Sunday, February 22, 2009

That was some HARD Science fiction!

I just finished Gregory Benford's 1980 Nebula Winner Timescape. I will review it over at Jupiter Three, but let me just say, it definitely qualifies as Hard Sci Fi.

The author is a physicist, and his handling of the physics of time and space was deep enough to boggle my mind. OK, maybe not a stretch, but still.

The end of the copy I have has an excellent essay by Susan Stone Blackburn entitled Science Meets Literature, which I found to be just as interesting as the book. The essay was published in 1988, and helped me to understand the book after I read it. (Warning - the essay includes spoilers, so don't read it first, no matter how helpful it would be!)

Enough said here; but if you are looking for a good example of Hard Science Fiction, this is an excellent sample!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hard SciFi Revisited

DePauw University has some excellent articles archived on the Hard Science Fiction genre. I found it interesting that books dealing with social or religious issues are more marketable than those dealing with harder topics. But no, I guess it makes sense.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Soft Sci Fi

I realize as I read that I have more interest in the themes explored in soft sci fi than in the purity of hard sci fi.

I like it when the facts are as true as we can know them, don't get me wrong. I'll go out on a limb and say I loved the works of Michael Crichton, and the research he put into his books. But I especially like the social issues he explored.

I'm reading C.J.Cherryh right now. I have mixed feelings. I don't like the "start a character, then skip 200 years" style. On the other hand, I like some of the political angles she plays with. I am reading Foreigner, and once I got into it it reminds me somewhat of Shogun. We'll see.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Debugging Success

I used PDT, a PHP version of eclipse, to debug my issues. I had to add the Wordpress files to the PHP include of my project, then I could run my script in debug mode.

My issues were multiple. The syntax error was an extra closing parenthesis (doh!).

More importantly, $wpdb->query did not work as I expected. If the query fails, it returns false. If the query succeeds, it returns the number of rows acted on (rows selected, or inserted, or deleted, etc...). Was more confusing to me, but makes sense I guess, is that $wpdb->print_error() will still return a valid String on success, complete with an error message (but no error). So my insert was succeeding, but I thought I had an error, causing my error logic to execute.

All better now. I now have my first working plugin!