Be Optimistic! Hack Hawking’s Brain! Black Hole Destroys Gas Cloud! Muse!

A few cool snippets today. The first is this video on how humanity, despite what you might think, is actually pretty awesome sometimes. (Via io9.)


In related (kind of) news, I also came across this article on redOrbit

“The iBrain device being developed by Philip Low, a professor at Stanford, is a brain scanner that measures electrical activity.

“We’d like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain,” Low said in a statement.”

Which would be awesome – the more precious science we can extract from Hawking’s magic brain the closer I am to having a jetpack or being able to teleport to Hawaii. And finally, back on io9:

“Scientists have determined that a giant gas cloud is on a collision course with the black hole in the center of our galaxy — and the two will be close enough by mid-2013 to provide a unique opportunity to observe how a super massive black hole sucks in material, in real time.”

Which is a perfect excuse to link to this:


Not that I really needed one.

Plotting on the Fly

With the final, professional edit of ASCENSION POINT on hold until August (lovely fiancée and I getting married in late July, so I’ve not got the time to properly engage with that just yet), I’m cracking on with drafting my second book, ROGUE.

It’s going pretty well – I’ve got a solid outline, a punchy main plot with lots of action, and an ending I’m hoping will come as a bit of a surprise. I’ve drafted the prologue and the first couple of chapters, and everything’s ticking along nicely.


It’s too short.

Or rather it will be, as the outline currently stands. I’ve roughly estimated word count to draft the remaining chapters, and I don’t think it’s going to break 70,000 words. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’ll still meet the technical definition of ‘a novel’, but I feel like it’ll need another 5-10,000 words to flesh it out, and give it a bit of depth. I don’t think the main plotline needs extending, so I’d like to weave in an interesting side/sub-plot.

Problem is I can’t think of anything right now. Hence the title of the post – I’m hoping that somewhere around chapter three or four the story, or the characters, will tell me what it should be. One of those satisfying ‘a-ha!’ moments we all so love.

Not this kind of A-Ha.

I’m sure it’ll Take On… come to… Hmm. There’s a pun in there somewhere.

The Avengers, and Shared Fictional Universes

Saw The Avengers over the weekend. I was a little worried it wouldn’t live up to the massive amount of hype, but happily it did.


For anyone who hasn’t been following what Marvel did to build up to The Avengers there’s a great summary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Wikipedia. This kind of cross-pollination of characters across multiple storylines to place them in the same universe hadn’t been done in cinema before, despite being very common in SF and fantasy. (That I’m aware of at least. Correct me in the comments!)

Read more…

Worlds Without End – Legends of SF

If you’ve not checked out Worlds Without End in my blogroll on the right, take a peek now. It’s OK, I’ll wait.

The site is an incredible resource, and ‘brings together the complete listings of novels, authors and publishers for 12 major awards in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror‘. I’ve mentioned ‘my inevitable Hugo Award’ enough times that you won’t be surprised that was the first place I went. And after spinning through the shortlists for the last 20 years I was awestruck by how many legendary names appear consistently, year on year.

Read more…

The Fickle Nature of Motivation

It makes no sense, sometimes. I work from home, nine to ten hours at the computer where once or twice every hour I’ll think ‘Man, I wish I was writing now. That would be awesome’. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy my job, but . . . well, it’s not my number one. Obviously!

Anyway. So all day long in the back of my mind I’m wishing I could write. And then I finish work for the day – and I can’t start. Fickle brain wanders off, excited by not having to do any more work today. And rather than getting writing straight away, I instead:

  • Wash the dishes
  • Check Twitter
  • Read other people’s blogs
  • Defrost some pork chops
  • Watch trailers for The Dark Knight Rises
  • Drink beer and consider opening my own microbrewery one day
  • Write blog posts about the fickle nature of motivation

Not crazy productive. Though the last one is at least getting the fingers going, and fickle brain in the mood for cracking on with THE LAST CHAPTER.

(Or the epilogue. Yeah, I still don’t know.)

I’d love to hear your own procrastinatory stories in the comments. And it’ll save you from doing what you should be doing, too!

Limbering up

I’m delighted to discover that splurging God-knows how many words – of questionable value – onto this blog didn’t lessen my ability to actually write something useful. It may even have loosened the old brain muscle, got the juices flowing, as I just banged out a thousand words in forty-five minutes – the final scene of chapter 20 of my WIP.

It’s a particularly poignant and saddening scene, I think, but one I hope I’ve managed to infuse with some kick-ass bravado. We’ll see. A snippet is in order:

“Skin darkening from white through dusky grey to black, veins of putrid green splitting his flesh, eyes glazed and glistening, Abe smiled. He would give them submission.

And he would take from them everything.”

You show ’em, Abe.