July 4th, 2005


Tempel 1

I've spent the last hour or so online, looking at the astounding images from Deep Impact's collision with comet Tempel 1. After a journey of 172 days and 431 million kilometers (268 million miles), the little probe has successfully reached its destination, and many of the questions that mankind has spent millennia asking about the nature of cometary bodies — and perhaps the origins of life — will now be answered. Science has caught a falling star, so to speak. Comet Tempel 1 was discovered in 1867 by Ernst Tempel. The comet has made many passages through the inner solar system, orbiting the Sun every 5.5 years. It has a mass of 370-kg (~820-lbs), and is traveling at 23,000 mph. Here's a shot taken from the flyby spacecraft at or near the moment that the Deep Impact "smart impactor" made contact with the surface of the comet:

For my part, I'm entering into the peculiar depression that usually catches me immediately after I've "completed" something. Yesterday, I wrote 1,256 words and finished Chapter Six of Daughter of Hounds (it has a total length of 11,846 words, shorter than Chapter Five). I'm so tired that I couldn't possibly write anything else today or tomorrow, or probably the day after, but my imagination is still in overdrive. My mind is still grinding away, regardless of the fact that I'm having trouble focusing my eyes on the screen. I went to sleep shortly after midnight, very early for me, and awoke about 7:30 from various nightmares, and was unable to get to sleep again. But Chapter Six is done. At least Chapter Six is done.

About that Amazon.com "review," "Failure of Genre-Switching," I want to make certain that I'm clear on a number of points. I'm not objecting to the fact that reader was unhappy with the novel. Having written Murder of Angels, I've done my part, and I can only ask that it be read. Whether or not people enjoy reading it, that's an issue entirely divorced from my work as an author (except, perhaps, as regards the impact of sales upon my future work and, of course, the emotional impact of negative "reviews" and reviews). You will like the book, or you will not. What I was objecting to was 1) the claim that MoA switches genre relative to Silk, 2) that a well-written work of fantasy requires of the author the sort of decades-long devotion lavished on Middle-Earth by Tolkien, 3) that I'm a "horror" writer, and 4) that Silk (wherein we first glimpse the hemispherical world of MoA) is a "horror" novel. None of these things are true, and I know that because I wrote these books, and that's what I was saying yesterday. I suspect this reader (who has chosen anonymity) was mostly disappointed that MoA wasn't Silk II, which it was emphatically not meant to be. That is, he or she simply wanted more of what I did in Silk and so wasn't particularly interested in what I did in MoA.

We didn't have Thai last night, because after the writing I was too tired to bother getting dressed for a real restaurant, so we had fiery Indian take-away, instead.
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