Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Keeping Up With Tech


I found this on New Scientist; Spies and soldiers might soon be able to go behind enemy lines using a parachute or glider made from a polymer that vanishes on exposure to sunlight.
The idea was that these sensors could be spread across a battlefield, say, and used to collect information for the army. “But you don’t want anyone to discover it and take it apart and see how it works,” says Kohl.

That’s why he and his team wanted to invent a self-destructing material. They began with polymers that have a low ceiling temperature, which is the point at which the key bonds holding the substance together begin to break.

Lots of polymers break down slowly when they reach this temperature because many bonds have to be broken. But Kohl designed his material so that as soon as one bond breaks the whole thing rapidly unzips.
Those of you who have read Strike Dog will remember the scene where the drop sleds are deployed and what happens after they land. So it was cool to see an article describing this tech.

Monday, 2 September 2019

September Already

 

I could say where has the year gone, but I already know the answer to that.

The Bank holiday and this weekend were spent shooting my new longbow. The one I made back in January that was too strong for me to pull. Now home after Master Bowyer Pip Bickerstaffe fettled the tillering to bring the poundage down to my level.

So all is good with my bow. The fact that my shooting fell off a cliff is down to me. Good news I have an appointment in early October for a scan and injection to fix my left wrist. Fingers crossed it does the job.

I'm currently researching archaeology, getting the lowdown on how it is done from a friend who is an archaeologist. So the next block to moving forward with the novel is about to be breached.

Other than that, I've been reading a lot. I will at some point put a list I recommend checking out. Until then, see you all on the bounce.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Just Another Furore in Fandom


Jeanette Ng made a statement at this years Worldcon when receiving her award for best new writer. I stand by her right to say whatever she pleases.

But while Jeanette Ng can say whatever the hell she wants, she is responsible for what she says.

John W. Campbell was a bad father of modem science fiction. The Hugo awards named after Hugo Gernsback, likewise. I don't disagree that both men were horrible. The more I read history the more I find that it's filled with unpleasant people.

Take other historical figures, like Freud for example, who is considered the father of psychology and psychotherapy. To say he's a bad dad is a humerous understatement.

Alfred Noble is another historical figure who is probably known for the award named after him. He was no angel.

They all share the fact that their lives cast a shadow cast over the prizes named after them.

History is full of people who had views that it would make any conversation with them difficult. But, in the bigger scheme of things, they're all low hanging fruit of unpleasantness.
 
Because there's very little in this world that is completely black or white.

All prizes have value that is greater than who or what they are named after. The Campbell award is important because of who it has been awarded to, not because it's named after John W. Campbell.

As an SF fan I've read countless stories where people's opinions are used to sway public opinion. A recent example is a season one episode of The Orville in the episode called Majority Rule about the effects of a democracy run by upvoting/downvoting.

The current trend in fandom to create mobs is not something to be admired. The conversations that have followed her statement have done nothing but fuel the divisiveness and hate in fandom.

I think this very bad thing.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Some Progress

 

In a couple of weeks I will see my rheumatology consultant for a review. It's been a year since she started me on medication and roller-coaster ride doesn't really quite capture the picture of what is has been like. For those of you old enough to remember corporal punishment at school, think being smacked across the back of your hand everyday while riding a roller-coaster.

OK. Perhaps that's over egging it a bit.

So what little I've done is disappointing at one level, but the fact I've done something at all is a testament to my sheer bloody mindedness.

Looking back over the last year this is where I am:
Two Moons: 16,146 words
Red Dog: 9,581 words
Dead Dogs: 3,443 words
The Bureau: 67,943 words
I've mentioned previously that I was up to around 20,000 words on Two Moons, but realized I was mixing up my stories and have spent a lot of time breaking apart what scenes went with which story. Hence I now have three novels as works in progress.

The Bureau has grown but I haven't gotten around to finishing the revision, which has mostly been driven by what I learnt after three months of doing various online writing courses with Dean Wesley Smith and Kathryn Kristine Rusch. Their workshops are excellent.

My target was to write 1,400 words per week. We are at week 33, which means I should have 46,200.

If I'm generous, I've managed 25,328 words. Though if I take twelve weeks off for the courses then that comes 16,800 lost, so a revised target number would be 29,400 words.

Short by four thousand and a bit words. It is what it is.