SF

Category archives for SF

If I Were Ted Chiang…

(That title doesn’t quite scan as is, but if you stick an “a” in there, you can sing it to the tune of a song from “Fiddler on the Roof”… You’re welcome.) The last time I taught my “Brief History of Timekeeping” seminar was in 2012, so I spent a bunch of time on the…

Spent the weekend in Florida getting together with some friends from college, which was a much-needed recharge for me at the end of a brutal term. It’s probably fitting to ease back into routine with a return to my blogging roots, and talk a bit about a book. Specifically, the new William Gibson novel, The…

The Pleasure of Working Things Through

My bedtime reading for the past week or so has been Steven Gould’s Exo (excerpt at Tor). This is the fourth book in the Jumper series (not counting the movie tie-in novel), and ordinarily wouldn’t be worth much of a review, because if you haven’t read the first three, this book won’t make a lick…

What I Read on My Summer Vacation

Three weeks in Europe means a lot of time on planes and trains, so I actually got to read some fiction for a change. I’m stuck in a meeting all day today, and need a morale boost on the way in, so I’ll go back to my book-blogging roots and type up the books that…

Very Belated LonCon Write-Up

I’m up way too early with jet lag, looking over Twitter, and ran into Nick Falkner’s report on the TED panel I moderated at Worldcon, which reminded me that I never did write anything about the con. Late is probably still better than never, so here are some quick long-after-the-fact comments about my program items:…

My LonCon Schedule

Since lots of other people are posting their Worldcon progrm(me) schedules, I might as well share mine, too. Frankly, I find it a little baffling: Kaffeeklatsch Thursday 18:00 – 19:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL) Kay Kenyon, Chad Orzel Banksian Saturday 11:00 – 12:00, Capital Suite 9 (ExCeL) ‘Banksian’ has become a commonplace descriptor in SF…

As previously noted, I’m going to the Wordlcon in London this August, and as such will be voting on this year’s Hugo Awards. The publishers provided a packet with at least bits of all the fiction nominees, so I’ve been reading through them at bedtime, and over the weekend finished all the regular nominees– I…

One of the very best treatments of the scientific method in fiction that I’ve read– I suspect it may be the best, but years on the Internet make me want to hedge everything– is the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein. The main character, Rowan, is a Steerswoman, a member of an order dedicated to collecting…

Last week’s talks were using sci-fi space travel as a hook to talk about relativity, and my original idea for the talk was to explain how faster-than-light travel ultimately ends up violating causality. Some observers will see effects happening before the events that cause them, and that’s just weird. In How to Teach Relativity to…

In Which I Read Hard Science Fiction

Astonishingly, in the last few weeks, I’ve actually found time to read some– gasp– novels. In particular, I finished two books that probably belong in the “Hard SF” genre: A Darkling Sea by James L. Cambias and Lockstep by Karl Schroeder. Both Jim and Karl are people I’ve met many times at cons; I’ve enjoyed…