Dec 15 2018

Random mid-December musings.


I’m two weeks past my November internet fast and… I kind of miss it.  It was very peaceful.

It’s easy to say that you’re not going to waste time on unnecessary media browsing; and it’s even possible to stick to that goal.  But there’s something about being literally unable to cheat on your plan.  In a weird way, the pressure is off.  You don’t have to exert willpower to stay away, because there just is no access available.   And willpower is not an infinite resource, as so many self-help books will tell you nowadays.  You don’t want to spend it all on trivialities and have it depleted when you really need it!

So, I might repeat the regimen in January.  I’ll still have (as I had last month) the really necessary access available via my phone — email, mainly, in case something comes in that needs immediate urgent response.  I’ll just have to make sure that any research I need done for the work I have planned in January is located, accessed, printed and/or acquired, and if possible read and integrated ahead of time, before pulling the plug.  Or, declining to connect the plug, in my case.  I don’t have wired-in internet, and just buy a month’s access at a time through a nearby hotspot.

And should I really need access, and can’t wait until the end of the day — well, home is exactly two miles from my office, and the library just over one mile away.

News about people who are not me:

Physicist Chad Orzel’s latest science book is out:  Breakfast with Einstein.  It showed up on my Kindle a couple of days ago, because I wisely pre-ordered  it.  I haven’t had a chance to dig in to it yet, but Professor Orzel is a favorite of mine, and always illuminating, so I feel secure in recommending it.

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

Apparently John Scalzi, who has read it, agrees with me.  He’s blurbed the book .  Right there on the cover.  And featured it with a guest-post by Chad himself, which you can read right now on Scalzi’s Whatever blog.

Another thing about our Mr. Scalzi: every December he generously allows writers, artists and other creators to talk about their own work in his Holiday Gift Guide series — and he has a very big readership.  This year I tried to be right on the spot to see if I could grab a position as near as possible to the beginning of the listing.  It’s first-come, first-serve, but I didn’t know what time the blog would open up for submissions.  And my sleeplessness paid off: I nabbed third place.  So… should you need an idea for a holiday gift, well, the books are out there.  And in paperback ,now, too!  I would be remiss not to remind you of this. For formality’s sake.


But here’s something I noticed:

The Lord of the Rings: One Volume

Inexplicably, the all-in-one Kindle version of Lord of the Rings is currently priced at $2.99.

I knew it was on sale a while back, and nabbed it for myself then, thinking the price would go back up very quickly.  But apparently it’s back down again.  I have no idea how long this will last.

I really do prefer reading on paper… but LOTR is a lot of paper!  It’s much easier to travel with the ebook edition.  And when cash is tight, and you love books — well, it’s a solution for the literature-greedy people like me.

Of course, there’s the library.  But you have to give those back!  Eventually.  (I currently owe $1.20 in overdue book fees.)

Oh, and one more not-me thing:


No, you can’t buy this, yet!  But Laurie J. Marks’ Air Logic has a cover and a publication date!  It’ll hit the stands, bookstores and online sites in July.

I’m so looking forward to having a copy of this.  As a member of Laurie’s writer’s group,  I got to watch it grow up!  And soon it will go out into the world all alone. (Brushes away a sentimental tear.)

Okay, I feel like I’ve been talking about things you can spend money on for long enough.  So here’s something completely free: is one of the absolutely best sources for new short fiction.  They put great new stories by great new writers on their website, and you can read them for free.  (Don’t worry; the writers themselves are well-paid.)

I can’t say enough good things about  They’re an outstanding source of information about new books, new SF/F ideas, reviews of books and films and TV, current and vintage.  And general SF/F news.  And interviews with authors.  And thoughtful essays… If any of these things are of any interest to you, really is the place to go.

Well.  Must call it a night.  I blogged straight through my guitar practice time!  No, I can’t do it now, I have to go home and get some sleep.  Okay, just one song…