Four Ways to Back Up Your Manuscript

Lately I’ve been following more and more full-time authors on Twitter and several of them mentioned the dubious practice of emailing themselves the current version of their manuscript, as backup. And sure, it works. The same way an open fire in your backyard works as a source of heat for regular daily cooking when you’ve got a perfectly functional stove in the kitchen.

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Warframe

Among the several games I’ve been playing for a while but haven’t yet got to post about, the most recent is Warframe: a free to play, cooperative third-person shooter in a space-opera setting where humans have spread all over the solar system and became divided into three factions which wage constant war on each other. You get to play as one of the factions, the Tenno, who seem to be much more human and much less populous than the other two (the Grineer and the Corpus).  What they lack in numbers, the Tenno make up with the ingenuity of their use of warframes: the powerful, partly humanoid, nearly indestructible war machines that the Tenno operate remotely. The basic gameplay involves doing various missions in teams of up to four players. But there’s much, much more to Warframe than that — and not all of it is good.

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Fail Seven Times

By Kris Ripper

I’m very conflicted about this book. It annoyed me to no end, yet I was interested enough to keep reading it. The main character, Justin, is a gay man who’s been in love with his best friend, Alex, since early adolescence. They’re both grown men now, and Alex has been in a good, stable, open and somewhat kinky relationship with a woman, Jamie, for a while. Alex and Jamie want to include Justin in their sexual relationship and he wants quite desperately to be included in it, but if he simply said, sure! there’d be no story to tell. So instead he stubbornly and stupidly resists it on the grounds that he’s not built for romance, that he’ll screw things up and lose his best friends, that he doesn’t deserve their love and that he has a duty to protect them from himself. And that’s what the book is about.

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How Much SETI Has Been Done?

The completeness of the search for signs of extraterrestrial radio transmissions and other technosignatures to date is roughly equivalent to having searched a small swimming pool for evidence of fish in all of Earth’s oceans.

How Much SETI Has Been Done? Finding Needles in the n-dimensional Cosmic Haystack
Jason T. WrightShubham Kanodia, and Emily Lubar 
The Astronomical Journal
Volume 156Number 6

Image credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF

In Defense of NaNoWriMo

In the last week of October, and the last week before this year’s NaNo, an episode of my favorite writing podcast was dedicated to the question of whether we, the listeners and aspiring writers, should do it or not. And the answer was a resounding NO. Tim Clare, the author of said podcast, brought forward an array of arguments to support his advice. Some of his thoughts made me look at NaNo from a new angle. NaNo has been a part of my life for nearly a decade now, so this fresh perspective is a valuable gift and I appreciate it.

At the same time, I was put off by the tremendous one-sidedness of these same arguments. It seemed that Tim was either unaware of, or intent on ignoring all potentially good things about NaNo. And if there were no good things about it, if all it ever did for anyone was make them miserable and prevent them from writing ever again (which is, basically, what Tim believes), it would have died off a long time ago. Instead, it gets bigger and more popular every year.

Tim isn’t necessarily wrong about its potential to harm, but this risk is limited to a small minority of participants: to people who, like himself, have a troubled relationship with writing. There have been other episodes of the podcast where it sounded like such people are the only audience Tim’s interested in speaking to. But this was the first time I felt there was literally nothing in it for the rest of us, not a single thought or word spared. This spurred me to write a response, even though I realize that NaNo has an army of voices speaking in its favor already and doesn’t particularly need me to defend it.

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