Currently Reading, and Other Stuff

Keeping an eye out for Amazon book sales can really pay off. I had Kim Stanley Robinson’s Forty Days of Rain on my wish list, but put it off, as I so often do, because of the price. Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear but a sale on his climate change trilogy, Green Earth, of which Forty Days of Rain is the first. So I’ve been deeply immersed. I was unable to read his Mars series because he isn’t just a “hard” SF writer, he glories in details that go on and on forever, at the expense of story and characters. Green Earth is an edit and slight condensation of the original three novels, and while the book is still very science-heavy, it’s a totally immersive experience.

It’s about climate change, but what the characters call “abrupt climate change,” which is an actual possibility acknowledged by scientists today  but played down, probably because the prospect is so terrifying. In the book, “ice age” winter suddenly appear, even as the earth as a whole is heating up. That’s a possibility that resonates with me, more for emotional reasons than anything else. Here I sit in southern Michigan, having just experienced a cooler than normal summer while the world average temps have reached a new high. And Fall has come on quite abruptly, with unusually cool nights. I woke up this morning to 39 F. So the nervous ape inside me has to wonder, even though I know perfectly well that weather and climate aren’t the same thing.

There is too much in the book, including political maneuvering, that could be taken from today’s news, even though the trilogy began in 2004, and the last book came out in 2007. If you’re looking for a nice long read of about 1,000 pages, and don’t mind having your sense of “everything’s fine” shaken up, it’s a must-read.


The development of Empire of Masks is coming along swimmingly, with many surprises that appear out of nowhere. At the same time, Bright World of Sorrows is refusing to bow out gracefully, so that’s also in development. All of which means that the public debut of Camp Expendable has been put off, yet again.


One last chance at finding a site where I can post work and have it critiqued. After my experiences with Authonomy and Write On, you’d think I’d be gun-shy by now. And I am. Scribophile is one of NaNo’s sponsors, and failed to provoke my interest in previous years. For some reason, I decided to check it out this year. And joined. It’s very different from other posting/critiquing sites because you have to earn the right to post your work, by earning karma points via critiquing. Instantly, that raises the overall level of competence in what is posted. There’s very little of the YA and TV-inspired attempts at writing. The site also has excellent forums, and topic-specific groups. I don’t have much time or patience for critiquing, so my accumulation of karma points will be slow. But the level of the discussions about writing is such that membership is worth it for that alone. Judging by the number of “reputation” points some members have, they’ve been on the site for years, which speaks well of how it’s run. Altogether, it’s an enjoyable place to spend some time with other writers, which is more than I can say for those I’ve tried in the past.



2 thoughts on “Currently Reading, and Other Stuff

  1. Put books you want on your Amazon wish list – and they will email you when the price goes down. Useful even if that’s the only feature you use.

    Sorry you lost things in a fire – I’ve never had to deal with what must have been devastating: not getting the choice of what to keep.

  2. Interesting. I have an Amazon wish list but never receive any notices. Maybe it’s something you have to sign up for. Anyway, the majority of price drops aren’t enough to fit in my budget, so it would just be an annoyance.

    I did have a choice of what to save, but a very narrow one. Books for research, favorites in different genres. Clothes and necessities. But there was only so much room in the van, and we were dying to get out of the apartment — summer heat, dust everywhere from torn out ceiling and insulation. It was a horrible mess. Son and grandson were carrying stuff down three flights of stairs with nothing but a flashlight to light the way. The real tragedy was the first floor apartments that totally burned out. A few pets died because no one was home to save them.

    Some books I’ll never bother to replace, but I’m slowly replacing others that I would have taken with me if there had been more room. My single three-shelf bookcase was about 1/4 empty to start with and is almost full now. Thank goodness for ebooks.

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