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Educational Videos for Science Fiction Writers and Critical Fans

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

What’s wrong with giant bugs?  Or human bodies exploding in the vacuum of space?  Or the answers to any of a bunch of other questions science fiction writers need to know to craft their story? I’ve written blog posts about some of these in the past, but started noticing videos with similar explanations and thought […]

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Can You Figure Out What this Science Fiction Novel is Trying to Say?

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

This is passed on from a friend of a friend, who is a Spanish teacher using a science fiction novel (I don’t know which one) in her class, and had this question:  I’m working on a sci fi novel to use in class and there is a reference to (translated):  the reflection point of the […]

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Three Crimes of Cliche Modern Superhero Movies Commit

Monday, July 9th, 2012

I have enjoyed the last decade of plentiful, quality superhero movies very much, and the few winners from earlier than that.  After watching The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man recently, both of which I enjoyed, I was reminded of some things I see too often in such movies that is starting to annoy me whenever […]

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How a Bad Relationship with Encyclopedia Brown Screwed Up Prometheus

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Encyclopedia Brown is a fictional boy detective in a series of stories by Donald J. Sobol, and one of my heroes, who uses facts and logic to solve mysteries.  The stories about him always ended with him telling you the solution to the mystery, with a note to turn to the back of the book […]

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Ten Tips for Communicating Science to General Audiences

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

I think about communicating science to a wide variety of audiences, both as a professor who does research and teaches, but also as a science fiction author.  Knowing your audience is key, and knowing how to reach them better helps tremendously.  A lot of what I say will apply to both non-fiction and fiction, speaking […]

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The Importance of, and How to Choose, a Mentor

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Academia and writing are two systems where mentors are still common, something like the old system of Apprentice/Journeyman/Master. I think in nearly every field of individual excellence that requires serious expertise, you’ll find mentors.  Tiger Wood’s had his dad teaching him golf.  The Polgar sisters had rigorous chess coaching.  Every scientist these days has or […]

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On Taking Criticism

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Scientists and writers take on a burden few others do (although a few other professions have it as bad or worse).  They accept that in order to have success in their careers, or just to maintain a longterm career, they will experience intense and frequent criticism.  That criticism, when done professionally and with insight, can […]

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Should the Big Bang Theory have a Mission? Should Science Fiction?

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

A friend sent me a link to an article at Physics Today about The Big Bang Theory.  The premise of the article was to ask if the comedy could do more than make people laugh, and to propose it could educate them at the same time.  Here is the lead: Could scientists help the cause […]

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Ten Terrific Resources for Writing Space-Based Hard Science Fiction

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I wrote this entry as a guest post for the SFWA blog, and it is now available there.  I’ll include it here as well below.   For long-time and regular readers, you’ll see elements of previous posts.  I’ve culled together ten things that I think are helpful resources (a few of these “things” actually include multiple […]

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Margaret Atwood: Very Very Stupid Smart Person

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Apparently Margaret Atwood, the author of the Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake, doesn’t believe that men walked on the moon.   Maybe it’s worse than that — she’s trying to hedge her bets because she’s a “smart” person who knows being skeptical about this is idiotic and doesn’t want to admit to herself that she’s […]

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Where is the Science Fiction Writer’s Promised Land?

Monday, August 30th, 2010

When I was in Manila last month, I was happy to be able to meet fellow speculative fiction writer and blogger Charles Tan.   Something he said resonated with thoughts I’d had over the years.   Basically it’s this idea: if writers are paid a certain amount per book that depends on the market and their audience […]

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So You Want to be an Expert? You Can Be.

Monday, August 16th, 2010

By “expert” I mean world-class, whether or not you’re super smart or super talented. I’m starting to lose my faith in innate “talent” after some recent reading.   Two of the books are Talent is Overrated and Outliers.   I’ve got another book on this topic coming, too, more on the inspirational side of things.   Some of […]

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