May 5 2024

So, there I was…


It was the end of my working day on Friday (that would be ’round about 2AM Saturday morning), and I was just checking in on my various social media accounts before heading home…

I like to check in every now and then, since I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT ALLOW my accounts to send me beeps and pings and notifications at will!   I have other things to do!  Don’t need to be interrupted randomly, thank you!  Did you know that if you’re deep into something, and you even glance at your email or social media, it takes you about 20 minutes to get back on track?

So, if I want to see what’s going on, I have decide to stop what I’m doing, and  go and look of my own free will.

Which I do.  Because my pals are wonderful, and my fans are the best (yes you are), and I follow some really interesting people. Always glad to hear what they’re up to.

This time, X-Twitter had a little note for me saying Cory Doctorow followed you.

So, I thought: Really?  Cory Doctorow? Well, that’s cool!  I’m ‘a follow him right back.  And I did.  But I also thought: I wonder what brought that on?

And when I checked in again this morning, I found out:

Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow

Rosemary Kirstein's cover for her novel 'The Steerswoman.'

Rosemary Kirstein’s “The Steerswoman” (permalink)


Doctorow is — how do I describe it? — one of the voices of the Internet Age: SF author, journalist, blogger (starting back when it cutting-edge), tech advocate, copyright activist. A commentator on the intersection between society and technology.   As an old techno-nerd myself, I’ve had him on my radar for quite a while.

And he says some really nice things about my work:

Holy moly is this a good novel! And yeah, there’s a super interesting puzzle in it that I won’t even hint at, except to say that even the book’s genre is a riddle that you’ll have enormous great fun solving.

…This book is such an unexpected marvel, a stunner of a novel filled with brilliant world-building, deft characterizations, a hard-driving plot and a bunch of great surprises.

Well.  I am, as the Brits say, chuffed.

But come to think of it, the idea of the Steerswomen really is right up Doctorow’s alley.  Heh.

Apparently it was Randall Munroe (of XKCD comics fame) who got the word to Doctorow.



And it was linguist Gretchen McCulloch who told Munroe about the books… I wonder if she’s going to be at Scintillation this year? (I am!)

You know, my friends who don’t do social media (other than Facebook), sometimes ask me what the point is.  Where else would I find out what Cory Doctorow’s up to lately (he’s on a tour for his latest book, The Bezzle) or Gretchen (new episode of her podcast “Lingthusiasm” with Lauren Gawne) , or Daniel Pinkwater (he’s put out an open call for an illustrator to collaborate with)?

One does have to be careful not to drown in it– especially if you’re a teen.   And some people get toxic comments, sad to say (and it’s mostly women who seem to be the targets).

But so far, it’s allowed me to stay in touch with writers, scientists, musicians, artists — all sorts of people who I would not run into in the course of my normal day.  It’s worth it.

I’m on X-Twitter: @rkirstein

Blue Sky:

and Facebook: Rosemary Kirstein — writer

(There’s a second Facebook account, but non-public, for family and close friends.)

Jan 1 2024

So… 2024?


I’m hoping for 2024 to be an improvement on 2023… but it’s an election year, so the public sphere could get noisy and nasty and generally unpleasant!

But in the private sphere, it’s possible for each of us to have a much better year, and I hope that we all do.

My 2023 was filled with a lot of distractions and random non-life-threatening urgencies, and I dropped a whole lot of balls and missed many, many boats.  Hoping to do much better this time around– and plans to make that happen are in place.

Other plans for this year include heading to Utah in February to participate in Life, the Universe, and Everything, (not a convention, but a symposium), and later getting myself to Texas for the total eclipse.

Meanwhile, trying to improve things, generally.  I redesigned my desk space for better physical comfort and mental focus.  And my new laptop, a Lenovo ThinkPad Nano, allows me to roam more freely, while having enough speed and memory to power my various contiguously-running applications when I’m in the office.

Central portrait screen is good for seeing a lot of text at once.

I have projects in progress, and despite last year’s stumbles, I’m generally hopeful, and hard at work… we’ll see how things pan out.

I hope that your own new year brings you all you need, and some lovely things that you didn’t know you wanted but are happy to have!


Me, 2024.  Hanging out in my office. Unwashed hair, and no makeup, because I’m an artist, dammit!

Nov 27 2023

Redesign in process…


I’m currently in the process of redesigning the website… along with sundry other things that are preventing me from giving the redesign my fullest attention.   But I suspect that you’d rather have me do those things than this, right?

Meanwhile, if you’re new: Hi!  I’ll be returning to regular posting (probably in January) but in the meantime, go ahead and browse around.  (Some older posts have weird typographical issues, due an update to WordPress that changed some  functionalities– and this is the reason I need to redesign my website.)

Some interesting previous posts:

Randall Munroe puts a Steerswoman reference inside an interactive XKCD comic!

Other nice people also say some nice things.

I say some nice things about other people.

And more nice people, this time actually visiting me!

And from nine years ago, the advantages of being a science nerd when undergoing radiation therapy.  (Don’t worry, it’s all over, and everything is fine.)

If you’re coming here from John Scalzi’s Whatever blog‘s Holiday Shopping Guide:  Thanks for dropping by!  (I can’t say enough good things about Scalzi.  He is a treasure to the the SFF world…)


Sep 3 2023

Currently still inundated with inundations…


Just letting you know that I’m still here, but dealing with a plethora of events and responsibilities that each LOUDLY AND IMMEDIATELY require my attention.

This is what having kids must be like…

Anyway:  The blog will become more active presently.  Meanwhile, here’s someone who visited my office for a couple of days:

I call him Major Tom.


Jul 18 2023

Doing a bit of website maintenance….


Sort things out, clean things up, a possible redesign…

More later.

May 26 2023

Catching up…


I’ve been mostly incommunicado for a while (except for some easy-post social media), while trying to make progress on  Some Things.

If you’ve sent me an email and I haven’t replied, that’s why…

I’ll be using part of the long weekend to catch up on correspondence and other neglected items.

Meanwhile, here’s my local place for nice walks.  Also, a bunny.

Just before sunset..


Not scared at all.

Mar 18 2023

News about people who are not me.


Astonished to see that my last post was in January!  Well.

I’ve been rather occupied with A Number of Things (nothing dire, I assure you), requiring my attention.  Including writing projects (but no particular completion date to report, as of yet).

But what propelled me to emerge briefly was to report that Laurie J. Marks, my pal and fellow member of the Fabulous Genrettes , has just released an ebook: Dancing Jack.

Dancing Jack by [Laurie Marks]

Yes, Laurie is re-releasing some of her earlier, out-of-print works as ebooks (as all wise authors do these days).  This one was originally published in 1993, well predating her acclaimed Elemental Logic series.   But when you read it, you’re going to see some conceptual links to the recent series.

Laurie’s take on magic is very different from what you’ll generally find in modern fantasy.  Most authors treat magic as if it were either a technology that you can operate with the right objects and commands; or as a source of power that you can use to enact your will upon the world.

But even in this early work, Laurie’s magic is more like a natural phenomenon, like gravity, the ocean currents, or the weather.  It’s always there, in the background, doing what comes naturally to it  —  and not so much operated by you as operating on you.

Oh, and this book has steamboats.  I like steamboats.

And a dog.

So, I thought I’d let you know (or remind you if you already knew), that the ebook is available starting today.  (Not just from Amazon, but also iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.)

Other people who are not me:

Max Gladstone (who, you may recall, wrote a really interesting analysis of The Steerswoman last year) has a new book in the universe of the Craft Sequence.

Dead Country (The Craft Wars Book 1) by [Max Gladstone]

Dead Country  starts off  a trilogy (The Craft Wars), and from the preview available, it looks like Tara Abernathy, extraordinary Craftswoman, is back, which makes  me happy.

If you haven’t read the Craft Sequence (or like me, you’ve only read the first book Three Parts Dead), it’s easy to catch up.  There’s a Kindle collection of all five in one set.  (Which I just now went and bought. Really. Just now.)

Okay, it’s 2AM.  I have to get out of here… I’m planning a Deep Dive on the current project, and I have to clear the decks tomorrow to make that possible.


Jan 1 2023

Okay, let’s try this again


Every New Year’s Eve I post something here to the general effect of: Well, let’s hope next year’s going to be better, right? 

Well, I want to be that hopeful this time, despite the fact that world events this year have been pretty craptacular, and show signs of continuing in a similar vein into 2023.

On the other hand, I’m watching the Times Square celebration on my iPhone, an object seemingly  from the future…

On its way down…

And the woman singing the traditional last song before midnight (Chelsea Cutler) is, surprisingly, not a spray-painted, sequinned mannikin-like sexual object, but apparently an actual human being.

And two guys proposed to their girlfriends on camera a bit earlier, which was sweet to see; and the midnight kisses caught on the big screens included a few same-sex couples, which I feel speaks well of Humanity’s humanity.

And the pandemic seems to have retreated to a manageable state.

So.. yeah.  Things could turn out okay.  Or  at least better than this year.

But… Ukraine is still being bombarded.   And the whole anti-abortion fiasco, with women being refused actual medically necessary procedures because  hospitals are afraid that helping clear out the remains of a miscarriage might be construed as providing an abortion, for which they could be criminally prosecuted.

Well, that’s bringing me down…

Hey, I just remembered that fellow Genrette Laurie J. Marks is coming over tomorrow to hang out, eat sandwiches from Rein’s Delicatessen, and natter!   Well, that’s a cheery event!

I’m hearing some fireworks in the distance, but cannot see them due to the rain and dense fog… but the effect is actually sweet, and sort of poignant.

Yeah, let’s give 2023 the benefit of the doubt, and just assume things (at least some things) are going to be much better.  I hope that you and everyone you care about are well and safe.


Dec 25 2022

The littlest tree. Plus: Xmas egg mystery!


Led lights are the only kind this guy can handle…

This little tree might look like it’s on its last legs, but actually has been with me for nearly twenty years!   I picked it up when it was a wee little sprout, just after I moved in with Sabine, and it’s been holding on and getting marginally larger ever since.   I had to change its pot a number of times.  It’s currently living in a plastic mixing bowl, because some time after I moved into my own place, I dropped it and broke its official ceramic pot.  Haven’t replaced the pot yet, but Little Tree seems not to mind.

The Christmas Duckie ornament has been in our family since we ourselves were wee little sprouts.

My sister is now a nomad, currently catsitting in Florida, whilst I am tucked into my cozy apartment, while outside it’s so freakin’ cold!   It’s the lower edge of that bomb cyclone that’s been dropping tons of snow over much of the United States, and crazy-cold temps over the rest of it.  The other night it went down to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s  -13.88 Celsius to the rest of the world).   Cold enough to make you not want to leave the house.


In unrelated news, I’ve had an odd encounter with eggs…

The other day, I wanted an omelet.  Stopped by a neighborhood store that I don’t often use, picked up some all-natural eggs, which I don’t often buy, jumbo-sized, because Why Not?

Got home, cracked the first one and it was a double-yolk!

Well, isn’t that nice, I thought.  Double yolk means free extra egg!  Kind of.  Ah, the mysteries of Nature.

Then I cracked the second one, and — hey, wait a minute…

I became suspicious.  I cracked a third.  This is what I got:

Free extra eggs!

Heh.  What are the odds.   Posted the event to Facebook (as one does).  Thought no more of it.

Until Christmas eve, when, hey, I wanted another omelet.   Some big cheesy thing, lots of mushrooms and scallions because: Christmas Eve brunch!

And I got this:

Okay, hang on, here…

Okay, so, what if…

Then I realized that even if my suspicions were true, it would be very easy for someone to fake double-yolks in a photo. So I videoed it.      (Link only; I found that I couldn’t easily embed my own video directly in WordPress.)

Six consecutive eggs from one carton, all double-yolk.   Yeah, this is beyond natural probability.   And that means that someone did it.  On purpose.

So, today when I decided to make some egg salad for use in the upcoming week, which required hard-boiled eggs…

Only the last is not a double.

So here’s what I think happened:  Someone at the egg-packing facility knew (or strongly suspected) which eggs might be double-yolk.  And decided to put them all in one carton.  Specifically in order to surprise, amuse, and possibly mystify, and send into trains of logic and probability some future unknown random customer.

That’s exactly what I would have done in their place.  I am on the side of those who choose to surprise, amuse, possibly mystify, and eventually elucidate.   My people.

I hope your holidays bring you and yours unexpected gifts, laughter, and enlightenment.

And stay warm, if you can manage it.


Dec 18 2022

Nerd heaven!


There I was, minding my own business, preparing a blog post.   Thought I’d take a break, and popped over to Twitter to see what’s up there… and:

Randall Munroe’s online comic xkcd has a lovely interactive game  today, where you can pilot your ship to explore different planets full of SF/F references. And one of them has a steerswoman!


I cannot express how chuffed I am at this!   I love xkcd, nerdly nerd that I am.   And look, there’s a steerswoman in it! Right there!

Seriously, how cool am I now?

The interactive game is quite complex and varied!  Navigation is tricky, and seems only possible on a computer with a keyboard.  And it’s a bit counter-intuitive, as GRAVITY seems to actually operate.  You can get caught in a gravity well, loop around in orbit of something just out of sight, or spin off into space if you’re not alert.  I ended up in the center of the Sun more than once, and my little ship did not have enough ooph to escape.

I have so far been unable to actually reach the steerswoman’s world… if you manage to get there, let me know how you did it!

(If you get stuck, I think the fastest way to reset is to hit “previous” and go to a previous comic, then hit “next” to get back and start all over.)