Hmm, the trailer for the next installment in the Star Wars franchise hits the web. More toys buy now, we must.
The animation has a rough feel to it, especially for the humans. The droids and ships look great, but faces have to yet to make the seamless leap into realistic animation. I still prefer this over the previous Clone Wars animated episodes from a couple of years ago. Let’s hope the story also improves.
Releasing a first draft into the wild is never a sane idea, but I’m playing around with publishing some older issues of Prometheus online as PDFs. I’m open to any and all suggestions about the pages, keeping in mind I’m still formatting much of the text.
The PDFs can be found here which also is my first attempt at Apple’s (not always simple) iWeb software. I’m used to coding html in BBEdit, which is all source code virtually all the time, so again, not perfect. This is more of a proof of concept design.
The content index is identical to the one over at http://www.lfs.org that I compiled over the years. I sent over the index of contributors in 2005, but it has not yet been posted there. Obviously, I need to update both pages at some point.
The url probably will change at some point, and I’ll probably move away from the constraints of iWeb towards something more flexible.
The real reason I logged on was to mention Charles Stross’s novel, Glasshouse, a Prometheus Award finalist. I finished the novel today, and am now 3/5 of the way through the finalists. Until reading this novel I did not see a strong candidate, but now I have one, and it probably will take a lot for the next two novels on the list to change my mind. Next up, John Scalzi’s The Ghost Brigades. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Scalzi, but this is his first novel I’ve had the opportunity to read, so I’m looking forward to it. My only complaint about Glasshouse is that Stross seems to have spent a lot of time inside the head of his Merchant Princes series’ main character, and she sort of jumped into another novel. The protagonist of Glasshouse is female for most of the novel, and acts and talks exactly like a Miriam Beckstein template. I feel like my head needs a cool plunge into The Jennifer Morgue next to shake off that feeling. I stopped reading The Clan Corporate 22 pages into that novel because I just could not take Miriam’s voice any longer. Aside from that small (and probably isolated to my own views) issue, I think Glasshouse comes across as a superb science fiction novel, and contains hugely interesting political speculations and implications, and very much driven by libertarian (or classical liberal) ideas.
As a Mac user I know what it’s like to be kicked around and forced to eat the table scraps in the internet wars. I have tried virtually every browser that runs on the Mac, but always fall back on Safari because a) it has all my bookmarks and b) it’s the most elegant and visually pleasing browser to my eye. But Blogger no longer lets me spell-check on Safari, and now Preview stopped working. At the bottom of each posting window I see the shortcuts taunting me, as none of them work in Safari. I open the same Blogger posting page in Firefox, and everything works. I guess I should switch everything over to Firefox, though my new LiveJournal page works fine in Safari, and Firefox has just such a hideous interface. Ideally I should dump blogger altogether and figure out how to move the localhost version of my blog on Movable Type that I created as a lark in October 2005. It still works fine, and is loaded with far more features I like than either LJ or Blogger.
As a non-voting voluntaryist, I haven’t paid much attention to the Libertarian Party. For some reason it manages to limp along, sucking in libertarians and spitting out their burnt-out husks every few years. Still, the LP core usually has remained pro-liberty, though vapidly ineffectual. In 2006, a new group took power in a coup against principles, and gutted long-standing articles of freedom. In 2007, the LP officially died when Ron Paul declared for president as a Republican. His candidacy acted like a neutron star, pulling in libertarians left and right who saw Paul as their great new hope. Over at Reason’s Hit and Run, Brian Doherty links to one of the current LP’ers bemoaning the former party of principle. I wonder when libertarians will realize that the LP now has no future, through the combination of this coup and Ron Paul. What I don’t wonder about is why a Republican candidate enraptures so many libertarians. Politics seduces people, and Paul’s candidacy is the most prominent ‘libertarian’ political candidate in many years, if not all time. I expect to see many libertarian sites cozying up to the new Republican dream (in fact, I think Lew Rockwell’s site already is hard at work waving the pom-poms for Paul. I believe former LP presidential candidate Badnarik is working hard inside the Paul republican machine, which shows the pure expediency of politics.) Paul certainly shares many libertarian ideals, and is the only anti-war candidate on the right (but why do so many libertarians ally themselves with just the right?), but I do not believe liberty will be achieved through this political process, nor will the media connect the dots between liberty and Paul. This is a great delusion, and when Paul falls to Rudy McMittney, those libertarians who supported Paul will moan about the great anti-liberty conspiracy. But these are just my curmudgeonly thoughts on a Monday.
Via Roderick Long’s blog, news that a new, original B5 movie is mere weeks away from release. I’ve aleady added this to my wish-list at Amazon, along with a bunch of other things I plan to purchase soon.
I’ve been checking Centipede Press’s web page often, and today discovered the first mention of the new Michael Shea collection, along with the title. No price yet, but I’m sure I will need to start saving early. (This Shea is not related to the other Michael Shea in an earlier post below.) Shea is my favorite horror/dark fantasy writer for his powerful stories and baroque language.
Sometimes I feel like I live under the proverbial rock. I just discovered Melinda Snodgrass’s wonderful blog today via Victor Milan’s own blog. She’s a superb writer, known for her sf and fantasy books, her work in the Wild Card series, and also from Hollywood. The only Star Trek video that I own is an episode from The Next Generation, called “Measure of a Man,” written by Snodgrass for the show in 1989. One thing missing from her website is a bibliography, but perhaps I just didn’t see it out there. I would like to know more about those EDGE books she occasionally refers to…
A few nights ago I stumbled upon a PBS show, an episode in a vast series on the Inquisition. This episode focused on the Cathars, and the total and brutal suppression of this ‘heresy’ in the early fourteenth century by the Catholic church. Having read about this moment in history many years ago, I remained on the channel, and then one word fired off a strong association. The word “light” was mentioned as part of the Cathar belief system, and I remembered Robert Shea’s novel All Things Are Lights. Immediately after the show I looked up Shea on Wikipedia, and sure enough that book did deal with the Cathars and Inquisition. (It’s bad when you know it’s faster to look up the book on the internet rather than search through your own shelves for your copy.) Lo and behold there’s a link to an official Robert Shea web page.
Shea, which died in 1994, wrote my favorite historical novel, Shike. The external page on Shea is managed by his son, Michael, who’s written fiction himself. If you haven’t read Shea’s hard to find historical fiction, the text for All Things Are Lights has been made available online at that web site, as well as an outline to the planned sequel to Shaman.
The Spring issue of Prometheus is out the door, one month behind schedule, and on the last day before the monopoly raises postage rates. Of course, all the press stories all focus on how the poor Post Office is force to raise rates to compete. Apparently every other business model out there follows the same process, and all succeed in our landy of milk and honey. Nevermind.
This issue was on many levels frustrating, but in the end hopefully rewarding. When I started planning the issue some months ago, I sat staring at a dozen blank pages. I outlined what would be required to fill those pages, and started reading. I hoped that I would receive submissions from other individuals, plus I went out and sought a reprint. In the end, I wrote ten reviews and a couple of news items, which is far more than I wanted, but virtually in line with what I had planned. And all the work on Prometheus takes place late at night during a brief hour or so window in my day. Tough noogies, right?
Huge thanks go out to the other individuals who contributed to the issue, which let me push out at least four of my reviews to the Summer issue. I already have a few pages laid out for that issue, with the tables of contents planned and big goals in sight. As always, if you read this and wuld like to write reviews or articles for Prometheus, feel free to contact me — firstname.lastname@example.org. The newsletter appears quarterly, but I always wish it were less of a struggle to fill all the pages. I constantly marvel at The New York Review of Science Fiction which has been around ten few years than Prometheus, yet appears monthly with 24 pages per issue, and has produced over twice the number of issues than the LFs newsletter in that time.