Literary Interlude: Bearded Mentor Figures in the Literature of the Fantastic

It’s time now to talk about two of the greatest mentor figures in the literature of the fantastic. You know their stories well, I’m sure, but the parallels between them are eerie: Both are gruff but kindly mentor figures who provide crucial guidance for the young and naive protagonist of the story as he moves […]

Scott Pilgrim

So, I blew off stuff I should’ve been doing, and went to see a matinee of the Scott Pilgrim movie this morning (it’s very much not Kate’s sort of thing, and I would feel guilty ditching her with SteelyKid to see it during the evening or on a weekend). Actually, first I went to Borders […]

All the Myriad Inceptions

In comments to yesterday’s post about my favorite Many-Worlds story, a couple of people mention “All the Myriad Ways,” a Larry Niven short story. I don’t think I’ve ever actually read the story, but it gets brought up all the time, so I’m familiar with the concept. It’s an angle on Many-Worlds that I don’t […]


We haven’t yet gotten to the point where we’re comfortable leaving SteelyKid with a babysitter, so seeing the movie everybody’s talking about took a while. Since she’s off at Gammy’s, though, we got a rare night to ourselves and went to the movies. My immediate reaction is that it’s great to see a movie that’s […]

The Past and Future of the Laser

While it’s not aprt of the official LaserFest package of stuff, Physics World is marking the 50th anniversary of the laser with a couple of really nice pieces on lasers in science and popular culture: Where next for the laser interviews six laser experts– Claire Max of UCSC, Bill Phillips of NIST, Steven Block of […]