Wednesday, June 29, 2011


A game-watch made with "...fragments form the Apollo 11 capsule...". Really? They ground up the Apollo 11 capsule for this? I smell a hoax if not outright deception.
Star Wars, Car Wars

Star Wars books to come out as e-editions. I stopped buying a long time ago and cut the collection signficantly (probably better than 90%, similar cuts went to the Star Trek collection), but there are quite a few titles I'd buy again to put on the virtual shelf: Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye, the trilogies dealing with Han and Lando, Timothy Zahn's books...

San Francisco to ban pets? Seriously?

Can we employ fusion thrusters on spacecraft? This article suggests we might be closer than first thought.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Space Review

In the current issue of The Space Review: Dwayne A. Day looks at Moonraker. Silly film, but I loved the shuttles and the space station. Dwayne A. Day also looks back at a "classic" criticism of the shuttle. And, Jeff Foust looks at our national space policy one year later. We have a space policy? Seriously? Destination? Plan? Funding? Launch vehicle? Capsule?
Practice Run

Getting ready for Expedition 28's scheduled spacewalk.
A Dance with Deadlines

Whoops. It seems that 180 got an early present in the form of an accidental release of the next Game of Thrones installment from George R. R. Martin. Maybe the publisher should just do a good thing and release it early?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Space Review

Here are a few articles of interest from the current issue of The Space Review: Jeff Foust looks at the recent announcement that DARPA will be building (sort of) an interstellar ship. More than meets the eye? Dwayne A. Day looks at the predictions around the space shuttle. And, Jeff Foust reviews a book about a previous entrenchment at NASA.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

At the Edge of the World

Holly Black and Ellen Kushner (editors); Welcome to Bordertown: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands (Random House; 2011; ISBN 978-0-375-86705-7; cover by Steve Stone).

Made up of: Introduction (Holly Black); Introduction (Terri Windling); Bordertown Basics (uncredited); Welcome to Bordertown (Ellen Kushner and Terri Windling); Shannon's Law (Cory Doctorow); Cruel Sister (Patricia A. McKillip); A Voice Like a Hole (Catherynne M. Valente); Stairs in Her Hair (Amal El-Mohtar); Incunabulum (Emma Bull); Run Back Across the Border (Steven Brust); A Prince of Thirteen Days (Alaya Dawn Johnson); The Sages of Elsewhere (Will Shetterly); Soulja Grrrl: A Long Line Rap (Jane Yolen); Crossings (Janni Lee Simner); Fair Trade (Sara Ryan and Dylan Meconis); Night Song for a Halfie (Jane Yolen); Our Stars, Our Selves (Tim Pratt); Elf Blood (Annette Curtis Klause); Ours Is the Prettiest (Nalo Hopkinson); The Wall (Delia Sherman); We Do Not Come in Peace (Christopher Barzak); A Borderland Jump-Rope Rhyme (Jane Yolen); The Rowan Gentleman (Holly Black and Cassandra Clare); The Song of the Song (Neil Gaiman); A Tangle of Green Men (Charles de Lint).

Counts as eight (8) entries in the 2011 Year in Shorts.

Associational: Geek's Guide to the Galaxy interviews Ellen Kushner on the new anthology (and other subjects). SF Signal interviews Holly Black on the new anthology (and other subjects). Strange Horizons interviews Holly Black, Ellen Kushner and Terri Windling. Companion article in Strange Horizons.

Addendum: List of Borderlands stories (less the new anthology). Another list of the books, including current and future print status. Placemarker site. New official site. List of associated sites.
View of the 'Hood

View of the (ahem) local structure of the universe, in today's Astronomy Picture of the Day. Local is relative.

Dawn captures video of Vesta. This is going to be an exciting mission, let's hope NASA's PAO doesn't do their usual boring job.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Upper Stage

An engine for an upper stage of a NASA rocket is ready for testing. Now we just need funding...a rocket...a plan...

...speaking of which...
Sense of Wonder

Looks great. Nice line-up here. However...$50.00 for the deadtree and $40.00 for the eBook. What are they smoking at Wildside?
Rule 34

Excerpt from the forthcoming novel. Someday I will have to finish the first (Halting State). I keep getting derailed by the point of view and the dialect.
Lego Makes Lego

Round and round and round we go! A Lego kit that replicates the machine that makes bricks!
Free Choice

I am a Roman Catholic. That does not mean that I feel that every tenet of the Church should be applied to everyone...or that I agree with every tenet of the Church.

This is one tenet that I do not agree with: that somebody, no matter how badly they are suffering, is forbidden from taking their own life. Seeing both my father and my father-in-law suffer, should they not, if they so desired, had a choice?

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out with Sir Pterry.

Will this experiment lead to the desired result of making people more prepared for real emergencies?

Addendum: Brrraaaaaiinnnnzzzzz in the United Kingdom...
The Space Review

In the current issue of The Space Review, we find: Dwayne A. Day looks at a Russian aircraft that is intended to...shoot down Hubble? Jeff Foust looks at the Skylon. Is this the future of cheap space access? Taylor Dinerman looks back on the space shuttle program. Success, failure or both?

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


A collection of images taken of the ISS and space shuttle, together. Look for the download as one zip option.
Expedition 28, Immediate Launch!

Expedition 28 on their way to the ISS.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The Space Review

In the current issue of The Space Review, I found the following to be of interest: Grant Bonin looks at the idea of using smaller (cheaper) launch vehicles. The more the merrier... Jeff Foust looks at strategies to settle and explore the Solar System. Louis Friedman examines one of the most sought after missions: Mars sample return. Linked to that, Ben Brockert looks at the challenges for robotics. Finally, Anthony Young looks at the crew picked to fly the final shuttle mission.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Tough Times in Texas

Joe R. Lansdale; Savage Season (Hap & Leonard 01) (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; 2009; ISBN 978-0-307-45538-3; cover by Joe Montgomery).

Readers of this blog know that my pile of books read is pretty large but the subject matter is usually pretty small: science fiction, some fantasy, science, history, and a few others. On occasion, it is a thriller or a mystery. Joe R. Lansdale's Savage Season fits in there, but that is not the reason I picked it up. I picked it up as I've heard at least a half-dozen or more interviews with Lansdale without ever reading one of his stories. He sounds like a genuinely nice person and a very interesting one as well, and after a recent piece on his work at SF Signal, I figured it was time to give it a try.

Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are two people one would not normally associate with each other: a ex-protester and drifter and a homosexual, black Vietnam vet. In between jobs they are sucked into a deal that goes bad and gets worse, double crosses becoming triple crosses and bodies stacking up faster and faster.

Sure sounds like a typical movie-of-the-week, but there's so much more here. Lansdale has a light touch on the detail, just enough to draw you in. The dialogue, both internal and external, is excellent. And the two main characters are a hoot 'n' a holler. Ahem, excuse me. They are two very interesting people that work.

Good stuff. Time to get the next volume in the series and pass this one around to a couple of friends who are also ready to be hooked.

Winner of the student competition to design a robot to work on the Moon and harvest soil for processing.
Lots of Books

Looking for something to read? How about 4,000 books (Adobe Acrobat only, drat it) for free?
Extended Warranty

Meanwhile, on Mars, the vehicle slated for a 90 day mission is still years and 30 kilometers later!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Playing with Numbers

Apparently the saying is now "There are lies, damn lies and marketing." For shame on both B&N and Amazon for these games.

Too little, too late? Radio Shack wants to go back to its DIY roots. Has the world moved on? Would they really be able to do this without abandoning the strategy?
Fetus, Don't Fail Me Now


A break for the Daleks for a bit? Sounds like a good idea. I recall reading a book on SF in television and the movies...from 1970...which talked about how tiresome the pepper pots were becoming. I love me some Daleks, but surely there can be more to the Whoverse!

A sandcrawler made out of those tiny plastic bricks
. Awesome!
Say Cheese!

The inventor of the now-mourned Flip is opening cheese and soup shops. How do you make a small fortune in the food industry? For most, you start with a large fortune...

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Final Roll

A view of Atlantis as it rolls toward its last launch. Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator, is seen in shadow as he oversees what increasingly seems a directionless, missionless and imploding stay at NASA.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Ansible! Ansible!

The ever-growing archive grows some more. Check out the June 2011 issue!

Matthew Graham, co-creator of Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes and writer of the May Doctor Who episode The Rebel Flesh, is less than enthusiastic about his audience, or at least one age-group: 'Doctor Who fans can be very fascistic. But I don't really take them seriously. I don't write it for 45-year-old men.' (Total TV Guide, 21-27 May) [MPJ]

Alex Kingston, River Song in Doctor Who, took up the tale on the Graham Norton Show. Graham: 'Fans are incredibly resourceful; Alex, you've just been filming Doctor Who in the desert.' Rob Lowe: 'Oh, the Who fans have gotta be nuts.' Alex: 'Yeah. They are.' Graham: 'Weren't you out in the middle of Utah somewhere?' Alex: 'We were in the middle of Utah ... and we'd never filmed Doctor Who in America before, obviously. And the American fans are amazingly resourceful because of Twitter. Everyone now knows that the minute they catch sight of one of you it goes out, and people know where you are. We were in the middle of Monument Valley, the middle of nowhere, and suddenly these fans just appeared, out of the scrub and the desert. They wear those funny anoraks.' Graham: 'So you know who they are!' Alex: 'It's a bit like trainspotters really, it's awful to say but they kind of are.' (27 May) [JCx] But were they all 45-year-old men? We need to know.
On the Ground

The crew of STS 134 in a group shot after their successful mission.

Shortly before...Endeavour touches down and rolls to a stop.