I let this one get away from me just like the last one. On the upside, there almost has to be something of interest for almost everyone reading it. (By the way, if anyone wants to send me links for these posts or comment on anything, please do.)
- The Art of Darkness » Seen Online. There’s a couple of disturbingly funny ones but the last, which is not how Shelley wrote it, had me rolling.
- The Art of Darkness » Seen Online. Here’s another set. Earthworms!
- The Art of Darkness » Death is Not an Option. A few are easy. For a few, death must be an option.
- A Messed-Up Unit Conversion Table | Learn Fun Facts. If the above’s not your speed, try this for a completely different kind of humor. You’ll laugh ’til it megahertz.
Definitions of dystopia.
- Why Broadband Competition at Faster Speeds is Virtually Nonexistent – Motherboard
- Sinclair to sell TV stations in major markets to complete Tribune buy: report – CBS News
- Tim Berners-Lee: Monopolies and Lack of Public Infrastructure Are Ruining the Web – Motherboard. Sir Tim agrees, though it’s not just the web they’re ruining.
- When splashy headlines become the goal of science, the process suffers | Popular Science. Now let’s see how many of the following become ironic.
- Monkey Vocabulary Decoded: Neuroscientists identify the smallest units that make up the vocalization of marmoset monkeys — ScienceDaily.
- New Evidence Fuels Debate over the Origin of Modern Languages – Scientific American. I dunno – some seem to be arguing slow, small, passive transmission and I don’t doubt it’s complex and varied but it makes perfect sense that, generally, “centaurs,” with their advanced technology, would easily conquer the two-legged humans. Either way, it’s quite an interesting article on a fascinating topic.
- An Ancient Virus May Be Responsible for Human Consciousness (via Amazing). It’s weird enough to think about our symbiotically-assisted digestion; even weirder to think how all life is all scrambled up throughout, perhaps including our “us.”
- New NASA Study Finds Dramatic Acceleration in Sea Level Rise. I don’t know why this comes as a surprise: “geometric progression,” “cascading failure,” and “vicious cycle” aren’t hard concepts. On the other hand, Earth has generally demonstrated resiliency and (speaking just of and since large land life) has been almost uninhabitable from both heat and cold but recovered, so maybe there’s nothing to worry about. Or maybe we’re all gonna die. Let’s sit idly by and see what happens.
- An Electro-Blob Under Africa May Be ‘Ground Zero’ for Earth’s Magnetic Field Reversal. Fun with cosmic radiation. (In case you don’t have enough to worry about.)
- Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Could Disappear Within 20 Years. Or not. It’d be weird if it did, though. Not even Earth’s continents are permanent features but somehow Jupiter wouldn’t seem like Jupiter without it.
- A Plausible Path for Life on Enceladus. I’d gotten to the point where I’d usually groan when modern SF featured life in this system because it had come to seem so unlikely (and still is in most depictions) but this is an interesting argument. I still wouldn’t count on it, but it definitely seems possible.
- Computation Between the Stars. Science fiction writers, read this. Another intriguing attempt to answer the Fermi question.
- In sad news, I learned today that one of the giants of the 20th century science will no longer be part of the crew as we continue into the 21st century on Spaceship Earth: Stephen Hawking Biography (1942-2018).
- In prior sad news, SF Site informed me that Peter Nicholls, founder of one of science fiction’s monuments, the Encylopedia of Science Fiction, died. SFE, itself, has a memorial piece: Peter Nicholls (1939-2018) (thanks to File 770).
Magazines and Short Fiction
- Blog #5 | Jack McDevitt | Science Fiction. A nice piece on the power of short fiction.
- Thanks to Marian at the F&SF board for telling me about The Astounding Analog Companion – The official Analog Science Fiction and Fact blog, and to dolphintornsea for answering my question about whether there was an Asimov’s companion: From Earth to the Stars – The Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine Author & Editor Blog.
- Thanks to File 770 and/or Laura for announcing the Asimov’s Readers’ Awards Finalists and to Locus and/or Laura for announcing the AnLab Readers’ Award Finalists which both include links to PDFs of almost all the stories.
- I can’t remember what I was searching for or which links led to which but I was looking for something else and came across The Splintered Mind: Top Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazines 2017 (which is part of a multi-year series) and relates to Best of 2017 anthologies: Where the stories come from – Neil Clarke. That prompted me to do my own, slightly different version: Noted Short SF Markets: 2017.
- Tor.com was initially viewed suspiciously as a corporate organ but proved itself to be an open site and webzine for a time. However, it changed its submissions process a couple of years ago to invitation only, has seemed to publish more Tor-related “short fiction” (excerpts, ties, sharecrops, etc.) and its webzine publishing schedule has become quite irregular after silently shutting down for many weeks in late-2017/early-2018. This doesn’t change the fact that it still produces some excellent short fiction but it’s worrisome. Whether it’s good news or bad, I don’t know, but SF Site points us to the corporate blurb about changes at the top.
- Black Gate » Birthday Reviews: Pat Murphy’s “On a Hot Summer Night in a Place Far Away”. Another author who writes short fiction I’m often inordinately fond of. Happy (belated) birthday!
- THE SKINNER: Night Shade Books Announces . . . The situation with Neal Asher’s inexplicable scarcity in the US has been slowly improving and will take a big jump now that a publisher has acquired several of his books. This is especially good news for Americans who don’t want their sets to look like mine.
(Odd coincidence: the blog post has a comment by “jason” but that’s not me. We are legion.)
- 5 years a citizen | Nicola Griffith. The main point is wise. I can’t help but… “laugh” isn’t the right word, but “suffer a massive cognitive disjunction” when she says of the five years: “This country has changed a lot in that time.” I’m guessing she had no idea what she was signing up for.
- Heinlein in Reflection – Amazing Stories. Nice perspective on one of the greats.
- Ursula Le Guin & Her Elusive Hugo! – Doctor Strangemind. Perry Barr of Ace Boops.
- Jack Vance & Fawlty Towers – Doctor Strangemind. Jack Vance and Fawlty Towers? What more do you need?
- Future War Stories: The Masterworks: the Best of Military Science Fiction (TV)- SPACE: ABOVE and BEYOND (1995-1996). This article could use some editing (unlike, say, this one) but I’m a huge SAAB fan, myself. The article also discusses DS9 (which I apparently like a lot more than the author, but agree is not exactly military SF) and it’s especially odd he mentions being more of an Atlantis fan than an SG-1 fan as I am, too. Of SG-1, I’m really only a fan of the Fargate/Starscape seasons with Aeryn and Crichton.
- And for something related to one of the best military SF movies ever: Black Gate » Goth Chick News Anniversary Interview: Aliens Carrie Henn. “Why don’t you put her in charge?“
- Black Gate » Doubling Down, or Just How Bad Are Ace Doubles, Anyway?. An exuberant review of the good, the bad, and the ugly of an SF publishing institution.
- In Praise of Negative Reviews | Rafia Zakaria. This is more about books than stories and may even have a different kind of “review” in mind but it still applies in part. It decries the number of trophies given out for participation these days and I agree with that much. I particularly like the points on inclusion and on the general meaninglessness of uniform praise. If I like a story, interested parties know I really like the story. (Thanks to File 770.)
Been reveling in Downside Up. Have some!
Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Spiral Twist”
Siouxsie and the Banshees – “Catwalk”