Makana Eyre


Introduction – 00:00

How did you discover the archive? – 01:17

How did you sift through this enormous archive? – 03:00

Archive in 6-7 languages – 03:50

Closed-captioning? (no) – 05:30

What did your agent or editor say to cut or expand? – 06:15

Book writing more freedom – 06:40

Grim parts cut – 07:10

How was cinematic detail achieved? – 08:10

If writing is thin, get more info, S. Freedman – 10:49

Feedback from Jewish community on your book? – 12:08

Why was his story not covered? – 13:55

Talent and logic in your book – 15:30

Was he a survivor or a good man? – 17:20

Postwar years he was poor – 19:30

Need cunning to survive the camps – 20:00

Rosebery, a pure character – 23:00

How could the camps not know about the music? – 24:45

Can there be culture/art in times of immense distress? – 28:50

How much of Aleks’ music is in the archive? – 31:20

What was your historical research process? – 34:00

History relevant to characters – 35:40

Difficulty of trauma distorting history – 36:30

Aleks never got traction in Poland – 37:37

Controversial sections (being Jewish in Poland) – 38:10

Poland not a country of constant Pograms – 39:30

Writing about the violence of the camps, strategy? – 41:50

Everything was possible in the camps – 44:00

Approach was to be skeptical and verify – 45:00

Schindler’s List comparison, chip on shoulder – 46:00

Schindler profiting from saving souls – 47:10

Post-publication, did anyone reach out to you? – 48:20

Learn anything new about Aleks post-publication? – 46:15

Bad with his health – 50:15

Power of the music came through – 51:40

Must have light and air in narrative – 52:10

Impressions of sons – 53:35

Relationship with parents can be sensitive – 54:40

Did the sons believe in his mission? – 55:10

How did you organize your plan for this book? – 56:45

Explore 3 major sources – 57:42

Irony of other, competing book falling through – 59:10

Another book project? – 59:38

Hawaii! – 1:00:00

There is an interest in Hawaii – 1:01:30

Famous people from Hawaii – 1:01:50

Has music of archive been performed elsewhere? – 1:03:25

The music is unpolished, rough, gritty – 1:04:50

Books on oral tradition of displaced people? – 1:06:00

Reading anything now that you’d recommend? – 1:08:08

P. Djèlí Clark


How A Dead Djinn in Cairo was published – 00:00

Clark’s Double Life – 01:17

Clark’s Bio/Background – 02:00

1) Relationship between novelette and novel – 04:30

I like world building – 05:51

2) What research influenced your world building? – 08:30

3) Alternative Cairo made only from research or experience? – 14:43

4) Challenges/awards of spec. fiction to comment on social issues? – 16:30

5) What is your perspective on historical memory/purpose of history? – 20:52

Retro-futurism – 24:30

A world where the Armenian genocide never happened – 25:30

6) Microscopic code-switching intentional or studied? – 26:55

7) Through fantasy are you liberated to discuss politics and colonialism? – 30:30

Clark’s way of pushing against Orientalism – 32:40

This is not a utopia – 33:40

8) Inspiration behind writing such strong women? – 35:50

Read books by people who are like your characters – 40:20

9) Balance/marriage between science and religion? – 41:10

Djinns arrival in the world as first contact – 44:44

10) How involved were you in the audio book? – 46:30

Sweeping world, but never bogged down – 50:50

11) Process to create rich world and details – 51:20

12) Upload academic papers? – 56:30

13) Origin and reasons for the pen name? – 57:55

A Dead Djinn in Cairo taught in college – 1:03:00

14) More stories in this universe? – 1:05:20

Liberal Arts education is good – 1:07:30

15) Will you explore more Djinn-human relationship-power-magical-influence? 1:08:20

Goblins! – 1:11:33

16) Do you hate paperwork? – 1:12:00

17) Bound version of short stories in Dead Djinn universe? – 1:14:11

18) Trashy romance novel beef? – 1:15:30

19) Is Ghostface Killah or Raekwon the better emcee out of Wu-Tang? – 1:18:10

20) Who should we read now? – 1:18:55

Questions asked by: 1) John Knych 2), 3) Melissa DellaBartolomea 4) Stephanie Sabino 5) Brian Zielenski 6) Danielle 7) Eliane Boey 8) Ina Chang Torres 9) Tricia 10) Jen Ancker 11) John Knych 12) Brian Zielenski 13) Melissa DellaBartolomea 14) Ina Chang Torres 15) John Knych 16) John Knych 17) Stephanie Sabino 18) John Knych 19) John Knych 20) General

Edward Ashton

Edward Ashton discusses his most recent book, his writing path, humor, human-brain-cell-powered A.I., gene-editing, Shoguns resisting the adoption of gunpowder (poor decision), cancer research, the publishing world, books, and more!

Intro/Origin as a writer – 00:00

A Child of the 70s – 01:12

Ed’s writing hiatus – 01:51

Goodness in Ed’s books – 02:28

Publishing – 02:48

Robert Pattinson! – 04:10

Origin of Mal Goes to War – 05:34

Origin of his sense of humor – 09:12

Toning down of his humor – 11:07

Balancing humor and tragedy – 12:30

Writing is like cooking – 13:00

Constructing Mal / A.I. – 14:15

Do you think of sequels? – 16:57

Worldbuilding is hard – 19:25

Writing sequels is easier – 20:28

Tech progress resistance possible? – 21:57

A.I. structures – 24:00

Create infinite misery for A.I.s – 25:00

Shogun resistance of gunpowder – 25:45

Can’t put genie back in the bottle – 26:30

Mal’s inner-simulations – 27:00

Combat simulation innovation – 28:00

Techno-book faults – 28:25

Loved writing castle siege scene – 29:15

This book has been film optioned – 30:17

Book on film – 31:25

Enjoyed fantasy sequences – 31:51

War vs. band of friends – 32:15

Know what you know with writing – 33:05

Military Scifi – 33:37

Novel close to his heart – 34:54

Think of film while writing? – 35:22

Writing while having a job – 37:44

Founded cancer research company – 39:08

Job responsibilities – 39:50

Nothing is promised – 40:40

Grew up poor – 40:56

Write about cancer? – 41:41

Cancer therapy inspiring There Days in April – 42:30

Cancer treatment – 43:30

Energy to manage writing, job, life, how? – 46:09

My brain is weird – 46:50

Can shift focus easily – 47:30

Dialogue skill, how did you learn? – 48:30

Other writers who do dialogue well – 49:41

A.I. in daily work life – 51:10

Human personality emulators? – 52:08

Will humans gene-edit in our lifetimes? – 53:15

Scientists are playing with embryos now – 53:50

Finding neat ideas – 54:40

Reads everything – 55:30

Who do you recommend for us to read? – 55:48

New project = standalone – 57:15

The future of his career – 58:00

Sue Burke


Origin as a writer – 00:00

Seed idea of the book – 00:45

Nature of plants – 01:24

Plants communicate – 02:50

Rye volunteered! – 03:56

Plants are not passive! – 04:45

Do plants think? Depends – 05:20

How to add drama to plants – 06:34

Why skip generations in the story? – 07:51

Origin of pacing – 11:15

Inspiration for Stevland – 12:30

Plants as social beings – 13:15

Stevland motive – 14:45

Pando as inspiration – 15:15

Stevland is bamboo? – 16:15

Names stuck on things – 16:35

More reasons for Stevland – 17:30

Title origin – 18:20

What is your research process? – 20:18

Scientists are easy to talk to! – 22:26

Growing plants in space? – 23:33

How moss grows in space – 24:46

Andy Weir and The Martian – 25:35

Colonizing examples from history? – 26:40

Can they live in peace? – 27:51

Mistake in the book? – 28:25

Why not use Glassmaker writing in the first encounter? – 30:13

Why did the Glassmakers leave the city? – 31:04

Decisions for plant personalities? – 32:51

Origin of Stevland name – 34:18

Work as a translator informing work – 35:14

Glassmaker origin (ants/Mayans) – 36:15

Translator pitfalls – 37:45

Process of creating Glassmakers – 38:30

Ant knowledge – 39:20

World building process – 41:26

Looking for problems – 43:02

Novel = found enough problems – 44:40

Motivation for distinct generations – 47:11

Journalism work – 48:44

Generation preference? – 49:30

Poor Higgins – 49:45

Conflicts with generations – 51:30

Writing process (plan as much as possible) – 52:35

One sentence for each chapter plan – 53:40

Novel writing is complicated – 54:45

Color of floating cactus, why? – 55:25

Recommendation – 56:46

Meet Me in Another Life – 56:52

Thank you! – 58:00

How a Dead/Alive Cat in a Box is Responsible for Your Cell Phone

2.5 minute read

The technology behind cell phones is built on many theories, one of them quite bizarre. This bizarre theory is called quantum superposition.  If scientists hadn’t been able to come to a consensus concerning how this mysterious theory has practical implications, you wouldn’t be reading this on your cell phone. You’d probably be in a cave, warming your buttocks in front of a fire, and taking cover from the apocalypse. 

In 1935, Erwin Schrödinger wrote a letter to Albert Einstein. In this letter he was critiquing the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics (the prevailing theory at the time) via a dead/alive cat in a box. The Copenhagen interpretation said that quantum mechanics is inherently indeterministic. In other words, tiny objects have certain pairs of complementary properties, which cannot be observed or measured simultaneously (according to the complementarity principle). In more words: in a quantum system, an atom or a photon can exist as MULTIPLE states corresponding to DIFFERENT possible outcomes. How can a thing be multiple things? How can a state correspond to multiple states? What is this quackery? 

This indeterminism drove Schrö-Schrö and Einstein insane for a couple of reasons. Schrö-Schrö expressed his frustration with the theory by creating a thought experiment in his letter where a cat was in a box with a flask of poison and a radioactive source.

Why did you put me in here? I want tuna.

According to the Copenhagen interpretation, after a while this cat in the box will simultaneously be both alive and dead. Again: this didn’t make any sense. How could a cat be both alive and dead (in superposition) until it is observed or interacts with the external world? Basically, Schrö-Schrö’s cat experiment asks how long quantum superpositions last and when (or whether) they collapse. This question, concerning the timing, is currently unsolved in physics. Despite not being solved and the letter being a critique, Schrö-Schrö’s paradoxical thought experiment became part of the foundation of quantum mechanics. It was also the first time the term “entangled” was used, as he described the cat’s wave function as being entangled.

Quantum reality: a weird and contradictory place. The characteristics of this place meant that the physics of Einstein’s theory of relativity, which described how big things in the universe (like planets, gravity, black holes) worked, moved, and functioned, could not be applied to how little things (subatomic particles) worked, moved, and functioned. The inability to reconcile quantum mechanics and relativity would plague Einstein for the rest of his life.

People think I’m smart…but my theory isn’t complete…

How can the universe have two sets of physics’ principles, one for small things and one for big things? There must be a unifying theory that we are missing. Scientists have proposed string theory and multi-dimensions as a reconciliation, but our inability to rigorously test this theory prevents us from accepting it completely. Anyway, Schrödinger had issues with the Copenhagen theory. 

String theory, wtf is this

Unsolved question in physics: how does the quantum description of reality, which includes elements such as the superposition of states, give rise to the coherent reality we perceive? If you’d like to read an entertaining story that plays with this idea, check out Quarantine by Greg Egan, my favorite Science Fiction author.

Schrödinger shedding light on this bizarre phenomenon, reasonably and critically, allowed others to build off of his thinking. My purpose for this essay is to express how most of us are unaware of how theories, and even discussions of theories or ones not fully understood, underpin our lives. 

Enter American physicists John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley.

“Clashing egos until the end”

They were aware of the principles of quantum mechanics when they were working at Bell Labs in the 1940s. Their knowledge of quantum theory influenced their work on semiconductor physics. Their understanding of quantum mechanics played a CRUCIAL role in the development of the transistor (officially invented by them in 1947), as they were able to apply quantum principles (such as  quantum superposition) to manipulate the behavior of electrons in semiconductor materials.

Transistors: the building blocks of your cell phone.

Replica of the first transistor.

Transistors exploit quantum superposition by utilizing the ability of particles, such as electrons, to exist in multiple states simultaneously. In a transistor, this allows for the control of the flow of the electrons, enabling to act as a switch OR an amplifier in electronic devices. By using the principles of quantum superposition, transistors can perform complex operations. 

On average, a smart phone contains 10 billion transistors. 

So many quantum superpositions…

The existence of GPS, computer chips, lasers and electron microscopes all attest that quantum theory works beautifully.

Thank you, dead-alive cat in a box, for providing the theoretical foundation of our modern world. Without you we wouldn’t be able to watch cute cat videos, 24/7, anywhere on the planet, until our retinas burn and our neurons fry.

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cat, black/white photo and in a box photo:

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Ann Leckie

Ann intro – 00:00

Translation State Pitch – 00:57

Origin as a writer – 01:37

Pivotal Point as a writer – 03:18

Upcoming Short Story Collection – 04:28

Scifi or Fantasy? – 05:22

Scifi world building challenge – 07:00

Language/Identity/History – 09:38

Language in Fantasy – 10:15

Adoption/Attachment – 11:00

Pluralism of Language – 12:16

Lack of English Translations of Taiwan texts – 13:00

Reet as a figurehead – 14:30

Irish Catholic Identity – 15:00

How did you create the politics? – 17:30

What is the Treaty? – 18:30

Writing process/scenes – 18:55

Court Room Scene – 20:00

Sword’s Point Shoutout – 20:20

Mystery of the Presgers – 21:02

The Geck – 23:06

Climax/Reality Spiral question – 23:54

Narrative Voice Choices? (1st/3rd) – 25:25

Unconscious work – 28:10

Planning vs. Spontaneous – 28:30

Walls/obstacles in writing this – 29:20

Ways to push through blocks – 30:10

My Pandemic Book – 31:45

Martha Wells Nod/Influence – 33:00

Murderbot = cousin of Breq/influence – 34:30

Spoiler – ending clarification – 37:00

Product of meshing – 37:55

Previous jobs influence – 40:00

Waiting Tables – 40:53

Land Sureying – 42:26

Trilogy Connection – 43:05

Tea Drinker – 45:13

Beginning of Ancillary Sword – 46:44

A.I. gain rights? – 47:56

Joy writing Presger Translators – 48:17

Reet – 49:29

Sphene as fan service – 51:20

Next step in the Radch universe? – 53:30

Feedback from Readers? – 54:43

Thank you! – 58:29

Recording, what tech is for – 58:59

Avez-vous besoin d’un agent ?

Choisir une représentation professionnelle

Au niveau professionnel, l’athlétisme et la course à pied sont essentiellement des sports individuels. Cependant, les athlètes bénéficient souvent du soutien d’une équipe dans la poursuite de leur carrière professionnelle. Idéalement, “l’équipe vous” s’occupe des aspects logistiques d’une carrière de coureur professionnel pendant que vous vous concentrez sur votre entraînement et vos compétitions.

Avez-vous besoin d’un agent ?

Probablement, oui. La plupart des coureurs professionnels ont intérêt à avoir un agent. Mais la décision d’engager un agent n’est pas automatique. Certains coureurs peuvent se passer d’un agent. Cependant, pour envisager de s’en passer, il faut bien comprendre quels services un agent fournit et dans quelles circonstances ces services peuvent être nécessaires.

Concurrencez avec succès sur la piste ou dans les courses sur route.
Bien que les centres d’entraînement fonctionnent différemment en fonction du financement, de l’emplacement et de l’encadrement, l’objectif est similaire : améliorer le niveau de compétition de la course de fond aux États-Unis, tant au niveau national qu’international. Les athlètes sont préparés à concourir sur la piste, sur les routes et en cross-country.

Les places étant limitées pour les athlètes dans chaque épreuve, les rencontres internationales d’athlétisme sont les plus sélectives de toutes les compétitions. Votre agent se chargera de négocier votre inscription aux rencontres, y compris les frais de participation, et vous aidera généralement à organiser votre voyage. En résumé : lorsqu’il est temps de se concentrer sur les courses au printemps et en été, vous avez besoin d’un agent pour vous faire participer aux bonnes compétitions.

Si vous envisagez une carrière sur les routes en participant au circuit USA Running, un agent est moins important. Il existe de nombreux championnats américains sur des distances allant du 5 km au marathon. L’entrée dans ces courses est moins sélective et peut facilement être accomplie sans représentant d’athlète. Les informations et les contacts pour l’inscription aux courses, ainsi que les normes de qualification et les conditions d’admissibilité applicables, sont disponibles sur le site Web de USA Track & Field.

Il convient de noter que les frais d’apparition pour les compétitions dans les grands marathons peuvent nécessiter d’importantes négociations. Bien sûr, il n’est pas aussi difficile d’entrer dans un champ de marathon que d’obtenir une place dans le 800 au Prefontaine Classic. Mais la négociation et l’optimisation de votre valeur d’apparition peuvent nécessiter l’aide d’un agent.

Les trois C : commodité, contacts et coût
Bien entendu, de nombreux coureurs professionnels participent à des événements sur piste et hors piste. Au-delà du type de carrière que vous envisagez, la décision de faire appel à un représentant d’athlètes repose en grande partie sur trois critères : commodité, contacts et coût.

  1. Commodité. Il est plus facile de laisser un agent s’occuper des détails que de le faire soi-même. Trouver des sponsors ou participer à des compétitions peut être difficile et stressant. Selon votre personnalité, un agent peut s’avérer essentiel, vous permettant de vous concentrer sur votre entraînement sans avoir à vous soucier de l’organisation de votre voyage ou de la négociation d’un contrat de chaussures.
  2. Contacts. Les agents ont des contacts avec les fabricants de chaussures et les directeurs de rencontres que la plupart des athlètes n’ont pas. Votre agent devrait être en mesure de vous mettre en relation avec les personnes et les entreprises nécessaires dans ce sport. De même, un agent peut vous faire paraître plus professionnel aux yeux des directeurs de rencontres et des sponsors potentiels. Les sponsors potentiels vous considèrent comme plus sérieux, ce qui accroît leur confiance dans la sécurité de leur investissement en vous. Votre agent doit travailler dur pour tenter d’obtenir un contrat de chaussures ou un autre contrat de sponsoring. Outre le fait de vous faire participer à des compétitions, c’est la principale responsabilité d’un agent.
  3. Le coût. Le coût d’un agent peut être important, mais un agent peut être un investissement rentable pour de nombreux coureurs professionnels. En général, un agent demande une commission de 15 % sur tout ce qu’il gagne, y compris : (a) contrat d’endossement d’une entreprise de chaussures, (b) frais de participation à une réunion ou à une course ; et (c) prix en argent. En outre, il est courant qu’un agent demande une commission de 20 % sur tous les contrats d’endossement autres que le contrat de chaussures principal. L’accord d’un athlète avec un agent – y compris les pourcentages – peut être négocié, mais la plupart des athlètes ont peu de pouvoir de négociation car le coureur professionnel moyen ne génère pas d’énormes revenus. Et malheureusement, moins vous gagnez d’argent, plus chaque dollar devient précieux. Alors qu’un athlète ayant un contrat de 1 000 000 $ peut ne pas ressentir l’impact de la commission de 15 % d’un agent, un athlète ayant un contrat de 30 000 $ fait un sacrifice beaucoup plus important en cédant 15 % à un agent. Toutefois, il convient de noter que, dans de nombreux cas, les athlètes les mieux payés subventionnent les athlètes aux revenus plus faibles. Vos commissions sont des “frais professionnels” et vous devez consulter un fiscaliste si vous n’êtes pas sûr de savoir comment profiter des déductions pour frais professionnels prévues par l’Internal Revenue Code.

Louvre Pyramid Turns 30

Last week I wrote an article for Agence France-Presse, which was published 4 days ago as “From outrage to icon: Paris marks 30 years of Louvre’s pyramid.” Below is the original article, before the editors changed it. 1 minute read:

Thirty years ago the Louvre Pyramid was called a cultural desecration, with journalists and the Parisian public calling for an insurrection against the structure, but today the monument is celebrated as a resounding success.

The initial hate for the Louvre Pyramid has been transformed so completely into iconic admiration that the Parisian street artist, JR, has created his second exhibit involving the pyramid. The exhibit was revealed last Friday and has been subsequently shredded by tourists.

The idea for renovating the Louvre came from the charismatic Jack Lang, who in 1981 wrote President François Mitterrand saying, “It would be a good idea to start recreating the Grand Louvre by allocating all the buildings to museums.” Mitterrand scribbled back in a letter, “Good idea, but it’s difficult to realize good ideas.”

Jack Lang continued to push for a renovation, writing that, “The Napoleon courtyard was a terrible parking lot. The museum was handicapped by the lack of a central entrance.” Mitterrand gave in to the requests and hired the architect, Ieo Ming Pei. Mitterrand had always admired Pei’s work in the United States, which included Pei’s modernist extension to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Dallas City Hall. 

When I.M. Pei’s model of the pyramid was revealed to the French public in 1984, Jack Lang remembers “an explosion of screams.” The journalist André Fermigier called the design “a house of death.” The academician Jean Dutourd wrote that “uncle wants to be the first pharaoh in our history.” And three historians, Antioine Schnapper, Sébastien Loste, and Bruno Foucart published a book of essays entitled, “Mystified Paris. The great illusion of the Great Louvre.”

The criticisms were focused less on the enlargement of the Louvre as about the aesthetics of the contemporary architecture clashing with the Napoleon III setting. I.M. Pei had never worked on a historic building before.
Pei remembers one architectural meeting that was “a terrible session,” where an expert shouted at him, “You are not in Dallas now!” His critics didn’t seem to care that he had won the Prtizker Prize in 1983, the “Nobel of architecture.”

“I received many angry glances in the streets of Paris,” Pei later said, confessing that “after the Louvre I thought no project would be too difficult.”

Pei’s genius was to link the three wings of the world’s most visited museum with vast underground galleries bathed in light from his glass and steel pyramid.

For its current Chairman and CEO Jean-Luc Martinez, the pyramid is a masterpiece that helped turned the museum around. “The Louvre is the only museum in the world whose entrance is a work of art,” he said “and the pyramid has become the symbol of a museum resolutely turned towards the future.”

Pei’s original design was intended for two million annual visitors. Last year 10.2 million people visited the Louvre. This year I.M. Pei is 102 years old, and continues to enjoy the success of his work, which is admired for its beautiful modernity as much as the ancient art it introduces.

The Louvre was not the first museum in Paris to experience hate that was turned to love. The Arche de la Défense, the Centre Pompidou, and the Eiffel Tower all experienced lashing disapproval at the time of their births. In 1887, the Eiffel Tower was attacked by a group of intellectuals (including Emile Zola and Guy de Maupassant) who published a letter in the newspaper Le Temps protesting against the building, calling it “Useless…monstrous…and an odious column of sheet metal with bolts.” And like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre would survive the barrage of criticism to become one of the most popular structures in the world and a shining symbol of Paris.

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