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Beyond Saga Blog / News

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Astronaut Exercises Rights, Refuses to Wear Spacesuit

Posted by author on 7/27/2020 11:24:00 PM

International Space Station — On July 27, 2020, NASA mission control asked astronaut Major Karen Mumpsimus to perform a spacewalk to repair one of the International Space Station's solar panels. However, the astronaut refused to wear a spacesuit during her excursion outside the station based on the grounds that doing so violated her constitutional rights as a United States citizen.

"No one is going to tell me what I should or shouldn't wear," Major Mumpsimus said at the time. "I can't breathe with a helmet on or through any sort of face covering. I have a medical condition."

Doctor Voisoff Rezonski, a cosmonaut and fellow station occupant, rebuked the claim that people with asthma and other chronic pulmonary diseases would breathe easier in space without wearing a suit. "As a matter of fact," the doctor said, citing multiple studies and scholarly articles as evidence, "those afflicted by these conditions are more likely to survive in space with a suit as opposed to without."

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Review: Alien Affairs

Posted by author on 4/28/2019 3:09:00 PM

Alien Affairs by Scott Skipper is a very well-executed first contact science fiction novel. The book gives the author's take on how the alleged UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947 might have transpired. As the story progresses, it covers the subsequent ramifications decades in the future.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the events and character actions seemed plausible. Even though the tone of the drama is light-hearted, the author still took the time to think through the logistics of how first contact with a more advanced species might truly unfold. In fiction, the underdog triumphs over a superior force all the time because it's satisfying. Such a feel-good result emboldens us to believe that we can each transcend whatever stands in our way. But in real life, Goliath slays David the vast majority of the time. With that in mind, the struggles and failures of humankind's efforts against the aliens in the story rang true, and the bittersweet ending concluded the tale appropriately.

The characters, while seemingly dry at first, eventually show a great deal of personality through their dialogue and actions. This, as opposed to descriptions given in prose, is a sign of effective writing. Along those lines, the story unfolds very fluidly. It was an easy read. I tore through the novel in a pair of four-hour flights. However, in the last quarter of the novel, the author increased the level of detail and made his prose a bit meatier. This is in contrast to the first three-quarters of the story where the exposition was more bare-bones.

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Review: The Lost Spell

Posted by author on 4/28/2019 3:00:00 PM

The Lost Spell (Tales from the Lost Horizon) by Michael Eging is an entertaining short story within the sword & sorcery (S&S) subgenre of fantasy.

When the cantankerous old wizard and main protagonist, Thondric, suspects the theft of one of his spells, he embarks on a quest to reclaim it. Along the way, Thondric's viewpoint is engaging enough to maintain reader interest.

Some of what transpires does so a little too coincidentally, and the tale has its typical S&S pitfalls (lack of firm magical rules, a character casting or not casting the right spell at the right time for the convenience of the plot, etc.).

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