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Ask A Geek Anything issue three

Hi, and welcome to Ask A Geek anything, issue three.  This is the column in the Otherwhere Gazette that attempts to provide answers to any and all geek questions that won’t get those of us that are Catholic excommunicated .

First up, Sanford of no definable location asks: Why can’t you use X picture for a cover? Amanda Fuesting,Our research Goddess answers:
If you want to use a picture from another artist for a cover, but can’t, that’s because the picture is copyrighted by the artist. A copyright protects the original work of an artist against use by another person or entity. For example, let’s pretend that I am a world famous artist. I create a painting that you think would be perfect for your fantasy novel’s cover. I don’t want you to just steal my work and use it to make yourself a boatload of money. I worked hard on that and it would be wrong. Thus, I have my painting copyrighted to protect myself from your theft. If you use it without my permission, I am going to sue you for damages. There are several things to get into here, to make sure that the topic is adequately addressed.
How do you find out if my painting is copyrighted? Maybe I am just a generous soul that makes my work for free the enjoyment of the world. Fortunately, you can search online through the US Copyright Office http://www.copyright.gov/records/. It is worth noting, that there is a legal presumption that I did, in fact, copyright the work. Therefore, it is always safest to contact the artist for permission, whether the work has a registered copyright or not. This is where permissions come into play. In order to obtain permission, you have to tell the artist how you intend to use the material and whether or not you will be using it for sales, among other things. The US Copyright Office provides a handy tool to help you figure out how to do this, available at: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/m10.pdf .
Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Fair Use” and want to know if your use of my painting qualifies. In short, Fair Use is a legal doctrine that allows unlicensed uses of a copyrighted work for very specific purposes. Examples include research, news reporting, and criticism of the work. Since you want to use it as the cover of another piece of art that you intend to sell, this is not a Fair Use case. An overview of what “Fair Use” is all about is obtainable at http://copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html in case you want to find out more. There is also a searchable index of all legal decisions regarding Fair Use available at http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html.
Finally, if you want to know more about copyright law in general, there is a nice overview available at Cornell University’s website https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/copyright . If you want to search through the exact working of all available copyright laws, these are available http://www.copyright.gov/title17/.


Boy, I’ll tell you what, This gal is the Credible hulk.  Not only does she tell you what’s right, “In case you doubt me, here’s the sources, look it up your own self”.  Don’t get in an argument with her, you WILL not win.


Next question comes from “Cover Girl” from CO. asks: Hey AAG, What’s your favorite Cover, and why?  Well we figured that was an opinion piece, and as is our policy for opinions, we let both sexes weigh in.  First Joseph Capdepon II, the Capo of cool responds:

Picking a favorite cover of the thousands of books I’ve read over the years is a daunting task. What I can say is that covers are very important as they do catch the eye of the reader. Unless you already know the author and have read his or her work, a wonderfully done cover will catch your eye and make you pick up the book.

For example:

I was strolling through the science fiction/fantasy section of Barnes and Noble one day. I notice this book on the shelf called Monster Hunter International and the cover was a picture of a male and a female in body armor with firearms and these monster arms and hands reaching up. Okay, I’m interested. So I pick it up, read the back blurb. Okay, even more interested. Open it to the first page and read that opening line and I’m hooked and I’ve bought everything that Larry Correia has written.

Now, there are two cover artists who’s work I enjoy immensely. I enjoy these artists enough that I would hang their work on my walls.

Michael Whelan being one (http://www.michaelwhelan.com/). His artwork has graced the covers of science fiction and fantasy novels since the 70’s. From Poul Anderson to Stephen King. My favorite pieces by him are his pieces for The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, the covers he did for C.S. Freidman’s Coldfire Trilogy, and the covers he did for the H.P. Lovecraft collections.

My other favorite artist is Josh Kirby. He did the artwork for a number of the Discworld novels. His fantasy artwork was just fantastic. The detail involved in each piece. I remember reading The Light Fantastic for the first time and the artwork on the dust cover was perfect for the character. The Luggage, Rincewind, Twoflower, Cohen the Barbarian.

The female perspective is from Connie Elliott, who writes: It’s Frank Kelly-Freas’s cover of The Green Hills of Earth. It’s my dad’s favorite, too. I met Kelly and Laura at my very first con, SciCon 8 and it was on display there. Sadly, my dad wasn’t able to send money down fast enough for us to buy it. Laura has the painting now.
Image result for frank kelly freas green hills of.earth

I’m one of the first to say, I had never seen this cover before, even though I’m a huge RAH fan… WOW.


Keven Crowley asks: Why can’t you use Semtex when Reloading 22LR?  Well as the local expert on things that go boom in the night, I’ll take this one myself.

Well Keven, that’s actually a multi-part question, which I suspect you realize and are just being a wiseass, but hey we’ll roll with it.  First off, if you can figure out a way to reload rimfire cartridges, call the press friend, cause it can’t be done.  See the thing is, the ignition source for a cartridge is called a primer, there are several types, ranging from Small Pistol, to Magnum Rifle and the real big dog, the primers for 50BMG (that’s Browning Machine gun, aka Ma Duce, and is now available in rifles, in-case you want to kill something on the next ridge… like oh say a TRUCK.  The primer is the little round thing in the center back of the cartridge and once the case is fired, it’s the thing that has a dent in it. which means it’s gone boom and must be replaced. (all the magic smoke has been let out)  Your reloading press has a primer pin that pushes the old primer out, then you seat a new one… With me so far?  Now, look at the back of your 22LR cartridge… See a little round dot? Nope.  Because rimfire (which is what a 22lr, 22short, 22WMR, 17HM2, and 17HMR are, there are other antique rounds that are rim fire, but I don’t believe they’re made anymore, and if you find one it’s worth way more to a collector as a collection piece than as a live round even if it would fire) doesn’t use primers… as such, you have to replace the case… which is the part that you reload, in a center fire…

OK, now that we have that out of the way, lets go on to the Semtex question… well first, if you have a reliable source of Semtex, I don’t want to know. I want deniablity, because BATFE will be at your house VERY soon… (how ever, if you want to arrange for some to magically end in my shed, I’ll not know where it came from, and it’ll just disappear…) Buddy of mine who was a bit older than I and so started his time in country in ‘Nam told me that they used to find AKs out in the bush, and instead of confiscating them, sometimes they would boobytrap them, by dropping the Magazine, shucking the first round or three out, then pull the bullet from the next one down (so you shoot the first one, or throw the round away, nothing happens, but the second or third shot…) and fill the case with C-4 (basically the same as semtex, just a question of what language the makers speak) then reinsert the bullet, and reload the mag.  When that cartridge comes up under the firing pin, the rifle becomes a small grenade, killing or maiming the shooter and anyone next to him.  I’m not positive that this would work only because I’m not positive that a primer would be enough to set the stuff off… but I refuse the honor of doing the “theory to practice”.

Unless you have an encyclopedic knowledge of expansion rates, gas generation, etc, Never reload without following a manufacturer’s book, and then never start with the max load, sneak up to it, while looking at your cartridges after firing.  if they start to back out the primer, or start to deform… STOP, and back down your powder weight a little, you’re about to blow your weapon to pieces, some of which are liable to end up inside you.  Generally your highest pressure load isn’t your most accurate ANYWAY, ( I say generally because my 700BX in 300WSM is at it’s most accurate with a load that backs out primers…, but that’s really an exception)  So to sum up, get a reloading manual, and spend some time with someone that knows what they’re doing, this isn’t really a skill you can get over the internet, anymore than I can teach you to shoot over the internet.

Well Folks, this is all the room we have, in fact I’m way over, so we’ll call it a wrap.  Remember, you can contact any of us directly through Facebook, (except Sgt. Schultz) or you can send your questions to this blog directly, and we’ll get to them as quick as we can.  Good Day.


About morrigan508

A retired submarine sailor and former cop, author of the John Fisher Chronicles, as well as a contributing author of the Otherwhere Gazette.

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