scott_sanford: (Daria proofreads)
I have now finished reading the non-Puppy finalists for Best Novel: Ancillary Sword, The Three Body Problem, and The Goblin Emperor (listed in the order I read them). I'm not going into detail of my reactions here and now but it struck me as interesting that two of the three make use of pronoun customs different from English.

Characters in the Ancillary novels use a language without gendered pronouns and the text uses "she" for everyone, to the discomfort of the Sad Puppies.

The language of The Goblin Emperor takes the other option and has more pronouns than English, and an emperial court takes much notice of formal speach. The author uses some interesting methods to present this reasonably unobtrusively.

Coincidence, I'm sure, but it amuses me to imagine this as a trend in science fiction (or a new thing for Puppies to be offended by). I'm not sure what I could make of an experimental pronoun fad but it's amusing to imagine.
scott_sanford: (lemur)
I'm feeling pleased with myself today. After kicking around a story idea in my head, I blew all of Saturday evening scribbling down prose and filling up pages with handwriting. (It turns out I'm quite productive when deprived of the internet.) I went in to this uncertainly, as my concept seemed to require some exotic framing techniques and two narrative voices, which meant I wasn't at all sure my writing skill was up to it, but in one burst of work I'm within sight of the ending and the first draft seems...readable. Yay, me.

And an update on Sunday night: the first draft is done; one story from concept to finished first draft in under 36 hours (only about 2800 words, but a functional story). Damn, this has been a productive weekend. I rock!
scott_sanford: (Default)
So I happen to be re-reading Charles Stross's Halting State at the moment; no big deal, except that this was brought to my attention.

Most of you can skip the URL; it's a proposal to expand the old Multi-User Dungeon text based virtual reality concept onto a multi-platform multi-world system. Among other things, that would let player avatars move from one world to another, and move objects between various servers. It would be modular and expandable. Open source code so anyone with a net connection could run a server. Clients would not need to be desktop computers but would run on celphones – gaming anywhere, any time, connecting to any world.

Aside from the absolutely crappy keyboards of celphones these days, a MUD is absolutely perfect for the smartphone environment; the database size, CPU load, and bandwidth requirements are all tiny by today's standards. (I played on and wrote content for MUCKs on a dumb terminal and a 300 baud modem; I speak from experience.) So what? Two points.

It's really just nerds wanking at each other about software that doesn't even exist yet. But...

It's also the multi-node dynamic VR concept Charles Stross described in Halting State - and instead of a bazillion-euro megacorp doing it, these hobbyists want to write it for kicks.
scott_sanford: (Default)
BBC: It is with much sadness that we can announce Elisabeth Sladen, the much-loved actress best known for her role as Sarah Jane Smith in Doctor Who and CBBC's The Sarah Jane Adventures, passed away this morning. She was 63.

Today we lost Elizabeth Sladen, known to Whovians as Sarah Jane Smith. The BBC reports she had been fighting cancer some time. (Her recent work certainly didn't show it.) She traveled the universe with Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker as one of the Doctor's longest running and most popular companions, and in later years met the 10th and 11th Doctors, and got her own spinoff show, the Sarah Jane Adventures.

You can also read reports at io9, the Tardis Wikia, and elsewhere.
scott_sanford: (Default)
Today, for the first time in many years I read Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper. A few things came to me that I hadn't recalled from years ago.

Never mind a Mars expedition in the 1990s; that was plausible when it was written. What hit me was that the characters smoked like chimneys. Okay, so in the '50s this wasn't unusual. But is it worth mentioning in a story? Also, why haul cigarettes along on the first Mars expedition when it would be easier just to hire non-smokers?

Having said that, the story ages well. Earthlings missing Martians by only fifty thousand years is a frustratingly near miss.

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