09 December 2008

Chinese ship names

If you've ever wondered where I found all the Mandarin ship names I used in HI, it's from Rachel Kronick's website, specifically this page. Highly recommended if you're looking for realistic Mandarin ship names. Also, she's friendly and helpful over e-mail. A good resource to bookmark. (Thanks also to Surlethe, who helped me find the proper characters for Taifeng: 台风).

08 December 2008

Moderator recommendations

So I notice there seems to be some movement on expanding the SDN mod staff. I'm still on sabbatical, but I can't let this moment pass without making some recommendations of my own. If any of my regular readers care to repost this to the House of Commons, feel free.

Here we go, forum by forum. Note that unless otherwise noted, forum mods would be in charge of the subforums as well:

SWvST: I think Vympel and Ghost Rider can handle this on their own, seeing as it's so low-traffic. If we want another mod in there, I'd recommend Lonestar.
PSW: Coyote has volunteered for this one, so let him have it as a "second" forum. Otherwise, I don't see much need for new mods.
PST: I'd like to keep this slot. I also think Bounty is perfect for this job--I've read some of his criticism of how PST has been modded (which is obviously directed at me), and I think he's dead-on. I haven't been doing my job well enough there. If a third mod is needed, or if The Powers That Be want me elsewhere, Gandalf is a good #2.
FF: Mayabird has put her name forward, and I think she's a fine choice. Incidentally, why isn't Mayabird a Senator? She's smart, she's got her head screwed on straight, and almost everything she posts is relevant and interesting.
OSF: While NecronLord and Fgalkin are already doing a good job here, if we wanted more people, this would be a good fit for GrandMasterTerwyn. Bounty and Mayabird could also take OSF as a second forum, since PST and FF are so low-traffic.
FAN: LadyTevar seems like a natural choice here, in addition to Ghost Rider and her husband. Also, I'd bring in Lonestar. And this is going to come off as biased, but fuck it, she's a good choice: Metatwaddle. She's smart, level-headed, loves fantasy, and she'd have a good tutor.
Fiction Block Mods: I'm somewhat reluctant to recommend brand new mods to be block mods, so for the time being, I'd let NecronLord and SirNitram handle this.

And on the non-fiction side of the board:
SLAM: Surlethe (duh). Also Publius, if he wants the job, and GrandMasterTerwyn.
OT: OT is a good forum for new mods, because it's active and easy. Havokeff wants this one, and he'd be a good fit. Bounty and Mayabird could take OT as a second if OSF is full. Lonestar, Broomstick, and Hotfoot could also take OT as a second forum.
-History: Stas Bush is a natural choice. I'd add Simplicius as a backup and Coyote as a third, if needed.
AMP: AMP is a quiet, well-behaved forum. The only mod I'd add is Simplicius.
N&P: The local firepit. First off, I want a slot here. I would also add Terwyn, Simplicius, Coyote, and Surlethe, plus Stas Bush if we need more firepower (incidentally, if it were up to me, I would elevate those five to mods immediately, even if I couldn't think of any slots for them).
-Famous Threads: Fgalkin is the Keeper of the Lore, isn't he? Let this be his project.
G&C: I'm surprised not to have seen Ace Pace's name brought up for this slot. I'll correct that oversight--I think he'd do a fine job. This forum polices itself pretty well, so I don't think we need anyone else.
-STGOD: Lonestar would be a good choice. Also, if we need another G&C mod, let him take both.
ARSE: I don't need this one anymore, so I'd give my slot to Broomstick.
Nonfiction Block Mods: Myself, Pablo Sanchez, Edi, and Frank Hipper, to start.

Other forums:
Hall of Shame: I'm going to buck the trend and say I don't see any point to restoring the Horsemen. I'd just go ahead and dissolve the position and leave the HoS in the hands of the supermods directly.
The Imperial Senate: CmdrWilkens (really, did you expect anyone else?). I'd make him chancellor, or, if Mike wants to leave that post for Rob Wilson, Deputy Chancellor in his absence. Also, just by the by, I've read his proposed new Senate rules and I think they're excellent and should be passed as soon as possible. Also, I'd let him have access to the mod forum. He'd be a good voice to have in there.
-House of Commons: Coyote and Hotfoot are doing a fine job here. I'd also give them both access to the mod forum, if they don't already have it.
The Coliseum: Simplicius wants this, Ace Pace has made a lot of good suggestions, and I know Surlethe has been trying mightily to make it work. Note that modding the Coliseum would also include playing the role of MC, and organizing the matches. Frankly, it was a lousy idea to put the Senate in charge of setting up matches. Fuck that shit. If two people want to fight in the Coliseum, let the Coliseum mods decide if the topic is worthy and what the rules will be.
Parting Shots: No mods necessary.
Testing: Testing is mine, bitches.

30 November 2008

New chapters finished

Finally finished the second of the new chapters last night (tentatively titled "Clusterfuck" and "Antimatter Monday"). They both ran longer than I wanted (around 12,000 words each), but I think I can get away with that, though bringing the final draft in at ~100,000 now seems impossible; there's just not that much fat left to trim anywhere else. I'll start editing the last chapters today, though how much work I actually get done is an open question.

25 November 2008

A taste of the new material...

Because battle scenes are so gratifying to write.
And then the shells from Xinjinshan arrived. The battleship was half a million kilometers away, outside of its gun range...for a maneuvering target. Giant asteroids, as a rule, didn’t maneuver. The facing surface of Patroclus exploded with shell hits, spraying shards of rock into space. An evacuation shuttle was caught in the splash and disintegrated like a sparrow in the mouth of a shotgun.
Everything is coming along just fine.

23 November 2008

A few changes

Tweaked the blog's layout a little (you may have noticed it's much bluer), and added a sidebar with links to websites I find valuable or amusing. Commentary or suggestions welcome.

This concludes this public service announcement.

22 November 2008

Bambi vs. Godzilla

Poking around SDN last night after finishing up my HI work, I encountered an absolute gem of a thread. In it, Robo Jesus (who?) presumes to lecture Kuroneko about physics. Hilarity results.

My favorite part:
I'm torn between being in awe of your strawman or the irony of being lectured on arrogance by someone who either doesn't read or doesn't understand his own sources. I explicitly admitted that our knowledge is far from complete, so don't pretend otherwise--it being the only statement in your first post between us that I agreed with. On the other hand, going from that from that to "our understanding of physics absolutely sucks" involves no rational basis, an ignorance of just how well our fundamental laws do work, and, as your next post demonstrated, an ignorance of what our theories are even talking about. As far as I'm concerned, that's the sort of arrogant attitude "that needs to be kicked in the head with steel toed boots."
Someone ought to link this thread to the "being positive" thread in the Senate. You want an example of a devastating smackdown with no naughty words, insults, bullying, or general jackass behavior, this is it.

21 November 2008


Why the hell did I decide to name a major setting in the book "Hammarskjöld"? I don't even have a key to make the "ö". I ought to just do a find-and-replace and rename it "U Thant", but then I'd have to hunt down all those references to "The Hammer" and "Hammer Town" and change them, and "U Thant" doesn't lend itself to snappy nicknames.

19 November 2008

o hai guyz

So hey, I have a blog! How about that, huh? Right after Winchell Chung writes up an entry about me on Atomic Rockets, where he says I never update my blog and can usually be found at SDN, I go on sabbatical from SDN and update my blog. On the upside, without SDN, I get way more work done. If all else fails, I eventually get so bored I edit for lack of anything better to do. Now that's motivation.

I was actually going to go on a vacation from SDN a week ago, but then the fuck-off huge drama storm broke out, and I felt compelled to hang around and dispense my wisdom. I'm sure when I return SDN will have become a beacon of sweet reason, patience, and light. Except for Testing. Fuck those guys.

Alright, so, way-overdue novel update. The first thing I did to the third draft was cut out 50,000 words. Just like that! I accomplished it by taking an ax to an entire subplot consisting of three chapters, two of which I wrote for the second draft and didn't like at all, and one of which had been present from the first draft and I really hated to cut, but sometimes you have to murder your darlings. So the novel went from a bloated 130,000 words to a rushed 80,000. Which is better, but obviously not ideal, so I have to refill it somewhat, by fleshing out and expanding the main plot, with, among other things, another battle. This time with battleships, giving the reader a chance to see those brutes in action up close, something I regretted leaving out of the first and second drafts.

And the new additions have been the problem. I should have had this draft done already, even given distractions, but the writing has been extraordinarily hard going this time, and I'm not sure why. I haven't been writing "downhill" at all this draft--the experience of having the words pour out so fast and I can hardly keep up. When that happens, I can write entire chapters in a few days (as I did with "Last Flight Out", one of my favorites in all three drafts). So it's been a slog. Fortunately, I'm almost finished, and I won't need to move a lot of furniture in the remaining chapters, so I'm on track to be done by Christmas. And then we'll see what's left to be done.

11 March 2008

Underway again

And we're off. While some test readers are still reading, I've begun the first stages of re-editing the novel. For now, all I'm doing it taking a blue pencil to a hard copy of the manuscript and cutting, cutting, cutting. One of my goals for this draft is to tighten the story by 10,000-30,000 words, and that means the merciless slaughter of unnecessary verbiage (especially adverbiage...ha!....I slay me).

No idea when it will be done, but the goal is the beginning of summer. By that point, it will either be done outright, or, more likely, need just a polish. By Christmas, at the absolute latest, I plan to start agent hunting.