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Second Update on Pluto Day

A reader writes in and says he would have welcomed the addition of Eris as a tenth planet.

I, too, who live in a reasonable terror of the Red Lectroids from Planet Ten, also would have welcomed them into the Solar Union, rather than dismiss them, trampling their civil rights, by exiling them to the status of merely dwellers on asteroids.

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Update on Pluto Day

One of my thousands of loyal henchwomen who walk unnoticed among the muggles and mundanes of the ordinary world sends in this picture in honor of Pluto Day.

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Not Earth Day: PLUTO DAY!

While the rest of you Earthlings are celebrating Earth Day (a holiday beloved of Enviro-Marxist Gaeanist Neo-pagan Neo-Puritan Death Cultists whose scientific literacy is somewhere south of the Flat Earth Society) we here at the headquarters of the more cosmologically minded and cosmopolitan Space Princess Movement have decided to break the bonds of geocentric parochialism (our motto is ‘Think Globally, Act Galactically’) and celebrate a day devoted to another planet, one more worthy of our attention and affection.

Yes, I hereby decree today to be PLUTO DAY!

Let us look in the Internets (Thanks, Al Gore!) otherwise known as the Web of Lies, to see what can be gleaned about this fascinating and elusive ex-planet, or, pardon me, former planet. (OO-rah!)


Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde W. Tombaugh in Arizona at the Lowell Observatory. It is composed primarily of rock and ice and is approximately a fifth the mass of the Earth’s Moon and a third its volume. It has been recently classified as a “dwarf planet“, largely due to the resent discovery of a larger dwarf planet named Eris, by Dr. Michael Brown of the California Institute of Technology.


Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, are sometimes treated together as a binary system because the barycenter of their orbits does not lie within either body. The IAU has yet to formalize a definition for binary dwarf planets, and until it passes such a ruling, they classify Charon as a moon of Pluto.


Hmpf. As a staunch plutonian, I am aghast at the paradox that Charon is still officially a moon of a body that is no longer officially a planet. What does that make Charon? A dwarf moon? Someone phone Thorin Oakenshield, Albrecht, and ‘Doc’ to get their opinion.

This is what scientists know about Pluto.

But so what? What do science fiction writers know about Pluto?

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Coolest Robot Evah?

The fine fellows over at Sf Signal asked some sciencefictioneers their opinion of the coolest robot in sciencifictiondom. I decided to share my opinion here. What’s yours?

Robots from television and movies will tend to take the prize, merely because we can see and hear them. I am tempted to say the most memorable robot from the movies is Gort from DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (the real one, not the remake). When the visor of Gort began to open (accompanied by shrill and unearthly theramin music) revealing what might have been an eye or an atomic death ray beneath it, it scared the bejeezus outta me back when I was a tender youth of 45. (I was less easy to impress when I was 5, though).

Can Cylons shoot death-beams from their eyes? I think not!

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How SF Books are Written

The esteemed Charles Stross (esteemed by me, at least; I regret he does not return my feeling for him) has an interesting and honest description of how his SFF novel evolved, interesting in particular because of the take on genre-crossing. His describes FAMILY TRADE books as ‘Science Fiction in Fantasy drag’; his take on the difference in genres is that fantasy is nostalgic and comforting, whereas SF is revolutionary.

There are in his piece nuggets of numbered wisdom for any would-be writer to ponder.

Rule 1: Don’t steal from living authors, their ecological niche in the publishing jungle is already occupied. (Alternatively: nobody needs another Robert Jordan.)

Rule 2: Steal from the best. (There’s no point stealing from the worst.)

Rule 3: If you steal an entire outfit from one writer’s wardrobe, people will mock you for being imitative. So steal from at least two, and mix thoroughly.

Rule 4: When choosing the themes to pilfer, only pick ones that you, personally, find interesting — if you pick something boring you’ll only have yourself to blame if it’s successful and you end up chained to the desk to write more of it for the next decade.

Rule 5: However much you’re stealing, make sure it doesn’t look stolen. Genre publishing is a beauty show, and originality wins prizes (but not too much originality).

Read the entry here.

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