Tuesday 9 May 2023

The Hyperion Signals - Josh Griffing - Pyre and Ice & Under A Wayward Sun

The Hyperion Signals:
Pyre and Ice & Under A Wayward Sun
ISBN 9798392243273
eISBN 9798223673392

This is the second volume I have read from the pen of Griffing. This volume contains two stories both of which had previously been published. In the authors forward we are informed that Pyre and Ice was previously released 3 years ago, and also that Under A Wayward Sun was previously published in Planetary: Earth Anthology. We are also informed that both were updated for this new edition. The description of the story states:

“In June of 2165 technicians find a way to send messages faster than light. They call it The Hyperion Signal , and if messages can move at translight speeds, why not machines and men as well?

We drive ourselves to the next frontier, and the next. And at each frontier another wonder lingers.

In Pyre and Ice , the job of terraforming Titan’s frozen wilderness falls to Jotunheim Station, but the threat within the station is as deadly as the cold outside. It takes integrity, courage, and teamwork to see the mission through.

With translight ships, we set out across the galaxy, seeking out marvels our mere telescopes only hinted about. The first two ships to make the translight quest were Petra and Henley , sent to survey a world where strange trees grow Under a Wayward Sun .”

Often my reading goes in cycles. And it seems to be a season of volumes on terraforming planets. I have read a number of volumes over the last few months that I thought of while reading these two excellent stories. The first that came to mind was a nonfiction volume Terraforming Mars edited by Martin Beech, Joseph Seckbach, and Richard Gordon and thinking on the science of such endeavours. The other two were both fictional works, the first was Jane Killick’s In the Shadow of Deimos, and the second was Under An Orange Sky by Manuel Alfonseca. This volume could fit with expansion further in our own system and then beyond. 

Both stories in this volume are great reads. In the first A specific clause of a contract have far reaching consequences:

703.F.xliij.c(2) Operator Responsibility: It is the sole responsibility of any Spacer assigned, overseeing, or in operation of Terran Fleet equipment (TFReg 8015-13-6A, § 100.xliij.c) to maintain, sustain, and safeguard the same from destruction and damage while within his and/or her care. Failure by neglect or willful act will result in complete liability for all resultant damage and injury, whether Operator knew such damage or injury to be imminent or not.”

At one point we have this piece of dialogue:

“Even the potato Burton’s eye’s widened at this. “I’ll say a Pater-Noster for your safety, boys,” Burton said, “but I can’t say I’ll leave out St. Jude as well. Read that file, and get your men safe, Joseph.” He signed off and the humming of the Hyperion spun down to silence.
“Saint Jude?” asked McGregor.
“He is the Patron Saint for Lost Causes,” Reyes answered as he skimmed the records Andrei sent. “Stress failure, cryo-fracturing, sub-optimal G-strain thresholds.... May saints and angels all preserve us,” he murmured. “And it’s bringing the Rear-Admiral here!””

And the roll call of the fallen in that first story are of particular interest. I recognized several of the names. And I am sure they are in there to honour those named. Fabian, Brumley, Grimes, Paolinelli … and many others. We are informed that:

“There were many more: the TFS McCain was lost with all eighty hands aboard. Of the three hundred forty members of the terraforming team, only those pulled from the Signals laboratory survived. A plaque with the names of the dead was erected at the Dianopolis Fleet Academy, in Armstrong Hall near the First Footprints. You may read them there next time you visit.”

The second story goes far off into space. And a team lands and discovers something that could not be, should not be and yet … 

Griffing is a Presbyterian, and calls that out in Vessel, and yet this story reads like catholic fiction. Wither large C or small c Catholic. This story feels like it could easily have fit in Infinite Space, Infinite God I or Infinite Space, Infinite God II edited by Karina Fabian, and if I want to go back even further in Sacred Visions edited by Andrew M. Greeley & Michael Cassutt. As such I am including it in my Catholic Reading list this year as in content it is!

This was a great read. Not having read earlier iterations of either story I came to them with fresh eyes. Having said that I do plan to go back an read the original version of the stories as well. I would also have no concerns picking up the next offering from Griffing’s pen. This was an excellent read. I really enjoyed both stories and hope we will have many more set in this world. I can easily recommend this volume to those who love science fiction, or even just one who loves great read!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2023 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Josh Griffing:
Drawing Out the Bestiary
Pyre & Ice

Contributed to:
Earth: Planetary Anthology
Luna: Planetary Anthology
Sol: Planetary Anthology
Impossible Hope: Tales of Overcoming Odds
Futures That Never Were

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