People are continually asking writers: "Where do you get your ideas?" This is kind of like
asking: "Where do you get your oxygen?" Ideas are everywhere. Most people step over them
without noticing. Writers go around picking them up, discarding the bad ones (we hope),
retaining the most interesting ones we're equipped to handle (we hope), and turn them into
On the one hand, when you're writing a story, the only thing that matters is the story. I don't
"believe" things, I just decide which version of a story is the most interesting. As far as I'm concerned, the
Cottingley fairy photographs were fakes, but the fairies were real. Lee Harvey Oswald
acted alone, but he was aiming at John Connally.
On the other hand, any story that varies too far or in the wrong way from the facts of the world as
it is, is flawed. You have to know as many facts as possible in order to create believable fictions.
And though I am never at a loss for ideas, I sometimes need guidance on what to do with
a particular idea. In such a situation, there's only one thing to do -- research till your ears bleed! I
still prefer libraries, especially university libraries, but there's lots of good leads on the Web, and
these are some of the ones we have found useful or intriguing. (Others may be found on other
pages. Check out Dana Scully's Bookmarks, for example.)
Damon, who is a lot better disciplined at tracking links systematically, found most of these, but the
categories reflect both our needs and interests.
Please remember that human knowledge increases arithmetically, and human ignorance
geometrically. Some of these references are more reliable than others; none are the last word on
any subject. Research requires judgement. We have divided these roughly into
Research & Reference,
Myths & Religion,
News & Information Services, and
Science, to make them easier to sort through. If you think we've put
something in one place that belongs in another -- we don't want to hear it. All these realms overlap
somewhere, and sometimes you just have to decide on here rather than there.
If it makes a scientist with a conventional grant uncomfortable or angry, it's probably got a story in it.
Anomaly Sourcebook Project
Koestler Parapsychology Unit
Fate Magazine - the grandaddy of Fortean publications and a great bastion of free speech in America!
Nessie on the Net in Scotland!
Loren Coleman's Cryptomundo
Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
Magic(k) and Occult
Damon's Baptist, Peni's agnostic. Neither of us thinks magic works. But we both believe in freedom of religion and y'know, sometimes you need to understand magical ideas for verisimilitude in fiction. If your belief system is too fragile to withstand learning about other belief systems - it's not really your belief system.
The Alchemy Web Site
Library of the Esoteric
UFOs and Extraterrestrials
Peni is of the opinion that UFOs are fairy phenomena. Actually, Peni thinks most things are fairies. She just doesn't know what fairies are.
National UFO Reporting Center
Space.com's UFO Page
The Magonia Database - Jacques Vallee came up with the connection between fairies and UFOs long before Peni did!
HISTORY - GENERAL -- I've been dealing with pre-history, and haven't had a chance to sort
Library of Congress Homepage
Government and Other Organizations
Naval Research Laboratory
Congress - Know who your representatives are and communicate with them regularly! They can't represent you if you don't tell them what you want.
It's Not Just a Good Idea...
Legal Information Institute
United States Patent and Trademark Office
U.S. Copyright Office
U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights - Know it. Live it. Value it. Or lose it.
American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Center for Disease Controlr
The Mayo Clinic
Men's Health Network
National Cancer Institute
National Library of Medicene
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
World Health Organization
Psychology, Menthal Health, and Self-Help
We all need a little help sometimes. Some of this stuff might belong better under "Fringe Science," but it's not my job to sort that out. And we're all fascinated by what makes ourselves tick. Just because our understanding of our mind is in the alchemical stage doesn't mean we should ignore it. Quite the opposite, I think. In fact, a lot of the most intriguing experiments conducted in the 20th century were conducted by psychologists.
Professional therapy has helped a lot of people, but it's hurt people, too. If you get the wrong kind of therapy, if you fall into the hands of a crank who imposes his own ideas on you instead of understanding your problem, who has a "silver bullet" he's sure will fix every problem, everywhere - that can get very, very bad and very, very expensive, very, very fast. You are the final arbiter of what you need, the only one able to understand yourself down to the bottom. Be honest with yourself and don't relinquish control to anyone else; but don't use fear of getting mixed up in the wrong sort of help keep you from getting any help at all. Why shouldn't you be happy?
ABCs of Self-Help
American Psychological Association
Encyclopedia of Psychology
C.G. Jung Page
Mental Helth America
National Institute of Mental Health
Pendulum - Bipolar Disorder
My experience has been that, morally, what you believe doesn't matter nearly as much as who you are. Sure, the world would be a better place if everyone who professed a religion followed its precepts - if Christians loved their neighbors as themselves, Jews lived by the ten commandments, Muslims conscientiously gave alms and forgave debts, Wiccans did as they would, harming none, etc.; but look around you. For some people, religion is a life-saver; for others, it confirms them in their wicked ways.
Whatever, we're going to keep having religions, and understanding a character's religious position is an important part of writing him well. Also - religions, cults, and mythic traditions bristle with story hooks and are intrinsically interesting. This is the barest sample of subjects and sources I might have to reference depending on who my characters are and what problems they deal with.
Universal Church Triumphant of the Apathetic Agnostic - Agnosticism is the only religious stance I can honestly profess. This is not a choice, this is not a belief, and this is not a disadvantage.
American Athiests - Atheism is as unfalsifiable as theism and therefore belongs here with the rest.
Dead Sea Scrolls - An archeological story of considerable interest as well as a religious event
The Blue Letter Bible - That looks kind of Protestant. Let's have a
Catholic Bible Site, too
The Essentials of Buddhism
Church of the Flying Spaghettin Monster - Ever notice how much truth there is in humor?
The Searchable Online Koran
The United Methodist Church. Excuse me for playing favorites. My Reverend Mom is a retired Methodist minister. If I'm only going to have one link to a Protestant denomination, this'll be it.
Past Life Forum I kind of wish I believed in reincarnation. Someday I'm going to write a reincarnation book to go with my ghost book, you see if I don't!
Census Bureau Home Page
Entertainment Weekly --their reviewers aren't astute, but they are consistent.
Frequently Occurring Names in America
IntelliCast: USA Weather
Internet Public Library
USA Today - Hey, sometimes all you need is a news
Weather Channel ® Home Page
Weather Channel - Five
Day Forecast for San Antonio, TX
The Armchair Scientist
Discovery Channel Online
Science and Technology Series
Welcome To Fisher Scientific
Astronomy and Space Science
European Space Information System
Countdown to Jupiter
International Space Station Page
Mark Maimone's Home Page - Links to Space Science
McDonald Observatory, Houston TX
Space Calendar (JPL)
Ultimate Links Page:-
Astronomy and Space Links
Views Of The Solar System
Biology and Genetics
Centrifugal DNA Extractor Project
Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM)
The Tree of Life Home Page
World-Wide Web Virtual Library:
World-Wide Web Virtual Library:
Botany and Zoology
ALGY'S HERB PAGE
Megafauna and Attenuated Gravity
Poisonous Plant Database (PLANTOX)
Texas Natural History Collections
Complete Gardener Encyclopedia Search Page
UCMP Web Lift to Any Taxon
Brain Poke for the World Wide Web
General Information --
Human Brain Project
Human Brain Project
Jane's Brain Page
Neurosciences Internet Resource
Whole Brain Atlas
Chemistry and Physics
Fisher Scientific -
General Analytical Reagents
How to Build An Atomic Bomb
Molecules R Us (PDB query form)
Periodic Table of the Elements (graphic)
Cultural Sciences and Resources
Social Sciences Links
Archaeology / Anthropology / Paleontology
The Ancient World Web: Main Index
A R C R A - Sites of interest in
ArchNet: Subject Areas
Archaeological Fieldwork Server
Discovery of a Palaeolithic painted cave at Vallon - Pont-d'Arc ( Ardèche )
Dinosaur Volcano-Greenhouse Extinction
Earthnet Info Server: Dinosaurs!
FAQs for sci.anthropology
-- For those of us who want to make our own stone tools
Origins of Mankind Web Links
The PaleoNet Pages
Texas Dinosaur/"Man Track" controversy--
Not a glitzy site, but a good solid one, with hard-to-find real information on exactly what is in that
stream bed in Glen Rose by someone who went and looked. You've got to take seriously a man who
can get published in creationist and anti-creationist venues without contradicting himself.
UV Uppsala, Archeology
U of South Dakota Anthropology
World-Wide Web Virtual Library: History
Current Middle Ages Web Server
Historic Documents -- A gopher site
--content as well as links! Unusual stuff, too -- Eastern Europe.
The Knights Templar Preceptory Portcullis
Labyrinth Home Page - Medieval Studies
Language / Ethnic Culture
American Indian Science and Engineering Society
Human Languages Page
Gaelic Language page
Native Book Centre
Ojibwe Language and Culture, by Nancy Vogt
Rainbow Family of Living Light Home Page
Bureau of Economic Geology
Earth Sciences Resources
Internet Resources (Geology)
Engineering and Technology
Electronic Visualization Laboratory Home Page
Engineering and Technology Links
MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory Home Page
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Nanotechnology Links: Small is Beautiful
Neural Networks at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Robotics Internet Resources Page
World-Wide Web Virtual Library:
Probability and Statistics
Please let us know if you try one of these links and it fails or has moved. We keep most
of them against future need, never knowing when we might have to suddenly know how to build an
atomic bomb or whatever, but don't visit them regularly. If you have useful links of your own
that you want to hook up to ours, tell us and we'll check them out. Thanks!
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