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My Top 10 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Novels: #1 – The Martian Chronicles

April 30, 2011 Leave a comment

#1 – The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (1950)


Back in university, I would take the Greyhound bus to get home for the odd weekend. I took the bus a lot. It was about a 5 hour trip, but it gave me time to actually read books that I enjoy, instead of just physics textbooks. (Not that I don’t love physics :)

Late one Friday night, I boarded the bus and opened up a musty old paperback I had picked up from the used book store. It was called The Martian Chronicles.

I read the entire thing in one sitting.

I had never done that with a book before! Cover to cover, non-stop, I read that book. It kept me enthralled that entire ride home.

The book is a collection of short stories, loosely woven together, detailing the human colonization of Mars. It follows the first humans to land on Mars, their encounter with the indigenous species, and from there it just keeps getting better.

The style of the novel being a collection of short stories means the book never gets stale. There is always a new character or a new problem. I read it about once a year, and still usually read the entire thing in single sitting. 

So that’s it! My Top 10 Science Fiction/Fantasy novels. The Martian Chronicles takes the top spot because it continues to be entertaining after so many reads. 

What did you guys think of the list? Was I way off base? What did I miss? I’d love to hear your opinions!

Happy Reading!

“We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things. The only reason we didn’t set up hot-dog stands in the midst of the Egyptian temple of Karnak is because it was out of the way and served no large commercial purpose.”

– Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles


Previous Entries

#10 – Watership Down

#9 – The Harry Potter Series

#8 – The Wheel of Time Series

#7 – The Stars My Destination

#6 – To Say Nothing of the Dog

#5 – Doomsday Book

#4 – Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

#3 – The Farseer Trilogy

#2 – Flowers for Algernon

Mars Rover ‘Opportunity’ Seen From Orbit

March 10, 2011 Leave a comment

I thought this was pretty cool.

The Mars Exploration Rover ‘Opportunity’ was captured in this image from the Mars Reconnasaince Orbiter while it was studying a crater.

The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter acquired this color image on March 9, 2011, of "Santa Maria" crater, showing NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity perched on the southeast rim. - Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Click for High-Resolution Version - Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Opportunity has been working on Mars since 2004, even though its initial mission length was only supposed to be 3 months.

Pretty damn impressive if you ask me.

Faux Mars Mission Makes it into Orbit of the Red Planet

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Group photo of the Mars500 crew. (Photo: ESA)

Since June 2010, 6 men have been sealed inside a science experiment. It is called the Mars500 mission, run by the European Space Agency (ESA) and is designed to test the physiological and psychological effects of isolation on a long-term voyage to Mars.

So after an 8 month journey, the crew is preparing for their landing and first “Mars-walk”, which will take place on February 14. After spending 30 days on the “surface”, they will depart the fake Martian terrain (which is actually just a sandy room near their living quarters) and begin the 240 day trip back to Earth.

So it’s actually 520 days that the experiment runs, not 500. But Mars500 just sounds cooler.

The mission, so far, has gone off pretty well. As reported in the BBC,

“So far, I must say we’ve had no major problems,” said Martin Zell, who heads up the Esa scientific programme on the International Space Station (ISS).

“There is permanent monitoring, so we understand their health very well. We have a lot of data now on their mental state and on how their bodies are reacting. That’s important because there is a link between the two,”

The crew seems to be doing well too. They have enough space on board to walk around and receive emails from home. They are even able to check Twitter now and then:

Being in the same small space with the same 6 people for 500 days I can only imagine would be quite taxing. I think the danger of interplanetary spaceflight is secondary to the danger of killing one another, so it is always important to break up the drudgery of every day living with some fun.

The Mars500 crew celebrating Halloween. Science rules. (Photo: ESA)