Genetic Material: Alien and Earthly

The most basic possible definition of life is this: life is a self-replicating pattern. The simplest forms of life on Earth today are bacteria, who exist for the sole purpose of reproducing more of themselves. Over time, copying errors + natural selection cause versions of the pattern that are better and better at surviving to … Continue reading Genetic Material: Alien and Earthly

The Biochemistry of Life As We Know It

Biochemistry is a big, scary word. And it does mean quite a lot of complex things. But at the end of the day, it’s this: how do the molecules that make up our cells work together to produce life? In this blog entry we’re going to look at the most basic and important building blocks … Continue reading The Biochemistry of Life As We Know It

Orange Dwarfs: Life Around Class K Stars

Today’s blog entry will be much shorter than Friday’s, for one simple reason: Class K “orange dwarf” stars are much less terrifying than Class M red dwarfs. That means there are fewer survival challenges and requirements for your characters. Class K stars are something of a “happy medium” between our own Sun and red dwarfs. … Continue reading Orange Dwarfs: Life Around Class K Stars

Life Around Red Dwarf Stars

I hope you’re all ready for a super-blog. We’ve got a lot to cover in this introduction to star type + the perils of life around a red dwarf star, so let’s jump right in. The stars in the sky all look pretty much the same from Earth. If we can see them at all, … Continue reading Life Around Red Dwarf Stars

Why Use Hard Science in Worldbuilding?

Welcome to the first installment in my blog series based on the presentation we didn’t quite get to finish at Flights of Foundry! Here I’ll be covering a blend of useful principles about storytelling, planetology, and biology, and how to combine them all seamlessly in your science fiction work. “Science fiction” has attracted people since … Continue reading Why Use Hard Science in Worldbuilding?

What If We Could Communicate Through Scent?

“The chemical messages came to her faintly, much-diluted and far away, like whispers on the breeze. She submerged her whole foot in the water and began to walk, dampening the nerve signals that screamed cold! as the waves lapped at her thighs.” One of the key plot points of my work in progress is that … Continue reading What If We Could Communicate Through Scent?

Review: “The Names and Motions,” by Sheldon J. Pacotti

My top pick of short stories from the Clarkesworld December Issue is “The Names and Motions,” by Sheldon J. Pacotti. It should be no surprise that Pacotti’s work is stunning – he previously won an award for advancing the art of storytelling with his work as the primary script writer for Deus Ex. Still, as soon … Continue reading Review: “The Names and Motions,” by Sheldon J. Pacotti