On sale today

Our latest installment in the Dreamland/Whiplash series. This one takes us to Libya, where hard-core fanatics are fighting the young government. They stage an attack on civilians with help from an outside source, and the usual complications ensue.

One of the things I loved most about this installment was that we got to "invent" a slightly upgraded version of the A-10 - this one can fly itself.
Look ma, no pilot . . .

First catapult launch of the XB-47B, successfully completed today.

Full trials aboard aircraft carriers are on the horizon.

Clear thinking on copyright . . .

. . . and related matters. From the National Review:

The question of dealing with Internet piracy is damned hard, and no one has a good answer. Realistically, the system can tolerate a lot of leakage at the retail level as long as creators retain the right to move against commercial-grade piracy. It is also important that the content producers and the telecom distributors be free to strike bargains about piracy prevention. Technology taketh away and technology giveth, and it is far more efficient for Verizon or Comcast to police piracy than for battalions of lawyers to do so.

The entire article is worth reading. (The "report" cited at the beginning of the article caused a very minor flareup a few weeks back; there's a link in the article.)
The F-35 blues

(Just about) every criticism of the F-35 development process ever made is summed up in the NY Times today. The only problem is - what's the alternative?

(Yes, I know there are some. It's just difficult to make a convincing case for them.)

Speaking of Korean rockets . . .

Meanwhile, South Korea canceled its own launching today. Among the interesting things about the South Korean rocket program is that it uses Russian technology.

What would Khrushchev say to that?
North Korea readies rocket


SOHAE LAUNCH FACILITY, NORTH KOREA: SOHAE LAUNCH FACILITY, NORTH KOREA: This satellite image of the Sohae Launch Facility on November 23, 2012, shows a marked increase in activity at North Korea's Sohae (West Sea) Satellite Launch Station.

The activity suggests a launch is planned in the near future; the speculation is that it will occur just before South Korea's elections in mid-December. See the image at DigitalGlobe, a commercial satellite imaging company.
Every sci-fi movie in six minutes . . .

I think they missed Godzilla, but those are in a class by themselves.


I realize I'm not going to get an answer, but I just have to ask the anonymous spammer: What's with all the Canada goose links, bro?

Give me a coherent, non-botic answer and I promise to post a link.
Hogs at work

Which reminds me: You can get a Kindle copy of book one of my Hogs series here.

(More on the series here.)
Red Dragon

Nice mention in Publishers Weekly for the last installment (for now, anyway) of Red Dragon Rising, due out from Tor/Forge in January.

Coming this week

The latest in the Dreamland/Whiplash series:


Some idiot was deer-jacking* on the other side of the woods last night, and I just have to ask: Why would you deer-jack in a place where you can hit a dozen deer with a single rock at high noon?

I hope the person is a) in some financial need and intends on eating all the meat and b) is a damn good shot, because he's already proven he's not much of a sportsman.

* - For the uninitiated and non-hunters: There are a number of methods, but basically you deer-jack by using bait and a light at night, all of which are illegal in New York (and a lot of other places). The light stuns the deer momentarily, making them even easier to shoot. Since it's night, though, wounded animals that run off can be pretty hard to track. And of course it's dark, so you don't really know what's behind your target when you shoot. Finally, deer-jacking often takes place near populated areas where you may be too close to houses to legally fire a weapon, though I don't know if that was the case here. (No-bait laws are controversial, but in this area the deer are plentiful enough that even a sub-mediocre hunter doesn't need it. Heck, even I don't need bait in this county, which is saying quite a lot.)

Pigeon @#$

By now you've no doubt heard the story of the pigeon discovered in England with a World War II message on its leg that can't be read because it's in code. (If not, check this story or this one.)

The media is having a lot of fun with it, but along the way is sharing more than a few misconceptions about coding and encryption. These include the 'reasons' the message can't be decrypted:

One is with a so-called one-time pad where a random "key" is applied to a message. If the key is truly random and known only to sender and recipient, the code can be unbreakable.

That's why we're still using pigeon encryption for all our important messages . . .

Footnote: The British awarded the Dickin Medal to animals, including carrier pigeons, that served with special distinction during the war. Honored birds were credited with delivering messages from Dieppe and Normandy, and also with delivering information about trapped units. The birds were also used, occasionally, to send some "spy" information from behind enemy lines, though that doesn't actually seem to apply here.

The state of electricity . . .

American Society of Civil Engineers:

The U.S. generation and transmission system is at a critical point requiring substantial investment in new generation, investment to improve efficiencies in existing generation, and investment in transmission and distribution systems. The transmission and distribution system has become congested because growth in electricity demand and investment in new generation facilities have not been matched by investment in new transmission facilities. This congestion virtually prohibits outages required for proper maintenance and can lead to system wide failures in the event of unplanned outages. Electricity demand has increased by about 25% since 1990 while construction of transmission facilities decreased by about 30 percent. 

Report here.

The Helios Conspiracy touched on some of this, but the problem is far greater than most of us are willing to imagine, even in fiction.
Soldiering on


The historic Fraunces Tavern, after surviving the Revolutionary War, nearly poured its last round thanks to a domestic invader: Hurricane Sandy.
When the floodwaters receded from the 250-year-old lower Manhattan landmark, owner Eddie Traverse surveyed $200,000 in damages — without any flood insurance.
“For a couple of days, we were feeling the gloom,” Traverse said Tuesday. “But now we know we will get back. When you put it in perspective, we are here to fight another day.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/fraunces-tavern-poured-article-1.1205443#ixzz2CqsQb3dG

The tavern was one of Claus van Clyne's favorites, and Jake Gibbs liked to lurk in its shadows . . .

Fear not, Twinkies lovers


Hostess and its striking bakers union have agreed to mediation, avoiding a shutdown that would have given 18,500 workers the ax.
A bankruptcy judge demanded that the groups enter a mediation session at a hearing Monday.
“My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs as well as my belief that there is a possibility to resolve this matter," said Judge Robert Drain, who will preside over the mediation Tuesday. 

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hostess-mediate-striking-union-article-1.1204664#ixzz2CkfBqykk

I know Shotgun*, for one, will be very happy.

* Rogue Warrior sidekick. Seriously, you didn't know? You're not keeping up, Grasshopper.
The "logic" of terrorists

From the NY Times. I'd call it chutzpah, but that would be insulting the word:

“This attack on journalists and freedom of expression reflects Israel’s disdain for international law and the little value it affords the lives of Palestinians,” said Saeb Erekat, the chief negotiator of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

But Hamas's terror indiscriminate attacks on unarmed civilians, intended to panic and kill women and children, those have a higher purpose and are OK, right?

Erekat is talking about a raid that destroyed a media building, but didn't kill anyone. It's pretty rich for a Palestinian to be talking about freedom of expression in the state (or Hamas) controlled media, let alone to make reference to international law.

The reason no one was killed in the attack is this: The Israelis fired a warning shot, and let everyone clear the building before destroying it. Maybe if Israel simply steamrolled Gaza, which is absolutely within their capabilities, Hamas would get the message.

Then again, stupid in life, stupid in death: The logic of psychopaths bears no relation to reason, and treating their BS as if it does only makes you look like a fool.


In the early 1990s, I began writing and publishing a series of books centered around missions conducted by A-10As and their crews during what is now called the First Gulf War.*

I had a lot to learn about the planes and writing at the time. (Still do.) But it was a labor of love and an intense one at that, as I began turning the books out on a six-month schedule (among other things) as interest in the series built.

There were a total of six books, loosely based on action missions and exploits during the war. At the time, not too many people knew about the A-10A. Today, I'd venture to say that it as well-known as more "glamorous" aircraft like the F-15 and F-22. (It's also been so greatly overhauled that the current models are designated as A-10Cs. Same great plane, though.)

Though you can still occasionally find the paperbacks, technically, the series has been out of print for several years. It's now available for Kindle ereaders at Amazon.

For more information, visit this page on my website. Samples are available directly from Amazon. If you want a free story in pdf format, send an email to author (at) jimdefelice (dot) com, and we'll get one off to you straight away.

* I was using a pseudonym: James Ferro for reasons explained on that webpage.

Now on Kindle

The first two installments of Hogs are now available as ebooks.

More details to come.
Role model

For 97, (Herman) Wouk is remarkably active. His personal trainer comes on Mondays and Thursdays; a yoga instructor swings by on Tuesdays and Fridays. And don’t, whatever you do, ask if he ever plans to stop writing.
“What am I going to do?” he said. “Sit around and wait a year?”
He acknowledged, though, that he occasionally worried what was left to say.
“Sometimes, when I’m down, I feel like I’ve shot my bolt,” he said. “But it passes, and I go back to the computer.”


Iranian air power

Today Iran confirmed that it had fired on the American Predator in the Gulf last week, but claimed that it was over Iranian territory.

The obvious conclusion: Besides being terrible shots, their pilots have no idea where they are.


Phillip Roth has retired his pen:

Roth, who has written some 25 novels, told Les Inrocks that he had always found writing difficult and that he wanted nothing more to do with reading, writing or talking about books.
He said that when he was 74, he started re-reading his favorite novels by authors Ernest Hemingway, Ivan Turgenev, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and others, and then re-read his own novels.
"I wanted to see whether I had wasted my time writing," he explained. "After that, I decided that I was done with fiction. I no longer want to read, to write, I don't even want to talk about it anymore," he was quoted as saying.
"I have dedicated my life to the novel: I studied, I taught, I wrote, I read - to the exclusion of almost everything else. Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced all my life. The idea of trying to write again is impossible," Roth told the magazine.

Call them aces . . .

According to the Pentagon, two Iranian jets "intercepted" a Predator last week over the Persion Gulf and engaged it in a dogfight.

The unarmed plane escaped without harm.

First reports said the Iranian planes were Su-25 Frogfoots. While the design was intended as a ground support aircraft, it's equipped with cannon and could in theory carry air-to-air missiles. Apparently the Iranians used their guns but missed the Predator, which can manage something in the area of 200 knots - less than half the Frogfoot's speed.

If they do this well against unarmed drones, just imagine how well the Iranians will fare against F-22s.

Meanwhile, something tells me there's a line of eager UAV pilots hoping to get a Sidewinder on a Reaper and get the first remote shoot-down, courtesy of Iran's aces . . .

(One story here.)
From the graveyard to the voting booth. . . .

. . . or nearly vice versa:

Sometimes dead men really do get to vote.
Ty Houston, 48, a home care registered nurse, was toiling on his absentee ballot Monday afternoon when things got strange at township offices on 13 Mile.
"I was filling out the form as were an elderly couple sitting at a nearby table," said Houston on Tuesday. "His wife, who was helping him fill out the ballot, asked him a couple of questions but he didn't respond. She screamed for help and I went over to see what I could do."
Houston laid the victim on the floor and went to work.
"He was dead," Houston said. "He had no heartbeat and he wasn't breathing. I started CPR, and after a few minutes, he revived and started breathing again. He knew his name and his wife's name."
What happened next astounded Houston and the victim's wife.
"The first question he asked was 'Did I vote?'"

 The rest of the story in The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121106/METRO02/211060410#ixzz2BaGKCVzR

Best of the year

Congratulation to Larry and Chris on being named one of 2012's best thrillers by Publisher's Weekly. (PW)
The Hustler . . .

Old metal, from the folks at Zeno's.
Hard-boiled writing . . .

It's all just talk - James M. Cain on style:

Let's talk about this so-called style. I don't know what they're talking about—“tough,” “hard-boiled.” I tried to write as people talk. That was one of the first arguments I ever had with my father—my father was all hell for people talking as they should talk. I, the incipient novelist, even as a boy, was fascinated by the way people do talk.

Interview, recently re-posted by Paris Review.
Thanks, we're good

Power is back, as is internet. We have been tremendously fortunate, with no real damage. Lots of trees to cut for next year's firewood.