neurons are firing like a brain. With data potentially being processed and thoughts occurring. And just like that a galaxy sort of becomes a brain. The analogy of the number of stars out there and the number of neurons in a brain, makes this seem more plausible.
So this idea is cool and all but there is some ‘holes’ in it (bad pun couldn’t help myself). For starters galaxies are really far apart so how does the information from one travel to the other. My answer is the same all transgalactic science fiction writers use. Wormholes. Specially between the supermassive black holes at the centers of two galaxies. Because of the law of the conservation of energy, and the theory of conservation of information all that enters a black hole is saved, matter becomes energy,
which is emitted as electromagnetic radiation. But what if it is transferred and then emitted. Then galaxies are linked together and each galaxy acts as a processor and together they are able to process ridiculous amounts of information, on a scale and medium not previously imagined.
How they process, what the data is and why, will probably never be answered if they are indeed doing that. But I like the idea that there is something much more to it all. It makes me feel every insignificant if true because the entire universe is then alive and thinking. And it makes me wonder, what are we in this system? A dream? A thought?
Just the 2 in the morning ravings of a madman? Who can say. Who can say…

Issue #22 kicks off a new chapter in the mind-bending epic:
WE SAY GOODBYE TO OURSELVES

Writer Rick Remender (LOW, DEADLY CLASS) and artist Matteo Scalera (DEAD BODY ROAD, Deadpool) will launch a new story arc in their high-concept, high-stakes science fiction series this July.

Previously in BLACK SCIENCE, the catastrophic final jump of the Pillar cast the last Dimensionaut adrift on the wreckage of his former self, stranded in the furthest reaches of space. Before he reclaiming his mantle as protector of the Eververse, he first had to overcome the demons that lurk within his own soul.

In BLACK SCIENCE #22, Grant McKay threatens to unravel a peace treaty between three godlike races, putting the entire Eververse at risk—all in a hot-headed attempt to rescue his daughter. Big changes, bigger action, and a stunning climax that will shake the world of BLACK SCIENCE to its very foundations!

“The new storyline We Say Goodbye to Ourselves (part 1 of 5) begins in BLACK SCIENCE issue 22, and is a very different new direction for the series,” said Remender. “A hard-earned optimistic appraisal might just lead to a hard-earned victory for Grant McKay. All of the pieces we’ve set up begin to converge. A new cast member will take the spotlight. An encounter with a strange sorceress will lead to a character defining choice that will change one Dimensionaut forever.”

“We have more exciting new worlds, illustrated masterfully by Matteo, that alone is worth the price of admission,” he added. “And finally one of our cast members returns home to Earth to discover a shocking truth. I couldn’t be more excited about this story and the payouts loyal readers have to look forward to.”

BLACK SCIENCE #22 (Diamond code: MAY160577) hits stores Wednesday, July 6th. Final order cutoff deadline for retailers is Monday, June 13th.

Early images from BLACK SCIENCE #23, coming this August:

BLACK SCIENCE CHARGES BACK INTO THE BREACH Issue #22 kicks off a new chapter in the mind-bending epic: WE SAY GOODBYE TO OURSELVES…
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Red Rain Blog Tour + Giveaway!

Aubrey Hansen is putting her science fiction book on a blog tour! And the best part is that she’s also offering “Red Rain” for free during that time! But she needs some help promoting the free book, so if you have some blog space June 2-6, 2016, please sign up. The more the merrier!
Submissions to the blog tour close on May 31st.

About the Book: 17-year-old Philadelphia has been imprisoned most of her life because of her Christian beliefs. When her father is sent to Mars against his will to work on a mysterious science project and a benevolent official allows her to accompany him, Philadelphia knows she must keep her head down or be sent back to prison on Earth. But when she stumbles into the wrong hallway and accidentally learns too much, Philadelphia is faced with a question she doesn’t want to answer: the choice between returning to Earth—or destroying it.

There will be three exciting giveaways offered as well!

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005K21VU6
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/qIRzWBzeDQw

See here for details! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/16ggUa2uPkV3d19SESStBHX0Z-krzuec2fjHfr4RK-HA/viewform?c=0&w=1

Free Kindle Book - [Science Fiction][Free] Rehabilitation: Romantic Dystopian (Unbelief Book 1)

New Post has been published on http://www.free-kindle-books-4u.com/science-fictionfree-rehabilitation-romantic-dystopian-unbelief-book-1/

[Science Fiction][Free] Rehabilitation: Romantic Dystopian (Unbelief Book 1)

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(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push(); If you enjoy a dystopian series like The Hunger Games or Divergent, you will love book one of this fast-paced post-apocalyptic romance. A Dystopian Adventure You Can’t Put…

Stellaris Review – Space Race Relations

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Outer space has always been a tantalizing place. Our universe is so vast and unexplored that it teases the imagination and fuels our science fiction. This dream of discovery is what pushed us to send rockets into the sky and put people on the moon. Stellaris taps into that same itch to explore the unknown. Like space itself, Paradox’s new strategy sim is big, complex, and easy to get lost in.

At the beginning of the game, Stellaris drops players onto a single point on a galactic map and asks them to explore – and then tame – the unknown by building fleets of science ships, mining stations, and combat cruisers. At the start, you choose your galaxy-conquering race from a nice range of reptilian, avian, and fungal aliens. Selectable traits influence everything, from your species’ breeding speed to its overall heartiness, which helped me feel like my race of highly evolved cats was distinct from any other feline species the game might have auto-generated somewhere else in the galaxy. These traits also influenced my strategy for conquering the galaxy, as my species’ natural agrarian skill made it easy to grow food, so I rarely had to worry about starving masses.

Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to start exploring the galaxy and claim new planets for your empire. I had the most fun with Stellaris in the opening hours as I constantly uncovered new relics from extinct precursor races, reverse engineered abandoned space probes, and battled aggressive spaceborne crystals. Even Stellaris’ smallest randomly generated maps feel vast thanks to a wealth of mineral-rich planets and asteroids scattered across every solar system. I never grew tired of constructing new mining and research stations to exploit the universes’ riches, or terraforming a harsh alien world to establish a new colony.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

As you continue to explore, your expanding borders push against other alien races and the galaxy starts to feel a bit smaller. I appreciated the wealth of diplomacy options, and I tried to befriend several other races. However, some aliens are stubborn, and no matter how I negotiated for border access or how favorable I made my trade deals, diplomatic relations eventually broke down and I was forced into war. Unfortunately, combat boils down to a numbers game; you make sure your military fleet’s attack rating is higher than your enemy’s, and then you point them at the alien homeworld.

I found it relatively easy to make sure my combat cruisers were always outfitted with the latest tech, but the game doesn’t clearly outline the progression of new technologies. Instead of a tech tree, you’re presented with three different technological research options. After you research one, three new tech options pop up. This means after you develop ion cannons, you might have the option to develop the next tier in that technology, or that option might not cycle into the random rotation for several hours. This random technology selection always keeps you on your toes, but I wish I had a better carrot to pursue while advancing my society scientifically.

Stellaris’ early game is full of exploration and promise, and the small nuggets of fiction I picked up after discovering an abandoned research station or dissecting the corpse of a space giant helped draw me into the fantasy that I was truly exploring the unknown. Unfortunately, the game eventually settles into a grind as you either try to convince neighboring aliens to become your vassals or slowly build up an army to forcefully take over their worlds. The rewarding moments are still there, but they’re spaced out significantly. Taking over the galaxy turns out to be a lot of work, but it’s a worthwhile mission for would-be explorers.

Source: www.GameInformer.com - The Feed

Space Race Relations

External image

Outer space has always been a tantalizing place. Our universe is so vast and unexplored that it teases the imagination and fuels our science fiction. This dream of discovery is what pushed us to send rockets into the sky and put people on the moon. Stellaris taps into that same itch to explore the unknown. Like space itself, Paradox’s new strategy sim is big, complex, and easy to get lost in.

At the beginning of the game, Stellaris drops players onto a single point on a galactic map and asks them to explore – and then tame – the unknown by building fleets of science ships, mining stations, and combat cruisers. At the start, you choose your galaxy-conquering race from a nice range of reptilian, avian, and fungal aliens. Selectable traits influence everything, from your species’ breeding speed to its overall heartiness, which helped me feel like my race of highly evolved cats was distinct from any other feline species the game might have auto-generated somewhere else in the galaxy. These traits also influenced my strategy for conquering the galaxy, as my species’ natural agrarian skill made it easy to grow food, so I rarely had to worry about starving masses.

Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to start exploring the galaxy and claim new planets for your empire. I had the most fun with Stellaris in the opening hours as I constantly uncovered new relics from extinct precursor races, reverse engineered abandoned space probes, and battled aggressive spaceborne crystals. Even Stellaris’ smallest randomly generated maps feel vast thanks to a wealth of mineral-rich planets and asteroids scattered across every solar system. I never grew tired of constructing new mining and research stations to exploit the universes’ riches, or terraforming a harsh alien world to establish a new colony.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

As you continue to explore, your expanding borders push against other alien races and the galaxy starts to feel a bit smaller. I appreciated the wealth of diplomacy options, and I tried to befriend several other races. However, some aliens are stubborn, and no matter how I negotiated for border access or how favorable I made my trade deals, diplomatic relations eventually broke down and I was forced into war. Unfortunately, combat boils down to a numbers game; you make sure your military fleet’s attack rating is higher than your enemy’s, and then you point them at the alien homeworld.

I found it relatively easy to make sure my combat cruisers were always outfitted with the latest tech, but the game doesn’t clearly outline the progression of new technologies. Instead of a tech tree, you’re presented with three different technological research options. After you research one, three new tech options pop up. This means after you develop ion cannons, you might have the option to develop the next tier in that technology, or that option might not cycle into the random rotation for several hours. This random technology selection always keeps you on your toes, but I wish I had a better carrot to pursue while advancing my society scientifically.

Stellaris’ early game is full of exploration and promise, and the small nuggets of fiction I picked up after discovering an abandoned research station or dissecting the corpse of a space giant helped draw me into the fantasy that I was truly exploring the unknown. Unfortunately, the game eventually settles into a grind as you either try to convince neighboring aliens to become your vassals or slowly build up an army to forcefully take over their worlds. The rewarding moments are still there, but they’re spaced out significantly. Taking over the galaxy turns out to be a lot of work, but it’s a worthwhile mission for would-be explorers.

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Source: www.GameInformer.com

The five books on Bill Gates’ reading list

Science and mathematics are the key themes in the book Bill Gates is recommending this year – although the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft says “there’s no science of math” to his process for selecting his favourite books.

Gates puts out a list of book recommendations at the start of the North American summer each year and, as with previous years, this year’s list covers a diverse range of topics: from science fiction to a tome on “how Japan can get its economic mojo back”.

Gates’ endorsements usually carry weight: the books are known to climb up the bestseller charts as soon as Gates writes about them on his personal blog, which also features his now-traditional animated reading video.

“The following five books are simply ones that I loved, made me think in new ways, and kept me up reading long past when I should have gone to sleep,” Gates says.

Here’s Gates’ annual summer reading list.

1. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

While Gates says he hadn’t picked up a science fiction book for a decade, he started reading Stephenson’s book after a friend recommended it.

According to Gates, he was hooked from the first sentence, which describes the moon blowing up. The plot of the novel centres on a plan to save the world from a cataclysmic meteor shower using space orbit and while Gates says some readers may get lost in all the details of space flight, he “loved the technical details”.

2. How Not to be Wrong by Jordan Ellenberg

Ellenberg’s book is an explanation of the central role mathematics plays in our daily lives and Gates has praised the author’s ability to describe complex maths in a way that all readers can understand.

“Each chapter starts with a subject that seems fairly straightforward – electoral politics, say, or the Massachusetts lottery – and then uses it as a jumping-off point to talk about the math involved,” Gates says.

3. The Vital Question by Nick Lane

Nick Lane’s The Vital Question continues the science focus of Gates’ reading list.

The premise of the book is to improve awareness of the role energy plays in all living things and Gates describes Lane as “one of those original thinkers who makes you say, ‘More people should know about this guy’s work’”.

“Even if the details of Nick’s work turn out to be wrong, I suspect his focus on energy will be seen as an important contribution to our understanding of where we come from,” Gates says.

4. The Power to Compete by Ryoichi Mikitani and Hiroshi Mikitani

Described by Gates as a “smart look at the future of a fascinating country”, The Power to Compete is based on a series of dialogues between the late Ryoichi Mikitani, an economist, and his son, Hiroshi, who is the founder of internet giant Rakuten.

“I have a soft spot for Japan that dates back three decades or so, when I first traveled there for Microsoft,” Gates says.

“Today, of course, Japan is intensely interesting to anyone who follows global economics.”

5. Saipiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Noah Yuval Harari

Gates says Harari’s 400-page history of the human race “sparked lots of great conversations” at the dinner table between him and his wife Melinda, who also read the book.

“Although I found things to disagree with … I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who’s interested in the history and future of our species,” he says.

This article was first published on SmartCompany.

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from StartupSmart http://www.startupsmart.com.au/advice/business-planning/the-five-books-on-bill-gates-reading-list/