For some reason, my erratic spam filter flagged what is one of the finest compliments any reader has every given my writing. Because this comment did not appear at first, I want to turn the spotlight on it.

The reader is kind enough to mention a specific element of my writing, something I took pains to do carefully, but with no thought that anyone but the muse and myself would ever notice or care. One reader, at least, noticed.

This is from a comment by a reader with the stellar yet batrachian name of Astrofrog:

Another aspect that I would like to personally thank you for is your use of actual astrophysical wonders as the settings. So much of science fiction merely places the action around some boring G-type star, or perhaps a red dwarf, as such stars are hosts to exoplanets and it is, I suspect, difficult for most writers to envision a reason beyond tourism or a scientific expedition for a journey to an O-type binary, a Wolf-Rayet star, an AGB star, a Herbig Haro object, or the like. Having a keen interest in these phenomena, the question of how to bring awareness of them to the wider human community – for communication of scientific discoveries to the interested lay populace is one of the many functions of science fiction – has long troubled me. You did so with aplomb.

Thank you very much. I am touched.

I am also pleased by the compliment.

And in truth, you barely scratched the surface of the wondrous menagerie populating the heavens! Be stars (hot stars rotating so fast centrifugal force is close to pulling them apart, and surrounded by thick disks of expelled matter); “chemically peculiar” stars (hot stars with stupendously strong magnetic fields and surfaces extremely rich in rare earth elements); Cepheids (old stars that pulsate on a timescale of days to years, shrinking and growing so dramatically over this time that they change spectral type); T Tauri stars (protostars that retain their protoplanetary disks, to which they are attached by magnetically channeled funnel flows); strongly magnetized red dwarf stars, with huge, semi-permanent starspots covering a quarter of their surface, looking from afar like an apple with a bite taken out … and these too are just some of what we know of. I suspect you have already encountered some or all of these

Ah, but your suspicions are unfounded in this case. I have never heard of any of these except for Cepheids. I am fascinated, and surely should use these as settings for my next space opera. Wow. Isn’t this stuff amazing?