More Prodigal News… and a Blowfish in a Pear Tree

With the intensive courses I’ve been teaching, I haven’t had time to reflect much on 2016, or all the stuff that happened last year. (And since today’s my wedding anniversary, I won’t be doing it now.) I’ll have a little time for things like that soon—after my courses end and I get the grades uploaded, sometime next week […]

The Cosplayers of the Late Ming Dynasty

Wait… cosplay? In the late Ming Dynasty? Apparently, yes. And I don’t just mean dressing up in costumes, which is a universal and ancient activity. I mean cosplay. What’s the difference? I’ll let Jonathan Spence lay out the dots, before I connect them. Here’s a passage from Return to Dragon Mountain: After his dismissal by the prince of Lu, […]

Partially Recovered: Stellar Region

This is probably of limited interest to most readers, aside from tabletop RPG fans. (Basically, I recovered (from the Wayback Machine) a snapshot from a time one and a half decades ago, when I was running an online turn-based tabletop roleplaying game–sort of–by email, without all the amazing resources available to RPG enthusiasts today.)

Recent Books

I’ve been reading a fair bit this year, as far as my standards go. More than usual, anyway. This is everything so far, though, of course, a few of those I gave up on and didn’t finish: I’ve been feeling a little disappointed lately in how so much of the SFF world online is so busy talking […]

The Newest Mind Meld, and Peter Watts’ Blindsight

Just poking my head up above the surface to note that I participated in the most recent Mind Meld, addressing this question: Humans with funny foreheads are easy; truly alien aliens are hard. With that in mind, here’s what we asked our panel of experts: Q: What successfully makes an alien character, well, really alien? […]