Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and All That

It's been a busy time here, as I'm sure it has been for many of you. This will probably be my last entry for 2007, because my family and I are in the throes of getting ready not just for the holidays, but for a two-week trip to London! It's been about twenty years since I was last in England, and it'll be very interesting to go back. It's in some ways a crazy time to go—the exchange rate and costs are insane, and we're all absurdly busy—but we have a place to stay with family, and that really is what's making it possible. Plus, as my wife points out, chances to take this kind of trip as a family are rapidly vanishing: one daughter in college and the other headed that way soon enough. I'm sure it'll be a fine and memorable time. (But there's no internet access where we're staying, so chances are I won't be posting during the trip.)

Writing update: For the last couple of months I've been wrestling with the storyline I'm trying to unfold in The Reefs of Time. My old outline didn't really hold up, and I've been rethinking the direction of my story following the end of Sunborn (which of course you haven't read, because it hasn't been published yet). Looks like the plot is taking some unexpected turns—unexpected to me, that is. Figuring out what it means is taking some time. Still, I like the new direction, and it's sparked a new interest in the story on my part. While that's been going on, I just wrapped up the SF writing workshop I taught with Craig Gardner. We both thought we had a terrific group again, and were excited to see so much promise in their work.

As always, there are many things I've been intending to write about but haven't gotten to. So I'm going to sign off with just this news item:

Young chimps beat college students in memory tests! How can you not love this story? In short-term memory tests on a computer, some young chimpanzees bested their young adult human competition. Go monkeys! You read it here first. (Actually, you probably didn't. But if I'd written this sooner, you might have.)

"We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true." —Robert Wilensky

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Flying Saucers in Saturnian Orbit!

Yes! From no less a source than and NASA comes news of weirdo flying saucers in orbit around the planet Saturn! In fact, they've even got computer-generated pictures, which are almost as good as real ones. Here's the one they're calling the moon Atlas, as generated by computer, based on findings from the Cassini probe:

You can also look at a nice big blowup.

Now, those scientists are such jokers, they expect us to believe that those are natural moon formations, caused by ring material building up on the equators of the moons. But I say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. So, nuthin' doin. I believed them when they said the Face of Mars wasn't made by aliens. And what did they do? They sent those rovers, Opportunity and Spirit, out to roll back and forth over the face until they'd obliterated the image! (But here, you can look at some other cool shots.)

You all remember the hex socket on Saturn's pole, right?

You think it's a COINCIDENCE that this same planet has flying saucers going around it???!!! I think NOT!

Write your Congress persons and demand that they send a mission to investigate aliens in our solar system!

So say we all.

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you." —Ray Bradbury

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Autographed Books Make Great Gifts!

Late as usual, as one of my high school teachers liked to say to me. Still, I hope, better late than never.

This is my not-quite-annual reminder that if you're searching for an excellent gift for that special someone, there's nothing quite like a personalized, autographed book direct from the author. (That would be me.) Clearly I'm way behind the curve on Hanukkah. (But while I'm on the subject, Happy Hanukkah, everyone!) But for Christmas shoppers, it's not too late.

If you'd like to peruse the books that I have available for sale, go to my web site: and click on book covers for information about the books themselves. Click Bookstore, and then Price List to check on availability of various titles. You can order by email, if you use Paypal. Or to order by snailmail, print out the order blank and send it with a check.

I hope you are all having a great December. I got our blue LED lights strung up on the big pine tree in front of our house yesterday, so I'm finally, sorta-kinda getting into the mood myself!

It's surprisingly hard to take a picture of an outdoor Christmas tree,
especially when you're hopping around
because you didn't take time to put a coat on!

"The two most engaging powers in an author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new." —William Makepeace Thackeray

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