Archive for September, 2014

Slush Pile 1: The Universe in a Box

2014/09/18 1 comment

This is going to be my first entry into what is likely going to be a long series.  I’ve written a number of sci-fi and fantasy short stories, and I have been putting some effort into getting them published… but at some point, I run out of potential venues to sell them to.

Thus, when I give up on a story, I’ll go ahead and put it up here for your entertainment.  Of course, since these are stories that have been rejected a few times, I’d love to have some feedback on where they have gone awry.


This particular story, “Universe in a Box,” exists in several forms; I’ve also written (and had rejected) a related story called “Sandbox,” which I’ll be posting later.


She was reading a paper on the latest techniques in miniaturization. She was fascinated by the description of improved methods for controlling the dynamics of a solar system compressed to the size of an atom.

But her time of quiet reading did not last. As usual, once she had finally found a moment to catch up on the literature, she was interrupted by a chime at the door. She pushed the holographic text aside and said, “Come in!”

The doors slid into the walls, revealing her newest student. He seemed worried and embarrassed at the same time. He pulled nervously at his whiskers, and a few tufts of his fur stood on end. “Uh, professor? Do you have a few minutes?”

“With that kind of face? I think I have a few more than a few minutes.” She resigned herself to finishing her reading at another time, and gave the command for a seat rest to emerge from its place in the wall.

The student was too nervous to take the rest. Instead, he paced, rattling his fingers against the walls whenever he wandered close enough to reach them. In her small office, this was often. “I, uh, made a mistake with one of the boxes. I set some of the constants wrong. Well, a lot of them wrong.”

Read more…


Science Sidebar 4: Skulls and Gastralia

2014/09/14 1 comment

While visiting Chicago for a wedding (congrats to Amanda and Nick!), I had a chance to visit the Field Museum.  It’s epic, and the group I was with only able to go through a small section in the time we had.

But!  While we were there, I learned a few things I hadn’t previously known or realized about tetrapods.  Which I will now inflict on you.


Your skull, less several hundred million years of modifications.  (via Wikipedia, synapsid skull)

Your skull, less several hundred million years of modifications. (via Wikipedia, synapsid skull)

A Tale of Skulls

Paleontologists like skulls.  They can tell you a lot about a critter — what kinds of things it ate based on its teeth, how big its brain was, how strong its jaw muscles were, and so forth.
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Science Fiction Round 36: Noise

2014/09/07 Leave a comment

We’re back to Clement’s Game in the most direct sense, since I recently read Noise, one of Hal Clement’s novels.

The story is set on a water-world, but that isn't how I pictured the sailing ship...

The story is set on a water-world, but that isn’t how I pictured the sailing ship…


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