atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#1227: Arctic ice not melting to order.

"The Arctic did not experience the meltdowns forecast.... It didn't even come close."

Damn reality! It's not conforming to the computer models! Hurricane activity isn't worse and the ice caps aren't melting the right way! WTF!


Want to know why?

"Today's sun is as inactive as it was two years ago, and solar physicists don’t have a clue as to why."
[Geophysicist Phil Chapman] also noted that the world cooled quickly between January last year and January this year, by about 0.7C.

"This is the fastest temperature change in the instrumental record, and it puts us back to where we were in 1930," Dr Chapman noted in The Australian recently.
It's anyone's guess as to what is actually going on inside the sun, but there is a strong correlation between sunspot activity and global temperature: more sunspots generally equals warmer climate.

* * *

I was rereading the last novel in my SF series, and I couldn't put it down. I don't know if that means it's really all that damn good, but I was thinking that--other than fixing some exposition and adding more description--it really doesn't need much rework. The story, IMHO, kicks ass.

That's odd, because the last time I read it, I was thinking, "This really isn't as good as I thought it was." And I kept that mindset for quite a while. But this time I read it cold--it's been a rather long time since I read it last--and I was able to read it from the viewpoint of someone who didn't write the thing.

Well, okay, not really...but I was able to get my brain into a mode where I could see how a casual reader might see the story, and it let me realize some of the deficits of the story.

For example, the exposition problem. The story assumes that the reader has read the prior works, and that is something I strive to avoid. I want each novel to be self-contained, so that a person can read them in any order and not feel lost; yet by reading all the novels, the reader will grasp the larger story and have all his questions answered.

One of the things that has always bugged the hell out of me about other SF authors--Clarke in particular!--is the way they present us with a story and don't explain anything. Okay? 2001 is the prototypical example; Clarke wrote three stories in that world and none of them ever explained anything. It's a mystery why these monoliths are in the solar system, what they're here for, where they came from, etc, etc. (And he did the same kind of thing in Rendesvous with Rama and its sequels.)

Okay, look: mystery is all well and good, but I find it extremely unsatisfying when the mysteries are never explained. Just waving your hands and saying, "It's aliens! We wouldn't understand aliens!" is a cop-out. Okay, yes, if there are aliens out there there are bound to be aliens we can't understand, but we ought to be able to get something other than "well, it's alien super-technology, and we can't possibly understand it, not even a little bit."

In my stories, I never leave questions laying around permanently unanswered. The major plot question/suspense points get resolved, sooner or later; some exist for multiple stories, but they do get answered sooner or later.

The final volume puts everything to rest. It needs more fireworks, it needs more exposition, and it needs more neat stuff, but these are technical issues. The plot--which I had thought wasn't good--is good. The story hangs together rather nicely, too.

Even if I do say so myself.

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