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Science Science Fiction Space

The only good gravity is one gravity

Partial gravity — anything that’s not the same as Earth — used to be a special effects expense that no-one wanted. It’s 2024, we have cheap SFX, so why does everywhere in space still look like it’s either zero-g or on Earth? After all, there’s just one place in the universe — our home — […]

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AI Creative writing writing tools

You do not own your AI-generated writing

If you want to publish or submit AI-generated writing, you need to know this: you don’t own that work. No one knows who owns that work. You had an idea and created the prompt that lead to the work, but in the world of intellectual property, ideas are worth nothing. Expression is everything. That’s why […]

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AI Creative writing writing tools

If you’re using AI for research, you need to know this

If you’re going to use AI for writing or research, you need to know two things. The first is that AI doesn’t know anything. There are other important things to know about AI. It’s trained on content taken without permission of the creators. It contributes to rising greenhouse emissions and power consumption from technology companies. […]

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AI Creative writing writing tools

Phew! Google’s Gemini AI still can’t write a synopsis of my novel

Most writers hate writing a synopsis, so it seems like the perfect challenge for an AI. What I discovered reveals a lot about the current state and limitations of generative AIs like ChatGPT and Google Gemini. The current wave of interest in AI is fascinating because it inspires so much hype on both sides. I […]

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AI Creative writing writing tools

Six reasons why writers should never say never to AI

It’s became a fashionable rallying cry for writers to say “I will never use AI”. While there are many good reasons to worry about artificial intelligence, I think writers should never say never to AI. As a science fiction writer who finds non-human intelligence fascinating, I’m intrigued by the hyperbole and achievements of AI research […]

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Science Fiction Space

Pets in spaaaaace

Animals in space don’t have a happy history, but more than half of humans share their lives with an animal companion. Space pets will be a thing, even if they’re rarely found in science fiction. Laika and her doomed Soviet space dog chums, the NASA chimps, and the countless small animals sent to experience things […]

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Creative writing In Machina Science Science Fiction Space

The Taste of Space 5: Extraterrestrial Meal Times

The zero-g fryer is bubbling, the smell of fresh bread fills your spacecraft and a bell chimes the shift change. The crew gathers in the ship’s mess. We’ve gone from growing food and making meat to off-Earth cooking, so what will meal times look like in space? The first question is when to eat. In […]

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In Machina Science Space

The Taste of Space 4: Cosmic Cooking

The gravity’s turned down low, the larder is packed with space-grown veggies, cultured meat and artificial protein: it’s time to get cooking in space. Astro-chefs have to improvise hard right now, but there are tools on the way which will revolutionise the way space travellers feed themselves. I fell into a research vortex when I […]

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Creative writing In Machina Science Science Fiction Space

The Taste of Space 3: Let’s Meet the Meat*

Growing vegetables in space is one thing, but it’s no place for the animals that most of us still rely on for key nutrients. Will space-faring humans be forever denied the joy of a bacon sandwich? Is the true cosmic horror a solar system populated by evangelising veganauts? I never thought I’d be pondering these […]

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Creative writing In Machina Novels Science Science Fiction Space

The Taste of Space 2: Greening the Galaxy

Astronauts in 2023 take almost everything they eat with them. Future space travellers will need to grow plants in space without regular supply rockets. What’s happening in space agriculture today that I can throw forward a hundred years for my WIP, In Machina? Escaping the gravity well Getting anything into space is governed by “the […]