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Dec 19, 2014

Christmas Wishlist: 10 Gifts you Can't Wrap.

As a science fiction author, I spend a lot of time thinking about humanity's future. This is a list of 10 things I want for Christmas that I hope humanity can achieve someday (I sincerely doubt it will happen within my lifetime).

Equality of gender, race, orientation, etc
 - We're all different. Let's put that out there right now. But that does not mean that one "different" is better than the others. Individuals should not be judged on the color of their skin, their reproductive organs, their age or who they love. Every individual should be treated fairly based on their own actions, not on those of a particular group to which they belong.

Clean Water
 - As someone who spent 18 years of her life taking for granted the water that came out of her tap, I took for granted the availability of clean water the world over. And as someone who currently lives in a place where you really oughtn't drink that same water, but still physically can, I am more hopeful than ever that we can find a better way to provide drinkable water to every single person that needs it.

An End to Extinction
 - With the disappearance of species the world over, I really want conservation to become a priority to the world at large. The loss of incredible species is heartbreaking and a problem we could stop.

Affordable Higher Education
 - With the way things are going, future generations will either forgo college all together, or the debt will continue to build and build as parents start paying for their kids college while still struggling with the remains of their own bills from their own college experience. I don't think America could sustain the free system of smaller countries like Norway, but we need something better than the system we have now.

Living Wages
 - It is appalling that we live in a society where a living wage is not standard or required. Worse still that we are a part of a society that has been having this argument for decades.

Expanded Space Exploration
 - We made it to the moon in an era when we used dot matrix printers. It flabbergasts me that we've not gotten further than we have since. The Curiosity Rover on Mars is fantastic. The Philae lander's touch down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko  is an amazing achievement. The International Space Station continues to give me hope. But I wish we were further along.

A Medical System that Doesn't Punish People for Illness
 - I feel like that one is pretty self explanatory.

An End to _____-shaming
 - Stop imposing your judgement on other people. Fat-shamers, fit-shamers, slut-shamers, victim-shamers, etc, need to take a step back, take a real good look at the foulness in their own hearts and work on fixing your own ideas. I don't know when it became acceptable for people to tell others they're using their bodies incorrectly, but it needs to stop.

Better Accessibility for those with Disabilities
 - In an era of medical and technological advancement, there is still a disregard for those who require assistance (be it as a wheelchair, a companion animal, or any other form of assistance). Laws requiring accessibility are followed.... but these things are not always maintained - parking spaces are blocked, elevators inaccessible, etc. We need to change how we think.

World Peace
 - I know, I know. That sounds a little "Miss America" and I understand that the term World Peace is an impossible goal at this point in time... but it'd be nice.

Dec 17, 2014

Christmas Wishlists: 10 Gifts for this Geek Girl

The Uncharted Duvet Cover (Society 6)
 - I can't live in a rocket ship, so I might as well sleep under one.

The Death Star Tea Infuser (ThinkGeek)
 - I need to steep my tea in style.

Mermaid for Each Other Bookends (Modcloth)
 - To help with all those books from Monday's wishlist?

Adipose Stress Toy (Entertainment Earth)

Cowboy Bebop Tee (TeeFury)
 - If only they sold V-necks

Life Planner (Erin Condren)
 - I am rather type-a, and this planner speaks to my soul.

Old Tyme Writing Set (ThinkGeek)
 - Writing implement and self defense item (also, who's up for a tickle?)

Multi Flask Complete Drinking System (Amazon)
 - Gotta stay Hydrated!

Sherlock Tea Sampler (Cara McGee via Adagio Tea)
 - I have the Hero Recovery set, I really want them all.

River Song's Journal (Etsy)
 - to record all things timey-wimey

Dec 15, 2014

Christmas Wishlists: 10 Books I'd Love Under My Tree

Bird Box - Josh Malerman
The blurb for this book left me feeling so claustrophobic. And there's something utterly terrifying about the book's premise: if you can't look at something, how can you protect yourself from it?

The Mirror Empire - Kameron Hurley
What if the only way to save yourself was to kill yourself. A different you, I mean? This book just sounds all different kinds of amazing.

I Wear the Black Hat - Chuck Klosterman
You can tell me you don't like villains, but I'll know you're lying to us both. What makes us love evil characters?

City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett
This book sounds like it's going to be the best sort of genre mash-up. Fantasy, mystery, politics... who could ask for anything more.

Tunnel Vision - Aric Davis
A host of unbelievable characters, you say? A teenage PI who is also a drug dealer? Why yes, I'd love to read that.

Falls the Shadow - Stephanie Gaither
We've all been there: Our sister's clone is accused of murder and we have to make it right. Okay, maybe not, but doesn't that sound amazing!

Jackaby - William Ritter
So... it's like Sherlock, but with ghosts? I'm not 100% certain what to expect from this book, but that makes me want it even more.

Harbinger - Philippa Ballantine
I loved the first three books in this series, and I really don't know why I don't own this one yet.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black
The first chapter of this book is wonderful. I really want to read the rest. Who wouldn't be excited about a story where the girl slept through her friends being killed by (a) vampire(s)?

Maplecroft - Cherie Priest
Lizzie Borden reimagined as a supernatural heroine... with a lesbian romance as well? Why don't I have this already?

Dec 12, 2014

The Salvation of Rayna Castiq Sound Track

I'm going to leave these songs here without comment. I've linked the titles to YouTube videos of those songs when available.

Sleepwalk Capsules - At the Drive In

Jackson – Johnny Cash & June Carter

Catacomb Kids – Aesop Rock

You should have seen the Other Guy – Nathaniel Raitliff

Let Her Go – Passengers

You can check out the other Flynn soundtracks if you missed them:

Enemies of a Sort
The Betrayal of Flynn Monroe

Dec 10, 2014

Advancements in Assisting the Blind

In this latest book, one of my main characters is blind. It was a really interesting challenge to write her, as I am guilty of giving little to no though to the struggles the blind face in our current society. So when I was working with Ray, I started looking into that and more specifically the things that help them.
People with sight very rarely consider the myriad of things that would become challenging if they could not see.
As a writer, I think of the difficulties in writing a book. Sure I can type without looking – mostly because of muscle memory. But editing, even as I type? I couldn’t do that if I was blind.  And I don’t know anyone who can touch-type on a smart phone. These were a few of the things that sprang to mind.
The American Foundation for the Blind and Heritage for the Blind both have pages on Assistive Technology
There are assistive technologies designed specifically to aide those who are vision impaired or blind (screen readers, braille watches and printers, braille keyboards, screen magnifiers.) but what about beyond that?
If you bounce around the internet, you’ll find interesting prototypes for things like a sonic cane (the Doctor would be jealous). But sometimes, the need for technology is unnecessary. Humans who have lost their sight can interact with the world in a way that most people would think impossible, by teaching themselves echolocation.
With Ray’s technology, I took the ability of humans to develop echolocation and expanded on it with the aide of future (fictitious) technology.