Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hot Rock - Greg Egan

Novella

Number of words : 20700
Percent of complex words : 12.9
Average syllables per word : 1.6
Average words per sentence : 15.9


READABILITY INDICES

Fog : 11.5
Flesch : 59.2
Flesch-Kincaid : 9.0


PEOPLE

Azar

Traveller to Tallulah from the Amalgam.

Shelma

A Bahari who meets Azar at Tallulah.

Shirin

Azar's great-great-granddaughter.

Jake

Spiral Out follower.

Tilly

Spiral Out follower.

Juhi

Spiral Out follower.

Rahul

Spiral Out follower.

Omar

A progressive Circler.

Lisa

A Circler.

Silas

A Circler.

Judah

A Circler spokesman.

Tarek

A Circler.

Santo

A Spiral Out delegate to the Amalgam.



PLACES

Hanuz

Azar's home system.

Tallulah

The planet Azar travels to, a world with no sun over a thousand light years from her home.

Bahar

A nearby solar system to Hanuz. Their people have five limbs and five tails.

Jute

A Tallulah colony.


TECHNOLOGY

Departure Gate

The launching off point for travelling to the new system.

Mologhat 1 and 2

Robot Probes to Tallulah.

Antimatter store

Powers Robot Probes and other such space craft.

Thermocouple

A junction between two different metals that produces a voltage related to a temperature difference.

Rail gun

Device for accelerating a payload rapidly into orbit.

Femtotech

The engineering of matter on the scale of atomic nuclei.

Mass spectrometer

Machine for measuring chemical composition.

Hoops

Made of something extraordinarily strong, spinning at close to the speed of light. A power source on Tallulah.

Deep-bore geothermal turbines

Used for specialized research projects.

Scout mites

Exploration and communication tiny tech.

Photonic jet

Used for moving Tallulah.

Geothermal cannons

Used for moving Tallulah to allow evacuations.

Deep rock graft

Used for seeding other worlds.



ORGANISATIONS

Amalgam

The meta-civilization that now ringed the galaxy.

Circlers

A Tallulah philosophy of those that want to stay on the planet.

Spiral In

A Tallulah philosophy. Followers that want to leave their bodies and become information. They do so and embed their minds in the deep rock of the planet.

Spiral Out

A Tallulah philosophy. Followers want to leave the planet.



CONCEPTS

C3

A carbohydrate polymer replicator.

P2

A polypeptide replicator.

Thermoelectric diffusion

In a particular Tallulah plant the electrons and holes would conduct heat from the ground up into the leaves, and in doing so they'd set up an electric potential, which in turn could be used to drive chemical reactions.

Chemosynthesis

Process of extracting energy from chemicals a la photosynthesis.

N2

DNA, Azar's ancestral replicator.

N3

A hereditary replicator.

Magnetic moment

A quantity that determines the force the magnet can exert on electric currents and the torque that a magnetic field will exert on it.

Next Passengers

The group that will use Tallulah in the future.


PLANTS

Entropy tree

Operates on thermoelectric diffusion, a living thermocouple.

Ribbon weed

A Tallulah common plant, also comes in giant varieties.



RACES

P2 Lizards

The current inhabitants of Tallulah. Two eight-clawed limbs that they used for digging and grasping objects; all their motive force came from their powerful tails. They sensed the world around them with a mixture of IR vision and sonar.

Builders

Creators of Tallulah. The Ground Heaters.

Old Passengers

Lived on Tallulah after the Builders.


ANIMALS

Tallulah wildlife

Shrimp-like animals straining microbes from the water, floating gas bladders with poisonous tentacles, and sinuous, muscular fish of every size among others.


VEHICLES

Mologhat 3

The probe for use in returning to the Amalgam.


PLOT

An Amalgam story.

Azar travels from her homeworld to the Tallulah system to explore this strange world with no sun. She is met there by Shelma, and together they explorer and finally make contact with the locals. A lizard-like people with their own political divisions, conservative, progressive explorers, and inward turning transhumanists.

The planet's technology allows extremely efficient conversion of energy, allowing it to stay warm without a star, and also the storage of those who leave their bodies to exist as information.

The conservative faction sees the arrival of aliens as a threat, and a precursor to a new wave of settling on the planet, and conflict erupts. One of their Spiral Out friends is taken hostage. They have to try and find a compromise to keep him safe, and allow those who want to make contact with the Amalgam to do so.


4 out of 5

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