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Extreme Planets Mass Market Paperback


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Esdevium Games Ltd
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568823932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568823935
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,538,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By R. MacDonald on 7 May 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Way back in the 1960s the only solar system we really knew about was our own and despite there being billions of stars in the Milky Way and beyond, the existence of other planetary systems was a matter of sheer speculation. While it was possible to investigate stars of all spectral types to gain information about size, temperature, rotation and elemental composition, looking deeper to see if there were planets orbiting them was just beyond the capabilities of the time. With the advancement of electronic techniques, computers and satellite technology, all that has changed. The Kepler space telescope revolutionised our opinions! One technique involved the measurement of tiny fluctuations in the brightness of candidate stars which showed that bodies were orbiting around them. By this method and several others involving ground-based telescopes, at the beginning of 2014 it’s now known that 1800 extrasolar planets probably exist.

Astronomers are still scratching their heads when contemplating the information gleaned from these techniques because all the ideas of planetary formation have been swept aside. Instead of large planets being further from the star, as the case exists in our own solar system, they are usually found uncomfortably close. Smaller planets not far removed from the size of the Earth were discovered with some of them in habitable zones where the possibilities of life-giving water in liquid state would exist. Science Fiction writers have for many years conjured up all sorts of planets everywhere in the universe but now, for the first time they actually have real places and real scenarios on which to base their action.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A must-have for every hard sf fan! 27 Mar 2014
By Konstantine Paradias - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Extreme Planets was a very hard sell for me, as I have never been all that into hard science fiction in general, as most examples of it (that I have read) were rambling tirades in theoretical physics that bored me to tears. Thankfully, Extreme Planets was the exception. With more than a dozen stories by exceptionally telented authors, Extreme Planets is one of the better purchases (anthology-wise) that you could make.

Banner of the Angels is a disaster-thriller, featuring near-catastrophic systems failures in space and resourceful engineers saving the day.

Brood is Aliens on steroids, minus the guns-solve-everything mentality.

Haumea is a story of mutiny, of tiny exo-planets and pretty much everything that could go wrong in an interstellar journey.

A Perfect day Off the Farm is Shawshank Redemption in Hard SF space, where no-one is going to stop you, if you ever decide you want out.

Daybreak was among my favorite stories in the anthology. I wouldn't want to give too much away, so let's just say that if movies about stranded, doomed astronauts ever go back into fashion, this is the way to do it.

Giants is Wattsian hard sf, which is one of the very few examples of hard sf that I have so far handled with any degree of success. Unfortunately, it is a sequel of sorts to another one of his works (I think it is the Island) which makes it a necessary read beforehand.

Maelstrom. If the word 'Science Time' is ever made into a t-shirt, this story should be held responsible for it. Another favorite of mine.

Murder on Centauri is a murder mystery in an inhospitable alien world. The paranoia of Carpanter's the Thing, with a touch of Ice Station Zebra.

Flight of the Salamander is alien body-hopping, weird vistas and brain-gripping awesomeness all the way through.

Petrochemical Skies is a classic example of Conyers-Kernot in action. I have a soft spot for their Peel/Ash crossovers and this story was a loose easter egg hunt of a number of plot points in their general continuity, but a highly entertaining story nonetheless.

The Hyphal Layer and Colloidal SuSpension are stories revolving around impossible lifeforms in distant planets, both of them depicting the complexity of strange, alien environments and the implications of human meddling.

Super-Earth Mother is a story about a lost, lonely AI that rebuilds mankind to survive in a colorful, vast, exo-planet and her meddling in the first steps of forming their society in an otherwise inhospitable world. Another one of my favorites.

Lightime is a story about how the strange day-cycle of a distant planet can mess with your head. Delicious man vs hostile unforgiving enironment action.

Seventh Generation is, oddly enough, a story about families and how they will be altered to survive in the harsh environment of a new and impossible world.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A good read 7 May 2014
By R. MacDonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Way back in the 1960s the only solar system we really knew about was our own and despite there being billions of stars in the Milky Way and beyond, the existence of other planetary systems was a matter of sheer speculation. While it was possible to investigate stars of all spectral types to gain information about size, temperature, rotation and elemental composition, looking deeper to see if there were planets orbiting them was just beyond the capabilities of the time. With the advancement of electronic techniques, computers and satellite technology, all that has changed. The Kepler space telescope revolutionised our opinions! One technique involved the measurement of tiny fluctuations in the brightness of candidate stars which showed that bodies were orbiting around them. By this method and several others involving ground-based telescopes, at the beginning of 2014 it’s now known that 1800 extrasolar planets probably exist.

Astronomers are still scratching their heads when contemplating the information gleaned from these techniques because all the ideas of planetary formation have been swept aside. Instead of large planets being further from the star, as the case exists in our own solar system, they are usually found uncomfortably close. Smaller planets not far removed from the size of the Earth were discovered with some of them in habitable zones where the possibilities of life-giving water in liquid state would exist. Science Fiction writers have for many years conjured up all sorts of planets everywhere in the universe but now, for the first time they actually have real places and real scenarios on which to base their action. With this in mind, the book “Extreme Planets” has been released which describes the adventures which could await us in the future when we begin to venture to these other worlds.

Yes, “Extreme Planets” takes us on a great expeditionary journey to a variety of these planets. Edited by David Conyers, David Kernot and Jeff Harris this is a collection of 15 stories, meaty and substantial stories at that, spanning 350 pages. All but one of the stories was written especially for this volume so here we have something new and relevant with up-to-date information. While it is fictional and adventurous, it’s all based on what we think is out there and what we think is fact. I found it to be a really good read, one which was difficult to put down, and in this review I will go over some of the stories which grabbed my attention most.

The Flight of the Salamander by Violet Addison and David Smith involved a mind transplant of a woman scientist into the body of flying salamander. The planet was dying, ripped apart by volcanic eruptions and yet it was being exploited by humans for minerals. A blue supergiant star threatened to engulf the world in fiery doom, making this an entirely unpleasant environment. Problems arose when the scientist could not get back to her own body which was encapsulated in a ship which had crash landed on the barren surface. She then had to choose between her own personal safety or the lives of the other surviving humans!

Petrochemical Skies by David Conyers and David Kernot had great characters and a wonderful setting for the story, that being a super-sized Earth which had an eccentric orbit around a hot star giving periods of intense heat and then cold. Survival on the surface was impossible unless special suits were employed, suits that could fly through the dense atmosphere and swim through seas of chemical sludge. Jenna was the astro navigator on board the ship that was trying to outdo others in a race to provide services for another planet. She was inexperienced and somewhat immature, bullied by the captain and condescendingly treated by others. Things didn’t get better when she crashed into the planet, losing the artificially intelligent hyperdrive, jeopardising the entire mission.

Trying to find the hyperdrive was problematic because it involved an immense journey around the planet. Unfortunately it was found in one of the seas which maybe harboured a type of primitive life residing within its murky depths. This carbon rich planet was covered with diamonds and the skies were saturated with hydrocarbons, making it a world of plenty for people like ourselves but to these entrepreneurs of the future, other things were more important. How would Jenna survive? Would her indecisive nature and inexperience be the undoing of them all?

Brian Stableford’s story, The Seventh Generation, can be described quite simply as magnificent! What a great writer he is! Superlatives notwithstanding, this well-known author takes us to the far distant future of our own planet. A couple of scientists, Corcoran and Halleck, by all accounts a couple of miserable middle-aged gentleman, meet up to discuss an experiment which will project one of them into the future. In this experiment the actual person is not sent to the future, rather it is a conscious ghost which will nonetheless be able to interact to some extent with the environment. It’s a dangerous experiment but Corcoran has tried it before and this time wishes to proceed even further, to the stage when the sun has turned to a red giant, about 5 billion years in the future.

Without wishing to give away too much of the story, it seems that there could be several generations awaiting us in the future. Mankind disappears and other forms of life take over. The process which scientists go through to discover this future is exciting and dramatic and yet, it’s oddly quaint in a British sense. It’s one that you must definitely read!

As mentioned, 15 stories transporting you to many different planets and environments out there in the Galaxy, from comets and asteroids in our solar system to worlds completely covered in water and, in another case, something resembling soup. There are blue giant stars of intense radiation, red dwarfs and a strange world living in the realms of a white dwarf star where the quest for sunlight is but a vain attempt to survive. This is one of the most exciting short story collections on the market for some time. Not only is it relevant as far as the physics is concerned, it’s connected humanly and emotionally to our own species as it travels out to these strange worlds. One not to miss!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very fun read! 28 Aug 2014
By David Young - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Great collection of new and established authors in this anthology. Timely topic as well, with the explosion of the discovery of exoplanets in recent years. The stories provide insights into the challenges humanity will face in exploring and colonizing new worlds. I don't read a great deal of hard SF (I tend to get bored / frustrated with lots of hard SF...Yeah, yeah, liquid planet made of whatever gas, I get it. I don't need a chemistry lesson disguised as a story), but this collection is a fine example of how science-rich stories can be engaging and packed with drama. Highly recommend.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 15 Aug 2014
By Olga - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An excellent selection of works. I enjoyed every one of them. I can also recommend The Mars Conspiracy: Cydonia.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Space Ants, Diamond Mountains, Comets, Extreme Creatures and more! 30 May 2014
By LoneRanger8557412 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Someone noted, in an earlier review, that the story BROOD, by Stephen Gaskell, was like "Aliens without the guns". I'll have to disagree with that, because other than the creatures having acid blood, the critters in BROOD are very far from Gieger's ALIEN creature. Why would I open the review like this? SPACE ANTS, that's why. But not just 'space ants' in a science fiction B-Movie type of way, this is hard science fiction, and by that I mean HONEST TO GOODNESS CLASSIC STYLE STUFF. BROOD will have you practically cheering by the end of the story.

There are more creatures, exotic locales, and nerdy, descriptive science action within. "Petrochemical Skies" by David Conyers and David Kernot had some really cool creatures AND a cool locale -- a diamond planet that rains oil! "Banner of the Angels" by David Brin and Gregory Benford, is a story with some of the best described, accurate 'space talk' I've ever read. Everything seemed so real.

Brin also writes a poignant introduction and Conyers and co. are on point with the editing.

If you read YEAR'S BEST SCIENCE FICTION or its ilk (hard science fiction anthos) this may be a very good option for you.
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