Today’s word for Wednesday is myriagon, a noun, meaning a shape with 10,000 sides.

Tree and aurora borealis

Tree and aurora borealis

Holiday Break:

I hope your winter holidays are filled with love, joy and magic for you and your families. The column will take a two-week break after today and be back on January 11, 2017.

Books and Writing:

Penguin Random House has terminated its collective bargaining agreement with two unions in the UK, fueling fears of layoff (the British term is “redundancy”). Penguin Random House is severing its relationship with these unions after a year where it saw 23% growth in profits. This is a scary sign for the US, especially in the upcoming political environment.

Alix E. Harrow used to review with us (back when she was Alix Heintzman), and she has a short story up at Tor.

Solstice Stars

Solstice Stars

The Smithsonian reports that a classic science book startled the auctioneers at Christie’s Auction House by going for more than twice what they expected. A copy of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica sold for $3.7 million. The winning bidder was anonymous.

“I was really upset because, as an African-American young woman, I had no idea who Mary Jackson was, who Dorothy Vaughan was, who Katherine Johnson was, who the colored ‘computers’ were. I had no idea. And I’m just like: This clearly had to be a mistake. These are American heroes. Without their brains, without their hard work and dedication to NASA and the long hours that they worked together, we would have not made it into space.” NPR writes about Hidden Figures, the book the new movie is based on, profiling the African American women who did the math that guided the first man in space in orbit around the earth. Author Margot Lee Shetterly points out that while these women were designing the equations that would guide John Glenn around the earth, they were living and working in the segregated south where they could not sit, eat or ride with whites.

Is the contraction of the phrase “a lot” into one word (found a lot on the internet) like fork tines scraped down a chalkboard to you? If it is, Hyperbole and a Half has a stratagem for you. It works for her. And it’s funny.

TV and Movies:

The Guardian liked Rogue One. Ars Technica liked it. It earned $155 million its opening weekend so I guess a lot of us like it too. Some critics weren’t wowed, though, and here is a collection of six things they didn’t like. (Disliking it because it leans too much on Star Wars seems to me like complaining that the chocolate mousse doesn’t have enough vanilla.)



Passengers is not quite as popular. (Warning; this review contains spoilers.)

The site Fandom analyzes the success of the CW’s four-show DC crossover; Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, that aired earlier in the month. Clearly they liked it, and clearly the DC universe is still having trouble catching up with the Marvel TV Universe.

Adam Savage interviews the creators of The Expanse, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, on the set of The Expanse.


Science Fiction/Fantasy Writers of America changed its bylaws to allow game developers to join, and they continue to refine those qualifications. The organization is wrestling with the different model game development presents from short-form and long-form prose fiction. Thanks to Locus for the link.

I’m mad at Russia right now, but I won’t let that stop me from sharing some gorgeous cosplay, courtesy of Kotaku.

Over at Polygon, Colin Campbell looks at 2016 in games. It’s hard to ignore the year that introduced the cultural phenomenon called Pokemon Go.


Here, for no reason at all, is the cast of Arrow singing “You’ll be Back” from Hamilton.
John Barrowman, you guys! Echo Kellum, who plays Curtis on the show, is a standout too, and he’s the one with the guts to start them off. Plainly this is a cast that does not do a lot of singing together.


The Antares telescope is not pointed at the heavens, but at the ocean floor. This project, which has been around since 2006, won a special prize for its study of bioluminescent bacteria. Thanks to Atlas Obscura. And by the way, their book Atlas Obscura, would make a good gift for any lovers-of-the-weird on your list.


Information from spacecraft Dawn confirms that dwarf planet Ceres is about 10% ice. Pack your ice skates.


From 2015, the cast of Doctor Who share Christmas greetings. It is a Christmas greeting (not surprising, from this show) but from us here at the site this extends to all your winter holidays.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.