One of my pet irritations with some science fiction is the way authors often succumb to the ‘recency effect’ when inserting the ‘science’ part into their stories. What usually happens is that a recent discovery, looming large and appearing to transform understanding, becomes a raison d’etre or story pivot – except, not long afterwards, that … More Why science fiction dates so horribly, sometimes
I noticed the other day that the McDonalds Corporation are releasing a vegan burger. It brings home a point; in the west, particularly, we are constantly barraged by dietary fads. Vegan is one. Another, and one that I particularly object to, is ‘paleo’, which ostensibly returns humanity to the diet we supposedly evolved with in … More Why I think a ‘paleo’ diet is scientific rubbish
This week’s obscure English word is pounce in its noun form. The usual ‘pounce’ is a verb and means to suddenly jump on something, literally or figuratively; but the noun ‘pounce’ has a very different meaning. It refers variously to a fine powder used to stop wet ink from spreading on a page, or to … More The obscure word of the week is pounce – but not that pounce, another pounce
A while back I went for a walk down Lambton Quay, Wellington’s ‘golden mile’ of retail shopping. It was swathed in stale cigarette smoke and the noxious sick-sweet smell of ‘vapers’. You know, the idiots who get their nicotine through ‘e-cigarettes’ and blow out vast clouds of sugary steam for others to choke on along the … More A counterblast to vapers
My novella, ‘The Last Citadel of the Innocent’, part of the second Endless Worlds compilation – has been released as an audio book. It means you can get that story – and the seven others in the anthology – on Kindle, in print, and for your listening pleasure. I’m absolutely stoked by this – multimedia … More Hot writing news – ‘Endless Worlds 2’ is out in audio-book!
I was rather sorry to see that an Auckland memorial to the New Zealand Wars (1845-1872) was vandalised the other week. Those doing it, according to the reports, were protesting the act of colonial oppression that these wars represented. And that’s fair enough; the wars were indeed colonial assertions of power, although not quite in … More Remembering the New Zealand Wars
The first obscure word for 2018 is stonk, which is totally different in origin and meaning from the word stonkered. Even though it sounds like it shouldn’t be. ‘Stonk’ is a 1920s British military term for a sharp and fast artillery bombardment, according to the OED possibly derived from the term ‘Standard regimental concentration’. It was … More The obscure word of the week is stonk