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Posts from the ‘research’ Category

We Continue

It’s been an entire week since Mrs. Dave left us. Food stocks are low. I have part of a jar of olives, two meat sticks, some salt, and a jar of Luxardo cherries, left. The Barbarian Horde ransacked the refrigerator almost immediately, and have begun waylaying passing stroller-pushing Military Mommies and ransoming them for candy. The ravening howls are indescribable, and I’ll hear them in my sleep until the day I die. I’ve built myself a barricade of books and cookware. If I don’t survive this, tell Mrs. Dave I tried.

Oh, no. I hear the patter of ‘orrible, little feet … Read more

How’s That Self-Care?

Swords, Pt. 2

Last week’s post is feeding right into this one, though it may not seem like it should. Lemme ‘splain. The holidays last year were more than a little disruptive here at Caer Dave. There was travel (so much travel). Mrs. Dave returned from overseas. Wee and Wee-er Dave were both out of, and then back into school. Sleep was disrupted, routines were broken, schedules feel by the wayside. The usual, really. I rolled with life by dropping my weight training work, and it showed. Not so much in the mass department, so much as the mood, attitude, and focus that consistent training improve. Also, the writing. The writing dropped off. Kinda. More below. Read more

Tools for Survival

Before I was a SF geek, I was a survivalist geek. And yes, I mean that just as it sounds. I grew up in the woods, reading books about everything, but for a long time I gravitated towards books like Julie of the Wolves, Call of the Wild, Tom Brown’s semi-fictional survival guides, Wildwoods Wisdom, and many more. I learned how to survive in different climates – from the Boreal Forest of Alaska to the cool infinitely green Pacific Rainforest – and did a lot of camping with family all over. Read more

Swords For The Modern Writer

The thing to know when you go to choose a sword is which miscreants you’ll be using it on. No. No, wait. The first thing to consider when looking for an appropriate sidearm is what you’re going to wear- Stop. No, the very first thing to consider is whether your locality will even allow you to wear a sword in the firs- Strike that. Read more

Reality and expectations

I’m neck-deep in construction work on our little farm – we had – we thought, an agreement until December on the place we’re renting, so that when we moved the house (structure) — planned for April — onto the property, we’d have time to do the whole making it habitable part. Unfortunately that just got shifted to the end of April. That’s… approaching fast.

Now, we started with a piece of raw bush and some not well fenced paddocks which are more sag (rushes) and bracken than wallaby-and-wombat grazed lawn.  Like the man whose work was to push a wheelbarrow, our job was all in front of us. There was barely a drive-able track to the best place to put a house. Kind of forty acres and a mule, and I’m the mule, although I suspect ‘jackass’ would be closer. They’re also obstinate.

The difference between us and the pioneers of yesteryear are substantial. As they say in the Monty Python skit, we ‘ave it soft. But you tell the young people o’ today that, and they won’t believe yer. I’ve been lucky to have the loan of quite a lot of heavy machinery (the crane in the picture), as well as owning a lot of kit – like angle-grinders and power-saws and cordless drivers and drills, to say nothing of ye horseless carriage.  We also have access to shops and, possibly more important, information.  Oh, and while this is Australia, and we have a reputation of everything trying to kill you, it’s a trifle overstated, especially with modern medicine. The chances of wildlife, outlaws, or some local or transient group of people deciding to kill or rob us of everything we have to keep ourselves alive are very small. My firearms are good and accurate, I don’t have to hoard ammunition. My chainsaw will cut in 10 minutes what a skilled man could in an hour. My water-pump carries a hundred times the water that Barbs and I could haul in buckets.

We have it very, very soft indeed.

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One of these things is not like the other

After getting a few reviews of Scaling the Rim that graded it as a romance, not a science fiction book, I got curious. So, the past few months I’ve been reading several Romances, subcategory SF to try to figure out the difference between Science Fiction, subcategory romance and Romance, subcategory science fiction. At first glance, you’d think they’d be the same thing, but they’re very, very different – the reader cookies (what makes readers happy) aren’t even on the same page.

In the Romance genre, not only is the emphasis completely and totally on the couple’s relationship (duh, it’s romance), but the worlds have an extremely limited amount of worldbuilding, and a huge amount of handwavium, with far higher tolerance for psychic this or psionic that. (In that way, it reminds me a lot of the old scientifiction, speculative fiction, and pocket books of barely 40-50K words that were one step removed from collected issues of pulps – or were pulp stories fleshed out into books. Jack Vance had no problem with magic in his far-future dying earth!) Read more

Plotting around what you know

I’ve reached a point in the current book (#7 in the Applied Topology series, for those who care) where I have to stop, take a deep breath, sit back and… read all day. Or maybe all week.

No, really. I have to. I’m not just making excuses to take off, I swear! (Oy… please, people, don’t let Thalia beat me up! She doesn’t like it when I ask her to quit talking for a few days.)

Thing is that A Child of Magic has a subplot which requires my characters to visit Philadelphia for a day and a half. Um, during the Constitutional Convention. Summer of 1787, that would be. The bits that got them into this fix have already been written, and I’ve already worked out how this assignment leads right into the final confrontation of the main plot. But now it’s time for them (and me) to take a deep breath and plunge into the noise, smells, and mud of the big city. Read more