Sunday, January 31, 2016

Modesty precludes any comment ...

Popular genre website Tangent Online just posted a combination review/interview of last year's InterstellarNet: Enigma. Take a look, and you'll see why I'm (delightedly) speechless.

Okay, okay. You twisted my arm. I'll permit myself one short excerpt: 

From the personal travails of a single human fighting against unknown and powerful forces, to the unraveling of a galactic-scale conspiracy involving the origin of several intelligent races, mankind among them, you’ve made InterstellarNet: Enigma one of the most rewarding SF reading experiences anyone could ask for, on both an intellectual and emotional level.

You'll find the full review/interview here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SF news: the good, the cautionary, and the sad

First up, the Museum of Science Fiction posted their 4Q15 report. One highlight: MoSF's interim/mobile museum will open in Fall 2016 in Rosslyn, VA. (For the non-Washingtonians among you, that's just across the Potomac River from DC.)

Like your SF on the big screen? Then check out "8 Original Sci-Fi Films to Look Forward to in 2016." ("Original" may be code for "obscure," but that's okay. Among last year's indie films, I quite enjoyed Ex Machina and Predestination.)

Looking for a good book? Check out "50 Essential Science Fiction Books." One can pick nits with any such list, but Richard Davies is to be commended for this conscientious and well-informed overview of the breadth and history of SF. (FWIW, I've read a majority of the recommended novels; in only a very few instances do I question a particular item making the list.) Davies limited himself to one title per author, and so he also is recommending to you fifty great genre authors.

If written short fiction is your thing, don't miss the "Tangent Online 2015 Recommended Reading List." With 416 recommendations (my novelette "A Case of Identity" among them), selected from many different zines and anthos, you'll surely find many stories to like.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


A roundup of recent interesting astronomy news ...

NASA's mantra in the search for extraterrestrial life has been "follow the water." That puts Enceladus -- one of the few worlds in the Solar System known to have a liquid-water ocean -- high among the most intriguing destinations for near-future (robotic) space exploration. The Cassini probe orbiting Saturn has already detected organic compounds in the geyser sprays shot from Enceladus. (That probe isn't equipped to test for life.)

It all goes to make this tidbit intriguing: "Are those geysers on Saturn's moon running out of steam? The geysers on Saturn's sixth-largest moon, Enceladus, seem to be blasting out less material than they did 10 years ago, and nobody knows exactly why."

Saturday, January 16, 2016

An unexpected pleasure

(Updated March 26, 2016)

Analog's recent review of InterstellarNet Enigma (see Grinning from ear to ear) was, of course, delightfully welcome -- but it didn't come as a total surprise. That is: my SF at every length appears regularly in Analog. The Reference Library there often recommends books similar to the stories that brings people to the zine.

But it's been years since my last appearance in Asimov's Science Fiction.

Until, that is, Asimov's current (February 2016 issue). This morning I came upon, in the current issue's On Books feature, a long and thoughtful review of InterstellarNet: Enigma. That review concludes: "Here’s an author you definitely need to check out. Good fun for fans of hard SF."

(Alas, Asimov's posts only their most recent book-review column. My book's review is no longer available.) 

Should F&SF (in which my writing has yet to appear) make it a trifecta, I'll fall out of my chair. Beaming.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Grinning from ear to ear

My March(!) issue of Analog arrived in today's mail, and with it a review of InterstellarNet: Enigma

(Updated January 16, 2016 to add a link to the review, newly posted to the Analog website.)

Together with kind words for the InterstellarNet series as a whole, I was tickled to read this: "... you have waiting for you a unique interstellar society of humans and some really cool aliens; an answer to the Fermi Paradox; philosophical questions of identity, power, and the place of humanity in the universe; and now some temporal travel thrown into the mix." 

Made my day, this did :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016 is off to a fine start

For those of you who follow my non-blog writing, I'm happy to report that the new year is shaping up nicely. Here's, um, the story so far:
Sci Phi Journal, even as I type, is running my short story "Catch a Falling Star" as the inaugural work of SF they hope will lure you behind their (new business model) paywall. I'm honored that SPJ chose my story for that purpose. The tale's opening (free) is here.

Meanwhile, Analog continues my nonfiction series about genre tropes, collectively "The Science Behind the Fiction." The zine's January/February issue offers Part I of "Human 2.0: Being All We Can Be," opening a discussion of all manner of tech-driven augmentations and transformations. Part II, in Analog's March issue, will conclude the topic. As with earlier articles in this TSBtF series, I've blended science and tech with lots of literary and video SFnal examples.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Using Medicine in Science Fiction

Most of you, polling has demonstrated, come to this blog to read about science and SF. How not, then, to review here (from the Springer Books "Science and Fiction" series) the recently published Using Medicine in Science Fiction: The SF Writer's Guide to Human Biology, by H. G. Stratmann?(*)

(*) How recent? Available since September 2015, despite the 2016 copyright date. Of course, we SF aficionados are more open than most to the possibility of time travel :-) And to further muddy the temporal waters, this book would have had a place in my 2015 best reads summary if I hadn't wanted to post recommendations early within the recently concluded holiday shopping season. Of course there are still post-holiday clearance sales and (in theory) unspent gift cards ...

Stratmann is a cardiologist and an SF author, supremely qualified to have authored such a book. (Full disclosure: Henry and I are friends -- but that's not the reason for the rave review that follows.)

Friday, January 1, 2016


My final reading for 2015 was Jack McDevitt's latest novel, Thunderbird. It will be my pleasure to review it -- spoiler-free.
Thunderbird is the sequel to McDevitt's 1996 novel Ancient Shores (that I haven't read, and that was absolutely no problem). In the first book, an ancient portal to other -- and unidentified -- worlds was unearthed on territory within North Dakota administered by a Sioux tribe. Confrontation between the federal government and the Sioux has left the portal under the control of the latter. Thunderbird opens soon after that confrontation.