Category Archives: news of the week

News of the Week

Roswell/Alien News:

Admittedly, I haven’t lived in Roswell that long, and my move here coincided with a busy life of editing, formatting, and working outside the home. As a sci fi writer, I find living in Roswell intriguing, but I haven’t spent as much time as I would have liked searching out the local culture for writers, alien enthusiasts, skeptics, and Christians (that last becomes relevant in a bit). Earlier this week, my husband listened to an early-morning talk show with a local author; he couldn’t remember names, but did recall that a documentary on aliens — from a Christian perspective — would air at the Allen theater on March 12th. That is ultimately my news: the release of Alien Intrusion: Unmasking a Deception.

As usual, I wanted more information, however. Who put together this documentary? Who was the local author my husband had heard speaking on the radio at an ungodly hour of the morning? The documentary was done by Gary Bates, who is a creationist (see creation.com), and the author of the “Amazon top 50 bestseller” Alien Intrusion. As much as I would like to purchase the ebook, I get my hackles up when publishers/authors charge more than $6.99 for an ebook.*

I’m guessing the local Roswell author my husband heard was Guy Malone, whom I found here: alienstranger.com. But I can’t be sure. In any case, this guy (heh) is probably worth reading, as he calls himself a “Roswell Author, Lecturer, Iconoclast, Trouble-Maker”. Also, he states that he’s offering a Christian perspective on aliens here in Roswell. Clearly, this is my type of person, albeit iconoclasts may or may not get along. I’m sure you can fathom the reasons for that.

*I format books for a living. Ebooks are much easier to format than print books, and don’t have the production costs associated with printing on paper with ink.

News In the Sci-fi/Fan Industry:

Have you heard of Cirsova yet? If you haven’t, please check out their offerings. They just released their 7th issue. I like to read this magazine because it’s made of paper* (or, at least, I have issues 1-6 in paper, but only contributed enough to their kickstarter this time to get the ebook — I was broke — what can I say?), and because it has pulpy style spec fic. It’s fun. That’s about what I can handle these days in literature. Fun. The magazine has also introduced me to new SFF authors who are writing fun stories, which is a definite bonus. They also get points for their pulpy cover art. All in all, good stuff.

I almost forgot to add that one of the stories from their 5th issue, “Beyond the Great Divide”, has been nominated for the 2017 Ursa Major Awards in the best short fiction category. You can find out how to vote here.

*Going back to the paper: obviously, paper editions don’t make a magazine great. I was always hoping Jessica Thomas would go the paper route with her Common Oddities Speculative Fiction Sideshow. Ebooks for sale on Amazon are good, too. Selling copies and paying authors is a more viable business model than free e-zines.

News About Me:

Twitter friend Gitabushi reviewed The Minäverse on his blog, Must Read SFF. Did you catch that — Must Read SFF. This is my favorite line: “She skewers current society with an acerbic wit by showing where some of the trends we see today are leading. She provides some touching insight into love, (mis)communication, ego, ambition, loyalty, and even faith.” Go read the review, and then go buy my book. The Amazon link is there for you on the side.

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News of the Week

In the good old days, I wrote humorous News of the Week offerings, which, incidentally, nobody read. I can’t explain it, but my usual friends tend to turn away in distaste from my sense of humor. Or maybe they just miss it altogether. It’s possible I’m not actually funny.

That was then. This is now. Today, after I’ve spent a year posting nothing but chapters of The Minäverse to keep my blog from dying, I’m going to write a different kind of News of the Week. It’s going to be serious. Very, very serious. If any absurdity creeps in, I’ll smack it right back out. Okay? Do we have a deal?

News About Me:

That’s right. I’m going to lead with my own news. Back in 2014, I wrote the first draft to The Minäverse. Issue in major life changes: being abducted by aliens and dropped down in Roswell, NM; trying to maintain a stressful “day” job, while keeping my freelance business going; still trying to chip away at a degree that might come in handy someday. That’s about it, to be honest. Still, that’s my excuse for taking so long to publish my book. But now it’s available as an ebook at the great price of $3.99 and as a paperback at the great price of $15.00.

News In the Sci Fi Industry:

Jon Del Arroz is using GoFundMe to raise money for a discrimination lawsuit against WorldCon. From what I’ve witnessed of Del Arroz, his detractors’ idea of abuse equals tagging people in social media who don’t want to be tagged by him, let alone associate with him, and calling on his followers to do the same. Supposedly, all of this was in response to these people gossiping about him. There was also talk of his having emailed the president of SFWA (maybe even more than once), but that isn’t necessarily abuse if he had a legitimate reason for doing so. After all, the president of SFWA is operating in the capacity of headship for the members of the organization. She isn’t a superstar out of reach of the unwashed plebes. Sometimes, when it comes to these he-said, she-said disputes, your perspective will largely depend on who you talk to, who you choose to depend on for truth, and your POV regarding politics. Ie, people who align themselves with progressive politics hate Jon Del Arroz. That is almost indisputable. So what is the truth in between all the holier-than-thou handwringing and gossip-mongering? Is Jon Del Arroz a bully who hides his abuse from the Twitter sphere, where I regularly see him interacting with others? God knows what infractions others consider to be abuse.

If my take sounds snarky, I apologize. The holier-than-thou handwringing and gossip-mongering accusation belongs to those who aren’t speaking the truth (or who are spreading falsehoods without knowing the full truth). That doesn’t mean I’m accusing you. Most people know by now that I’m more inclined to side with the person willing to keep things public despite violating social norms and niceties. I prefer being impolite to the behavior of nice, moral Wormtongues who like to whisper behind others’ backs. Wormtongues cannot be trusted. Ever. But that doesn’t mean I’m right.

As a last point of interest, there have been a few people who said they would report Del Arroz for violating the fund-raising site’s policy of not allowing the raising of legal funds. I don’t think that’s exactly GoFundMe’s current policy, which states that it doesn’t allow money on their site to be raised in defense of people who have been accused of crimes, harassment, discrimination, etc. Del Arroz isn’t raising money to defend himself. But GoFundMe can remove any campaign from their site if they decide it violates their policy, which is why I’m not linking to Del Arroz’s campaign. I’m not going to add fuel to the fire.

Artificial Intelligence and Alien News:

I waxed on and on in that last section, so I’ll be brief regarding this section. Let’s be honest. I have a daily stream of news coming in on the AI front. By comparison, I only rarely see news about aliens. That’s probably to be expected. So I’m going to focus on what fascinates me. Today, I found it on Science Daily. Click on it. I dare you.

Are you kidding me? Praying Mantises have a type of 3D vision not yet seen elsewhere in biology:

Humans are incredibly good at seeing 3D in still images. We do this by matching up the details of the picture seen in each eye. But mantises only attack moving prey so their 3D doesn’t need to work in still images. The team found mantises don’t bother about the details of the picture but just look for places where the picture is changing.
This makes mantis 3D vision very robust. Even if the scientists made the two eyes’ images completely different, mantises can still match up the places where things are changing. They did so even when humans couldn’t.

If I understand this correctly, they are using their vision to detect change over time. You know, what you did in a math class at one time…. This is relevant to AI because, you know, if the praying mantis can use this type of vision, why not robots? Now you can cue horrifying scenes of giant invading robot praying mantises. Wearing giant mantis glasses. Backing up a little bit — scientists discovered this unusual type of 3D vision because they made tiny insect glasses. That’s right, tiny glasses. That is clearly the most relevant part of this story. Honey, I just shrunk my head so I could wear tiny mantis glasses! I’ve always been fascinated by head trauma. Why not radically turn myself into an insect-head so I can experience math class in a whole new way?

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