Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Book Review: Energy & Environment – short story collections

Edited by Dr Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of publications out there that specialize in short fiction. One that has stood tall amongst the Science Fiction community is the publication Energy & Environment. Published 8 times per year, this periodical prides itself on its consistent quality of short stories. It has become a renowned publication in the sci-fi community, with contributing authors often writing about an alternate reality universe, where the rules of physics do not apply.

Luminaries of the Science Fiction community have been known to publish stories in E&E, notable examples include: Dr Willie Soon, Prof Bob Carter, Prof Ian Plimer, Dr Tim Curtin, Prof Richard Lindzen, Dr Roger Pielke Sr; a veritable who’s who of the Science Fiction world. Energy & Environment attract such great writers because of the favourable editorial standards, allowing startling new sub-genres of Science Fiction to emerge. Some of the most revered works of Science Fiction have been published in Energy and Environment in the last decade as a result of the publication’s regard in the sci-fi community.

Energy & Environment is often regarded as hard sci-fi, due to its heavy use of figures and tables within the stories. These illustrations help to conjure up a vivid impression of the wonderfully weird worlds the stories are based in. Having a science background, these elements of hard sci-fi were an entertaining aside, but most sci-fi fans would be able to enjoy the fictional universes without having to take them in.

Contributors are also known to win the prestigious Heartland Institute award. This is a notable Science Fiction award given by the Heartland Institute to encourage sci-fi writers to continue their work. The award comes with a cash stipend, generously given by Heartland funders such as Exxon. A notable Australian sci-fi author, Bob Carter, is a current recipient of the award, the $1600 a month stipend helping him write sci-fi stories full-time.

If you are looking for funny, entertaining and challenging Science Fiction, then Energy & Environment has a story for you.

View all my reviews

If Shakespeare had written ‘The Three Little Pigs’

From comedian John Branyan (@jbranyancomedy).

What can you achieve?

There was something on the TV last night, I think it was a moth attracted to the bright screen. Fortunately the ‘moth’ flapping around didn’t distract me from someone talking about being your best. Best? There is always the question of ability and effort. No one would doubt that effort is involved in achieving something, but some people have to work really hard just to be average, just visit any shopping mall for confirmation. And what if you are lazy, are you aiming too high in your career? My inner science nerd sent me to Google Scholar to find out what various people can achieve.

Real-life accomplishments

Average adult IQs associated with real-life accomplishments:

  • MDs or PhDs (postgraduates) 125

  • College graduates 115

  • 1–3 years of college 105-110

  • Clerical and sales workers 100-105

  • High school graduates, skilled workers (e.g., electricians, cabinetmakers) 100

  • 1–3 years of high school (completed 9–11 years of school) 95

  • Semi-skilled workers (e.g., truck drivers, factory workers) 90-95

  • Elementary school graduates (completed eighth grade) 90

  • Elementary school dropouts (completed 0–7 years of school) 80-85

  • Have 50/50 chance of reaching high school 75

Average IQ of various occupational groups:

  • Professional and technical 112

  • Managers and administrators 104

  • Clerical workers; sales workers; skilled workers, craftsmen, and foremen 101

  • Semi-skilled workers (operatives, service workers, including private household; farmers and farm managers) 92

  • Unskilled workers 87

Type of work that can be accomplished:

  • Adults can harvest vegetables, repair furniture 60

  • Adults can do domestic work, simple carpentry 50

  • Adults can mow lawns, do simple laundry 40

There is considerable variation within and overlap between these categories. People with high IQs are found at all levels of education and occupational categories. The biggest difference occurs for low IQs with only an occasional college graduate or professional scoring below 90.

So there you go, now you know just how hard you have to work. And just remember, in a democracy the vote of the highly educated is given the same value as those who think mowing a lawn is mentally challenging.

Book to movie horror stories

A new site for a new year

Right What You No is now TysonAdams.com

That’s right, the blog you know and love is a year old, and with all things that get older in the entertainment industry, it was time for a facelift.

Blogger was a good platform, but I’ve decided to try WordPress with my own dot com address. Hope you all like the change.

Stay tuned: Rex Jameson has agreed to discuss his new book with me and the interesting reviews he has had recently; and I’m off to the Perth Writers’ Festival later this week, so I will have much to report on from that – can’t wait to meet Jo Nesbo.

Combating Writer’s Block: Advice by Genre

There is no worse disease for a writer than writer’s block. I’d also say that writer’s block is terrible for readers too, uninspired prose is what we expect from policy and political people, not our entertainment. I’m a fan of Stephen King’s writing advice: set a daily word goal and stay at it until you reach the goal. There is something about daily writing and forcing yourself to write that seems to make things flow.

But Tyson, I hear you say, I’m stuck with no ideas for what to write next. Luckily I was procrastinating whilst writing the other day and came up with a definitive fail safe for each major genre. Any additions are welcome in the comments.

Thriller Writers
When writer’s block strikes kill someone or blow something up.

Crime Writers
When writer’s block strikes describe the main character getting drunk and wallowing in self pity.

Mystery Writers
When writer’s block strikes introduce a red herring.

Romance Writers
When writer’s block strikes introduce new character with rock hard abs.

Literature Writers
When writer’s block strikes describe a tree in intimate detail.

Fantasy Writers
When writer’s block strikes have a talking dragon appear, or have the characters go on a long walk somewhere.

Sci-fi Writers
When writer’s block strikes cut and paste physics article from Wikipedia into your novel.

Horror Writers
When writer’s block strikes cut and paste autopsy reports into your novel.

Paranormal Writers
If you already have vampires, ghosts and werewolves in your novel, introduce ninjas and pirates as characters.

If you are really stuck after all of these ideas, then there is no novel in existence that can’t/couldn’t be improved by the addition of pirates and/or ninjas.

How Many to Screw in a Lightbulb

I thought I would post a little list that gave me a giggle. I’ve only added one to the list, see if you can spot it and my sense of humour.

–Sent by Leon Ogroske, WRITERS’ Journal, www.writersjournal.com

Q: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: I can’t tell whether you mean ‘change a light bulb’ or ‘have sex in a light bulb.’ Can we reword it to remove the ambiguity?

Q: How many editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one. But first they have to rewire the entire building.

Q: How many managing editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: You were supposed to have changed that light bulb last week!

Q: How many art directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Does it HAVE to be a light bulb?

Q: How many copy editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: The last time this question was asked, it involved art directors. Is the difference intentional? Should one or the other instance be changed? It seems inconsistent.

Q: How many marketing directors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: It isn’t too late to make this neon instead, is it?

Q: How many proofreaders does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Proofreaders aren’t supposed to change light bulbs. They should just query them.

Q: How many writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: But why do we have to CHANGE it?

Q: How many publishers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Three. One to screw it in, and two to hold down the author.

Q: How many booksellers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, and they’ll be glad to do it too, except no one shipped them any.

Q: How many editors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: You’ve already screwed in too many light bulbs. Repetition!

Q: How many writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One, and they like to give it a good twist at the end.

Q: How many writers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one, but the light bulb has to endure a series of conflicts and challenges before it finally changes.

Q: How many reviewers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. They just stand back and critique while you do it.

Q: How many netgilantes does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Did he use an English word? Must be a writer! Let’s lynch him!!!!

Q: How many reviewers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, but first they have to tell you why they didn’t like how you did it.

Q: How many Kindleboards authors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One, followed by a 12-page, passionately-argued thread about how much the light bulb should cost.

Q: How many forum users does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: One, but in the following ten-page discussion, someone will invoke a comparison to Nazis.

Q: How many authors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one but you also need an editor, proof reader, cover artist, and an agent to be there at the same time.

Book Review: McGrave by Lee Goldberg

Mcgrave Mcgrave by Lee Goldberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are some books that you read and feel enlightened about the world around you. There are some books that are fascinating and insightful, making you think. Then there are some that are just unashamedly fun.

McGrave is a straight up actioneer, pure fun, and revels in what some would call cheesy cliches. Instead these cliches are actually part of the humour Less has used to make this story fun.

This story was originally written as a pilot for TV and reminds me greatly of the 80s cop shows. In fact, if you ever saw the hilarious Sledge Hammer, then you could imagine a similar take on action and cop adventure played straight. This McGrave adventure is certainly an escapist pleasure and it had me laughing and entertained throughout.

Treat yourself, unless your idea of a treat is Tolstoy.

View all my reviews

Perth Writers’ Festival 2012

It is a busy day today. I have been booking my itinerary for the Perth Writers’ Festival for 2012.

I really enjoyed myself at the festival last year and am looking forward to this year’s event. For anyone who wants to go or just wants to see what is happening, check out the links for the program. Jo Nesbo will be there, so crime writing is well represented.

Online itinerary.
Download the brochure.

E-readers are filled with garbage?

An article in The Guardian on Sunday suggested that garbage, which they defined as genre fiction, was the big seller on Kindles and e-readers. See article here.

Prepare for the irony.

Okay, irony aside, The Guardian has published a number of articles extolling the inferiority of e-readers and e-books. For example, they deride romance and erotica as genres, yet they have always sold well. They deride horror, yet Steven King has been a bestselling author for 40 years. Excuse my cherry picking, but I can’t be bothered digging out my stats sheets to bury this argument further.

For years the literary fiction and biography markets have been kept afloat by the gift and commuter sales. Commuters can’t be seen to be reading anything other than high art or an intriguing insight into some mundane public figure, whose only claim to fame was being able to stand in front of a camera at the right moments. Similarly the books people received as gifts were always some intellectual boorish bunk posing as entertainment.

Now commuters don’t have to have the cover of their book on display and are free to read what they actually enjoy reading. Gift givers are wising up and going to wishlists and giving download vouchers. This isn’t just the end of snobbery, it is the start of truly great works of fiction.

Book review: Origin by Joe Konrath

OriginOrigin by J.A. Konrath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

People would assume that because I’m a writer I would have heard of Joe Konrath as a result of his excellent blog about writing and self-publishing. Well, I’d like to say that I found out about the world of self-publishing and writing via Joe after I’d become a fan of his books. I liked his mix of humour and darkly themed tales. I especially liked his novel Shaken, which had me buying anything else I could find of his.

Actually, come to think of it, Shaken may have been the first e-book that my wife and I bought.

Origin is less Jack Daniels and more horror, that is to say, it has less humour and is more about the thrills. Origin definitely keeps the pace up and is an enjoyable read. At about 60% finished (e-book remember) I had trouble putting this book down to do even important tasks, like take the dog out and make tea.

I’ve given 4 stars, but it is somewhere between a 3.5 and 4 star book. The mix of genres works most of the time, but at other times it feels like someone should be eaten by a monster, not making doe eyes. Definitely a book for horror fans, or anyone who likes thrills and can handle a little horror.

View all my reviews

Facebook changes

Over the past week there has been a lot of noise surrounding the changes to Facebook. The big one is the change-over to timeline and, thus, the highlighting of old posts. I thought that while some of my friends are leaping off Facebook I’d like Zuckerburg and Co. to do something to entice them back.
We need some new buttons like these:

Books for tall people

Clearly this is a bookstore or library catering to a couple of Dutch customers. All the Dutch people I know are scientists, so they need a reference section there as well.

Australian Year of the Farmer

I’m a country boy. That means I know how to drive most machinery, shoot a gun and kill my own food. It also means that one leg is longer than the other to walk around the hills.

Please spend five minutes seeing how awesome farmers are.

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