@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar



Author of #LGBTQIA+ #ScienceFiction and #Fantasy #Books. Teacher of scientific writing. Lover of natural history. Faculty at UMass Amherst. Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate. Full SFWA member. Straw Dog Writers' Guild. #WesternMass #WesternMassachusetts (he/him)

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stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

Headline: Royal Caribbean fixes the worst part of cruising.

What? What is it? Tell me! Tell me! Is it noroviruses? Shigella? What? What?

gg, to random
@gg@writing.exchange avatar

A quick note of thanks to all who responded to me today regarding conversing on this platform.

Several of you expressed reservations about joining in on a conversation already underway; I am always happy to have you join in.

I'm glad that there are so many of you out there who want to converse about writing & the obstacles we face in our craft and the successes we have. We can learn much from each other. This platform - and you - have already helped me enormously. Thanks. #writingcommunity

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@orionkidder @gg @Emmacox Yeah. I discovered I was writing outlines, not because they ultimately constrained — or even really guided — my writing but, instead, as a kind of therapy to address my anxiety that I would write myself into a corner.

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@orionkidder @Emmacox @gg One of the funniest experiences I had was when I reached the end of the outline for A Familiar Problem and kept thinking of all these funny, interesting bits that could happen after. Eventually, I remembered, "Hey, wait! I'm the author!" And I started writing again.

I ended up writing two more chapters and a new ending.

anderlandbooks, (edited ) to random German
@anderlandbooks@bookstodon.com avatar

I need help, dear , fellow followers of , , , .
It's been some time since I was a teenager. Things have changed. I need a place for my kids in to hang out in a small town. I chose this place to be a mall. I haven't specified the country in which my story takes place for numerous reasons, but is this still something kids do these days? Or is it completely out of date?

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@anderlandbooks My boys aren't teenagers anymore, but they basically didn't hang out in physical space together with friends: it was almost all virtual in MMRPGs, etc.

stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

If your love interest was a writer, what sort of books would they write?

As I mounted the stairs of the tower, I could hear the aetheric crackling. From a gap in the door, flickering shadows cast demonic shapes on the walls & ceiling as she channeled the energies.
"Time for bed, dear," I called.
"Just let me finish this page of the grimoire, my love," she replied. "You know I can't leave this incantation only half complete!"
I sighed. It would be hours until she was ready for bed.

stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

Do you format your own work?

I self-published several books of Esperanto haiku with English translation where I did everything (except editing). I used Free Software: Inkscape and Gnu/IMP for the artwork & graphics and Scribus for the page layout. You can see one of the books for free via Google Books: https://www.google.com/books/edition/Po%C5%9Dtmarkoj_el_Esperantujo/V51TBEhTHVYC

Now I'm working with Water Dragon Publishing that has been an excellent partner: They contract with artists for the cover art & do all the formatting.

stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

How comfortable is your MC in their body?How do they feel about their height,weight,strength,and body type?How important is being attractive to them?

Revin looked at himself in the mirror. With the dress, makeup, & hair, the transformation was nothing short of astonishing. Revin considered himself plain & had never thought of himself as attractive or pretty — as either a man, woman, or otherwise. But he had to admit that Momo had done wonders.
"You do good work, Milady."

cstross, to random
@cstross@wandering.shop avatar

Some thoughts on spam:

  1. Right now it's a single idiot running a scripted Joe Job. But we know how spam ecosystems develop. The next steps are inevitable.

  2. Next, someone will release an activitypub spamming script. It will hammer on servers to create throwaway accounts then use them to post.

  3. This will drive a bunch of small servers off the fediverse and cause acrimonious defederation squabbles.

  4. Surviving servers will limit sign-ups, requiring proof of humanity (or identity).


@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@cstross Interestingly, I've not seen a single piece of the spam that everyone's talking about. Not one. I don't know if I'm just lucky or if I should feel left out.

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@ScottStarkey But @cstross is on wandering.shop too, so why does he get all the spam and I don't get any?

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@asakiyume @ScottStarkey @cstross Yeah, but he only has… 26 times more followers. 🙂

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar
liztai, to mastodon
@liztai@hachyderm.io avatar

Only on do I see people judging others being on and #X, seemingly implying that they are better humans for not being on it.
This betrays their massive privilege & ignorance of how cultures outside their own operates on .
People fm less privileged countries rely on them to get their messages out. Self-hosted options are priced for Americans. It is not "the price of a cup of coffee" for everyone.
So, you are not impressing me with the virtue signalling.

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@liztai My only comment is that I'm extremely unlikely to visit anything hosted on substack.

GottaLaff, to random
@GottaLaff@mastodon.social avatar

He makes a good point.

Mitt Romney: “I will not be voting for former President Trump. I must admit that I find sexual assault to be a line I will not cross in the people I select to be my president.”

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@rticks @GottaLaff I almost felt sorry for ol' Willard when he had to run against Obamacare, which was based on the plan he had created in Massachusetts. Romneycare in Massachusetts, though not perfect by any means, has meant that we had nearly universal health care even before Obamacare. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

Does your work feature on Good Reads? How do you feel about the platform?

My published works appear on Good Reads and I have an author page there. I have a small number of reviews there (low 20s) that are all relatively positive.

I'm not happy about Amazon owning the site. Plus it seems buggy and poorly maintained. I've not had much success in getting any engagement there other than the handful of reviews. But I haven't seen another book review site that seems better.

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@cstross Yeah. But I've looked at a few of the other sites (e.g. BookWyrm, Librarything, BookFunnel) and they seem even poorer for engagement. And, so far, the New York Times Book Review has not chosen to review my books. Nor even Locus. 😢

stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

TFG says, "I'm going to blow up the moon" and people print a million articles, posts, and videos screeching about it. Meanwhile, once again, you're playing his game and letting him set the tempo.

Don't feed the trolls.

danjac, to random
@danjac@masto.ai avatar

One thing that is weird is when you hear some right wing American go on about how the Left dominates US companies, or the Left is anti-militaristic.

The "Left" is just something in their head canon that means "that thing I don't like" rather than any informed critique of left-wing politics.

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@danjac I dunno. That sounds pretty "woke" to me.

Cosmosis, to academia
@Cosmosis@dice.camp avatar

Fellow professors here on Mastodon, @academicchatter , I'm curious about something: do your students simply NOT understand what citations/ bibliographies are anymore? My students increasingly do not understand what citations are; they think a citation is the same as a bibliographic entry. If they DO understand it, they will only use citations for direct quotes, completely missing moments where they paraphrase an author's ideas. Just my experience or is this widespread?

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@Cosmosis @academicchatter I teach a scientific writing course. Most of my students come into the course not understanding how to use the literature and thinking that a literature review talks about the literature, rather than using the literature to support assertions about the subject. Most of my students come out of my course understanding how to use citations to support exposition about a subject. But that's about 10% of our graduates.

stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

Is there a best way to buy MP3 files these days?

stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

Totemo Isogashii & Lambda walked several kilometers from the country inn to the nearest town.
"Thank goodness they have a store where I can get a replacement cord!" she said. "Now you wait for me out here. Stay!"
Lambda barked & sat obediently on the sidewalk. As soon as Totemo entered, Lambda got up & loped to the back of the store.
After looking through the rather limited supplies available, Totemo finally found a suitable replacement, misplaced on a shelf. Chuffed, she picked it up.

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

Totemo brought the cord to the counter & the clerk was about to ring it up when the power in the store cut out.
"Sorry, Miss. You'll hafta come back."
"What? What's happened?" Totemo asked.
"Oh, this jus' happens out here in the country sometimes. Come back later this afternoon. Or t'morrow. We'll prolly have the power fixed by then 'n' I can check you out then."
Totemo, on the verge of losing her , emerged from the store to find Lambda waiting patiently, tongue lolling.

stevendbrewer, to random
@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

Why do people even buy clothes that don't have pockers?

allisonwyss, to random
@allisonwyss@zirk.us avatar

I wrote about a really incredible use of a child's perspective (in Verushka, by Jan Stinchcomb).

Some writers--& some readers--prefer to mimic a child's language when they write from their perspective, but I don't want to be limited by that & now I'm thinking of other perspectives that jump words to make something stranger.

How do you approach perspectives when you can't--for any reason--use the character's words?


@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@orionkidder @ajswritesthings @seanpatrickphd @allisonwyss I was today's day old when I learned this.

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@allisonwyss @orionkidder @ajswritesthings @seanpatrickphd I remember as a young man riding on a train to Boston, chatting with someone returning home who kept bragging about how his family was getting him a cow for his 16th birthday, which seemed really weird to me.

Conversely, my grandmother in southern Illinois always talked about hanging out the "warshing" or what they were doing in "Warshington" which was always charming.

lauren, to random
@lauren@mastodon.laurenweinstein.org avatar

By the way, the one time in my career that I've ever pressed "The big red button that shall never be pressed!" was at RAND.

It is standard for computer room facilities to have a way to kill all power to the equipment quickly in cases of emergency. Traditionally this is a very large red button that can be pressed for this purpose, often just inside an entry door. Typically it's under some sort of plastic shield or such to avoid it being pressed accidentally.

This button is never to be used in the course of normal events. Because it abruptly terminates all power to associated equipment, the risk of data loss and even equipment damage is very significant.

So one day, I walk down the stairs to my basement computer room at RAND where the PDP-11s and ARPANET interfaces lived. I open the door ... and there's nothing there but a wall of white.

When faced with something like that, it takes a couple of seconds to figure out what the hell is going on -- it's not in your brain's expected scenarios for opening that door.

The room was full of white smoke.

Within a few seconds I reached up under the shield just inside the door and slammed down the "never to be pressed" red button.

Instantly power was cut to the UNIX PDP-11s, the ARPANET equipment, a bunch of peripherals, and even a number of disk drives that were in an adjacent room that serviced the big IBM mainframe on the ground floor above.

As it turned out, the Halon fire suppression system was within a few seconds of firing when I killed the power -- management was pretty happy about that since recharging the Halon was expensive.

I got a DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation) CE (Customer Engineer) out to RAND within a couple of hours. He quickly found the source of the problem.

A PDP-11/70 power supply had dramatically failed. It was partly molten slag. Very impressive. I tried to get the RAND photographer down to take a photo of it (this was long before cell phone cameras or even cell phones), but the CE grabbed the power supply, hid it under his coat, and ran out to his car with it.

Apparently he wasn't thrilled with the prospect of photographic evidence of the failure.

Interesting day.

@stevendbrewer@wandering.shop avatar

@lauren I read a story once (possibly apocryphal) about a technology startup renting office space in a foundry that used to be a machine room. They'd centralized operations, but the big red button was still on the wall, which everyone assumed was disconnected. You can see where this is going. On Fridays, when they knocked off for the week, someone'd slam the button as they walked out the door. Unbeknownst to them it caused the foundry to scram & it would take them hours to bring it back online.

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