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Posts from the ‘SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY’ Category

Cow manure and truth.

While Dave’s moving, Here’s another post from April 2014!

I spent about ten hours helping to pregnancy test 700 cows today. It’s the sort of lesson in reality everyone should take. The cows have to be brought in to the cattle yards, (which are concrete floored, ridged, pole and rail fenced with hardwood (to allow a little bend and yes, they are softer more flexible than metal. The cows have microchips in their ear tags, and there is backpack reader so one can keep count. The vet uses a backpack ultrasound. He also uses a shoulder-high glove for the purpose of being able to stick his hand in to the shoulder up a cow’s hind end. Read more

If only… (On Alternate History)

While Dave is moving, here’s another great piece of advice from July 2015!

Maybe Alternate History’s appeal comes down to the fact that every human, ever, says ‘If only I had…’ That, perhaps and the fact that most of us (we’re all victors of a sort, in the battle if not the war, because we’re still alive) are constantly indulging in the victor’s privilege of re-writing our own history. In truth, history is never really pretty. On the individual level, on the state level, on the world level, there’s always something we’d like to have another go at – even the bits we didn’t actually do too badly, and would probably make a horse’s butt next time. Read more

Space Opera is Dead! Well, Maybe Not.

Author photo of part of the column in question. From the March 30-31 Wall Street Journal.

According to the science fiction book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal, space opera is dead. In his defense, he was reviewing a book from Tor and generally only reviews books from the Big 5 imprints, and Pyr. The book had been listed as “space opera,” leading him to muse on Niven and Heinlein, Frank Herbert and Jerry Pournelle and James Schmitz. Did anyone write about Moties and ray-guns and wild adventure on strange new worlds anymore? What about galaxy-spanning empires and questions of galactic import? If the review book was an example, well… The book was not bad, but it was not space opera. The reviewer finishes by saying that the Dorsai and Kzinti are long-lost and gone. We don’t have the willing suspension of disbelief and the “macho sub-genre.”

As I said, in his defense, he reads Big 5 imprints and a very few small presses. Read more

Ruminating on Falkenberg’s Regiment

Ruminating on Falkenberg’s Regiment

At 19 years old, I discovered Jerry Pournelle’s work in a massive omnibus entitled The Prince.  I will vociferously argue that his CoDominium series with John Christian Falkenberg III, is a better, more enjoyable body of work than Janissaries.  Friends disagree with me about this, but I tend to ignore them.  Pournelle’s Falkenberg is an incredible character and one I can always more of in my library, hence my surprise when I learned that a new Falkenberg’s legion novel existed.  Hallelujah!  Then I read it… Read more

R.U.R., Cybermen, Mr. Roboto

I’m not certain if it was a case of great minds thinking alike, or just something in the air, but Thursday I woke up with fragments “Mr. Roboto” and “Ironman” playing in my mind’s ear. Which got me to thinking about robots, and my aversion to them as an author.

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Butcher’s Bill

Filed under: HFY, BEM

Grothmorgu stared around the battlefield after the indigenes had withdrawn. The remains of his Mass heaved themselves out of the heaps of gore and corpses, staggering to their pods. Few of the green-skinned savages lay among the Holy People. The ugly things had sent their wounded back, and soaked up an unreasonable number of casualties retrieving their dead before withdrawing completely. There were a few limbs, here and there. Mostly, they left broken equipment, or even bits of their own, loosely attached skin where their own medics tore it off to treat more serious wounds. The Higher’s own skin rippled in distaste at the notion, though he respected their will. The sensation was discomfiting.
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Dedicated to Commissar Fredski, our beloved Leader (and Larder)

Image Pixabay

Writing as profession…

I was amused to read a would-be-author in New Zealand bemoaning just how HARD it was in his local paper. I’ll spare you his missive (and him the embarrassment) but he was moaning how unfair it was that living away from the big city/University scene he was unable to afford to attend the courses and meet the right people to get him ‘in’. And getting bought on merit was just too hard, because the public had such appalling taste, and the market for books written by native New Zealanders was too small.

His answer, was, like Norway (which has a fair amount of spare cash) the Government should intervene, and buy copies of books by citizens to give as gifts to the ambassadorial staff of all foreign embassies and visiting dignitaries.

I did stop laughing before I actually died of anoxia, but it was close. Read more