Monday, May 22, 2017

Cats and dogs, sleeping together ...

Okay, maybe not quite that out of the ordinary. But still we have:

"Report: Android overtakes Windows as the internet’s most used operating system." Having heavily used both products for years, I'm not surprised. One wonders if Microsoft is.

"Top Scientists Revamp Standards To Foster Integrity In Research." The sad thing is that the need even arises. Misconduct in scientific research makes me angry. No, furious.

As does bad science reporting. Herewith the debunking of some recent such "journalism" in: "No, we haven’t found signs of life -- alien or otherwise -- in the solar system." (Good article -- but I have a beef with the headline. I'm reasonably confident we've found signs of life on Earth. Which is, after all, within the Solar System to which the article refers. But, indeed, life has not as yet been found elsewhere in the Solar System.)(*)

(*) Pet-peeve alert. The nearby star around which our planet orbits is the Sun, aka (more formally) Sol. Sol and its attendant planets, asteroids, moons, comets, and other objects is the Solar System. Initial upper case, like Earth. And like the Sun. Any other star is a (lower case) sun. Any sun and its retinue is a (lower case) solar system.

And "Jeff Bezos Is Selling $1 Billion in Amazon Stock Yearly to Fund Blue Origin." That's what I call commitment. I wish him luck on his space endeavors.

To conclude on a personal note, I've been doing battle for the past three or so weeks with a new novelette. Well, it ain't gonna happen -- and in a good way. The story grew into a novella, of which I completed the first draft just last Sunday. (A calendaric coincidence, and no irony intended w.r.t. the foregoing sun/Sun, solar/Solar rant.) Said draft will sit for awhile, till I'm ready for a re-look with fresh eyes. All part of the process ...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Festivus in May?

Had the decision been mine, I'd have chosen December to publish "A Visit to the Network Control Center." And if December somehow wasn't an option, the case could have been made for a June release. But I'm the writer, not the editor -- I'm sure he had his reasons.

Perhaps it's an unseasonal Festivus miracle. Or perhaps (here's a nice thought) it's cuz I've achieved an SF spoof for all seasons. Whatever the explanation, here goes:

http://www.sciphijournal.com/a-visit-to-the-network-control-center-by-edward-m-lerner/
'Twas the eve of the Solstice, and no matter the hype,

     Not a creature was stirring, not even on Skype;

The chat rooms were silent, the listservs were bare ...


Check out the entire "A Visit to the Network Control Center" at Sci Phi Journal. And then plan to reread it in December :-)

Monday, May 8, 2017

MY life, the universe, and everything

File 770, the acclaimed genre website, this morning posted an extended interview/profile of my writing career. I'll crib their introduction rather than adding yet more words:

Retired professional scientist Edward Lerner talks about a host of hard science fiction topics, plus his collaboration with Larry Niven, his participation in SIGMA, and his nonfiction column for Analog.

Check out, if you're curious (and really, given that you're already here, you know you are), Edward M. Lerner: Crafted Science, Convincing Characters.

Monday, May 1, 2017

New stories -- check 'em out

A couple weeks ago in this space I previewed several stories I had pending. Today, two of them made an appearance.

To begin, an online novelette: "The Company Man." This noir/SF mashup is my debut appearance in Grantville Gazette. (But in the "Universe Annex" department. My piece isn't a part of the 1632 / Ring of Fire story line.)

Deep in the electron mines
Also fresh this morning from the electron mines, we have the short story "Nothing to Lose?" Abstractly, I wish this had come out in October (read it and you'll see why), but one can't have everything. The entire May issue of Galaxy's Edge is available free through Grabbr (but, as they say, For A Limited Time Only).

Two new stories. How better to observe May Day?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

It's potpourri time all over again

I'm immersed in writing an intriguing (to me, anyway; YMMV) new novelette. So: today's post will be more telegraphic than my usual -- and no, that's not a hint to the nature of the story. But telegraphed or not, several physics and astronomy news items have recently caught my eye. Typical visitors to SF and Nonsense will likely find these of interest, too. So here ya go ...

When giants warped the universe. "The discovery that massive black holes existed billions of years earlier than thought possible is forcing a major rethink about galactic origins."

Researchers capture first 'image' of a dark matter web that connects galaxies. This study seriously challenges Modified Newtonian Dynamics. MOND theories are, collectively, the main alternative to dark matter as an explication of large-scale (galactic and larger) cosmic behaviors. That's not to say the new study determined anything about what dark matter itself -- if it truly exists -- might be.

Merely an artist's conception, alas
Discovery! Atmosphere Spotted on Nearly Earth-Size Exoplanet in First. That title speaks for itself.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Short and sweet

I haven't posted a short-fiction update in awhile. Tsk on me, because a bunch is on its way ...

Upcoming in Analog:
  •  July/August issue: "The Pilgrimage." That's a Probability Zero (flash fiction) story.
  • September/October issue: "My Fifth and Most Exotic Voyage." This is an homage to, well, it's best I not spoil the surprise. Suffice it to say the novelette is both hard SF and quite the change from my customary work. 
Upcoming in Galaxy's Edge:
  • May issue: "Nothing to Lose?" This short story has a touch of horror to it.
  • July issue: "Too Deep Thought." Another short story, this time with deep, philosophical roots.
A company asset?
And my debut in the Grantville Gazette (in the "Universe Annex" department):
  • May issue: "The Company Man." This novelette is a different sort of homage, a mystery, and, quite possibly, the beginning of a series. Think Dashiell Hammett meets Robert Heinlein.
Oh, and one of my favorite (and most popular) short stories, "Grandpa?", will be reprinted in the upcoming anthology, "Science Fiction for the Throne." 

Now if only I could figure out why the novel in progress remains ... in progress.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Post posting

Another year gone by! April 12, 2017 is six years from when I first compiled a list/overview of what were then the most visited posts here at SF and Nonsense. To my continuing surprise, Postscript (or is that post post?) was itself instantly popular. Six years later, it's number three on the all-time list.

Let the annual tradition continue.

Old posts ...
Here's the latest all-time top-ten list, which I've assembled from data captured a few days ago. The format is: title/link; posting date; last year's rank in parens (if it was in the top ten); and a few words about the post content. Among these all-time favorites, there wasn't much change: it's the same ten posts, with the order among only the lower ranked posts slightly shuffled.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

MORE up in the sky

Just to be different, in this space-centric post we'll start far away and work our way back home.

Black-hole jets
To begin in the distance, consider this truly amazing nursery for stars: "Stars Born Inside Violent Black Hole Jets Spotted for the 1st Time." The takeaway quotes:

"Astronomers have thought for a while that conditions within these outflows could be right for star formation, but no one has seen it actually happening, as it’s a very difficult observation ..."

      and:

"If star formation is really occurring in most galactic outflows, as some theories predict, then this would provide a completely new scenario for our understanding of galaxy evolution ..."