SnowballThis month’s words for Wednesday will all have a Yule or winter theme, and to start us off is the noun hogamadog, which means a big ball of snow made by rolling a smaller ball of snow around and around in the snow.


The James White Prize for non-professional writers is open now through April 27, 2018. The winner will have a story published in Interzone.

Books and Writing:

Why yes, women have always written space opera.

Hachette acquired Jessica Kingsley Publishing, a British-based prestige publisher. It doesn’t directly touch genre except that many of the books they printed were great resource works for speculative fiction writers.

File770 partnered with Audiofile to bring you their recommended Best of 2017.

Best Crime Books of 2017 isn’t our genre, but it’s good, and you might find a holiday gift for the noir or mystery reader on your list.

Locus provides a round-up of genre periodicals.

Also in Locus, Vivien Jackson discusses cyborgs.

David Gerrold used his Facebook page to issue a warning about working with Atomic Network. While some of the creative products are, it seems that the CEO is sketchy. I didn’t know what Atomic Network was. Here is a link to their site.

SnowflakeReading science fiction makes you stupid, or at least a bad reader. That is the finding of two US academics, who wrote a realistic fiction narrative and a science fictional one and tested them on groups of students. Their findings were that readers of the SFnal piece scored lower in every category of questions; theme, character and plot—in short, when they read SF they were sloppier readers. In case you want to check it out, here are the passages. After reading both versions of the “science fiction” one, I have a few theories about why people read with less attention. (H/T to Kat. I have to say, I’d like to see Kat design an experiment on this very topic.)

Movies and TV:

Here are a few tidbits about Joss Whedon’s (nonexistent) Wonder Woman movie.

There will be a third season of Stranger Things. When? Well, we don’t know.

Get Out was one of the most acclaimed and most discussed horror film of this year. Here, Jordan Peele discusses various fan theories. (Not completely safe for work.)

Justice League didn’t do as well at the domestic box office as expected, but still, $180 million doesn’t seem that bad.


Hurray for research. In this Ars Technica article, two healthily skeptical researchers have questions—lots of them—for a prolific publisher of psychological studies.

Replication is one of the hallmarks of the scientific method, yet it is never as “sexy” as the original finding. The Economist shares a cautionary tale of the risks of failing to replicate results.

Café Press has science-themed gifts for the scientist in your life.

Winter full moon-- artist's depictionSpace:

Well, it’s not Planet X, but it’s more interesting. NASA was delighted to track an elliptical asteroid visitor as it breezed through out solar system. Oumuamua, (loosely translated from Hawaiian as “visitor from afar, the first”) is the first visitor from another star that we’ve been able to study. The asteroid’s unusual shape also caused some excitement—it is much longer than it is wide, that this affects its brightness.

This article has a few more graphics.

While Sunday’s supermoon was not as impressive as last year’s final one, it was still pretty neat. This article by Vox provides some particulars.


My father grafted fruit trees as a hobby, so I wasn’t a “wowed” by the idea of grafting as the narration is, but I am very impressed with this project and the precision with which the… I don’t know, fruit artist?… goes about it.


  • 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.

    View all posts