Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge

“Sometimes the biggest disasters aren’t noticed at all— no one’s around to write horror stories.” One of the best science-fiction experiences I’ve ever had was reading Vernor Vinge’s Fire Upon the Deep. I read it a few years ago but was inspired to write this review now because it’s the Tor book club’s free ebook this[…]

Octavia E. Butler Exhibition in Pasadena!

3 a.m., and I’m having a conversation with my husband about aliens & the universe — as you do. I tell him all about the amazing Octavia E. Butler and her stories of alien DNA artistry, and about how I don’t believe in synchronicity, and also (random) how much I dislike installation art. 10 a.m., I get[…]

Review: Philip K. Dick, A Maze of Death

My review of Philip K. Dick’s A Maze of Death is up over at SFF Audio. This was one of those books that started off weird, got weirder, and ended weird, and got better the more I thought about it. It’s probably not the best title to start with if you are not already familiar[…]

Death and the Art of Talking

The storytellers are my people: the fiction-spinners, science-tellers, comedians, satirists and poets. I love anyone who can use the art of words to help me truly KNOW something about life, love and death. So I was bound to love Mortality by Christopher Hitchens — one of the most brilliant, honest and hypnotizing “talkers” I know of, writing[…]

Your Brain on Words

One of my favorite podcasts is the consistently brilliant Brain Science Podcast hosted by Ginger Campbell. She interviews loads of fascinating brain-science researchers and writers, and somehow manages to keep a nice balance between complex science and plain-speak. It’s a cool podcast if you’re curious about how our minds process the universe and why we do the[…]

Skepticism and science fiction

Some of my favorite skeptical podcasts have dipped into science fiction in the last few months. Point of Inquiry has had two interesting SF writers on as guests: David Brin, who talked about romanticism and how it relates to fantasy, and about keeping  protagonists in jeopardy even when they live in a civilizations full of[…]

Review: Sleights of Mind

Aside from being interesting for anyone who is curious about how magic tricks work (or about how to be less gullible in general), Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions is a pretty fascinating book for writers, mainly because of all the parallels between creating illusions on the stage and on[…]

The evolution of a writer

Another great quote from one of my favourite books, Science Fiction 101 by Robert Silverberg. A lot of narrative technique is actually something that you figure out unconsciously as you absorb other people’s narratives; later you may consciously codify a set of rules, and later on you internalize them again so that they operate without[…]