Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hidden from scans

Here’s another excerpt from my current science fiction manuscript, Alpha Shift. Captain Akajima is the captain of engineering, and he’s suspicious of a shuttle that’s docked with their ship. Captain Dana is captain of the Marines on board.

Captain Akajima forced himself to stay seated. If anything did go sideways, he would need as much energy as possible to deal with it. And hovering over the shoulders of his watch standers would not make their reports more accurate.

The comforting smell of burnt lubricant was gone. He loosened his collar to stay relaxed for— 

A watch stander turned to him. “Captain, a part of the shuttle is opaque to our scans.”

“You’ve double-checked it?” Akajima rose from his chair without haste and stepped down to that station.

“Yes sir. No matter what wavelength we use at what angle, it stays dark.”

Akajima stared at the cylindrical shape on the monitor as if he were staring down a bull about to charge. “That’s a life pod.”

“Yes sir.”

He signaled Captain Dana to join him. In the time it took her to stride over, a pulse started beating in his neck. “Any reason for a life pod to be opaque to our scans like that?”

She bent over like a hawk spying a rabbit. “No. A life pod needs to be open for scans, so anyone inside can be rescued.”

“Does it seem modified at that end?”

“I can’t say.”

Sweat formed on the watch stander’s brow. “Sir, it is consistent with the end of a boarding ram.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

Norwescon III—Live Dalek, Julie Dillon, Throne

This is a wrap-up of my time at Norwescon—the region’s largest science fiction and fantasy convention for writers. 

Here’s another Dalek. This one was live.

We also had Lady Sif.

She criticized herself for lacking a shield, but I said, “You look great. You don’t have to apologize for anything.

The artist guest of honor for the convention was Julie Dillon. Back in January, I posted that her cover for Upgraded was the best science fiction cover of last year.

So when I heard that Julie Dillon was going to be at Norwescon, she was my chief reason for going. Her session in which she showed samples of her art and explained her process was fascinating. Afterwards, she gave away six of her artbooks to some of us who stayed around and asked her questions.

I managed to get a picture with her.

And here’s a video of her Kickstarter project.

Finally, here’s the picture you will see in your mind even when you close your eyes tonight. Please choose the best caption.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Norwescon II—Carbon, It’s Her

Here are a couple pictures from Norwescon. If you don’t get the one below, read her T-shirt.

Below is Torrey Stenmark. She is an organic chemistry major who teaches college chemistry.

Miss Marvel
She said “Miss,” not “Ms”

Unfortunately, her panel talked mostly about industrial carbon, which didn’t give her much to add. She deals with the more messy, organic compounds. And yes, she spoke on the panel dressed like that.

When looking up things to spell her name right, I realized it’s HER. She’s the one I saw at Worldcon in Reno in 2011.

I saw her again at Norwescon in 2012.

Then she changed into Padmé Amidala.

It’s the same person each time. And I fail to recognize her when she changes. 

[Permission granted to use any photo on this post, so long as it is labeled “Photo by Mark Murata”]

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Norwescon I—Reading, Dalek, Footfalls

I was at Norwescon—the region’s largest science fiction and fantasy convention for writers—over the weekend. On Thursday I only arrived in the evening, so besides attending the opening ceremonies, I simply listened to one author do a private reading from an upcoming book of hers.

There was also a Dalek

Parking was terrible. I had to park at the overflow parking a few blocks down. I do not like walking in SeaTac in the dark. (Believe it or not, the SeaTac—Seattle-Tacoma—airport came first, then the area around it became incorporated as SeaTac later.)

As I did the final long walk towards the other hotel’s parking lot, I heard footfalls behind me. Running. They were some distance away. I changed the way I was walking and carrying my case to hear better. Still the sound of running. Catching up.

I approached the parking structure. Not afraid, I paused to take a picture of it. As I proceeded in, I heard a cough behind me. Not breathing over my neck—it was how sound carries at night, but still getting closer.

I went to the passenger’s side of my car. I store an object there that can be handy for a time like that. But no need. After I put my case and got in my car, I saw an older fellow with gray hair head for the parking elevator. He was the one who would have coughed.

But where was the person who was running?


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