Book Review – To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

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To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a 2019 science fiction novella by Becky Chambers. Close to the end of the 21st century, science has made a breakthrough in space exploration. Using a revolutionary method called “somaforming”, an astronaut’s biology is synthetically supplemented by a patch worn on the skin, allowing them to survive the harsh conditions of interstellar travel and other planets. Instead of trying to alter the destination, we alter ourselves.

With this bold new technology on hand, a number of manned missions have been launched to survey exoplanets suspected of harbouring life. Ariadne O’Neill is part of one such mission, Lawki 6, along with three other scientists, to explore four worlds in a system 15 light-years away from Earth. Arrival on each world brings unique changes to their bodies, alien landscapes, and news of an ever-changing Earth as the years back home pass them by.Read More »

Movie Review – Interstellar

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This past week I was finally able to get out to the cinema again, where I managed to catch Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway. The film follows former NASA pilot Cooper (McConaughey) in a future decimated by “blight” — an affliction that has been laying waste to crops on a global scale. After receiving coordinates in binary — transmitted via gravity waves by an unknown intelligence — Cooper rediscovers NASA and their plan to launch a mission through a wormhole in space to try and find a new planet for humanity. They recruit Cooper to pilot the spacecraft Endurance along with a team of scientists, forcing him to leave his family behind with the hope of securing their future.Read More »