Friday, 4 May 2018

Available Now - Galactic Alliance: Betrayal

Today is the big day! Galactic Alliance: Betrayal is now available on Kindle and ePub from your favourite online bookstore.

The Galactic Alliance has brought advanced technology and trade to Earth. The governments of Earth see them as a friend – why invest in global defences when we have the Galactic Alliance as an ally?

Daniel thinks they're wrong. Nobody, not even Ruth, believes him when he stumbles upon a Galactic Alliance plot to take over Earth and subject humanity to brutal, dehumanising slavery.

Separated from Ruth by Vorth astro-pirates, Daniel is torn between trying to warn sceptical Earth governments and finding Ruth. The astro-pirates, meanwhile, discover that Ruth is not the pushover they expect her to be.

Pursued across the galaxy by hostile aliens, Daniel confronts the Galactic Alliance, plunging himself and Ruth into the heart of the biggest conflict in Earth’s history.


In our galaxy of alien worlds and species it is not always easy to tell right from wrong, or good from bad. Taking on the seemingly invincible might of the Galactic Alliance is more than any sane person would consider, yet it is necessary. If they have their way, human life on Earth will be reduced to a subclass of slaves to a brutal alien species.

This is a story of astro-pirates, love, treachery and fear. You will visit worlds you have never seen before, and meet aliens, good and bad, who all have a part to play in the battle for freedom.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Cover Reveal - Galactic Alliance: Betrayal

Here it is - the cover for my forthcoming book, Galactic Alliance: Betrayal. In my last post I promised I'd show you the cover, so without further ado:


The Galactic Alliance has brought advanced technology and trade to Earth. The governments of Earth see them as a friend – why invest in global defences when we have the Galactic Alliance as an ally?

Daniel thinks they're wrong. Nobody, not even Ruth, believes him when he stumbles upon a Galactic Alliance plot to take over Earth and subject humanity to brutal, dehumanising slavery.

Separated from Ruth by Vorth astro-pirates, Daniel is torn between trying to warn sceptical Earth governments and finding Ruth. The astro-pirates, meanwhile, discover that Ruth is not the pushover they expect her to be.

Pursued across the galaxy by hostile aliens, Daniel confronts the Galactic Alliance, plunging himself and Ruth into the heart of the biggest conflict in Earth’s history.

The release date will be Friday 4th May, and it will be available on Kindle and ePub. You will be able to get the ePub from all the usual sellers, including Nook, Kobo and others.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

There’s life in the old boy yet


Hello again, all! I just looked at the date of my last post, and it’s been three years. I may have been absent from the world of blogging, but I haven’t been idle. I’m currently putting the finishing touches to my latest novel, Galactic Alliance: Betrayal. It’s five years since An Accident of Birth was published, and in that time I’ve written a science fiction space opera story that I hope you will enjoy.

What’s it about? I hear you ask. Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

The Galactic Alliance has brought advanced technology and trade to Earth. The governments of Earth see them as a friend – why invest in global defences when we have the Galactic Alliance as an ally?

Daniel thinks they're wrong. Nobody, not even Ruth, believes him when he stumbles upon a Galactic Alliance plot to take over Earth and subject humanity to brutal, dehumanising slavery.

Separated from Ruth by Vorth astro-pirates, Daniel is torn between trying to warn sceptical Earth governments and finding Ruth. The astro-pirates, meanwhile, discover that Ruth is not the pushover they expect her to be.

Pursued across the galaxy by hostile aliens, Daniel confronts the Galactic Alliance, plunging himself and Ruth into the heart of the biggest conflict in Earth’s history.

I hope that whets your appetite. If you like the sound of it, just wait ’till you see the cover. I’m planning to do a cover reveal very soon, and publication will follow shortly after that.

So, here I am, back from my blogging hiatus, and raring to go. Watch this space for a peek at the cover.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Book Review: The Day Without Yesterday by Stuart Clark

Once we recognise our limits, we can leap beyond them.


This is the third in Stuart Clark's trilogy, including The Sky'sDark Labyrinth, and The Sensorium of God. Each takes a pivotal moment in the evolution of science and dramatises it in fiction.

From The Back Cover

Berlin, 1914. Europe is marching blindly into war and the city is a storm of nationalist fervour and army recruitment.

Albert Einstein anticipates the carnage to come when his university colleagues begin to work on poison gas to 'shorten the war'.

Increasingly isolated, he finds that few people entertain his outlandish new way of understanding the universe, and he can't quite pull the mathematics together.

He needs hard evidence to prove his vision, but the man he was relying on to help him is caught by the outbreak of hostilities and is now facing execution.

Meanwhile, in the mud-soaked trenches of the Western Front, unbeknownst to Einstein, a devoutly religious Belgian called Georges Lemaître has the mathematical ability to help bring his new theory to a triumphant conclusion. But as the German war machine advances, Lemaître's survival looks increasingly unlikely…

The Day Without Yesterday by Stuart Clark

This is an excellent book, and a fitting conclusion to the Sky's Dark Labyrinth trilogy.

With this book, Dr. Stuart Clark has taken on a huge challenge. We all know something of Albert Einstein, and while many readers may not know much about his personal life, we all have a pretty good idea that he was one of, if not the, most influential scientist in modern times. The advances he brought about in science have made him universally admired and respected. But what was he like as a person? What sort of a life did he lead?

These are the questions Dr. Clark sets about answering in this book. The Day Without Yesterday is the story of Einstein's life around the time of the First World War, and tells of his family life, his relationship with other members of the scientific community, and the impact on himself and others of his ground-breaking theories.

The Day Without Yesterday is clearly well researched, and sensitively written by an author who is himself a scientist. He brings Einstein and those around him to life, and furnishes us with a taste of Einstein, both at his best and at his worst.

So, going back to my questions: What was he like as a person? What sort of a life did he lead? If you read this immensely enjoyable book, you'll find out.

About Dr. Stuart Clark, from his website:


Image courtesy: Simon Wallace,
www.meltingpotpictures.co.uk
Stuart Clark is a widely read astronomy journalist. His career is devoted to presenting the complex world of astronomy to the general public. Stuart holds a first class honours degree and a PhD in astrophysics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a former Vice Chair of the Association of British Science Writers. On 9 August 2000, UK daily newspaper The Independent placed him alongside Stephen Hawking and the Astronomer Royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees, as one of the ‘stars’ of British astrophysics teaching.

Currently he divides his time between writing books and, in his capacity of cosmology consultant, writing articles for New Scientist. He is a consultant and writes for the European Space Agency where he was Senior Editor for Space Science for some time. Over the years Stuart has written for amongst others: BBC Sky at Night, BBC Focus, The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Daily Express, Astronomy Now, Sky and Telescope and Astronomy. He has written text for an issue of stamps for the Royal Mail. He writes an online blog for the Guardian called Across the Universe, read all around the world.
*

Stuart Clark's website is www.stuartclark.com, where you will find more information about his writing, fiction and non-fiction, his journalism and much more.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Book Review - 2016 An Astronomical Year (UK Edition)

2016 An Astronomical Year (UK Edition) – A Reference Guide to 365 Nights of Astronomy

Who doesn't love to gaze at the sky on a clear night? Whether you have a telescope, binoculars, or are just using your naked eye, there is always plenty to see when the clouds clear. The sky not only changes from hour to hour as the Earth rotates, but from day to day and month to month as the Earth works its way around the Sun. What's not so easy is knowing what to expect to see on any particular day.

That's where 2016 An Astronomical Year comes in. It is essentially a day-by-day calender of astronomical events, what to see and whether to look for it in the evening sky or the pre-dawn sky. Here,  I'm reviewing the UK Kindle edition. There is also a US edition for those of you who live across the pond from here. There's some useful introductory information about how to use the guide, and an excellent glossary.

The main body of the book is a monthly guide, giving an in-depth account of what to see during the month. This includes a sky diagram; naked eye highlights; lunar phases; pre-dawn planets and asteroids; what's not visible; evening planets & asteroids; meteor showers; constellations; bright stars; deep sky objects.

Within each month's guide there's also a day-by-day account of events to see. Naked eye objects are highlighted for easy reference, and there are plenty of excellent graphics and images to help with identification of objects.

All in all, my conclusion is that this is an excellent book, and it's 'the book I've wanted all along'. A go-to reference guide for beginner or experienced sky-gazer.

It may seem a little early to be thinking of the night sky in 2016, but get it now, because when the time comes, this will be the guide to own. Meanwhile, how about getting 2015 An Astronomical Guide – A Reference Guide to 365 Nights of Astronomy, also by Richard J Bartlett. You know you want to…

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The DARPA Robotics Challenge Final, 2015



http://www.theroboticschallenge.org/

The Final of the DARPA Robotics Challenge took place on June 5th and 6th - the final challenges of the competition were completed yesterday, and spectators were treated to a mixture of exciting robotic action and a lot of waiting around.

It's certainly true to say that robots have come a long way in the last few years, and the challenge, which took place in LA, California, gave people a chance to see some of the latest, most sophisticated robot machines to date.

25 teams from all over the world qualified for the finals, and at the end of two days of gruelling challenges, the South Korean team, Team Kaist, took victory.


In the Team Kaist feature video, Jung Woo Heo tells us a little about the team's entry to this year's competition.

One thing that particularly interested me was that many of the entrants were humaniod bipeds. This is a supremely challenging configuration. We humans make it look easy, but the control needed is ridiculously complex. The robots have to keep their balance while they walk, navigate uneven terrain, climb in and out of a vehicle, and perform the other challenges, If you watch some of the videos on the DARPA Robotics Challenge website, it'll soon become clear just how challenging that is.

Congratulations to all the teams who brought their innovative work to the competition, and particularly, congratulations to Team Kaist for their well-deserved win.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the next decades will bring in advancing this technology.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Tidbits - An amazong new alloy, Cheap books, Music, and more...

An Amazing New Alloy

 

Amazing new memory alloy

When my lovely wife Margo makes her sterling-silver chain-maille jewellery, she has to make each little ring that goes into a chain. One of the problems with bending metal, though, is that if it's bent too many times, it becomes brittle. That's called work-hardening. It's a change in the metal's crystal structure that results from all that bending, and it makes the metal brittle, rather than pliable. The problem is one you've probably come across yourself, albeit perhaps not with sterling silver, and the solution is a heat-cycling technique called annealing. But what if you could bend it ten million times before it got brittle? In this article, you can read about the new memory alloy that's set to enable some amazing new products. Even though it's unlikely to change the world of chain-maille jewellery, it could be a game-changer for pacemakers and other more mechanically demanding products.

 

Compromise for the Thirty Meter Telescope

 

Go-ahead for protest-hit Thirty Meter Telescope, but with fewer future sites on Mauna Kea

This is one of those situations nobody wants to see happen. On the one hand are the plans to build the Thirty Meter Telescope on Hawaii's highest peak, Mauna Kea. On the other hand, native Hawaiians have protested that its construction is a desecration of their spiritual and cultural pinnacle.

Science in conflict with culture.

Happily, a compromise has been reached, and construction can go ahead, but with fewer sites, and with the release of associated land, and the decommissioning of other facilities.

This may not be seen as ideal, but it's a compromise in which both sides have given ground and gained ground. Let's hope that despite being far from ideal, it is at least acceptable to all concerned.

That old Banjo

 

Recently my banjo fell off the wall, took a chip out of Beethoven's shoulder (actually, a bust of Beethoven), and landed on the piano. The bit of string that I'd used to hang it up broke clean through. This immediately reminded me of an old song my dad introduced me to a long, long time ago. It was the b-side of the better known Green Green by the New Christy Minstrels, and it's called The Banjo. Here it is for your enjoyment...