S2.10 Space Opera

Space Opera by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt


First appeared in Splickety.

Donald Jacob Uitvlugt lives on neither coast of the United States, but mostly in a haunted memory palace of his own design. His short fiction has appeared in numerous print and online venues, including Cirsova magazine and the Flametree Publishing anthology Science Fiction Stories. He is also releasing a series of self-published stories for Kindle. Donald strives to write what he calls “haiku fiction,” stories that are small in scope but big in impact. If you enjoyed “Space Opera,” please let him know via his blog or via Twitter: @haikufictiondju.

Music is provided by MADS.

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IWSG: Quitting

The Question

Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

Quitting

Yes. Very yes. Absolutely I quit. I didn’t think it was something I could do. I thought it was something that was in my past. There was a tale that I wasn’t creative and I believed it. I completely bought it. I thought that writing was something I wouldn’t be able to do anymore. That part of my life was over. I needed to move on. Enjoy reading and do other things with my life.

And then…

I started to have tiny little glimpses that maybe I could. Maybe there was space somewhere for me in writing. Maybe I wasn’t too old, logical, cynical, boring, whatever else. And that little hope grew. I did some writing here and there. I tried to feed and nurture it despite all else. Let it continue to grow.

Then I read something by Lois McMaster Bujold in the course of my regular reading. And it was good and so I looped my way back into the start (I am completely unbothered by reading out of order so it was somewhere later in the series). I read Shards of Honor and Barrayar. Something about a character who was an adult. Not just old enough to drink. But overall quite reasonable and adult. That was amazing. Something about that made me double down on the writing.

Reading more, learning more, writing more. I really started back in on it. And not all my characters are like that, but it very much kicked me into feeling like there was space for me. I also really enjoyed that despite the books being old, like decades out of date, they didn’t feel like it. I didn’t read them and flinch at the language, the characters, the ideas.

So yes, I quit. And yes I came back. And I’m glad. I might do it again, and that too will be ok.

Save

Save

Writing Prompt: Robot Friends

The robot uprising terrifies us. I’ve never really gotten it. Well I get it, we are afraid of ourselves and in some weird weird ways of what comes after us. I personally very much hope that the children of today are better than me, and their children are better. I want the world to get easier, and then for those kids to be able to do more.

If children don’t have to fight to be fed they’ll have all that energy to spend on much more important things. Which is amazing.

What does this have to do with robots? Because the good vision of robots could be children who don’t need to spend energy on fighting to eat and so can cure and solve all the things. Happy robot stories.

A great nerdy podcast Indoorswomen had an episode about this recently. Here’s the very short clip.

So write that great story about the robot saving the world, or making lives better, or creating opportunities for people to succeed because they aren’t struggling to eat.

S2.9 Traveling Man

Traveling Man by Eddie D Moore


Eddie D. Moore travels extensively for work, and he spends much of that time listening to audio books. The rest of the time is spent dreaming of stories to write and he spends the weekends writing them. His stories have been published by Jouth Webzine, The Flash Fiction Press, Every Day Fiction, Theme of Absence, Devolution Z, and Fantasia Divinity Magazine.

Find more on his blog.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5-star review on iTunes.

Writing Prompt: Social Greeting Rituals

One of my favorite non-writing blogs is Ask A Manager (if you have a day job and need advice it is the #1 through #10 spot to go, it is amazing). There was a post earlier this week about social signaling at work and the difference between “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, you?” “Fine.” in the hall while passing at work and someone seriously asking “How are you?”

Alison (the eponymous manager) said:

When the interaction is a quick one — like when you’re passing someone in the hall or greeting them in the morning — “how are you?” is a social ritual that means “I acknowledge you, fellow human!” The fact that people aren’t looking for long, genuine replies in that situation isn’t inauthentic; it’s that the words mean something different than they might in other contexts.

But the good news, is that we do not have to be bound by current social rituals. So what might a very different social ritual to acknowledge a fellow human look like? What would a world where we never acknowledged the humans in our physical space look like? What will social ritual look like with AR? VR? Or with magic? What if you had telepathy?

WACKY WAVING INFLATABLE ARM FLAILING TUBE MAN!

S2.8 To the Moon and Beyond

To the Moon and Beyond by Fanni Sütő


Fanni Sütő is a writer in her mid-twenties. She writes in Hungarian and English; poems, flash fiction and countless unfinished novels. She tries to find the magical in the everyday and likes to spy on the secret life of cities and their inhabitants.

Read more from Fanni on her blog Ink Maps and Macarons or follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Fanni_Pumpkin.

Music is provided by MADS.

You can support 600 Second Saga by giving us a 5-star review on iTunes.

Switching Costs

I use mostly Apple products at home.

I’ve had a few issues and questions and some people have asked me why lately. I also listened to an episode of Cortex (that I can’t seem to find anymore) that talked about switching costs.

So why do I use Apple products?

(I don’t exclusively, but enough that it is my prominent computing tool at home.)

NOT Microsoft!

Because I use MS tools at work and when I get home I want to NOT have to fight with Microsoft tools anymore. After the last couple months where I spent a huge amount of time fighting with a bunch of Microsoft tools this is the prominent reason in my mind. I do NOT want to leave the evils of those jerks who were personally attacking me and my limits (not really but it felt like it) and deal with it more. Just let me go home and not think about work.

My first

Because it was my first primary computer. Long Long Ago before apple was cool, I was given a handmedown machine for college that was an apple laptop and it was awesome. I learned a lot of how to compute on that machine. It was natural to keep working in that sphere as I grew up and finally got to the point of buying my own machines.

Less support

Because I don’t support windows machines for my friends and family. I don’t work under the hood of personal windows machines. I just don’t. So I don’t know much. And I’ve let myself drift farther and farther from what I’ve known. Anyone who has been the techiest person in their sphere has gotten asked to fix something. At this point I just say I don’t support anything that isn’t apple. And I know if it is an apple and I can’t quick fix it I can direct people to the apple stores. I don’t need to keep the name of someone on me at all times. Just go to a store and ask for help. If they can’t help you I can’t then I don’t know what to do for you.

Other

I’m already bought into the software. I know how to use it and it would be very time expensive and money expensive to switch. I own a lot of books in iBooks.  So many other things.

Switch

I’m not interested in switching. The amount of new software I’d have to learn is less now than it used to be because now I’m a part of a lot of online based tools. But it would still be a tremendous amount of learning, time investment would be tremendous. I’d have to spend weeks to learn it and go through the frustration of that to get to a fraction of where I’m at with the tools I currently work in.

It would be expensive to rebuy everything.

I’d have to come up with new ways to say, no, I’m not going to help you but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you, it just means that I don’t enjoy spending hundreds of hours working for free on this thing I find boring and frustrating.

Does that mean I think it is the best or the way I’m doing it is right? Nope. It just means it is what works for me and I’m not interested in switching at this point. May I in the future? Sure…the math on it might change in many ways so I may change. I may feel comfortable splitting at some point and using different tools rather than staying in the same sphere the whole way. So many things could change.

But this is where I’m at right now.

(I just really hope to see a new high end desk top machine from apple in the next year or so…)

 

Writing Prompt: Haptics

I have been talking about and thinking about haptics a lot lately. The whole ..way we feel and touch things and how computers and connected devices can make us feel things. My favorite example that I make everyone try is the iPhone 7’s home “button” it doesn’t move. But it 100% feels like it moves. (And maybe you’re a fancy person who doesn’t have this experience but I totally do.) It seems exactly like I’ve depressed it when I push on it. I has all the effects that you expect. And this is just a tiny tiny little bit of what is possible.

I am enthralled with what the potential future of it may be.

Examples

Here are some examples to prime your brain a little.

Yoga Pants that Correct Your Form – Racked

Haptics in clothes seems very likely. A jacket that gives you directions. A pair of pants that make you get up and move. And when you have multiple tools you have opportunities for clothes to give you feedback about you. What is your heart rate? Can your clothes help you calm down?

How Haptic Technology Wearable Devices Move our Life – Wearable Technologies

Haptic Feedback to improve balance – a study you can read on pubmed

Turn anything into a touch sensor…Tech Crunch

Write!

So what does the future look like when you wear a turtleneck and all your “speech” is subvocalizations and you “hear” through haptics, could the words be tapped onto your jaw? Do we find a world of silence? Do we get loud? Do we constantly feel like we are buzzing and thumping? We get phantom phone buzzes, will we get phantom haptics? What will we train ourselves to do without realizing it?

Google and workflow

I use Google in my workflow quite a bit. I use it for a lot of tracking what I’m doing, spreadsheets to track episodes, spreadsheets for authors, spreadsheets for books and sales, spreadsheets for giveaways, audio, critiques and much more.

I use it when I’m working with authors doing audiobooks. I use it when I am giving suggestions and feedback on pieces. (Oh I love it for that.) I use it for collaborative work.

Every time I finish a piece of audio I send it to the author to make sure pronunciation and everything else is correct.

It concerned me quite a bit when the Google scam went around last week. I got several emails that appeared to come from authors I’d worked with before. I actually saw them and flagged them as something to deal with later (but didn’t open them!). They aren’t authors that had shared google docs with me before so I was a little surprised but not shocked. The message looked really real.

Why the Google messages were effective

Google Scam

If you clicked it

I will absolutely continue to use Google a lot. But it is so important to really be aware of everything. Check those actual urls. Check who it actually came from. Check. Check. Check. It’s only going to get harder to tell the difference between the real things and the scams, phishing, and the like.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t taken the Cybersecurity Quiz from PEW I highly recommend it.