Monday, 24 February 2020

PicoCon 37

Left to right: Juliet Kemp, Roz Kaveney, and Tamsyn Muir.
This is probably the only SF convention we will go to this year. The promo material played up the the celebration of LGBTQ+, which is a thing, but for me to quote Marx, "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member." Call me conflicted.

But for some people, fandom is a way of life. I tend to fall into the camp that sees fandom is/as just another goddam hobby.

The first talk was by Roz Kaveney, a well known big name British fan. She gave a laid back talk about her early life, her interests, and things that she's passionate about. Roz writes both fiction and non-fiction, and for the Times literary Supplement.

Next up was Tamsyn Muir, who I'd never heard of, but she was charming and witty, which goes a long way in my book.

Tamsyn's writing sounds interesting. After all, who couldn't fail to be interested in Lesbian necromancers in space! Colour me interested. Besides, I exchanged a few words with her, and her positive response to hearing that I write Mil-SF made me like her.

Call me biased.

Finally, Juliet Kemp did her talk, which was slightly marred by having lost her voice. She persevered and she's on the Locus 2018 recommended reading list.

After the individual talks there was the tradition panel discussion, which was driven by questions from the audience that went well. So, by the end of the day I had thoroughly enjoyed the convention.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Solar Science!

In space, without the filtering of Earth’s atmosphere, objects are bombarded with increased photon-energies in the form of X-rays, gamma-rays, and charged particles, all of which cause intense radiation damage. It would be ideal not only to withstand, but to actually harvest that radiation for electrical energy.

The lab of László Forró at EPFL, led by postdocs Bálint Náfrádi and Endre Horváth, have discovered that methylammonium lead iodide (CH3NH3PbI3) can fulfill this purpose. This is a material already used in conventional perovskite solar cells, where it harvests visible-light photons that are then converted into electricity.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Tachikoma's Command Dog

Outside of the drive to visualize the mecha that appear in my novels, I've also wanted to run wargames in my setting, which I guess is pretty nerdy when you think about it.

Though the word wargame is too strong a word for what is ultimately an activity that involves either pushing bits of cardboard or small models around a table, and throwing dice.

I have a largish collection of wargaming figures that I've bought over the years, and my friends know that I love to make my own designs. This involves me converting models to more closely represent a specific version, or more often than not, doing extensive kit-bashing to make what I want.

Above is my latest miniature, a model to represent Captain Tachikoma's new ride that will feature on the cover of Red Dogs: a Marine Corps CASE-2XC-Mod-2E.

I like to think of this as inspiration through model making.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Working on my Mojo


Since Christmas, things have been getting better, but I still haven't quite managed to get into my writing groove. However, I have started making models of the character mecha in my books. You can see what I'm doing over on my other blog.

I like turning ideas into things. The act of creating a model inspires ideas; a bit like playing when I was a child. My imagination takes over, and ideas for stories take shape.

In the meantime, I'm editing my next novel, The Bureau.

I've also started a short story called, Omake; the tale of a little lost robot and its companion. I shall try and sell that to a magazine.

And finally, I've been working on Two Moons, restructuring the order of scenes and inserting new scenes in the earlier parts as foreshadowing for what happens later.


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