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Showing posts from February, 2016

Boskone 2016

Boskone was this weekend and I was determined to see as many Saturday panels as I could. I felt that pinch of too many awesome things to take in and not enough time to do them all. As a consequence, sometime around 4 pm, I noticed I was hungry. Not peckish. Not ready for a gnosh. Hungrrrrrrry.

I left the panel I was in early and walked down Westin’s atrium, considering vague possibilities. I wondered if there were food trucks at Boskone (no, sadly), or maybe I could go across the street to the burger joint. Was it worth sitting down at one of the restaurants? Even as I considered these abstractions, my feet were already on their way to Starbucks. Arriving in line, still mulling possibilities, my hand reached out and snagged one of these soggy paninis they keep in the juice and drink shelves. “Well, that’s strange,” I thought to myself, “I’m not sure I’m going to enjoy a panini today. I wonder how much one of these things are?"

“$11,” the barista informed me.

“Oh, I see,” already thi…

Red Soil Through Our Fingers by Nalin Ratnayake

+Nalin Ratnayake's Red Soil Through Our Fingers surprised me. First off, it’s pretty short as far as epic tales of Martian colonization go, certainly a quicker read than “The Martian,” and quite bit shorter (obviously) than say Red Mars. Having met and talked with the author before I expected something like Kim Stanley Robinson's take on the planet: sweeping explorations of an entire planet and its evolving society through hundreds of years, a cast of hundreds drawn into revolutions, political movements, and the Herculean task of terraforming an entire world.




Ratnayake is not writing a prequel, sequel, or side-quel (still not sure if that’s a real thing) of Red Mars. His use of Mars and references to the ravaged Old Blue of future Earth bring Stanley to mind, but Red Soil is very much its own literary creature. The closest I could describe this as being is perhaps the novelization of Red Faction as written by a very cogent and sober Philip K. Dick. The overall plot concerns the…

All the News

After yesterday, I feel like I'm in the middle of a really good West Wing episode, where there are at least three incredibly tense plot threads running simultaneously and then an earth-shaking revelation drops in the last few minutes.


How can you even begin to process what happened yesterday?

Within a few hours, Justice Antonin Scalia was discovered dead in a resort, Mitch McConnell announced any potential Obama nominee would be blocked, and there was an absolute clown derby of a Republican debate.

I don't think it is much of a reach to say that Scalia's death is the single most important development in the politics of this country so far this year. Yeah, the New Hampshire results were shocking, this is life-altering.

It is really difficult to watch certain news channels and see this man described as "a man with a good sense of humor." Leaving aside the fact that this man's public utterances betray an especially caustic and demeaning form of 'humor,' …

What I Read in January 2016

New Year, new collection of awesome short fiction to peruse. As always, this column is meant to shine a spotlight on a few stories I really enjoyed from the previous month. Clarkesword, in particular, had a selection of great stories.  Extraction Order by Rich Larson. I loved his short story (also published in Clarkesworld) 'Meshed’ and I also loved this. Intense gritty military sci if. Not sure I fully buy the standard alien spore threat but the atmospherics here make the whole thing work. Everyone Loves Charles by Bao Shu translated by Ken Liu. Amazing Chinese novella. “Everyone Loves Charles” the kind of story Philip K Dick might right if he grew up with social media. In a near future of transorbital races and live-streamed experiences, a wise-cracking playboy provides entertainment and inspiration for a young shut-in. Bao Shu’s style is talky but always fascinating, incorporating corporate conspiracies and sincere romanticism within the same page. Probably one of the best of t…