Thursday, March 31, 2011


Because I'm tired and there is NOISE outside, I'm just going to share the Mercury pictures, via National Geographic.

Isn't that sweet? This is what NASA does best...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Random thoughts

Because I have no better ideas...and there are no more cool internet pranks (I still want a lap giraffe. They're so kyoot).

I'm kind of thinking about, well...trying to make a hole in my to be read pile. Trying to get work done at a reasonable time. (although I have managed a solid 2000 words a day on my latest novel this week, so we're making if I could just sell one of these books...)

And tired. I've worn myself out, I think. And it's...supposed to be spring *eyes the temperature*. Can we have actual spring? Please? Pretty please?

Okay. I'll stop whining now. And go back to writing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lap giraffes

...I love it. How cute can you get?

It's really a shame these little guys aren't real.

(Yeah, slightly early April Fools Day prank, but likely to be better than most of what we'll see on Monday).

Monday, March 28, 2011


I was thinking earlier and I realized that I am very cavalier about character names. My characters just get whatever name I feel like, whilst some writers have to analyze the meaning. Heck, I'm betting some people take up numerology...

I suppose, it doesn't matter. Besides, my way, if I have to change a name, it isn't such a big deal than if it was thought out to the last letter.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Very insightful...

So, what kind of religion might our descendants follow on other planets in the distant future? Christianity is only two thousand years old or so. Islam is even younger...religions rise, fall, grow, fade and die. Humanity may come to completely different beliefs and concepts of God. Who knows...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Another loss...

Elizabeth Taylor is dead. The thing here is that there are some people who become caricatures of themselves (Tom Cruise comes to mind). Then there are some who become, I don't know, icons of themselves.

Liz some ways became both. Many people who think of her focus on 'She got married HOW many times?' Others see the beauty she was as a young woman. But there's one clear thing...she was completely unforgettable. Totally. And perhaps her sexuality was an important and key part of that. Perhaps it was part of the image she generated for herself. Or perhaps she simply was that flighty when it came to men.

We'll never know. Maybe she'll never know herself. But there's something else...Liz Taylor was a character, in the story of the real world. She was something special and it's right to keep on remembering her, for good reasons and bad.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Space aliens and the law...

Crazy thoughts...

If a flying saucer touched down on the White House lawn, would its inhabitants be illegal aliens?

If Area 51 really happened and the US experimented on alien crewmembers...would that actually be legal? Given they aren't human...

How will we have to rewrite our laws and constitution to deal with extraterrestrials? And what if we prove certain terrestrial non-humans to be intelligent?

Food for thought.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I got worn out over the weekend. Anyone else had that 'I need to go back to work for a rest' feeling lately?

Saturday involved children. And ponies. In combination. There were a lot of children. And the occasional dog. Hard work!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring...on Titan

This demonstrates that Titan is, indeed, a dynamic and changing environment. Which increases the possibility of not just life but fairly advanced life.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

But trust me on the green beer. Don't.

(Many pubs and bars make their green beer by taking the cheapest slop they have and adding food coloring...then charge three times what it's worth).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Are things getting worse?

I'm generally somebody who is calm about major disasters. I only panic about silly little stuff.

But I'm starting to get just a BIT worried about the Japanese nuke plant issues. I really hope they can get it under control...because if they can't, then what do we do? (Not build nukes in earthquake zones...but how many reactors WERE there in Japan when this hit? But that's people's reaction to things).

As a society, when things go wrong, we turn into turtles...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Earthquakes and forest fires...

The Japanese earthquake has been upgraded. Most seismologists are now classing it as a 9.0. A 'megaquake'. A once in a thousand year event if we're really unlucky.

An earthquake is a release of pressure. The faults in the earth's crust rub against one another or duck under each other. As long as the fault moves smoothly, everything goes well. It's when it gets stuck that problems cause. Pressure builds up until something gives...and you get an earthquake.

The vast majority of earthquakes are no big deal. Most people can feel an earthquake of 3.0 or greater...providing they are not in motion at the time (people walking have been known to completely miss a 7). An earthquake has been compared to a 'freight train'...mostly because that's what an earthquake sounds like. Yes, I do know this from experience.

It's common wisdom that small quakes lower the risk of larger ones. Truthfully, though, there would have to be a lot of small quakes. As in hundreds of thousands of them.

But what if there were? What if, like back burning to prevent a major fire, we could somehow *create* those large numbers of small quakes. Or find some other way to constantly release the pressure of fault lines, to keep them moving smoothly. It seems insane. We can't even, right now, properly predict earthquakes. Preventing them is blue sky in the extreme.

But hey. I'm a science fiction writer. Blue sky is what I do.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I hate...

...daylight saving time. I'll be back coherent when I can actually get enough sleep again.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tragedy and hope in Japan.

What a mess. The Japanese quake has damaged nuclear power plants, suspended bullet train service, closed airports. It has caused the Yen and Japanese stocks to tumble on the stock market.

It has left thousands of people without power. Likely there are also some without water. There are fires.

The current estimate is that five hundred people have been killed.

It sounds absolutely horrible until you find a sense of perspective.

This was a magnitude *8.9* earthquake. It was the second strongest ever reported. It is a clear candidate for worst earthquake of the century.

About 500 people died.

My heart does indeed go out to their families, but think about this. Had an 8.9 hit anywhere else in the WORLD other than maybe southern California, we would be counting casualties in five figures if we were lucky. Probably six.

While this is a major disaster and a tragedy, it is also a testament to the true brilliance of the Japanese. They are the world's experts at earthquake proofing...and how many lives has that knowledge saved? I can't count that high.

(Just adding a note that the predicted casualties are now between one and seven thousand with the aftershocks and tsunamis. But even so...)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Don't do it...

...just don't.

Read to the second page of this article. (Note: It contains words that make it NSFW). Read down.

Anyone who has ever watched a bad horror movie or read a mediocre horror book is going to immediately get why I say...just don't do it.

In other news, the band Steppenwolf has now received a very odd astronomical honor. Okay. I am sure they weren't thinking of the band, but I sure am.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A small pet peeve...

Enough editors do it that they must think it softens a blow, but what is with the passive rejection?'

'We can't use your story'
'We are unable to publish X'.

Is there some force physically preventing the editor from writing a contract? No...and really, is that more polite than

'This doesn't fit our magazine'.

Or even...

'I didn't like it enough'.

(I have a ton of respect for an editor who admits he rejected a story just because he didn't like it. Because that's honestly why a lot of stories are rejected. Editors just feel the need to rationalize it so people won't think they're biased...except that everyone IS biased. I sure am).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another sale!

'The Monsters of Prague' to 'Zombies Without Borders Anthology'.

Should be out late this year, I hope.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Is it real?

...or is it canals on Mars? I'm keeping an open mind.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Inspiration and coincidence...

Gotta love when you're halfway through writing a story and pull up a news site to find the top story refers to *exactly* the plot device you're using.

(I won't go into more details because I haven't sold it yet, but oi).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Silver lining... at least one of the disasters that hit Australia over the last year.

What bothers me is that this is news. Groundwater has to come from somewhere. A large scale flood is a good way to replenish it.

Flood management needs to be much more 'We'll let it flood HERE'...not 'We mustn't have a flood'. Fire management, same.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

If you understand this...'re ahead of most people.

I wish they specified HOW cold they had to get the helium to make this work. I'm trying to work out what it's good for other than research now...hrm. Hrm.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Will this weather...

...make up its mind. Is it spring or not? (I sort of want spring...I think).