Monday, October 25, 2010

Good times

I spent last Saturday at one of my favorite cons: Capclave.  It is (as the website describes), "a small relaxed literary convention," and always very pleasant. My three panels were "The Mule, Muad'dib, and Men Who Stare at Goats," "World Building: Planning and Execution," and "Military Science Fiction."

"Mule" -- despite an odd title -- dealt with a serious SFnal topic: humans with extraordinary abilities, and how we might get to Human 2.0. I'd not done a panel on that topic before, and enjoyed the change. (Small Miracles deals with nanotech in humans, and was certainly related, but the panel tended to go down the genetic-engineering path.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A still wacky universe

Oddities from the world of science continue to attract my attention ...

Can the language we speak affect how we perceive the world? Perhaps. See Lost in Translation.

I've always thought this relationship must exist. It's not that one can't imagine a concept for which vocabulary doesn't already exist -- or else nothing new (including new vocabulary) would ever be created -- but surely it helps to have suitable vocabulary to conceptualize the new thing.

Think that's strange? How about pinpointing the differences in brain wiring between introverts and extroverts? See Brains of Introverts Reveal Why They Prefer Being Alone.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Betrayer of Worlds

Puppeteers are the sneakiest, most conniving -- and for many SF readers, most fascinating -- aliens in the galaxy. They're certainly the most cowardly. Arguably, they're the most ruthless.

Maybe that's why I so enjoy writing about them. As in -- just released today -- the latest installment in Larry Niven's and my epic Fleet of Worlds series: Betrayer of Worlds.
Since the chain reaction of supernovae at the galactic core sent a trillion Puppeteers aboard the Fleet of Worlds fleeing for their lives, the two-headed aliens have lurched from one crisis to the next ...

Until now, when -- like every Puppeteer's worst nightmare -- past crises have converged.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A big part of why I do what I do ...

NPR recently reported that "Sci-Fi Inspires Engineers To Build Our Future."

I already knew that, of course -- and I'm sure SF lures folks into science as well as into engineering. Heck, once upon a time, SF lured me into physics. I know I've read articles in which astronauts say about themselves that science fiction (never "sci-fi") first interested them in space, or science, or technology. From one such article, "Real Astronauts in Fictional Space," a quote:

"One thing most all astronauts have in common is their love of science fiction and “space-operas”, especially those that treat contemporary issues in their stories, and those, like Star Trek, that inspire future generations to put no limits on their imaginations and encourages them to excel in the sciences."

Inspiring others to expand human knowledge, unleash their imaginations, and explore new worlds. Not too shabby a reason to go to work every day.