The other week I read a marvellous short story by blogging friend Eric Wicklund, who posts extremely good stories on his blog. His setting involved a US carrier battle group, mysteriously transported to an alternate universe where magic worked. But so did twenty-first century tech, at least while it could be maintained. The story got me… More Rebuilding from the Stone Age is haaaaaaard…
Efforts are under way to crowd-source a message for putative future aliens, to be uploaded to the New Horizons probe after it completes its historic mission to Pluto and (possibly) another object in the Kuiper belt. New Horizons is the fifth object we’ve sent on a one-way journey out of the solar system, and the… More What would YOU say to aliens before the apocalypse hits us?
There’s no getting around it. No matter how good a plot you come up with for your story or novel, it’ll be dull, dull dull if you don’t wrap it around a character arc. Characters make the story. Without that tension – the character having to learn something. Want to know what I mean? Check… More Writers – set the controls for the middle of the Sun
Have you ever run into a ‘Mary Sue’? The term was coined over 40 years ago by Paula Smith, in a short story taking the mickey out of what had become a fairly standard Trek fan-fiction archetype of the day; the fan themselves, starring in their own wish-fulfilment Trek story. The plot is usually straight-forward. Mary Sue… More Why it’s still ‘Mary Sue’ fan fiction, no matter how it’s clothed
There’s no getting around it. Just about every bloke of A Certain Age in Britain and its former Empire was brought up with Gerry Anderson’s TV sci-fi classic Thunderbirds. It was at once charming, cheesy, funny, serious and melodramatic, but also hip and very, very cool. Thunderbirds captured the imagination of virtually every kid who saw it when it… More The new ‘Thunderbirds’ – fab or fail? I know what I think…
The latest wow-find from astronomers has snuck up on us by stealth. A small red dwarf star discovered in November 2013 by German astronomer Ralf-Dieter Scholz looked, first off, to be pretty ordinary. It even had a boring name: WISE J072003.20−084651.2, courtesy of being found lurking in data collected by the WISE Satellite. It is estimated… More Getting winked at by a mystery star! Really
I posted last week about the silliness of trying to colonise Mars on a one-way basis, unless you’re sending Justin Bieber. Sure, most colonists here on Earth made the trip one-way. But Earth’s way more hospitable. Even Roanoke. You can breathe the air, for a start. Mars – that’s another planet. It has red skies and blue sunsets, temperatures… More Why I think Mars One is a really stupid notion