Bear with me please

UPDATE 9/18/19: I think I’ve found a good setup so things may stabilize. Is this more readable? It seems like every damn option WordPress has on offer is grey on gray unless I want to do some kind of negative mode with blue and yellow or some crap. Or picture backgrounds. It’s like nobody is expected to use this website for longform writing?

It’s been brought to my attention that my blog is not very accessibility friendly! I feel very bad about that, and I’m exploring options to correct the issue.

The most likely result is that I’m going to change the theme again. I know, that sucks and I just changed it and it probably was confusing enough the first time. I’m sorry. I’ll try to make this one stick for a little while, hopefully by means of not choosing one that sucks for people to read.

In the meantime you might notice the theme change and then change back, and things might move around a bit while I figure out what features are on offer and how best to use them.

If you have to blame anyone, blame me first and foremost, but also maybe blame WordPress for wanting to charge me forty dollars to add a little CSS. It’s like a 98/2 split.

Thanks for being patient with me, and let me know if there’s anything I can do to make this blog easier for you to read, or navigate, or anything else. My dinky little project might be niche, but it’s still for everyone.

Just Sharing a Link

Hey folks, I’m just popping in mid-week to point y’all to a blog post by author Syd Logsdon on the matter of jacket copy and book blurbs, a matter that is near and dear to my heart (it turns out). I enjoyed having an insider’s perspective on the matter, and I thought you might too! It’s good to know that they’ve historically been a plague on the writer as much as the reader.

Find it at his blog, which is chock full of good writerly stuff, serialized fiction, and other thoughts and sundry matters worth reading.

(Also, I know I mentioned it before, but I want to reiterate Cyan is very good.)

Merry Christmas, No Review Today

I hope everybody has a wonderful Christmas (where applicable) and a wonderful weekend (where applicable) and whatever kind of positive sentiment that is as close to universal as possible.

I haven’t renewed anything this week, mainly on the grounds that I’m at my mom’s house and it’s hard to concentrate with a Yorkshire terrier begging for my attention every third minute. On the plus side, I just finished a piece of nonfiction that would make very good reading for anyone looking to write or enjoy science fiction, a popular science book called We Have No IdeaA Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson. I’m not one to argue that a writer must have a grounding in science or engineering to write good science fiction, but I am one to argue that learning about such things is excellent fuel for the imagination. Yeah, ideas are cheap, but that doesn’t mean a writer should ignore any opportunity to find one. Tap water’s pretty cheap, too, but that doesn’t mean you should leave the faucet on all night.

A writer’s prompt I thought of while I was reading:

Physicists discover the most fundamental building block of the universe. Maybe it’s a wave or a particle or a wrinkle in space time or all of those things because the quantums are totally bonkers. It also turns out that this thing is sentient.

Here in a little bit I’m going to start We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’m not sure if I’ll get any good science fiction ideas out of that one, but you never know! Sociological science fiction is a fine and noble thing, and moreover, it’s important for any writer to read as broadly as possible. It can only help.

(This also is true if you’re not, you know, actually a writer.)

Anyhoo, I’ll be back next week with a review of something or other. I think I’ve got an interesting one lined up for you. It’ll be the last one of 2017! That’s bananas!

No Review Today

Hey, all, for a variety of reasons I’m gonna take a break this week from the old blog. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere any time soon, I’m just a little bogged down right now.

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Here’s a micro-review, just so you didn’t come all this way for no reason:

I read my first Michael Moorcock novel this week, Behold the Man, and it was very, very good.

Holy crap.

I know I have a rocky relationship with a lot of the New Wave writers, but Moorcock might be my favorite. The next time that I’m reading a pointless, tepid literary experiment in the guise of a science fiction novel, I’ll just remember that he’s out there, making New Wave science fiction great.

Have a nice weekend!

On Science Fiction Characters Who Are Not Robots

Hi folks! This week I’m trying a little something new. For a variety of reasons—chief among them my own lack of motivation—I chose not to read and review a book this week but instead to look back across the books I have read and see what lessons I can pull out about the craft of writing science fiction. Is this a good idea? Perhaps we’ll never know. Or perhaps we can choose to know.

Fun fact, this essay was originally going to be about Penetrator novels but I was having a really hard time finding a way to make that work. It wasn’t until late last night as I lay in bed reading Viktor Frankl that the idea of writing something about character agency hit me.

“Why were you in bed reading Man’s Search for Meaning instead of Assignment: Nuclear Nude, Thomas?”

That question might well answer itself.

Continue reading “On Science Fiction Characters Who Are Not Robots”