Schumann Frequency by Christopher Ride (2008)

Found this at the library, and wondered if I’d stumbled across an Aussie SF author that I’d previously been unaware of. On reading the first few chapters, I was shocked and appalled at the poor quality prose and unscientific constructions (a “red electron” in the first few pages; later we are told about “DNA atoms”). Beware a book that touts its references (including Google search result tally!) at the beginning rather than the end!

This book could likely hold it’s own in the worst-SF-books-I’ve-ever-read competition (the all-time #1 is Battlefield Earth by L. Ron Hubbard), except that I balked at spending the time to actually read the whole thing. I was curious about who would put out such crap, it turns out that the publisher, one Javelin Books is headed by the author, Christopher Ride, making this book basically a high-quality vanity publication. I was also curious about the background to Book Choice, the advertising site which promotes the book, but (also according to the SMH blog) this is also a paid placement on behalf of the publisher (who, if you remember, is also the author). What a cynical and self-serving exercise in forcing a piece of undiluted crap onto the undeserving reading public.

Incidentally, as claimed by the author, the Schumann Resonances (from whence the title comes) are a real physical phenomenon, an electromagnetic wave which travels within the Earth’s atmosphere at a frequency which depends upon the dimensions of the Earth (in the same way that the frequency of a plucked string depends upon the string length). There is no plausible way to change this frequency short of altering the size of the Earth. Nice work, Mr. Ride.


Vernor Vinge – A Deepness in the Sky (1999) [book review]

the Qeng Ho trading expedition to the OnOff star becomes terribly complicated when they encounter the Emergents, humans new to space travel but with a horrific secret weapon. the prize: first contact with the inhabitants of the system and tantalising hints of new physics leftover from an ancient civilization.
an epic tale of interstellar conflict, espionage, treachery and loyalty, this is an exquisitely detailed portrayal of starfaring humanity perfectly integrated with their technology and their environment. if you only read one book in the next 30 Msec, make it this one!