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Jim Cambias
I am a writer, game designer, New Orleanian, cook, parent, and cat-slapper.
Recent Activity
The new Apollo 11 documentary is amazing. There's footage I've never seen, and I've probably watched every space documentary made in the past forty years. Skip this week's crop of comic book heroes and see a film about real ones. Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Just The Caffeine Talking
Let us return to those thrilling days of yesteryear . . . specifically to Restoration-era England, when a group of intellectually curious men began to meet at Gresham College to watch scientific experiments and discuss matters like how gravity works and whether blood circulates. At first they were informally known... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Despite the portentious title (or pretentious, your choice), this is actually just a link to a video. Here are some musicians performing in zero-gee, courtesy of a plane flying parabolic arcs. I call this art of the future because I suspect in a few years' time we'll see something like... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Judith Dial (editor of the delightfully un-redacted Conspiracy! anthology) published some remarks on the Amazing Stories blog about the shifts in fandom which provide an interesting "parallax view" on my own musings about status and social class in SF. You can read her post here. Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
This Friday and Saturday I'll be appearing at the venerable Boskone science fiction convention, at the swanky Westin Waterfront hotel in Boston. Here's my schedule if you want to join in. Friday, February 15, 4:00 p.m.: The Most Alien Aliens A panel discussion about creating aliens and what our depictions... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
This weekend the family sat down to watch Bob Fosse's 1972 film Cabaret, adapted from the famous 1966 musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb. It was a first time for all of us: my wife hadn't seen it, nor had my son, and I had only seen a heavily... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
". . . with awful ceremony and trumpet's sound, throughout the host proclaim a solemn council forthwith to be held at Pandemonium . . . " — Paradise Lost This Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. I'll be at Pandemonium Books & Games in Cambridge for a reading, signing, and discussion of... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
The movie science fiction boom of the 1980s pumped a lot of money into the field. SF and fantasy authors began to get six-figure advances for novels, and sometimes cracked the New York Times bestseller list. Money and status usually go together (but not always, as we shall see in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
You can hear my voice on the latest episode of the Baen Free Radio Hour podcast, talking about Arkad's World and various digressions. Listen here. Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
I spent last weekend at the Arisia science fiction convention in the heart of Boston. My chief amusement at conventions is the panels. I don't like "filk" singing much, I can rent my own videos, and I don't wear costumes (other than my "professional SF writer" outfit). I keep intending... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
On Friday, January 18, I'll be doing two appearances to promote the release of Arkad's World. At 4:00 p.m. I'll be at Annie's Book Stop in Worcester, doing a reading and signing copies. Once that's done I'll scurry eastward to Boston, where I'll be a participant at the Arisia 2019... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
If you're planning to come see me at Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, I'm afraid tonight's event has been postponed due to a schedule conflict. When we set a new date I'll announce it here. But if you're desperate to see me in person, I will be at the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 17, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Think steam-powered spaceships are just a "steampunk" retro-fantasy notion? Think again. According to an article in Cosmos Magazine online, engineers are developing a steam-powered robotic asteroid hopper, intended for use in space resource harvesting. You can read the details here. Isambard Kingdom Brunel would approve. Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Marshal Zeringue has a fun 'blog with a neat premise: he asks writers what they're reading. To celebrate the launch of Arkad's World, he asked me to contribute an entry. You can see what I'm reading here. And if you're in Amherst, Massachusetts, tomorrow evening, please stop by Amherst Books... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
With the recent cold snap in New England I've been burning a lot of firewood. For several years now I've been cutting and splitting my own wood (it's cheaper than joining a health club for exercise), and I've learned quite a bit about firewood. Birch burns like plutonium, beetles will... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
I got my degree in history, and when I got to historical movies, I'm the one indignantly whispering to my seatmate about errors. Though actually I'm pretty charitable: I understand that movies do have budgets and physical limitations. If you're making a World War II movie and can't scrounge up... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
This is the Big Idea. Now you know. Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
I made the traditional New Orleans dinner for New Year's Day: Hoppin' John (=black-eyed peas and rice), Brown Cabbage, and sausage. It came out very well: the Hoppin' John was wonderfully rich, thanks to the goodness of a smoked pork hock, while the sausage was a pretty decent facsimile of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Today's the official publication date for my new book Arkad's World! Copies should be hitting the brick-and-mortar stores this week, and are already available for ordering online, so if you're wondering what to do with those gift cards or bundles of cash Santa left in your stocking, wonder no longer.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2019 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Five days to go before Arkad's World hits the shelves! If you're wondering what to do with that Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card Santa put in your stocking, try the novel that Booklist calls ". . . a feat of world-building: an expansive, believable setting with fascinating aliens,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 27, 2018 at Just The Caffeine Talking
As cultures develop a large and relatively affluent middle class, they develop what we call "pop culture." The upper class have "high culture" more or less by definition, and the lower class don't have the leisure time or spare wealth to create culture at all. Tom Wolfe chronicled this in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2018 at Just The Caffeine Talking
We recently re-watched Sam Peckinpah's famous gritty Western The Wild Bunch. This time around I realized something: at least one of the titular Bunch is a secret agent of the Time Patrol. The moment of revelation comes when the gang arrive at the headquarters of the corrupt Mexican warlord General... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2018 at Just The Caffeine Talking
One of the most anxious times for a writer is just before the book hits the stores, at the moment when the first reviews appear. You may like what you've written, your editor may like it, your wife and the people in your writing workshop may like it . .... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2018 at Just The Caffeine Talking
Christmas came about a week early this year! Look what arrived: freshly-printed copies of Arkad's World! If these volumes have reached my house, there's at least a sporting chance copies are getting to Amazon's warehouses or your local bookstore. Get your copy now! I honestly believe this is the best... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2018 at Just The Caffeine Talking
This year we had two and a half guests for Thanksgiving1and so decided to really pull out all the stops for an epic meal. The menu: Hors d'Oeuvres Pickled Herring in Sour Cream Oyster Patties Cremant de Bourgogne Viandes Roast Stuffed Breast of Turkey Sous-Vide Breast Turkey en Mole Juliénas... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2018 at Just The Caffeine Talking