Welcome to Green Comet

These free novels, Creative Commons licensed Green Comet, and its sequels Parasite Puppeteers and The Francesians, tell an expansive story of love and adventure on an inhabited comet. To learn more about the trilogy, and for samples, visit the Welcome Page. To download the books, visit the downloads page.  The novel The Plainsrunner is available for purchase at these outlets. The Prime is available at these stores.

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Share Buttons Removed

I have decided to remove the buttons that allow visitors to share Green Comet posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. They slow down the loading of the site. They create a link to sites which have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with your data. Besides, no one seems to want to use them anyway.

Is anyone going to miss those buttons?


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The Cold Snap

That was the cold snap. Minus fourteen the first night, following a biting north wind that froze our doorknob on that side. Temperatures hovering near that mark for a couple of days, not changing much between day and night. Much colder not far north of here. I guess we just caught the southern fringe of the arctic outbreak. Snowing today and forecast to warm up over the next few days, all the way above freezing.

Guess what I heard:

“Cold enough for ya, yet? So much for global warming, eh?”

A thousand years of data won’t convince them, but one cold snap will. Although, I guess it could be a harmless bit of amusing banter and not indicative of the speaker’s political leanings, couldn’t it? Just a bit of humor. Gallows humor, maybe.

Those clothes that were on the line in the last post sure got freshened up in that wind. The shirt I’m wearing — the plaid one — smells like fresh air.

Go see the rest of the Jesus and Mo cartoon to find out how they got to that point.


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The Snow

Here’s the snow that was forecast, along with some wind. North of us are snow plows working hard, snowblowers roaring in driveways, cars that look like white humps in the snow. Here you can clear the driveway with one hand on the shovel. It’s still warm, though. Around freezing. Next up, the cold snap.


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Working Title – Sunward

My 2019 novel had the working title – The Prime. I ended up publishing it with that title unchanged. Last Fall I formatted it, recorded it and made it available for purchase. Then I took a break and had a nice rest. Now I’ve picked up my pen again and begun writing my 2020 novel with the working title – Sunward. It’s a sequel to The Prime and will be the completion of The Plainsrunner trilogy.

Back on my exercise ball as I write first thing in the morning, it feels pretty good. It’s always a concern when I get back to it. Will it still be there? Will the words still come? I’m happy to report, so far, so good. I gave myself a break, easing into it with 500 words a day. I’ll push it up to 750 next week. That seems to be my natural level.

The sun is shining this morning. We’ve had an unusually warm winter so far. Also, the weather has been bypassing us, dumping snow on areas north of us while leaving us bare and brown. The forecast calls for a cold snap next week. I don’t feel prepared for that.


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Which Hand is the Big Hand?

“Clock with one hand” by Rick Payette is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I don’t know about you, but when I was learning how to tell time, it didn’t help me to be told about the big hand and the little hand. I didn’t know what they meant. When they said the big hand was on the 10 and the little hand was on the 2, did they mean it was ten after ten, or ten to two? (Let’s not even talk about the fact that they weren’t really “on” those numbers anyway, merely close to them.) Was the big hand the long one or the wide one? Was the little hand the short one or the thin one? This wasn’t helped by the fact that, on the kitchen clock in our home, the total size of the hour hand and the minute hand appeared to be roughly the same. That is, the short, wide one and the long, narrow one appeared to cover the same area, making them the same size. Now I really didn’t know what to think.

I’m still glad I learned on an analog clock, though. The shape of it and the positions of the hands lent themselves to concrete visualizations of the time of day and where in the hour one was. I think it had a strong effect on the form taken by my temporo-spatial synesthesia, as I explain in that post. There may have been some confusion in the beginning, but it worked out in the end.

When I was teaching my son how to tell time, though, I made sure to refer to the hands as “long” and “short,” to save him the confusion.


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Quantum Shorts – Flash Fiction

Cover design and layout by N. Syafiqah


Review – Quantum Shorts

Available at the Quantum Shorts website.

No, this is not about indeterminate undies. Nor is it about exercise wear in superposition. You’re entangled in one of my mini reviews about a book of super short stories — Quantum Shorts. These stories are selected from the short lists of submissions to a writing challenge from 2013 to 2017. There are 37 stories by 32 authors who submitted their work to the international Quantum Shorts story competition. This competition is still active. On December 10, 2019 they announced a new call for flash fiction — in this case defined as being 1,000 words or less. The other constraints are that the stories must be inspired by quantum physics and must contain the phrase, “things used to be so simple.” Even if you don’t want to submit a story yourself, you can still download and read this free book. It’s available in PDF, ePub and MOBI formats, so you can read it on almost any device, and it’s released with a Creative Commons license, so it’s free to read and share.

See boring copyright stuff below.

Among these quick stories you will find Unrequited Signals by Tara Abrishami, where the lovers are not merely star-crossed, they’re multiverse-crossed.

Tara Abrishami is a mathematician who sometimes moonlights as a writer. When she’s not writing stories or solving math problems, she enjoys backpacking, cooking vegan food, going on road trips with her crazy friends, and playing with her two cats and her dog.

And Then There Was a Sun by rebecca Baron, where the protagonist learns that life is meaningful even if it is nothing but particles.

Rebecca Baron, when she entered Quantum Shorts in 2013, described herself as a quirky, opinionated high school student in California who enjoys reading, soccer, and confusing her class with presentations on uncertainty and the delayed-choice experiment. Writing and physics are her passions, so this contest was perfect for her.

Dhatfield CC-BY-SA

And The Cat in the Box by Rebecca Montange, where we see Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment from the point of view of the cat, who’s not impressed.

Rebecca Montange entered the Quantum Shorts flash fiction competition in 2013.

These are tasty little morsels. Stories that can be ingested in a few small bites. Download Quantum Shorts and keep it handy for when you’ve only got a few minutes for a quick read. On the other hand, if you’ve got more time, take a handful.


Boring copyright stuff.

The copyright holder is the Centre for Quantum Technologies, National University of Singapore, 2019. Their CC license is CC-BY-NC-ND (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives), so you can read it and pass it on, but you can’t take money for it and you can’t make significant changes to it before passing it on.

End boring copyright stuff.

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The Grudge

The Grudge © 2015 Lizzy. Licensed under CC-BY

No mind is too small to hold a grudge.

creozavr – Public Domain

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Truck Grills

Are the grills on pickups big enough for you yet? Truck sellers have always tried to have impressive front ends on them to give them some credibility. You can see that in these photographs of older trucks.

Good looking trucks, right? But lately it seems to have got out of hand, as if the size of the grill has become the point rather than just part of the marketing. What need is being served by these urban tanks? They used to jack trucks up to get the grills this high, but now they don’t have to any more. They come that way, complete with a built-in ladder to get into the thing.

Where can they go from here?


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RIP Apostrophe

Grammar of the Day – Apostrophe

The Apostrophe Protection Society website was created in 2001, and it looks like it. Never mind. It’s the content that matters, not the style. Right? That’s how it used to be, anyway. In the good old days when substance mattered more than appearance. And (coincidentally?) people knew how to use apostrophes. Go to the site and have a look. It has examples of badly used apostrophes. It even has a song called Apostrophe Apostasy.

They took a light-hearted approach to the fight to save the apostrophe, but they were serious about it. John Richards, the founder of the society, was appalled at the indignities being done to it and he and his many supporters fought hard to defend it. But Richards is getting old and the problem is only getting worse. It seems he has lost hope in the prospect of success. As he said in his resignation message, uncaring ignorance and laziness seem to be prevailing.

With regret I have to announce that, after some 18 years, I have decided to close the Apostrophe Protection Society. There are two reasons for this. One is that at 96 I am cutting back on my commitments and the second is that fewer organisations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English Language. We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won!

The society website has a FAQ for the use of the apostrophe. Or should that be an FAQ? It also has a lot of examples of misused apostrophes.

Go visit the Apostrophe Protection Society website, if only because it might be your last chance to see it. They say they’re going to continue, but it might be hard with the departure of their founder. Also see my earlier post on the apostrophe.


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Seasons #2

On a lighted porch, autumn watches you leave.


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