It’s so fast
Last night I went to see Speed of Light, the second play of Quantum Dragon Theatre’s inaugural season, and I’m going to go ahead and recommend it to anyone who’s ever stayed up late reading science fiction, or hungered for the next book.
I’m saying book because the play reminded me an awful lot of classic SF novels. It has an old-school feel to it, like pre-transistor Heinlein stories. I’d bet serious money that Frank Herbert’s Dune was an influence on the playwright, too.
Speed of Light is set at least 5,000 years into the future, where humanity has spread to five planets and settled there long enough to develop racial distinctions between them. Two of those planets have now fallen to the Feeders, a mindless alien horde that devours all it encounters.
How, exactly, a mindless horde operates spaceships is never explored, and we may well be the victims of propaganda on just how mindless they really are. In a novel I’d expect some more exposition on that, but in a two-hour play I’m perfectly willing to let it slide, especially since there’s already a lot going on in here.
You see, traveling faster than light had been assumed to be impossible for thousands of years, up until people saw the Feeders do it. It then immediately became very important to figure out how it’s done, because the aliens are attacking a third planet and show no signs that they’ll go away after it’s been stripped of all life. Our story follows a mathematical prodigy who’s spent the last ten years working on this problem, and the people around her. Read the rest of this entry
Book Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir
Once upon a time, there was a webcomic called Casey and Andy. Mad science, zany characters and lots of geekery, it was one of my favorites. I was sad, but satisfied, when it ended.
Then about a month ago Howard Taylor mentioned a hard sci-fi novel called The Martian, and that it was written by the same Andy Weir who once gave us Casey and Andy. I bought the book before I finished reading Howard’s post about it.
And it’s good.
Hello blog, I’ve missed you.
Let me just blow the dust off, here.
If you’re wondering where I’ve been the past three months, I’ve been working 55 to 60 hour weeks. When you have as much trouble writing as I do, that doesn’t leave much time for blogging. But things have calmed down a bit now, so I should hopefully be able to post again from time to time.
If nothing else, there’s a lot of books I want to write about.
Speaking of books, here’s a cool thing! StoryBundle offers collections of books in epub format that you pay what you like for. The current offering is the “Epic Fantasy Bundle”, and it lasts for another ten days.
It really is epic, too! If you pay over $12 you get three bonus books. I paid $20, because I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my hard-earned overtime pay and frankly I often undertip.
The one I’m reading now is The Camelot Papers, which should win a prize for misleading cover art. I thought I’d be reading a farcical comedy, and while there are moments of dark humor, this really isn’t one. It is compelling, though, and so far I’ve enjoyed it. I’ll try to write up a proper review once I’m done with it.
Speaking of cool things, Evolution Expo is happening in Oakland this summer! It’s billed as “putting the science back into science fiction”, which is something I can get behind! I fully intend to attend, and you should too!
So, I’m back to writing again. No where near as often as 2012, but hopefully more than 2013. Coming soon, book reports and ultra-short fiction!
Doctor Who, 50 years later.
This should be subtitled, “In which I dump a stream of consciousness about my favorite TV show.”
I first discovered Doctor Who in the mid-1980’s. It aired on PBS Thursday nights, and we were about ten years behind so my first Doctor was a goofy bohemian with a bag of jelly babies and a ridiculously long scarf.
To this day, scarves feel uncomfortably short to me right up until they become awkwardly long.
So last Saturday, the 23rd, was the 50th anniversary of the show. It originally aired on that one day during which John F. Kennedy was dead and Lee Harvey Oswald still lived. The show’s been a major part of geek culture worldwide and British culture in general. The spaceship disguised as a police box is especially fun to me, because while police boxes would have been a fairly common sight in Britain in 1963, they’re now almost forgotten except for this show.
The fandom is one of my favorite parts of this show. Here is a comic-form story called The Ten Doctors (also available for download here), which is overflowing with little nods and continuity gags for long-time fans of the show. The author clearly knows the old show better than I do, he’s done several more Dr. Who fanfics, and just started his own 50th anniversary special titled The 23 Doctors!
There will be spoilers for the Day of the Doctor after the jump, but first a short film all Doctor Who fans should see, whether or not they’ve seen the 50th anniversary special yet. Androids and gentlebeings, I present to you Night of the Doctor.
I wish we’d had more of Paul McGann playing the Doctor on-screen, but if you like his portrayal of the Eighth Doctor you can hear him in many excellent audioplays by Big Finish Audio.
NaNoWriMo update, and Chapter 2
I got off to a strong start on National Novel Writing Month, but that didn’t last. I got stuck trying to figure out what to do next, and wound up spinning my wheels a lot. I’m trying to adopt a philosophy of “I’ll fix it in the second draft!” but it’s not coming easily.
I don’t know what my wordcount is right now, but I’m sure that I’m far behind. It may already be too much for me to get to 50,000. And that’s okay, I’m going to keep working on it anyway. For all my whining about this project, I’ve gotten more actual story written than I have for the space opera setting I’ve been planning for over a year and a half now!
Chapter 2 could be subtitled “In which there is much pointless talking, and very little happens.” Neither me nor my characters knew what to do next, so I wound up writing dialogue as they flailed around trying to figure out what to do. There are a few good moments, but mostly it’s just boring.
NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality. I’m trying to remember that. When I’m done, if I hate it, I’ll fix it in the second draft!
I honestly hadn’t planned to post any more of this, but since I’ve had multiple people ask me when I’m posting the next chapter I may as well. This means, of course, that you have only yourselves to blame. Read on if you dare!
(Or, go back to Chapter 1)
NaNoWriMo update, and Chapter 1
So here we are, near the end of Day Two of NaNoWriMo. I’ve been setting my word count goals at 2,000 words per day, on the theory that this gives me some leeway for when I inevitably screw up.
Right now my word count is just over 5,000. I’m feeling pretty good about that, and taking the rest of the night off to watch classic (or at least old) horror movies with popcorn & beer. I’m going to post the first chapter of my incredibly rough draft here for your reading… er…. for your reading.
I haven’t really found my tone for this book yet. And that’s okay, NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality. So far it’s looking like a sort of fanfic crossover between Discworld and the Dresden Files. I’ve had a lot of fun dreaming up the world these characters live in. This chapter is going to be under the same Creative Commons license all my blog posts are, which means you can share it as long as you take no money, give me credit, and link back here.
This is a real adventure for me. I never learned to write a proper outline, you see, so while I have a few ideas for how things might turn out, I’m really making this up as I go. With only a few exceptions I honestly don’t know what’s foreshadowing and what’s a red herring or just flavor filler.
I don’t know how long I can keep going before I paint myself into a corner, but I have a few ideas for escaping if I get stuck, including radically changing the genre of the book if things get desperate.
Without further ado, here’s the first chapter of my as-yet-unnamed novel. (The footnote might be a little awkward, sorry about that.)