Post requesting introductory-SF suggestions got deleted

My post requesting introductory-SF suggestions got accidentally deleted due to a WordPress interface feature I didn’t quite understand and momentary inattention. Never fear, I had already digested most of the suggestions and am working on the result.

New cat soon to arrive here

Cathy and I signed papers to adopt a cat from a rescue network last night. It would be here already, but it’s being treated for a mild ear infection picked up at the pet store. “It” is actually a he, a golden-eyed ginger-and-cream Maine Coon about two years old. The name is “Gorgonzola”, which we’ll… Continue reading New cat soon to arrive here

Categorized as General Tagged

Review: Elements of Mind

I’ve been friendly with Walter Hunt for some years, so when he told me that his new novel Elements of Mind (Spence City) involved Victorian mesmerists, I knew to expect an atmospheric and meticulously researched fantasy full of period language and detail, probably one dovetailing with real history as seamlessly as anything by Tim Powers.… Continue reading Review: Elements of Mind

Review: The Devil’s Concubine

I requested an advance look at The Devil’s Concubine (Jill Braden; Wayzgoose Press) because the blurb hinted at an unusual and atmospheric fantasy. It is that; alas, in some other unfortunate respects it is all too predictable.

Categorized as Review

Review: Template

I learned from his previous novels Fools Errant and Fool Me Twice that Matthew Hughes seems to have chosen crafting really high-quality tributes to Jack Vance as his artistic mission (at least when writing SF). As a long-time Vance fan myself I consider this a worthy goal, and in Template (self-published) he does not disappoint.

Review: Reach for Infinity

Reach for Infinity (Jonathan Strahan, ed., Rebellion Publishing) is an anthology of new hard SF. The authors and the editor are stretching themselves, taking chances; some of these stories are failures. In general, however, even the failures are interesting efforts that will push you to think about their premises and consider the ways in which… Continue reading Review: Reach for Infinity

Review: Anthem’s Fall

S.L. Dunn’s Anthem’s Fall (Prospect Hill Press) wants to be a high-concept SF novel. What it actually achieves is more like a bad comic book. Without the pictures. In New York City, scientist Kristen Jordan (brilliant and beautiful, and very young, of course) is growing increasingly worried about an übertechnology she helped create, as the… Continue reading Review: Anthem’s Fall

Managing compatibility issues in ubiquitous code

There’s a recent bug filed against giflib titled giflib has too many unnecessary API changes. For a service library as widely deployed as it is (basically, on everything with a screen and network access – computers, smartphones, game consoles, ATMs) this is a serious complaint. Even minor breaks in API compatibility imply a whole lot… Continue reading Managing compatibility issues in ubiquitous code

Categorized as Software

Review: A Darkling Sea

While most life on Earth is powered by chemical energy captured from solar radiation, deep in our seas there are entire ecologies powered by volcanism – specifically the hot water issuing from hydrothermal vents. Hot mineral-rich water supports a food chain based on chemosynthetic bacteria and archaea; it extends upwards in complexity through giant tube… Continue reading Review: A Darkling Sea

Evaporative cooling and AGW

Earlier this evening an Instapundit reference reminded me of Eliezer Yudkowsky’s insightful essay Evaporative Cooling of Group Beliefs, in which he uses a clever physics analogy to explain why cult-like groups often respond to strong evidence against their core beliefs by becoming more fanatical. Glen Reynolds used the reference to take a swipe at what… Continue reading Evaporative cooling and AGW

On being a gentleman

So I’m walking down a hallway at Penguicon 2014 and I notice one of the people who had tossed intelligent questions at me during my Ask Me Anything panel. He’s rather hard to miss; you don’t often see guys who fit the description “huge blond viking” so well, and when you do they are not… Continue reading On being a gentleman

Categorized as Sex

Review: Monster Hunter: Nemesis

As with my last review subject, if you’re in the market for Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter: Nemesis, you probably already know you’re going to like it. Though maybe not as much as the previous Monster Hunter outings; the author tries for a change of tone in this book, not entirely successfully.

Review: Right to Know

There are many kinds of bad SF out there. One of the subtler kinds is written with enough competence that it might be good if the author had any original ideas, but reads like a tired paste-up of familiar genre tropes and plot twists that an experienced reader can see coming a light-year off. Edward… Continue reading Review: Right to Know

Review: Extreme Dentistry

Fearless monster killers have been a very popular trope in SF and fantasy lately, in a trend perhaps best exemplified by Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter sequence but extending to the dozens of nigh-interchangeable Buffy clones in leather clogging the Urban Fantasy subgenre lately. Hugh A. D. Spencer’s Extreme Dentistry seems to have been intended as… Continue reading Review: Extreme Dentistry

Review: Child of a Hidden Sea

The orphan discovering that her birth family hails from another world is an almost hoary fantasy trope – used, for example, in Charles Stross’s Family Trade novels. What matters in deploying it is how original and interesting you can be once you have set up the premise. A.M. Dellamonica’s Child of a Hidden Sea averts… Continue reading Review: Child of a Hidden Sea

Categorized as Review

Penguicon A&D party heads up!

I, and a largish crew of the usual suspects, are at Penguicon. Friends of Armed & Dangerous party will be 9PM tomorrow in 403 at the Westin Southfield Detroit. Bloodmouth Carnist T-shirts will be on sale.

Categorized as General