October 7th, 2008


[links] Link salad for a sleepy Tuesday

A reader reacts to Mainspring Powell's | Amazon thb | Audible ]

A possible genetic relationship between autism and highly desirable traits — Interesting stuff. (Thanks to lt260.)

High-tech sponge could take hydrogen cars further — Materials science at work. (Thanks to lt260.)

The subprime primer — In plain English, how it all happened. (Thanks to lillypond.)

Paul Krugman on McCain’s health insurance ‘plan’In short, the McCain plan makes no sense at all, unless you have faith that the magic of the marketplace can solve all problems. And Mr. McCain does: a much-quoted article published under his name declares that “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.” Yep, banking really has shaped up nicely without being burdened by the worst excesses of regulation. Conservative faith in the magic of free markets would be Santa Claus-cute if it wasn’t so fucking destructive. Disclaimer: as a cancer survivor, I am one of those Americans who lose tremendous ground under McCain’s plan, which is strongly biased toward those without pre-existing conditions. Plus I’m a liberal, so I’m one of those full-of-shit people who thinks everyone ought to have reasonable access to healthcare. (Thanks to lt260.)

Make-Believe Maverick Rolling Stone with a very detailed look at Mr. Straight Talk’s personal history. Interesting reading.

An editorial in the Boston Globe about the Bush legacyIt is hard to believe how far this republic has fallen since President George W. Bush took office. Eight years ago, the United States had a budget surplus, peace and prosperity reigned, and America was universally respected. Definitely time to support four more years of GOP rule. What could possibly go wrong?

Body movement: airport walking
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: n/a

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[books] METAtropolis pre-order announced

I am pleased to announce that the audio-anthology METAtropolis is currently available for pre-order. Original fiction by Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, John Scalzi, Karl Schroeder and me. This means the list of readers is also out, a very start-studded cast indeed. Here’s the ToC:

1. “In the Forests of the Night” by Jay Lake, read by Michael Hogan (Col. Tigh on Battlestar Galactica)
2. “Stochasti-city” by Tobias Buckell, read by Scott Brick (2008 Audie Award winner, for Dune)
3. “The Red in the Sky is Our Blood” by Elizabeth Bear, read by Kandyse McClure ( Anastasia “Dee” Dualla on BSG)
4. “Utere Nihil Non Extra Quiritationem Suis” by John Scalzi, read by Alessandro Juliani (Lt. Felix Gaeta on BSG)
5. “To Hie From Far Cilenia” by Karl Schroeder, read by Stefan Rudnicki (reader of the Ender’s Game series)

Pretty damned squee, hey?

The anthology will be released on October 21st. If you pre-order now through Audible, they will give you my story as a teaser.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[process] The bathtub theory of writing success

A week or two ago, I was talking to calendula_witch about the processes of success as a writer. I was reminded of an analog a pro writer once gave me.

Think of the publishing world as a bathtub.


In that bathtub there is a line which represents the level of professionalism one must reach before one can begin selling pro stories.


Into that bathtub flows the water of your talent and effort.


It fills over time, as you practice your craft, learn new techniques, refine existing ones, submit to markets, apply consistent effort to producing new materials and generally do all the writing and writing related program activities which your favorite pros spend their time at. Note that the waterline is wavy, like a child’s drawing of the ocean. This is because while you have a baseline, or mean, level of quality in your output, at any given point in your career path some work will be better than other work. Variability within an established range, so to speak.

So, as the water of your talent and effort continues to flow into the bathtub, the waterlevel rises up.


At first you sell one or two stories over a span of time. The peaks of your waves have touched the “pro line.” Then you begin to sell with some consistency, still missing sometimes. The midline of your waves has touched the “pro line.” Eventually, if you are smart, persistent, lucky, and most of all consistent in your practice, even the troughs of your waves will rise to the “pro line”.

Think of success not as a point which you pass, but as a state which you enter with increasing frequency.

In other words, write more, and don’t forget to send out.

Your thoughts?

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.