The Book Industry’s Discrimination Problem


book industry discrimination problemBrooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press and founder of Warner Coaching Inc.  In this article, she calls out the openly and blatantly discriminatory practices against independent publishers in the established book industry, and the disservice being done to all of us.

As a country, we grapple with more than our share of discrimination challenges–where people of color, LGBTQ folks, and people with disabilities (to call out only a few of the bigger groups) feel its blow every single day. And while it’s frustrating at best, and often devastating, at least there’s a dialogue about it, and at least you can find outrage if you’re looking for it.

In book publishing, however, there’s a sanctioned discrimination against authors who subsidize their own work, and if people even bother to acknowledge it, few seem to be outraged. It’s upsetting because publishing folks are generally pretty liberal people–not the kind to condone discrimination in any form. Discrimination, however, is at its worst and most insidious when it’s sanctioned–and exacerbated when the perpetrators are justifying it as okay, business as usual, and just the way things are.

Read more at the link.

Inspiration for Verdant Skies: Yellowstone is worse than we thought


Yellowstone craterVerdant Skies was partly inspired by data on the Yellowstone Caldera, the buried supervolcano in the Wyoming-Idaho-Montana area which, if when it erupts, could create an ecological disaster akin to the process which accelerated the end of the Dinosaurs.

Now University of Utah seismologists have discovered even more detail about the caldera, including a magna pocket below the known pocket and five times larger.  No, it doesn’t make the threat of an eruption more imminent; but it does mean that an eruption could be much, much worse than previously assumed.  See more at the link.



losing humanIt’s hard to give up the notion that you’re not special.  Emma Roberts, in her Metaverse post Are We Losing Our Ability to Be Human? believes our “specialness” is the thing that makes us human; that we have souls and spirituality, that we have consciousness and are aware of our place in the universe.  And she is concerned that, as machines and artificial intelligence take over more and more of our world and our lives, we will begin to lose touch with what makes us human… and special.

“…I think that without the feeling of spirituality or individualism or ‘self’ we are just another biological being and that’s pretty damn soul destroying.”

I don’t think Emma should be overly concerned, and here’s why. Continue reading

The Trouble with Nowhere


nowhereI cannot agree more with the comments made by Stowe Boyd in his online publication, Work FuturesThe Trouble with Nowhere describes the disconnect people have with the future, and the dangers we create for ourselves by doing so.  A number of points are made by Kevin Kelly, editor of Wired magazine, and Kenneth Boulding, the economist that first suggested the metaphor of Spaceship Earth.  Boulding writes:

There is a great deal of historical evidence to suggest that a society which loses its identity with posterity and which loses its positive image of the future loses also its capacity to deal with present problems, and soon falls apart.

And Kelly, I think, nails it with this comment:

Today we’ve become so aware of the downsides of innovations, and so disappointed with the promises of past utopias, that we now find it hard to believe even in protopia — that tomorrow will be better than today.

The popularity of today’s dystopian novels and movies, the lack of interest in positive futurist fiction and serious science in fiction, and the efforts put into rebooting and reusing old material instead of developing new fiction, bear witness to Kelly’s statement: We have given up on the future, spend too much time dwelling on the past, and dedicate all of our efforts to the ephemeral and transitory needs of today.

Read more in Work Futures.

New Free Read: Monster


Yes by lady of slaughterI’ve added a new short to the Free Reads page: Monster, a writing challenge from the SciFi Ideas website.

The Iron Giant can be pre-ordered


Iron Giant and accessories by MondoMondo is now allowing customers to pre-order the Iron Giant 30= articulated figure, complete with accessories!  You can also pre-order the replica Iron Giant Bolt (the one that wanders across the snow to find the Giant), and the disembodied Giant Hand that wanders into Hogarth’s house.

At $300, maybe something for die-hard collectors only… or over-50 guys with a love for this movie and a bit of disposable income…

Solar freakin’ roadways… in action!


solaroad_1024The world’s first solar bike path has been installed in the Netherlands, with further plans to embed solar panels into the country’s 140,000 km of road to power everything from traffic lights to electric cars.  Read more here.

Six Ways Franchises Go Terminal


I just want to go on record as loving this Observation Deck article about Six Ways Franchises Go Terminal.  My favorite reason is #2, not only for itself but for the franchise they chose to illustrate the point:

2. The Creators Have No Frickin’ Clue What The Franchise Is About

967536594816583461And the example they chose: None other than Star Trek, and the J.J. Abrams-inspired clusterf**k of movies that totally manage to miss the point of the franchise and Gene Roddenberry’s vision (because all Abrams really wanted to do was make a Star Wars movie). I have especially warm feelings for this bit, about Star Trek Into Darkness‘ use of the character Khan:

The story makes no sense, and serves no purpose other than to reboot Khan and make him into a Dark Knight Joker-style übervillain, which he never was on the original series or in Wrath of Khan. (The thing about Montalban’s Khan is that despite his supposed genetic superiority he’s actually kind of a histrionic, swaggering dumbass, and not a cool Hannibal Lecter type.)

Nail head, meet hammer.  Much more goodness in the article… go and see.

QMX creates a gorgeous Serenity replica


QMX has decided to torture me with a 1:124 scale replica of Serenity from Firefly, complete with lights, rotating engines, tiny figures that you can suggest positions for inside the ship, an articulated support armature and a light-up base.

SerenityAnd for less than $7,500 dollars!

To which my instant response was: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY—

pennies—oh.  Crap.

I don’t “celebrate” Columbus Day.


Columbus the destroyerI don’t see Columbus Day as a day deserving of celebration.  Here’s why.  Have some truth with your nursery rhymes.

Note: Less than a year after the publication of this comic, Columbus Day was renamed to Indigenous People’s Day in Seattle.  Good going, Seattle.