Remembering Grover’s Mill

Today’s episode of Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac begins thusly: “It was on this day in 1938 that a cylindrical Martian spaceship landed in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, and began incinerating onlookers with an alien heat ray, an event that was covered by the Columbia Broadcasting System and its affiliated stations, and that caused widespreadContinue reading “Remembering Grover’s Mill”

On the Cost of LEGO and New Worlds to Explore

A few days ago on All Things Considered, NPR’s Planet Money wanted to know, “Why are Legos (sic) so expensive?” The segment compared LEGO to MegaBloks. While Mega’s products are less expensive, their annual global sales are only about 10 percent of LEGO’s. The segment pointed to several factors — better manufacturing techniques for LEGO,Continue reading “On the Cost of LEGO and New Worlds to Explore”

On Contemplating the Martian War Machine

On Saturday, I built the Tripod Invader, one of the sets from the new LEGO Alien Conquest theme which is based loosely on H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds and alien invasion B-movies of the 1950s. When I wrote about the set yesterday, I mentioned that I was thinking of modifying the Tripod InvaderContinue reading “On Contemplating the Martian War Machine”

On the LEGO Alien Conquest Tripod

This summer, LEGO introduced a new theme, Alien Conquest, based loosely on classic tales of alien invasion, from H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds to 1950s B-movies and Mars Attacks!. Flying saucers, alien motherships, and tripod walkers bring the alien armada to the doorstep of LEGO City. Yesterday, I bought the Tripod Invader set.Continue reading “On the LEGO Alien Conquest Tripod”

On Literary Confusion

I went downstairs to fix a cup of coffee. I needed a break from the word processor; the flow of words had come to a careening halt. My grandmother was watching television. I heard the voice of Mo Rocca. She was watching CBS Sunday Morning. He was talking about Grover’s Corners. “Grover’s Corners,” I thought.Continue reading “On Literary Confusion”

On Thanksgiving Day Musings

Last night, I moved a few things on my desk — I was looking for my Age of Empires 3 disc, because I wanted to commit some war crimes — and the rejection letter from Random House for the Merlin novel, and the outline for said novel, were sitting there. It’s a lovely rejection letter.Continue reading “On Thanksgiving Day Musings”

Sherlock Holmes against the Irrational

Yesterday I received in the mail the latest Faction Paradox novel, Philip Purser-Hallard’s Of the City of the Saved….. The novel takes place in the City of the Saved, essentially a secular heaven after the Big Crunch where humanity in all of its forms, from Homo habilis to post-human intelligences that bear no physical relationContinue reading “Sherlock Holmes against the Irrational”

Alternity! Independence Day in the Star Trek universe

A really bizarre thought I had went something like this: Suppose “War of the Worlds” happened in the Star Trek history. So in the 1890s humanity learned that aliens existed, and the invasion fleet left lots of steampunk hardware around. The Great War gets a whole lot nastier, with both sides trying to use reverse-engineeredContinue reading “Alternity! Independence Day in the Star Trek universe”