February 4th, 2010


[links] Link salad, mostly weird science edition

A reader reacts to my novel Rocket Science — They liked it.

Ebooks and issues of entitlement — From Booklife, an excellent overview.

"Dear Media, from Science" (No.1) — This is a scream. (Via Bad Astronomy.)

Spray-on liquid glass — Weird and cool materials science. (Thanks to sheelangig.)

Zoologger: 'Living beach ball' is giant single cell — Weird science, dept of benthic biology. (Thanks to danjite.)

Toward an Interstellar Archaeology — Wow. This is a must read for anyone interested in hard SF and/or SETI.

Physicist discovers how to teleport energy — Cool beans.

A little telescope goes a long wayNASA astronomers have successfully demonstrated that a David of a telescope can tackle Goliath-size questions in the quest to study Earth-like planets around other stars. Their work, reported today in the journal Nature, provides a new tool for ground-based observatories, promising to accelerate by years the search for prebiotic, or life-related, molecules on planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system. (Via james_nicoll.)

?otD: Bits of my creation, is it real?

Writing time yesterday: 60 minutes
Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike to come
Hours slept: 9.25
This morning's weigh-in: 228.2
Yesterday's chemo stress index: 7/10
Currently reading: [between books]


[cancer] The mighty sleep hammer of medical chemistry

The combination of Imodium and Lorazepam last night allowed me to fall asleep, and then stay there. Slept a bit over nine hours, which is what my body needed after these previous two nights of extended lower GI-induced sleepfail. Of course, I'll need to take a Visicol pretty soon to offload the bricks that Imodium accumulates in my lower GI. Still, sleep, blessed sleep. Infusion session three of twelve is tomorrow, so being caught up on my rest is beyond essential.

The drugs have their penalties. In my case, dreaming of gregvaneekhout. He and I were at some sort of retreat, along with timpratt, sarahprineas and a number of the other usual suspects. We wound up playing a sort of combination of full contact tag and Mafia in and around a horse barn, except we called it "Gorillas and Lions." Some people were playing it as strip tag, but luckily there were a lot of horse blankets. There was also a lot of running around weird rusted old farm implements and rotting floorboards, so I don't know why we all didn't put our eyes out. Which would have spared us the consequences of strip tag, at any rate. Except for the one guy in the gorilla suit. Who might have been chronodm.

Go, Lorazepam.

And gregvaneekhout, next time you're cruise director in one of my dreams, could we just sit down to a nice game of Settlers of Catan or something?


[writing|publishing] What my publisher does for me, and why I won't just quit

In the process of various Amazon-related discussions in both my own blog comments sections and on the Kindle boards, I've come to realize that most people have no idea what the publisher does for a book between the time the writer is finished drafting the manuscript and the time the book hits the store shelves. Which is fair enough. I didn't either, before I became an author in the trade press.

This is only tangentially related to the Amazon-Macmillan kerfuffle, but might of interest to those who wonder why ebooks don't have a much cheaper cost basis than printed books. And is almost certainly of interest to aspiring writers who want to understand more about the nuts and bolts of the publication process.

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ETA: In answer to several queries already received, please share this blog post freely with students, critique groups, or other interested parties. I ask only that you retain my attribution, and provide info linking back to my blog.

© 2010 Joseph E. Lake, Jr., writing as "Jay Lake".

Creative Commons License
"What my publisher does for me, and why I won't just quit" by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. writing as "Jay Lake" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at jlake@jlake.com.


[cancer] Heading into the third infusion

Tomorrow is infusion three of twelve. mikigal was here for several days earlier this week, visiting and generally being helpful. shelly_rae comes in later this evening (well after I sink into a Lorazepam-induced torpor) to be with me over the weekend. Dad is driving us to the infusion center in the morning.

Been a rough week in the lower GI and the associated sleep issues. Otherwise the side effects have been reasonable. Have gotten a fair amount of writing done, as well as other life activities.

In terms of struggling with myself, I am trying to manage an unexpected resistance to the Lorazepam-Imodium combo I seem to need to be able to sleep, at least sometimes. I don't generally struggle with my need for medication. Lovastatin doesn't feel like a character flaw to me. Omeprazole isn't a moral failing. I can even handle the vague embarrassment of Viagra without flinching.

So why does an anti-diarrheal and a sleeping pill make me feel like a shameful failure? I spent some time with my therapist today unraveling this question. No good answers yet, but I think there's two separate issues. Imodium always makes me feel like hell the next day. The prospect of taking it nightly for the next five months is frankly freaking me out. As for Lorazepam, it's also an anti-nausea drug and an anti-anxiety drug. And I'm pretty resistant to psychoactives. That's why I stopped experimenting with street drugs very early on, and why I've always been a very light drinker. I hate anything that takes the edge off my mind.

Guess what? Chemo blunts me in all kinds of ways. I'm not sure I haven't focused some of those resentments on this particular med combo. In any case, I feel a bit of an idiot. Not done processing this one.

Another element requiring processing is the sense of dread I've had these past few days concerning tomorrow's infusion. I was terrified before the first session. I was almost blasé about the second session. Now I find myself dreading the time in the chair, the time on the pump.

This is not productive. Especially not with nine more sessions to go after tomorrow.

I am stronger than either my anxieties or my fears. I am also not so stupid as to think I can just be tough and swallow them whole. But boy, wrestling my myself isn't the club sport I signed up for.


[publishing] A bit more on Amazon and Macmillan, and a temporary hiatus on my part

A new letter from Macmillan USA CEO John Sargent — Ebooks, royalties, and Amazon. Some very interesting reading between the lines there.

Hachette Book Group to Transition to Agency Model — Another leap into the fray. From Galleycat.

I'm back into chemotherapy in the morning, through Sunday afternoon, so I'll be silent on Amazon and Macmillan until Monday. My brain is very strange on chemo, and I'd prefer to wait until I can trust my thinking again before entering into this complex, difficult topic.

So for now, talk amongst yourselves.