Silver City Quarterly Review – summer edition is out now #newmexico #newmexicotrue #literary #literaryfiction #reading

Raven Painting © 2016 by Silja Erg

Painting © 2016 by Silja Erg

Find a delightful mix of essays, short stories and poems in the summer 2018 edition of the Silver City Quarterly Review, including one of my poems.

My little corner of southwest New Mexico, site of copper mining for centuries, and gateway to the Gila National Forest and Continental Divide trail, is home to a lot of talented writers. We have a thriving artist community too. Imagine discovering a smaller version of Santa Fe before the crowds did. If you’re ever in our vicinity, spend a few days.

Thanks to Chris Lemme for all the time and care he puts into the review. And for finding such a wonderful illustration for my poem. (Painting © 2016 by Silja Erg)





Scifi by Asimov and a Transgendered Search for Identify – Wait a Minute – Isaac Asimov? #scifi #sciencefiction #bookreview #genderequality

cover Robots of DawnIsaac Asimov, a giant of early 20th Century science fiction, is often criticized for awkward writing with flat characters. Could his book The Robots of Dawn, and in particular a sex scene in the story (Asimov? sex?) have helped a trans preteen find his way?

This is a great article and you should read it in its entirety. What riveted the author about Asimov’s character was:

Bailey’s desires and fantasies effortlessly become reality: Without his asking for it, sex came to him exactly as he imagined it because he was a smart masculine detective guy. I wanted that pleasure and ease and wordless understanding between the object of my desire and myself…
The phrase I now have for it is gender dysphoria—I shunned any experience that sought to tie me to my female body, and in turn escaped that body by mapping my sexual fantasies onto those of cisgender, heterosexual men, in scifi, in pornography, and beyond.

Asimov’s story focuses on a case of roboticide. There are, of course, robots with positronic brainpaths (Mr. Data, here’s your creator.) But he set his story on a planet where sex is casual and monogamy nonexistent. Well, Asimov is also known for writing for adolescent boys. And his story opened up new possibilities for at least one youngster.

I’ve never read the book and headed to Amazon to find over 200 reviews and a 4.5 star rating. Readers love the robot mystery, and also note some elements that didn’t age well over the decades.

  • Fascinating take on culture clashes and assumptions made–even while it remains blind to some of the assumptions of the time period in which it was written.
  • The sex scenes were written in an odd way, I thought, showing that the character (as well as the author perhaps?) was not comfortable
  • There doesn’t seem to be any ethnic diversity
  • This book dragged on and on. I bought it for my 14 year old and found it was really inappropriate.

Even the writer who found the book transformative as a preteen says, “When I re-read The Robots of Dawn now, passages that I absorbed uncritically at the time are transformed into stumbling blocks… a fantasy world that had no place for me or anyone like me.”

I’ve found some of Asimov’s other work to be dated. I have fond memories of some of his books and have avoided re-reading them exactly because I don’t want to spoil the memories.

I’m intrigued. The book resonated for a particular person at a particular point in his young life. What do you think? Should I read Robots of Dawn? Will you read it?

Read for Free – great ebook deals here #reading #scifi #books #GiveawayAlert #stories

woman readingLooking for something to read? Tired of the same old authors? Then snap up a freebie and find a new favorite. You’ll find a long list of current and upcoming giveaways on my Read For Free page.

Click now.

Summer’s the Time for Reading – Free Short Reads – all genres #stories #shortstories #ebook #reading #getfree

Busy summer? Indulge yourself. Fit short reads into your day. Or take a handful of stories on your vacation, or your staycation. Free downloads! Find your new favorite author! Get a taste of what’s available here.

Then go to the giveaway and choose your favorite genre, or try something new! Click here.

Fatal Fashions #poem #poetry #chemistry #arsenic

Victorian demonstration of chemistry

Victorians loved chemistry

A gorgeous pigment,
Lovely green,
Made dresses sparkle
Like emeralds.
Bonnets to display with pride
Brought happiness
So ephemeral.

The fanciest paper
On the wall,
To grace a baby’s nursery,
Or a parlor
Kept for guests,
Brought pain and death,
But no mercy.

Even books,
My comfort close,
Collected in old libraries,
Can curse a modern reader still,
As they did to their

Arsenic makes that glowing green
So irresistible.
Its compounds deadlier than sin
Their poison touch

Kate Rauner

The Victorians knew villains used arsenic, but somehow missed understanding that not all victims were killed by a human murderer. Unless you count the manufacturers of these dreadfully beautiful pigments. Interested in the grisly details of death by arsenic poisoning? Read here.

Some Unintended Consequences Are Good for Wildlife and You Won’t Believe This One #wildlife #chernobyl #nature

Chernobly fox

Wild fox accepts a tourist’s handout

A few years ago I remarked on the strange fact that wildlife is better off living in a radiation/contamination area where there are no people, than sharing a clean habitat with us. Recent studies show that’s still true.

You may recall that, in 1986, explosions destroyed a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine, and released huge amounts of radioactive fallout. Residents were evacuated and a large exclusion zone created, where no one was allowed to live. Scientists have entered, and recently the area was opened to tourists. Wildlife viewing may be a good reason to travel there, because removing people created a de facto preserve.

Initial studies were depressing. The radiation killed trees, and deformed animals and birds were spotted. Animal populations dipped for a while. But recent studies find that many species have multiplied enormously. The list is impressive:

  • wolf,
  • badger,
  • wild boar,
  • roe deer,
  • red deer,
  • moose,
  • beaver,
  • white-tailed eagle,
  • black stork,
  • western marsh harrier,
  • short-eared owl,
  • and herds of European bison and Przewalski’s horse introduced since the accident to take advantage of this “involuntary park.”

With Chernobyl, the first thing people think about are mutations, [however] we have no evidence to support that this is happening. It is an interesting area of future research, but it is not something I would worry about.

The nuclear accident was a horror, but this aftermath holds hope. Nature can bounce back if we give her a chance.

Summer Book Sale, All Kinds, Links Here, Leave Comments #books #ebook #reading #readingtweet

Colony on Mars series coversIt’s half over but still time for great deals.  My links are below, and click here for loads more books in all genres!

Please do me a favor. Come back here and enter a comment on a book – one sentence is enough for me to share with other readers!

Here are my Smashwords links! The discount code is on each page. Thanks for your help 🙂

50% off Colony on Mars Box Set – all 5 stories, what a deal

50% off Storm on Mars – the latest Mars colonization book

50% off Venture – space station disaster leads to a fantastic journey

Science inspired poetry collections – 1st collection free, 2nd collection free, latest collection 50% off

Glitch, my predictions of the future rolled into a story, free

It’s summer! The perfect time for great deals on books. I publish through Smashwords and they run a blow-out sale every July. Now’s the time to download your summer reading and find a new favorite author.

Browse all the great Smashwords deals here.

Do it now – these deals expire 11:59pm USA Pacific time on July 31