Lead Dawn to Day #haiku #port #moon #sun #astronomy

Moon seen from Earth orbit

Ancient crescent Moon
Leads the Sun into the sky
And the dawn to day

We call it “new” when the Moon stands between Earth and Sun and the side turned perpetually towards Earth is in darkness. Because of the bobbles and eccentricity of orbits, this configuration doesn’t often  give us earth-bound observers a solar eclipse. But on August 21st 2017 it will – across mid North America. It’s just a footnote to orbital mechanics, but still a thrill 🙂

And this morning the brilliant planet Venus led the Moon – an especially lovely morning.

Eclipse Hits New Heights [lol] in the Nifty Back Road Cafe #eclipse #poem #poetry #ThursdayThoughts

Kate Rauner - poet inspired by science

That’s me! A picture of a picture – t-shirt from one eclipse, projecting another

It’s my pleasure to be hosted at The Back Road Cafe where you’ll find a range of writers’ fiction and fact, poetry and prose, short stories, and quotes – and musings from host Dale Rominger. Click on over and see if it becomes one of your favorites.


Another Assault on Our Job Oriented Society #jobs #job #work #USA

I recently wrote that automation is targeting the most plentiful

Latte art

type of job in America: drivers will be replaced by self-driving vehicles. Before the day was done I posted an update – Amazon is beta-testing a store with no cashiers – the second largest job. Now I see that Amazon is aiming to make retail clothing stores obsolete. Order what you want in a few sizes, received them to try at home, and return what doesn’t fit.

Big names are already signed up including Adidas, Calvin Klein, Levi’s and Hugo Boss amongst others. The real kicker is the discount gamification/nudge mechanic – it’s beautiful. Every Prime Wardrobe order is granted 20% off should he or she keep five or more items but only keep three or four items and that halves to a 10% discount. Nice touch, Amazon. forbes

Of course, you’ll miss the social aspect – you’re not out with your friends or even around other people. Some stores may be able to hang on by reducing their square footage. Imagine displays of clothing with samples of the fabrics and finishes available. Once you know your size (fashion industry – you’ve got to do something about standard sizes) you and your friends can still go out for the day to shop, lunch, and enjoy yourselves. No hassles with crowds or wriggling into clothes in those little rooms with fisheye mirrors so clerks can watch you. You’ll save a lot of time – but will that matter?

Because chances are you’ll be one of those people with no job filling your days.

Which makes me wonder… how’s anyone going to afford to shop at all?

Our jobs structure our lives as well as provide money. As I’ve asked before, what will bring us satisfaction, freedom, and a sense of community in the post-work era? I hope we’ll have time to worry about such lovely problems. Is utopia coming? Or a dystopia where most people barely survive in squalid conditions while a fortunate few find work and prosperity?

Going to Amazon today? Click over there now on my link.

In my new story, the Mars colony has settled into a post-work society where robots provide the necessities of life. There’s both utopia and dystopia. Catch up now starting with Glory on Mars – the first settlers arrive on Mars in our near-future. Something is terribly wrong in the colony – settlers are dying. Emma takes the one-way trip hoping to explore and build a new home. She may live to regret her decision, if she survives.

Hopefully my new book will be out fall of 2017. Join my readers’ club to stay in touch and receive occasional flash fiction stories.

Shadow of the Moon Absolutely Unequaled When You See for First Time #travel #solar #eclipse #solareclipse #august #poem

Kate Rauner - poet inspired by science

That’s me! A picture of a picture – t-shirt from one eclipse, projecting another

You’re up at dawn that morning,
Though hours still must pass.
Pack your gear and nervously
Check the day’s forecast.

Your telescope is ready,
Set-up’s quickly done,
Projecting now on clean white sheets
The circle of the Sun.

Chew your lip and check the time
Nothing can distract.
Wait for the first
Excited shout –
It’s here!
First Contact!

You’ll barely see it starting
As you project the Sun –
Until a nip, a flattened edge
Confirms that it’s begun.

Amuse yourself as best you can
As the minutes linger,
Projecting tiny crescent Suns
Through your crisscrossed fingers.

You can detect a cooling,
The day is turning chill,
But the gooseflesh on your arms
Is from the growing thrill.

Now the sky is darkening,
Shadows oddly clear.
A column in the west,
The light is getting weird.

‘tween lunar peaks,
Shines through as Bailey Beads.
Second Contact!
Join the crowd in cheers.

The blackest disk you’ll ever see
Surrounded by corona –
By wisps and streams of frozen light,
Brief glint of red
A bonus.

Yes, the stars are coming out,
Twilight now encircles,
But it’s too hard to look away,
You don’t get a rehearsal.

Third Contact!
Met with groans and cries,
Returning Sun’s a tease,
Blinks diamond ring,
Glares blinding slice,
Totality moves east.

We few among the millions
Received a cosmic boon,
We few are marked forever.
We stood within
The shadow
Of the Moon.

By Kate Rauner
Are you ready for the 2017 eclipse? Here’s one place to learn what to expect.

Rhyming poems inspired by scienec - at your favorite online store

2nd edition now available! Expanded!

Find more poems at my blog, about every other post or so, or try one of my collections. Short rhyming poems inspired by science and a few haiku too.

Best-selling Required Reading for Scifi Fans May Not Be What You Expect #review #bookreview #scifi #sciencefiction #space

Ultimate Classic ScifiYou can’t claim to be well-rounded in science fiction if you haven’t read Foundation – a collection of stories written between 1941 and 1949, and assembled into a book in 1951 – followed quickly by the second and third volumes. This was the Golden Age, and the trilogy’s been called the beginning of modern science fiction and the greatest scifi series ever. I’m sure this second accolade will be debated until the sun burns out.

In the first book – Foundation – don’t expect a lot of action. Each story is primarily conversations among the characters – the style is almost Socratic in its questions, answers, and explanations. Amazon ranks the book under Political and Literary Fiction as well as Science Fiction Anthologies.

Warning: I read the hardcover edition, and some reviewers claim the Kindle version has been re-edited and “butchered.”

Asimov used elements of science fiction that are still with us today: force fields, hyperspace, and holograms. Nuclear power was the epitome of high-tech and fills the books – everything is nuclear from refrigerators to spaceships, run with nuclear generators the size of your thumb. But there’s also microfilm and – gasp – paper. The combination makes for an interesting read.

Stories mean different things to readers in different times and places. Given America’s current billionaire occupation of the government and explosion of fake news’ influence on the public, I found Asimov’s vision depressing and cynical.

All his governments are dictatorships – usually kingdoms and empires – sometimes with worthless bureaucracies. There are trillions of humans (nothing but humans, everywhere in the galaxy) but they appear only in negative terms as mobs and oblivious fools. Even the heroes manipulate populations on a planetary scale without remorse, and religion is a cynical tool of “conquest by missionary.” The Foundation pushes its agenda by making technologies appear magical to the mobs, using priests who (mostly) embrace supernatural explanations. The Foundation gains control because “the chief characteristic of the religion of science is that it works.”

Regarding another modern concern, if you follow the War on Women in America, you’ll notice that Foundation heroes are all men. Few women appear in the stories, not even as decoration. It makes me wonder where the galaxy’s population comes from, because the stories span centuries, jumping from one historic crisis to the next. This narrow vision isn’t universal in Asimov’s works, by the way. One of my favorite Asimov novels, The Gods Themselves, could almost be listed under LGBTQ (though all alien.)

I recommend the book more for its historical context than for fun. But many people love it. With over 2,000 reviews on Amazon (yes – over two thousand!) Foundation rates 4.4 stars.

BREAKING NEWS: Skydance Television production company is bringing the Foundation trilogy to the small screen: “‘The Foundation Trilogy’ is a set of short stories which have been tried both cinematically and as a series for HBO but just hasn’t been able to get off the ground.” I bet I know why – they stories aren’t very photogentic, especially in the beginning.

Lots of Amazon reviewers mention they read the trilogy long ago and enjoyed finding the books again. Not everyone, however, recaptured their earlier enthusiasm.

Reading Foundation now, I was shocked at the novel’s simplicity… In fact, in comparing Foundation with [Dune, Reality Dysfunction, and Dark Forest], you would almost have to term it as a YA title… I would not recommend this series to anyone who has already read many of the other science fiction classics. I would however, strongly urge anyone with a teenager to purchase it as an introduction to science fiction. Steven M. Anthony

One more quibble: why do publishers put such awful covers on classics?

Looking ahead, I see more action and a female character in Book 2 – Foundation and Empire. I plan to push on to the end.

Join the first colonists https://books2read.com/u/bQZp1eAll my books, including the On Mars series, are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers, including Smashwords and Create Space for paperbacks. Four of my On Mars books are available now. I can’t claim to be a classic! but read one today.

Sky washed clean in the dawn #haiku #poem #amreading #nature

Silver sunrise inspires haikuSilver sky at dawn
Hammered on the fierce anvil
Of a stormy night

by Kate Rauner

Rhyming poems inspired by scienec - at your favorite online store

2nd edition now available! Expanded!

Find more poetry inspired by science and nature here on my blog – every other post or so. Or read one of my collections of rhyming poetry and a few haiku too.




Podcast Crammed with Science Fiction & Fantasy, Delightful Shorts, & I’m Thrilled to be Featured #podcast #scifi #listening #today

Science Ficiton and Fantasy PodcastYou’ll find short science fiction and fantasy stories on the 600 Second Saga podcast and I’m thrilled to be their Featured Author, for the first time, for August. That means, in addition to listening to loads of flash fiction for free, if you sign up to support the podcast, you’ll get my latest collection of short reads as a thank you.

But hurry – August 2017 won’t last forever.

Short Reads in Scifi and Fantasy :)Check out podcasts of two of my stories now, and escape the real world every week with a new 10 minute story of scifi or fantasy. Or choose from the extensive library. Lots of stories and lots of ways to listen. Perfect for a break or a binge.

Thanks to the podcast’s creator Mariah Avix who also handles the audio and production, and writes some of the stories. And thanks to our listeners and supporters.

Find me on 600 Second Sagas, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and other major online retailers. You’ll find my paperbacks at Create Space and all major digital formats for my ebooks at Smashwords. Read one today.

Now, before you forget, get yourself over to 600 Second Saga for a treat and support this wonderful podcast.