Bits and Pieces

Starfarers, by Vonda N. McIntyre. Cover art by RBrandtStarfarers, Book 1 of The Starfarers Quartet, begins its free serial version today. eBook versions will premiere soon. The cover art is courtesy of Robert Brandt, who came to my rescue (I am decidedly non-artistic) on short notice.

I wrote about the unique genesis of Starfarers recently. The path of Starfarers to BVC was a little bit rocky, passing as it did through a couple of American publishers (going OP before I had a chance to buy some copies for Basement Full of Books, alas), and a couple of British publishers, one of which bought the series and then decided not to publish it because, as far as I could make out from the puzzling explanation, the editor decided British readers wouldn’t understand it. (Beware, British readers!) The other publisher expressed confidence that British readers would, in fact, get it… and then turned up its little toes and died. Too bad: it would have put out a neat edition, and it was a nice small press staffed by nice folks.

But the British edition was not to be, so I’m glad to be able to reprint the Starfarers books at Book View Cafe.

Transition, by Vonda N. McIntyre. Cover art by R.BrandtIn other news… I am still John Hodgman. The new Mac is perhaps too clever for me. I’ve discovered at least four methods of making the tiny native font large enough to read comfortably, but every one has truly irritating drawbacks. I can’t be the only person in the universe who has trouble reading ant tracks, can I? Granted I am rather myopic (I’m not sure they let you into SFWA if you have 20/20 vision), but my corrected eyesight is pretty OK. I’m just not a hawk-eyed teenager anymore. (OK, I admit it, I was never a hawkeyed teenager. I was one of those teenagers who could read in the dark like a cat, and now I go around in a most irritating fashion saying, “You can’t possibly read in that light!” and turning on lights.)

Please don’t lecture me on how to magnify the text in a web page or in a word processing document. I know how to do that. I know how to change the default type size in FireFox so I can read it. That does not, however, enlarge the print on the status bar or the location bar, both of which I like to be able to, like, you know… see. Same with Microsoft Help Files. When I look at them I wonder if the designers are having a competition to see who can do layout in the smallest type, and they’re having an arms race with screen designers who are seeing how small they can make the pixels.

This is actually quite funny since what it means is that we’re all expected to read what amouns to dot-matrix print. Dot-matrix print in a very small size. Does anybody even remember dot-matrix print? Editors wouldn’t even allow you to submit manuscripts that came off a dot-matrix printer because — it was too hard to read!

(Yes. It’s true. I’ve been around since the dawn of the personal computer age. My first machine was a tan case Osborne I with a four-digit serial number, 64Kb (not a typo) of RAM, and two single-sided single-density 5.25″ floppy drives. You ran the program off one drive and you could put an entire chapter of a novel on the disk in the second drive! It was magic.)

In other other news, Western Washington in general and Seattle in particular are very pretty in the fall:

Seattle in Fall -- Photo by VNM

But now it’s raining. Thus the moss.

Olympic National Forest: Rain Forest. Photo by VNM

And, finally, meet my octopods:

Meet my octopods -- Photo by VNM

— Vonda

The Starfarers Quartet begins today at Book View Cafe. The serial version is free.



Bits and Pieces — 4 Comments

  1. It sure is. Sometime when I’m not so rushed (yesterday was kind of harried) I’ll take a better picture of it so you can see its friends, which include a glass octopus, a ceramic octopus, and a crocheted finger-puppet octopus. Then there’s the glow-in-the-dark octopus that I made for a friend; its picture is at about 3/4 of the way down the left-hand navigation frame.