New hypothesis for Fermi’s Paradox

Fermi’s Paradox: If there are so many potentially habitable planets, where are all the aliens?

On Gizmodo today, there’s a new, interesting hypothesis to answer Fermi’s Paradox, called the “Gaian Bottleneck Hypothesis.”

— essentially:

  • life takes a long time to develop, from single-celled molecules to complex life.
  • It is rare to find a planet’s atmosphere that is stable long enough  for this to happen

If true, three things:

1) our planet is a rare, rare anomaly (ie:  treasure)

2) this means the ‘Great Filter’ — planetary extinction — is ahead of us yet

3) there’s going to be a booming job market for xenoarchaeologists! Can’t wait to get my degree.


Novel progress tends to be fairly boring for onlookers. I doubt muralists have these kind of target doodads. All the same, passing up 65k words felt like a big milestone for me.

Scrivener helps me out here.

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Sherwood Nation selected for Silicon Valley Reads 2016

I am really excited to reveal this bit of news that I’ve been holding onto. Sherwood Nation will be Silicon Valley’s 2016 community reads book, along with Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta. Hooray!

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In all, I’ll be visiting the Silicon Valley (San Jose, Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, etc!) for a total of between twelve and twenty events in 2016. The first will be the Silicon Valley Reads kick-off on January 26th. Here is info on the kick-off.

iu-2There is something so weirdly ironic about posting this news from here, deep in the Oregon desert  at a two week writing residency where internet is as scarce as water. I’m researching a book about archaeology, in which the height of technology is the Clovis point.  And a fearsome, game-changing technology it was, thirteen thousand years ago. I also find it interesting that after a career in tech, my first visit to the Silicon Valley will be for literature, to talk about a book that, because of the collapse, is essentially devoid of digital technology.

At any rate, I can’t wait, and I look forward to talking about the book with all those new readers.

Playa at Summer Lake

I’m here for two weeks to get serious on this book.  So far it is working, with some scattered anxiousness and various bits of fretting.

Summer Lake is incredible – a seasonal lake. When you’re in the middle of it, you feel like you’re on a different planet. 

There’s drought here, of course, like everywhere in the west. And so the lake disappeared a little earlier. In the center of it, there is not a thing alive. No insects, no birds fly over, no other human can be seen. Eerie.

Also I’ve made some friends.

Here’s a 360 I made from the center.

Things I read (or failed to read) this summer

I tried and failed to read Knausgaard. His struggle ultimately became My Failure as I gave up the book two-thirds the way through (sorry book group!). I’m happy for the  gazillion other people who think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but I’ll take Bolaño any day in the genre of enormous lit

Giving up My Struggle freed up room to pick up these awesome NW spec-lit books – the authors of which (Sharma Shields, Shya Scanlon, and J. Robert Lennon/ literambivalence) I’ll be on a panel with at the Montana Book Festival.  I finished  See You in Paradise highly recommended. Can’t wait to read Shields & Scanlon. Also, and next up for book group: I’m loving Austerlitz.

I was asked to write my first blurb. For Microcosm press I read The Velocipede Races – awesome, fun feminist bicycle fiction.

Research for the next book continues – I’ll be visiting dig sites in SE Oregon this September, while at Playa

Lastly: I’ll be picking up Emmi Itäranta’s Memory of Water shortly, for a really awesome event we’ll be doing together but which I cannot yet announce…