Archive for February, 2019

R.I.P. Opportunity

I woke up yesterday to the news that NASA had officially declared Opportunity to be dead, which has made me sadder than I expected. I was working in the aerospace industry when Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars back in 2004, and I remember it being a very exciting time at work.

(I did not work on Mars-related stuff at the time, but it was all anyone wanted to talk about. You couldn’t get three feet around the office without the rovers coming up in one form or another.)

And, to be honest, I hadn’t thought about the rovers in years. Spirit was declared dead a long time ago, and then Curiosity was launched, and Opportunity slipped my mind.

For a rover meant to last 3 months, the fact that it lasted almost 15 years is pretty dang amazing. And NASA did such a good job of getting us all to care about some little (I say little facetiously–neither Spirit or Opportunity is that small, and Curiosity is freaking huge) robots exploring on another planet.

But I will admit I cried a little, when I learned that Opportunity’s last message was “My batteries are low and it is getting dark.” (And it makes me feel better to know I wasn’t the only one.)

I know it’s just a machine, but Godspeed, Opportunity. Thanks for all your hard work.

It seems to me you lived your life
like a rover in the wind
never fading with the sunset
when the dust set in.

Your tracks will always fall here,
among Mars’ reddest hills;
your candle’s burned out long before
your science ever will.#ThanksOppy. I owe you so much. pic.twitter.com/x0i5WqA9sL— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) February 13, 2019

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Sinuses and Landsquid

Hey, squiders, hope you’re having a good February!

I had to have sinus surgery yesterday, but all things considered, it went well and I’m recuperating fine. However, I am a bit woozy and tired, so, while I hoped I would have the energy to blog today, I just…don’t.

But I did draw you a landsquid.

(He’s getting more done in the hospital than I did.)

Anyway, we should be back to normal on Thursday. Til then, I hope your week treats you well!

Alternate Universes

Morning, squiders! The bigger, mobile one has a “virtual day” today, which is the worst. Basically, when the district declares a delayed start, his school just has everyone stay home and do work on the computer. Let me tell you how self-motivated a first grader is.

(Hint: Not especially)

So, since I have an added complication today, I thought I’d dig up another of those old, old saved blog drafts. Today’s comes to us from Dec 2010, where my notes say:

“ALSO AWESOME”

Once again, this is so helpful for deciphering what I wanted to talk about.

(Also, this begs the question, if this is “also awesome,” what was the thing that was originally awesome?” Alas, that knowledge is lost to time.)

I did go back and look at December 2010 and who knows. There’s a post about Turtleduck Press (which launched in Dec 2010, so that makes sense), a bunch of link round-ups, and the periodic rant about how I’ve tried to do much. It might potentially be about the lunar eclipse. The word awesome is used.

But, hey, alternate universes! I wonder if I meant “alternate universe” in the Sliders sort of way, where characters travel to universes that are essentially ours with some tweaks, or more in the “Man in the High Castle” or “Iron Moon” sort of way, where something in history went a different way and changed everything that went after it.

Or maybe I wanted to talk about the fanfiction concept of alternate universes, where you take characters from a book or a movie or a TV show and stick them somewhere else. Like, instead of galloping about the galaxy on a spaceship, everyone’s in high school. Or vice versa, for that matter.

Anyway you look at it, alternate universes are kind of fun, and a mainstay of science fiction. A lot of science fiction comes from “what if?” questions, and alternate universes are a direct response to that. What if Columbus didn’t find the Americas? What if we discovered space travel in the 1850s? What if gravity wasn’t automatic? What if the United States had rejected capitalism?

They’re good for fantasy too, though they work differently. Alternate universes in fantasy tends to be more synonymous with portal fantasy, where characters are actively traveling somewhere else, often using magic.

But, really, you can’t go wrong.

How do you feel about alternate universes, squiders? What’s your favorite example (of any kind)?

WriYe and Romance

Afternoon, squiders. WriYe’s going well so far. I’m still remembering to check in, and through the challenges I’ve finished my serial story (which I’ve worked on almost every month since January 2009! It’s insane to think that it’s done), wrote a 4K short story, and started revisiting some of my universes which will help with longer projects moving forward (I wrote a Shards verse drabble this morning, which was very enjoyable and came really easily).

But now it’s February, which means there’s a new prompt up for the blog circle, so let’s get to it.

Is romance necessary in all fiction? Why or why not?

I wouldn’t say romance is a necessity. It can be nice, or it can be terrible (in the case where it’s forced in, or comes out of nowhere, or is just really badly written). I don’t mind romance, but I do think it needs to be done well and serve a purpose.

But a necessity? Nah. I’m perfectly happy to read about a group of friends, or siblings, or cousins, or any other relationship. It doesn’t need to be romantic in nature. And to have all stories rely on romance is, frankly, a little unrealistic and uninteresting. Some people don’t like romance, and plenty of people get through life without it showing up every time something exciting happens.

Bonus:

If you do have romance in your fiction, tell us about your favorite pairings. Why are they your favorite?

I am not great at romance (I suspect because I’m not a romantic person myself), but if I had to pick, I think Syvil/Chism from my story For Justice in the To Rule the Stars anthology (which you guys might remember me mentioning under its working premise, which was space princesses) is probably my favorite romantic couple that I’ve written.

Don’t tell any of the other couples, I guess.

Despite including romance in a lot of my stories, it doesn’t come naturally to me in most cases. I often have to go back through in the editing stage and add in things like significant looks, and feelings, and things along those lines. It’s a known issue.

What do you think about romance, squiders? Essential to a well-rounded story?