Sunday, June 13, 2010

Byrd Land Six - Alastair Reynolds

Short Story

Number of words : 6600
Percent of complex words : 11.4
Average syllables per word : 1.5
Average words per sentence : 9.6



READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 8.4
Flesch : 67.8
Flesch-Kincaid : 6.2

PEOPLE

Dr Everard

Researcher at BL6.

Villiers

In command at Byrd Land Six.

Vaughan Williams

A composer.

Weber

Colleague of Everard's.

Cookie

Byrd Land Six meteorologist.

Navarre

Worker at Byrd Land Six.

Chu

Theorist involved with the Franson pairs.


MEDIA

Sinfonia Antartica

A Williams composition.


PLACES

Getz ice shelf

Where Byrd Land Six is, in Antarctica.

Byrd Land Six

BL6, an Antarctic research station.

Punta Arenas

Chilean city.

McMurdo

Another Antarctic base.

Russkaya

Another Antarctic base.


VEHICLES

Antonovs

Ski-equipped transport vehicles.

Skidoo

A snowmobile, personal transport on the ice.


TECHNOLOGY

Franson pair

Entangled doubles that allow remote operation on site in real time, despite vast distances.

Anemometer

Meteorological data collector.


CONCEPTS

Teleoperation

Working with machines remotely, even from another planet.


PLOT

Everard works at BL6 in not the best assignment. Strange things begin happening with the weather. Even worse, they find their meteorologist as a human icy pole.

Working out something strange is going on with the appearance of Villiers, he explains: 'Take two locations, such as BL6 and the lunar base, connected by a Franson link.' His hand—which, Everard noted, was entirely steady—drew an A and B on the paper, two or three inches apart, then a dashed line between them. 'Information can now flow between A and B instantaneously. As Chu pointed out, causality can only be maintained if A and B become isolated from the rest of the universe. Provided no information from either A or B can escape elsewhere, the linking creates no causal violation.' He drew a dumbbell shape which enclosed A, B and the dashed line of the link. 'Now, no one took Chu's prediction very seriously. Except possibly Mother Nature.' Grinned. 'She's encapsulated us, you see. Locked us in. The ultimate Iron Curtain.'

When they check it out, Villiers is killed by a teleoperated robot, and Everard eventually talks to Chu in the paired facility. Only one lot can get out, and Chu is alone where she is, so says she will nuke the BL6 facility so that Everard and Weber can get the hell out of there.


4 out of 5

No comments: