NEWSLETTER: DECEMBER 2009 Digital Papyrus newsletter

Digital Papyrus

"Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily"

Date: December 2009
Issue No. 70


Well, it has been a busy, busy season. In my typically well-ordered life, I have managed to finish all my holiday planning, shopping, decorations, cards, letters, wrapping, baking... Riiight..

Frankly, I'm amazed this month's issue is even happening as late as it is. November was NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I somehow convinced myself to participate. I even lured araiused into the project. 54,311 words later, I reached my word count and now I'm stuck with a totally hazardous jumble of words that might turn into a real novel. It's more likely I'll throw them all out and start from scratch.

November is also Thanksgiving in the US. Another consumption of time which heralds the rush of intense holiday celebrations for the next 5 weeks. Don't forget the weeks of planning that consume the weeks before the family gatherings. Errands, phone calls, cooking, more phone calls, travel. OH, travel: No.2 son managed to wreck one of the cars at the beginning of the month. 3 adults, one car, and everyone wanting to use it at the same time. The logistics alone are staggering.

December started out well. The 2nd car was back from the mechanic. Thanksgiving occurred without any major family disasters. Everyone was pledged to help get ready for more festivities at the end of the month. Oops.

The granboy has a special awards ceremony to be attended, and a holiday program. He has extra days off from school that his teaching parents don't have. Mom has decided she wants to have Christmas at her house, but she needs help moving furniture for the tree that needs decorating, and she needs help with the outdoor lights. 3 clients want to make special holiday seasonal changes to their websites--last minute, but "urgent" requests, of course.

Somehow, the time has flown by. Christmas is in exactly one week. I was not ready. I am not ready. I will never be ready. But, I still have time to curl up in the corner with a book and escape the madness.

All SF General and O*W*C chats will now be held in our Web chatroom at:
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New SF books for December 2009

Tor Books: Tor/Forge SF and Fantasy

ENDER IN EXILE -- Orson Scott Card
HIDDEN EMPIRE -- Orson Scott Card
SUICIDE KINGS -- George R.R. Martin
MOON'S FURY -- C.T. Adams, Cathy Clamp
CRITICAL MASS -- Whitley Strieber
HEART'S BLOOD --Gail Dayton

Del Rey Books: Del Rey Books (Science Fiction and Fantasy)

STARFIST: DOUBLE JEOPARDY -- David Sherman, Dan Cragg
STARFIST: WINGS OF HELL -- David Sherman, Dan Cragg
SPELLBENT -- Lucy A. Snyder

Del Rey Books: Del Rey Books (MANGA Releases)

FAIRY TALE 9 -- Hiro Mashima
NEGIMA!? NEO 4 -- Ken Akamatsu
NINJA GIRLS 2Hosana Tanaka
ONLY ONE WISH -- Mia Ikumi
SAMURAI DEEPER KYO 35/36 -- Akimine Kamijyo

Baen Books: Science Fiction & Fantasy from Baen Books

COBRA ALLIANCE -- Timothy Zahn
ONE GOOD SOLDIER -- Travis S. Taylor
1635 - THE TANGLED WEB -- Virginia DeMarce
CLAWS THAT CATCH -- John Ringo, Travis S. Taylor
THE VAN RIJN METHOD -- Poul Anderson

See also:

Science Fiction - Penguin Group(USA)
Science Fiction and Fantasy at HarperCollins Publishers
Bantam Dell Publishing Group
Random House, Inc: Science Fiction and Fantasy

Author's/Artist's Corner

KimStanleyRobinson.info is a website dedicated to the American author and thinker Kim Stanley Robinson, and to the discussion of his works. KSR.info is not officially sanctioned by Kim Stanley Robinson or any of his representatives. This is a fan non-profit-oriented effort and no copyright infringement is intended.

A great part of this website is the free online encyclopedia on all things related to KSR's works, MangalaWiki. Anyone is free to join, edit and help build the wiki.

The wiki and the site are meant to serve as springboards for further analysis and discussion of the themes tackled by KSR's works -- sustainability, politics, humanism. Criticism is not prohibited, only as long as it is respectfully and coherently argumented. Please be respectful of other people's opinions and refrain from vandalizing.

KSR.info was created in July 2009.

Movie & TV Buzz






NOTICE: For the time being we will be discontinuing FICTION CORNER

SPACE BABEL - The latest in Science, NASA and Other Agencies

Top Stories listed today on Spaceflight Now

Joint Mars mission pressing ahead toward 2016 launch


NASA and the European Space Agency will release next month the first solicitation for science instruments on a Mars orbiter mission scheduled for launch in 2016, signaling closer cooperation in a joint Mars exploration program.

The first-of-a-kind announcement of opportunity will request proposals for a suite of sensors designed to detect trace gases and map methane concentrations in the Martian atmosphere.

Methane is a key indicator of biological or geological activity. It can be produced by living organisms or natural processes like the oxidation of iron, according to scientists.

The methane mystery at Mars will be the focus of the first joint mission in a new robotic exploration program.

Virgin Galactic unveils commercial SpaceShipTwo


MOJAVE, Calif.--Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson and legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan, whose SpaceShipOne took the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004, unveiled SpaceShipTwo Monday, a sleek commercial rocket plane that represents the ultimate thrill ride for well-heeled space tourists and amateur astronauts.

From CNN Science and Space News

32 planets discovered outside solar system


  • "Exoplanets" found with device that detects the wobbles the planets impart on stars
  • Device has discovered 75 of the planets, out of about 400 known exoplanets
  • Team tells of more exoplanets; more study needed before formal announcement

Can scientists make a space elevator?

By Doug Gross, CNN


  • Researchers say elevator to space could be real within our lifetimes
  • NASA-backed contest offers $2 million for advances in building space elevator
  • Elevator could lead to space tourism, wind turbines, cheaper rocket launches
  • Space elevator idea was explored by Arthur C. Clarke in 1979's "The Fountains of Paradise"

And, of course, don't forget to check out our very own Blog:

A short break from gravity

I just couldn't resist including this story from Cracked.com: 5 Scientific Reasons a Zombie Apocalypse Could Actually Happen

"We found out recently that if you try to leave a little kid in a graveyard late at night, he'll freak out. Even if you offer to leave him a gun to protect himself. Why? It's because on some instinctual level, all humans know it's just a matter of time until the zombies show up.

Our culture is full of tales of the undead walking the Earth, from our religions to our comic books. But, some sort of zombie apocalypse isn't actually possible, right?"

Hook in the Book

    Mars was empty before we came. That's not to say that nothing had ever happened. The planet had accreted, melted, roiled and cooled, leaving a surface scarred by enormous geological features: craters, canyons, volcanoes. But all of that happened in mineral unconsciousness, and unobserved. There were no witnesses--except for us, looking from the planet next door, and that only in the last moment of its long history. We are all the consciousness that Mars has ever had.

    Now everybody knows the history of Mars in the human mind: how for all the generations of prehistory it was one of the chief lights in the sky, because of its redness and fluctuating intensity, and the way it stalled in its wandering course through the stars, and sometimes even reversed direction. It seemed to be saying something with all that. So perhaps it is not surprising that all the oldest names for Mars have a peculiar weight on the tongue--Nirgal, Mangala, Auqakuh, Marnakhis--they sound as if they were even older than the ancient languages we find them in, as if they were fossil words from the Ice Age or before. Yes, for thousands of years, Mars was a sacred power in human affairs; and its color made it a dangerous power, representing blood, anger, war and the heart.

Red Mars
Kim Stanley Robinson

Last Word

NaNoWriMoWinnersWe did it! November was National Novel Writing Month. Arauised and CeeJayDP both signed up for the challenge.

Congratulations are in order; both managed to crank out 50,000 words in 30 days! CeeJayDP's novel "In the Mene Time" is a first for her and needs some serious re-writing and editing (and a new title). Araiused's novel "Resonance" is in a much more refined state, worthy of claiming the "free proof copy" prize offerred by CreateSpace. The claim referral code for the prize is valid until July 1st, 2010; that's CeeJayDP's new goal.

Trying out new ideas or being open to new adventures seems to be a meme for SF readers. We're always ready for a new author, a new story line, and new concepts. NaNoWriMo was one of those new adventures that was inspiring and encouraging. Learning to write my ideas instead of draw them was certainly a challenge. Sticking to a daily discipline in order to keep the wordcount goal within reach was definitely a "novel" idea for me; being organized isn't really my strongest talent.

p.s. Reading all the SF was definitely a plus. So many new ideas (and old ones) and good writing examples (and bad ones, too) to draw from gave me the inspiration and encouragement to stick with the project.

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