Support the Secular Student Alliance

It’s this easy:

1. Like the SSA Facebook page. You do not need to be a student to do this, you need only support our cause.
2. Upvote the reddit article to push back against all the Christian down votes.
3. Become a member of the SSA ($35/year, $10/year for students) and/or donate to the SSA. You do not need to be a student to become a member! The upcoming generation of secular activists requires the support of the previous generation! And you know that we’re a 501(c)(3), so this shiz is straight up tax deductible, homie.
4. Spread the word even further! Tweet about it. Facebook it. G+ it. Shout it from the mountain tops. Get a pic. Do a blog! Tell them the taaaaaaaaaaaaale!

Why should you do some or all of that? Because they make a difference:

The mission of the Secular Student Alliance is to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student communities that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics. We envision a future in which nontheistic students are respected voices in public discourse and vital partners in the secular movement’s charge against irrationality and dogma.

The Secular Student Alliance is a 501(c)3 educational nonprofit. We work to organize and empower nonreligious students around the country. Our primary goal is to foster successful grassroots campus groups which provide a welcoming community for secular students to discuss their views and promote their secular values. Though our office is based in Columbus, Ohio and our affiliated campus groups are predominantly in the United States, we do support affiliates around the world.

It’s about time secular students had a voice, don’t you think? They’ve got 18,000+ Likes so far. Campus Crusade for Christ has almost 60,000. Let’s even up those numbers, and show these freethinking kids we’ve got their backs.

Donors Choose: Swag!

Right. We did one hell of a job on the Donors Choose Science Bloggers for Students challenge, my darlings. We held on to an easy third place behind PZ “1 Million Hits a Month Easy” Myers and Phil “I’m a Teevee Star!” Plait. That calls for some kind of award!

Oh, hey, I promised you awards, didn’t I?

So here’s what I need from you in order to deliver: email me to let me know who you are, how much you donated, whether I can give you public recognition or not, and if so under what name. Yahoo knows me as dhunterauthor. I’d just go off the Donors Choose page, but it hasn’t got any contact info, so only those who respond back to me have a chance to get swag. Fair enough, right?

Let’s see what we had in the mix:

1. Highest donor gets a short story, by me.

2. Second-highest gets a hand sample personally collected.

3. Starving Students Poem Drawing, wherein if your name is chosen, you get a poem by moi. Might do a few of these. Depends on how poetic I’m feeling.

4. Mount St. Helens posters. There’s three going, and everybody’s got a chance to win one.

5. Short story to our final donor.

That’s quite a lot of swag, but you guys donated quite a lot of money. Our final total was $2938. We reached funded 8 projects completely, and reached 891 kids with those funds. Not bad at all!

Mr. M, whose trip to Great Basin National Park we funded, has written us a couple of notes, which I shall combine here:

I hope our donors realize how much this trip means to our students. Every year we take our fourth graders on an overnight field trip to Ely, Nevada and Great Basin National Park. We experience not only the beautifully unique geological features of Central Nevada but also an historical train ride in which we learn about the impact that “high speed transportation” made on our past economy.
This trip has become a tradition at our school. My class is already talking about it because their older siblings participated. This is our fourteenth year and we hope to continue indefinitely. Your generosity is awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to make this experience possible for our kids.

To everyone who made this bus possible: You hold a special place in our hearts. You are the best of the best!”

With gratitude,
Mr. M

That’s rather how I feel about you, my darlings!

We did amazing good work here. I’m so damned proud of you I haven’t even got the words to express it. I have got words for the stories etc. I promised, however, so no worries on that.

Thank you. Thank you times the age of the earth, thank you.

Geological Photo Touring: Bringing Landscapes Alive

This is absolutely glorious. Set aside ten minutes and savor it:

Ellen Morris Bishop is one of my favorite geology writers in the entire universe. Her In Search of Ancient Oregon is a confection of geology, paleontology, and superb photography. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much while my eyes have been presented so much gourmet candy. I need to get me on one of her geology photo tours someday.

Geology, I’ve noticed, entirely changes ones perspective on landscapes. There are places I go now that I wouldn’t have thought beautiful or important or wonderful before, but do now. Places full of lovely scenery are all the more spectacular for knowing something of how they became so. I hope more people start doing things like this, because there’s nothing like seeing the world through a geologist’s eyes to make you adore it all the more.

As Ellen said, “Oftentimes people don’t really know enough to engage their imagination.” Knowing, that precious knowing, allows us to look at the seemingly ordinary and see the extraordinary.

Thank you, Ellen, for giving us that knowledge!

Doctor Who + Geology = WIN!

Not even waiting for Los Links to feature this one. My dear friend Ryan Brown, who blogs at Glacial Till, has a fantastic post up, if you love geology, Doctor Who, or both, you must go read it: Geology 101: Deep Time, or Geologists as Time Lords.

To inspire you on your way, I shall now post a photo of the Tenth Doctor looking a bit like a geologist:

Image Source

Close enough. Give that man a beer.

Dana’s Dojo: Advice to the Beginning Author

Today in the Dojo: Some hard-won lessons from 30 years of the writing life.

So, kick-ass blogging buddy JT Eberhard is beginning a story. I started reading it expecting the worst, then got sucked in, then decided I will murtilate him if he doesn’t continue. But beginning is hard, and continuing even harder. And I know he’s not the only person who’s got a story begun and is terrified that a) it sucks, b) it’ll be impossible to write, and c) he’ll never, ever have the writing chops to pull it off.

Just wait ’til you hit the “ZOMG this is sooo not original!” phase of your young writing life. Let me just nip that one in the bud right here, right now: No, it’s not. Everything people think of as original is, when boiled down to its essence, an idea that a billion other people have had before. It’s how you execute your ideas that matters. That’s where originality comes from: combining disparate elements and adding your own particular twist to what, on the surface, seems to be a tired old idea done to death.

Right. Now we’ve got that dispensed with, on with it. Let me give you folks who are just getting started a little bit of friendly formerly-Southwestern-but-now-Northwestern advice. Hopefully, by the time you’ve hit the end, you will feel yourself prepared to tackle this beast that is storytelling.

However. There is one question that must be answered before we proceed: must you write this story? Is it forcing its way out of you, rip-claw-tearing away at your brain, keeping you awake at night? Do you find yourself filled with a sense of dread when you contemplate dying before having written it?

If the answer is no, consider carefully before you proceed, because it may not be worth the effort you’ll have to put in.

If the answer is yes, go below. You have no other choice.

Right. Nuts and bolts, then. What’s stopping you from getting that story out? You’ve got a world, you may even have a plot, a few characters, and you’ve got no idea what to do with them. None of this is a problem. It’s what being a beginner is all about. We were all there once. So herein is contained my condensed advice, my crash course, on getting the fucking story from brain to page.

1. Read your ass off. Yes, you’ve been doing that, you read all the time. But this is a different kind of reading, in which you pick up your favorite books and/or stories, and tear them apart. You pay attention to how the writer handled elements like plot, description, characterization, theme, mood, dialogue, suspense – everything.

2. Read books on writing. Not just the nuts-and-bolts how-to stuff, but books that follow specific writers, showing their techniques, exploring how they wrote specific books. I started not sucking by reading Writer’s Digest how-to books. Elements of Fiction Writing, people, I lived by those. I read arious how-to books specific to SF. And then, when that was no longer enough, I turned to books that talked about how Tolkien created Lord of the Rings, and how LOTR had impacted the literary world, and by the time I got done reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, I was a far better writer than before.

Read things like The Hero With a Thousand Faces. And absolutely read Writing the Breakout Novel, but not until you’ve got a solid foundation and have written some number of pages first.

You will have noticed that’s a shitload of reading. You are not wrong. This is what being a writer requires.

3. Follow Livia Blackburne on Twitter. Seriously. That woman points to some incredible resources. Oh, and download her book right now. It’s short, it’s $2.99, it’s about the neuroscience of writing, and you need it.

4. Write. Stop looking at me like that. You want to write a novel, but I’m not telling you that yes, obviously, you should write it. I’m telling you to write. Character sketches, wherein you just babble about a character, getting to know who and what they are. Scenes, in which there’s no beginning, middle or end, but you’re working out relationships between people, practicing description and other elements that you’re not certain you’re good at. Short stories, in which you write something with a beginning, middle and end, hopefully with a plot, dialogue, description, and perhaps even a theme, set in the world of your novel or even outside it. Keep a writing journal, in which you can place all those fragments of thought, those disparate bits of research, work out sticky problems, and explore various and sundry without the pressure of the Inner Editor watching over your shoulder.

Write every day. You don’t have to write stories every day, necessarily, but you should be working on your writing every single damned day. That can include reading. It can also include watching movies, watching teevee, playing video games, studying people, doing research, as long as what you’re doing during all of those activities is pulling it apart for your writing, learning the craft. And you must absolutely must set aside time for the Actual Writing, in which what you are writing is Fiction, and not watching teevee et al. Because if you don’t, you will never, ever, get that story out. And that’s the point of all this work, isn’t it?

5. Find Wise Readers. Find people who will read your words and tell you more about them than, “That was nice, dear.” Find people who have good taste in reading, who read the kind of stuff you write, who are not afraid to tell you where you suck and where you shine. Make them read your shit and be honest. And then stick all of their advice in a folder somewhere and walk away from it. Take it under advisement. Don’t do anything to the story based on their feedback until you are done writing, unless of course you agree completely and must fix that bit least the story fall down while you’re building it. The thing is, if you start tinkering too soon, the story will fall down anyway. And what people don’t like when reading it apart from the rest may work wonderfully well when the whole thing’s done.

You might want to withhold your work from other eyes until it’s complete. But if you can’t wait, learn how to handle advice without letting it dictate your story. My rule is that at least three people must agree before I’ll give their criticism close consideration, unless what one or two people have said gels with what I thought was wrong, in which case I’m grateful for the outside confirmation.

6. Don’t Post Publicly. Yes, your work is copyrighted the instant it falls from your brain to the page. No, that don’t mean jack diddly shit on the intertoobz. Lock it away behind an invite-only wall, because that will keep it safer, and make it easier to prove it’s your darling if some idiot tries to sell it as their own. However, you shouldn’t get all paranoid. It happens, but do not let those few instances make you into a miserable suspicious person who runs around screaming, “They’re gonna steal my ideas!!!” They’re probably not. You should just make it a bit harder for anyone to do so, just in case.

There’s a better reason for this: publishers sometimes consider stuff you’ve put on your public blog to be already published. You don’t want them to do that.

Snippets, on the other hand, aren’t a problem. Entice people to your writing blog with a few public goodies. Just enough to get them hooked. “Would you like a scene, little kid?” Heh heh heh…

And that’s enough to get you started. But here’s what you need to keep going:

Trust your characters. Get to know them well enough, and they stop being bits of you and start being themselves. Then they know what they want and need and how they’re going to react in specific situations. They go from being puppets to people, and your job is to frantically write down their doings, then polish the result.

Trust yourself. Put in the hard work, and you’ll get there. You’ll develop those writerly instincts. You’ll know when things are going right and when they’re going wrong, and what to do about both situations.

Give it time. You need time. Your stories need time. Take the time to practice and perfect and grow and learn. Take the time to get it right. Don’t think you have to succeed right fucking now. You don’t. There’s plenty of time to fall before you fly. And we all fall. But so many of us end up soaring on the convection currents after that freefall! Even if you don’t, just remember a wise Japanese proverb: fall seven, up eight. Get back up. You’ve got time to do it again. And again, and again, until you soar.

Get to it. Make the magic happen.

But Real Names Solve Everything!

Some of the developers at Google apparently have a very limited experience with online life. The geniuses who designed Hangouts created no way to boot disruptive people out, perhaps thinking that since everybody’s supposed to use their real names, they’ll all behave like perfect angels.

But they don’t. People with apparent “real names” have started crashing Hangouts, acting like complete morons, making it impossible for the people who were there for discussion to have one.

Google worked a few inadequate solutions in. Hey, you can block people, and they can’t join future Hangouts! Very useful, Google, thanks. Especially since vandals like these rove in gangs, and will just send more people to disrupt.

Or, you can make your Hangout invitation-only! Which kills it for educators and others who want to make their Hangouts as inclusive as possible. Also, people already in the Hangout can invite others in. Guess what vandals will do?

Additionally, they’re “report this person” feature does not include an option for “because they’re a piece of shit with nothing better to do than fuck with random people.” They need to at least modify it so you can add an explanation as to why you’re reporting someone. And to avoid malicious reporting, they need to have a robust review in place – something I seriously doubt they’ve got now, based on their deficiencies in other areas.

So much for that vaunted “real name” policy keeping the rabble out. And if they try to give us that “but we’re now supporting ‘nyms, so of course there will be icky people!” shit, just remember: they aren’t yet. The names of the people who busted in and made fools of themselves during Ron’s Geology Office Hours had names that appeared real. They proudly displayed photos. A “real name” policy does nothing to police the populace. Giving people the tools to block noxious numbskulls in real time and report them adequately, with proper safeguards in place, is the only thing that will work.

We’ll see if Google ever figures that out. If not, Hangouts will quickly cease to be of use to anyone who’s interested in actually hanging out rather than making mayhem, and there will be one less reason to use G+.

Los Links 10/21

I’m afraid there’s rather a lot. Dear Aunty Flow was here last week, so all I was good for was sitting very still for several days, reading blog posts between waves of pain. Then people kept posting more awesome shit, and wouldn’t stop, and by the end of the week, my list of unread links was enormous, and I couldn’t help but to read nearly all of them despite the fact I really should’ve been doing other things.

I have no self control.

But I have a lot more knowledge than I had at the beginning of the week, so you shall hear no complaints. Now, on with the links!


Mountain Beltway:  Words matter .

The Plainspoken Scientist: Use your words (wisely) .

The Biology Files: The meaning of words for scientists and the public: context matters.

Southern Fried Science: The Importance of Word Choice: Terms with multiple meanings for scientists and the public.


Occupy Wall Street

Decrepit Old Fool: Occupy BloNo – the local Occupy Wall Street group.

Mike the Mad Biologist: Is Our Media Learning? Not When David Brooks Is Around.

Threat Level: In a Single Month, the Occupation Became a Force.

The Atlantic: Public Radio Host Fired After Speaking for Occupy D.C.

Almost Diamonds: Outing the Ringers.

Lousy Canuck: Science dispels “vagueness” about Occupy Wall Street and
Everywhere a sign.

Balloon Juice: Long Division.

Occupy Cyberspace – American Autumn:

How I Was Arrested at Occupy Wall Street.

Blue Collar Atheist: Thank you, Occupy Wall Street.

Occupy Writers: By Lemony Snicket.



It is NOT Junk: Arsenic, quasicrystals and the myth of the science martyr.

Degrees of Freedom: The Periodic Table, and Why Batteries Don’t Work the Way You Think.

Life = Science + k: The rise of DIY labs.

Through the Looking Glass: Who speaks for the trees?

The Primate Diaries: Sacrifice on the Serengeti: Life History, Genetic Relatedness, and the Evolution of Menopause.

Earth-Pages: The useful geoneutrino.

Dinosaur Tracking: A Beautiful Baby Dinosaur.

Clastic Detritus: Friday Field Photo #158: Looking over Glacier Grey in Patagonia.

Science Daily: Earthquakes Generate Big Heat in Super-Small Areas.

OUP Blog: Cockroaches, who needs ‘em?

New Scientist: Rover scientist: Why I’m spending 13 days underwater.

Astrophile: The rebel star that broke the medieval sky.

Cocktail Party Physics: Burn, Baby, Burn: Understanding the Wick Effect.

Contrary Brin: Arguing With Your Crazy Uncle About Climate Change.

io9: Canvassing the Universe: How Artists Create Scientifically Accurate Images of Faraway Worlds.

Decrepit Old Fool: Invasive species in Normal – unexpected learning.

Earth and Mind: Going Negative on “Negative Feedback”.

White Coat Underground: Baseball and quackery.

Outside the Interzone: Volcanic Ramblings Part 5: Lotsa Lakes and Volcanic Ramblings Part 6: Cascades Slop Over Into Basin and Range.

The Scicurious Brain: The Pill and Relationship Satisfaction, aka the power of interpretation.

EurekAlert: Amorphous diamond, a new super-hard form of carbon created under ultrahigh pressure.

Nature News: Warning on neural technique.

The Guardian: Teenagers’ IQ scores can rise or fall sharply during adolescence.

BBC: Viewpoint: How do our bacteria help us?

The Last Word on Nothing: What Makes a Pun Funny?

Off the Shelf Edge: Conglomeratic submarine canyon fill, Point Lobos, California.

Disease Prone: Cerebral Palsy Challenger.

Eruptions: Mt. Rainier Earthquakes: When the “News” Isn’t News.

Highly Allochthonous: Does plate tectonics control magnetic reversals?

The Guardian: Global warming study finds no grounds for climate sceptics’ concerns.

White Coat Underground: I get mail!

Scientific American: Find the Hidden Colors of Autumn Leaves.

Nature News: Mastodon fossil throws up questions over ‘rapid’ extinction.

Oregon Live: 13,800-year-old Mastodon kill site in Washington: New window on lives of first Americans.

Mountain Beltway:  Bookshelfed mullions from Norway .

The New York Times: It’s Complicated: Dragonfly Love Comes Calling.

io9: What would the world look like if you approached the speed of light?

Science-Based Medicine: The Cure.

Discovery News: Glowing Sand Tells Time: No Hourglass Needed.

Science-Based Medicine: Reiki.

Bad Astronomy: Astronomers have found when and how the cosmic fog was lifted and The first direct image of a baby planet being born! (maybe!)(but probably!).

Not Exactly Rocket Science: Scientists correct the typo behind a genetic liver disease  and “Living fossil” cycad plants are actually evolution’s comeback kings.

Chicago Tribune: Younger doctors not as pro-vaccine as older docs.

COSMOS: Seeing and not believing.

Starts With a Bang!: Game Over for Faster-Than-Light Neutrinos?

Scientific American: Lessons from Sherlock Holmes: The Importance of Perspective-Taking.

Geotripper:  Vagabonding Across the 39th Parallel: A Day of Black and White in the Rocky Mountains and Just Gotta Love Days Like This…Earthquakes, Earthquakes, Earthquakes.

Up-Section:  Teaching geoscience to religious students.

Roxy Drew: (Human) Sex Is Boring.

Glacial Till: Meteorite Monday: Impactites.

It’s Okay to be Smart: If this video doesn’t make your jaw drop … you don’t have a jaw.

Andrew Alden: Look Out for Underlooks.



The Passive Voice: How to Read a Book Contract – Where Are We Gonna Fight?

Boundary Vision: Learning about science writing from kids.

Write to Publish: Good Reads 101 – Part 2 Tell me about your book…

The Guardian: A life in writing: Terry Pratchett.

A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing: Guest Post by Rob Siders of 52 Novels.

io9: 10 Words You Might Think Came from Science (But Are Really From Science Fiction

) and MIT’s Technology Review publishes a special science fiction issue about the future.

Patricia C. Wrede: After the Writing.

Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week: Collateral damage of the non-open reviewing boycott.

Twenty Palaces: Why does realism matter?

Write it Forward: What Does It Take To Succeed in Self-Publishing?

WWJTD: The Beginning.


Women’s Issues

Man Boobz: MRAs cheer on the Seal Beach shooter: “Women are much more likely to pay attention when they’re being threatened.”

GeekOut: ‘Dammit Liz’ went to Geek Girl Con (and it was worth it).

Jezebel: Six Myths About Sex And Gender, Busted.

SFGate: OB/GYN’s solar suitcase saves lives in poor nations.

JAYFK: Woman finds doing math relatively easy.

Almost Diamonds: Why “No Means No”.

XX Factor: Men Aren’t Funnier Than Women, but We’ll Keep Pretending They Are.

BlogHer: The Girl Who Was Too Cool for Birth Control.

Crude Matter: Girlybits 101, now with fewer scary parts!

Skepchick: XOJane’s Cat Marnell: Performance Art or Gross Idiocy?

Context and Variation: Ladybusiness justice, and why Plan B shouldn’t be your only birth control.

Neurotic Physiology: XO Jane’s Health Editor…are you playing with me?

Feministe: Steven Greenstreet proves he’s definitely not a misogynist by making rape jokes.

Pandagon: Speaking out about OWS sexual harassment.

AAUW Dialog: The Hormones Made Her Do It.


Atheism and Religion

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: Real Historian Eviscerates Barton Book and Dominionists Try to Hide Their Agenda.

Scientific American: The Real Science behind Scientology.

Rock Beyond Belief: Penn Jillette misses the point about Atheists and the Chaplaincy.

Mother Jones: America’s Atheist Warriors.

The Guardian: Why I refuse to debate with William Lane Craig.

Stupid Evil Bastard: Jesus Ween – Once again some Christians try to take the fun out of something popular.

Almost Diamonds: Taking It Downhill.

Digital Cuttlefish: Are Evangelicals Dangerous? A Response.

Greta Christina: Religion Relies on Social Consent.


Mother Jones: Perry Officials Censored Climate Change Report.

Mike the Mad Biologist: Just Go Galt Already, Will You?

AlterNet: It’s 2011 — Why Is God Still Involved In American Politics?

Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub: Because Obama opposes them, Limbaugh endorses terrorists and murderers.

Paul Krugman: Rabbit-Hole Economics.

Science Insider: Ron Paul Would Erase Billions in Research Spending.

McClatchy: Commentary: How to explain Herman Cain.


Society and Culture

Lousy Canuck: Unpacking the Astrology Vs Computers lawsuit.

The Crommunist Manifesto: Canada’s hate speech laws collide with reality.

Cnet: Bad Siri! She’ll let anyone use a locked iPhone 4S.

Contrary Brin: Was 1957 America Better Than Today? (An Outright Rant!) .

The Mary Sue: Kathleen Jennings Proves There Is No Classic Work of Literature That Cannot Be Improved By the Insertion of a Dalek.

Scruffymutt’s Posterous: How To Ruin Someone’s Life For No Good Reason.

Pam’s House Blend: Catholic Church is overstepping its bounds against marriage equality in Minnesota.

The Lay Scientist: Why did the BBC broadcast a clip comparing sex education teachers to paedophiles?

Prepare For… All Hallows Read [insert scary ghost noises here]

Neil Gaiman’s trying to own Halloween. I intend to help him. This is a tradition I’d very much like to see become as much a part of Halloween as the costumes and candy and strangely-carved pumpkins. The premise is simplicity itself:

That’s it: just give someone a scary book. Last year, I gave my intrepid companion the book Why Buildings Fall Down. Buildings falling down are fairly scary, and it’s a book appropriate to his interests. See how that works?

You can give a book to kids, adults, undecideds… anyone you like.

And, if you’re in the Seattle area, you could give them their scary book whilst taking them to Frankenstein, which would be double the awesome.

Whatever you do, just have fun. Halloween’s all about the fun. And the scary stories we tell each other with the lights off and possibly some peeled grapes at hand for props.

Don’t mind those Zombie Rights Campaign folks moaning about All Hallow’s Read. Moaning is just what zombies do. Give them a nice scary book. That’ll make them feel better.

Why SF Is Important

Last Sunday, I posted my own thoughts on the importance of speculative fiction. Okay, yes, it was a rant. I do that sometimes, when things get up my nose.

We’re going to follow up here today with a fantastic post that inspired me to post that one. It’s called In Defense of Geekery: Why Society Needs SF/F. It’s written by Becky Chambers. I want to buy her a drink. I want to buy her several. Because she managed to say what I needed to say in far fewer words:

The other kicker is that our stories are ones that could be, not ones that are. This is a vital distinction. If I tell you a disturbing story, and I say, “this is how it is right now,” you may be motivated to do something about it. More likely, however, you will end up like me and my friends, picking at fries and feeling hopeless. You’ll feel pessimistic and disillusioned. You’ll feel like our species totally sucks.
But if I show you a fantastical place – even a scary one – that lights up all the little imaginative parts of your brain, and I tell you, “this is how it could be,” that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.

“This is how it could be.” That’s exactly what we writers of SF are telling folks, only we’re not bawling it in their faces, but whispering it in their ears. We’re giving them a delicious tingle down the spine. We’re giving them ideas. We are, in fact, inspiring them.

Here, for me, is the money quote, one I may have to have printed on pamphlets to distribute in venues where Very Helpful People may approach me to advise I am wasting my life and my talents writing fantasy when I could be writing something useful instead:

But what about fantasy? Fantasy can’t exist, no matter how we may long for a dragon heartstring wand or a dire wolf pup. What value can there be in exploring an impossible world?
Well, what if we frame the question differently? What if we ask, “What value can there be in exploring character studies in heroism, friendship, creativity, perseverance, and bravery?”
…yeah, that’s not even a question.

It’s really not.

And the brilliant thing about what we SF writers do is this: we change lives and minds, inspire people to do great things (read the whole of Becky’s article, and you will see how Star Trek gave a little girl the stars), perhaps even save the world, and we do it whilst entertaining the hell out of them.

There are some great jobs in this world. I personally think being a geologist is near the top, and there’s stuff like firefighter and astronaut and cake decorator that are a damned lot of fun and make people’s lives better. There are many careers a person can have that are fun, rewarding, and necessary.

But I personally can’t think of one I love more than SF Author.