Thanksgiving

I have much to be thankful for. All the normal things, like friends and family (neither are particularly numerous, but they make up for that in quality), the fact that I live in the greatest – if flawed – nation in the history of history. I have tremendous material comfort. Amazing technology. Generally good health among myself and family.

And of course, all my readers who thought that my mental meanderings and story were good enough to not just read, but buy and recommend to others. I’m humbled. For that I truly give thanks. And my publisher. I mean, how many people accidentally get one of those?

Going back to the earliest thanksgiving, what were they celebrating? Making it through the year. Why was that such a thing? I mean, all their ancestors had made it through the winter time and again, yes? So what’s the big deal, other than being in a new place? They’d tried something that sounded good –  communal ownership – and it had nearly killed them as each person tried to find gold or enrich themselves quickly while letting someone else do the hard but guaranteed method of survival and success called farming doing what needs to be done. Scrapping proto-communism and getting back to the fundamental reality of the world that there is no free lunch is what saved them.

Cargo cults always fail. Always. It is part of human psychology. We are flawed. We have huge brains, but it has few correct instincts, and it takes  a LONG time to program / train correctly (a couple decades of an ~eight decade life), and there are a lot of places it can go wrong. The more comfortable the world you live in is, the easier it is to not get the correct “how reality actually works” programming.

So – be thankful for what you have, tell those around you you love that you do, and never let comfort become too comfortable. But on this day – just enjoy the day.

Now, off to roast the bird!

Not a biblical scholar

I’m not a biblical scholar. Heck, I’m barely more than Biblically semi-literate.

So, of course, in my odd little corner of the universe, it makes perfect sense to write a SF book about the founding of a new order of monks, the Monks of St Possenti. This puts me in a bit of a quandary. I like the stories I read to be plausible, and require suspension of disbelief on only a few things, but not everything. If you want to stipulate FTL in violation of current known laws, great, run with it. But what I hate is when a story is purportedly in this universe’s future and it gets a lot of basic facts about physics or history or people totally fouled up. So when I’m writing it only seems reasonable to get what facts I can correct, so that others don’t have that same “oh, heck, not that silly and often-disproven trope again!”

So I need a little help here, by readers who are also familiar with the Bible, and hopefully a few that are specifically intimate with Catholic canon and monastic orders. Continue reading Not a biblical scholar

Progress

Just got through reading through the editor’s version of my prose version of The Stars Came Back. Or at least, the first half of it. Pretty darn good. A modest but very effective rearrangement of the end parts. It needs a few tweaks is all, but they are really pretty small. Cover Art is getting titled, so it should be out soon. Second half also done soon. The sequel, “Insanity’s Children” is aiming at six weeks-ish.

No word on the YA prequel, but it’s shorter and I’d had more practice when writing it, so I hoping it might be getting done this year.

Later Edit: To be clear, the series will be called “The Stars Came Back.”
Book one: Back From the Dead                 (first ~half of the original screenplay format book)
Book two: War on the Edge                   (second ~half of the original screenplay format book)
Book Three: Insanity’s Children           (Sequel, all new material)

Book Beats-the-heck-out-of-me: Komenagen: Slog    (all new YA prequel) No release date set.

Book 0.0492(?): Lost Crew (maybe?)     A novella: Early Armadillo mission, similar to “Shakedown Cruise” in Riding The Red Horse. Title not certain. No release date set. But totally written.

Alien minds

One aspect of Sci-Fi is the idea of exploring different ways of thinking and looking at the universe, or even looking at each other. It’s always been tough to convincingly write utterly alien brains or societies, and most merely reflect common aspects of humans. Star Trek’s Vulcans are nothing more than smart and logical humans, Klingons the emotional and savage warrior (human), Romulans just the Machiavellian manipulator (again, human). Few writers have really good and totally alien minds/cultures. Continue reading Alien minds

Sasquan Approaches

I’m debating what day to head for Spokane. Officially, Sasquan starts on Wednesday, the award ceremony is Saturday, and business meetings and closing ceremony are Sunday. I see a lot of things I’m not particularly interested in attending/watching/going to, or will only need a brief walk-by to check out. I’m debating what days to attend. I’ve not heard about any planned rabid or sad puppy meetup officially or not, I’m not going with anyone at this point, and it’s been ~30 years since I’ve been to a con of any sort.

As I do not own a cell phone I’m likely not the best person to organize a puppy meeting, but if anyone knows of one and can send me an email about it, I’d appreciate it.

UPDATE: I’ll be driving over Thursday morning. Maybe go to the business meeting. Go to a few of the panels, like the 1PM mil SF thing, 2PM “Violence, Sex, and Teen Readers”, then hit Burnside’s “ken ruins space opera” panel at 8 PM.

Friday I’ll hit the Prometheus Award at 1PM, grab a bite at the lobby concession afterwords, and maybe watch the Masquerade  at 8PM. Otherwise, still looking.

Saturday: I may go to the 10MA WorldCon orientation if I don’t have a pretty good feel for it all yet. Maybe I’ll see if I can sign up for the Scalzi Kaffee Klatche :-).  Perhaps noon I’ll go to the “future of the economy.” Other than that, the afternoon/evening from ~2 or so on will be Hugo/Campbell award ceremony related “stuff.” Practice, meeting, reception, possibly a short podcast interview, etc. I’m sure I’ll find out more when I get there, and it won’t take ALL that time, but I’ll see what’s what when I get there.

 

Irony

I took the kids up to visit family in Alaska (and chase a few halibut – got three). I did, of course, take the Kindle because the daughter is a bookworm and flying takes a while. I teased her about the number of paper books she was taking when I’ve got a lot of them on the Kindle. While in AK we visited the Friends of the Library bookstore (great place) and got out with less than $20 in damage for our two large stacks of books we picked up. That evening, the on/off button on the Kindle died. The flight back was delayed due to mechanical problems with the plane. We ended up spending more time than expected in the airport. I ended up starting the 1943 edition of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations on the flight back. In, obviously, very dead tree format.

After doing some testing, I’ve pretty much confirmed that my old Kindle Touch is (a) out of warranty, and (b) the power button is dead, and (c) while it’s technically fixable I can buy a new kindle for more than the cost of a “proper” repair because the switch is an integrated part of a larger sub-assembly and cannot be replaced standalone. (BTW, some cell phone repair places work on Kindles, too). I can plug it into a computer’s USB (not just a power-only USB to recharge it) and when I unplug it or eject it on the computer it will turn on, then function normally. I cannot turn it off, however, nor can I adjust the time-out before it auto-turns off. So, it’s awkward to do, but it’s still “sort of” usable.

Score one for the old-school paper books, may they never truly go away.