Month: January 2009

Current Readings (a brief, incomplete list)

Current Readings (a brief, incomplete list)

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (Non-fiction)

I finished reading this a while back.  Another great book by Mr. Gladwell and highly recommended.  He is the author of Blink and The Tipping Point (also highly recommended).

A Criminal History of Mankind by Colin Wilson (Non-fiction)

I’m in the midst of this and it’s a page-turner.  It’s also rather disturbing.  As a writer, it’s necessary to understand the dark side of the human psyche (it’s hard to have a bad guy otherwise).

the Element by Ken Robinson, Ph.D.

The “the” is not a typo, it’s spelled that way in the title.  Sir Ken Robinson came to my attention through the TED talks.  He proposes that our current educational system stifles creativity and that most successful people are working in their element — that is, where they love working.

The Day of Battle by Rick Atkinson

This is Atkinson’s second in his “Liberation Trilogy”, dealing with the Italian campaign, starting with Sicily, in WWII. The first book, “An Army at Dawn” is simply brilliant.  This book is a harder read, mostly because of the content (the Italian campaign was a mudd, nasty slog).

The Official Luxology modo Guide by Dan Ablan

modo is 3D modelling software and the best of its kind.  You can get a 30–day trial of modo from luxology.  If you’ve ever considered 3D art work, you should definitely check this out.

The Honor Harrington series by David Weber

I often re-read good books, and love curling up with them.  Most often I find myself curling up with Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series and with Weber’s enjoyable Honor Harrington.  I find that Ms. Bujold tends to write more psychologically and Mr. Weber more sociologically which makes a very interesting contrast.

Back from Ireland

Back from Ireland

I’ve been back from Ireland since the 16th, spending most of my time reassuring the cats that we won’t be going anywhere any time soon (they were most annoyed and worried).

I watched the inauguration (complete with Supreme Court gaffe) over the internet.  I wonder how long it’ll be before internet access overwhelms cable access?  I bet the cable companies will fight tooth and nail (and I don’t know what sort of business model internet video will develop).

Mum is bearing up well, approaching her 83rd birthday in April, to be followed not long after by my 53rd (eek!).

I’m looking forward to ConDor con XVI at the end of February and Aggiecon at the end of March (and, further off, Dragon*con in the beginning of September).

Dragon – Repost

Dragon – Repost

This is a revision of a post I made back in December 2006.

I thought I’d provide you all with some amusement and/or distraction with this very simple game called Dragon.

Sadly, it only works on Windows — my apologies to all those other system users but the games engine I’ve been playing with is currently Windows only. You can get a copy of the game here (the file is 1234 kB large).

The rules are pretty simple:

1. You have to flame the thread out of the sky. For every Thread you flame, you get 5 points. If Thread falls unchecked, you lose 10 points. If Thread hits your dragon it makes a piteous noise and looses health points. When your dragon loses too many health points, your dragon goes out of the game.

2. You have three “lives” (you may think of this as different dragons if you choose).

3. To flame, press the bar. To move, use the arrow keys. You may go between by pressing the ‘b’ key but be warned — if you go between you will return anywhere on the screen.

The trick is to obtain the highest possible score with your three lives (for some of you this will be huge, for others it will be challenging).

The graphics, sounds, and programming are all mine (all the sounds are modified recordings of my own voice). The games engine is GameMaker which is available as a free demo or as a fully registered version for about $20. (It took me about two hours to roll this game; it’s based off of the 1945 tutorial). Many thanks to the “other” Gigi Johnson for her recommendation of GameMaker.

Happy flaming!


Letter from Gail

Letter from Gail

Am I the first to notice this? In Dragonsblood (love it by the way) you speak of Wind Blossom as Kitti Ping’s daughter. You’d better read Dragon’s Dawn again. Wind Blossom is Kitti Ping’s GRAND DAUGHTER.

Looking forward to more pern novels from you.


Hi Gail,

No, you’re not. It was noticed very early on. The mistake is in the US publication. In the UK publication it correctly identifies Wind Blosoom as Kitti Ping’s daughter. One of these days, we’ll get it fixed in the US version as well.


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