Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Potpourri time

I'm immersed in writing, loath this week to set aside the new novel to prepare a long post. So: I'll limit myself to sharing a few of the interesting items that have accumulated in my comment-on-sometime file.

New images of the geysers on Enceladus. Cassini, the probe that keeps on giving, now extended until 2017.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Trope-ing the light fantastic (hacking)

Hacking happens every day. It happens often to organizations with lots of credit-card info (e.g., to TJ Maxx in 2007). It happens to the Pentagon. Quite recently, it happened to Google.

If hacking is so common, why do  I suggest it's a trope?  Because all too often in fiction, hacking is the first resort of lazy authors.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowpocalypse -- and missed chances to glimpse the sun

Record snow in the DC area ("By the end of the snowfall Wednesday, areas of Washington will have seen as much as 52 inches in February 2010"). An earthquake in Chicago. The last ever night-time launch of the space shuttle (neat amateur video here).

Apparently the Mayans were cockeyed optimists, thinking we'd  last till 2012.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dancing with elephants

In a blog about science fiction, written by an SF author, it's hard to imagine not commenting on the conflict that erupted last weekend between Macmillan and Amazon. Macmillan, as in the parent company of Tor Books: the largest American publisher of SF. Amazon, as in certainly one of the largest booksellers around.

For the latest news about the business issues and differences of opinion between these two corporate giants, look here.

Lost in the noise is how their disagreement impacts authors and readers.  Print and Kindle editions of books by Tor authors remain unavailable from Amazon, except from used-book resellers.

(If you ever wondered ... an author won't make a penny if someone buys a used book. But Amazon and its reseller still profit.) 

This blog is syndicated to Amazon, and so I'll refrain from naming competitors. That shouldn't stop you -- if the mood comes over you to acquire any of the books Amazon is boycotting (full discloure: five books of mine fall into that category) -- from finding those books elsewhere.