WWWednesday: February 13, 2019

El Alamein Fountain, Sydney, Australia (courtesy of Wikipedia)

El Alamein Fountain, Sydney, Australia (courtesy of Wikipedia)

This week’s word for Wednesday is a noun. A prebuttal is an argument constructed anticipating a counter-argument. (“Some out there might say, isn’t speculative fiction just mindless escapism? Let me explain why it isn’t.”) I didn’t know this word existed but I should have because it is a perfectly logical construction.

Books and Writing:

Lit Hub strolls through one-star Amazon reviews of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury; a little sad, a little entertaining.

Lisa Lucas, Director of the National Book Foundation, offers an uplifting take on the old “the book is dead” meme.

James S.A. Corey wrote a “fan letter” (of sorts) to the NASA spacecraft Dawn. Dawn’s findings about Ceres rendered the Expanse premise obsolete.

File770 has an interview with an editor named Jason Heller, discussing his book about the intersection of SFF and pop music. And here are John Scalzi’s thoughts about the suggestion made by someone named Jason Heller on Twitter, that writers should quit their day jobs and just go for it. If you’ve ever looked around on Twitter, you can imagine exactly how that advice was taken. All in all, a busy week for Jason Heller.

Over at The Mad Genius Club, Peter Grant suggests ways to create diverse revenue streams if you are a writer. (One really is, “Think outside the box,”) from getting a Patreon account to offering to sell your fans a “cameo” in your next work (naming a character after them) Grant provides six or seven ideas here.

James Davis Nicholl discusses ways to make the interstellar commute more manageable in his column at Tor.com. The commenters are interesting, too.

The U.K. Guardian’s review of Samanta Schweblin’s new short story collection, “A Mouthful of Birds,” left me thinking about Borges.

And this article combines two of my favorite things, books and subterranean passages.

Also from Tor.com, Maria Tatar gives us five books about “nonsense” that inspired her or changed her life. Quirky!

The Latinx Story Bundle was curated by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and it looks pretty good. (Thanks to File 770.)

Locus announced the short list for the Waterstone’s Children’s Fiction prize.

TV and Movies:

Russian Doll… is anybody watching this? The title obviously refers to nesting matryoshka dolls. It sounds intriguing.

One of the fountains at Versailles (courtesy of European Traveler).

One of the fountains at Versailles (courtesy of European Traveler).


A Berkeley researcher delivered a paper on the uselessness of cryptocurrencies.

The poles are shifting! Oh, wait, it turns out they do that a lot. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with other global partners, updates the World Magnetic Model every five years, but this year it was delayed by a government shutdown in the USA. An outdated model affects anyone who attempts to navigate using the earth’s magnetic field. The updated model has now been released.


A new 3D printing process introduced in Berkeley, Ca, uses light and resin to replicate objects that are smoother and produce less waste, earning the Star-Trek-homage moniker “the replicator.”


Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Ars Technica provides a list of perfect two-player board games.


In Minnesota, this woman runs a fox sanctuary. She mostly adopts foxes who have been rescued from fur farms or originally purchased as pets. Most interesting is the legal patchwork regarding these animals.

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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. You can read her blog at deedsandwords.com, and follow her on Twitter: @mariond_d.

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  1. I think it’s fascinating that the magnetic poles move around! Mainly because I’m not a bird/butterfly and don’t rely on the poles to help me navigate, haha. I do wish I better understood WHY the poles shift and why the recent pole-shift is considered to be “fast enough” to warrant mention.

    • Yes. I knew they did this and associated it vaguely with the planetary “wobble” but that doesn’t explain why is would start going faster.

      • I hope I am not butting in here. The archaeology geek in me got twitchy reading your exchange.

        The question of what causes the magnetic field to shift remains open but the current generally accepted model is that the poles wander because the convection currents in the flow of liquid iron near Earth’s core change.

        There is a lot of variability in this movement, from many factors – not the least of which are irregularities in the material itself.

        An “unanticipated” amount of movement relative to the average recorded rates called for an update. The poles had drifted farther in less time than expected and this presented problems for navigation using magnetic means.

        I hope this is not too simplistic:

  2. Paul Connelly /

    What we need is a way to harness dark energy for mining cryptocurrencies. And be able to redeem them for ingots of dark matter. I bet Nicholas Weaver wouldn’t dare take a flamethrower to them then!

  3. Marion, I read the Scalzi column you linked and really appreciated his take on being a writer. His practical assessment of the realities of life and jobs reminded me of Alison, the advice-giver at http://www.askamanager.org.

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