Search results for: "proxima centauri"


Syfy’s Ascension Left Us Wanting More (In Good And Bad Ways)

AscensionAscension was a big deal for Syfy. It was the vanguard of their stated goals to return to the business of crafting serious science fiction, rather than focusing on paranormal “reality” shows and lighter-hearted fare such as Eureka and Warehouse 13. Well, now we’ve seen all three nights of the epic mini-series. Was it worth the wait? Did it maintain the excitement we’ve built up for future Syfy productions such as The Expanse and Childhood’s End?

Yes and no. Over the course of its three-night run, Ascension enthralled, frustrated, jumped the shark, recovered its footing, and then slammed headfirst into an abrupt climax that simultaneously has us eager to see the story continued and also kind of miffed at how little actual closure it provided.

If you haven’t finished watching Ascension yet, click away — If you haven’t finished watching Ascension yet, click away — there be spoilers here!

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Tarkin Is Center Stage As The New Star Wars EU Expands: Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf

This week the new Star Wars Expanded Universe opens up just a little bit more with Tarkin by James Luceno. It’s the second novel in the new EU, following on the heels of the Rebels prequel A New Dawn, which released a few months back. While that book was set during the “dark times” after the massacre of the Jedi order and the ascension of Palpatine to Emperor, Tarkin is set in the days leading up to A New Hope, with the first Death Star still under construction and Tarkin one of the most powerful men in the Empire. As for Luceno, he’s no stranger to the Star Wars universe, having penned Darth Plagueis, the Dark Lord Trilogy, and more.

Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

Tarkin“Star Wars: Tarkin” by James Luceno

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly…and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel — by intimidation…or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin — whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy…and its enemies’ extinction.

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Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf: The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson Pens Her First Sci-Fi Novel

As much as we love science fiction on TV, on the big screen, on the comics page, and in video game form, there’s just something irreplaceable about digging into a good book. There’s no shortage of new sci-fi adventures hitting shelves on a regular basis, but GFR is your one-stop shop to keep up with what’s hitting shelves in a given week. Here’s what’s new on the Giant Freakin’ Bookshelf!

VisionFire“A Vision of Fire” by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin

The first novel from iconic X-Files star Gillian Anderson and New York Times bestselling author Jeff Rovin: a science fiction thriller of epic proportions.

Renowned child psychologist Caitlin O’Hara is a single mom trying to juggle her job, her son, and a lackluster dating life. Her world is suddenly upturned when Maanik, the daughter of India’s ambassador to the United Nations, starts speaking in tongues and having violent visions. Caitlin is sure that her fits have something to do with the recent assassination attempt on her father — a shooting that has escalated nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan to dangerous levels — but when teenagers around the world start having similar outbursts, Caitlin begins to think that there’s a more sinister force at work.

In Haiti, a student claws at her throat, drowning on dry land. In Iran, a boy suddenly and inexplicably sets himself on fire. Animals, too, are acting irrationally, from rats in New York City to birds in South America to ordinary house pets. With Asia on the cusp of nuclear war, Caitlin must race across the globe to uncover the mystical links among these seemingly unrelated incidents in order to save her patient — and perhaps the world.

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Microwave Propulsion Breakthrough Could Revolutionize Space Travel



“Game changer” has become an overused buzz term. Every innovation or advancement is either a definite game changer, or at least a possible a game changer. But the fact is, the “game” (and by game, I think we’re loosely referring to all of science, if not all of life itself) changes all the time no matter what, though admittedly certain inventions, such as the internet, could be credited with catalyzing particularly significant shifts. Most often, it takes hindsight to accurately identify such innovations, so lofting that descriptor at the outset can prompt skepticism. That said, I’m always on the lookout for advancements that might indeed prove to be major breakthroughs, and NASA just verified one: a microwave-powered, propellant-less thruster.

U.S. scientist Guido Fetta devised a microwave thruster called the “Cannae Drive”—a reference to the Battle of Cannae or perhaps to Star Trek’s Scotty—that operates without propellant. After some cajoling, he got NASA to agree to give it a try, and at the recent Joint Propulsion Conference, the space agency presented the results of its validation testing, which confirms that this system, once thought to be impossible, actually works. NASA spent eight days “investigat[ing] and demonstrat[ing] viability of using classical magnetoplasmadynamics to obtain a propulsive momentum transfer via the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.”

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Seven Great Sci-Fi Movies That Are About To Vanish From Netflix

All you Netflix users out in GFR land should definitely be reading Nick’s regular Cross the Streams column, which is a one-stop source of all the noteworthy new science fiction additions to Netflix’s Instant Watch catalog. One thing that’s harder to keep track of, however, is when movies are set to expire and vanish from Netflix’s streaming selections. Thankfully some clever folks from Nerdiots have put together an exhaustive list of titles that are set to vanish come tomorrow, July 1. There are quite a few science fiction titles on the list, so scroll on down to find out if you’re about to have to strap yourself down in front of the the TV for the next 12 hours or so.

CloseEncountersClose Encounters of the Third Kind
Director Steven Spielberg’s extraterrestrial magnum opus follows blue-collar Indiana electrical lineman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss), whose life is changed forever after a late-night close encounter with a UFO. Now he finds himself overpowered by compulsions he doesn’t understand and cannot resist, drawn to a mysterious mountain for a purpose he can only guess at. It’s an obsession that may well cost him his family, but is he destined for some greater purpose? Close Encounters is vintage Spielberg at his very best, crafting a tale full of wonder and mystery and anchored by believable, everyday people suddenly caught up in fantastic events. If you’ve got a big-screen TV, load this puppy up before it’s gone.

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How Many People Do We Need To Live Among The Stars?

interstellar travelThis isn’t a “how many people would it take to screw in a lightbulb” type of riddle. Provided we can figure out interstellar travel, the next question is how many people we’d need to put on spacecrafts to begin to populate whatever new world we find. Different scenarios have different timeframes. Maybe it will only take roughly one human lifetime to get to, say, Proxima Centauri, which is over 4 light years away. Or maybe it we’re talking about a couple of lifetimes, which would affect the numbers of humans we’d need on board. It’s a question with so many variables that it sounds impossible to calculate, but if science has taught us anything, it’s that everything is calculable. Whether the numbers are correct is another question, and it seems like the initial calculations significantly underestimate how many people we need to colonize another star system.

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