Thursday, October 22, 2009

E-Reads: August '09 eBook Sales Triple Previous August

E-Reads: August '09 eBook Sales Triple Previous August

If you're behind the curve getting into ebooks, you may find Kindle just what you want.

It's designed for people who don't want to mess with a computer or know anything about how it works.

It has a readable screen that looks like paper and feels like you're reading on paper.

And it came out just about at the point where the graph of ebook sales started to go parabolic.

The world is changing whether we want it to or not, so reach up for a handhold on the future.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Toba supervolcano caused genetic bottleneck


Toba super-volcano caused genetic bottleneck

This is a WORLDBUILDING item I ran into while reading a novel (free copy) Death of a Cure by Steven H. Jackson.

This novel is fraught with expository lumps (some disguised as action).

The opening action sequence presupposes the reader is interested in the detailed mechanics of how a Marine doctor could be delivered to a submerged submarine via parachute.

The opening sequence is very like the opening of a James Bond movie, because then it breaks sharply into a mystery about the death of the Marine's brother who was a genetic researcher close to a big cure.

No sooner do you get involved in the characters and the relationship of the Marine (man) with an FBI agent (woman), than suddenly you're reading a primer on evolutionary theory.

It was in that expository lump that I found this one item of theory that I either didn't know or had forgotten totally about.

I became interested in super-volcanos through Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germain novels, one where he nearly witnesses a super-eruption.

I didn't know (or hadn't digested) the implications of this Indonesian eruption on human genetics, but apparently it's quite a bit more famous than the expository lump would indicate.

On this same website is a reference to a book by the same author I think about how during a magnetic pole reversal the Earth's magnetic field doesn't protect us from solar radiation and the result is rapid genetic mutation, ultimately indicated by the sudden rise of totally new species.

Interesting theory.

But I have yet to find anyone discussing the period during which the Earth's magnetic field goes to 0 as it reverses. ALL our electricity (regardless of energy source) depends on turning an armature in the earth's magnetic field. During 0, no electricity. How long would 0 last? I've never seen this discussed.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why science fiction authors just can't win - SFFMedia

Ordinarily I post exercises and writing challenges here, but this is an article I think you should not miss if you're incubating a story in any genre.

Why science fiction authors just can't win - SFFMedia

The genre definitions and rules are changing almost daily and this article shows one of the effects of this change.

See this post and follow links back to the earlier genre discussion.

Kurt Vonnegut was offended by being classed as an SF writer just as Atwood apparently is.

Today SF elements are accepted as mainstream in mainstream and otherwise mundane fiction.

In fact, the cell phone is an SF element now common in daily life. They've found water on the moon and Mars. They're firing a rocket into the moon's surface to kick up enough dust to analyze for water. Find it, and they plan to build a habitat on the moon. OK?

The only thing left for SF writers to explore is relationships with non-humans. That's what SFR and Paranormal Romance does.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg