The top three winners receive:
A $20.00 Amazon gift certificate
and a very special custom designed Dead Reckoning T-shirt!
A signed copy of Dead Reckoning And Other Stories (print edition)
A $10.00 Amazon gift certificate.
To enter, just follow the steps below. Good luck!
Last week’s posts featured Captain America and Spiderman from the Marvel comics, and homages to the movies Phase IV and Logan’s Run. Phase IV was an original movie script, while Logan’s Run was loosely based on a novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton. Cap and Spidey took the win, but Logan’s Run was a close second. (I made a typo on the original image, which I’ve corrected here.)
This will be my last Sci-fi Coffee post for a while as I have family visiting from England. Let me know if you miss them and want to see more.
I’m very excited to announce that one of my stories – How Much Is That Doggy? – has been selected by Sudden Insight Publishing for inclusion in their forthcoming anthology.
The as yet unnamed anthology will be a charitable publication with all proceeds going to help the SPCA and I ‘m very happy to be able to help contribute to this worthy cause. I’m a dog person myself, but believe that we should look after all animals and treat them with respect, even when they are raised for food purposes.
I have owned two beautiful dogs in the past. My first dog, Jake I had in England and hoped to bring to Canada with us, so he could live out his last days here. Unfortunately he died before we could manage that. He would have loved it here. My second dog, Kyla, was a rescue dog that we got through the local animal shelter. She had no structure in her earliest months and life with her was extremely challenging, especially in the first couple of years. She developed into a beautiful and loving pet though and we loved her dearly. Unfortunately, she died under sad circumstances and it hurt both me and my wife so much, that we’ve been unable to contemplate getting another dog yet.
Keep a look out for updates on this fabulous project and a big congratulations to the other writers chosen for inclusion! You can also follow Sudden Insight on Facebook.
If you missed the Facebook announcement at the weekend, then it’s time to announce the lucky winners of the Dead Reckoning And Other Stories launch contest.
The top 3, who win a signed copy of the book, a $20.00 Amazon gift card, and a special Dead Reckoning T-shirt are:
And the runners up, who win a signed copy of the book and a $10.00 Amazon gift card are:
Thanks to everyone who entered. The response was amazing!
Update: I’ve emailed all of the winners. If you didn’t receive the email please contact me to claim your prize.
Last week’s posts seemed to attract little attention. Whether that was down to my choice of subjects or execution, who knows. The movies included Hollow Man directed by Paul Verhoeven, the classic Ghost Rider comic and The Abyss, from James Cameron. The winner. on a low turn-out poll. was the highly enjoyable Abyss.
Humans have tried to master time since the dawn of history. In early centuries people used sundials, later came candles and water clocks, by the fourteenth century mechanical clocks delivered a surge in the accuracy of timekeeping. The accuracy of mechanical timepieces doubled every thirty years from that point all the way up until the twentieth century, but there was a significant difference to the world we live in today.
As late as the 1860s there was no concept of standardized time. Every town and village followed it’s own schedule sometimes vastly different to it’s closest neighbors. Even large businesses sometimes worked to their own time-schedules which is why many older commercial buildings have clocks set high on them to allow workers to know what time it was in the factory.
At the time it didn’t really matter very much but then something happened which made the synchronization of time a vital ingredient of life. The age of steam and in particular, the development of commercial, long-distance railroads.
For railways to be effective trains had to run on schedule. What’s more, as many trains shared the same lines and railroad traffic increased they had to be precisely timed to prevent disaster and often failed to do that with deadly results.
The answer to this problem was to synchronize time using zones. Something we take for granted now, but in the 19th century was revolutionary.
First adopted in Great Britain and commonly known as “Railway Time” reflecting the importance to the railways(railroads), the idea spread to other countries as the rail networks spread. widely through Europe and The U.S. needed similar methods of coordinating its services.
Samuel Pierpont Langley was born in 1834 and graduated in Boston, Ma. After graduation he took a position as an assistant at the Harvard Observatory, before taking the position of Professor of Mathematics for the United States Naval Academy.
Shortly after taking his position in 1867, he was made the Director of Allegheny Observatory and assigned the task of restoring the facilities. The observatory had originally been founded by a group of wealthy businessmen, but interest had faded and with it the funds required for maintenance.
With the help of William Thaw, a pitsburgh industrialist, Lamgley was able improve the observatory’s equipment and add new observation apparatus, including a telescope designed to observe stars as they crossed the celestial meridian.
Using the new instruments Langley created what came to be known of as the “Allegheny Time System” which defined standard timezones was a new concept and just what the railroads needed, He began selling his time services to the Pennsylvania Railroad, providing them with regular time synchronization signals transmitted by telegraph.Eventually the service extended to cover over 2,500 miles (4000 km) and included over 300 telegraph offices, broadcasting signals to all railroads in both the U.S. and Canada.
Initially the signals broadcast indicated noon, Eastern Standard Time and railroads would synchronize their schedules based on this. Later two signals were used. The sales were highly profitable and covered both Langley’s salary and the observatories bills, allowing the institution to expand it’s facilities.
Langley was a confirmed bachelor and an extremely shy man. He covered his shyness by maintaining a severe dignity and irascible personality that often offended those around him, though people close to him found him charming and warmhearted.
Once the observatory was secure, he expanded his work into researches into the sun producing detailed drawings of sunspot activity and other solar phenomena that were unknown at the time.This included the invention of the Bolorometer, am instrument that enabled extremely accurate measurement of temperatures (as small as 0,000001 degrees C) and allowed detailed calculations of the amount of solar energy hitting the Earth. It also provided information used to make the first estimates of global warming.
Later he researched airplane design in competition with the Wright brothers and produced several full sized powered prototypes of this designs, though none were very successful. Despite attempts by the Smithsonian and Glenn Curtiss who tried to fight the Wright brothers’ patent, it was awarded to them.
During the testing of his airplanes, Langley was introduced to writer Rudyard Kipling by Theodore Roosevelt. Kipling witnessed one of the flight trials and noted that the lack of success was a source of amusement to members of the press. Langley told Kipling that although he himself would never see it, that Kipling would live to see the day of the aeroplane become established.
In 1887, Langley became secretary of the Smithsonian Institute and founded the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, though he continued his post at Allegheny too.
During his lifetime Langley was widely recognized by other scientists and he won a number of awards. The Allegheny Time standard continued to be used until the establishment of national standard time by the U.S. government in 1920.s
Highlighted this week are the Terry Gilliam movie, Brazil, the remake of V, and the more recent Elysium. I watched the original series of V and wasn’t very impressed, but haven’t seen the remake. I’ll have to remedy that. Perhaps it’s better. Brazil is one of my favorite movies, a dark and brooding black comedy well worth watching if you haven’t seen it. Though you might not look at Michael Palin the same ever again!
And the winner? A surprising vote for… Brazil!
The SciFi coffee round-up this week features the original Star Trek series, Battlestar Galactica and Ridley Scott’s classic Blade Runner, which was based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep. I anticipated a close battle with these three, but in the end the classic Kirk/ Bones combination proved irresistible and won by a landslide.
I’ve put together a mini-collection especially for the upcoming SciFi Wales 2015 conference. The collection consists of two of my previously published stories – A Slight Imperfection and Reboot, along with a new as yet unpublished story, Atoll.
I like to give my stories and collections their own unique covers and this one is no different. I’ve titled the collection Tri Chwedlau, which is Welsh for “Three Fables” and the cover features two giant UFOs descending on the town of Llandudno, Wales, where the conference takes place.
Thank you to Stuart Bannerman of FrontPage2Screen for agreeing to hand out the prize “vouchers” and especially to SciFi Wales for allowing me to distribute my work at the event. There will be many guests from the world of SciFi attending including shows like Red Dwarf, Farscape, Doctor Who, Game Of Thrones, and many others. I hope everyone has a truly wonderful day!
So…. drum roll please…. BRRRRRRrrrrrrrrr…