Friday, March 24, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with William J. Jackson and Olga Werby

Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers William J. Jackson and Olga Werby.


William J. Jackson
William J. Jackson

William J. Jackson lives in yesterday and tomorrow. He has only the vaguest awareness of the present, and when he does, he writes. As fan of history, nature, comics and science fiction, Jackson merges these hobbies into the Legacy Universe, his fictitious saga of the denizens of Railroad City, Missouri. When not writing, he travels through time, stares at birds, and works and lives in historic Salem, New Jersey with his darling wife and family.

William's Books:

Down Jersey Drive-shaft (in progress at Wattpad)

An Unsubstantiated Chamber (free ebook here)

Cerulean Rust (free preview here)

Other free ebooks here and here.

William's Links:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Olga Werby

I came to United States as a refugee. Science fiction stories, in particular, have always been my preferred escapism. I wrote my first story in elementary school. But being dyslexic, I chose art as a passion to follow…until college, when I switched to math and astrophysics. After graduating from Columbia University, I started a company that developed educational software. Along the way, I earned my masters in Education of Math, Science, and Technology from UC Berkeley and then a doctorate in cognitive science and human computer interaction design. I work with my husband of many decades solving complex product design problems. We work International Criminal Court and an Irish music pub in San Francisco—we have a wide range. In 1995, we developed, produced, and run a collaborative creative hyper-fiction writing project, The Company Therapist (TheTherapist.com). In 2009, we wrote the first version of our science fiction novel about the possibility that we live in a virtual reality world—a novel idea at the time. Since then, we published five novels, three of which we co-wrote together. When I was growing up, I wanted to go into space. Writing science fiction is the next best thing.


I'm interested in humanistic science fiction. What makes us human? How do we learn empathy for others who are very different from us? How do we explore ideas of social justice and human rights in an inspiring and emotionally powerful way? How can science and science fiction about the near and far future inform our decisions today? How can we use stories to help us understand cognitive differences -- autism, schizophrenia, genius, sensory impairment, body differences, social and psychological isolation?

Olga's Books:

Twin Time

Coding Peter; Many Words, One Life Book 2

The FATOFF Conspiracy  (Free here for a limited time)

Olga's Links:


From today's program: White Dwarf Pulsar Discovered.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Favorite Parts of Each Season

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Your Favorite Recipe."

My favorite recipe is browned butter, salted caramel, snickerdoodle cookies made by my wife. Because I don't cook much except for nuking things in the microwave.

So what's the next prompt? "The Best Parts of Each Season."

Hmmmmmm

The best part of Winter is watching snow fall. Which is also the worst part because you know that the roads are going to be bad and if you haven't put you snow tires on yet, they're going to be very bad.

After this last winter, my favorite part was when it ended earlier this month (finally). This is the latest the snow has hung around since I moved to Eastern Washington.

The best part of Spring is that here in Eastern Washington, at least for a while, things are green. Even things that aren't irrigated/watered are green. Also, there's no snow on the roads. And it's not as hot as summer. Also, women shed their winter bulky clothes and start wearing dresses and shorts again.

The best part of Summer is air conditioning.

The best part of Fall (probably my favorite season) is it cools off and the leafs start to change, which can be very pretty. Of course, this portends winter coming and snowy roads once again.

So, apparently I like roads that aren't snowy and don't like it hot.

What's your favorite part of each season, comment below.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Internet Move Database Correction

I just did something I haven't done for a long time: I submitted a correction to an item on the Internet Movie Database. It was for the movie Passengers (which had a lot of science errors in it). But one item listed under "goofs" was completely wrong. It was under the category "Incorrectly Regarded as a Goof." And it read:
On Jim's first spacewalk, a tear runs down his cheek. That has nothing to do with the presence or lack of gravitational force, since H2O molecules stick together because of surface tension, and thus stick to Jim's face as they should.
(Here is the scene they are talking about. The tear happens at about 2:25 into the video.)(Bonus points for spotting the other science errors in that clip.)

And the above "not a goof" statement is grossly scientifically wrong. In fact, I found this video on YouTube that explains what exactly happens when you cry in freefall (which is slightly different from the micro gravity Jim was in on that spacewalk, but not enough to make a difference). Here's a video with even more water.

As you can see in the first astronaut video, the water doesn't run down the astronaut's face as it does in the movie Passengers. In the second video, with more water, it doesn't drip down, it just sticks to the washcloth and the astronaut's hands.

I have a feeling, however, the movie producers if they knew this they would have kept the scene the same as most audience members wouldn't understand why a ball of water is forming on Jim's eye.

***Spoiler Ahead***

As for the movie, it was okay. It had something very common in science fiction movies: fix this one big thing and everything will be okay. Which is rarely true in real life. But the more I watch Chris Pratt, the more I like him as an actor. And Jennifer Lawrence is very good in this move, not to mention very cute.

***End Spoiler***

So we'll see if the IMDB accepts my correction of that supposed non-goof.
     

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with Kevin S. Chambers and Jason Klamm


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are happy to welcome writers Kevin S. Chambers and Jason Klamm.

Kevin S. Chambers
Kevin S. Chambers

Kevin S. Chambers was born May, 3, 1990. Kevin has always had a wild imagination, often creating and writing stories during, church and school when he should have been paying attention. Not only did Kevin like to tell stories, he loved to read; until he entered high school
.
Rich Martin a shop teacher at Kevin’s high school handed him a book, Eragon. For over a year Kevin held onto the book, until he finally read it. After which he continued to read, eventually finding the Sword of Truth Series.

Since 2010 Kevin has spent his time between reading, and writing not only novels, but screenplays as well.

Kevin's Book:

God's Rogue

Kevin's Links:


Jason Klamm 

Jason Klamm has been a published writer for more than 20 years, training under beat author Fielding Dawson, who compared Klamm's early works to the likes of Kafka. He's the author of two books of satire, and is currently researching a book based on his podcast, Comedy on Vinyl. His comedy work has placed in national screenwriting competitions and his short films have been distributed by NBC Universal, Comedy Central and Frontier Airlines. He has also written films and TV pilots for Jamie Kennedy Entertainment.

Jason's Books:

Looking Forward: A Hopemoir

Post-Modem: The Interwebs Explained 

Jason's Links:

Website/Blog
Facebook
Twitter

From today's program: Methane on Mars May Have Warmed the Planet.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Biggest Dreams in Life

Ladies and gentlemen, time once again for the 52-Week Blogging Challenge (add applause).

Today's prompt is "My biggest dream in life."

This is easy.

I want to be a best-selling author. Read and adored by millions. Sort of the J.K. Rowling model of being an author.

And, it's not so much the money (although that would be nice). It's that I want to be read by strangers. I want to touch people's lives. I want to be . . .well, adored. By strangers.

Now I'm not saying I'm as good a writer as Ms. Rowling. But I think I'm pretty decent. I've read New York published books that aren't as good as my writing. So why them and not me? Well, luck for one. And maybe they tried harder than I.

I don't know.

So what's your biggest dream? Comment below.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Volkswagen Golf GTI

Last week I bought my wife a new car. Her older car (a 2004 MINI Cooper S) was starting to be unreliable and I hate that in a car (or anything else). So we sold the MINI (amazingly fast) and I bought my wife a 2017 VW Golf GTI.

Now if you know cars and you read this blog, you might wonder why I bought a Golf when it is on the same platform at the Audi A3 I hated so much. Well, two reasons. One: the platform works much better on the Golf, and the Golf GTI doesn't have the same awful engine that the A3 had. I looked this up. The base A3 has a 1.8L engine. The base Golf has the same engine. The optional bigger engine for the A3 (that comes with Quattro all-wheel-drive) is the turbocharged 2.0L engine that is also in the Golf GTI. (And the more powerful S3 will have the same engine as the more powerful Golf R.)

So if you buy an Audi A3, get the bigger engine unless you like your engine to sound like a concrete mixer.

I drove my wife's GTI and was impressed with its power and handling. I put it in "sport" mode and floored the gas. The driven front tires chirped at both start and the shift to second gear (it has an automatic transmission). This is a fun-to-drive car.

I'm hoping to keep this car about ten years. By then every new car will probably be autonomous and all driving fun will be gone.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with R.F. Dunham and L.J. Cohen


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers R.F. Dunham and L.J. Cohen.

R.F. Dunham
R.F. Dunham

R.F. Dunham writes with one purpose: to take you places you've never been before. That might be a distant fantasy land, the far reaches of space, the future of earth, or simply to an idea you've never encountered. A student of language and culture, Dunham's stories will pull you into complex worlds that challenge your perception of your own surroundings.

R.F. lives in the foothills of Central Virginia with his wife, two cats, and a Newfoundland puppy. If he's not writing, he's probably brushing that puppy. Any remaining time is spent playing jazz trumpet and hiking in the Virginia countryside.

R.F.'s Works:


Insha’Allah (free)

"Just a Drop" (short story in an anthology)

R.F.'s Links:


L.J. Cohen
L.J. Cohen

L.J. Cohen is a Boston area novelist, poet, blogger, ceramics artist, and relentless optimist. After almost twenty-five years as a physical therapist, L.J. now uses her anatomical knowledge and myriad clinical skills to injure characters in her science fiction and fantasy novels. Her most recent book, Dreadnought and Shuttle, (book 3 of the SF/Space Opera series Halcyone Space) represents her sixth published novel. Derelict, the first novel in the series, was chosen as a Library Journal Self-e Select title and book of the year in 2016.

 L.J, is active in IPNE (The Independent Publishers of New England), SFWA (The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America),  and Broad Universe and blogs about publishing, general geekery, and other ephemera at http://www.ljcbluemuse.blogspot.com. Contact L.J. at lisa@ljcohen.net and http://www.ljcohen.net.

L.J.'s Books:

Dreadnought and Shuttle (Halcyone Space, book 3)

Ithaka Rising (Halcyone Space, book 2)

Time and Tithe (Changeling’s Choice, book 2)

L.J.'s Links:



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Cars and Other Stuff

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Working on my fitness."

Har-dee-har-har.

Okay, so the next prompt is "What I spend money on."

I had to think about his because I don't tend to spend a lot of money. But when I do, I go big. I spend money on cars. I like cars, the faster and more powerful the better. I've even driven some on a racetrack. (Which was also something I spent my money on. Not the fee to drive on the track but the new tires and brake pads required.)

Now, some might think my bright yellow Corvette is a mid-life crisis car. It's not. I've had a sporty car constantly since my mid-20s. I like fast cars.

Then there's the maintenance of fast cars. The oil change on the Corvette is almost $100. The tires are $2,500 for four and then you have to pay to mount them. Because they are run-flats I have to have them installed in Spokane (first time I had to go to Seattle). The tires only last about 15,000 miles. The tires that came on it only lasted 5,000 miles (about what I drive the Corvette in a year) so I was replacing tires every year until I found a new brand that lasts 15,000 miles.

Side note: I've always wanted a Ferrari. I read somewhere that Ferrari tires last about 5,000 miles and you have to buy them from the Ferrari dealer and have them mount and balance them for an outrageous price I don't remember the exact amount of. I just remember it was high.

So that's where I spend money. Well, on big screen T.V.'s, too. But that's another post. Maybe.

What do you spend money on? Comment below.


Friday, March 3, 2017

The Speculative Fiction Cantina with A.M. Justice and C.C. Aune


Today on the Speculative Fiction Cantina we are pleased to welcome writers A.M. Justice and C.C. Aune.

A.M. Justice
A.M. Justice

A.M. Justice has danced tango beneath the wings of angels, played hide and seek with harbor seals, and sought distant galaxies from dusk to dawn. She hasn’t donned tango shoes in a while, but she still scuba dives and star gazes whenever the seas are calm enough and the skies dark enough. Hiking to isolated swimming holes, exploring ancient cathedrals, and dining with friends are among her favorite things, but she really loves sitting with a cat on her lap while a beloved movie plays on TV.

Justice’s young life was defined by restless parents who moved us every two to four years, but she has found stability in a Brooklyn apartment where she’s lived more than a decade with her husband, daughter, and cats. Her short story “The Weight of Bliss” won first place in the science fiction/fantasy category of the 2016 Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards.

A.M.'s Works:


A.M.'s Links:


C.C. Aune
C.C. Aune

C.C. Aune's ramblings have led her through 49 states—nine of which she has called home—plus a fair number of countries. She has been a journalist and a contributor for the companion book to PBS's 2000 series In Search of Our Ancestors. Currently, she directs the blog One Year of Letters, which explores the internal landscape of writers. The Ill-Kept Oath is her debut novel.

C.C.'s Works:


"Expiration Date" (short in an anthology)

C.C.'s Links:


From today's program: Cold and Dark Killed the Dinosaurs.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Last Meal

Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge and today they want me to write about "If I could eat ONE last meal."

One last meal would have to be a steak, dry aged, cooked to perfection, mashed potatoes and gravy, spinach, and New York cheese cake with strawberry sauce topping for dessert. A nice Merlot or maybe a Cabernet Sauvignon to go with it.

When beef is dry aged, they develop better flavor than wet aged. But dry aged they lose mass so a lot of wholesalers don't want to dry age because, of course, beef is sold by the pound. I know that Ruth Chris Steak Houses dry age their steaks except for the Filet Mignon.

A good steak with a good red wine is just unbelievable.

And I love mash potatoes and gravy with lots of salt and pepper. It's almost like dessert. But it's not so we go with the cheesecake.

Spinach with a little white vinegar on it is also very good. I've always like spinach.

So that would be my last meal. Either that or a pepperoni pizza with extra sauce from Pizza Hut.

What would your last meal be? Comment below.