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The two boys trying to hack their way past a stubborn encryption interface were the final answer to that ancient argument of upbringing versus family; environment versus heredity; conditioning versus genetics.

Franklin’s Faith

November 12, 1942. WOC (Wartime Operations Center) number 6, Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. War Cabinet meeting of the executive branch; recently evacuated from temporary headquarters in Chicago.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt adjusted himself in his seat, but could not find a comfortable position.

The Martian Civilization

The Martian Civilization
By Richard Knelling
Saturday Evening Post, August 1943

The Martians are exactly the ancient and cold race described by Wells. Where he went wrong was ascribing to them a 'vast intelligence'. In actual fact, individually, Martians are not much more intelligent than an Earth wolf. The comparison is apt in other ways; we know from deciphering their electronic records that the Martians are descended from semi-aquatic pack hunters who once ranged across the long lost shallow Martian seas and the great stretches of marshland surrounding them.

Scientists Discover Secret of Martian 'Electronic Brains'

Wire News, October 27, 1919

Scientists at Stanford University in California have discovered the basic principles used by the Electronic Brains found in Martian machinery. It is believed that this will lead to similar electronic brains being made available for government and businesses within a decade.

Says Stanford professor Trevor Lickman; "There could be a market for as many as two or three hundred electronic computation devices a year."

The Second War of the Worlds

I’m sure you are all familiar with H. G. Wells classic SF novel The War of the Worlds. You may also be aware that it has spawned a small industry of adaptations and related stories by other authors.

Not a bunch of softies, a rant about Hard SF

This is my contribution to the Singularity -vs- Science Fiction writing discussion here on Oort-Cloud.

This essay was originally published on my blog and later published on

. . .

I've always been a fan of Hard Science Fiction myself (the kind of thing sometimes described as 'Science Fiction with bolts'). So I was happy to find, a web portal that focuses squarely on that subgenre:

Some suggestions for tagging your posts by type of story

Personally I find tags very useful, so I am very serious about choosing them. In fact, I think of tags as emergent in the sense that, given enough people tagging, the output can be bigger than the input.

Given the above, I don't want to tell you how to tag. You know more about your posts than I do after all. And, in general, more tags are better. But I do think there are a few standard tags which would make it easier to locate and group specific kinds of posts.

SFWA on Writing

The SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America) has a great resource page of articles on writing, focused on writing Science Fiction. These articles are well categorized and range from advice to beginners to suggestions on restarting a once-great career.

I highly recommend that everyone commenting here on Oort-Cloud read the articles on Critiquing, at a minimum. This stuff is pure gold!

For the Love of a Woman

'For the Love of a Woman' is pretty close to final draft. I am opening it up for commentary here before doing the final polish rewrite.

. . .

He barged into my office without even knocking, the door bouncing off a bookcase and rebounding hard enough to send him staggering for a second. Startled, I jumped out of my seat and spun to face skinny, balding little Michael Swanson, as angry as I have ever seen a man get.

“You did it to Joseph! Didn’t you?”

The Seed

'The Seed' is a short story I wrote a long time ago and published on the web last year, basically to serve as commentary in a blog discussion of God and the Singularity.

. . .

April showers bring May flowers; sometimes they bring darker things as well...

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