May 25th, 2011


Selling Ebooks on Cards

I can see how ebook cards would appeal to shoppers and publishers, and be helpful for struggling bookstores.  But the environmentalist in me just goes *facepalm* -- because a key advantage of ebooks is their smaller footprint.  Adding an unnecessary piece of plastic to the process just grates on me.  We need to be reducing our use of plastic, not increasing it.

Torn World: "Without Fail" and "Deathfin"

You can now read my story "Without Fail" over in Torn World, with an illustration by meeksp.  (Comments, links, and donations for the artwork may be directed to its post on LJ or Dreamwidth.) This is an adventure at sea.

The license masters were the worst. Brelig disliked dealing with mainland license masters, but he couldn't avoid them forever. They always looked down their noses at people who had to work for a living, especially people whose work tended to leave conspicuous marks. Today's pest seemed to be poured from pure milk: long white-blond hair as fine as floss, pale blue eyes, skin so fair that the veins showed through in blue rivers. He wrinkled his delicate lips as Brelig approached.

Brelig glanced down at himself. The same old swath of dream rash swept down his right side, tiny white crescents marring the rich tan of his skin. The deep pucker in his left thigh still showed an angry red from last month's encounter with a soldierfish's sharp snout. His left forearm ended at the wrist, hand bitten away by a giant sea turtle and replaced by a gleaming sickle of steel. Brelig swept his gaze up and up then, meeting the eyes of the giant who stood nearly twice his own height. "Beautiful morning, License Master Alaaffi," he said evenly.
Along with this comes a new sea monster article, "Deathfin," covering the species featured in the story.

Climate Change and Extreme Weather

 One effect of climate change is that violent weather will become more common and more severe.  The kind of extreme storms scouring the country right now are consistent with that.  It's not proof, but it is data and it does match the predictions.  Weather has to do with short-term and local events; climate has to do with long-term trends.  So it takes a lot of weather events to map out what the climate is doing.  

Based on my own several decades of observation in central Illinois, I can tell that the climate is changing.  It's been raining today; the fields near our house are flooding again.  That used to happen in early spring, before planting.  Now the spring rains don't come, just an occasional sprinkle -- but sometimes there is enough rain in early summer to cause flooding.  One farmer near us has already had to replant once because the corn sprouts got drowned.  After this week's rain, there will probably be more drowned crops.  This is not good.

Many of our actions as a species are making the Earth a more violent, less hospitable environment.  That means more loss of life, which people fuss over but rarely motivates any changes; and more property damage, which drives people into hysterial outrage and might actually get them off their butts eventually.  You don't like tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and fires flattening your continent? Let's try replanting the forests we've clearcut, restoring the river and marsh systems, and cutting back on fossil fuel emissions.  The first two will restore much-needed buffers, and the latter will slow the rate at which the atmosphere is heating up (and thus fueling nastier storms).  The storms are not random.  They are results of patterns created by a system.  We are messing with it in stupid ways.  That needs to stop.