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Not necessarily binding
james_nicoll

What should I review for Sunday?

Reginald Bretnor's Science Fiction: Today and Tomorrow
14(14.1%)
C.J. Cherryh's Gate of Ivrel
54(54.5%)
Larry Niven's A Hole in Space
21(21.2%)
I would like to complain about this poll
10(10.1%)

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Complaint: Fallacy of false trilemma.

Failed to give us a comparative cat count between books .

Now that I think about it, I don't think I've seen an actual cat an any Niven work. Snake/cat hybrids, yes, Proud Warrior Race cat-people with rat tails and dragon ears, sure, but no actual cats.

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"In addition to wars, weaponry and science fiction, Bretnor’s interests included cats. He translated Les Chats, the first known book about cats, written by Augustin Paradis de Moncrif in 1727. He also wrote multiple articles about cats, always owned cats, and considered himself to have a psychic connection to cats."

(from wikipedia)

Would have picked the Cherryh, but the Niven is something like the first or second SFF I've ever read, making your potential tears--and mine--especially delicious.

Complaining because I want you to review a CHerryh I like and not one I don't like.

Bretnor - now *there's* a forgotten name.

I still remember Papa Schimmelhorn...

The real question is - was there anything good from Niven post-1980?

I wonder if he made any new science discoveries after 1980, to go along with:

-- superconductors also superconduct heat

-- The moon stripped away Earth's early atmosphere; that's why Earth isn't like Venus.

-- The field of a magnetic monopole declines as 1/r.

To be fair, Niven's hobby was writing, and his day-job was being the scion of a wealthy family ("Here's a million dollars, son, don't lose it"), neither of which have much to do with scientific discovery. Except insofar as they may make use of other people's discoveries, or near-discoveries, or speculation about discoveries communicated poorly by other non-scientists, in a pre-internet age when checking stuff involved more than sitting at your desk googling.

The moon stripped away Earth's early atmosphere; that's why Earth isn't like Venus.

I just saw someone bring that up as something he thought was a fact. I wondered where he'd gotten it.

People have gone through a lot of Earth formation models; it seems plausible this might have been someone's favored model the week Larry Niven happened to drop by.

I have a faint memory of an Asimov science essay explaining the thought that the Moon might have stirred up the early Earth atmosphere in nice useful ways which Venus didn't get to benefit from. Likely whatever the source of that was would be Niven's source.

There's now an idea that the Moon has been responsible for maintaining Earth's magnetic field, and hence preserving the atmosphere (unlike that of Mars, which has been stripped away by the solar wind.)

http://phys.org/news/2016-03-moon-thought-major-role-earth.html

The field of a magnetic monopole declines as 1/r.

This has me wondering what the thought process behind it must have been. I'm guessing he was making an unwarranted extrapolation from the magnetic field of an infinite straight wire (which falls off as 1/r just for geometric reasons, not because it's magnetism; the electric field of an infinite line of charge would as well).

I think he was thinking of the magnetic potential of a monopole, which would drop off as 1/r (just as the gravitational potential of a point particle drops off as 1/r).

Possibly. The field of a magnetic monopole really would drop off more slowly than that of a closed current loop or a permanent magnet, but that's because these things are at best a dipole, and their fields will go as 1/r^3 at long distances.


Edited at 2016-03-25 03:26 pm (UTC)

We were just explaining to Chaz about Ferdinand Feghoot this morning.

The first, because I have not read it.

Do any of them have a tie-in with Easter?

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