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FOR WRITERS: Too Much Research?

research - pixabay

FOR WRITERS Today’s writer topic comes from QSFer Janet Gershen-Siegel: One of the perks of being a writer is getting to go down rabbit holes exploring interesting and often arcane things. What does that street in Stoke-on-Trent really look like at ground level? What did members of the Wampanoag tribe eat for snacks? What happens when you pee in zero gravity? But research can also become a way for writers to do one of their other favorite things – procrastinate. Playing on the web can be much more fun than actually, you know, writing. So how much research is too … Read more

Is There a Cure for HIV?

HIV Virus

The results of a recent HIV treatment trial run by several British institutions are promising, and may mean the discovery of a cure for HIV. Fifty patients took part in the trial, conducted by Imperial College London, University College London, King’s College London and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The NHS also supported the research. In one patient there no sign of the virus after a months long trial. The man, aged 44 and a social worker in London, told the Times: ‘It would be great if a cure has happened. My last blood test was a couple of weeks … Read more

For Writers: Researching Sex

sex research

How do you research sex? Specifically, if you are writing about sex between two men or two women and you’re straight, or you are writing about heterosexual sex and you’re LGBT, or hey, you’re a virgin and you have no experience with any of it? No judgment here, just curious how you go about getting the details right. Join the chat

News: Do Gas Planets Contain Water?


NASA scientists discover that several Jupiter-sized exoplanets previously thought to be dry in fact contain water: “‘Our results suggest it’s simply clouds hiding the water from prying eyes, and therefore rule out dry hot Jupiters,’ Jonathan Fortney of the University of California, Santa Cruz and a co-author on a paper published. ‘The alternative theory to this is that planets form in an environment deprived of water, but this would require us to completely rethink our current theories of how planets are born.’ The University of Deleware’s John Gizis, who studies brown dwarfs, a kind of ‘failed star’ that evolve similarly … Read more

Article: Brain’s ‘gender’ may be quite flexible: Mechanism that plays key role in sexual differentiation of brain described

I’m trying to decide if this article should be filed under “horror” or “speculative.” We’ve all heard the adage that the same hammer that builds houses can also be used to kill. Well… this to me seems like a Science Hammer. Brain’s ‘gender’ may be quite flexible: Mechanism that plays key role in sexual differentiation of brain described During prenatal development, the brains of most animals, including humans, develop specifically male or female characteristics. In most species, some portions of male and female brains are a different size, and often have a different number of neurons and synapses. However, scientists … Read more

Writing LGBT Characters

Queer as Folk

Today’s topic comes from QSFer John Allenson – “How to write gay/trans/bi/gender-queer/male/female experience better.” I’ll redirect this one a bit. We all write characters that are like us in various ways, but inevitably we also have to write characters who are different. Sometimes it’s the little things – where they live, how they talk, their personal style – and sometimes it’s the bigger ones, like gender or sexual orientation. So my question for you today, and it’s a simple one – how do you research a character who is unlike you, especially in gender or orientation, so you get the … Read more