Sep 23 2016

Because Mars.


Yep.  They can do this now.  A panning 360-degree panorama.  Of Mars.

Go full screen, and use your mouse to look around.  And if your mouse has a wheel, you can also zoom in and out!


Mars Panorama – Curiosity rover: Martian solar day 1451


Oh, look, here’s another!

Mars Panorama – Curiosity rover

They actually have a whole bunch of these over at  (They allow you to post them for non-commercial purposes.)

I love seeing Mars as an actual place, and the pannable panoramas do give you that sense of being there.

But, want to see my favorite section the panorama?   It’s this:



Here we’re looking down at the ground, and you can see parts of the rover, and its shadow on the Martian sand.  And its very own name-tag.   On Mars.

That’s a thing that human beings made, that is now sitting right there on a planet that is not Earth.

We made it, we sent it there, it got there, it’s doing its job.    So lovely.

More later — I’ve got ton’s o’ chores to do in the next two days.   Still catching up from fighting-snakes mode.




Sep 16 2016

Meanwhile, in the wilds of Connecticut


Here’s a link to an excellent discussion of Cyberpunk, recently broadcast on my local radio station.

I’ve stopped being surprised by how cool Colin McEnroe’s show is.   I first knew of him as a Dave-Barry-esque humor columnist in the Hartford Courant in the Eighties.  But somehow, while I wasn’t looking (i.e. off living in Boston and New Hampshire)  he transformed into this crazily intelligent, erudite, nerdily-witty but deep-thinking radio talk-show host.     Who knew?

The guests on the Cyberpunk episode were Paul Di Filippo, John Shirley, Leigh Grossman, and  Willa Paskin (Slate’s TV critic).   (Bonus mention of Pat Cadigan, around 46:00.)

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can browse through McEnroe’s previous episodes, and zero in on whatever amuses, inspires, or sets  you off on therapeutically cathartic rant.  Also, there’s the podcast.

Okay, I’m off — must reread & analyze for the next meeting of the Fabulous Genrettes…


UPDATE:  Here’s that video that was mentioned in the show: Keiichi Masuda’s “Hyper-reality.”  You’ll want to go full-screen.




Sep 15 2016

News about people who are not me.


When we last left Our Intrepid Heroine, she had just got back from weeks away from home (including a cross-country drive accomplished while she and her stalwart Big Sister were both sick as dogs), and had endured an extra, post-trip week of massive cold/flu/whatever, and was finally attempting to get back in the groove by locking herself away from the entire rest of the world…

This lasted about two days, as the entire rest of the world had different plans.

Stuff had to be dealt with! Stuff that could be neither ignored nor postponed.  They existed on their own timelines.   They overlapped timelines!   They wrapped their timelines around each other into mutual strangleholds and battled each other like snakes!  It would have been exciting if it wasn’t exhausting.   Wait, no it wouldn’t.

I’d tell you more, but while I’m free to natter about my own life, I’m reluctant to provide details of other people’s lives.  So, we stay metaphorical and hypothetical.   More fun that way, anyway.  Feel free to insert assumptions of your own imagining, as a creative exercise.

Anyway, I have, like, a day and a half to catch my breath before diving into the cleanup and recovery phase of the events in question.

I could recap my trip, and Worldcon, and the wonderfulness of that (before the cross-country-plaguemobile part); but I only have a little bit of time available to write this blog post, so… I’ll eke that out over a few posts in a week or so from now.

But in the meantime, fortunately, I know cool people, who do cool things that I can tell you about.  Which helps both you and them.


Eternity's End (Star Rigger Universe) by [Carver, Jeffrey A.]

The ebook version of Jeff Carver’s Eternity’s End is currently on sale for 99 cents.   This is a great way to step into Jeff’s Starrigger Universe, and there’s plenty more where that came from.  Seriously, if you love SF that roams the wild space-ways, this is for you.  It’s available pretty much everywhere: Amazon,  NookiBooks,  Kobo,  and Google Play.

Also, there’s this delightful thing:

The trailer only mentions Downpour, but the audiobook also available from Audible (free with trial membership, too) and iTunes.  The guy doing the narration, Stephan Rudnicki, is actually one of my favorite narrators.  I know his voice so well — it’s nice to see his face.

Other non-me news:

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by [Sherman, Delia]

Delia Sherman’s new Young Adult book The Evil Wizard Smallbone is out!  My sister has the hardcover, which has this brilliant wrap-around cover, and I got the Kindle version (for convenience, plus instant gratification)  and I do love it.  Come on, you know you read YA.  Admit it.  Okay, pretend you’re getting it for your nephew or niece or whatever.  But I see through you.

And finally:

The Sirens literary conference (October 20-23) has Laurie J. Marks as a Guest of Honor this year.   Laurie is the author of the acclaimed Elemental Logics series (among other works), and like Delia, is a member of my writing group.  The Sirens website has even  posted an interview with Laurie, which you can read here.

Must go now.   I have all day tomorrow free from snake-battling events.  Must grab it while I can.


UPDATED to include link to two battling snakes.

Sep 2 2016

Some things


Still on the home version of a writing retreat. Sort of like house arrest, but with writing.  Plus, at my office instead of at home.

Planning board. Post-it notes to come. Bonus writing advice.

Planning board. Post-it notes in waiting. Bonus writing advice. (Click to embiggen.)

No blogging, I am hard at work! But as consolation, here are Some Things possibly of interest:

1. Cool video! You should go full-screen.


2. Articles by Jo Walton on about her Thessaly Series.

The Baroque Inspiration

The Platonic Inspiration

The Original Inspiration

3. Couldn’t make it to WorldCon?  You can watch the entire Hugo Awards Ceremony on UStream.
Live Streaming Api (The Campbell award, with first bonus astronaut, is at 34:00.  Best Dramatic Presentation, long form, with second bonus astronaut, is at about 1:08.  Hey, I like astronauts. Fiction awards start at about 1:24.)

That’s it for now.  Must put post-its on whiteboard, draw connecting lines, and muse further.


Sep 1 2016

In contemplative mode…


I still owe a convention report — but I find that right now I must set all else aside to engage in deep thoughts.

Meanwhile, feel free to feed the fish in this koi pond, which I find soothing, and very conducive to useful musing.

Click to feed.
(Does not work on iPhones and iPads)

(aBowman’s website has more widgets like this.)

Aug 28 2016

I’m back from Worldcon…


… but down with the most miserable cold/flu/whatever.

It actually hit Sabine the last day of the convention, which resulted in us staying in Kansas City one extra day, since she was in no shape to even ride in a car for an eight-hour drive, much less share the driving (we drove cross-country, remember?).

And during that extra day — yep, I caught the same damn bug.

Fortunately, it hit me not quite as hard, so between the two of us, we managed to slog our way from motel to motel back across the country, setting aside all plans for exploring the sights on our exciting road-trip.  We finally reached home Thursday night and collapsed in a DayQuil/NyQuil haze until, basically, now.

Still got it, but I thought I’d let people know that we made it home safely.

I do have stuff to say about the convention — but later, sorry, not now.  Must dose myself with even more NyQuil and sleep soon.  I’ll just say that I met many old and new friends, all my panels went well, and I actually had people show up for my autographing!

Also, many of you made a point of speaking to me and letting me know how much you liked my work — Thanks so much for that!  It means a lot.

My reading was also well received, and fun to do.   If you’re interested in what I read, it’s the same bit that read at Boskone last year, which I posted online in September.  (Just click here to get there.)

Thanks.  Must go.  More later.

Aug 19 2016

At WorldCon!


… With no opportunity to post (I’m writing this on my iPhone, while waiting for my autograph session to start).  I’ll fill you in later– but note my Twitter feed, over there in the next column on this page. There’s a chance I might tweet now and then, and you can see it here without even having a Twitter account, if you like

Having a great time!  More later.

Aug 11 2016

Thanks to all for the Happy Birthdays!


Still in Chicago, where I’ll be until just before the con, staying at a dubious Airbnb place with a crowd of people, but mostly hanging with Ada Palmer (of Too Like the Lightning fame), and Jo Walton (of fame fame), and various others who are equally excellent (but who might not want me to plaster their names all over the Internet, so I am being discreet).

Yep, I’m older.  But still here, so: WINNER!

No actual time to post much, but here are some quick pix:


Heron hunting in the Beaver Marsh at Cuyahoga National Park.



View of Lake Michigan.

Soon: brunch, and the Field Museum.


Aug 10 2016

Chicago, I am there. Plus: let’s update that program schedule.


Just so’s you know.  Visiting friends and new acquaintances, taking in the scene and the culture, for a week before Worldcon.

My updated Worldcon program:

Living with Cancer

Wednesday 14:00 – 15:00, 2206 (Kansas City Convention Center)

$£%* Cancer. Our panel talks about the experience of cancer, how it affected their writing and lives, and how we can support the fan community.

Janet Freeman-Daily, Rosemary Kirstein, Ms Pat Cadigan (M), Priscilla Olson

(For those of you just joining us, I’m doing fine now; the cancer exeperience took place a couple of years ago, and I am cancer-free!)

Writing Major Minor Characters

Wednesday 16:00 – 17:00, 2210 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Do you ever read a book and come across a character that is so wonderful you want to know everything about them, yet you know you never will because they aren’t the main character? Such characters add immeasurably to our reading experience and yet they are very hard to write. This session discusses how to do just that.

Michelle (Sagara) West (M), Julia Mandala, Connie Willis, Rosemary Kirstein

(I’ve been told that I’m good at this.)


Reading: Rosemary Kirstein

Thursday 13:00 – 13:30, 2203 (Readings) (Kansas City Convention Center)

Rosemary Kirstein

Autographing: Rosemary Kirstein, Larry Niven, Robert Silverberg, Jeff Sturgeon, Connie Willis

Friday 15:00 – 16:00, Autographing Space (Kansas City Convention Center)

Rosemary Kirstein, Larry Niven, Mr Robert Silverberg, Jeff Sturgeon, Connie Willis

(I expect this to be an exercise in humility.  I shall observe the long lines for the other authors, and acknowledge their superiority.  It will be good for me.  Plus: ebooks, hard to autograph. )

Transcending the Genre

Sunday 13:00 – 14:00, 2209 (Kansas City Convention Center)

Critics still use the term “transcending the genre,” but what does that really mean? Do we want to completely transcend genre, or are we experiencing snobbish reactions rooted in fannish history? When Zadie Smith talks about reading Octavia Butler, or Marlon James says his next novel will be “an African Game of Thrones”? do we really want all the genre walls to disappear? 

Dr. Tom Easton, Rich Horton, Jennie Goloboy (M), Rosemary Kirstein, Teresa Nielsen Hayden

(Teresa is part of the crowd I’m hanging with this week… She’s so damn smart!)


More later


Jul 30 2016

I keep doing this!


I keep waiting until the end of my day to write a blog post…

La-di-da, I say to myself, about time to go home, oh, I think I’ll just knock off a quick blog post...

Hours later:

Well, hours later it’s hours later.

Because there I am, tweaking the pics, checking on the links I’m using, looking up cool things, researching that last snappy bit of wisdom, to make sure I don’t make a total idiot of myself as I impart it. (You cannot make a paper airplane hover between two fans.  Can Not.)

Let’s see if I can do this in under an hour, shall we?

General news: I got my preliminary schedule for the panels at MidAmeriCon, this year’s Worldcon:

Writing Major Minor Characters

Do you ever read a book and come across a character that is so wonderful you want to know everything about them, yet you know you never will because they aren’t the main character? Such characters add immeasurably to our reading experience and yet they are very hard to write. This session discusses how to do just that.

Time – Wednesday 16.00


Hard Fantasy – Does it Exist?

“I’m going to write about what Tove Jansson called “the lonely and the rum,” the unschoolable and ungroupable, those strange and shaggy literary creatures that have no ilk or kin and that mathematically can be contained in no set smaller than the set of all sets contained in no other sets’.  (Micheal Swanwick).  Does Hard Fantasy have a place in fantasy literature, and how should we approach it?

Friday, 19.00. 2206


“Transcending” the Genre

Critics still use the term “transcending the genre,” but what does that really mean? And what does that mean for fandom – have we gone mainstream? Or are we experiencing snobbish reactions rooted in fannish history? What happens to the discourse when Zadie Smith talks about reading Octavia Butler, or Marlon James says his next novel will be “an African Game of Thrones”? At the end of the day, do we really want all the genre walls to disappear? Do we want to completely transcend genre?

Time – Sunday 13.00

Of the above, I think I’ll have the most to say about the Major Minor characters.  It’s something I love doing.

In addition to those, I’ll also be on an panel about living with cancer (if you’re just joining us, I spent 2014 and most of 2015 being treated for breast cancer, with great success).   I don’t know yet what time that will take place.

I think I also requested a Kaffeeklatsch, but I can’t recall if I requested a reading!  Ack!  It would be good to know, as I have to decide what to read!

Although Worldcon itself is over two weeks away, I’ll be traveling or otherwise occupied for much of the run-up to it, so I’m already having little stress-fits about the prep.  Well.  All will work out, in the end, I’m sure.

Last weekend I spent some time visiting pal and fellow Genrette Laurie J. Marks and her wife Deb Mensinger, in their vintage bungalow, which they are in the process of lovingly restoring to its early-20th-century glory.  Deb knows what she’s about, being a professionally trained preservation carpenter.

Ravens figure largely in Laurie's Elemental Logic series.

Ravens figure largely in Laurie’s Elemental Logic series.

Laurie also knows what she’s about, as couple of hours of conversation about our respective current projects resulted in me helping her solve one of her plot problems, and her helping to solve the basic major problem I was wrestling with in Book 5 –  so that now I am currently mostly wrapped up in solidifying that central fix, and setting the book onto the path of righteousness, AMEN.    After which will merely remain the writing of it.   Which sounds like the hard part, but trust me, it’s not.

Other news:

Hey, look, Ada Palmer was interviewed by Scientific Amercian about her novel, Too Like the Lightning.  Holy smokes.

Meanwhile, I’m in the middle of reading Jo Walton’s, Necessity, which takes some unexpected and rather fun turns.   But I do occasionally want to kick certain gods in their butts.  Not namin’ any names, here.


Oh, look, I found some orange roses.

Oh, look, I found some orange roses.

See that guitar?  Been practicing.