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May 8th, 2010


So, the heater guys didn't come and the heater still doesn't work. Fortunately, it's only early May and at the moment unseasonally mild. At night, it gets very nippy, though, but we have a little fan heater that keeps things bearable at the moment. Our house retains less heat than a canvas tent. No such problem with cold, though. Especially the front rooms, facing south and a hill (in other words, they never get any sunlight, for your reversely-oriented northern hemisphere people). Which is why I still consider airconditioning a luxury which we don't use very often. In winter, during a sunny day, it's colder inside than out. Much colder. When our heater broke two years ago, the temperature inside sunk to a permanent 14C (which Mr Google tells me is 57F) no matter how many fan heaters were employed. I can tell you that it won't kill you, but it's not the kind of temperature to sit down and write, or to do anything much except exercise vigorously without getting rather cold. Not so long ago, people ignored these temperatures, lived with doors and windows open... and like my mother growing up in South Africa, constantly had chillblains and other horrible afflictions that come from being permanently too cold. Some of those people still suffer the effects of those conditions.

Meanwhile, I opened an account with Duotrope. It has a neat submission tracking function where you can add your submissions into a general submission database it uses to calculate average response times. I have 13 submissions out to 12 magazines. Yup, I have a double submission to WOTF, since I still haven't heard a peep from the first one (wraaaaa!). Longest outstanding submission is 325 days. In fact, I've more or less written this one off and sent the same story somewhere else. The most interesting thing about the Duotrope database is that you can see up until what date magazines have opened their slush and sent out replies. And I note that with most magazines, replies have been sent for submissions they'd received later than mine. Much later sometimes. I'm thinking that in most of those cases that means that they've put mine on the 'Hmmm, not too bad' pile.

I've also been reading Elizabath Moon's Moving Target, volume 2 of Vatta's War. It's typical low-tech-low-science space opera, and I kinda enjoy it. I was just thinking (as one does in the shower) how many similarilities there are between Kylara Vatta and Miles Vorkorsigan. Both are failed military, both end up collecting an army kinda illegally. I really enjoy these stories, and at the same time, it defines what I want to write: something with equal adventure, but with more scientific (and semi-scientific) underpinning. Which is why I've been reading stuff on planetary bodies, stars and galaxies...


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