Healthcare technology is a complex industry has gone a long time. From electronic medical records to deliver quality holistic patient care. With great power comes great challenges. Healthcare technology will see some major trends in 2016.
Your Personalized Healthcare
2016 will prove to be a year of innovation for healthcare as more and more wearables devices are designed to help patients take control of their own health. As you might expect, fitness trackers include Jawbone, Misfit, Fitbit and Garmin are demonstrating their new technologies by providing a one-sided picture of the wearer’s health. Smart technology in the healthcare industry will show great potential for widespread adoption in the healthcare sector.
Care Management Record
Health care management is critical for all of the health needs of individual by keeping the physician-patient relationship. As we steps forward in bringing America’s health records into the 21st century, new technology helps companies build deeper relationships with ever-more personal customers. Nowadays, patients can gain access to appointment information and hospital admissions via their account at no charge.
Online & Mobile Health
The mobile health (mHealth) market will be the next great business revolution according to data from the Pew Research Center. Mobile health is designed for using the wireless devices to share information between patients and providers, such as email, texting, phone application and Web-based camera. There is no doubt that mHealth is an important tool in improving the health of patients.
3D Printer to Fix Varicose Veins
As an increasing number of people with varicose veins, one of the most promising companies developing the 3D printed device that is specially designed to help doctor in the endovascular surgical of removal of varicose veins. The device can give doctors a closer look at the great saphenous vein and make it easy to understand the disease without causing further skin discoloration, skin irritation, or even burns.
Driven by the release of Google Cardboards, it was clear virtual reality was going mainstream. The truth is Virtual simulation technology has been implemented in healthcare training for many years. Virtual reality enables doctors to reach a diagnosis in conjunction with MRI scans. It more likely to replace these sophisticated simulators to help patient save the money for invasive surgery.
Smart car repairs are changing the way when you bring your car in for any service or repair. SMART Repair is an abbreviation for Small To Medium Area Repair Technique.
When it comes to auto repair, the cost of car repairs can be a major and expensive issue. The SMART car repair technique can help you save money by repairing only damaged area instead of an entire vehicle surface for a dent on the door panel, which means less labour and material. If you are more annoying to pay more for car repairs and never tried this technology, then do your own smart car tuning today. It’s not rocket science and really easy to learn.
Scratches in car paint can be caused by a variety of things and can damage more than the exterior of the vehicle. There is a wide range of products called a “scratch remover”, but most of them have its limits. To keep the monetary value if you come to sell your car, then it’s necessary to repair car as soon as possible to prevent more damage. After all, the better the condition of your car, the more money you will get.
It’s a cost-efficient approach to handling high quality repairs, includes bumper scuffs, alloy wheels, interior trim. etc. and can be used for any kind of car service, such as car dealerships and car hire services. To save money and, car service can be done by yourself in your garage, with basic repair skills and tools, you can do an oil change, replace light bulbs, or even change a car tire by using a floor jack. [A floor jack is one of the most power tools to have for automotive repair. You can use it lift your car off the ground. Check out the floor jack reviews]. What if the worst happens and your smart car breaks or the nearest smart dealership is more than 4 hours away?
Here are few samples:
1. Wheel refurbishment
Alloy wheels are a common answer to the expense of chrome wheels. If you’re handy, you can fix your curbed with a filler, primer and paint. Make sure clean the wheel correctly before repairing.
2. Side mirrors
Your vehicle’s side mirrors are most noticeable when they break and mirrors are important safety features during driving. The side mirrors can be restored by the SMART techniques.
3. Body scratches
As we mentioned above, body scratches and dents, sometimes, deeper scratches are harder to correct. SMART techniques can make the scratches less noticeable by blending new paint and materials into old ones. Moreover, SMART techniques repair only the damaged area not the whole panel, so you would avoid paying a body shop $1000s to fix minor paint damage.
4. Windshield chips
Cracked windshield chips can happen out of nowhere. It can worsen if not repaired quickly. A professional repair is more expensive. With a bit of cleaning and resin, you can repair the windshield chips quickly.
Whether you’re woodworking professionals or beginners, the Woodworking Technology has not changed much over the years, which is a bit frustrating. SawStop, a company to sell power saws that have automatic braking system that stops the blade in about 1/8 of a second, changes a lot in the industry by adding more advanced equipment to let people to use these power tools even safer. This article states about 31,400 people are treated in emergency rooms every year for saw injuries and roughly 93 percent of those injuries were referred to users’ finger. Another interesting statistic is that 9% of the injuries occurred when anti-kickback safety devices were in place.
But, if you look closely, you will two other revolutions, which will be used for next generation of woodworking tools. These two revolutions have been developed from the industry at large and applied for the store.
Miter saw with segmented cutterheads are designed for people who enjoy hands-on instruction. Returns cutterhead automatically out of the way, behind guide fence after cut so that helps speed up production. It’s a good option for all kinds of miter saw, like cordless miter saws and sliding compound miter saws. These small carbide cutters work very well for a wide range of stocks, and frequent blade changes.
For lots of people like me, removing steel knives, sharpening them and trying to put them back perfectly to make them work well will remain a challenge. You should enter the segmented cutterhead. It allows you to loosen each carbide teeth, make a twist and precisely drop back it easily. For most cases, you don’t need to do that for years because carbide works better than steel. Additionally, the best of cutterhead comes with four sharp edges on every tooth.
However, a lot of variations from different machinery manufacturers are available on the market. Reading the scientific research results and reviews to learn which are high-performance ones before jumping into the water. And check out this interesting guide that list tips for buying a best mitre saw.
Dust Collection Grows Up
Woodworking Technology emphasizes a combination of advanced machine operations and health care for the 21st century. And wood dust becomes a potential health problem may cause some serious health problems, such as allergic respiratory symptoms or cancer. The Government also indicates that wood dust is the main causal agent, which results in the leaders of this small industry has struggled improved their technology to provide further protection for their customers.
Instead of handle wood dust completely, these old dust collectors work as fine-dust delivery systems. Pleated filters are new choice of dust collectors, they come with more surface area that works better without sacrificing the airflow. And people also can choose best separate dust collectors that keep those fine filters clean, which is the good option for people who have limited budget. From the new report in the Tools & Shops issue, this is the best way to keep your shop air.
Halifax, NS – The Atlantic Veterinary College’s Lobster Science Centre (AVCLSC), of the University of Prince Edward Island, hosted a private fundraising dinner entitled Science, Prosperity & Wealth: The Future of the Canadian Lobster Industry with keynote speaker the Honourable Brian Tobin.
The evening provided an opportunity for many of the leaders in the lobster industry to come together to support the need for enhanced levels of strategic planning within the lobster industry. This inaugural event focused on the impact that improved efforts in science can play in enhancing the economic health and wealth-creation potential of the Canadian lobster industry.
“The lobster fishing and processing sectors are the unsung heroes of Canada’s Atlantic fishery,” says Mr. Tobin, Vice-Chairman and Director, Board of Directors of Kruger Inc. and former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. “Hundreds of coastal communities rely on the health of the sector for their livelihoods. The application of leading edge science principles has the potential to greatly enhance this important sector’s contribution to the economy, while at the same time safeguarding the lobster resource at sustainable levels.”
The AVC Lobster Science Centre Research Scientists
The AVC Lobster Science Centre, a world-class research unit within the Atlantic Veterinary College, took this opportunity to introduce itself to members of the industry who were unfamiliar with the Centre’s research which applies the principles of veterinary medicine to the lobster fishery. Ongoing research at the AVCLSC includes examining host-pathogen interactions in lobsters, the potential impact of infectious diseases such as paramoebiasis (Long Island Sound die-off), and the development and delivery of a lobster health research database for the industry.
“Our hope was that the evening would result in a keener sense of awareness for the need of collective action in the realm of health research in the lobster industry,” says Dr. Rick Cawthorn, Director and Senior Scientist of AVCLSC. “The research that we do is targeted to ensuring sustainability of the industry, and maximizing the economic return to the Atlantic region from each pound of lobster harvested and sold.”Through research units such as the AVC Lobster Science Centre, the Atlantic Veterinary College of the University of Prince Edward Island, is able to stay true to its commitment towards excellence and innovation in teaching, research and servic.
Researchers at the Lobster Science Centre at the Atlantic Veterinary College are using genomic research in an attempt to find the cause of a deadly disease in lobsters.
“Bumper car” disease is caused by the single celled parasite, ciliate, that can only be seen under a high powered microscope.
Dr. Spencer Greenwood, assistant professor, Department of Pathology and Microbiology and research scientist – molecular biology, said the disease draws its name from the way the ciliates look in lobster blood – moving around with a series of collisions and changes in direction.
However, the disease brings little amusement to the lobster industry. If the ciliate penetrates the shell of the lobster, it can literally eat the organs from the inside. Greenwood said the research is aimed at finding out how the parasite enters the lobster. “Obviously, if we can do that, we can come up with ways to prevent it from happening,” he said. “That will pay financial dividends to everybody in the industry.”Bumper car disease was first discovered in the Maritimes in the 1970s and is a well documented infection of wild lobsters. However, he said it is within the cold water lobster holding sector of the industry the parasite can cause significant losses. “Obviously, if you have some diseased lobsters and healthy lobsters in a relatively confined space, the potential for the disease to spread is much greater,” he said.
Greenwood said genomics is a relatively new area of scientific research that has been in the public eye almost daily since the sequencing of the human genome in 2003. The goal of genomics research is to determine and understand the “entire genetic information content of an organism” (or ‘genome’).He said genomics takes a more multi-disciplined approach than traditional research. Once the research data is collected, he said it must be analyzed with the help of a computer and “that’s the stage we are at right now – it is an awfully long process.”By comparing the presence of the bumper car parasite genes to other parasite genes (from research done in laboratories around the world), Greenwood said “we hope to see if they use the same or different methods to cause disease. This parasite gene comparison would allow us to develop a better understanding of how the bumper car parasite kills lobsters. “A genome analyzes all the genetic information or DNA content of an organism, including its genes. The genome of the bumper car ciliate contains approximately 200 million base pairs of genes. By contrast, the human body has over three billion base pairs.
So far, Greenwood said the research has identified protein factors within the ciliate that may hold a clue as to how the species invades the lobster.
They have also identified genes that are unique to the bumper car ciliate compared to other lobster parasites and those are now being analyzed to determine if they playa role in the disease-causing mechanism of the’ bumper car parasite in lobsters.
Greenwood said the eventual hope is to develop monitoring tools to detect the parasite lobsters, particularly when they are in cold water pounds. He said the next step could then be the development of either a screening mechanism or a vaccine.”In the end, the more knowledge that we gain on parasites and how they cause disease in lobsters allows us to achieve the ultimate goal to be able to better manage the lobster stock and maximizing the number of healthy lobsters that reach the consumer,” he said. “When that happens, everybody benefits.”
I highly recommend everyone watch this video. No matter which side you agree with, both men present an accurate viewpoint of Evolution and Religion and the origin-of-life theories they propose. Enlightening for all viewers!
Personally, I have to give the win to Mr. Nye. In my eyes he presented the most concrete evidence for his side of the story, whereas Ken relied on anecdotal “evidence” from the bible.
A final issue I had with Ken Ham was his defense (used multiple times) in which he stated something along the lines of “that will never happen”. Being able to accurately date any given artifact/item/thing, for instance, is something he decided would never be possibly accomplished by mankind. Bill rebuts this with the clear-as-day-observation that we do have reliable dating methods through radioisotope technology….
Anyways, saying that mankind will “never” be able to do something is extremely close-minded and unfounded in my mind. However, I have a great respect for both of these men and their respective viewpoints, and I recommend this video to anyone who is curious about the world around them.
Some of the best science fiction literature have interesting, well-defined female characters moving the story along. Some authors, such as Alastair Reynolds, almost exclusively write their stories with strong women characters. Others are more well-rounded in their character descriptions.
I’d like to highlight some of the more interesting women to grace the pages of speculative fiction. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are the ones that stick in my mind after the final page has been read.
Molly Millions – Neuromancer
What man wouldn’t go crazy for a woman with surgically grafted sunglasses and retractable finger nail blades? Molly, who rarely shows emotion in William Gibson’s seminal 1984 novel, Neuromancer, is the tough-talking “razor girl” that protects the protagonist, a burned-out hacker named Case, on his mission to…well, I don’t want to spoil it.
I think there is an argument to be made that Molly had a partial influence on the character of Trinity in the Matrix series. In fact, it’s an argument that the whole of the Matrix trilogy owes a lot to Neuromancer in general, but that’s a conjecture for another day.
With her genetically enhanced reflexes and remorseless disposition towards her enemies, Molly’s brief hints of vulnerability make a nice contrast to her normal cool-as-ice personality.
OK, so there’s not much more to her than that. But does there really need to be in this story’s case? Anyway, I look forward to reading more William Gibson novels featuring the little lady.
Ilia Volyova – Revelation Space, Redemption Ark
Alastair Reynolds created a bleak, neo-gothic universe with his Revelation Space books. As such, the women in his universe are a tough and gritty bunch — not something entirely new, but always welcome.
In stark contrast to other worlds, such as the Hyperion Cantos and Dune, getting from one star system to another in the Revelation Space universe is a lesson in the cold brutality of relativity. The Ultras — humans who travel between the stars — have a decidedly different outlook on life than their planet-bound cousins.
Still, there are holdouts like the chain-smoking Triumvir Ilia Volyova. While not the cheeriest person in the galaxy, she doesn’t quite possess the total nihilistic personality of your typical Ultra trader and eschews the penchant for the steampunk-style body form of her chimeric compatriots.
This doesn’t place her as the most likable character by any means. We’re introduced to Ilia in Revelation Space when she kidnaps one of the main protagonists of the story, Ana Khouri. She wants Ana to serve as her new Gunnery Officer after her previous one loses his noodles from interfacing with some ancient — and decidedly sketchy — self-aware weapons.
However, we can’t help but secretly cheer her on when she’s threatening some local authorities to nuke their city from space. We all know that deep inside, she’s a softie and won’t really do it.
Brawne Lamia – Hyperion/The Fall of Hyperion
Brawne Lamia tells her story in The Detective’s Tale: The Long Good-Bye, one of the seven stories that make up most of the Hugo award-winning novel by Dan Simmons, Hyperion.
A private detective, she gets hired by an enigmatic man who wants her to find the person who murdered him. More than what he appears, she quickly falls in love with him and assists him on his mission to recover the five minutes he was “dead” and the five days of missing memory that resulted from his murder.
Sure, that sounds a bit strange, but as most good science fiction stories do, it makes sense when you read it.
Brawne’s strong character and determination to help and protect her lover, the tragic consequences of their union, and her resulting pilgrimage to make sense of it all make her a compelling character, despite the stereotypical private investigator shtick.
Actually, the noir-like aspect of Brawne’s tale only adds to the diversity of the seven stories in Hyperion, a book any Science Fiction Addict should read — immediately — if they haven’t done so.
Lady Jessica – Dune
Imagine for a moment that your mother could take you on in single combat, immediately tell if you were lying, and make you eat your vegetables before you realized you were doing so just by using a special tone to her voice.
So yeah, that probably described your mother…but Paul Atreides’ mother Jessica in Frank Herbert’s 1965 Dune took that stereotype to new levels.
A member of the Bene Gesserit order, she used her powers to control her pregnancy and give herself and her Duke a son when her order demanded that she have a daughter as part of their centuries-long breeding program to produce a super-human man called the Kwisatz Haderach. This one act to please her Duke, Paul’s father, changes the course of human history forever.
The daughter that the Bene Gesserit sisterhood wanted her to conceive was supposed to mate with a male heir of a competing family, with their son completing the breeding program and producing the Kwisatz Haderach. However, Jessica’s insubordination brings the breeding program to an earlier conclusion…
I like Jessica for what she represents: a person that will go to any lengths for her family, regardless of the consequences and regardless of how history will judge her. As the bound concubine of Paul’s father, Duke Leto Atreides, she accepts that he won’t marry her because his open position increases his power in the feudal system that rules the human universe.
Jessica is even willing to sacrifice the goodwill of her family to further its goals. She shows the same royal pragmatism towards her son Paul by convincing him not to marry Chani, the woman he loves.
Novinha – Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is another book that consistently shows up on people’s lists of favorite science fiction novels. The book — by itself — is very good; there’s no denying that. However, the books that follow it in the series don’t really hold a candle to it, although we are introduced to some interesting characters such as Jane (who doesn’t make this list due to the fact that she’s an AI — I’m saving her for a future post).
Which brings me to Novinha, Ender’s significant other. Introduced in Speaker for the Dead, arguably the best of the post-Ender’s Game novels, we see a cold, distant, woman that for some reason, Ender can’t seem to get enough of. Novinha makes this list for the simple reason that I can’t stand her.
She’s miserable, morose, doesn’t appreciate her 3000 year-old destroyer-of-whole-races husband, and ends up joining a religious order.
I can understand Card’s reasons for writing her character as he did. We are supposed to feel for Ender’s character: his horrible past deeds and desire for redemption, his devotion to family and those in need, etc, etc. However, I end up losing respect for Ender because of his relationship with Novinha.
Considering the sales of the series, some people did enjoy the story arc and maybe even felt sympathy for Novinha. Not me though…somewhere halfway through Children of the Mind, I put the book down and never looked back.
Novinha makes this list simply for the remarkable amount of antipathy I have for her character.
Well, there you have it. Yes, there are many more that are worthy of note, but in the spirit of keeping this post relatively short, I’ve only included the ones that have remained in my memory long after I’ve finished reading the last page. In some cases, this may be more indicative of the quality of the story, rather than the character, but I didn’t find any of them to be lifeless or unremarkable.
All of these women were crucial to the story (even Novinha) and characters that I cared about. In the case of Molly, I found myself worrying about her a great deal as she took on the more dangerous aspects of the story’s mission. I felt genuine sorrow for Brawne’s situation. Ilia, who I didn’t feel was a sympathetic character at all in the beginning, grew on me eventually until she was one of my favorites. Jessica was probably the weakest character of the bunch in my estimation, but that is more an aspect of Dune’s “texture” as a novel; the characters in Frank Herbert’s universe play second fiddle to the grand story he weaves, not necessarily a bad thing in Dune’s case. As for Novinha, I suppose she was crucial in defining a lot of character traits that embodied Ender.
If you haven’t read these books yet, I highly recommend them, even Speaker for the Dead (if only for Jane). And leave a comment below to tell me what you think about the women listed above and any women I may have overlooked or should check out in my own future reading.
Sometime in the early nineties I agreed to take a trip with a friend of mine to Florida to visit – you guessed it — his grandparents. Knowing how this would play out, I decided to take some reading along. While I read a lot of books between the ages of 10 and 15 (mainly fantasy), I had neglected reading fiction during my later teens to pursue other activities that crop up when you have a group of friends that like to knock on your window at 2am.
I knew I wanted to read science fiction, but since I didn’t know where to start, I decided to buy some books that had this “Hugo Award Winner” label on the cover. I reasoned that Hugo knew what he was talking about because wherever I went, the science fiction/fantasy section had these books diplayed prominently.
The novels I chose worked out well for me and I was able to deal with the borrowed dinner jackets and Philharmonic-festive evenings. Until I was able to find my favorite authors, the Hugo award served me well as a guidepost to good speculative fiction.
A Canticle for Leibowitz
Starting 600 years after nuclear war has devastated 20th Century civilization, A Canticle for Leibowitz tells the story of mankind’s mellenia-long return to technological civilization with the assistance of a monastic order. Founded by a Jewish engineer named Issac Edward Leibowitz who worked for the United States military before the war, the Albertian Order dedicates itself to preserving knowledge in a world plunged into a new Dark Age. The story contains three parts, separated by 600 years each: the so-called Age of Simplification, a new renaissance, and Man’s eventual climb back to full-scale technological civilization.
This was the first book from the Hugo Awards that I read knowingly (on my pilgramige to the Land of the Ancient Ones), the other being Dune (see below), which I read in my senior year of high school. Considered a classic even outside its genre, A Canticle for Leibowitz is widely studied for its various themes such as separation of church and state and the inevitablity of history repeating itself. It’s also just a damn good story. Because of the novel’s smallish size, it makes for good reading on vacation or a long trip.
It’s one of those stories that stands apart from most other science fiction novels. Sure, post-apacalyptic stuff is not exactly new, even in the very early 1960s when this book was published (during a time when the book’s premise seemed almost inevitable). But the characters, the structure, and the style of writing set the book on a pedestal that even writes such as David Brin and Greg Bear can’t touch (not yet, anyway).
And it was another To Kill a Mockingbird moment…the author never went on to write anything else of note, except co-authoring a sequal to Canticle that pales in comparison.
When I was a child, I thought science fiction books were mainly about guys in spacesuits being attacked by giant worms with human faces, thanks to the prominent book stands containing the latest Frank Herbert installment. In high school, I stumbled across Dune in my school library and decided to give it a try.
There’s not much I can say about this book. I can reasonably assume that if you’re reading this site, you’ve already read Dune. If you haven’t, what the hell are you waiting for? It’s got fuedal families, space ships, ninja-concubines, messiahs…the list goes on. Maybe you watched the movie and/or the Sci-Fi Channel mini-siries, in which case please put them out of your mind and check out the real deal. Also, it’s best to ignore the prequals released by Herbert’s son and Kevin J. Anderson. Just…put them back on the shelf and step away.
What really made the book for me was the detailed universe Herbert created. When I imagine Asimov’s Trantor in my mind, I see something out of Star Wars. When I imagine Caladan, or the city of Arrakeen, I see a baroque world, envisioned in minute detail from the largest Guild Heighliner to a Mentat’s stained lips.
Larry Niven’s novel about a ring-shaped world that spins around a star is a perfect example of a novel whose premise is almost completely defined by its setting. It still has some great characters if you can set aside the fact that Ringworld probably hasn’t won over many female readers with its depiction of hapless Teela Brown. Still, the novel keeps you reading with the sheer wonder about the scale of the world they explore.
My favorite aspect of the story, besides wanting to explore the impossible construct and find out who built it, was the interaction between the protagonists: Louis Wu, the 200 year-old Every Man, Speaker to Animals, a giant feline alien that only Louis can command respect from, and Nessus, a walking periscope called a Pierson’s Puppeteer…a species whose power is forged from their incredible cowardice.
The interaction of these three can make for some great comedic moments, while not pigeonholing the story into a Terry Pratchet-like niche.
The only downsides to Ringworld is a less than satisfying conclusion, made more puzzling by Niven’s admission that sequals were not intended. However, he relented and subsequent installments such as Ringworld Engineers have been written. In fact, I like the second book better.
One last note, the audiobook version of Ringworld available at audible.com is excellent…the narrator does an great job of bringing the characters alive.
Startide Rising isn’t the first book in David Brin’s Uplift series, but it’s the best one to start with. The first novel of the series, Sundiver, doesn’t have much to do with the ongoing events in the rest of the series and takes place two hundred years or so before Startide Rising.
The novel has the typical Brin mixture of humor, big ideas, and action. I’ve always been a fan of underdogs — and the humans, along with their “uplifted” dolphin and chimp friends sure get the short end of the stick. So you cheer like crazy when Gillian Baskin, the human physician on board the embattled Streaker, mocks the aliens chasing them.
This was one of my first picks on the Hugo list, and it was with this book that I realized I had made the right choice by starting with the award winners. I had so much fun reading this one. I just wish Brin wouldn’t have left some of his plot points hanging the later books, or get off his ass and write some more Uplift books. I still haven’t managed to force myself to finish Kiln People.
Note: It seems he will be writing another Uplift book, according to information on his very professionaly designed site!
Yep, you knew it was coming. William Gibson’s oh-so influential novel paints a dark landscape behind the future of our technologically obsessed culture, and I can’t wait for it to get here.
For cyberpunk lovers, this novel has it all, and anyone who thought the Matrix movies were so original needs to read this book and study up on their history. Many poeple lobbed the word “cyberspace” around during the early days of world-wide Internet adoption without knowing where this term originated.
Many people finally getting around to reading Neuromancer for the first time are surprised to note that the book was written in 1984. Some details in the story give it away, such as references to ridiculously small amounts of memory storage available during the novel’s future setting, but there is no denying Gibson’s prescience.
And Molly just warms my heart.
Ah Dan Simmons’ ode to Chaucer and Keats. This is one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve already gone into this one in depth so I won’t repeat myself.
A Fire Upon the Deep
A Fire Upon the Deep introduces us to the Zones of Thought, Vernor Vinge’s wildy imaginative breakdown of the galaxy where faster than light travel, artificial intelligence, and other good stuff are possible in the very outer reaches (called the Beyond), while these possibilities breakdown as one gets closer to the galactic core (first the Slown Zone where Earth is, then the Unthinking Depths near galactic center).
Humanity has found its way to the Beyond. A human expedition to the next higher zone, called the Transcend (where hyper intelligent “races” called Powers reside) uncovers an ancient data archive, which releases a sort of godlike super-virus called the Blight. The expedition is compromised and the Blight begins to spread across the Low Transcend. A single family from the expedition escapes with a cargo of children in suspended animation and lands on a planet inhabited by a non-spacefaring species. Meanwhile, civilization in the Beyond receive the ship’s distress signal and a plan is hatched to save the ship’s crew and passengers and stop the Blight. Hilarity ensues.
I have a weakness for books that treat the universe like I treated my backyard as a kid. This is space opera at its best and yet manages to mix in medieval action — replacing nobles and knights with a very original and clever alien species. I really enjoyed how the author introduces the aliens by dropping the reader into their viewpoint…all the head-scratching pays off when you figure out what’s going on.
Vernor Vinge follows this one up with another Hugo shoo-in…
A Deepness in the Sky
Another novel set in the same universe as A Fire Upon the Deep, this one goes back in time and deep into the Slow Zone to explore some of the backstory to the Zones of Thought universe that was introduced in the first novel.
Two space-faring human cultures, the Qeng Ho and the Emergents, travel to a planet whose star remains dormant for 215 out of every 250 years. The arachnid-like species that inhabits the planet are nearing a point in their technological development where they are ripe for trade and/or exploitation. Again, wild antics and crazy situations take place.
If you’re a programmer and you like science fiction, this is the book for you. While the book is nowhere near as good as Fire Upon the Deep, the story has interesting ideas about what it would be like to have thousands of years of code to dig through.
And who wouldn’t like a title like Programmer-At-Arms?
That’s the best of the Hugo Award winners that I have read so far, not including the recent winner, Rainbows End (incidentally, another Vernor Vinge novel…the guy is on fire).