Sign up for my newsletter to be among the first to learn of upcoming titles!

[links] Link salad looks to the future, finds itself myopic

The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser is still live. It has made goal, but additional support is always welcome, especially given my new complications. Please check it out if you have not done so yet.

The Lakeside Kickstarter has expanded its stretch goals to include documenting the science around my genomic testing by traveling to the testing lab and interviewing the scientists there. They’v also posted a new trailer for the movie, which is very striking. So give a little to support SCIENCE!

The Great Lake Conspiracy — A Mustache and the Mutt Mystery (Audio Drama for Jay Lake) — Skiffy and Fanty perpetrate another Act of Whimsy.

Genomic Analysis, the Office Edition — More on genetic sequencing and interpretation. (Via my Dad.)

Medical Self Defense — Really? (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated

GIVEAWAY REMINDER: Win a Complete Set of Jay Lake’s “GREEN” Trilogy!

A reader reacts to Mainspring — Luke warm review.

Amazing Future Tales — Heh heh.

China’s Chicken Syndrome, and the Man in the Iron CurtainStrange Maps gets a little weird.

The Author Himself Was a Cat in the Hat — Ted Geisel’s toppers.

Court Rules Icelandic “Girl” Can Use Her Own Name — Weird.

How to Build a Nanotube ComputerIBM creates a new way to make faster and smaller transistors.

Last-stand Neanderthals queriedWe may need to look again at the idea that a late Neanderthal population existed in southern Spain as recently as 35,000 years ago, a study suggests.

Noisy Sex Really Is Better Sex, Study Reveals — So much for my duct tape.

Britain’s PM faces gay marriage revolt as plots swirl

Tree ring history spurs actual climate science debateScientists argue about errors in tree ring records vs. cooling from volcanoes. This is science, constantly self-correcting based on new facts and data. Unlike ideology, which is right by definition regardless of facts and data. Guess which I choose?

Health Care’s Trick Cointhe entire evidence base for medicine has been undermined by a casual lack of transparency. (Via [info]danjite.)

Krugman: The NRA Is An ‘Insane Organization’ They have this vision that we’re living in a ‘Mad Max’ movie and that nothing can be done about it. Gun culture.

Memo Cites Legal Basis for Killing U.S. Citizens in Al Qaeda — In other words, summary execution without due process of law. No.

QotD?: Whither hope?

Writing time yesterday: 0.25 hours (WRPA)
Hours slept: 6.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.33 hours stationary bicycle (still in post-operative recovery)
Weight: 227.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block protecting women from violence: 0
Currently reading: Gulp by Mary Roach

[politics|religion] Where should the rules come from?

Yesterday on Facebook, a conservative friend said, I suspect part of the issue is that most writers and artists of the last 150 years working in the fantastic field have been (more or less) refugees from religion, of one sort or another. To them, a more perfect (or at least more fun) world is a world where god and church… are just not present. God and church mean rules and we work in genres inhabited (more or less) by people who hate rules. On their persons. On their choices. On their thoughts and ideas.

(No link, because I don’t want to accidentally create a dog pile.)

As it turns out, I somewhat mistook the context of my friend’s remark, but I still wanted to repost what I said, because I think it may have some value. Below is a synthesis of several comments of my own:

I think you’re oversimplifying terribly. I don’t know a single liberal or atheist who doesn’t believe firmly in the social contract, and the social contract requires rules. Frankly, from our point of view, it’s conservatives who have been abandoning the rules in working so hard over these past decades to void much of the social contract.

As an atheist myself, and definitely a proud refugee from religion, I write about religion all the time in my fiction. See my entire Mainspring series, as well as my Green series, as well as a large percentage of my short stories, as well as Death of a Starship, whose protagonist is an Orthodox priest, and my yet-unpublished Sunspin, one of whose key characters is also a Christian priest. Portrayed with loving care and as much internal honesty and morality as I can manage, not with liberal snark.

To oversimplify on my part, the fundamental disagreement you’re so casually alluding to isn’t over the question of rules vs. no rules, it’s over the source and meaning of the rules. I don’t think any single faith should be the source of societal rules. How would you as a conservative Christian feel about living in a society based on rules drawn from the Sharia, for example? That’s how I feel about living under Christian rules. Though in all fairness, the vast majority of the secular rules I favor and the Christian rules I presume you favor are in alignment.

In my personal case, I have a particular allergy to both Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism, but I also work pretty hard to talk about religion fairly in my writing. I’m an atheist, but I’m not a fool, and religion is one of the defining human experiences/institutions.

Likewise, on the political front, the assertion that the US is a Christian nation is obvious religious fantasy when contrasted with the blackletter content of the Constitution as well as the writings of the Founders taken as a whole in context (as opposed to cherry picking ‘gotcha’ quotes). Nonetheless, it is an act of intellectual idiocy to deny that we are overwhelmingly a Christian nation in a cultural and historical sense. To me, freedom of religion means freedom from religion. That in turn is the single most important protection any particular religion or denomination or sect or individual faith-holder has in pursuit of their own religious freedoms.

To sum up, those of us who reject religion in our own lives are not the libertine1 anarchists of conservative fantasies. We’re just people who think there are better ways than arbitrary faith in revelation to organize society. Better for everyone, including faith holders.

1. Well, okay, I personally am something of a libertine, but that’s not the point here.

[writing] Pleasing progress on several fronts

An unexpected foreign rights check in the mail this week, as well as an expected-but-no-idea-when contract and a hoped-for-but-unexpected contract. This business is so weird. I made more writing money in three days than I’ve made in months. In order, Mainspring earned out in Germany in its first reporting period (or first year, I’m actually not completely clear on this) and paid a decent royalty besides, I got the METAtropolis: Green Space contract, and the Green novelette I just wrote, “A Stranger Comes to Kalimpura”, was accepted. I’ll formally announce the market for that acceptance when the editor blesses me to do so.

Pleased writer is pleased.

Speaking of METAtropolis: Green Space, yesterday I wrote 2,800 more words on “Rock of Ages” yesterday, to 14,000 words. I’d originally estimated this at 15-18,000 words, but the shape of the plot is heading more to 20-24,000 words. It’s unusual for me to be this uncertain of length, but some of my best work has come out this way, so I’m not going to complain.

I’m glad to have been writing. Chemo will shut me down today, and I won’t write again for at least a week, maybe longer. I really hope to finish this novella in my next cycle, because I’m not too far from the long-term dissolution of my writing brain as a chemo side effect. Once that grinds to a halt, based on prior experience, I won’t lay down new wordage until May or June of next year.

Some WIP:

He wound up seated – with a strap to keep him there against microgravity – in a semicircle of chairs facing a large virteo monitor in a small and otherwise featureless room. The woman who’d met him was there, along with a hard-bitten, whipcord thin Asian man who could almost have been Bashar’s age, and a much younger and doughier man with pink eyes and brittle hair who seemed to be suffering from a metabolic disorder.

“I’m Cherie,” said his host. “That’s Lu,” she pointed at the Asian man, “and Bibendum.”

“I’m Credence,” Bashar said. It was the name he’d used to get into Schaadt’s Shack, and thus – at least in a sense – was a verifiable identity. These people might be strangely naïve about physical security, but he’d bet every Euro he’d ever had that they were at the razor’s edge on data security.

“Where’s Feeney?”

“Dead.” His voice freighted with the conviction of a truly bald-faced lie, Bashar went on. “Killed in a dope grower’s cross-fire two days ago. I knew he had the meet up at Schaadt’s Shack, and so I went to keep it.”

“Hmm.” She glanced at Lu and Bibendum, then back at Bashar. “You got the maps?”

“Depends. Which maps do you need?”

“We can handle the blast distribution and hydrological calculations. We need the locations.”

[links] Link salad is gonna buy all girls on its block a color TV and a bottle of French perfume

A Correct Review — A reader who really doesn’t like Mainspring. Gets a tad personal about it, even.

Ken Brady on Felix Baumgartner’s record setting jump yesterday — What he said. I couldn’t have put it better.

Bacon 25 Ways — Mmm. Mmm. Bacon. (Via Jersey Girl in Portland.)

Ukraine’s Anime Girl and Real Barbie Meet Face to Eerie Face! — Hmmm. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Cracking the Quantum Safe — The weirdness of quantum. (Via my Dad.)

Landscapes by Remote Control — Some interesting comments on the Mars rovers from BLDBLOG (of all places), in the form of a book review.

Brought Together by CancerIsraeli and Palestinian breast-cancer survivors build camaraderie as we face a common enemy

Many cancer patients don’t understand purpose of chemo, study says — Sigh. As threeoutside says, “[This is] what crippling our educational systems and denigrating science education and castrating patient-support programs ends up doing to people who need medical care: millions of patients don’t have the faintest fucking idea what questions to ask, what the answers would mean anyway, or how to begin to participate in their own health care.” Best healthcare system in the world, according to conservatives. Who are lead by morons like Rep. Broun. A Republican congressman who is a doctor. Yeah. Wilful ignorance for the win. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Has our war on microbes left our immune systems prone to dysfunction?

Scientists Uncover Diversion of Gulf Stream Path in Late 2011; Warmer Waters Flowed to Shelfbreak South of New England — Man, Al Gore somehow managed to divert the entire Gulf Stream in his liberal conspiracy to promote global warming. Good thing we have solid Republican ideology to keep us straight in the face of those “facts” and “data”.

Vaccine for HPV doesn’t make girls promiscuous: Study — More of that liberal “data”, based on “reality” and “facts”. Luckily, we have conservatives to remind us this can’t possibly be true. Remember how the Republicans were utterly wrong about the effects of repealing DADT? About how Obama was going to come for their guns? Or every minimum wage increase, ever? Or the stimulus package? Or HCR, as it has taken hold so far? No, Republicans don’t remember being wrong either.

The Republican Assault on Minority Voting RightsHow can Republican voters go on believing that the latest wave of voter ID laws is about fraud and that it’s the opposition to the laws that’s being partisan? To help frustrated non-Republicans, I offer up my own experience as a case study. I was a Republican for most of my life, and during those years I had no doubt that such laws were indeed truly about fraud. Please join me on a tour of my old outlook on voter ID laws and what caused it to change.

Triumph of the Wrong?In these closing weeks of the campaign, each side wants you to believe that it has the right ideas to fix a still-ailing economy. So here’s what you need to know: If you look at the track record, the Obama administration has been wrong about some things, mainly because it was too optimistic about the prospects for a quick recovery. But Republicans have been wrong about everything.

Fox News vigorously challenges Romney’s tax cut lies — Oops. Some truth accidentally leaked into the FOX pool. They must be so ashamed. There will either be a major retraction or a firing early this week.

Romney Invested in Medical-Waste Firm That Disposed of Aborted Fetuses, Government Documents Show — One of the things Romney is hiding with the refusal to release his tax returns. Has Your Liberal Media been all over this story? (Via Pat McEwen)

?otD: What will you do when you win the lottery?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hour (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bicycling)
Hours slept: 7.5 (solid)
Weight: 225.2
Currently reading: n/a

[links] Link salad for yet another chemo Friday

A review of my novelette “A Long Walk Home”

A review of Mainspring — In my local library newsletter.

National Geographic photo contest 2012

Scientists Use Stem Cells To Create Eggs In Mice

Black mamba venom could contain a fantastic painkillerAs effective as morphine, but with fewer downsides. Non-opiate painkillers are very important.

Would you kill baby Hitler? — Roger Ebert on biology, destiny and film.

The CIA and Jeff Bezos Bet on Quantum ComputingWith funding from the Amazon founder and the CIA’s investment arm, the Canadian company D-Wave is gaining momentum for its revolutionary approach to computing.

Colors of a Living World — Detecting expolanetary biospheres.

Are You Annoyed By the Right People? — This made me think, hard. (And I’m not even a Christian.) (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Religious right’s Tony Perkins threatening to sue Dan Savage? — Oh, bring it on.

Chick-fil-A’s Biblical Family of the DayChick-fil-A president Dan Cathy: “We support biblical families.” Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day: Jephthah (Judges 11:30-40) See, he didn’t mean the real Bible. He meant the Bible as American Christianists imagine it to be. The one that supports the prosperity gospel despite all of Jesus’ words about the poor. The Bible that emphasizes gay hate, despite Jesus’ total silence on that matter. The Bible that requires you to vote Republican or burn in hell, despite Jesus’ avowed apolitical stance. That Bible. Not the real one that is biased against the conservative worldview.

Texas Settles With Previously Dead Voters — Mmm, voter fraud.

US jobless rate falls to 7.8 pct., 44-month low — Despite the best efforts of Your Republican Party to keep the economy mired and deny President Obama any substantial achievements.

Every Way You Look at It, You LoseScrivener’s Error on the presidential debates.

Another Reason Not to Trust RomneyOne of the ongoing flaws in the Romney campaign is not just the tendency to make important errors, but its stubborn refusal to own up to those errors. The campaign has continued defending Romney’s blunders weeks or months later when a quick correction would have been far more effective in putting the issue to rest. And where does Romney’s acknowledgment of the essentially stupidity of his 47% remarks leave all his conservative defenders who’ve been sticking up for that?

Romney lied about pre-existing conditions during debateRomney claimed his plan protects people with pre-existing conditions. His adviser now admits it doesn’t. That doesn’t matter. The Republicans are running a post-truth campaign, and the Romney message got out to the voters. That it was deliberately mendacious is something most of them will never realize, and many of the few that do hear it will dismiss the correction as liberal lies. This is how conservatives win elections in America. Not ideas. Not merit. Not truth.

?otD: Got infusion?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hour (brain break)
Body movement: 0.5 hour stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.75 (solid, plus some napping)
Weight: 228.2
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo

[links] Link salad has got computer, is tapping phone lines

Mainspring, by Jay Lake — A mixed (at best) review, with some interesting observations.

One does not simply use iOS6 to walk into Mordor — Hahahah.

Things For Christians Not To Say To Someone Who Has Cancer — Yep. This. And frankly, speaking as an atheist, if God has anything whatsoever to do with my dancer, then He’s a cruel manipulative bastard who doesn’t deserve either my respect or my belief. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Canada cheese-smuggling ring busted – policeman chargedA Canadian police officer was among three people charged as the country’s authorities announced they had busted a major cheese-smuggling ring. Mmm, cheese.

Police: Minn. office shooter among “several” dead — Thank god for the NRA and the GOP, or this shooter would not have been able to exercise his defense of essential liberties. Aren’t gun rights grand?

Conn. Man Kills Masked Teen, Learns It’s His Son — Ah, guns.

Curiosity Rover Steps Right Into Ancient Riverbed on Mars

Biologists Replay 500 Million Years Of E Coli Evolution In The Lab Astrobiologists have recreated 500 million year-old bacteria then watched them evolve. The plan? To look for universal laws of biological evolution.

Bitter Pill — An interesting conservative analysis of how contraception affects women’s welfare across society as a whole. (Snurched from Freakonomics.)

If N.J. archbishop John Myers is right, then only Catholic marriage should be legal (and all Protestants are living in sin) — Yet another of the many reasons I am an atheist: the profound, myopic arrogance of so much of America’s alleged moral leadership.

Scenes From a Multiverse on Biblical ethics — Yep. Pretty much this. Per the above link.

Forget What You’ve Heard. Abortion Does Not Hurt the Democrats — Yep. Let’s actually stand for human rights and full healthcare and gender equality, instead of running from the conservative boojums.

Not The Election They Were Expecting — What do you know? When you run on liberal-progressive ideas, and actually stand behind them, you can even win on them.

New Data Show Net Job Growth Under Barack Obama — So, how did that whole jobs/economy thing work out under the last Republican president?

Don’t Expect a “Sharp Right Turn” in GOP After a Romney Loss — I disagree with Larison on the piece. If nothing else, he assumes that the movement conservatives who dominate the GOP would react logically to a Romney loss. Movement conservatism is proudly illogical and anti-intellectual, right on the place face of its own words, and will seek answers in belief while explicitly rejecting evidence that fails to support those beliefs. Ideology is privileged over reality by definition within the current conservative worldview. To believe otherwise is to credit intellectual honesty and self-awareness to a dominant political group that long ago consciously abandoned precisely those virtues.

Liz Cheney accuses Obama of abandoning non-existent country ‘Czechoslovakia’ — The stupid it would burn, except stupid has become a proudly held core value of conservatism.

RNC-Backed Company Accused Of Voter Registration Fraud — Oh, look. Actual voter fraud. By conservatives. But ACORN!

RNC cuts ties with firm over voter fraud allegations — Good for the GOP for doing the right thing.

?otD: You know that ain’t allowed?

Writing time yesterday: 0 hours (post-chemo recovery)
Body movement: 0.5 hours stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.0 (interrupted, with napping)
Weight: 229.8
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo

[links] Link salad believes that Green is more than a color

The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 151): Interview with Author Jay Lake — They interviewed me at Worldcon.

Jay Lake, “Hnacie pero” (2007) — A review of Mainspring. I’m not sure of the language. Romanian or Hungarian, possibly.

With a Nasal Drawl — A discussion about writing about language. (Found at Language Log.)

Sturgeon’s Law — Hahahaha! (Snurched from @jackwilliambell.)

Vintage Tin Toys

Elephant, Ranger Protections Endorsed—But Do They Have Teeth? — Warning, triggery photographs.

Woolly Mammoth Tracks Prove Beasts Once Roamed Oregon

We’ll have to get used to this idea — Roger Ebert with a somewhat lateral take on vegetarianism.

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife and Sacred History from Judaism to Islam

Some Religious Leaders See a Threat as Europe Grows More Secular — I can only see deprivileging religion as a good thing, personally. Not delegitimization, just deprivileging.

Researchers track evolution through snapshots of 40,000 generationsThe experiment, bane of Conservapedians, traces evolution to the DNA level.

Looking down on the snow of Kilimanjaro The ice is receding, and it’s expected the volcano will be ice-free in as little as ten years. While the recession has been going on for a century now, the past couple of decades have seen phenomenal acceleration in ice loss. It’s amazing, the lengths liberals will go to to perpetrate their global warming scam. Even to removing tons of snow from an African volcano. Good thing we have the GOP to tell us the truth, despite our lying eyes.

Chick-fil-A to stop giving money to ‘anti-gay organizations,’ according to reports — I am rather suspicious of this story, especially given the transparently disingenuous statement from the company at the end of the article, but I am cautiously optimistic.

A Brief Black Liberal Rant — Ta-Nehisi Coates is, as usual, interesting.

One More Reason to Distrust Romney — Conservative commentator Daniel Larison on R. Money’s ongoing campaign woes.

Mitt Romney pulled up from his bootstraps: ‘I have inherited nothing.’ — The lack of self-awareness inherent in privilege is stunning.

What Mitt Romney Doesn’t Get About Responsibility — A devastating critique of the idiocy of the worldview from Romney’s money tower.

Romney Taking Hits in Republican Party as Polls Show Obama Edge — WHat astonishes me is that through my political lifetime, the GOP have been absolute masters at messaging and party discipline. Did the Bush administration wreck the Republican party as badly as it wrecked the country as a whole?

Mitt Romney says half of Americans are immoral parasites who think they’re ‘victims’Slacktivist Fred Clark with a terrific rundown of solid links on Romney’s inadvertent moment of conservative honesty.

Mitt is down; out looms next — The country can only hope.

?otD: Would you go to Kalimpura?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (2,000 new words on a Green novelette)
Body movement: 60 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 5.0 (fitful)
Weight: 238.2
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo

[links] Link salad has an aching shoulder

Srdce světa (Jay Lake) — A Czech review of Mainspring. They didn’t like it very much, insofar as I can tell via Google Translate.

Philip Athans on Shared Worlds and “The Fathomless Abyss”SF Signal with an interesting interview.

Enormous Roman Mosaic Found Under Farmer’s Field — Cool. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

The Dornier Flying Boat — More of my unreasonable love of flying boats.

Orbiter spots ‘dry ice’ snowflakes falling on Red Planet

Arctic Sea Ice Melt May Trigger Extreme European Winter — When we’re all hip deep in rising ocean levels, conservatives will still be making excuses for ignoring reality.

A Letter from a Scared Actress — Neil Gaiman with a letter from one of the people in that anti-Islam film which is causing so many problems. It’s weird, and terrifically unfortunate. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

Why I Love Mormonism

GOP Civil War Is Coming as Mitt Romney Campaign Flails in Video’s WakeThe video carping about government moochers may well have sealed it. Mitt Romney is going down and the fight already is on for the future of the Republican Party. The battle will be bitter—and prolonged. America should be so lucky as to see our conservative movement self-destruct.

Obama missed chance to seal victory over Romney

The True Face of ‘Voter Fraud’ — Ta-Nehisi Coates on the conservative contempt for democracy as practiced by non-white people in America.

Also, Nazis! — Jim Wright on Rick Santorum’s statement that conservatives “will never have the elite, smart people on our side.” Which pretty much does say it all. Out of their own mouths, no less. Wow. Do you really want to live in a country governed by the Legion of Stupid? Irony really is dead, and staked out at the crossroads. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Tax Cuts For The Rich Do Not Spur Economic Growth: Study — Proven by a study. And the last three decades of experience. And common sense. None of which will trouble the beautiful minds of conservative America, of course, since this is merely evidence while they have ideology.

Paul Ryan, UbermenschWhy does the vice-presidential candidate keep hyping his physical prowess? Especially when he keeps lying about it.

Romney Camp Won’t Offer Specifics On New Pledge To Provide Specifics — Because reasons. Shut up, you pinkos. The 47% can just mind their own damned business.

Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters — In case you were somehow unaware of what the GOP thinks of the little people like you and me.

The “Utter Disaster” for Romney — Conservative commentator Daniel Larison on Romney’s latest idiocy. My only question is why is anyone surprised?

Romney is off-messageWhat Romney said at a fundraiser last April makes him sound bitter and divisive. Um, that’s because he is bitter and divisive. That’s what conservatism is in modern America.

Tax Deadbeat Romney Calls other non-Taxpayers Leeches — Juan Cole with a devastating deconstruction of Romney’s inadvertent honesty about the conservative worldview.

?otD: Advil or Tylenol?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (1,900 words on a Green novelette, plus 30 minutes of WRPA)
Body movement: 60 minute urban walk
Hours slept: 5.5 (solid)
Weight: 235.0
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo

[links] Link salad loves morning glory

Review of Mainspring by Jay Lake — They liked it.

A reader reacts to When the Villain Comes Home — They liked my story.

Global warming? Sea otters to the rescue! — Teh cutes! (From David Goldman.)

FBI’s New Billion Dollar Face Recognition System — Feel safer yet? (Via my aunt M.)

“We” Don’t Owe $16 Trillion; and You Don’t Owe $50,000

Romney: Sorry, No Preexisting Conditions Guarantee Unless You’re Already Insured — Do you really want to live in conservative America? Because if you’re sick, the Republican party will let you die there.

?otD: Do you know where you’re going to?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (weekend off)
Body movement: 0 minutes (airport walking to come)
Hours slept: 5.0 (solid)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: Heartland by Mark Teppo

[food|writing] Open dinner in Baltimore, plus a cool foreign rights sale

Last night’s open dinner here in Baltimore was great, good fun. There were fifteen of us, including me and Lisa Costello. @psursi took photos!

Good conversation, though as always with these things it’s a little hard to talk with an entire table at once. Good folks, a few old friends and a bunch of new ones. In more-or-less around the table order, we had John Zaharick, Karlo Yeager, Mark Siegal, [info]curiouseve and [info]duelce, Beth Tanner, Rip, Jeff Young, [info]cypherindigo, Lisa Nohealani Morton and Chris, @psursi and his wife Stephanie, and Deanna Hoak and her daughter. What a great crowd. We talked about some fun stuff, and some serious stuff, and enjoyed semi-Irish pub grub at Ryan’s Daughter.



Photos © 2012 Peter Sursi and Jeff Young. Used with permission.

In other news, I am pleased to announce that via my agent Jennifer Jackson, Hayakawa Publishing has acquired Japanese magazine rights for my Mainspring novella “Chain of Stars,” which they intend to publish in the November 2012 issue of SF Magazine.

My thanks again to Subterranean Press for giving that story a market home in the first place.

[links] Link salad heads east again

A review of Die Räder der Welt, the German version of Mainspring — Mixed at best, insofar as my very rudimentary German and Google Translate can puzzle out.

$200 for a Fake Security System — As tipster David Goldman says, the sixth comment really makes it.

American Atheists Billboards Go After Presidential Candidates’ Faith — I find this essay about these billboards far more interesting than the billboards themselves. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Dominion Theology — Christianism in a nutshell. Which is pretty much where it belongs. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Geology and Genesis: how Noah’s flood shaped ideas but not landscapesIt was quickly clear that the conversation was not really about evidence supporting one position or another. These folks had never gone out to study an outcrop of rock. They weren’t interested in what the rocks had to say—they already knew what the answer had to be. That’s actually a wonderful summary of the conservative mindset, and why conservative America sneeringly dismisses the reality-based community. Almost every conservative hobbyhorse from climate change denialism to supply side economics can be explained this way.

“FRC’s own activities are what brought this down on them”

Boiled Down — John Stewart on Pennsylvania’s new voter ID laws. With, you know, actual facts and direct quotes from GOP leaders. Doonesbury on the same topic, again with the facts. Warning: As usual, facts not valid for conservatives.

Republican Senate Nominee: Victims Of ‘Legitimate Rape’ Don’t Get Pregnantep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of “legitimate rape” have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy. Some people are either too stupid or too evil to live. Yet they get elected as conservative politicians. Slacktivist Fred Clark with more commentary on this, from a liberal religious perspective.

Parties not expected to get bold in platforms — Just the usual Republican oppression of women, minorities and the LGBTQ community in order to curry the votes of Sarah Palin’s “Real Americans”, and the usual Democratic wishy washiness instead of standing up for principles, for fear of offending those same “Real Americans”.

Schmooze or LoseObama doesn’t like cozying up to billionaires. Could it cost him the election?

Obama’s (Perceived) TransformationAmong the ranks of bullies, the only fair fight is the one that ends with them laughing and kicking sand. And so, no longer able to portray Obama as weak, the authors of Willie Horton, swift-boating and modern day poll-taxing have been reduced to other tactics — among them wildly yelping, “Please, Mr. President, nothing to the face.”

Paul Ryan Slams Obama For Not Saving Auto Plant That Closed Under Bush — Because conservatives have consciously opted out of the reality-based community, this kind of “blame Obama” rhetoric will play quite well in Your Liberal Media and with the voters. Even though it is a knowingly told, flat out lie.

Top Ten Paul Ryan Falsehoods, Gaffes and Outrages, First Week — Not that anybody who actually needs to know this stuff will read it, nor will they believe it if they do. Everybody knows the facts are biased.

My ultimate Ayn Rand porn — Hahahahah.

?otD: Omaha or not?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (WRPA); plus convention time
Body movement: n/a (airport walking to come)
Hours slept: 4.5 (solid, !!)
Weight: 237.2
Currently reading: The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems by Henry Petroski

[writing] Seeing your own tropes up close and personal

I’ve been doing a close line read and light revision pass of Other Me, my short YA science fiction novel with bonus identity paranoia. It’s been an interesting experience for a couple of reasons.

For one, I wrote this quite a few years ago, before the cancer with its surgeries and chemotherapies. Yet I find I remember a great deal about this book. Color me mildly surprised. Its interesting how deep some things run.

Second, I am very amused to see how my tropes repeat themselves. I already know about this. We all do it. In my case, I write about lost boys, mechanical men, hidden underground tunnels, layered truths, self-discovery, and oddball animals. There are elements of Other Me that to my eye clearly tie back to Mainspring, to Green, to Trial of Flowers.

I don’t think I’m plagiarizing myself. I do wonder a bit if I am repeating myself. On the other hand, should I be writing de novo every time I launch into a story? I find myself wondering where the balance lies between repetition and novelty.

Got no answers, but got more questions. Ah, the writing life.

Your thoughts?