Geek's Guide to Self Publishing

I just finished listening to one of the best podcasts I've ever heard.  Episode 83 of Wired's Geek's Guide to the Galaxy. This episode dealt in depth on topics of self-publishing, with detailed information about the Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing.  Guests Hugh Howie and Tobias Buckell gave outstanding information and advice on self-publishing, including how to choose between indie and traditional publishing.

I give this my highest recommendation.  The only problem here is that most people will think this is only for science fiction writers.  But everything I heard makes this a fantastic reference for anyone considering self-publishing.

We live in one big hologram

Scientists have analyzed noise in the GEO600 gravitational wave detection system and concluded it is holographic in nature. This leads them to propose that this entire universe is a holographic projection.

That is one serious projector.  The computational power required to process the signals and send them to the projector probably outpaces an entire galaxy of Matrioshka brains.

The Jeffries Tube

For several years now I have been greeted at church by a pleasant older usher, never dreaming that his brother was a science fiction giant:   Matt Jeffries  !!  Richard Jeffries has written a book about his famous brother.

The book is "Beyond the Clouds"

Matt flew a "secret reconnaissance bomber" during WWII, build airplanes, designed the Enterprise (THE Enterprise), worked on many TV shows and a few movies.

I haven't read the book yet but it sounds excellent.


I just finished listening to Richard Morgan's Thirteen from Audible. This new novel is an involving story about a genetically engineered mutant, such people carry the nickname Thirteen. Reminds me of Rome. The 13th Legion warriors were aggressive and invincible. So are the mutants. They are fierce male warriors recruited for dirty work such as military ops, assassinations, and tracking down people who don't want to be found. I would disagree with anyone who claimed this book is not science fiction. However I would understand their claim. This book starts with the crash of a spaceship from Mars, the sole survivor is a mutant human, another Thirteen is recruited to hunt him down, this hunter was on Mars, and returned to Earth enhanced with military implants.

But this is another of Morgan's detective story with cops and guns and government agents and conspiracies, and murder scenes and drug dealers.

I'm glad I read it and would recommend it to anyone interested in scifi, but I was disappointed that the science fiction elements played such a minor role. This story would be essentially identical if it had been written without any of them. The Kovacs trilogy was a lot more dependent on the scifi devices.

Time Travel Websites

There are a lot of other websites out there which offer a great sample of scifi. The most popular according to Google are SF Site, An useful one is at with the Ultimate Science Fiction Web Guide. The interesting thing is that this site has not been updated in 4 years yet it's still #9 on a Google search for "science fiction". Gawker Media has the 800 pound gorilla with io9. The sheer quantity of searches and material on this site is overwhelming. Yet I must wonder why they won't let me post a comment.

For help with writing Science Fiction try Jeffrey Carver at or try his blog.

I'm most interested in time travel at sites like crystalinks, or, and there's even a site for time-travelling investors!

Review of Vinge's 'Rainbows End'

I just finished listening to Verner Vinge's book "Rainbows End". There were some things about this book which were very difficult to follow in audio, perhaps reading it would be easier. Overall it was an interesting portrayal of life in the near future when personal technology has become as useful as shoes and eyeglasses. But I have to say the ending of this book was a tremendous disappointment. It's not a spoiler to say that The Rabbit is one of the most intriguing and important characters of any book I've recently read. Vinge showed his genius in creating Rabbit as one of the heroes, or was it an anti-hero? It's hard to classify.

So why after all this effort and success would Vinge leave the character unresolved at the end of the book? We learn nothing about Rabbit. He is simply not there. We don't know if he is dead or alive, a winner or a loser. Vinge may intend on writing a sequel, but he still should give some hints. In the end we are left to guess as to the core of Rabbit's essence. Saying more would perhaps give away a spoiler.

Vinge's vision of a technological life is encouraging. HIs vision of secret personal messaging is excellent and shows that the next evolutionary step after IM is still just a conversation. And his ideas of what would happen to old people whose diseases were suddently cured is inspiring.

But I can't get past the question "What happened to the Rabbit ??"

Interesting note,  SF Reviews did not even mention the Rabbit.

Why are scifi authors so pessimistic about the future?

A common theme in many of today's scifi stories is one of desolation, typically a planet ruined by human activity, or a population which cannot be properly fed or sustained. Where is the creative thinking which gave birth to our precious genre? Where are the hero scientists who learn to feed a million people per square meter of farmland ? Where are the solar power plants which operate at 100% efficiency, or the nanotech waste recyclers which generate a nearly lossless society?

It appears most science fiction writers have been brainwashed by the "common wisdom" of today's society, they are no longer capable of imagining a greater good. Will there be any more big thinkers writing scifi for us all?

Perhaps I'm one of the last real science fiction writers, someone who imagines that today's "terrible" problems will be so easily solved that one day we will laugh at how serious we were. I can hear my grandchildren's voices echoing down from a distant future where they ask me in all seriousness "Grandpa, did people once really believe that Earth would get so warm the ice caps would melt? Didn't you have any scientists back then?"

The truth is that soon we will be able to feed 100 billion people without any significant change in the amount of farmland, we will have clean drinking water for them all from desalination and nanotech recycling, global warming will be a distant joke even if the sunspots do return. Resistant bacteria will be easily killed with phages, avian flu will be erased by targeted anti-viral agents, and cancer will be in the same category as today's tooth decay (which will have been eradicated). I see a day where rain forests can be created in a few years using ultra-fast growing bioengineered plants. Old growth forests will be established in time capsules orbiting the moon, then transplanted where ever we want to see one. Abortion will become transplant surgery where a 1-day old fetus can be safely transplanted into the womb of a woman who will love and care for her.

Are any big thinkers out there? Please contact me and we'll try to move science fiction to a more optimistic footing.

Free Science Fiction from Tor

Tor Books offers free science fiction downloads every week just for signing up. Not sure if they ever have science fiction short stories. This week's book is In the Midnight Hour by Patti O'Shea. The next book will be Battlestar Galactica by Jeffrey Carver.

They don't appear to have a science fiction blog.

The Best Time Travel Movies

A recent post on TopTenz offered the Top 10 time travel movies. With all due respect it's not clear that "time travel" was an important concept in this list. For example, in the Terminator movies there is a single time travel event at the very beginning of the movie and then nothing more. While the characters attempt to change the future there is no evidence they succeed. There is no foreknowledge or time loop or time machine. I would not call this a time travel movie because time travel is not possible for anyone after the beginning of the movie. As for Star Trek movies, they just aren't serious enough. The time machine is their spaceship, and apparently they can travel in time whenever they like. I think a time travel movie should have

1 A time machine or time travel mechanism right there in full view

2 Multiple instances of time travel

3 A time loop or paradox

4 Tension associated with the time-travel, a chance of temporal disaster.

So here is my own list of the Top 10 Time Travel Movies (free of Amazon links)


1 Primer

2 12 Monkeys

3 Back to the Future I, II, and III

4 Timecop

5 The Time Machine (new and old versions)

6 Time Bandits

7 Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

8 Frequency

9 Timeline

10 Butterfly Effect I ( II was not good enough for this list)

Unfortunately there is a dramatic difference in quality towards the end of the list. I think Hollywood should look at this an opportunity.