Saturday, December 31, 2011

Comet and Station

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the flipside of an earlier posted image. In this, we see the ISS and Comet Lovejoy together. Next to this shot is the view from the ISS.
On Listening To Too Much Dan Carlin (06)

Movies: Historians also point to another event in Hollywood as a sign of the decline of Western civilization. This event did not take place all at once, but over many years. The hinge point seems to have been the late 1960's. Prior to this, movies were often events, where audiences dressed up and were treated to a musical Overture and/or Proogue, an intermission (where one could stretch one's legs and get a refreshment in the lobby), accompanied by the "Entr'acte" music, more sweeping drama, and a musical finale (which was more than just "end credit" music, but could include an Epilogue and the "Playoff" music). Movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lawrence of Arabia or Ben Hur were more than just movies, they were events.

With the decline of the event, came the rise of the spectacle where special effects (computer generated or explosions, people and vehicles that defied physics) substituted for quality and substance, much the same as cardboard was swapped for popcorn and salty oil-based "stuff" was substituted for real butter. The West never recovered.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hungry Eyes

What lies at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy? Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an artist depiction of some of what be going on there.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Moon and Evening Star

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a nice shot of the New Moon and Venus in the early evening sky.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet Lovejoy in the skies over Chile. Looks pretty good for a comet that nearly plunged into our home star!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Exordium

Several years ago a friend urged me to read a multi-part space opera. I started it and was hooked from the first chapter. Epic battles that would rival "Doc" Smith, dense politics, strange backgrounds and cultures that would make Jack Vance proud and enough verbiage (five volumes) to keep you busy for weeks.

The downside was that it appeared that the series did not get the support it deserved and the attention it deserved so it faded from view.

Well, not entirely. There was a active (vocal) group at Yahoo to discuss the book. And as time marched on and the barriers to entry fell, the two authors of the book were able to bring it back into print in electronic and paper format.

So...I urge you to go out and experience The Phoenix in Flight and Ruler of Naught, the first two volumes of the amazing Exordium series (the other three will come). Now with revised/restored sequences!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a jaw-dropping shot of the Dumbbell Nebula. Wowza.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Saturnian Storm

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful shot from the Cassini orbiter of the largest storm in the solar system.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Moon and Mountains

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is another shot of the eclipsed Moon. Looks...very...cold!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Shell Game

A "deep image" of NGC 7600 reveals hidden structures (shells) in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Better than the pizza delivery sequence in Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash: How does David Weber order a pizza?
Ring of Fire

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows an "Einstein Ring", light from a distant object bent around another object and bringing it (after a fashion) to our attention.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows one of the Geminids falling through a late Fall sky last week.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Does the Higgs-Boson exist? Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the machine that is trying to get to the heart of the question.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'm A Survior!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet Lovejoy's brush with fame (and our Sun). Predicted to be destroyed by its close encounter, it looks like Lovejoy is still around!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Key Equipment

Very retro. Very nifty.

Five killer technologies. I don't think the book will go away...completely...but the days of the paperback are numbered.
There's a Bathroom on the Right

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is another view of last week's lunar eclipse. The title of today's post has nothing to do with that and everything to do with mis-heard song lyrics.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reality Check in Aisle One

Fun with things like correlation. IT'S SCIENCE, BEYITCHIES.
Phased Moon

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows another time-lapse sequence of last week's lunar eclipse. Full Moon to Pumpkin Moon to Full Moon!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Moon Over India

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a nice time-lapse sequence of last week's lunar eclipse.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cargo Cult

And another many cargo vehicles do we have for one station that I keep hearing we'll sink circa 2020 (silly decision, if true)?
That Girl

A review of the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sounds better, but I still question the need for a remake vs. a better distribution of the original.

A website for Gustav Hasford and The Short-Timers. Oddly enough, for such a well-regarded book...not in print? No electronic edition? Sigh, to the second-hand market, I go!
Where Next, Columbus?

I think Paul Allen and Burt Rutan just answered their own personal version of that question.

More here.
Yes, Children...

Once upon a time, we were able to walk on another sphere. No more, because they took away your dreams and mine.
The Cream on the Cone

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows an area near the Cone Nebula. Strawberry? Blueberry? Cherry?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cold Hunting

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows pictures of a very cold hunt: looking for meteors at our southern pole!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rock and Roll

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows sections of a meteorite that appears to be parts of asteroid Vesta (which we are presently orbiting via the Dawn space probe).

Friday, December 09, 2011

Nettle Stew

Amazing find in a quarry in Ye Olde Englande.

Is the poem Lycidas by John Milton the source of titles for several important works of science fiction?
Blue Origins

NASA Deputy Administrator tours Blue Origin. I cannot recall a Deputy Administrator or NASA chief that pushed themselves into photos as much as these two have!
Micro World

How to make a terrarium as a Christmas tree ornament. And why not use such year round to brighten up your house?
Setting Eclipse

Total eclipse of the Moon for tomorrow. Alas, by the time it happens, it'll be set for me. Take a look if you can! The Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a recent similar eclipse.
The Great Dismal

Catching up with William Gibson courtesy of Tor's website. Coming in January...the first non-fiction collection (pre-ordered twice).

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Earth "Like"

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a comparison between the rocky planets of our solar system and the recently-discovered rocky planet in the Kepler 22 system. Looks like something that Hal Clement would come up with!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dyson's Sphere

A profile of George Dyson (his previous books on the evolution of computing and the Orion atomic-bomb powered spaceship are excellent) which mentions that a new book will be coming March next. Huzzah!
The Very Best

I first encountered Charles De Lint several years ago when I started spotting his books on the shelves of the local bookstore. The covers looked interesting, but I shied away as I have always been less interested in fantasy than science fiction and even less interested in serial fantasy (due to the "where to start" problem).

I then came across an interview with him in an episode of Rick Kleffel's The Agony Column (see here, page down to the September 4, 2003). Interesting stuff, I thought.

So when I came across two books that did not appear to be part of any particular series, I gave them a try. And was hooked.

I picked up several more volumes, mostly short story collections or novels about Del Lint's fictional setting of Newford. The first of those that I've started to read is this "best of" collection, or rather a "very best of" collection.

"Who is he?" she asked. "Or maybe should I be asking what is he?"

"I've always thought of him as a kind of anima,"Jilly said. "A loose bit of myth that got left behind when all the others went on to wherever it is that myths go when we don't believe in them anymore."

"That's sort of what he said. But what does it mean? What is he really?"

Jilly shrugged. "Maybe what he is isn't so important as that he is." At Wendy's puzzled look, she added, "I can't explain it any etter. I...look, it's like it's not so important that he is or isn't what he says he is, but that he says it. That he believes it."


"Because it's just like he told you," Jilly said. "People are losing touch with themselves and with each other. They need stories because they really are the only thing that brings us together. Gossip, anecdotes, jokes, stories—these are the things that we used to exchange with each other. It kept the lines of communication open, let us touch each other on a regular basis.

"That's what art's all about, too. My paintings and your poems, the books Christy writes, the music Geordie plays—they're all lines of communication. But they're harder to keep open now because it's so much easier for most people to relate to a TV set than it is to another person. They get all this data fed into them, but they don't know what to do with it anymore. When they talk to other people, it's all surface. How ya doing, what about the weather. The only opinions they have are those that they've gotten from people on TV shows. They think they're informed, but all they're doing is repeating the views of talk show hosts and news commentators.

"They don't know how to listen to real people anymore."

(Charles De Lint, The Conjure Man, The Very Best of Charles De Lint)

That quote there, coming in the middle of one of the many fine tales in this collection, seems to best sum up the theme behind many of the stories in this collection. De Lint writes "fantasy" and we have magical creatures popping up but in reality the stories are about relationships, people, caring and the like.

A very nice mix between the Newford tales and a few other linked sets, plus a number of independent stories.

Regarding the opening sentence of my review, well, I read a lot more fantasy than I used to. I rate Tim Powers among my all time favorites. Peter S. Beagle and Gene Wolfe are up there as well. Tha new guy, Neil Gaiman, can turn an occasional good phrase. De Lint is among the ranks of such of these.

The Very Best of Charles De Lint; Charles De Lint; edited by Jill Roberts (Tachyon Publications; 2010; ISBN 978-1-892391-96-4; cover by Charles Vess).

Made up of: Introduction; In Which We Meet Jilly Coppercorn; Coyote Stories; Laughter in the Leaves; The Badger in the Bag; And the Rafters Were Ringing; Merlin Dreams in the Mondream Wood; The Stone Drum; Timeskip; Freewheeling; A Wish Named Arnold; Into the Green; The Graceless Child; Winter Was Hard; Conjure Man; We Are Dead Together; Mr. Truepenny's Book Emporium and Gallery; In the House of My Enemy; The Moon Is Drowning While I Sleep; Crow Girls; Birds; Held Safe By Moonlight and Vines; In the Pines; Pixel Pixies; Many Worlds Are Born Tonight; Sisters; Pal O'Mine; That was Radio Clash; Old Man Crow; The Fields Beyond the Fields.

Counts as 30 entries in the 2011 Year in Shorts.
Fly the Friendly Skies

Space, societies, aliens and...diversity? An amusing look at the silly conceptions of gaia-centric academics.
Albert Hall

I'm fixing a hole where the universe gets in and keeps my mind from wandering...
My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma

On the coming robotic apocalypse.
Ad Astra

James Gunn (one of our best practioners of science fiction research) has a new website/research tool available. Take a look!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a movie showing Jupiter's rotation.

One of the most memorable observing experiences I had was one cold January night where Jupiter showed particilarly clear. Not only could I see the Great Red Spot, but the major moons and their shadows. As I observed, more and more detail kept "popping" into view on the cloud banks: whorls and festoons. Suddenly I realized that the Great Red Spot had transited across the face of Jupiter and I had very cold feet. I had sat there for several hours that night, utterly captivated by what I had seen.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows an odd echo, a light echo. V838 Mon, 20,000 light years away is one odd duck.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Friday, December 02, 2011


It's up! #293 in a series! Ltos of good stuff, as usual.

Gems such as...

Editorial. My New Year resolution will be to write an editorial.
In Southern Climes

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the recent (partial) solar eclipse from Antartica.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Full View

Around the flight deck of Discovery.
Writing is a Dangerous Undertaking

It is not enough merely to love literature, if one wishes to spend one’s life as a writer. It is a dangerous undertaking on the most primitive level. For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will walk forever on the tightrope, with each new step presenting the possibility of learning a truth about oneself that is too terrible to bear.

(Harlan Ellison)
Old Bottles, New Wine

After several years, I'm trying a new look for the old blog. Alas, I can't find "widgets" or gadgets" for some things that I've had for years (like the position of the International Space Station), but hopefully that will change. Comments on the look welcome.

Stellar engineering and stellar engines. Dream big.
New and Evenstar

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of a sight you may have seen earlier this week: the "new" Moon near the evenstar, Venus.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Very Big Boom

I want one of these for when I become head of an Evil Empire. You, my minions, should start digging.
Train Set

Holy smokes, take a look at this "model railroad"!!!

Hey, look: the British Army has a blog! The whole thing!
The Spoken Word

Fun with Latin and Greek.

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the Atlas V launch vehicle tossing Curiosity on its way to Mars. So expensive that a second rover was not built, and using a new (untried) landing system, there's a lot riding on that launcher.

Another fifteen picoseconds of fame.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The Voyninch Manuscript is now available online!
Outback Books

Now here's an interesting looking bookstore!
What Lies Beyond?

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the central region of galaxy Centaurus A, a cosmic maelstrom. What wonders lie beyond the obscuring clouds?
The State of the Economy

1. I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

2. I ordered a burger at McDonalds and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?"

3. CEO's are now playing miniature golf.

4. If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

5. Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

6. McDonalds is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

7. Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children's names.

8. A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico .

9. Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

10. Motel Six won't leave the light on anymore.

11. The Mafia is laying off judges.

12. Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 Congressmen.

(With a tip of the hat to Arnold Bailey, who posted this at Baen's Bar...)
Conservatives vs. Liberals

(Seen at Baen's Bar...remember it is humor...)

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn’t buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative sees a foreign threat, he thinks about how to defeat his enemy.
A liberal wonders how to surrender gracefully and still look good.

If a conservative is homosexual, he quietly leads his life.
If a liberal is homosexual, he demands legislated respect.

If a black man or Hispanic are conservative, they see themselves as independently successful.
Their liberal counterparts see themselves as victims in need of government protection.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced. (Unless it’s a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping for it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative slips and falls in a store, he gets up, laughs and is embarrassed.
If a liberal slips and falls, he grabs his neck, moans like he's in labor and then sues.

If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended".

(Again...humor. As an excercise for the student, come up with a reverse version.)
The Horror...The Horror...

"Have you ever awakened the morning after a book-buying spree, unable to remember how many you bought or how much you spent? Have you ever been reprimanded or fired for reading on the job? Have you ever purchased or rented additional living space—just for your books? Then you, like me, are a biblioholic!" (Tom Raabe, "Biblioholism")
To the Pain!

Prince Humperdinck: First things first, to the death.

Westley: No. To the pain.

Prince Humperdinck: I don't think I'm quite familiar with that phrase.

Westley: I'll explain and I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you warthog faced buffoon.

Prince Humperdinck: That may be the first time in my life a man has dared insult me.

Westley: It won't be the last. To the pain means the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists. Next your nose.

Prince Humperdinck: And then my tongue I suppose, I killed you too quickly the last time. A mistake I don't mean to duplicate tonight.

Westley: I wasn't finished. The next thing you will lose will be your left eye followed by your right.

Prince Humperdinck: And then my ears, I understand let's get on with it.

Westley: WRONG. Your ears you keep and I'll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, "Dear God! What is that thing," will echo in your perfect ears. That is what to the pain means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Landslide Brings You Down

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a result from one of our newest robotic explorers: Dawn spots a landslide on Vesta (!).
Making a List, Checking it Twice

What's on Leonardo Da Vinci's to-do list? Interesting stuff!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sky Bird

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of IC 5067, more popularly known as the Pelican Nebula. More pillars of creation!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Inside the Dome

What goes on inside those mysterious mountaintop structures? Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day provides a glimpse.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

In the Afterglow

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an artist depiction of two galaxies in the process of formation, caught in the "afterglow" of a cosmic explosion.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Eyes at Night

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the multi-dish radio telescopes of Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array under the skies of the Chilean Andes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the fall of a recent visitor from the Leonid swarm. Vermin of the skies...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Electronic Sea

Patrick O'Brian's novels are going digital. There was much rejoicing in The Gunroom.
What Is Truth?

In ancient Greece (469-399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students...?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three."

"Test of Three?"

"That's correct. Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man replied, "actually I just heard about it."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"

The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, "You may still pass though because there is a third test—the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really..."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.

It also explains why Socrates never found out that Plato was banging his wife.
Divine Intervention

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments. He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan . One of the courses had a professor who was an avowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, "GOD if you are real then I want you to knock me off this platform. I'll give you exactly 15 min." The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, "Here I am GOD, I'm still waiting."

It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor, and cold-cocked him; knocking him off the platform. The professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there, silently.

The other students were shocked and stunned, and sat there looking on in silence.

The professor eventually came to, noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, "What in the world is the matter with you? Why did you do that?"

The Marine calmly replied, "GOD was too busy today protecting American soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid stuff and act like an idiot. So He sent me."

"You cannot fully read a book without being alone. But through this very solitude you become intimately involved with people whom you might never have met otherwise, either because they have been dead for centuries or because they spoke languages you cannot understand. And nonetheless, they have become your closest friends, your wisest advisors, the wizards that hypnotize you, the lovers you have always dreamed of." (Antonio Munoz Molinas, "The Power of the Pen")

"A reader doesn't really see the characters in a story; he feels them." (Cornelia Funke, Inkdeath)

I went into a flop house to get some sacra clear,
The barman points me to the door, “We don’t serve guardsman here.”
The girls sat at the bar, they laughed and sniggered ‘til they burst,
I walked into the street again and damned them with a curse,
O it's Guardsman this, and Guardsman that, and "Guardsman, go away";
But it's Our Brave Imperial Soldiers, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's Our Brave Imperial Soldiers when the band begins to play.

I went into a temple as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but the priest had none for me;
They sent me to the courtyard because without so much a grunt,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! Then I’ll be in front!
For it's Guardsman this, and Guardsman that, and Guardsman, wait outside";
But it's first aboard the shuttle when the starships on the tide,
The starship's on the tide, my boys, the starship's on the tide,
O it's first aboard the shuttle when the starships's on the tide.

Yes, making mock of uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, and Emperor knows they’re cheap;
And hustling drunken soldiers when they've had a little bit
Is five times better business than parading in full kit.
Then it's Guardsman this, and Guardsman that, and Guardsman, how's your soul?"
But it's Our Brave Imperial Soldiers when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's Our Brave Imperial Soldiers when the drums begin to roll.

We’re not Our Brave Imperial Soldiers and we aren't no heretics too,
But single men in barracks, in other ways like you;
And if sometimes our conduct don’t show enough restraint,
Why, a single man in barracks don't make a very good saint;
While it's Guardsman this, an' Guardsman that, an' "Guardsman, fall behind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk of better food for us, and prayer schools, and homes and all:
We'll wait for extra rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about with cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Emperor’s Uniform is not the Guardsman's disgrace.
For it's Guardsman this, and Guardsman that, and "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of the Imperium when the guns begin to shoot;
And it's Guardsman this, and Guardsman that, and anything you please;
And Guardsman ain't an utter fool -- you bet that Guardsman sees!

(John Lambshead, after Rudyard Kipling)
Stop Motion

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a video that has been passed around a few times now. However, it never ceases to amaze: Around the world on the ISS. Thunderstorms, aurora, city lights, oceans, forests...

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a star-forming region (known as W5) as captured by the Spitzer Space Telescope. "Pillars of creation" abound!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a mysterious-looking nebula popularly known as Wolf's Cave.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Imperial Madness

"'They shall be my finest warriors, these men who give themselves to me.

Like clay I shall mould them and in the furnace of war I shall forge them.

They will be of iron will and steely muscle.

In great armour shall I clad them and with the mightiest gun shall they be armed.

They will be untouched by plague or disease, no sickness will blight them.

They will have tactics, strategies and machines such that no foe will best them in battle.

They are my bulwark against the terror.

They are the defenders of Humanity.

They are my Space Marines...

...and they shall know no fear.'

-The Emperor of Man

'Another day nearer the battle

So drink up, lads and look brave.

For another day nearer the battle

Is another day nearer the grave.'

Imperial Guard drinking song

'Some may question your right to destroy ten billion people. But those who understand realise that you have no right to let them live.'

-In Exterminatus Extremis

'Do not ask which creature screams in the night.

Do not ask who crouches in the shadow.

For it is my voice that wakes you in the night

And me who watches you from the shadow.

I am Tzeentch and you are the puppet

That dances to my tune.

Karazantor the Vile, Traitor of Xian

'Orkses is never beaten in battle. If we win we win, if we die so it don't count as beat. If we runs for it we don't die neither, so we can always come back for anuvver go, see!'


'They have only one purpose and there is nothing they will not do to accomplish this, no matter how vile or loathsome it might be. These abominations mean to destroy everything proud and noble, everything we hold dear and have fought so long to achieve.'

-Inqisitor Agmar on Tyranids

'A Heretic may see the truth and seek redemption. He may be forgiven his past and will be absolved in death. A Traitor can never be forgiven. A Traitor will never find peace in this world or the next. There is nothing as wretched or as hated in all the world as a Traitor.'

-Cardinal Khrysdam, Instructum Absolutio

'Listen but closely Brothers, for my life's breath is all but spent. There shall come a time far from now when our Chapter itself is dying, even as I am now dying, and our foes shall gather to destroy us. Then my children, I shall listen for your call in whatever realm of death holds me, and come I shall, no matter what the laws of life and death forbid. At the end I will be there. For the final battle. For the Wolftime.

-Last words of Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves

'Through the gates that stand between the mortal world and the immortal Realm of Chaos are now closed to me, still I would rather die having glimpsed eternity than to have stirred the cold furrow of mortal life.

I embrace death without regret as I embraced life without fear.'

-Kargos Bloodspitter, Champion of Khorne

'We're the Death Korp of Krieg, son. Did you think that was just a pretty name? We never retreat. We fight and we die, that's the Krieg way.'

-Lieutenant Konarski at the Battle of Erebus, Tarsis Ultra

"Curses! Just when you've finally managed to bring the whole world under your evil influence some pathetic little Inquisitor goes whining off to the Adeptus Terra about rogue psykers and daemonic possession. I mean, do I look posssessed? Well, do I? DO I???" - Personal Log of Lord Varlak, 995.M41 (during the Purging of Korsk II)

"There is no such thing as a plea of innocence in my court. A plea of innocence is guilty of wasting my time. Guilty." - Inquisitor Lord Fyodor Karamazov"
Military Wit and Wisdom of the Imperium

A good general does not lead an army to destruction just because he knows it will follow.
A good soldier obeys without question. A good officer commands without doubt.
A mind without purpose will wander in dark places.
A small mind is a tidy mind.
A small mind is easily filled with faith.
All untruths are sedition.
An empty mind is a loyal mind.
Be strong in your ignorance.
Better crippled in body than corrupt in mind.
Blessed is the mind too small for doubt.
Carry the Emperor’s Will as your torch, with it destroy the shadows.
Cease and Repent.
Crush the unholy in all of their many guises.
Damnation is Eternal.
Death is the servant of the righteous.
Destroy the impure.
Doubt is the open gate through which slips the most fatal of enemies.
Even a heretic may repent and in his death be saved. A traitor is forever damned.
Every man is expected to work his fingers to the bone to accomplish the task in hand. And if that proves insufficient, he shall work them to the marrow!
Examine your thoughts.
Excuses are the refuge of the weak.
Exitus Acta Probat: The outcome justifies the deed.
Extreme remedies are most appropriate for extreme diseases.
Faith in the Emperor is its own reward.
Faith is the sturdiest armour. Hatred the surest weapon.
Faith without deeds is worthless.
Fear me, for I am your apocalypse.
Fear not the creatures of the jungle but those that lurk within your mind.
Follow me if I advance. Kill me is I retreat. Avenge me if I die.
Form follows content.
Guns and warriors are useful but it is our indomitable will that promises the ultimate victory.
Hatred is eternal.
He who lives for nothing is nothing. He who dies for the Emperor is a hero.
He who loses a limb lives on. He who loses his head does not.
He who seizes the moment, he is the right man.
Honour, duty & obedience.
Hope is the beginning of unhappiness.
If a job’s worth doing it’s worth dying for!
If you want peace, prepare for war.
Ignorance is a virtue.
Ignorance is no excuse.
In failure are the seeds of Heresy sown.
Information is power.
Innocence proves nothing.
Know thine enemy.
Know your destination before you set out.
Knowledge is power, guard it well.
Let faith light the darkness of your soul.
No battle was every won that was poorly planned. No plan ever succeeded that was poorly conceived.
No man that died in the Emperor’s service died in vain.
Nobody is innocent, there are merely varying degrees of guilt.
Not even the dead know the end of war.
Nothing can hide from the wrath of the Emperor.
One man can start a landslide with the casting of a single pebble.
Only the lost understand true terror.
Peace is hell.
Peace? There cannot be peace in these times.
Perseverance and silence are the highest virtues.
Prayer cleanses the soul, but pain cleanses the body.
Purge the unclean.
Purity is not your best defence; it is your only defence.
Retribution stalks the heretic from afar.
Seek reward in service alone.
Serve the Emperor today, for tomorrow you may be dead.
Sorrow awaits the foolhardy.
Strength through unity.
Strive Harder.
Study the Alien, the better to kill it.
Success is commemorated. Failure is merely remembered.
Suffer not the Alien.
That which is unknown and unseen always commands the greatest fear.
The Cosmos cry out for salvation.
The dead watch over us and guide us.
The difference between heresy and treachery is ignorance.
The Emperor knows, the Emperor is watching.
The end justifies the means.
The enemy of man lies in his own blood.
The only true achievement is purity.
The population needs deception, so deceive them.
The road to purity is drenched in the blood of the martyred.
The wage of negligence is utter destruction.
The wise man learns from the deaths of others.
There is no art more beautiful and diverse than the art of Death.
There is no salvation without suffering.
There is only the Emperor and he is our shield and protector.
Though the artificers of Evil are many, a bolter round kills just as assuredly.
Thought begets heresy: Heresy begets retribution.
To live in peace is to know death, to die in battle is to know peace.
Tolerance is a sign of weakness.
Trust no one else and trust yourself less.
Trust to your faith.
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.
Wisdom is the beginning of fear.
Zeal is no excuse.

And those are just the good guys...seriously.
Leather and Lace

The point that must be made is that although Herrena the Henna-Haired Harridan would look quite stunning after a good bath, a heavy-duty manicure, and the pick of the leather racks in Woo Hung Ling's Oriental Exotica and Martial Aids on Heroes Street, she was currently quite sensibly dressed in light chain mail, soft boots, and a short sword. All right, maybe the boots were leather. But not black.

(Terry Pratchett, The Light Fantastic)

A very good article on one company that is causing a paradigm shift among the steely-eyed rocket engineers.
Light that Candle

A look back at America's first manned sub-orbital flight, by the people who made the mission possible.
On Orbit

One of the more astonishing things sent down from the ISS. City lights, aurora, lightning storms and more!
Uneven Moon

Lunar topography like you've never seen it before.
All Schlock, All the Time

At the latest episode of the SF Signal Podcast, we interview Howard Tayler.
A Difficult Subject

A comma walked into a bar...

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is one of my favorite winter sights.

Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fireflies tangled in a silver braid.

(Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall)

Addendum: We've been down this road before.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


New Horizons has long ago passed the Jupiter system on its way to "dwarf planet" Pluto, but images still get processed and released. Take a look at this stunning montage of Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io.

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows our gnarly star.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Falling, Falling

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of a waterfall, water shining and auroras flowing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows special effects that rival anything ever seen on the Big Screen.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Semi-Intelligent Mobile Device

Gee, I wish my Android phone was this good!

It appears now that the story about Harlan Ellison getting a screen credit (and a settlement) in his recent suit was not so true. Stranger and stranger.
Return to Orbit

So after killing off Stargate Universe, SyyyyyFyyyy has announced that they are bringing in some new shows, including one set in space.

Sounds so-so from various descriptions, especially given the track record of the folks behind it (Andromeda, seriously?).

Here's a thought. I know of a property developed by David Gerrold that would make a quality show. Why not develop that instead?

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of supernova remnant RCW 86. Galactic strands.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I Love Coffee, I Love Tea

William S. Burroughs and the death of espresso in Old London.
Philip K. Dick Is Still Dead, Alas

More on the recent brick by Philip K. Dick. Brick information here. The head is missing. The head has been rebuilt. And Ridley Scott is visiting. Jonathan Lethem (who edited the brick) on the brick. NPR/PRI's Takeaway on Jonathan Lethem, PKD and the brick.

And from the archives: Golden years. What PKD learned from UKLG. LOA on PKD (01). LOA on PKD (02). LOA on PKD (03). (FYI, PKD is PDF in those three.)

Quotes from the brick. Far out.

Bah, the sheep go.

The gumdrop falls into the pool for the third water landing test. Still waiting on that whole funding and destination plan thing.
That's No Moon...

No, it's a passing ship in the night. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a radar image of Asteroid 2005 YU55, which recently had a "close" passage by our planet.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Book Bargains

Here's a couple of bundle recommendations for those who read eBooks. Multiple formats, reasonable prices, and NO STINKING DRM. Via Baen's Webscriptions services comes several bundles of books from Nightshade Books: Glen Cook 01. Glen Cook 02. William Hope Hodgson. Clark Ashton Smith.

And a whole lot more from many authors. Can be used (depending on the format) on just about any eReader out there.
Bah! Bah!

Jonathan Lethem dreams of electric sheep. He also helped to edit a doorstopper of a tome. Yes, The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick is out.

A film sequel to Ridley Scott's Blade Runner? Other than being helmed by Mr. Scott himself, is there any chance of it being even vaguely as interesting (or controversial) as the first).

Probably not. Oh, Hollow-wood, why have you no imagination?

Yes, child, once upon a time we went to another world. No more, alas.

What I'd really like right now is a damn fine cup of coffee. Failing that, cherry pie and dancing dwarves.
More Dragons

New books about Girls. Well, old books, new wrappings. Still no word on an actual new book coming out.
Awesome with Awesome Sauce

A Kickstarter campaign for a boardgame based on the Schlock Mercenary webcomic!

Today's Astronomy Picture of Day shows jumping sundogs over thunderclouds.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Still Gone

Marking the date of my father's birth and nearly two years beyond his passing.

My son, be steadfast in honoring your father,
do not grieve him as long as he lives.
Even if his mind fails, be considerate of him;
do not revile him because you are in your prime.
Kindness to a father will not be forgotten;
it will serve as a sin offering—it will take lasting root.
In time of trouble it will be recalled to your advantage,
like warmth upon frost it will melt away your sin.
Those who neglect their father are like blasphemers;
those who provoke their mother are accursed by their


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is not an orange, not red hot lava, but a short video of our oozing Sun. Weird stuff.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 3628, popularily known as The Hamburger Galaxy. Looks like it is at least topped with cheese.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of NGC 7380, The Wizard Nebula. Looks more like a spray of fall colors to me.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

It. Has. Arrived.

Ansible 292. Read it. Absorb it. Worship it.
Little Buttons

As part of my migration away from sites I'm finding less useful (FB, LI) and back to here as the primary site for items, I've added two Twitter-related buttons (see on top). Twitter is where I post brief stuff.
Busman's Holiday

I'd be perfectly happy spending an entire vacation doing nothing but reading. Other plans are usually made.

Today's Astronomy (Video Clip) of the Day is a physics lesson.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Out of Copyright

O.K., I'm finding this pretty amusing. The P.K.D. Estate, which sued Google over the use of the phrase "Nexus One" is suing to recover money from the profits of a film based on one of PKD's stories. The studio now claims the story is out of copyright, so they say they owe nuthin'.

Heave forbid, however, if you were to "pirate" that flick.

More here.
Irregular Webcomic

I'm not sure when I first started reading this webcomic, but it has been a daily read for years. A year or so ago, I downloaded a number of webcomics onto The Young Lady's netbook and this one became her favorite.

She will be very sad to learn that the webcomic is ending (or transforming, see the link).
Zone One

The Agony Column presents a interview with Colson Whitehead and features his new book, Zone One.
Space Ghost from Coast to Coast

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is perfect for Halloween! vdB 141, also known as by the catchy moniker of Sh2-136 looms spookily in the galactic sky!

A modest proposal. Do we have the will?
John Schoenherr

Genre artist Gregory Manchess on the art of John Schoenherr. Great stuff!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a interesting orbital shot courtesy of Mars Odyssey. White fingers on Mars!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Humor. A Difficult Subject.

Assume a spherical cow...
What's In My Bag?

One of my favorite weekly columns (of a sort) in The New York Times was called What's In My Briefcase? and featured business folk, tech folk, and even Neal Stephenson at times with their "everyday carry". BoingBoing brings the theme back and looks at what is in the bag of one James Gurney.
Red Sky at Night

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a real October/Halloween sky!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Treat

The folks at The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast present a full recording of Eich-Pee-El's classic The Call of Cthulhu. Which recording was funded by many people, like me, in order to bring you the crunchy goodness of old squid face in time for Halloween. Download and enjoy!
Young Stars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows young stars that will be around a lot longer than the hot young talent of Hollywood.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sheep, Electric

A nice video montage to Tokyo, Blade Runner and the music of Vangelis. Turn up the volume.
Lasers and Vampires

Space junk is an increasing problem for an orbital presence. Here's a proposal to use ground-based lasers to clear the skies (how long before somebody screams about dual-use...what clears junk can also clear enemy satellites!). Could something like this eventually lead to a laser launch system?

And...with all that (expensive) junk orbiting the Earth, how about using them as a source of parts (of course we can also put the paranoid spin, as above, on this...what can harvest a dead satellite can also attack a live enemy satellite!).
Chop Bard

Old Will as a podcast. Will give this one a try next.
Classical Gas

Improving upon the classics by rebranding them. Heh.
Saturn and Beyond the Infinite

In the novel (and in earlier versions of the screenplay), the Discovery was heading for Saturn, rather than Jupiter, in 2001: A Space Odyssey. When I first read the book (several months before seeing the movie during its first run), my mind was filled with the vistas of Saturn, its dancing moons, and the rings. This was further enhanced by some of Clarke's collected short works such as Jupiter V and Saturn Rising.

Saturn (along with Jupiter and the Moon) were among my first sights through my first telescopes. Whenever Saturn hoves into view, I'll focus whatever scope I have out towards it to see the rings and catch a glimpse of its belts and its moons. Amazing stuff, to see with the "naked eye" even after several decades of (sporadic) observing.

It is nice to see that reality matches and outstrips our imagination. Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the rings, Titan, Dione, Pandora and...if you look very carefully...Pan.

Beyond the infinite, indeed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Jupter and Beyond the Infinite

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful shot of Jupiter and several of his moons.

One evening, when I still had my LX-200 10" SCT, I focused in on Jupiter. It was a beautiful night for "seeing" and I was spotting way more detail (in the belts) than I had seen before. Soon I spotted on of the four major moons, and then its shadow on Jupiter itself. The Great Red Spot appeared on one limb of the planet, clearer than I had ever seen it. I sat there and watched the GRS across the planet.

Then I realized my legs were stiff and I was shaking from the cold of the January night. That period of great seeing had lasted something like four hours!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Many Veils

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful shot of interplay between colors in the constellation of Perseus.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Tale of Tails

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Comet Garradd (visible through binoculars, if this weather would cooperate!) and its multiple tails.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

By the Way, Which One is Pink?

Makes sense to me. And then there was Half Thoughts, gone and lamented, which had the cover as the store sign.

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows star trails across the sky and across the MAGIC telescope.
Friday is Fish Day

A true classic.
Into the Stacks

Rob Cain of the Ancient Rome Refocused podcast on discovering books in the stacks. And, that rare commodity, the helpful bookstore clerk.
Lost Brass Castings

An interesting bit about how a Frank Frazetta painting was...circumcised (?).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mouseguard RPG

The folks at the D6 Generation Podcast have reviewed the Mouseguard RPG. Guess what I'm reading now (preparing to run it for The Young Lady)?
The Rich Reds

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is of IC 1795. This is the kind of astronomical picture that I would study for hours years ago, pre-Hubble and the other space telescopes, pre-CCD's and the vast improvement brought by non-film ground cameras.

Episode 40 of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History show is up!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Pastoral City

Robert Silverberg introduces Clifford D. Simak's classic work.
The Ghost Pirates

A great big bundle of William Hope Hodgeson titles, via Baen's Webscriptions service. Originally published by Night Shade Books, these are excellent collections of carefully corrected texts. And for way less than I spent on the hardcovers!
Single Point of Failure

A heart-wrenching dispatch from Michael Yon.
The Fall of Rome

Triplanetary by E.E. "Doc" Smith as an audiobook. Interestingly, this is not the original serial edition but the revised edition. Earth falls...again and again...
Big Time

Fritz Leiber's classic tale is out as a (free) audiobook.
Saturnian Sundial

Astounding (astonishing?) shot of Saturn in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bubble, Bubble, Toil & Trouble

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 7635 in Cassiopeia. Beautiful!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Watch Your Step

A report with video from Michael Yon, just another day in Afghanistan.

Graphic. Startling. Reality. You have been warned.
100 Years

Gregory Benford on the recent 100 Year Starship conference.
Final Countdown

The march to the new Vernor Vinge release continues with a posting by Tobias S. Buckell at the Tor site.

What is happening in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day? Sunrise. A strange looking sunrise.

Will Boeing bring us an "evolved" X37 to deliver cargo to the ISS? Maybe this is the route the shuttle should have taken to begin with.

Samuel R. Delany is interviewed on public radio.
The Bible Repairman

While I wait on my super-deluxe-fanboi edition (signed!), I can read a review of a new Tim Powers collection at The Wall Street Journal.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

What Mad Universe

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day discusses (and depicts) what this year's Nobel Prize in Physics was all about.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Friday, October 07, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the cruise of Comet Hartley 2. Now if we can just pull a Brin/Benford and have cruiseliners inside comets.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


So in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day we get to see what happens when an ice cube meets a spotlight. A really tiny icecube and a really big spotlight.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a good follow-up to yesterday's crowded sky. Here's what happens when one of those objects meets our planet (if it's big enough).

Saturday, October 01, 2011


Like a good neighbor, Ansible is there.

As Others Research Us. TV critic Mary McNamara marvels at a new concept: 'People flee a polluted Earth by going back 85 million years in executive producer Steven Spielberg's promising new drama on Fox. / Easily the most exciting show of the fall season, Fox's "Terra Nova" has such obvious, instant and demographically diverse appeal – sci-fi fans, fantasy fans, 5-year-olds, 50-year-olds, Al Gore – that you have to wonder why no one thought of it before.' (LA Times, 26 September) [DB] Mass time-travel to the deep past! If only Julian May, Robert Silverberg or Clifford Simak could have come up with such a notion...

Magazine Scene. Steve Davidson (who blogs as The Crotchety Old Fan) has been granted the Amazing Stories trademark – abandoned by previous owners Hasbro – and plans to resurrect the magazine.

Somewhere I have heard that name before...
Our Crowded Sky

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows just how crowded our sky is. These are natural objects, not a few lost satellites!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows IC 5146, the Cocoon Nebula in the constellation of Cygnus.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Modern Times

Inspired by a recent (well, somewhat recent) posting at SF Signal, what is in the Current Reads folder of my eBook gadget?

Poul Anderson: The Van Rijn Method (re-read).

Christopher Anvil: Interstellar Patrol.

Marcuc Aurelius: Meditations (re-read).

Iain M. Banks: Surface Detail.

Amelia Beamer: The Loving Dead.

Greg Bear: Hull Zero Three.

Anthony Bourdain: Kitchen Confidential (re-read).

John Brunner: Stand on Zanzibar (re-read).

Tobias Buckell: Crystal Rain (re-read).

Lois McMaster Bujold: Memory (re-read).

Jim Butcher: Dresden Files Omnibus (re-read and frist times).

Ghost Story. A. Bertram Chandler: The Big Black Mark (re-read).

Glen Cook: Instrumentalities of the Night: The Tyranny of the night, Surrender to the Will of the Night, Lord of the Silent Kingdom. The Starfishers Trilogy: Shadowline, Starfishers, Star's End. Passage at Arms. The Dragon Never Sleeps. Dread Empire: An Empire Unacquainted With Defeat, A Fortress in Shadow, A Cruel Wind. The Swordbearer.

James Fenimore Cooper: The Last of the Mohicans. James.

S.A. Corey: Leviathan Wakes.

Bernard Cornwall: Sharpe's Rifles (re-read).

Larry Correia: Grimnoir Chronicles: Hard Magic, Spellbound (eARC). Monster Hunter: Monster Hunter International (re-read), Monster Hunter Vendetta, Monster Hunter Alpha. Dead Six (with Mike Kupari).

Gordon R. Dickson: The Tactics of Mistake.

Cory Doctorow: Clockwork Fagin (short story).

David Drake: With the Lightings (re-read). Into the Hinterlands (with John Lambshead).

Will Durant: Our Oriental Heritage (re-read).

Eric Flint & Dave Weber: 1633 (re-read).

Phil and Kaja Foglio: Agatha H. and the Airship City.

C.S. Forester: Mr. Midshipman Hornblower.

Dave Freer: Left Behind (short story).

Neil Gaiman: American Gods (10th Anniversary Edition) (re-read).

Raymond Z. Gallun: The Planet Strappers (re-read).

Mark Geston: The Books of the Wars.

William Gibson: Pattern Recognition, Spook Country, Zero History (re-read).

Alexis Gilliland: The Revolution from Rosinante, A Long Shot for Rosinante, The Pirates of Rosinante (re-reads).

Robert A. Heinlein: The Rolling Stones. Between Planets. Farmer in the Sky. Have Space Suit—Will Travel. Citizen of the Galaxy. Starman Jones (all re-reads).

Patrick Hennessey: The Junior Officers' Reading Club—Killing Time and Fighting Wars.

Thor Heyerdahl: Kon-Tiki.

Kenneth Hite: Tour de Lovecraft—The Tales.

Homer: The Iliad, The Odyssey (re-read).

Sarah A. Hoyt: Any Man So Daring. All Night Awake. Ill Met by Moonlight.

N.K. Jemisin: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

Raymond F. Jones: This Island Earth.

Rudyard Kipling: Departmental Ditties and Barack Room Ballads (re-read).

Tom Kratman: Countdown: M-Day. Terra Nova Series: Carnifex. The Lotus Eaters. The Amazon Legion.

T.E. Lawrence: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom (re-read).

Ron Lealos: Don't Mean Nuthin' (short story?)

Jacquest Leslie and Taizo Ichinofe: War Wounds (short story).

John MacLachlan Gray: The Fiend in Human: A Victorian Thriller (short story).

Paul Malmont: The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown. The Chinatown Death Cloud.

Barry Malzberg: Breakfast in the Ruins.

Karl Marlantes: What It Is Like to Go to War. Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War.

Ari Marmell: The Goblin Corps.

George R. R. Martin: A Song of Ice & Fire Omnibus (re-read).

Paul McAuley: The Quiet War. Gardens of the Sun. Cowboy Angels.

Ian McDonald: River of Gods. Cyberabad Days.

Simon Morden: Degrees of Freedom, Theories of Flight, Equations of Life.

Andre Norton: The Search for the Star Stones (omnibus, re-read).

Daniel Pearlman: The Vatican's Secret Cabinet (shor story).

Samuel Pepys: The Diary of Samuel Pepys (re-read).

Jacamo Peterson: A Hard Place.

Hayford Peirce: Chap Foey Rider—Capitalist to the Stars (re-read).

Jerry Pournelle: Janissaries (re-read). The Mercenary (re-read).

Terry Pratchett: Moving Pictures (re-read).

Alastair Reynold: Terminal World.

John Ringo: Into the Looking Glass (re-read).

Spider Robinson: Very Bad Deaths.

Rudy Rucker & Bruce Sterling: Good Night, Moon (short story).

Charles Sheffield: The Compleat McAndrew (re-read).

Robert Silverberg: In the Beginning. To Be Continued. Something Wild Is Loose. Trips. To the Dark Star.

Moses Siregar III: The Black God's War (novel and novella).

Cordwainer Smith: We the Underpeople (re-read). When the People Fell (re-read).

Ryk E. Spoor: Grand Central Arena.

Olaf Stapledon: Star Maker (re-read).

Allen Steele: The Emperor of Mars (short story).

Neal Stephenson: Reamde. The Diamond Age (re-read). Michael Swanwick & Eileen Gunn: Zeppelin City (short story).

Travis S. Tayler: Warp Speed (re-read). Von Neumann's War (with John Ringo) (re-read).

Dave Trowbridge & Sherwood Smith: Exordium 01: The Phoenix in Flight (re-read).

Robert Van Gulik: The Haunted Monastery (re-read).

A.E. van Vogt: The War Against the Rull (re-read).

Various: Bible (New American) (re-read).

Various: The Harvard Five Foot Shelf: 01: Franklin, Woolman, Penn. 02: Plato, Epictetus, Marucs Aurelius. 03: Bacon, Milton's Prose, Thomas Browne. 04: Complete Poems Written in English by Milton. 05: Essays and English Traits.

Various: Nebula Awards 2010. Nebula Awards 2011. Various: Wild Cards 01 (re-read).

Various: The Year's Best SF #15. The Year's Best SF #16.

Various: The Year's Best Science Fiction #27. The Year's Best Science Fiction #28.

Vernor Vinge: Rainbow's End (re-read). A Fire Upon the Deep (re-read). A Deepness in the Sky (re-read). Edgar Wallace: The Fellowship of the Frog (short story).

David Weber: Oath of Swords/Sword Brother (omnibus). In Enemy Hands (re-read).

Brent Weeks: Night Angel: Beyond the Shadows, Shadow's Edge, The Way of Shadows, Perfect Shadow (novella). Lightbringer: The Black Prism.

Robert W. Wood: Goodbye, Vietnam.

Timothy Zahn: Blackcollar: The Judas Solution. The Cobra Trilogy (re-read). Cobra Alliance. Cobra Guardian. Cobra Gamble. Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy: Heir to the Empire (re-read).

Magazines: Beneath Ceaseless Skies 27. Clarkesworld 58. Clarkesworld 59. Clarkesworld 60. Fantasy Magazine 52. Fantasy Magazine 53. Fantasy Magazine 54. Jim Baen's Universe 01/01. Jim Baen's Universe 02/01. Jim Baen's Universe 03/01. Jim Baen's Universe 04/01. Jim Baen's Universe 05/01. Jim Baen's Universe 06/01. Lightspeed 14. Lightspeed 15. Lightspeed 16. Locus 03/11. Locus 04/11. Locus 05/11. Locus 06/11. Locus 07/11. Locus 08/11. Locus 09/11. Steampunk Tales 01. Steampunk Tales 02. Steampunk Tales 03. Steampunk Tales 04.
Another 15 Picoseconds of Fame

Near-future SF. We ramble on in the latest episode of the SF Signal Podcast.
Losing Your Markets

Best commentary on the DC relaunch. EVAH.

Good episode of Writing Excuses last week on gender roles. Wish this one was a two-parter. This week: Writing Assistants.

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is one of those sights that fascinates me on other planets: dry ice pits on Mars. Dig that groovy retro-modernist look.

Rick Kleffel reveiws Neal Stephenson. Even better: Neal Stephenson at The Agony Column.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

House in Space

Over at the Beeb, how big is the International Space Station? Drag it over your house!

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a beautiful shot of some of the aurora we've been graced with this month.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

International Orion?

Will technologies from the ATV transform into the service module for Orion?
Another 15 Picoseconds of Fame

So yesterday one of my "tweets" was "retweeted" by William Gibson and Lev Grossman. Then another one of my "tweets" was "retweeted" by the same two folks.

I posted a comment about how I felt (due to seeing something near my car) like I was living in a Tim Powers novel. Tim Powers responded.

Last night I posted that The Young Lady was going to read Stardust by Neil Gaiman. And a few minutes later...Neil Gaiman responded.

Today Neil Gaiman "retweeted" a tweet of mine.

We're living in the future.
Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi

While the press made much of the Star Wars connection, planets around double stars are nothing new to fans of science fiction.
That Buck Rogers Stuff

Can science fiction be more than just literature. You betcha.
Toy Soldiers

Hey, kids, you too can have your own Roman Army! Rob Cain of Ancient Rome Refocused goes retro.
How To

Neil Gaiman on how to read Gene Wolfe.

Addendum: Full version here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Plot Thickens

The smoking gun has become unidentified. The butler did it.
Life in the Zone

These books by Simon Morden rock. The covers are retro and cool. Need I say more? BUY.

The thin blue line around a small pale dot.
Sharp View

I think we'll need more sun block.
Odd Orion

Orion like you've never seen it before, courtesy of the Spitzer Space Telescope.
Harvest Moon

Full Moon rises over Italy. Bird and bascilica.

Galaxy in a bubble. Amazing stuff!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Raymond Swanland and Glen Cook

The website of a fantasy artist I have grown to really like. I first noticed his work on several novels by Glen Cook, both reprints (from Nightshade Books and Tor Books) and new works (from Tor). I'm not sure where the decision was made—by Cook, by his agent, by the respective publishers—but I like how it gives the two separate lines a unified look.

From Tor Books; The Instrumentalities of the Night. The Tyranny of Night; Lord of the Silent Kingdom; Surrender to the Will of the Night.

From Tor Books, The Black Company. Chronicles of the Black Company; The Books of the South; The Return of the Black Company; The Many Deaths of the Black Company.

From Nightshade Books, The Dread Empire: A Cruel Wind; A Fortress in Shadow; An Empire Unacquainted with Defeat.

Nightshade recently announce more installments in The Dread Empire and it is nice to see they are continuing with the same artist!