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Jim Cambias
I am a writer, game designer, New Orleanian, cook, parent, and wood-splitter.
Recent Activity
There's an excellent series of online readings organized by Sarah Smith, Brookline's Grande Dame of Fantasy and Science Fiction, called Teatime Readings. I did one last week, and now everyone can enjoy it here. The first half of the video is me reading a chapter from The Initiate, and the... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
A while back I started thinking about the distant future. What can humanity expect if we don't invent a magic FTL drive, don't go extinct, and our civilization mostly putters along the way it has been since the invention of agriculture? I described some of my thoughts in this blog... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Like most of the rest of the world I've been thinking about diseases lately. What I've been thinking about is how mild the coronavirus epidemic has been. No, stop shouting at the screen and look at some numbers. The Spanish Flu: the post-World War I influenza epidemic caused 17-50 million... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
The little locally-owned supermarket up in Greenfield has a good selection of Mexican items — I don't mean Mission brand tortillas or Paul Newman salsa, I mean stuff like masa flour, corn husks for making tamales, and big bags of dried beans. This probably has something to do with the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
If you suddenly went from poverty to vast wealth, and could have more or less anything you wanted, what would you eat? Well, if you were Elvis Presley, the King of Rock 'n Roll, you'd have a sandwich. Specifically, a peanut butter-banana-and-bacon sandwich, sometimes on an entire loaf of bread... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
These weeks of enforced leisure have inspired me to go ahead and do some cooking projects I've long put off. I did the first of them this past Saturday, a dish called Bucatini Alla Flamande. It's a molded pasta dish — you line a pudding basin or a rounded double... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Seven centuries ago, the Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio wrote a series of stories, presented as tales told by a group of travelers seeking refuge from the Black Death in a house near Florence. The tale-telling takes place over ten nights, giving the work it's title: The Decameron. In the present... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
The big stargazing news this spring is Comet ATLAS (it's in all caps because it's named for the acronym-titled instrument which discovered it, not the ancient Greek Titan). It's been getting some attention in the skywatching and pop-science press because it has been brightening much faster than expected as it... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
My short story "Treatment Option" will be the lead episode of the new DUST studios podcast series Flight 008, which releases tomorrow, March 25. You can listen to it here. There's even a nifty trailer video! This project began as a Web-based fiction collection, Seat 14C, which was part of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
As an SF writer my thoughts naturally turn to the future. What will be the long-term effects of this pandemic? Telecommuting: This may be the tipping point for telecommuting and working from home. A lot of businesses have resisted the idea much longer than they should have — chiefly, I... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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In a time of alarm over virus transmission, how dangerous is a gathering of people? This post from Tyler Cowan's blog features a risk assessment calculator, giving the probability that someone at an event is carrying the Wuhan Coronavirus, based on the size of the event and the number of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
A couple of weeks ago the Crack Team launched an expedition to the distant isle of Manhattan. We toured the museum ship Intrepid, saw an exhibit of clockwork automata at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, ate some fancy food, and saw a matinee of Lin-Manuel Miranda's famous hip-hop musical Hamilton.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Freeman Dyson has died. He had a long, productive, and apparently happy life, so it's not really sad news for him. It's sad news for the rest of the species, which will have to get by without one of the modern era's foremost intellects. He was one of those scientists... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Things I've seen in the past few days: • Disposable plastic gloves now get a listing on the supermarket aisle sign. • Big displays of disinfectant wipes at the front of multiple stores. • No dust masks at any hardware store. What have you noticed? Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
If you have enjoyed reading my posts about The Initiate here on my 'blog, you can venture into another medium! Listen to an interview with me about the book on the Baen Free Radio Hour podcast, linked here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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This weekend my promotion tour for my new novel The Initiate comes to its exciting finish with a double-header of bookstore events. This evening at 6:00 p.m. I'll be reading from the book and signing copies at the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences shop in Providence, Rhode Island. It's in the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
This coming Friday, February 21, the Lovecraft Arts & Sciences shop will host an evening of fantasy and horror. I'll be reading from my new contemporary noir fantasy novel The Initiate, along with special guests Catherine Grant and Daphne Gem Host. The store is in the historic Providence Arcade, at... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
No, I'm not talking about politics. I'm talking about talking about politics. I recently read a couple of interesting essays. The first, by economist Robin Hanson, is "Respectable Rants" — his standards for good political rhetoric. Note that he's not trying to limit politicians to a Rain Man style recitation... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Andrew Liptak at Tor.com asked some science fiction writers what they'd like to see from future Star Wars projects. You can read my answer here. And if you're in or near Worcester, Mass., at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, swing by Annie's Book Stop of Worcester, at 65 James Street on the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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The wait is over, the stars are right, and all the necessary rituals are complete. My new modern-day noir fantasy novel The Initiate is officially released today. Pick up a copy in your local bookstore, or buy on line. Get Initiated! And if you're going to be in the neighborhood... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Polygon's roundup of new fantasy and science fiction recommendations for February includes my new book The Initiate. Check out the article here. The official publication date is tomorrow, so get ready to hit the stores! Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Today is, of course, 02/02/2020, so happy Palindrome Day! What makes this one rather special is that it's Palindrome Day no matter where you live and what format you use for writing dates. In the month-day-year zone based on American practice, we had Palindrome Days on January 2, 2010 (01/02/2010)... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Well, there's no "U" in "Color" so I guess it sucks. Actually, it doesn't. Color Out of Space is a sincere and competent attempt to film a completely unfilmable story. As a horror movie, it succeeds at its most basic task: scaring the audience. My wife spent about half the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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This post is about a common thread I've noticed in the works of two very different writers: Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Clive Staples Lewis. (One of their few similiarities is that both are known by their first two initials.) C.S. Lewis, of course, is famous as the author of the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking
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My new novel The Initiate comes out in two weeks from Baen Books. In this modern dark fantasy thriller, Samuel Arquero fights alone against the Apkallu, the ancient and secret order of wizards who rule the world. But what price must he pay? Join me and special guest Suzanne Palmer,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2020 at Just The Caffeine Talking