Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Friday, April 16, 2010

How Writers and Artists Work

Here is short but amusing collection of tidbits: a graphical image from Lapham's Quarterly, showing where and how some well-known writers and artists work. There are only a few noted, so I'll mention one:

Edith Wharton wrote in bed until noon, tossing her pages on the floor for a secretary to pick up and transcribe.

For the rest go here to learn how writers and artists work.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

Physicist: Watch Your Quantum Step, Writers

By way of The End of the Universe: a physicist, Sidney ­Perkowitz, a professor of physics at Emory University, prayerfully suggests that writers, especially screenwriters, violate physics no more than once per script. Dude, are we supposed to FTL ourselves to a distant galaxy and then use picks, shovels and Winchesters to kick out the space aliens there? Oh...we are. Okay, noted.

Especially egregious and offensive was Angels and Demons, according to this related Guardian (UK) article:

"The amount of antimatter they had [to blow the Vatican to Kingdom Come] was more than we will make in a million years of running a high-energy particle collider," said Perkowitz. "You can't contain it using an iPod battery."

That offends even me. They could've used flashlight batteries or a car battery. Sheesh. (And I like Tom Hanks, but isn't there someone else to play professorial adventurers (who is not Sean Connery)?)

Seriously, folks, I like mundane SF (another term badly needed), which doesn't violate any present laws of physics. Those stories are closer to home and have more realistic protags and bad guys, rather than the Gothic figures we're grown accustomed to. But I liked Angels and Demons and Avatar, too, even though my BS meter pegged the red zone several times in each.

A humble suggestion to Professor Perkowitz: watch a few adventure movies. It is not uncommon to see someone leap from a roof down a couple of stories and manage to grab onto a ledge, or leap from speeding car roof to speeding car roof...etc. Don't get me started on video games....

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jay Lake's Novel-Publishing Time Line

By way of PW's Genreville blog is writing machine Jay Lake's novel publishing time line, from his perspective and the publisher's perspective.

I have a problem with this Jay:

Months 1-2 — I draft a book.
Months 3-4 — I redraft the book.

We're talking a full-length novel, right? Not a flash novel? Here's my time line:

Months 1-2: It were a dork and starmy night.
Months 3-4: It was a dark and stormy night.
Months 5-6: Try to come up with an idea....

I also have a problem with this:

Month 11 — Agent issues acceptance check to me, less commission.

What agent? Sigh.

Jay illustrates well why it takes so long for a novel to go from the first peck on the Royal to a bookseller putting the book on the wrong shelf. He also explains why he doesn't self-publish, even though some argue that he could make more money going that path. It's a good read.

Go here to see Jay Lake's Flash Fiction Online story.

Bonus via Kathy: British UFOs! (CNN covered it but The Guardian didn't. Hmmm.)

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Writing Novels vs. Working at McDonalds

Here's a short humor piece from The Rumpus about the so-called business of writing novels. Because the piece is so short, I won't say much. Suffice it to say that writing novels for a non-living is only slightly better than working for McDonalds.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Banned Phrases from 2009

By way of my friend, Kathy, is a Time Magazine (online) list of banned words and phrases from 2009 that you should consider not using. In literature, we call tired old plots tropes. This list has ten words or phrases that are the conversational tropes of 2009. The Times list comes from Lake Superior State University's list, where trope-masters give more background on the selections.

In the list, of course, is the use of Obama as a prefix, such as in obamanomics. My favorite (meaning, I desperately hope it goes away soon), is the use of friend as a verb. That's just wrong. Sad to say, it won't go away until Facebook goes away.

The most obnoxious one that I've never heard in my deep forest cabin is chillaxin', a combination of chillin' and relaxin'. I hope that goes away before I hear it in the wild.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

What to Say to Writer Friends

If your friend is Stephen King, this post is not for you. This post is for friends of a fledgling writer (whose first book was not a best seller), especially those working on their first book. Best sellers add a shield of invulnerability to the writer.

If you made it through that maze of hurdles, get a life. (Just kidding.) Here is a humorous blog post for friends of writers with two or fewer non-fiction or fiction works under their belt. The bloggist, Michael Melcher, offers advice about what to say and what not to say to a fledgling writer friend. He is a lawyer, so I won't copy much of his work here.

Okay, I'll risk a little bit of his advice:

  • It's okay to say: “I just ordered my copy and can’t wait to read it.”
  • It's not okay to say: "You should try to be an Oprah pick!"

I'll add a few things not to say:

  • How much did you make? Truthful answer: if unsold, a net loss of $75.00 for expenses. If sold, $0.15/hour, not including time stalking agents.
  • Is that character me? Truthful answer: you're too boring to be in any book. Or, yes, that's why I haven't sold it, yet.
  • Who did you sleep with to get it published? Truthful answer: Ouch. No dignified comeback possible for that one.
  • When is the movie coming out? Truthful answer: When Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard end their bidding war for it [begin mumbling] which will happen soon after they begin it.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lamest Tech of the Decade

Here is a retrospective of what Technologizer considers the 87 worst tech screw-ups of 2000-2009. Why 87? They probably ran out of time. One hundred would have been more authoritative.

If you're old enough, you might guess that Windows Me would be there, and you won't be disappointed. Sony gets a black eye for their CD copy protection system that could be defeated by marking the CD with a black magic marker. For the rest, go here. (There are five pages.)

Posting here may get thin during the holidays. Have a nice one.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Space Travel Weasel-Physics in Movies & TV

Satellite Internet has a nice, concise piece with good movie pics about 'Ten Ways Space Travel Isn’t Like Television or the Movies.' Some movie weasel-physics and sociological mistakes are obvious (but still abused in the movies). One was particularly interesting, the affect on the human body of unprotected exposure to space. Do not try this at home:

...Thanks to Henry’s Law the drastic change in pressure would cause all the liquid in your body to evaporate at once, from your saliva to your blood to your urine. Because of this, your body expands to about twice its size, while you slip into unconsciousness (don’t worry, the whole process takes about fifteen seconds). Within a few minutes all the liquids and vapors remaining in your body will be sucked out into the void, leaving a dried husk of a corpse behind....

And we all know this, but it bears repeating since it is so ignored in movies, as it's quite an inconvenience for movie making: aliens don't speak any Earth language or any language that would be easily understood.

Go to the article for the rest of the movie trespasses and the nice pictures.

Here are a few that were not included in that article:

11. Space aliens probably don't go ga-ga over Earthling blonde women. They might even be repulsed by them...except Marilyn Monroe, of course.

12. If you have a replicator, why can't you make anything vital, including dilithium crystals for your warp engines when you're stranded?

13. And speaking of replicators: if you can make Saurian brandy and practically anything out of a Betty Crocker's Cookbook, wouldn't operation of the machine be a little more complicated than a microwave oven? They're way smarter than the ship's battle and navigation computers.

14. Space aliens probably wouldn't side with children over their parents.

15. They probably wouldn't come all the way to Earth just to snag a whale. They'd want some booty.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amazing Interstellar Travel Method

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has revealed an amazing method of interstellar travel first proposed in 1998 by Dr. Robert Metzger, physicist and SF writer. Dr. Metzger dubbed his scheme the take it with you plan. You must read the article to get all the gory details, but to summarize: you use the sun as an engine using advanced third-law-of-motion techniques to scoot the star along. Naturally, the sun will drag along the rest of the solar system with him. So instead of deciding whether to take your lucky ball cap or your teddy bear on your life's journey, you take everything.

Some details of this solar scooter technology are still in the making. Warning: there is some arithmetic in the article.

As if that were not enough for one post, Dr. Metzger also gives some news you can use about fusion, strange sightings, fuel-less orbital boost, turb0-evolution and table-top black holes.


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jim Hines' SF/F Humor Roundup: 2009

SF/Fantasy/Humor author Jim Hines started a list of humorous SF/F fiction published in 2009, including short fiction and novels. How can I explain why he did this? Um, I don't need to; Jim explained just fine:

Humor tends not to be taken seriously, and rarely makes the award ballots. It’s a shame, because humor can be as powerful, popular, and flat-out good as any other story.

Jim Hines' humor list includes a story first published at Flash Fiction Online by Rod M. Santos, "I Foretold You So." You'll recognize many other names on the list, including Mike Resnick, Nancy Fulda, Cory Doctorow, Terry Pratchett, and Jim Hines.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NASA's Ares I-X Launch Success


From NASA's blog: NASA's Ares I-X test rocket lifted off at 11:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a two-minute powered flight. The flight test lasted about six minutes from its launch from the newly modified Launch Pad 39B until splashdown of the rocket's booster stage nearly 150 miles downrange.



Now, Flash Fiction Online readers and writers are naturally skeptical, especially after a reader's anonymous tip led to the moon landing controversy, which NASA had to defend. However, Yours Truly personally viewed the launch from about 30 miles south of the Cape. I can attest that the Ares I-X flight had substantial vertical and eastward vectors. As a Fair Witness, I can say it left from somewhere (Titusville, Florida area), but I cannot confirm that it arrived anywhere, as that leg of the flight was beyond unenhanced human vision from my viewing location.

However, I haven't taken our meds in a while and we are very, very confused. Ohh, shiny!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Day the Internet Died

Yesterday we had a story about YA apocalyptic fiction. Today's post is about another sort of apocalypse, the day the Internet died. How would people react if the whole network of networks collapsed and couldn't be rebuilt for a lifetime? No doubt, many would feel a deep loss or disabling disorientation. Many avid readers and writers would feel like they couldn't function. Many personal relationships that existed only through Internet connections would collapse with the Internet, with the people involved having no way to find out who was behind that screen name or goofy email address.

Cracked.com asked for Photoshopped pictures that would illustrate how we would react if the Internet died. I found this by way of SlashDot.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amusing Graphical Look At Twist Endings

Here is an amusing graphical representation of twist endings, plays in this case. Across the top of the graphic are various story ending types, such as deus ex machina, or story elements, such as a MacGuffin. Across the left side are various genres. The title is "Harvet Ismuth's 42 Essential 3rd Act Twists." This was produced by Internet cartoonist Dresden Codak, a pseudonym for Aaron Diaz (which could be confused with the Latin singer/actor of the same name). Codak also has a one off Caveman Science Fiction cartoon.

Bonus: rhetorical piece about the future of traditional book publishing, on the Galleycat blog of Media Bistro.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slashed to death? An Apology from the Web Gods

How many times have you cursed the web gods when your browser went astray after you mangled the web address/URL by omitting the two slashes (strokes) or using the accursed backslashes? How many times have you had to take a cough drop after telling someone a URL: "it's ach tee tee pee colon backslash backslash...no, freakin' Microsoft...that's forward slash forward slash gee oh oh gee ell ee dot cee oh em....What, you want me to repeat it? That's ach tee tee colon forward slash....forget it.

Modern browsers have helped by automatically inserting the slashes/strokes, but they still lower our "user experience."

One of the top web gods would like to apologize for the web URL slashes. The slashes/strokes weren't really needed. Sorry about that. (Give the guy a break. As the Australian IT article suggest, the guy invented the world wide web and deserves a Nobel Prize.)

It's good that he's a Brit. If he were an American, we'd be suffering from constant class action suit commercials on the television.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Anniversaries: Twilight Zone and Monty Python

There are two anniversaries this month: the fiftieth anniversary of Twilight Zone and the fortieth anniversary of Monty Python. They're both speculative fiction, right? TZ obviously is. MP has angry Frenchmen catapulting cows over a castle wall at Englishmen. That's speculative, right? Here's a silly tourist tossing a cow from Duone Castle on Monty Python Day.

TZ, the American classic TV show, has been in first-run or reruns nearly continuously for fifty years. It is the inventor of many a trope that annoys fiction editors these days, but inspires new writers and amuses others. See the Jar of Tang writing trope at the SFWA.org's Turkey City Lexicon article, and check the "surprise or twist ending" section in Strange Horizon's excellent Stories We've Seen Too Often article.

Monty Python is a generic term for a the British too-funny television series and movies. They are an excellent distraction from writing or reading. Oh, you're from Mars and never heard of it? Here's the Dead Parrot Sketch. The text is good, but you must see/hear John Cleese and Michael Palin performing the sketch.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ig Nobel Prizes for 2009

The Ig Nobel Prize for 2009 winners have been announced. The Public Health Prize winner was the inventor of a brassier that can be converted--in an emergency more dangerous than not wearing a bra--into two gas masks.

But my favorite is the Physics Prize for determining why pregnant women don't tip over. A close second is the Literature Prize to the Irish police service, for issuing tickets to the greatest traffic offender in Ireland, Prawo Jazdy; the Irish police are a little red-faced because that means Driving License in Polish.

The Peace Prize was just stupid: research to determine if conking someone over the head with a filled bottle of beer was a more dangerous than an empty bottle. (I claim the Philosophy Prize for considering whether a half-empty or half-full bottle is more dangerous.)

See Ig Nobel Prizes for 2009 for more prizes, and the names and nationality of the winners.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quantum Mechanics in Football

Here is some astounding science news that may rock the way naive science fiction writers approach quantum mechanics in their mundane SF stories. The Onion has reported how NFL physicists proved that quantum mechanics affects (American) football:

Citing the extremely low level of entropy present before a normal set of football downs, scientists from the NFL's quantum mechanics and cosmology laboratories spoke Monday of a theoretical proto-down before the first. "Ultimately, we believe there are an infinite number of proto-downs played before the first visible snap,...."

Here is the rest of The Onion's quantum mechanical football story.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

National Punctuation Day: It Came/Went; We Missed It.

September 24 was National Punctuation Day. Dang'it'all; I missed it. The web site has basic punctuation information and gruesome photographs of public punctuation errors (and basic grammar errors that they couldn't pass up) on signage. My favorite: Danger: Explosive Dog Training in Progress. Poor dogs. It would seem that the poor apostrophe is the most abused mark.

Here is an article about the man who started National Punctuation Day.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dan Brown Plot Generator

Dan Brown is in a love-to-hate crowd I wish I were in, which includes Stephen King, Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling, among others. I don't care to participate in the discussions that boil down to, yeah s/he sells millions, but s/he can't write. (I do enjoy it when one in this elite crowd criticizes another.)

(There has to be a) but...this is funny: a Dan Brown sequel generator. You select a bustling or history-soaked city and a scheming group (like the mafia, U.S. Postal Service, or Boy Scouts of America) and more quickly than lightning strikes on a dark and stormy night, you have a plot to a sequel.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Web Trend: Charge for Premium Content

We've had several posts about online media services, particularly newspapers, struggling with finding a viable business model. The Wall Street Journal and others likely will start charging for "premium content." Derivative services like Media Bistro have taken this approach as well. Now, one of the top blogs, Ars Technica, will begin charging for premium content (about $50/year).

In line with this trend, this blog will begin charging $0.05 per century, payable at the end of the century. It's on an honor system.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What TV Shows Are Space Aliens Watching?

FFO's KayTi posted a link at the Hatrack writers' site to a blog that posts unusual maps, called Strange Maps. One of the maps shows what television shows would now be arriving at various points in the galaxy. They have over 400 maps, now, with a book coming out soon.

The first map shows the "Hospital districts for insane in Pennsylvania." Here is the Space Alien TV Guide (What's on Earth Tonight?). A sampling of the other maps includes:


Bonus!: a site that shows how to make a flat-Earth globe and has lots of map-related links.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Funny Quotes from NPR

Some writers use interesting quotes as triggers for a story theme or story title. NPR (U.S.: National Public Radio), reports via their blog on a collection of quotes from If Ignorance Is Bliss, Why Aren't There More Happy People? by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson. Here are a few quotes that NPR cited:

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other 10 percent a bad reputation.
— Henry Kissinger

A politician is a statesman who approaches every question with an open mouth.
— Adlai Stevenson

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich by promising to protect each from the other.
— Oscar Ameringer

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Greatest Hoaxes in History

No moon-landing jokes. The Telegraph (UK) compiled photos and brief explanations of various hoaxes in history, including faerie corpses and (cough) the Taco Liberty Bell. I doubt these are the greatest by a long shot, but they have pictures.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sob Story: Why a Broken Heart Really Hurts

"Sob Story "

Brad Mondopecks took Marla Sobinski by her quivering shoulders. "I want ya. I need ya. Ain't no way I'm ever gonna love ya. But two outta three ain't bad, baby."

Marla's eyes welled up with tears. "My mu-opioid receptor genes really hurt, now."

"Baby, your social attachment system may have borrowed some of the mechanisms of your pain system to maintain social connections."

Marla looked up at Brad's square jaw, and socked it. "They still hurt anyway, you [censored]."

The End

Yes, your broken heart really does hurt. To find out the connection between physical pain and social pain, go to this The Telegraph (UK) article on social pain.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Quantum Flux Causes Everything! (The Onion)

I thought it was funny when The Onion was bought by the Chinese [that issue], but now they're making fun of science fiction. They've gone too far! Blast 'em with quantum flux. What is quantum flux? It does everything and explains everything in this typical science fiction novel:

In Fournier's novel, the idea that particles of energy can appear suddenly out of nowhere is used to explain events that might otherwise seem random, such as how a starship achieves light speed despite the total destruction of its engines in battle, why a loyal first officer suddenly decides to spy on behalf of the aliens who murdered his family, and what became of the security captain whose Southern accent was getting annoying to work with.

Listen here, The Onion, I've invented something for my new novel that will blast you so far into another time and place you'll never get back: quantum acid reflux. You don't want to be on the wrong end of that.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Space vs. Earth Chess Match

A great drama is nearing a conclusion: the Space vs. Earth chess match. The honor of Earth is on the line. A terrible day it would be if Earth--who invented the game somewhere during the imperial quakes of the early middle ages--should lose to spacemen. Here's the situation: the International Space Station was invaded by an expatriate Earthling chess player, Greg Chamitoff, who has wrangled a chess game of honor with Earthling elementary school children. Earth's honor rests on children's shoulders because of this diabolical match. The only saving grace is that the children may select four candidate moves and let all of Earth vote on which to use. I pray Earth is using all of her supercomputers, networked together, to select the best of the four children's moves. (I'm not certain, but I think the ISS has only a Commodore 64 at its disposal.)

The spaceman's goons at NASA and the U.S. Chess federation set up this match. Here is NASA's announcement of the Earth vs. Space chess match. Here is the U.S. Chess Federation's reporting of the current tactical situation in the game. Here are the moves of the game. Yours Truly has some hope for Earth. She is up two pawns and it seems that her queen rook pawn's threat of promotion to a queen will force the spaceman's king away from defending his pawns from an overwhelming force of Earth's pawns.

Arr!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Onion Now a Chinese Newspaper?

Oh dear, America has lost another of its great newspapers. The Onion is now a Chinese-run newspaper. You'll notice subtle changes, such as this article: "Internet Adds 12th Website." Here is the opening of that story:

BEIJING—The World Wide Web, a device used solely for the enrichment of the nation and the advancement of lasting social stability, gained another website for the convenience of its users Monday, bringing the current number of existing Internet destinations to 12. SeedStore.com, the latest site to burst into cyberspace after taking the Public Pledge On Self-Discipline, offers users a variety of quality flower....

Oh, dear.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Blob that Ate the North Slope

We don't get a lot of Alaska Daily News stories here at FFO, but we're always glad to. This story was reported by ADN, of course, but also Boing Boing, SlashDot and many others. It is too B-movie-ish not to report it at FFO.

There is a large blob of "arctic goo" floating in the cold waters off of Barrow. Here's what it isn't: oil/petroleum. It does seem organic but not too threatening. No one in area recalls such an event in the past, so they're anxiously awaiting test results from goo samples. Boing Boing said that the blob ate a bird, but FFO does not have confirmation from the bird's relatives. So put that in the rumor category.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Is Blogging Dead?

This is my first real-time blog post. As I'm writing this, I'm reading a Mashable article about the future of blogging. Already, the author, Mr. Steve Rubel, has wondered if blogging is dead. If that is the case then, I might not finish this post because, well, if blogging is dead, what would be the point of flogging a dead blog, right? So if I just stop like

<-that, then you may infer that blogging is dead and you should spend more time tweeting. So, I'll read a little more now...still alive...still alive...has to evolve or succumb to Darwinism...doesn't sound good...oh, I could be syndicated!...or not. I'm not in a blog network; might be doomed. Ew! I might merge with a journalist. And there's a complicated diagram; I hope there's not a test. Ew! There's stuff about connective tissue in the future-of-blogging diagram. Sounds like Borg issues. A join the continuum Borg blog?

What a minute! The article stopped without a definite yes/no answer. Did blogging just die? Let me check...no, they want you to add more ideas to the blog diagram to help save blogging. OK, I suggest that bloggers be paid huge sums out of national coffers. That would save it for sure.

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Car Review on a Writing Site? Why, oh, Why?

I first saw reference to this Bugatti car-review article on Wired by way of SlashDot. It is a review of their new billionaire's club Veyron sports car that has a top speed of 245 MPH and acceleration to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds. You'd have to sell quite a few short stories to purchase one: $2.1 million. That's about $2000 per horsepower (8 liter, 1001 horsepower).

What's interesting about the article is the writing, which praises the amazing road performance of the car while an undercurrent flows that humorously rips Bugatti (owned by Volkswagen) for building the car.

The acceleration is so immediate you can feel your eyeballs deform under the G-forces. It's a sensation of isolationist joy, an out-of-body awareness that you're moving faster than the world can react. Bystanders vaguely remember seeing a flash of expensive paint a few seconds after you disappear over the horizon; entire generations of insects die on your prow. Passing other motorists becomes a dangerous entitlement that has you resenting oncoming traffic for hogging your "VIP lane" -- especially when you realize that you can outrun not only the 5-0's cruisers, but their helicopters, too....
It required the intellectual might of one of the largest and arguably smartest car companies in the world to birth a car that was not only faster than anything on the road, but easy enough to pilot that anyone could drive it. ("It killed my husband" is not the kind of country-club buzz that sells cars.)

I think at $2.1 million, they could have spent a few more microseconds coming up with a name for the car. Maybe give each owner a unique name or his car. (Yeah, this is a boy's toy.)

If you should meet an owner and feel pissy, I suggest these insults:

  • It's a Volkswagen, dude.
  • Where's the cupholder?

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest 2009 Results

It was a dark and stormy night, and while the vampires where out, prowling, howling like werewolves on a hot tin roof, totally unaware of the shenanigans in Congress that would take away their retirement benefits like a thief in the night, the...um...if forgot where I was going with this...oh, yeah, the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest results for 2009 are in like butter on bread.

The winner is David McKenzie from Federal Way, Washington. Here is the start to his entry:

"Folks say that if you listen real close at the height of the full moon, when the wind is blowin' off Nantucket Sound from the nor' east and the dogs are howlin' for no earthly reason, you can hear the awful screams of the crew of the "Ellie May,...."

To see the rest of this winning entry and the runner-up, go here. There are also many genre category winners and runners up ("dishonorable mentions"), including science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance and others. Here is the start of the fantasy winner:

"A quest is not to be undertaken lightly--or at all!--pondered Hlothgar, Thrag of the Western Boglands, son of Glothar, nephew of Garthol, known far and wide as Skull Dunker, as he wielded his chesty stallion Hralgoth through...."

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Truth about Writers

This guy has some odd ideas about writers. He seems to think they waste a lot of time, so that by the end of the day, they've only done an hour or two of real work. That's just insulting. I read the first paragraph of the article and had to go for a walk before I read the next, to blow off some steam. The walk was tiring, so I *had* to stop at a coffee shop...research. By then, the morning was shot because of that guy, so I went to lunch. After lunch, I read the second paragraph, and that really ticked me off.

He ruined practically my whole workday. So now that my day job is over, I'll really be in a foul mood when I go home tonight to do some writing.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Crop Circles Finally Explained

Wallabies make crop circles, according to BBC News. They wander into legal (medicinal) poppy fields in Tasmania, get stoned, and then wander about in circles. Sheep have shown the same tendencies.

However, FFO is not afraid of the truth and will ask what the BBC reporter dared not ask: can you prove they weren't space alien wallabies, hmm?

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tiny Microbes to Take over Box Offices?

From Science Daily: tiny microbes that have been frozen in glacial ice were warmed up very slowly (over nearly a year's time) and now have begun to replicate. The idea behind this is that these antique microbes that are up 1/50th the size of E. coli, may give clues to extraterrestrial life, since some space aliens are stuck with really crappy planets. That's why they're always coming here (in movies) to our verdant planet and trying to take over Washington, DC, even though Venice would provide more water habitats and hiding places.

For the writers, here are 224 titles of extraterrestrial-themed movies, if you want to mine this story and that list for a new story ideas.

I did mention E. coli. Here is a list of eco-horror films.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flash Non-Fiction: Warpships

Do you have a guilty pleasure in reading or writing faster-than-light (FTL) SF stories? Here is something to take the edge off your guilt.

Dr. Richard Obousy, a physicist with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from Leicester and Baylor, has looked at some avenues for FTL travel and has made some buzz with a diversity of publications, such as Discovery Channel (online), EE Times (Electrical Engineering), Science Daily and, most importantly, FlashFictionOnline.com. Here is Obousy's warp drive summary from his web site, but I'll go with the Discovery Channel explanation because (this is a bit technical) they have pretty pictures.

In a nutshell, the idea is to harness the sizable dark energy in the universe to distort spacetime in the vicinity of your warp-drive ship.

...the extra dimensions as predicted by superstring theory could be shrunk and expanded by the warp drive through manipulation of local dark energy. At the front of the warpship spacetime would be compressed, and it would expand behind.

That's how I'd do it. Here is an interview that preceded the above-linked slide show article.

FFO Skeptic's Report: to be fair, I've found a completely unqualified skeptic (moi), to give balance to this article: dark matter and dark energy are the asterisks attending quantum mechanics that should scare the pants or skirt off theorists. Enough said.

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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Twitpocalypse Now

Captain and intelligence officer Ben Willard wiped the gin from his chin as two superior army officers arrived at his hotel room to deliver him to a new, dangerous mission.

"Where are you inserting me?" said Willard.

One of the officers looked at his iPhone to get his instructions.

"Oh, dear me," said the war-weary officer, since FFO is a family magazine.

"What?" said Willard, who was always suspicious of higher officers.

"The message is coded...YAJL. I wonder what that means."

"Lemme look," said Willard. He snatched the iPhone and gasped. "That's no code. It's the twitpopcalypse! We're doomed."

To be continued...maybe.

The twitpopcalypse (which is incredibly difficult to type without error) has affected some twitter clients. In geekspeak, the unique number assigned to each tweet recently exceeded the range of unsigned 32-bit integers...the number of tweets got too big. Considering the little time the twittersphere has been with us, its popularity far exceeded the software developer's expectation. According to this twitpopcalypse article, the fix is easy but some users will be tweetless for a short time.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mark Twain Assassinates James Fenimore Cooper

You can say a lot about Mark Twain, but you can't say he doesn't have an opinion. Here is a literary assassination in Twain's Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses. As you would expect of Twain, it is full of wit and fun to read in its own right, but it has little mercy for Cooper. A few quotes:

Twain lists the offenses, but here is the lead-in:

There are nineteen rules governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction -- some say twenty-two. In "Deerslayer," Cooper violated eighteen of them.

Bless you[r] heart, Cooper hadn't any more invention than a horse; and don't mean a high-class horse, either; I mean a clothes-horse.

If Cooper had any real knowledge of Nature's ways of doing things, he had a most delicate art in concealing the fact. For instance: one of his acute Indian experts, Chingachgook (pronounced Chicago, I think), has lost the trail of a person he is tracking through the forest. Apparently that trail is hopelessly lost. Neither you nor I could ever have guessed the way to find it. It was very different with Chicago. Chicago was not stumped for long. He turned a running stream out of its course, and there, in the slush in its old bed, were that person's moccasin tracks. The current did not wash them away, as it would have done in all other like cases -- no, even the eternal laws of Nature have to vacate when Cooper wants to put up a delicate job of woodcraft on the reader.

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Space-y News

Two items by way of SlashDot.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE is not for sissies. You can win $30 million. That's good. But you have to land a robot craft on the lunar surface where it must travel 500 meters over the lunar surface, and send images and data back to the Earth. Here's the not-for-sissies part: teams must be at least 90% privately funded. Ouch.

The slashdot article writer also pointed out concern that the artifacts of human landing on the moon (such as Neil Armstrong's footprints) should be preserved. There is another prize for photographs of human artifacts on the moon. [Is this NOT a hint that it was all a hoax. Sheesh.]

Zero Gravity Wedding: this will be a near-space event, but will be at zero-gravity. The link is a personal wedding blog, but is different. It even has a press kit. "The weightless experience" will be provided by Zero G Corp, via a parabolic flight.

You heard it here first! The Flash Fiction Online Faster-than-Light Wedding Prize: we offer a $5 (U.S., Canadian or Australian dollars, we don't care) for the first wedding to be performed in a spaceship going faster-than-light. I haven't approved this with Jake, the editor-in-chief, so I'll front the money in the meantime.

The small print for the FTL wedding prize: no zeros to the prize money are explicitly stated or implied. It is $5 (five dollars) in 2009 or future dollars, whichever has the least purchasing power. To save postage, the prize will be paid via PayPal. The prize may be collected ONLY ONE TIME! No going back in time through black holes or flying around the planet real fast to collect the prize multiple times. The total payout will be $5, tops. Once the time-certified 5$ is paid out, it is gone. No tricks, please.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hugo Ballot

We've already reported who is on the Hugo ballot, and made mention of some we're pulling for:

  • “Article of Faith” by Mike Resnick (Mike has published with Flash Fiction Online)
  • “Evil Robot Monkey” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Her story is a flash fiction piece)

We're hoping for a first-ever tie. If you're curious what the ballot looks like, you'll find it here. If you're handy with HTML, you could mock up a form and impress your friends (for a short while):







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    Friday, April 17, 2009

    NASA Kicked Colbert in his Asymmetrical Seating System?

    I've ignored this story for some time, but now it has concluded. NASA won't name the new International Space Station module after comedian Steve Colbert, the top choice in the unwise attempt to select a name through public voting. They had to go to the eighth entry in the grotesque list to find "Tranquility," after the Apollo 11 landing site, Sea of Tranquility:


    • COLBERT
    • MYYEARBOOK
    • GAIA
    • XENU
    • SOCIALVIBE
    • BUDDY
    • UBUNTU
    • TRANQUILITY
    • SYNERGY
    • VISION

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    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    I (strike that) We are an Ecosystem

    We might not be amused, but we are not singular, according to Seed Magazine. We don't need to get all puffed up, though. We are full to the brim with critters. We are so profoundly filled with symbiotic bacteria that (who?) have jacked a ride with us that we are an ecosystem. A new area of medicine and biology has emerged to study the microbiome.

    They are not simply random squatters, but organized communities that evolve with us and are passed down from generation to generation. Through research that has blurred the boundary between medical and environmental microbiology, we’re beginning to understand that because the human body constitutes their environment, these microbial communities have been forced to adapt to changes in our diets, health, and lifestyle choices. Yet they, in turn, are also part of our environments, and our bodies have adapted to them. Our dinner guests, it seems, have shaped the very path of human evolution.

    Okay, get your Royals out and a brand new ribbon and start your stories. Here are some titles to get you started: We Are Not Alone, Aliens Within, The March of the Microbiome, Plan 9 from Inner Self, The Day My Spleen Stood Still, Close Encounters of the Bacterial Kind, Logan's Run to the Men's Room, Mary Shelley's Frankenmicrobiome, We Are Legend, Incredible Bacterial Hulk, Hellmicrobe, and my personal favorite, Soylent Green Bacteria.

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    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    Poor Lost Little Robot

    An experiment: will strangers in New York City's Washington Square Park nudge a helpless little robot (a tweenbot) in the right direction along its way from one corner of the 10-acre park to the opposite corner? Possible potholes in this quest: potholes (of course), curbs, benches, trees, helpful but direction-challenged strangers, vandals, critters (including children), angry robot monkeys, etc. Kacie Kinzer's project web page includes a video of helpful strangers.

    There must be a flash fiction story here. Get busy.

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    Wednesday, April 8, 2009

    UFO Prank or Area 51 Cover-Up

    Some folks think that tying flares to balloons and sending them aloft of April 1 is a public nuisance. They claim that this was a UFO hoax and was responsible for many emergency 9-1-1 calls. But I think the public service punishment meted out to the pranksters was unjust. Here are the mitigating circumstances:

    • it happened in New Jersey. (No, please...just a joke to rile Jake, the editor-in-chief.)
    • the pranksters could have been under the control of aliens. (Prove it ain't so!)
    • this could have been a deep gambit by the Area 51 community to inoculate the public against events that might happen in Nevada in the near future. Do you fail to deny that this is not impossibly untrue?
    • I would say more that would stun you, but I'll have to wait until the black helicopters leave.

    Keep your toes on the ground and your eyes looking upwards.

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    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    Guardian UK Nixes Ink, Says OMG to Tweets

    In a huge move that will turn the newspaper industry upside down, UK's The Guardian will switch to a twitter-only publication, including its online archives that go back to 1831. For example, the story of the invasion of Poland that began WWII has been converted to:

    "OMG Hitler invades Poland, allies declare war see tinyurl.com/b5x6e for more"

    Now, I'm as telecommunicationally liberal as the next fellow, but I think that story deserves two tweets. You know, one tweet for Paris Hilton stories, two tweets (maybe three) for world wars. And their announcement was a bit hypocritical, since it was not a tweet. In fact, it was a grotesque 4286 characters, a ozone-destroying 31 tweets. OK, Guardian, get your act together.

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    Saturday, March 28, 2009

    Food Chain Mechanism and Global Warming

    "I think we are seeing the last gasps of ocean iron fertilisation as a carbon storage strategy," says Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University.

    Let's say you want to seed the ocean bottom with iron as an carbon storage mechanism to fight global warming. Sorry, nature won't let you. That darn food chain thing gets in the way. There is probably a speculative fiction story here. I thought of it first, but I'm busy with my translation of Beowulf into Vulcan.

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    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Vampire!

    Finally, a blog article you can sink your teeth into. A Venetian archeological dig unearthed a vampire woman from a 16th century burial ground associated with a plague. The woman had a brick stuck in her jaw:

    ...evidence, experts say, that she was believed to be a vampire. The unusual burial is thought to be the result of an ancient vampire-slaying ritual. It suggests the legend of the mythical bloodsucking creatures was tied to medieval ignorance of how diseases spread and what happens to bodies after death, experts said.

    Well, let's analyze this. Perhaps these scientists have succumbed to logical fallacy. Maybe in 16th century Venice, it was fashionable for women to have bricks in their mouth.

    "Vampires don't exist, but studies show people at the time believed they did," said Matteo Borrini, a forensic archaeologist and anthropologist at Florence University who studied the case over the last two years.

    Oh my, where do they come up with these scientists? Dude, if there weren't any vampires, how would we know enough about them to write so many vampire stories?

    Medieval texts show the belief in vampires was fueled by the disturbing appearance of decomposing bodies, Borrini told The Associated Press by telephone.

    What's your point?

    To kill the undead creatures, the stake-in-the-heart method popularized by later literature was not enough: A stone or brick had to be forced into the vampire's mouth so that it would starve to death, Borrini said.

    So now the dude is contradicting himself. If they don't exist, you can't kill them. I've had enough of this. If you want to read the rest of this travesty, here it is...if you're not afraid.

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    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    The Layoff Game

    This is not funny. A bejeweled-like game with workers instead of jewels. Get rid of redundant workers and see how much you've save. "The workers are eventually replaced by bankers, who can’t be eliminated."

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    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    Invisibility Cloak?

    Some scientists have made some semi-serious noise about a Star Trek-ish invisibility cloak. The proposed system would comprise the object to be cloaked and a complementary object to cloak the first object (mutually, I suppose). It is a sort of light-canceling notion. However, the practicality is limited to one "wavelength." (Here, the HK scientist is referring to wavelength broadly, such as the wavelength of visible light.) So, as the author suggests, if you cloak an object in the visible light spectrum, an x-ray radar could still see it. A little more work is needed.

    I have similar problems with my own invisibility project, too. For example, if I go into a room full of runway models, I'm totally invisible to them, but not to their bodyguards.

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    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Americans Weak on Science--That's Good!

    Oh, I'm getting annoyed at reports like this that say Americans are weak in science education. They're saying that as if it were a bad thing, but it's not. Here is my reasoning: something that is false is a fiction, right? So Americans who are weak in science and easily write science fiction. The dumber they are, the better the science fiction. See? Where were these journalists educated, anyway?

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    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Number of Chimps to Write a Novel Lowered

    I read with interest a story about a chimp that executes hours-long nefarious plots against human visitors to a zoo. After scratching my ribs in contemplation for a while, it occurred to me that the previous estimate of how many chimps it would take to pound out a novel on a typewriter, 1,000,000, is no longer accurate. For one thing, where are you going to get 1,000,000 typewriters these days?

    My estimate, after due consideration to new evidence, is that it would take no more than 1500 chimps to pound out a novel, if you put this chimp in charge. Here is my reasoning: even humans can't pound out a novel if they have no plot. But the chimp in the story can plot. That is a major hurdle that has been overcome by modern chimps. If you can plot, then you can write a novel.

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    Sunday, March 8, 2009

    Little Mr. Conservative

    Here is a NYT story about a 14-year-old conservative pundit with radio talk show leanings.

    Wouldn't it be great if his sister were named Valentine. They could have anonymous blogs as Locke and Demosthenes and dichotomize the world to their advantage. What would they do at night? What they always do: plan to take over the world. What if they were mice-folk, too? Gosh, there must be some sort of novel or cartoon I could get out of this.

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    Saturday, March 7, 2009

    What's on your iPod? What's Dusty on your Bookshelf?

    The Irish Times made a survey to determine what books people lie about having read. Some of the biggies: Ulysses, 1984 (Seriously? Everyone's read that, haven't they?), the Holy Bible (the actual Bible, not the fishing bible, the cooking bible...THE Bible), War and Peace (I read it yesterday, coincidentally) and others.

    I'm curious about the conduct of that survey. Did you read War and Peace? Sure, man. Come on, now...really? Well....this is a little embarrassing...I meant to.

    I'd be interested in movies that people lied about not seeing. I personally have not seen Plan 9 from Outer Space five times. And never saw Barbarella (cough).

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    Friday, March 6, 2009

    My Literary Triumph

    With humility, I announce I am a finalist in my semi-anonymous (screen name WouldBe) co-naming of a brand of literary cereal. This Publishers Weekly kiddie lit blogger put out a call for cereal brand names with a literary bent. I had two of the top names, Robert Frosted Flakes and Cap'n Ahab Crunch, both also suggested by someone else. The blogger had a commercial made for Frost Flakes and put it on youtube. A higher-production value commercial is forthcoming.

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    Pluto's Status as a Planet Revolved

    My mystery of yesterday,Why didn't we ask Pluto if she wanted to be in the United Planets?, was answered in part by the senior legislative body of Illinois, herewith:

    RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE OF THE NINETY-SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that as Pluto passes overhead through Illinois’ night skies, that it be reestablished with full planetary status, and that March 13, 2009 be declared “Pluto Day” in the State of Illinois in honor of the date its discovery was announced in 1930.

    It seems the discoverer of Pluto was an Illinois native and the state took official offense at Pluto's demotion, though the Wikipedia article says he was a Kansan at the time of the discovery, so, maybe Illinois overstepped its bounds a bit. Perhaps Kansas and Illinois should convene a joint session to resolve this. The Illinois Senate must have had their own joint session....never mind.

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    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    Grist for the Speculative Fiction Mill--Unsolved Scientific Puzzles

    This fine Times Online (UK) article summarizes and provides article links for some of the unsolved scientific puzzles. These puzzles might provide you some mortar for your SF or fantasy world-building. Some of the questions involve dark matter, the ignorance of certain spacecraft that refuse to follow known physical laws, constants that aren't constant enough, what's the deal with cold fusion?, What's the deal with life?, what's the deal with sex?...and more.

    As Spock would say, "Fascinating." But I have my own questions:

    • Why didn't we let Pluto vote on whether it wanted to be in the United Planets?
    • Why don't we send Geraldo to the moon to find out, once and for all, whether the moon landing was a hoax?
    • Seriously: how many angels can you fit on the head of a pin? Related: if the number is large, what is the composition of an angel? Are dark angels composed of dark matter?

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    Monday, March 2, 2009

    Abandoned Book Warehouse Mayhem In Bristol

    The treasure hunters stand knee-deep in Danielle Steels, Len Deightons and Jeffrey Archers, hoping to find more exotic literary fare.
    The scene is Brislington, Bristol, England. The event: clearing out an abandoned warehouse of books. The warehouse owner invited the public to help themselves when the book stock owners did not remove the books. See the Mail Online article for photographs of the mayhem. The warehouse was an Amazon.com supplier.

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    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    When All Else Fails, Publish with The Orphan

    The Orphan is, by their own reckoning, "incomplete, unpublishable, moloch-less, disrespected, bizarre and roundly rejected." Everyone has a bit they wrote back when, which was lost for years under the trunk where they keep their unpublishable novels. That is what The Orphan publishes. They also illustrate the stories with photographic mistakes. Way cool.

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    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Cookbook Writing--Mirror of Nations?

    Here is an amusing, short summary of the history of cookbooks from Economist.com, and what they mean about the nation in which they were fried up or grilled. Here are two quotes:

    "Britain and America are the two great cookbook-writing nations, which is not the same as being nations of great cooks. It is precisely because neither country can boast a coherent, admirable, traditional cuisine that cooks have such need of guidance and distraction."
    This is a quote from a British cookbook which paints a picture of post-war practicality:

    “Melt 1oz of margarine in ½ teacup milk, and when the mixture is warm put through a cream machine—the five shilling kind which many of us bought before the war and still, I expect, possess."

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    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Best SF/Fantasy Books in 2008

    SF Site's Neil Walsh gives his picks here for the best Sci-Fi and fantasy books of 2008. I noticed that Neil Gaiman made the list with The Graveyard Book. He's been on a roll. We wrote about the movie rendition of Coraline. I watched Beowulf on DVD recently and noticed that Gaiman had written the original screenplay for that movie.

    Let me check to see if Gaiman wrote the original novel....Nope. It was an epic poem of unknown authorship written in the 8-11th centuries. Let me check my calculator to see if Gaiman could have been the author....Nope, that would make him between 1000 and 1200 years old. There is no modern explanation for such an extended life. (It would explain a lot if he were, though.)

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    When Nuclear Subs Collide

    A Royal Navy nuclear submarine was involved in a collision with a French nuclear sub in the middle of the Atlantic....

    One of our readers could really make a go novelizing this story. Suppose one was a Russian sub instead, and there was a gripping race by Americans and Russians to rescue the boat. Wait...this is beginning to sound familiar. Never mind.

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    Friday, February 13, 2009

    When Satellites Collide

    I frequently see SF writers ask what-if questions on writing forums like Hatrack to check their science. What if an asteroid strikes the moon and moves it to a higher orbit? What would be the effect on Earth?

    I've seen several questions about explosions in space. You've probably seen recent news about two large satellites colliding in space over Siberia. Follow-up stories about this incident might be an opportunity to get a general grounding, so to speak, on the terminology and physics of collisions in space. This one also gives insight on the scattering of debris in the presence of planetary gravity.

    I don't want to leave out fantasy writers from this article. On the same writing forums, fantasy writers often ask about creatures, magic, weapons, medieval history and the like. These writers might want to follow the 111th Congress. (Just a joke, please.)

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    Tuesday, February 3, 2009

    Top 10 Humorous (Grammar) Blogs

    Top 10 Humorous (Grammar) Blogs, according to the Delaware Employment Law Blog.

    Parental Warning: many of these blogs display explicit photos of public bad grammar, including total frontal signage and wide-open menus. The mistreatment of apostrophes may be especially upsetting to children.

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    Monday, February 2, 2009

    Rejectomancy

    Rejectomancy is Abyss & Apex's open disclosure of what their standard form letters mean for their very good, good, bad and ugly slush pile rejections. Although other publishers may use only one "not right for us at this time" form letter, I suspect they use the same basic editorial process.

    I suggest that A & A add a new form letter for me: we couldn't discern whether this was a submission to our magazine or a misaddressed rant to your psychiatrist. In either case, feel free never to contact us again for any reason.

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    Friday, January 30, 2009

    How to Ax Your Network Friends

    Your Facebook friends-list has expanded from 10 intimates to 400 friends, lovers, hangers-on and total strangers. Now, you're wondering how to ax, um, cull, defriend, unfriend the ones who are total strangers, other than your bloated friends-list. Is there proper etiquette for this?

    Tell the truth: would you unfriend ten people for free a hamburger?

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    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    My So-Called e-Life

    Dear Diary

    Busy day. I attended an eFuneral. Bummer. Glad I didn't have to actually go there. Since I've been on an eTour, I didn't get a chance to see the inauguration, so I watched the eInauguration. Since I'm on an eSelf kick, I don't seem to have the time to do anything. eWork is interfering with my eLife, such as it is. I guess I'll just stay in bed; the real world is too hard.

    Have a nice day, eReaders.

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    Friday, January 16, 2009

    Crayon Physics and other Weirdness

    You see, you draw boxes, circles, lines and such and realistic physics immediately takes over. The goal is to touch the jewel with an object you've set in motion. Perhaps it sounds boring, but it is infecting. The game, Crayon Physics, is a bit like the Mousetrap game of old, but in 2D graphics. It only runs in Windows (XP/Vista), but a user reported success running it in Linux under Wine. Perhaps Parallels or Fusion will run it on a Mac. The link above has a video of the game in action. Here is an NPR report. There is also a trial version (starts immediate download).

    Other weirdness: She stole his heart so he gave her his kidney. And now he wants it back.

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    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Tales from the Slush Pile

    Ed Briant's “Tales from the Slush Pile” is a comic strip about a children's book writer. Here is installment #157, at Publishers Weekly. The first installment is here.

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    Blogaholism, Twitteritis, RSS Dependency or Status Update Disorder?

    Here are some modern ailments: Blogaholism, Twitteritis, Reviewing Addiction, RSS Dependency and Status Update Disorder. The Atlantic reports a miracle cure, the Reblocking Seminar.

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    Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    Nigerian Scam: Hook, Line and Sinker

    Flash Fiction Online has received a couple stories in the slush pile related directly or indirectly to the “Nigerian-type” e-mail scams, where the recipient will receive sixty percent of $26 million if only he or she will accept it. I remember a company that I worked for receiving similar proposals by fax more than twenty years ago.


    One wonders why the scammers continue infinitely pitching their spam when everyone knows they're a scam and has received 20, 50, 100 pitches. As this story shows, one sucker is all they need out of hundreds of thousands of spam.

    Follow-up by way of our editor, Jake: scamming the scammer. You'll want to follow this and have the side-benefit of a post and book review by Cory Doctorow, who coincidentally, studied under me...never. The "link (via waxy)" leads to the sequence of letters by which the scammer was scammed.

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    Monday, July 7, 2008

    Daily Candy Lexicon

    Although this is targeted to youngish urban women, it's pretty funny for word-lovers of all sorts. The Daily Candy Lexicon -- words that don't exist, but should -- is now a book (order it here). You can get a flavor by reading a sample or the press release:
    Are you a cereal monogamist? Annoyed your party was crashed by a nontourage? Proud to be a whor d'ouevre? Whether it's a group of surfers, bankers, or co-workers, every clique has its own dialect -- and now young urban women have one, too....

    Dany Levy, founder and editor-in-chief of DailyCandy [says,] "Upon hearing the words, most will know exactly what the definitions are. After all, there's only one way to describe annoyingly loud cell phone conversations (yellular) or that older woman dressing way too flashy for her age (teenile)."

    ... Some examples include: drimming, a verb, meaning drunk instant-messaging; fabric-ation, a noun, is the involuntary impulse to lie when the salesgirl asks what size you are; lady business casual, an adverb, is when your hoo-ha is past due for a wax; post-modem, a noun, is the freak-out you experience when your Internet goes dead; gabbin pressure, a noun, is the sense of obligation to chat to the person next to you during a flight; snoopid, an adjective, means leaving an obvious trail when snooping through your mate's belongings; and SCUM, an acronym, is a Self-Centered Urban Male.
    Remember Rich Hall's "Sniglets"? Different generation, same idea, still pretty funny.

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