Wordplay #7: Tolkien, Tolkien, Tolkien

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This latest Wordplay letter was late: I had to contend with a busy work schedule last week (I write these in bits and pieces of the week, then send it once it’s all compiled), as well as a snowstorm in which my snowblower conked out.

No huge overarching theme this week, but I’ve been in a bit of a Tolkien mode the last couple of weeks, so I’m talking about that.

Give the issue a read here, and sign up here.

Wordplay #6: History, generation ships, and suspension pods

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Issue #6 of Wordplay is now up online! It’s the first issue of the year, so I’m using the opportunity to talk a little about what my reading plans are for the year, and what I’m excited to get to in the coming months. I also look at a trope that I’ve noticed in a couple of books lately: the use of suspension pods to allow characters to cover large swaths of time, notably in Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time.

Give it a read or subscribe here.

Wordplay #5: A short story about magic in the real(ish) world

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Wordplay #5 is out to subscribers! And unlike the first four, this one is only available to people who subscribe, because it was a little different: a short story. If people are interested and sign up this week, I do have the option to send it out again to newcomers.

An idea that I’ve been turning around in my head recently is things in our real world that are like magic, and I decided to play that out — an idea coalesced on a recent trip, and it seemed like a good way to talk about this, rather than just doing a straight-up think piece. Plus, I haven’t actually written — let alone finished — a short story in a long time. I don’t know if / when that’ll appear anywhere else, but I had fun writing it.

I might do that again at some point down the road. You can sign up and read past public issues here.

Wordplay #4: What is the role of optimism in science fiction?

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Issue #4 of Wordplay is now out to subscribers! I’m using the launch of Better Worlds as an excuse to talk a bit about the role of optimism in science fiction, along with some links to some longer features / articles that I came across.

You can read the issue here. If you like it, please consider subscribing.

Wordplay #3: Isaac Asimov's I, Robot and using science fiction to frame the future

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Newsletter issue #3 is now out! For this letter, I decided to focus on one thing that I’ve been thinking about lately: how Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics helped add to the conversation about robots and AI, why we need more fiction that is aimed at solving technological problems, and why more leaders really should read stories that are about that.

You can read the issue here, and if you like what you read, subscribe!

Newsletter #2 Now Out

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I’ve sent out the second issue of my newsletter. Huge thanks to everyone who read and wrote in about the first one. I think the number of subscribers just about doubled between then and now, which is gratifying.

This time around, I’m talking about my reading habits, Chinese science fiction, and a couple of other things. You can read the issue here, and if you like what you read, you can sign up here.

First newsletter up

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As promised, I’ve started up a newsletter — my attempt to pull away a bit from social media. I’m calling it Wordplay, and the focus will be a smattering of my interests, loosely around the topic of storytelling, science fiction, and writing.

I talk about lunar novels, Star Wars, science fiction history, and what I’m currently reading, and you can read the first installment here. If you like what you read, you can sign up here. I’m thinking that the next one will go out in about two weeks.