What would earth be like without the Moon?

The search for terrestrial extrasolar planets in the habitable zone of stars suggests that these planets may not be all that rare. However, examination of the solar system points to the fact that planets with a satellite similar to the Moon are probably a lot less common. It is massive…

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Why should we colonise space?

This is, of course, a very good question. It seems that at the moment no one has a satisfactory answer. Space travel is expensive, it’s risky, only few people appear to benefit directly, for a questionable gain, and there are more ‘worthy’ causes to spend our money, so why indeed…

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Exoplanets: could Alpha Centauri have any?

My fiction recently gave me cause to examine interstellar travel. Many writers tend to shy away from the reality that we’re a long way from anywhere. It’s too hard, too intimidating, too depressing. I, too, have done the wormhole thing, you know, where your characters can zip between worlds, but…

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what makes a habitable planet?

Red dwarf and planet. Image pilfered from the Hubble Space telescope site, a great source of space pictures, all of which are free to use. Last week, scientists analysing data obtained by the Keck ‘planethunting’ observatory (located at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii) revealed data about the GJ 581…

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The next step: should we go to Mars?

From a Worldcon panel Race to the Red planet with science fiction writers Kim Stanley Robinson and David Levine and physicist Jim Benford, identical twin brother of science fiction writer Greg Benford (who was also at the con, which made for plenty of confusion). It’s a fact that humanity already…

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write what you know

Notes from a Worldcon panel led by Kaaron Warren with Jack Dann and Kim Stanley Robinson. This post is based on my own interpretation of the information. Feel free to comment below if you wish to correct anything. Write what you know is one of the things workshop leaders and…

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what writers shouldn’t blog about?

Yesterday, Jennifer Fallon, an Aussie fantasy writer whose books I’ve enjoyed very much, wrote a blog post entitled 10 things authors should never talk about. A lot of the points make perfect sense. I mean – if you expect to have any kind of business relationship with people in the…

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when to use a semicolon

One of the features of slush and poorly-edited self-published works is poor punctuation. In particular the poor semicolon takes a beating. Here are two simple truths about semicolons, and they are all you absolutely need to know about them: The best and most fail-safe way to use a semicolon is……

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easy chicken & tomatoes

I have to admit to a partiality to recipes that involve putting something in the oven and forgetting about it for at least an hour. Here is another such recipe. This recipe came from my brother, who adapted it from a recipe in a Jamie Oliver book. Ingredients: For the…

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