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Posts by Cedar Sanderson

Getting the Science Right

I’m tired. How tired am I? Well, I had a moment yesterday where I didn’t look closely enough as I wrote and scheduled a post and I have put my planned MGC post up on my blog. In my defense, the backend of wordpress sites looks remarkably similar. However! I will extrapolate out of my post there, on science giving us a window into the past and how that can spark a story, into something that has come up a few times recently. Namely: refreshing knowledge of math and science for those who have been out of school for a while, or have developed a new interest in it. As writers of science fiction, I would hope that this would be of interest to you, although it’s hard to say where to start, precisely. That you will have to determine! Read more

Training and Habit Building

The seven habits of highly successful scientists chemists authors, oh, who am I kidding? I don’t think there’s seven. There’s probably only one cardinal rule: observe everything. Watch, listen, read if you can, and once you’ve stashed all that information internally, you’ll be able to use it when there’s a call for it. The problem with this is that it leaves one modality of learning out, and that might just be the most important one. Kinetic learning, or hands-on, or whatever you want to call it. There’s a training mantra I’ve seen attributed to the military: See one, Do one, Teach one that is actually very very useful when it comes to learning how to do a task, and in teaching someone else how to do it, you come (usually) to a fuller understanding of it than simple rote learning. Read more

Random Stuff

I’ve been asked, since I do art, if I do fantasy maps. Er… no. Honestly, I’ve never really tried. Mapmaking looks cool, but doesn’t spark my imagination the way drawing a dragon does. For my Mom, it’s always been all about designing buildings, especially houses. She used to spend hours designing energy-efficient, flowing use-space houses, and still does using SketchUp. Me? I came to art late, and digital art even later, and my focus for traditional media is botanical, and for digital I’m deep into creating space scenes. However, I completely grasp the coolness of having a map to help visualize the world your characters are going to tread, if you want that to be something other than a mimic of our own. And this week I discovered a nifty way to randomly generate both world maps, and cities. Read more

Strange Science

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about the paper that came out last week on gene editing, and a breakthrough that looks like it will allow double-stranded cuts of DNA without introducing substantive errors in the genetic code following such editing. As writers, we can surely appreciate that editing is important, but from the genetic standpoint, it is literally a matter of life or death. Readers, disgusted by typos or malapropos, will just put our books down. DNA that encodes for the wrong protein will quickly lead to death or disease. Which is, ironically, what science hopes to be able to do with the novel editing procedure: eliminate certain kinds of diseases. Specifically, I point out, disorders of the existing genome. I have seen headlines that implied more than this, but that is so far beyond the capacity of technology as we know it. Read more

The Black Dog in the Night

When I got up this morning to write, I tripped over the dog. This is a common occurrence at our house. She likes to be near us, we like to sleep in the dark, and, well, she’s blacker than the shadows. Which is actually how I avoid her most of the time, she’s a sixty-pound jellybean shaped black hole in the night (we do have a small nightlight as a concession to tripping hazards). After I mumbled an apology to the poor pupper for having stumbled over her and disturbed her sleep (she doesn’t have a blog to write, so she sleeps in) I started thinking about depression, the other black dog. Read more


I didn’t want to make this yet another post about how being a writer is hard. I think you all know that one. Personally, these last couple of weeks have been, shall we say, difficult. I’d hoped that getting together with friends a week ago now would jog my brain into producing – that often happens. Nope. No joy. In the ensuing week I was dealing with all sorts of family duties that have left me feeling like a wrung out dirty dishrag. Read more

Banjo Fantasy

I’ve been meaning to write about this for some time, but this last week I was reminded I hadn’t done it yet. Oops? I got distracted?

So what, you may be asking, is banjo fantasy? Are there musical instruments and sprightly tunes?

Not… always. There could be, sure. Or it could be a reference to ‘paddle faster, I hear banjos!’ Read more