Jun 23 2018

More AMA Q’s


I’m currently hitting Book 5 as hard as I can, and will continue to do so up until Readercon.  At which point I’ll either take a break, or do Readercon in a sort of daze…

Meanwhile, more questions from the Ask Me Anything session:

“pqln” asks: Hi! I’m a big fan and have shoved my shiny new physical copy of the Steerswoman at several people so they can discover your world, too. What a breath of fresh air to have a hero focused on truth and a willingness to look past the status quo despite the discomfort of finding that her previous beliefs about the world are not correct.

What authors inspired you to delve into this place between sci fi and fantasy?

Do you follow any specific scientific journals?

Do you listen to music while you write? Of so, to whom?

A: Thanks for the signal-boost!

What inspired me to delve into this particular place between SF and Fantasy was not any particular author or authors. It was a) sick of not having a female protagonist interested in anything but romance and b) a desire to identify and subvert every single fantasy cliche possible.

I read Scientific American… That’s the only regular one, but I dip into lots via the Internet.

I can’t listen to music when I write! I’m a former professional singer/guitarist, and whenever there’s music in the background, I can’t avoid paying close attention to it. So I listen to, um, random classical, and ambient so-called music. Seriously.

Journals: I do look at Nature every now and again, although I’m just as likely to see something interesting on the Internet, follow the link, and find myself at Nature anyway.  And there are scientist/bloggers these days: you can follow physicist Chad Orzel’s science posts for the online version of Forbes, or Sabine Hossenfelder’s blog, Backreaction.

But I also get my science from books.  There’s a lot of science-journalism going on these days, and there’s just no way I can keep up on everything I want to read!  It might well be a golden age of science popularizing (at the same time that other forces are busy trying to undermine and dismiss scientific fact and the whole great undertaking of scientific progress itself; go figure).

These are the books I’ve bought but have not yet read:

The End of Time, Julian Barbour.  Actually, that’s been on my shelf for over 15 years now!  Probably out of date…

Time Reborn, Lee Smolin.  (Well, that’s good news! Not the end after all, apparently.)  I actually started listening to this in audiobook form, but became so interested that I wanted it in print form so I could consider it more carefully.  So I stopped listening and got the physical book… which I then did not finish reading.  Yet.  I found his Trouble with Physics really interesting (not about physics, but about how string theory is undeservedly taking over physics research) ,  and saw him on stage at a panel during the World Science Festival in New York one year, and wanted to read more by him.

The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli.  I sense a theme here. I buy books about time, then don’t find the time to finish reading them… Rovelli seems to be getting a lot of press lately, which doesn’t neccessarily indicate anything.  But as he’s the hot new thing, I thought I ought to check him out.

Descarte’s Error, Antonio Damasio.  I was fascinated by The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness.  This book actually precedes that one.

And by the way, while we’re talking science,  let’s not forget Chad Orzel’s books  — And hey, look!  There’s a new one due out in December. Well, I’ll  just go ahead and pre-order it:

Breakfast with Einstein: The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects by [Orzel, Chad]

I’m also currently eyeing Sabine Hossenfelder’s book, just out recently:

Maybe I’ll just download the free sample first?  — Oh, what the heck.  Just bought it.

And the other half of the question above: the music I listen to while writing.  It really is true, I have trouble listening to music while I write, because the musician in me becomes too engaged!  It’s sort of embarassing, but  I do end up listening to ambient or environmental music instead.  General moody music-like sounds… It’s a sad, sad thing, in a way.

But in that vein, I really must endorse this website: Mynoise.net.  It’s a customizable set of ambient sound generators, with a large number of excellent pre-set configurations (I’m especially fond of “Northern Lights” lately).   I like these guys so much that I threw some money at them.  But you can listen for free.

But as for real music — who do I like? Well, Richard Thompson is god.   Start there.