Short stories, poetry, haiku, expository and technical non-fiction. Report Cards and observations on writing. This began as my repository of exercises from the "What If?" self-help writers group at AOL. It has become more and less, since leaving AOL.

Monday, April 23

A Plethora of Words for Free

Today, April 23, is the very first International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day and it is being celebrated the world over with an outpouring of free words by (primarily) science fiction authors in reaction to a viciously stupid rant by current Science Fiction Writers of America Vice-President Professor Howard V. Hendrix.

It's a tempest in a teacup and I applaud this constructive method of poking fun at Herr Doktor Hendrix. Check out the link to John Scalzi's blog entry -- there's a pleasant surprise awaiting you.

Tuesday, April 10

Food For Thought

Via A Word A Day comes this quote:

The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of
morality by religion. -- Sir Arthur C Clarke, science fiction writer (1917- )

Monday, March 12

MEME: ScienceFiction Book Club List

Here, via Pharyngula, then Paul Little, is a list of the "Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years" first issued by the Science Fiction Book Club. Put the ones you've read in bold. My list is below. I've adopted Paul's convention of bolding those I have read, italicizing the ones I ought to read and striking through the ones I'm not likely to ever read. Leave a comment how this shapes up with your reading experience.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
Dune, Frank Herbert
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
Neuromancer, William Gibson
Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
Cities in Flight, James Blish
The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
Gateway, Frederik Pohl
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling [But I am currently reading the Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince awaits the completion of Phoenix]
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
Little, Big, John Crowley
Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
On the Beach, Nevil Shute
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Ringworld, Larry Niven
Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock (But I have read John Barnes' Mother Of All Storms)
The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks [a series I just couldn't get into, no matter how hard my then g/f tried to involve me]
Timescape, Gregory Benford
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

I've read 38 out of 50, a testament to my reading habits. Several of the books up there shouldn't be there, in my not so humble opinion, while other, important volumes are missing. Isn't that the way? And only fifty! Surely, if the members of the Book Club put their collective minds in gear, they could come up with an even one hundred, don't you think? After all, where's Spider and Jeanne Robinson? Piers Anthony? Margret Atwood? John Varley? Kate Wilhelm?

Thursday, February 22

Super Mom Saves The World

An author I am very fond of (no, not THAT way), Melanie Lynn Hauser, has just announced the immanent publication of her second book. Read for yourself:

The sequel to Confessions of Super Mom ships in just a few days! Super Mom Saves The World picks up the story of Birdie Lee, divorced mother, PTA lackey, and accidental superhero. It's six months after the Horrible Swiffer Accident that turned her into Super Mom, and she's still adjusting. For starters, she's having lustful thoughts about Mr. Clean. Then there's the fact that her teenaged daughter is suddenly sporting a bright pink streak in her hair. Her nerdy scientist love interest has just proposed marriage, at the exact same time her ex-husband starts making overtures. And to top it all off, the town of Astro Park has gotten Little League fever in a big - you might even say explosive - way...but as soon as Super Mom comes to the rescue, it's apparent someone wants her out of the game. For good.

"Hauser's sequel to Confessions of Super Mom (2005) is an amusing and sharp critique of the thankless job mothers perform as they juggle home and work. Every mom will want to be Super Mom." - Booklist

Read first chapter of both novels.

Friday, February 9

The Real Deal

Go here. Read what a real Master Poet can do with words. Rejoice.

Totalitarian Democracy
Lawrence Ferlinghetti

"The first fine dawn of life on earth
The first light of the first morning
The first evening star
The first man on the moon seen from afar
The first voyage of Ulysses westward
The first fence on the last frontier
The first tick of the atomic clock of fear
The first Home Sweet Home so dear
The sweet smell of honeysuckle at midnight
The first free black man free of fright
The sweet taste of freedom
The first good orgasm

This Excerpt

Copyright © 2004 City Lights Books

Sunday, January 7

The Last Ten Books

I saw this over at Patrick's A Stop At Willoughby and I liked it enough to copy it. Basically, here's the last ten books I remember purchasing and why I bought them.

  1. The Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling – I actually bought this after buying Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, starting it, then realizing I'd skipped (missed) one of the books. Stupid me. Lucky for Scholastic Book Services (the publisher). Why? To speak with two of my grandmonsters who are absolutely absorbed in all things Harry Potter, that's why.

  2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling – because the media hype was so thick in the USA and the prices so low at introduction, I couldn't pass it up. Plus the need to be conversant with the subject matter if I am to have any hope of holding scintillating conversations with aforesaid grandmonsters.

  3. Micah by Laurell K. Hamilton – because I was hoping that Ms. Hamilton hadn't completely sold out and was still capable of telling a story without falling back on fornication every three pages. Alas and alack. And a lack, too.

  4. Great American Rail Journeys by John Grant – I'm a nut about trains, I loved the PBS series which this is a companion volume to, I love scenic photography, and the discounted remaindered price of $4.00 wasn't bad, either...

  5. Mastering The Art Of Drawing by Ian Sidaway & Sarah Hoggett – Because I try, every now and again, to awaken any semblance of the artist's genes coursing through my blood. Unsuccessfully, I might add. But, some fool once said, “Hope springs eternal.” Who am I to argue?

  6. Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen – I used to own a first edition of this, but someone decided they needed it more than me. So this was a replacement and a rereading. I enjoyed it even more this time around.

  7. Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen – He's one of my favorite singer-song writers and I have been purchasing and reading his poetry for forty years. This, his latest.

  8. Old Man's War by John M. Scalzi – the premise of this novel intrigued me: old folks, after a long and varied life, sign up to fight for the continuation of society off in theater of war far from the home planet. New Body, new skills, no way home.

  9. The Ghost Brigades by John M. Scalzi – I liked OMW enough to spring for this one, too. I want the final book in this series, too! Yes I do...

  10. Dead As A Doornail by Charlaine Harris – I love the Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire series by Ms. Harris. That said, this was just one more nail in my coffin...

There you have ten of the books I bought in 2006. There's about twenty more that didn't make the list, but who's counting?

Wednesday, January 3

A Great Word: Tohubohu

tohubohu (TOH-hoo-BO-hoo) noun

Chaos; confusion.

[From Hebrew tohu wa-bhohu, from tohu (formlessness) and bhohu (emptiness).]

-Anu Garg (garg

Now isn't that slicker than greased owl shit?

Monday, January 1

Happy New Year!

I'm not one for resolutions, but I have decided to make an effort at posting more writing and writing related entries here in 2007. Wish me luck!

Definitely Limericks...

Stumbled upon a great new find,
"the Omnificent English Dictionary in English Form, a magnificent, ambitious, and slightly insane attempt to write a limerick for every word in the English language, one letter group at a time."

Here's a sample:

A cow nibbles nettles herbivorously.
A bear gobbles cattle carnivorously.
A babe in a cot’ll
Drink milk from a bottle.
A man eats the lottle—omnivorously.

About Me

My photo
Well past (by at least a decade) the half century mark. One foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel at the rim of the abyss and the view from here is disconcerting. I am a former student, pearl diver, cook, truck driver, firefighter, EMT, CEO, Town Fire Warden, mechanic, oiler, marine engineer and computer whiz bang. Mostly I sleep these days in an aluminum tube. And So It Goes... I waste my time reading blogs and kvetching about the weather, playing with our Schipperke sidekick, Ignatz McGraw and waiting hand by foot upon my wife, the Queen of our Hovel, She Who Must Be Obeyed (SWMBO).