Saturday, December 18, 2021

Book Review: Anemone a Creature/Starship and The Pilots of the Birkeland Currents by PanOrpheus

Not Your Father’s Steampunk Novel

Traditionally, steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that has a historical setting and that features current and futuristic technology powered by steam. So, you might expect boiler-driven engines with analog dials and gauges. You will, however, find almost nothing like that in Anemone a Creature/Starship and The Pilots of the Birkeland Currents save a story told by one of the main characters during an outer-space trip. Yes, this isn’t your father’s steampunk novel.

What, then, is the setting and technology? The story is set in the distant future near the binary star Pleione, which is about 450 light-years from the sun in the constellation, Taurus. (I only know that because PanOrpheus intertwines history, science, mythology, and imagination in his books, and Pleione is part of the science, i.e., I could search it online.) Not only is the story set far from our earth in time and space, but it is also couched in an alternative theory of astrophysics generally known as plasma cosmology or the electric universe. So, rather than black, empty, and cold space governed by gravitational forces, space contains flows such as the Birkeland Currents involving ionized gases and plasmas (this nonstandard theory is also searchable on the Internet). Do you need to understand the differences between Big Bang and Plasma Cosmology to enjoy this book? Not at all. Many works of fiction involve building alternative worlds, and though this alternative has some scientific underpinnings, it’s still fantasy world-building to a large degree.

As for the technology involved in space travel, it’s centered around a bio-engineered organism that also serves as a spacecraft, the anemone. Think horse and rider, except for the scale—the anemone is huge, making the human rider more like a flea on horseback. And somehow, these minuscule humans (a pilot and copilot) direct this monstrous creature/spacecraft, with PanOrpheus comparing their control to that of the unconscious over a human, i.e., directing things not in awareness, such as emotions, habits, and memory. Conscious control over the anemone is provided by a computer, which has as much personality as the humans because the pilot decided to save a little money on its purchase. And finally, prescience or the ability to foresee the future is provided by Aletheia, with PanOrpheus tapping into ancient Greek philosophy for this character. If that’s not enough cooks to spoil the soup, anemone also has a collective unconscious (from past generates of the organism) and an evolving free will. I came away wondering if this craft ever made it to a destination on time.

If you’ve read this far, I suspect you’re thinking, what an odd collection of alternative world-theories, characters from mythology, tidbits from less than mainstream science, and wild imaginings and I’d have to agree. But that’s what makes Anemone a Creature/Starship and The Pilots of the Birkeland Currents such an entertaining read. Tickle your imagination with a book that’s definitely not your father’s steampunk.

See on Amazon:

(I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)

No comments :

Post a Comment