Raven’s Roost On The Homestretch

Candice eetimesFor fans of my first novel, All The Stars Are Suns, who have been waiting for the next book in the series, Raven’s Roost, I am nearly finished with the first draft.  Yes, it’s been over two years since I released the first so it may have seemed like I had abandoned it, but I never did.  I’m not writing pot boiler romances.  I’m writing carefully crafted Hard Science Fiction with just a touch of Fantasy style, keeping in mind Clark’s dictum that a sufficiently advanced technology looks like magic.  World building, as well as character and plot development, have taken time to do right (write?).  Another thing that has taken time is to ensure that what I write won’t conflict with the follow on books (at least two more).  There’s nothing more aggravating than an author who can’t keep her own plots and world building straight.

I can’t make any promises, but I hope to release Raven’s Roost by the begining of summer (for all my student fans).

Religious “Liberties” is a Sham

Candice eetimesRecently we have seen a movement to create “Religious Liberty” laws and a Federal Executive Order that are pitched as a protection of individual and group religious groups rights to “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

They are a sham.  Their real aim is to circumvent both the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and anti-discrimination efforts, most notably those laws protecting LGBT people.

The laws and edict are designed to force government to fund religions that discriminate against others who aren’t living up to their religious edicts.  For example, they require that State and Local government to fund private adoption agencies who use “sincerely held religious beliefs” to deny government funded services to same sex married couples, unmarried people, and transsexuals (married or not).  Another example is that they require both private and public schools to fund religious based campus organizations that discriminate against LGBT people nullifying those schools’ and even States’ anti-discrimination rules and laws, under penalty of losing their Federal funding.

Proponents of these so called “liberties” laws claim this is to protect the right to believe and worship as they chose.  BOLLOCKS !

No one has lost the right to believe, or worship as they chose when a law disallows FUNDING for a group that discriminates against others. But when the government denies funding to an institution for DEFENDING the rights of people against discrimination, or of nullifying anti-discrimination laws by requiring funding of religious based organizations, that is a form of both discrimination and of establishing the power of religion to demand funding from taxpayers in the face of that institution, local government, or State’s “sincerely held beliefs / values” of non-discrimination. Thus in essence, this is not about religious “liberty”… but about bigoted people’s ability to use government power in the name of religion as means to empower themselves and their religion over others.

True religious liberty doesn’t demand this power. True religious liberty in history demanded that government NOT allow this kind of power. Historically, in many of the colonies, and then the States, said polities had laws that demanded that everyone had to tithe to the government sanctioned (both meanings of the word intended) church, no way around it even if others attended another church or no church at all. Some colonies and townships even fined people if they didn’t attend said church. When the authors of the Bill of Rights wrote about Freedom of Religion, that is exactly what they were talking about, the power of the government to force monetary support for a religion that they themselves didn’t believe in and were often mistreated by.

Today, these so called “Religious Liberty” laws are a de facto means of using the power of the government to demand that monies, specifically public taxes be used to empower churches that mistreat others in the same (but sneaky) way that the Bill of Rights was meant to disallow forever.

Fight for our Bill of Rights. Don’t be fooled.

Video Review: Star Trek: Picard

With only two episodes released, it may be early to give a serious review but there are things I feel I can comment upon.

First, Wow… this is so much better than Discovery!

Some things I like, it expands the canon rather than messing with it.  The dialog feels better.  What violence exists moves the plot rather than the other way around.  In just two episodes, we have been introduced to both the longer term plot and to interesting characters, with the promise of more to come.

But there are some silly tropes that I reacted very negatively to.

First is the horrendously dumb visual trope of transparent displays.  As a display technologist and inventor, this just bugs me and I’ve explained why before, but the second episode really demonstrated why its so dumb.  In one scene we have a double agent spy master with open windows viewing a video call on a transparently projected virtual screen with an incredibly low contrast because one can see the brightly lit view of the sunny view outside the window competing with the image on the screen.  Please, please, can we dump this dumb trope?  It’s as dated as silver lame clothing as a SciFi movie trope.

Next is the anachronistic presence of a mid-20th Century lamp shade in a Star Fleet office.  What would a spy master’s minimalist office decor be doing with such lamp shades in the late 24th Century?  Design usually follows function and technology. The modern lamp shade is a late 19th Century invention that came about because of the introduction of bright filament incandescent light bulbs.  Yes, we saw lots of such lamps and shades in Picard’s home.  But then, he is an antiquarian living in a home filled with antiques.  They made sense there.  But not elsewhere

What also didn’t work for me is Picard’s vineyard.  Amazing how much France looks like California’s wine country, complete with dry wild oats between the rows and a California live oak visible in the distance.  Perhaps I’m the only one who even noticed, but it pulled me right out of the story seeing my local wine country being used as a set for France.

Finally, why antagonize the SciFi reading audience with Picard, who is one to read Shakespeare, who refered to Azimov’s robot series as “the classics”, saying that he didn’t “get” science fiction?