Archive for November, 2009

ATSOISE – missing in action.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

One of the first places a story of mine appeared was at a site called or ATSOISE (A Tangled Script of Intangible Soul Engravings). This was an odd place for me, but my story fit in well. The writers were an odd mix of interesting people who called themselves The Mad Wordsmiths. The site’s editor and spiritual leader, Mark Kevin Gilbert, died of cancer soon after I first spoke with him.

Without Mark, the remaining Mad Wordsmiths have gone their separate ways and the website was a neglected wreck that appeared and disappeared. I’ve been getting hits on my blog entries where I mention this site. I was curious and tried to find any news, only to discover that the domain name has once more expired.

I put a back-order on the domain and if I get it, I will try to bring back the site. It was an interesting place that dealt with dark fantasy and moody poetry – very gothic, perhaps, but still very well done. I am not an editor – I have proved that, but I would like to try this roll again and with a little patience, perhaps, bring out a few stories.

Happy Birthday Forrest J Ackerman

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

4e, if he were alive (I’m not sure he isn’t), would be 93 today. He was famous as a man who just liked Science Fiction a whole lot. He knew everybody, went to all of the conventions, and everybody liked him.

He had the best collection of science fiction books and memorabilia in history. It is being slowly auctioned off, and I buy a piece or two when it looks like something is going cheap.

Story Sale: Atomjack Magazine

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

I sold my story Nigerian Soul to Adicus Ryan Garton at AtomJack Magazine after 103 days in the slush. I am very happy about this, as it is a good story and sold the first time out.

I am also assuming that J Erwine will include my story Reefs of Jupiter in the upcoming print version of The Martian Wave. He asked for a rewrite, which I asked Erica to do, and the story came out nice and clean. I shipped it off last week.  J has announced that he is working on formatting the magazine. He did not acknowledge the story, but I think it is a slam dunk.

Boy Rescued After Getting Stuck In Chimney

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

It is that time of year. As Christmas approaches, I like to read about people stuck in chimneys. I find a twisted humor in this.

Here is the latest: (this video doesn’t work in my browser, but it may just be a firefox issue)

Boy Rescued After Getting Stuck In Chimney – Las Vegas News Story – KVVU Las Vegas.

How Real does Sci-Fi have to be?

Saturday, November 21st, 2009

There was a discussion about the realness of SF over at one of the Nanowrimo forums. It seems that they read my “Laws Science Fiction” page and I was trashed – the page and me personally.

Also – I wouldn’t worry too much about that website. Personally, I think their “laws” are a load of crap, and that anyone who talks about “laws of writing” in that way should probably go take a hike. :-p

And another:

That website is crappy. Just reading the laws show their ignorance of Science Fiction. I doubt they’ve ever read Asimov.

My own personal opinions are stated clearly in the list of laws, so you might be able to guess what I think about the kind of writing that these people produce.

I imagine that I have sold more stories than everyone on that thread combined. In my brief stint as an editor, I had to read a lot of the stories that these people obviously prefer, and my eyes still hurt when I think about it.

via How real does Sci-Fi have to be? | National Novel Writing Month.


one commentor said:

The web site referenced has some good points to make, but it takes some uncomfortable hard lines on some things.

The author then goes on to describe how his or her novel is about an alien that (in my view) is really a human in a rubber suit. If you want to write about humans. Using SF to hide your true intentions seems like laziness to me. I guess some people find it easier to cast a story in a an sf setting so they will not have to do the hard work of character development and creating believable conflicts and plots.

There was only one criticism to my list of rules that I could buy into. Writing SF is fun so writing a story that breaks all the rules, but is fun to write and read is the only excuse for not following the rules.

This give me the AHA moment and I will add a disclaimer at the end.

100 Free Audio Books You Should Have Read By Now

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Here’s a list of downloadable audio books for your mp3 player. I will start the downloads tonight and load up my ipod.

Most of these are not professionally done, but they are well performed, at least the ones that I just sampled. My only objections is that there is some echo added to a one of the readings to improve the depth of the reading. Echo or reverb goes a long way and should be used very sparingly.

100 Free Audio Books You Should Have Read By Now

Phillip K. Dick Mug

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Hey, I also discovered that I had a store where I actually designed a Phillip K. Dick T-Shirt and Mug. I checked the sales figures and I even sold a few, although CafePress sits on the cash until you reach some very high minimum.

Phillip K. Dick Mug

Speculative Fiction Stencils

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

I’ve came across a bunch of stuff that I had at some of the domains that I let slide. I used to have a bunch of domains that I had ideas about using, but I am letting a few of them expire.

One of the domains had some media oriented projects like the stencils I made of Speculative Fiction Authors. I saved these and now they are on this website.

Here’s Ray Bradbury and Lovecraft:

Speculative Fiction Stencils

100 million cores by 2018

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

There is an article in Computer World about the future of super computers. They are talking about Exaflop systems.

Rudy Rucker, in his Software/Wetware books, discussed the future of computation and he felt that Teraflop machines would be common in the 2020s. Currently the fastest machines are Petaflop supercomputers.

The next highest step, Exaflop or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s 18 zeros) floating point calculations per second is due around 2018.

No matter who you ask, an Exaflop exceeds the computing power of a human brain. Of course these super computers won’t be programmed to emulate a human brain, but they will be given problems that human genius cannot solve just by thinking.

The article talks about the Energy Department using this computer for Grid control and possibly designing an Atomic Fusion power generator. (This on the day it was announced that we are running out of Uranium for fission reactors.)

The computers will be used for the very complicated systems computing used to predict weather, but I think that analysis of the human genome and the modeling of human biology with the idea of curing disease will be important. The computer will be capable of designing billions of possible drugs and then testing them on genetic models refining the results so that shortly after these Exaflop computers appear there will be cures for all diseases.

2018, by the way, is right in line with estimates for the Singularity. I want to believe!

Supercomputers with 100 million cores coming by 2018.

Max is at the Vet

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

My cat Max crashed today. He couldn’t stand up and was really scary looking. We too him to the vet. He’s on all kinds of medication for his bad thyroid. We’ve been careful to make sure he eats and he has gained weight.

He is dehydrated now. They are giving him ringers to rehydrate him and he will probably feel better almost immediately, but we have to leave him at the vet for a day or two. Max hates the vet.

I hope we can address the underlying cause of the dehydration. This was very frightening. I though that we were going to lose him and he’s not out of the woods, yet.

Never-before-seen ‘Star Trek’ pilot found

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

An alternate Star Trek pilot has surfaced. The first Trek pilot was rejected. Roddenberry made another, much of which made it into a later episode.

The video is odd and choppy, especially the opening credits, but it is fun to see how Trek evolved as it was being created.

Never-before-seen ‘Star Trek’ pilot found – The Live Feed | THR.

reincarnation (twice!), nazis, twist ending

Saturday, November 14th, 2009 has a Twitter alternative that can be used in conjunction with Twitter,  but seems to be designed for more serious information sharing.

Adicus Ryan Garton at Atomjack magazine has been these “dents” (as opposed to tweets) to post his rejections. I know because I have been waiting with bated breath for my reject.

I enjoyed the following rejection notice: rejected:  reincarnation (twice!), nazis, twist ending.

I guess that the writer did not heed my No Nazis law on this site.

I like this. I will watch for my notice to come up – It will read: Reject: Robots, nigerian scam, teleogy, numerous typos.

93 days and waiting. Adicus can’t be recording all of them – just the doozies.

via atomjackmagazine timeline.

Waiting for rejects

Friday, November 13th, 2009

I have two stories waiting. One of them has been out for 92 days. Three months is a long time to sit in the slush. I think that I might have sold this story three or four times by now, but I chose a venue that had all of its editors quit a while ago and it is taking a long time for the one reader left to work through the pile. Reports have it that the reader is rejecting stories that are about 95 days in the slush so that I might hear before the end of the weekend. I am walking on thin eggs (as Jim’s Mom was fond of saying).

The other story is at a site where I heard that the editor has just cleaned out the slush so my story is one of the next he’ll read. This story has been sitting around for a while because I needed to punch it up. I tried to make it stronger, but it is not a slam dunk. I hope the editor doesn’t hate it, even if it is not accepted.

I have one other story almost ready to go out. It has a slow spot in the middle that I need to rewrite, but my boss is wandering around like Hamlet’s Ghost, so I can’t work on it. Maybe next week I can find time. If one of the two stories out is a sale, I will be encouraged to work on the nearly done story.

Outbound Click Tracker – WordPress Plugin

Friday, November 13th, 2009

I released, with some stumbling, my wordpress plugin to track outbound clicks. This lets me know where people go when they leave the site. It’s like the myBlogLog, only I get to see the stats in real time for free and I can even create some more interesting reports and I will add them to the plugin when they are working correctly. It is nice to see all of my readers leaving the site when they click on ebay links.

When I first released it, I accidentally copied another plugin to the WordPress site and the first 4 people to download it got the wrong plugin. That’s all right because I think that on the first day there are mostly robots downloading the code. I don’t know why this is. I corrected the problem almost immediately.

At the same time I released the 1.2 update to my Permalinks Finder plugin (hence the confusion). I made a mistake in the permalinks finder code and had to re-release it with an enhancement that I was still debugging. Luckily it still works, but the extra enhancements aren’t described in the documentation. It is a nice fortune cookie for anyone who actually needs the extra feature.

As you can see, I am an advocate of “Agile Coding” methodology, and I always have trouble in environments where I have to go through boring ocde reviews and beta releases. I like to throw caution to the wind, let the chips fall where they may, and let sleeping cliches lie.

These updates have been in the works for weeks, but things are hectic here. I have three more plugins to release. One is the eBay store widget and another is the amazon random display widget (which by default shows the last 50 hugo award winning novels). When things settle down and people the 9th floor starts finding new jobs, I will have time to polish these up and get them out there for people to download.

I have a plugin that displays a random Beatles verse. I have a feeling though that WordPress will kill it because it violates copyright laws.