Friday, October 25, 2013

RIP Kindle

As of Oct 24, I declare my Amazon Kindle 3 to be dead.
This is a sad, mournful day for all involved.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling is a novel by a "Robert Galbraith," who turns out to be none other than J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame. I don't know the reason why she choose a pseudonym, but it could be to distance herself from the hype and popularity of the Harry Potter franchise. Her name is now so firmly etched with that series that it can cause problems when writing anything other than that. Although I haven't read her other work, The Casual Vacancy, from what I understand a lot of people are surprised to read it and realize it wasn't another Harry Potter book. She certainly isn't the only author that has pseudonyms, though, so it's a common thing.

The Cuckoo's Calling is a fairly standard detective story about an investigation of a famous celebrities' death. The main character, detective Cormoran Strike, has to seek out witnesses and suspects to see if he can piece together the events of that confusing evening. Was it suicide or murder? And if murder, then who is the culprit?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Astronomy and Middle Earth

I recently came across the above image and a post about astronomy within J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. It's fascinating how much detail Tolkien included in his works. Astrophysics professor Dr. Kristine Larsen figured out the structure of the Tolkien's solar system, as well as numerous astronomical objects, by looking through all the hints in his books. The figure above illustrates that very nicely (though apparently NĂ©nar and Luinil cannot be Uranus and Neptune given that these are actually very faint; what they are are supposed to represent has yet to be determined).

Many of our constellations are named after Greek mythological figures, the planets in our solar system carry the names of Roman gods, and new dwarf planets and Kuiper belt objects are being named for Polynesian gods. Astronomy and mythology have gone hand in hand for ages so it's nice to see that a modern fantasy mythology was written with plenty of attention to astronomical details.

A very long discussion on Tolkien's astronomy can be read here.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart is Brandon Sanderson's latest novel. It is a young adult novel set in a world where ordinary people have received great powers and been corrupted by them. A group of ordinary humans, however, has banded together to assassinate these near-invincible people. Sanderson takes us on a whirlwind ride in the former city of Chicago as this group faces off against one of the most powerful Epics known- Steelheart.

Read on for my full review.