Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Frozen Sky ~ Needs Thawing and Proper Cooking

The Frozen SkyThe Frozen Sky by Jeff Carlson

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book sparked a lot of interest for me. Apparently, Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, has the potential for supporting Life, particularly in the light thrown by the discovery that tube worms and various clams can and do thrive in deep oceanic geothermal vents. In the story, this is a given and I was heartened to find that our heroine Vonnie is spurred on by ecology and outreaching rather than pulling out your laser and blasting everything that moves (although as I recall, there is some blasting and splatting as well). I also liked it that I could dredge up my schoolboy memories of chemistry, and go out on the net and investigate and find out fascinating details such as the poisonous hydrogen sulphide (bad egg gas) being a potential 'messenger molecule' between brain cells and elsewhere in the body. All in all, a fascinating bundle of things for me to go out and investigate and learn from.

And that strength was for me the inherent weakness of the 'book': although I thoroughly enjoyed my explorations, I had to remind myself that this was a 'novel' and not a research project given to me by my biochemistry master. If it had been that, I'd have grasped the project with aplomb, gophered some essential data, showed him the draft of draft of my 'story' and waited to see what Sir thought. If Sir had given me a pat on the back and told me it was a splendid start, but please flesh out the story more (if I intended to lengthen it) and to cut out some of the clutter (if I was going to keep it short) I'd have been heartened and begin to make my plans.

However, this is quite dreadful as it stands. It was a "fascinating bundle of things for me to go out and investigate" indeed, but I had to go out and do the investigating which I loved doing, but I was reading it on my Kindle, and can press buttons and things which go out and investigate for me. But supposing I hadn't got a Kindle or a good net connection?. What then? I would be well and truly stumped, stymied, painted and snookered into my corner! My dinner was supposed to be presented to me on a plate. Admittedly it was tasty chicken drum-sticks on the bone, but they weren't even thoroughly cooked. I had to finish them off in the oven myself and go to find tissues I could clean my fingers with!

More can be read on the Jupiter Project which is purported to be happening in 2020.

On the Europa Jupiter System Mission:

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