Tuesday, May 22, 2018

That's life

Life has been intruding -- not in a bad way, but it's intrusive nonetheless. What more appropriate way to offer a prospectively interesting post despite those distractions than with a post about ... life.

Onward, then, to some recent items from the life sciences.

Given the number of forecasts, dating back, at the least, to Thomas Malthus, that humanity will breed itself to disaster, it's nice(!) to read a counter-argument. As in: "The Population Bomb Has Been Defused: The Earth and humanity will survive as fertility rates fall almost everywhere." This is, unequivocally, Good News.

After a spate of reports about unreproducible and/or statistically questionable psychology experiments, it's also encouraging to see, "Psychologists Have a Plan to Fix the Broken Science of Psychology." There may be a whole new paradigm emerging for performing psychological research.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mid-year writing update

 Updated May 19, 2018

While my recent focus has (understandably, methinks) been the April 30th release of Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction, I have some fiction news, as well. If you'll allow me to catch you up ...

Amazon link
Can they top this cover?
"Chance of Storms," one of my rare non-SF stories will appear in the forthcoming reprint antho, Fantasy for the Throne. (You may recall I had a story in last year's Science Fiction for the Throne antho.)

A second short story, "Paradise Regained," also has a reappearance pending, this time as a podcast at Escape Pod.

And new fiction? Last January, when I announced the sale to Analog of "Harry and the Lewises," the novella had not yet been assigned to an issue. Now it has: the story is scheduled for the September/October issue. (And if that title brings to mind a campy movie from 1987? You won't be entirely misled. Just somewhat :-)  )

And newer still? If you were hooked by last year's story arc (in The Grantville Gazette) beginning with the novelette "The Company Man" and continuing with the novella "The Company Dick" ... be of good cheer. I'm about 10K words into "The Company Mole."

May 19 update:  I'm pleased to append, in breaking news, that "Paradise Regained" (indeed, the very same tale as mentioned above) was just announced as the short-story winner in the Analytical Laboratory (Analog readers poll) for 2017. You can find all the winners at Anlab Readers' Award Winners.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Arrrrgh!

And no, today's post isn't a further complaint about Yahoo Mail.  (In fact, they've actually begun in recent weeks to get a handle on spam.)

Nor much of a post at all.

One of the household PCs was picked (targeted?) this week for the latest Windows 10 "feature" update. The new features, as far as I can tell are:
  • Breaking my non-MS antivirus software
  • Breaking the UI to my non-MS cloud-backup service
  • Changing at least one past authorization in the firewall
  • Failing to support the installer for the only supported iteration of Adobe Reader

Well done, Microsoft! Love these new features!

So: rather than blog this week, I'm doing other things :-(

Monday, April 30, 2018

Trope-ing the Light Fantastic


I am pleased to announce the release today of Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction.

Trope-ing? There's a funny word! So what is this book?

In a nutshell: The essential resource for anyone who reads, writes, watches, or studies science fiction.

In a few more words, borrowed from the back cover:
Men have walked on the Moon. Siri and Alexa manage — at least often enough to be helpful — to make sense of the things we say. Biologists have decoded DNA, and doctors have begun to tailor treatments to suit our individual genetic make-ups. In short: science and tech happen.

But faster-than-light travel? Time travel? Telepathy? A six million dollar — as adjusted, of course, for inflation — man? Starfaring aliens? Super-intelligent computers? Those, surely, are mere fodder for storytelling. Or wild extrapolations. Just so many "sci fi" tropes.

Sometimes, yes. But not necessarily.

In Trope-ing the Light Fantastic, physicist, computer engineer, science popularizer, and award-winning science-fiction author Edward M. Lerner entertainingly examines these and many other SF tropes. The science behind the fiction.

Each chapter, along with its eminently accessible scientific discussion, surveys science fiction — foundational and modern, in short and long written form, on TV and the big screen — that illustrates a particular trope. The good, the bad, and occasionally the cringe-worthy. All imparted with wit (and ample references to learn more).

So forget what the Wizard of Oz advised. Let's pull back the curtain ....
And what's the early buzz? I'm happy you asked.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The clock is Trope-ing (er, ticking)

One short week from today, the fine folk at Phoenix Pick will release Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction.* As in:

The essential resource for anyone who reads, writes, watches, or studies science fiction.

(I've blogged more than once(!) about Trope-ing, but if you're new here -- welcome! -- here's the back story: "From mighty oak trees, little acorns grow.")

To order on Amazon
To order from Amazon
Being this near to publication of my first nonfiction book is exciting in its own right ... but isn't the ticking metaphor (whether it brings to mind time bombs or Neverland alligators) a tad overwrought? Nope. Not if you're a Kindle person. The pre-order discount for the Kindle edition disappears when, well, it's too late to pre-order. One week from today.

If you might be interested -- and given that you're visiting SF and Nonsense, how can you not? -- check out Trope-ing the Light Fantastic for Kindle. Because there's nothing wrong with a bargain :-)

(*) More specifically, the hardback and ebook editions will be released April 30, with the trade paperback edition to follow.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Look! Up in the sky! ...

It's astronomy news!

And surely real news of astronomy beats an imaginary guy in tights and a cape.

The Mountains of Madness (er, Pluto)
Case 1: the mind-blowingly mobile mountains of Pluto. (Say that quickly ten times.) See "Pluto’s mountains may have slid along a kilometre a day."  That rate of motion isn't something you'd expect to see of a glacier on Earth, much less of ice mountains in the outer Solar System deep freeze. But facts are stubborn things ...

Monday, April 9, 2018

Move 'em on, head 'em out (the annual posts roundup)

Starting in the ancient past of 2011 with "Postscript (or is that post post?)", I've blogged every year around this date about popular posts here at SF and Nonsense. These annual summaries have always begun with the blog's top-ten, all-time hits -- but this year, I'm going to dispense with that bit of the tradition.  The all-time top ten remain the same as a year ago (see "Post posting"), differing only in a couple slight changes of position within the list.

Fine posts, every one
But recently popular posts? That's another story -- or ten stories, if you will ;-) and only two of these ten are also on that all-time list.

Herewith, the most popular ten posts for the past month (meaning the past thirty days, spanning a calendar-month boundary), Blogger providing that compilation.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Trope-ing update



Snapped moments ago from Amazon: Number 1 New Release in general technology and reference. Gotta admit, I like the sound of that.

(And incidentally, this Kindle edition of Trope-ing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction is on sale till the release date, April 30. The hardback edition will also be out that day.)