Feb 172018

There are two things at work here:

  1. Toys have in general improved in artistic quality and detail
  2. The target audience back in the day was 10. The target audience remains the same people, who have grown older and generally more wealthy in the intervening decades.

The Vintage Collection Jabba’s Sail Barge (The Khetanna)

Hasbro has set up their own form of Kickstarter. If they can get 5,000 people willing to pony up $500, they will produce this “toy” of the Sail Barge slight over *49* inches in length. If they don’t reach the goal, those who signed up won’t be charged. As with Kickstarter, this seems like a fair way to test the market for something that could either be a winner or a disaster.

I’ve never been a big fan of the Sail Barge, but I hope they do well. If this works, it seems like they might go to the next obvious step and do a proper scale version of the Millennium Falcon. And if that works… a Star Destroyer. That would only be, what, 293 feet long.

Back when Star Wars came out, *I* was the exact target audience and boy howdy did I want one of the die cast Star Destroyers. And man, those original toys were *garbage* compared to what they’re able to produce today.



 Posted by at 6:12 pm
Feb 162018

A sci-fi ponderable.

Let’s say easy personal time travel exists. Let’s further say that you can go back in time and change history however you like, then come back to a changed present (but still be the original “you”). At what point do you, or the Time Cops, or whoever, decide that tinkering is not to be allowed?

As an example: let’s say you could go back in time a few days and stop the Parkland school shooting. Would you do it without ethical qualms? Pretty sure most people would say some form of “yes,” because from the point of view of *right* *now* as I type this, the only changes in the timeline would be positive ones. But let’s say you were given the option of going back in time and popping a cap in Hitler or Lenin or Stalin or Mao or Castro or Proxmire or LBJ before they rose to power and caused a ruckus. Would you do it, even if you could see the rough outline of the new timeline and everything was awesome? This seems like it would be trickier. Because if you did, you would be committing a kind of genocide on a scale never imagined in human history.

Let’s say you whack Hitler just as he’s taking over the Nazi party, say, 1925. Let’s further suggest that the whackage is of such entertainingness that the rest of the Nazis get whacked with him. Huzzah! No Nazis, no Holocaust, no WWII. Assume that, somehow, this leads to an era of peace and prosperity never before imagined; the Soviets give up that Socialism nonsense and become free market capitalists, the Japanese skip past the Rape of Nanking and go straight to tentacle porn; FDR not only never gets elected and thus doesn’t turn a depression into the decades-long Great Depression, but instead goes down in flames such that he drags the Democrat party down with him and from then on US politics is split between the Republicans and the Libertarians. Huzzah! Everything is awesome! Star Trek goes for eleven seasons, Reagan wins three terms, Orions to Pluto by 1990. Huzzah indeed!

But here’s the thing. Unless you buy into nonsense like fate, destiny, predestination, the universe having some sort of plan… virtually *nobody* who was born much after 1926 or so in the “prime” timeline is actually born. By changing politics in Weimar Germany, you’ve set in motion a cascade of changes that lead to a “prime” mother and father not meeting, or meeting but not doing the deed on the specified date, or doing it thirty seconds later, or sperm #1,452,355,343 rather than #1,452,355,342 being the one that succeeds at the egg. And when that kid isn’t born in 1927, that kid can’t have the Prime offspring in 1952, who can’t make a kid in 1983, who cant reproduce in 2018. You will have eliminated from the timeline something along the lines of ten billion people. Granted, you will have created ten billion *other* people, but for the most part judicial systems are underwhelmed with the argument, “yes, you honor, I murdered my infant…but hey, I got right on to making a replacement, so… we’re cool, right?”

So: how does whoever has the power over time travel decide what changes can be made? “No changes allowed” is the easy answer.

 Posted by at 4:47 pm
Feb 112018

Who wants some fiction? A tale of a cruise ship on the high seas when the world is attacked by Lovecraftian sea monsters, Champion of the Seas is, I think, pretty good. This is the second full yarn in the “War With The Deep Ones” book that I’ve released; the first being “Honolulu.” I also released a bit from the “interstitial tales” that will be wedged between the main stories.

To read a preview of the story and to order the whole thing in PDF & EPUB formats, click the “Continue Reading” below.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 2:48 am
Feb 062018

Negative mass/negative matter is a theoretical substance that appears in sci-fi and scientific speculation. It would be a difficult substance to deal with, if it actually exists… negative mass means negative inertia. Which means if you push on it, it pushes back, just as hard. This is why it’s considered probably necessary for stable wormholes: somehow, you line the “walls” of the wormhole with negative matter, and if the wormhole tries to collapse, the negative matter resists the collapse.

The video below explains some of the head-scratching consequences of the existence of negative matter. Not explained in the video is the idea that negative and regular matter would mutually annihilate if they came into contact. But unlike a matter/antimatter annihilation, a matter/negative matter reaction would release… nothing. Literally, nothing. One gram meets negative one gram, the end result is zero. The two substances would disappear like nothing was ever there. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. You’d probably get atoms partially torn apart… the electrons disappear but the nuclear scoots away, or the nucleus is partially eliminated, releasing a flood of suddenly liberated protons and neutrons and elementary particles. It would be nowhere near as energetic an event as a M/AM reaction, but there would seem to be a distinct sort of signature to a M/NM reaction.

 Posted by at 1:26 pm
Jan 312018

A fanciful late 1950’s Martin Company illustration of a space station. This rendering features a large parabolic solar reflector to concentrate sunlight onto a boiler to run a turbogenerator for electricity, a hockey-puck shaped habitation section (you might think it was meant to rotate, but there are windows in the floor *and* a group of astronauts seemingly standing on the side of the thing, somehow not getting flung off), some standard 1950’s gee-whiz rocketships and something at far right that I can only describe as “a thing.” Maybe it’s meant to represent the radiator for the solar generators working fluid, but if so, it seems a terrible design. Maybe it’s the death ray.

 Posted by at 5:04 am
Jan 302018

Finished another tale, “Brass Valley.” Not a terribly long one (one of the shorter ones), but still kinda interesting.

I’ve ordered the stories in the spreadsheet according to the order I think they’ll go in the book. Irritatingly, the second story, the one following on after “Honolulu,” is one that I kinda stalled out on… and it’s one I need to not only finish but make work.

Clearly it’s turning into a good-sized work, but I suspect a good editor would go through it with a  woodchipper. I could easily see half of the length being filtered out.


It had been my plan to  release the stories in the proper order, since it would make more sense that way (there is a process to the invasion that explains why some places are surprised and others aren’t). But I think I’ll release “Champion of the Seas” next… I think it’s a pretty good one, and stands well on its own. Stay tuned.

 Posted by at 9:43 pm
Jan 252018

If you want uncritical videos about goofy subjects like monsters and UFO’s, YouTube will hook you up. Look at all the “Flat Earth” videos. Look at them. But if you want skeptical takedowns, you might have to dig a little further, and if you want skeptical takedowns that are well researched and explained, you have to dig a little further still. But Trey The Explainer does the job nicely.

Many of his videos are about paleontological subjects, but many others are about various “cryptids” (i.e. mysterious animals that people “know” to exist but can never seem to prove… Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Honest Politician, that sort of thing). Some are better known than others, but two vids I found quite good are on the Black Knight Satellite and the Ropen. Both are relatively recent inventions; both are manifestly silly; both are easily and quite adequately explained away with clear video evidence showing them to have mundane explanations; and yet, both are readily believed by many.

 Posted by at 10:01 pm
Jan 242018

My plan for the first WWTDO book is to have a collection of short stories, each an incident set within the first few days of the Deep One invasion, each story being on the order of ten or more pages long. But *between* the stories I plan on including little short yarns, a page or three long, that give a chronologically sequential history of the doin’s with the Deep Ones and other relevant Lovecraftian issues. Most of these deal with the Office of Insight, giving a history of the secret government branch dedicated to studying and preparing for cosmic horrors.

I think what I’ll do is reserve the bulk of these little tales for the final book, even though I’ll probably release each of the major tales individually. So if you want the full back story, you’ll just have to get the book.

Also: the original trio of reviewers seemed to really like the historical backstory, enough so that sometime after finishing up Book 1, I’ll turn the backstory into a complete book itself. I’ve already written forty or so pages of that, set in the early 1990’s…

And after all that yammer, here are the first two of the tales. They start just after the raid on Innsmouth, and introduces some guys just doing their job who have received an unwanted introduction into a larger, weirder world. Rather than PDF or EPUB, it’s just blog-text, just click below. As always, comments, critiques and large sums of cash welcomed.

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 5:47 pm