Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sunborn in October 2008

How could I forget this? I have word now that Sunborn (the continuation of the Chaos Chronicles) is firmly scheduled for October of this year, from Tor. That's the hardcover. I don't know yet when the paperback will be out, probably a year or so after.

Meanwhile, a reminder that you can read the beginning of the book online right now!

By the way, one of the many things I'm thinking about doing is getting some decent recording equipment and producing my own podcast or audiobook-style readings of some of my stuff. This is something that author James Patrick Kelly has been doing pretty successfully. What do you all think? Should I start with some short stories, or do Sunborn? Lemme know.

"I have written eleven books, but each time I think, 'Uh oh, they're going to find out now. I've run a game on everybody, and they're going to find me out.'" —Maya Angelou

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If This is Tuesday, It Must Be...No, No, That Can't Be Right

So I don't know what day it is, anymore. What else is new? Last weekend, I was at Boskone, which is an always-enjoyable Boston SF convention. In the art show, I was startled to see the cover painting to one of my older books, The Rapture Effect! Beautiful painting by David Mattingly. Besides that, it was good to catch up with people I haven't seen in a while, and devote yet more time to the question of how to make a living at this racket. (The writing racket.) More and more, it seems, writers have to look for other gigs to bring in income—even writers who are well established, and who you might think have it made. (There's a good chance that they don't, that they do something else to pay the mortgage.)

This isn't going to pay the mortgage, but I've started a new business-hobby: Roomba resurrection. It started with my fixing my own Roomba when it seemed dead, then thinking, well, if I could get some people to give me their old, dead Roombas, it would be a great home school project to take them apart with my daughter and her home-school buddies. But it turned out nobody wanted to give me their old Roombas, so I started looking for some cheap on Ebay. Turns out there's a constant stream of them being sold there, and it started to seem like a good idea to buy a few as cheaply as I could, fix them up, and see if I could resell them for a profit. I'll let you know how that works out. (I still want to do the home-school project, though. If you have an old Roomba you want to lend to the cause....)

Interesting news notes:

From the Washington Post comes this: Scientists "have created a paper-thin material that absorbs 99.955 percent of the light that hits it, making it by far the darkest substance ever made—about 30 times as dark as the government's current standard for blackest black. The material, made of hollow fibers, is a Roach Motel for photons—light checks in, but it never checks out." It involves carbon nanotubes (what else?) and has got people thinking ever deeper thoughts about invisibility cloaks.

Meanwhile, U.S. plans to shoot down a defective and falling satellite have the rest of the world wondering what else those military tech-types might be thinking about. I take no position on that question—sure, they could be viewing this as a great practice opportunity, and probably are—but does that mean they shouldn't do it if it might reduce the risk of an accident on the ground? I don't have enough information to form an educated opinion. But I do like what has offered us—a chance to consider the question: "What Cosmic Duo Would You Trust to Destroy a Wayward Spy Satellite?" Look through the list. It'll amuse you, and bring back some fond memories!

"A man who had to be punctually at a certain place at five o'clock has the whole afternoon from one to five ruined for him already." —Lin Yutang

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Chameleons of the Deep

Whatever I was planning to write about next—probably Slicing Open Golf Balls for Fun and Profit, or something equally edifying—got knocked right out of my head when I encountered the web site, Talking Squids in Outer Space. That site by itself is pretty cool; I had no idea there were that many SF stories with squids in them. But even better, I followed their link to this video, which is real footage of cephalopods doing amazing things in the ocean. Watch it; it's worth your time. If it doesn't display properly in this page, go to

Tell me these critters aren't amazing.

"Imagination is the eye of the soul." —Joseph Joubert

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