About Writers, book reviews, Research, Uncategorized, world-building, Writers Co-op

A Question For Mimi

Mimi Speake is an historian of sixteenth century Europe & therabouts. She delves into the private lives of such as Bernard Délicieux, the Friar of Carcassonne and Henry of Navarre. Nothing seems to delight Mimi more than to accurately include in her stories obscure details about the financial information of a walled town from that period, or a seminal work on algebra, or even lore about La Fée Verte, the green fairy.
And uh, Mimi is the only historian I know. So, I have a question for her.

Is Google messing with history? Not on purpose. But is that repository of human knowledge fatally flawed because of what it does not include?

I ask because I recently searched for early reviews of Arthur C. Clarke’s first book, Against the Fall of Night, published by Startling Stories magazine in 1948. Despite the story itself being vintage Clarke, the novella was initially panned for its word dumps of the author’s social theories. They added nothing to the story. I know this because I read it as a kid and I still remember my eyes glassing over the pages of preaching.
A few years ago, I re-read it. The book that I re-read said it had been published only because fans had expressed interest in reading Clarke’s first novel. It’s forward discussed Against the Fall of Night’s initial reception (dismal) and included some of those early reviews (bad.)

But Google has unwittingly rewritten history. I cannot find any of those original reviews. The Fall of Night is today presented as if it hadn’t bombed; as if it is just another good book by Clarke, even though he had to rewrite it in 1956 as The City and the Stars.

I know. I know. Google is not a complete history of anything. It is only a collection of whatever bits people put on the ‘Net. (But I wonder how many people think about things that are not on the Internet.)

So, Mimi, if I may follow-up, how do you find information that is not on Google?

And for everyone, a broader question:
To what extent are search engine results and social media the background against which we frame our questions? Do they guide the answers that we accept?
In short, does the Internet shape our collective consciousness?

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About Writers, Stories, Uncategorized, world-building, Writers Co-op

Useful Definitions of Genre

Hard Sc-Fi
The essence of hard science fiction is hope that given all we know, humanity will triumph in the end. Because the science we know is hopeful in that it presents no requirement for failure, we, certainly I, expect humans to outlast Earth. Reality is what actually happens, of course, but isn’t that what humans do, make things happen? In my fiction, the definition of intelligence is the ability to decide what ought to be and then make it so. To quote my own novel:
“The consequences of the Big Bang should have flowed like rows of falling dominoes; the physical universe should be predictable. But it ain’t, because intelligent life forms are messing with it.”
– Ambrose Phoenix, The Phoenix Diary

We all write our stories from some operational definition of our genre. The above is mine.
Let’s use the Comments section to add more definitions: How do you define your own genre in a way that helps you to write your stories?

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About Writers, blogging, publishing, reading, Research, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Online Montmartre

Imagine if you will, a gathering of writers, illustrators, publishers, editors, publicists, personal assistants & purveyors of writing paraphernalia sharing expertise and enjoying one another’s company. No matter what your writer’s question, probably someone here will happily reply based on their own experience.

Writers Groups exist online for you to join and interact with according to your own schedule. I belong to the SciFi Roundtable on Facebook, a group of writers serious about their work but with a hearty sense of humor and tolerance for the writing life. Different opinions are respected, even encouraged. (Avoid opinionated and competitive groups; they are vexatious to the spirit.)

While you can make connections and build rewarding friendships in writers groups, the real value of finding your own online Montmartre is the synergy of creative, hard-working minds similar to your own. The right group will teach, entertain and inspire you. You know it’s the right group when people take pride in helping others become successful.
Oh, and just sayin’, you’ll probably also want to join a readers group in your genre. 🙂

But, enough work. Go eat:

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND TO YOURS
From All Of Us Here At The Writers Co-op!!

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About Writers, book promotion, Stories, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

The Quantum Soul

What do you get when you ask science fiction authors to write short stories that answer the question, “What is life?”

Victor Acquista, in Soul Mates, wonders if adding back what a dying person loses will reanimate the corpse.
In New Year, GD Deckard wants to know where are we when we’re not alive?

Claire Buss, in Patient Data, explores what might happen if medical robots know a patient is alive or dead only after the fact. CB Droege imagines what freed ‘bots do, once freed, in The Dream Miner’s Drill. In Rob Edwards, Shepherd of Memory, an Alien encounter changes a man but he can’t remember in what way he is now different. Darran Handshaw’s engineer finds a girl in an Ancient pod in The Machine in the Mountain. If you assume all intelligent life forms are animal, Brent A. Harris’ The Trees of Trappist will delight you. For that matter, “Are we alive or are we the A.I.?” is the question in Greg Krojac’s Pixels. And when we do meet an alien intelligence, linguistics just might be the most crucial skill we have, as it is in Leo McBride, Second Contact.

Learn what an autobot might think about in his dying moments in Jeanette O’Hagan, Project Chameleon. Probe other’s dreams in Lyra Shanti’s The Endymion Device. Enjoy ways strange can be wondrous in E.M. Swifthook’s Wondrous Strange.

Cindy Tomamichel has Sci-Fi fun When Words Are Not Enough. “Are created people, people?” may be answered by Ricardo Victoria in What Measure is a Homunculus? And why not create a “people” to travel the light years through space for us, as Jim Webster does in Aether Technician.

What do you get when you ask science fiction authors to write short stories that answer the question, “What is life?”
You get the SciFi Roundtable’s Anthology, The Quantum Soul.

Released today on Amazon.

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About Writers, Uncategorized, Welcome, Writers Co-op

Welcome New Member Victor Aquista

“Not all those who wander are lost…”
~JRR Tolkein

Victor AcquistaDr. Victor Acquista has become a successful international author and speaker following careers as a primary-care physician and medical executive. He previously helped to co-found The Collaborative for Community Health, a non-profit, is a founding member of Rivervalley Market, a food co-op, and authored a syndicated Health and Wellness column. He is known for “writing to raise consciousness”.

His non-fiction and his workshops focus on personal growth and transformation, especially as pertains to health and wellness. His fiction includes social messaging intended to get the reader engaged in thought provoking themes.

Dr. Acquista has a longstanding interest in consciousness studies, is a student of Integral Theory, and strives to do his part to make our planet a wee bit better. He lives with his wife in Florida. He is a member of the Authors Guild, Writers Co-op, and is a Knight of the Sci-Fi Roundtable.
 – http://www.victoracquista.com/

Sentient
by Victor Acquista

Survivors from an almost absolute genocide flee through space/time to make an attempt at propagating their species. The architects of their race’s destruction realize that their mission was incomplete. The resulting conflict will be waged on our home planet where a troubled physicist, his young neighbor, and an artificial intelligence may prove to be key in deciding the outcome.

Welcome to the Writers Co-op, Victor!

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blogging, book promotion, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Camping In After Irma

+++the sublime delight in opening the front door and entering the eye of a hurricane

As the sun rose in a blue sky the day after, I lit the Coleman stove, perked a pot of coffee, fried some bacon and eggs and after breakfast, I set up the chess set. (Maybe an interested neighbor will wander by.) Then I started recording observations to pass on.

IRMA
I live in a condominium. The building’s solid construction allowed my lady and I to watch in safety as the winds struck a row of trees on the far side of the golf course behind us. The trees were lined up in a que towards the wind. The first tree was ripped out of the ground, roots up. That exposed the next tree in line to the same fate. And so on. A dozen large trees fell like dominoes. There were more fallen trees and flooding and a couple of downed power lines. The storm left us without electricity and made the roads impassable. We had no phones, Internet, social media, TV, refrigeration or air conditioning. Cut off from the larger, modern world, we did what people used to do. We went outside and met our neighbors.

NEIGHBORS
Amazing how people shareing a disaster drop all pretence. Whatever you need, if someone has extra they give it to you; whatever someone needs, if you have extra, you give it to them. It’s the only game in town.

ACTIVITIES & EVENTS
We shook off the shock and the stress. All the energy that had carried us through, the excitement of dashing outside to move our cars as the carport peeled away, the sublime delight in opening the front door and entering the eye of a hurricane, the surprising realization that it was over when it was over; all that energy, excitement and wonder drained. We were left to deal with the outcome.

We cleared away debris. And we made sure everyone was OKAY and had what they needed. Somebody set up a generator that powered three refrigerators. We plugged in a power-strip for people to use to charge their cell phones. 🙂 That inspired supplication of the cellular gods. For days, people walked haltingly about, arms outstretched to the sky, praying for a signal.

That evening, we set up a BBQ Grill and cooked everything we knew would spoil if we didn’t eat it. The grand event of the day after was a pig-out.

REPURPOSING
We drug a bathtub out onto the golf course to use as a watering trough for the cattle, oh. Wait. That’s from my novel, The Phoenix Diary. nm.

LIFE CHANGES
Want to know what your day will be like? Look at the sky. Concerned how someone close to you is doing? Walk over to them and ask. Bored? Go do something useful for someone else. Tired? Take a nap. Feeling sociable? Look for someone who’s bored.
Think camping out with other people. That’s life at our house.

BACK TO THE FUTURE
The power just came back on, Sunday evening, a full week after the hurricane.  So, I’m posting this as Monday’s blog for the Writers Co-op. As for the emergency crews who work  in sweltering heat to restore power, well, what can you say? They are incredible men and women, a cut above the rest of us and we are very lucky to have them.

INFORMATION AIN’T ENOUGH
Note: The decision to ride out a major storm isn’t made based on information alone. The decision requires independent judgement. That’s what we have to do when too many unknowns remain after the facts are considered, make a judgement call. Too bad judgement is not taught in schools. But then, that would teach kids to be independent and people would become hard to control. Can’t have that.

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About Writers, blogging, Research, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Hurricane Irma, Muse of the Moment

Well, my lady and I survived the pre-hurricane madness, long gas lines, depleted grocery stores, near-apoplectic news readers 🙂
Now, we’re hunkering down in Naples, Florida amidst enough supplies to restart civilization, got good books for when the power goes out & we have friendly, helpful neighbors. We may be better off now than before Irma appeared.

We’ll huddle in a candle-lit interior room away from windows with the cat & inevitable litter box while Irma blows past Sunday. Later, there’ll be no power. (Been here, done it) That’s when the neighbors will come out because without A/C, why not? People sharing a disaster are not shy. We all know exactly what’s on the other’s mind. “Good to see you. Are you OK? Need anything? Wow, look at this mess.”

Now is a time to observe human nature. The place will get cleaned up, people will return to their individual lives. But for the moment, we can relate to our neighbors, family and friends on a level of shared concern. It’s a teaching moment for writers.

In your own life, what event has been a teaching moment?

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