Short Story Review: “Staking a Claim”

“Staking a Claim” by Travis J. I. CorcoranTravis J. I. Corcoran’s Aristillus novelsThe Powers of the Earth and Causes of Separation, are modern masterpieces of science fiction, with a libertarian/anarcho-capitalist core that surpasses Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress in showing how free people can turn a wasteland into prosperity for all who seek liberty and defend itself against the envy and greed of those who would loot what they had created and put them back in chains.  The two novels in the series so far won the Prometheus Award for best novel in 2018 and 2019, the first self-published novels to win that award and the first back-to-back best novel winners in the four decades the prize has been awarded.  They were jointly fiction winners of my Books of the Year for 2019.

One of the factors which contributed to the success of the anarcho-libertarian lunar settlement at Aristillus was the origin of the crater in which it was founded, which, in the story was, 1.3 billion years before the present, by the impact of a 1.4 kilometre metallic asteroid in the eastern part of Mare Imbrium.  The portion of its mass which did not vaporise on impact was thrown up into the triple-peaked mountain at the centre of the 55 km crater, where its payload of iron, nickel, and other heavy metals differentiated as the magma solidified.  The Moon’s crust, formed from a mix of that of the Earth and the Mars-sized impactor (sometimes called “Theia”), is impoverished in heavy metals, which had already sunk to the cores of the impacting bodies and were not disrupted in the collision, so the impact which formed Aristillus was fortuitous, creating a concentrated source of material otherwise difficult to obtain on the Moon.... [Read More]



These are individual photos, via iPhone 11, of my better half’s plantings that live on our deck for our joy and amusement whilst sipping the fruit of the vine, listening to classical music, and totally ignoring the meretricious current news.  With even Tucker Carlson firmly seated in the exaggeration and fear mongering train, it’s time to meld with the natural world’s bounty.  Pix are from yesterday; Ma Nature is definitely waking up!

An overview from my perch.
Our totem guards the Wa.
Koi-themed succulent group.
My Bonsai, half pruned.
Yabu, our latest adoptee.
Gwinnie views it all from warm comfort.


A Pretty Good Cat

My siblings are bonkers about cats. I’m used to that. I’ve borne years of anthropomorphic fantasies about a line of household pets that included a sensitive and gorgeous special breed, country cross-varieties vaguely named after T.S. Eliot characters, and a few city “patio cats.” I’ve witnessed naming deliberations for new kitties that drag on for weeks, with “Pockets” being a near winner and a friend begging them not to saddle it with a noun handle for life. They eventually settled on human names for their animals, which pleased everyone: Eleanor, Titus. Titus, nearly two decades old, is still with us, and shows up occasionally in pictures, like the time he was sporting a small wide tie that my brother said made him think of “a night manager at Denny’s.”

What has just dawned on me, however, is that another family member has been something of a dark horse when it comes to passion for felines. I mean, I knew my dad liked cats, but I finally realized the degree of this affinity today when my mom texted us with a charming innovation my dad used to solve a problem with their old cat.... [Read More]


TOTD 2020-3-27: Taking the Temperature

This will be a short post. I have a couple of appointments this weekend. To calm fears they want to know my temperature for a few days.

I grew up in the States and the old thermometers had mercury in them and you stuck them under your tongue. In Japan they use digital thermometers but you don’t stick it under your tongue. It is placed in another warm place but(I spelled that right) not where you think. It is placed under your arm. The temperature is lower by a degree or so. ... [Read More]