Eclipse, MAGIC CIRCLES-style

Eclipses being a media meme du jour, I’ve decided to post a theme excerpt from MOM, the first novel in the MAGIC CIRCLES series.

 

The ‘primordial campfire’ in the first paragraph of the excerpt refers to the notion of a magic circle. From the series glossary:

magic circle (n.) 1. sphere of coherence cognitively rooted in the circle of light and companionable narrative thrown by the primordial campfire; 2. area, commonly measured as a radius, within which it … Read more

Homo app

app (n.) 1. originally from computer software app*lication; 2 (n.)  bio smartphone and tablet app*endages, most commonly specimens of Homo sapiens.

When extraterrestrials finally arrived on Earth circa 2021 for a look around, they discovered that the dominant life forms were evolved digital communications devices. Subsequent investigation suggested that these creatures had only recently emerged on the scene, and at first the aliens couldn’t see what had given rise to them.

But then one team noticed tiny bio … Read more

Colonialized: The Peak Experience

vic peak sara enhBelow us lies a massive growth of porous luminosity, its cellular steel and glass exoskeleton inhabited by various species of soft light. A colossal marine organism has emerged to colonize the harborside. Brighter creatures enjoy mutualistic relations with the colonial host. Some of them, Logo spp., are neural parasites that prey on humans.

Sara and I stand atop the Peak Tower with a bunch of other creatures, not yet colonial but through the wonders of digital technology fast evolving … Read more

Peas in a pod: Pharaonic fish and flash fatcats

According to  the people who filmed these tilefish back in 2003, this species had till then remained undescribed by scientists. Once again I’ve been too slow off the mark, because I described this fish in 2001. I can’t find the original video with the associated claim, but here’s some excellent footage of tilefish and their mounds.

I’ve been known to brag about having already been there and done that, years ahead of my time way back when (e.g. see “… Read more

Saving the world: Sea squirts to the rescue

Save the whales; save the gibbons. Yeah, yeah. But here’s how to help save the whole world. Be the first on your block to start ranching sea squirts. It seems these leathery wee bags with two openings and way-kinky social lives might be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to clean energy.

 

Back in 1995, at the request of White Lotus Press, I collaborated with photographer Ashley J. Boyd on a natural history of Thailand’s coral reefs, … Read more

Starbucks is a jungle

I’m sitting here like a prat in a coffee shop renowned throughout the modern world as the natural habitat of prats with laptops who, in their whole attitude and disposition, claim to be writers. I’m struggling to make sense of a world of my own design and construction. In fact, I grapple with an idea so arcane that previous science-fiction writers who entertained it had to be institutionalized.

I look up from my MacPro to gaze at the ceiling … Read more

They’re everywhere! More on neural parasites

Soon there’ll be nowhere left in the world to run to, no place to hide.

In response to something I posted on neural parasites some time ago —  “Fable with parasites I: Bravery lies in the brain of the beholder” — Steve Hyde said this: “Reminds me of those tourists that have been taken over by their backpacks … [Like the chickens in your post], they’re … known to fearlessly approach dangerous beasts.” I believe he was referring to … Read more

Pussy hounds, rejoice?

 

Pussy hounds, rejoice! Your behavior may be built into existence almost from the outset. Here is an intriguing New Scientist video clip from a couple of years ago (“‘Intelligent’ oil droplet navigates chemical maze”). Could it be that this pass at sentience even in drops of oil may help to legitimize dick-directed behavior in higher organisms?

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s ‘Crystals, Information and the Origin of Life,’ a recent article from Technology Review that Read more

Autonomous smartphones: Is your gadget evolving?

So I’m sending an SMS on my iPhone, and I’m using “jesus christly” as a compound adjective, when this phone, even though it’s only a 2G model, takes the liberty of capitalizing “Jesus”. What’s next? It’ll probably start offering prayers to Him on my behalf. Maybe even promising I’ll do a 20-year tour of duty as a missionary in Africa if only the babe over there at that other table, here in Starbucks (which I never frequent), gives … Read more

Dinomynas, flying lizards, other local wildlife

Following my post regarding Nigel’s attempts to kill me, I remembered another myna story, a magazine piece I’d written years ago. How did mynas come to figure so large in my life?

I’m lying there by the pool with last night’s wine pouring out of me, dozing and reading Roddy Doyle by turns, my own Muse stirring within, a touch of the Irish in her voice, rousing me, from time to time, to sit up and drip ink and … Read more