Release date: October 25th, 2016
From Alice to Zachary: learn the ABC’s with the monsters!
Meet Alice, Bertrand, Caitlin and the other monsters in this fun filled alphabet learning book.
Short, furry, nasty creatures. May display short horns on their heads when excited, a phenomenon known as a horn-on.
A Frakas (see Frakas, disambiguation)
Bosco is the leader of a small group of Frakas who travel through the galaxies in their wormhole burrowing ship, F-1, in search of any organic life that can be captured for purposes unknown to your humble narrator.
Bosco’s hobbies include visiting other planets and inciting their inhabitants to kill each other. (TV reception is very limited on his home planet due to constant…let’s say…interference, so this offers some entertainment.) According to the SACM (Semi-Allied Court of Mabong) virtual criminal records, Bosco and his crew reportedly visited Tenochtitlan, Earth in 1487 CE, and attended the re-dedication of the Great Temple.
Alice is a very seductive lady Frakas who would be even more attractive were it not for her personality. But then again, Alice is a Frakas, so what did you expect?
An engineer, Indrid is a timid, tentative type. He likes to be by himself when he can and does not enjoy watching human sacrifice.
Zazu is the youngest member of the Frakas’ group. Even so, he is rather immature for his age and is not treated too seriously by the crew of the F-1. He displays his horns 24/7.
Snooty, photosynthesizing, nit-picking, grass eating creatures.
The Boticellis’ primary mission is to beautify the hell out of everything, (sometimes with dire consequences.)
Diet: sunshine and flowers
Boticellis have a third eye located on the ends of their tails. They use it for sending telepathic messages to each other and also for peering around corners.
A well-respected figure of great authority and many eyes, Judge Boticelli presides over the SACM courtroom, doling out justice to the wrongdoers, and doers in general. The current whereabouts of Judge Boticelli, however, are unknown. Ever since he presided over the difficult case of Bosco v. Indrid v. Everyone, he wasn’t quite himself. This grainy photo on the Wanted Alive poster is possibly that of Mr. Judge gone on a rampage:
If it is indeed Mr. Judge, it is a terrible loss for SACM and the entire Intergalactic Justice System.
Fearsome (and very short) Director of the Prison on Gluto, Chief Snuggums is actually a lot nicer than he appears to be. In his spare time, he likes to play the piano and go for long walks by the stream of hot lava flowing around the correctional facility’s insurmountable walls.
A typical day on Frakas:
The Boticellis’ mission:
A space ship similar in principle to the Frakas’ F-1 (the main similarity is that it flies):
Indrid is happy about the fast pace of landing zone construction on Earth:
Bosco in court:
Judge Boticelli in court (during the trial of Indrid and Bosco):
Bosco discovers humans and tells them it’s okay to sacrifice other humans:
Roadside Picnic (Пикник на обочине, 1971) by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
Roadside Picnic is a very tasty story, and one of my favorite of Strugatskys’ works.
A complex idea presented in a very entertaining way, Roadside Picnic also has a killer ending. (The 1979 film, Stalker, is nothing like it, by the way, and is not nearly as good as the novel. Why? Well, how should I put it…A scientist, a writer and a stalker walk into a bar. Then they spend the next two hours sloshing around knee deep in muddy water (both literally and metaphorically speaking), saying things like, “Art is a selfless pursuit.” There’s none of the palpable physical danger that haunts the stalkers entering the Zone in the book, and besides, they mostly don’t have time to talk about stuff like that due to the constant danger of getting killed by traps.)
The story takes place in the fictional town of Harmont, where an alien Visitation has left part of the town devastated. This area has been sealed off by the authorities and is called the Zone. It is guarded and dangerous. However, certain people called stalkers sneak into the Zone at night in pursuit of the valuable alien items found there. Some of these gadgets are useful (like a perpetual battery for your car, for example), others are lethal, and still others are just plain mysterious and have no known use or purpose. These items are sold on the illegal market to collectors and other interested parties, while those that are recovered “legally” by day are studied by researchers at the adjacent institute, established to study the Zone and its (mostly awful) effects on people.
The main hero is twenty-something Redrick Schuhart, or “Red,” an experienced, freckly stalker just trying to make a living for himself and his family. A charismatic, foul mouthed and all in all extremely likable character. Among all the strange and sometimes useful items found in the Zone, there is a certain Golden Sphere, which supposedly grants wishes. But, this thing ain’t no Genie. It will only grant a person’s most true, real wishes, things they may be afraid to admit, even to themselves. Some people end up with a very nasty outcome as a result of visiting the Sphere, and one stalker even commits suicide after a “wrong” wish if his is granted. (One cool thing about the film, Stalker, is that instead of the Golden Sphere, the wish granting device is an empty room.)
It is a great read. Enjoyable, creepy and fascinating.
Rating: Five very big stars out of five.
Recently I’ve been reading The Dreaming Dragons by Damien Broderick.
I had a few questions regarding physics as a result, especially about gluons and quarks. It turns out that it is extremely difficult (currently, impossible) to isolate a quark, because the energy required to break off a quark just creates more of ’em. As a non-scientific person, I tried to create a mental image of what the process might look like. (This is not how quarks actually behave 🙂