Monday, April 15, 2019

Not a jug of wine and loaf of bread, to be sure, but still ...

Perhaps you've encountered my 2007 short story "A Stranger in Paradise," whether in its original (in the late, lamented Jim Baen's Universe) appearance, or reprinted in the Best of Jim Baen's Universe #2 anthology. Or maybe you've read that story's 2017, generations-after sequel, "Paradise Regained," winner of an annual Analog Readers Poll award

Art for "Paradise Regained" (by Eldar Zakirov)
If those two -- surely among my favorite short stories -- are not (with apologies to Omar Khayyam) "paradise enow," then I ask you to consider this late-breaking news:

Monday, April 8, 2019

Un-wordy (with, IMO, good cause)

Today finds me:
  • waiting for decisions on three story submissions.
  • on the lookout for paperwork on a story resale. 
  • expecting page proofs on the next (May) installment of an ongoing serial.
  • anticipating copy edits for the story collection in the publication process.
  • hoping to see draft cover art for the novel in the publication process.
Oh, and starting tomorrow, I'll have painters onsite for a few days.

I'm thinking it'll be a while till I start a new project. And that a bit of downtime is okay.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Starry-eyed

You guessed it: a post replete with astronomy news. (Wherein "news" is a relative term. My file of fascinating articles seems to expand faster than I can comment, and some of today's items first came to my attention toward the end of last year. Bear with me. These are all worth a read.)

Today's emphasis: how much remains to be understood about matters astronomical. And how much we continue to discover!

By Jove, that's hot!
Case in point: details of how how solar systems -- star(s), planets, and lesser bodies -- form. For example, it always seemed impossible that gas giants (i.e., planets like Jupiter) could originate close to a star -- but jovians *are* seen with close-in orbits. The inference drawn has been that such "hot Jupiters" formed farther out, and that the dynamics of interplanetary gravitational interactions on occasion caused planets to spiral inward. For all we know, that is sometimes the case -- but apparently not always. See "Giant planets around young star raise questions about how planets form."

And recent estimates of the number of potentially habitable exoplanets may be due for a downward revision. Determinations of which exoplanets orbit within habitable zones (basically, the range around their respective stars in which water will remain liquid) depend on estimates of the absolute brightness (energy output) of the parent stars. There are several ways to mis-estimate a star's absolute brightness, and if you get it wrong, your estimate of the habitable zone will be off. Planets you thought orbited in the Goldlilocks zone might instead be too hot or too cold. See "Number of Habitable Exoplanets Found by NASA's Kepler May Not Be So High After All."