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Posted by Mike Glyer

Noreascon 3 was one of the best Worldcons ever, and the reasons for saying so are in my convention report (reprinted here in five parts a few years ago, opening with Worldcon Wayback Machine: Noreascon Three (1989) Day One). However, … Continue reading
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Posted by Brenda Clough

by Brenda W. Clough

 A rainy day means museum. The museum at Millau is pretty small, but because the Romans had a famous pottery works here they have more pottery than you would believe possible. The factory shipped all around the Med and seems to have produced at high volume — molds, a standard set of shapes and decoration. The little cups in the photo are mass-produced offering cups, for use in temples. Millau is surrounded by the most startling crags, very dramatic and steep, but otherwise seems to be the most ordinary French city I have been in yet.

 It quit raining long enough to explore Severac-le-Chateau a little more. There’s some amazingly well renovated medieval buildings here; people have garages, satellite dishes, gardens — quite a lived-in space. Have a look at that narrow little domicile in the angle of the other buildings. Three new windows of the utmost magnificence, double-glazed, and with iron balconies.

This surely must be a great town for writing novels. The Marquis de Severac not only built the citadel, but he set up a monastery lower down into which he immured female members of the family who annoyed him. And there were two later changes of dynasty, the third set were the people who decided to renovate by adding a huge 17th century wing. They light it up at night, with great golden halogens which make the entire citadel look like ET is descending into Averyon. The novel practically writes itself, doesn’t it? I am tell that the elder Dumas did write about le seigneur de Severac, but there must be more gold in that mine.

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Poem Written in 1991

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:00 am
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Posted by Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin, photo by Marian Wood KolischPoem Written in 1991

When the Soviet Union Was Disintegrating

by Ursula K. Le Guin

i

The reason why I’m learning Spanish
by reading Neruda one word at a time
looking most of them up in the dictionary
and the reason why I’m reading
Dickinson one poem at a time
and still not understanding
or liking much, and the reason
why I keep thinking about
what might be a story
and the reason why I’m sitting
here writing this, is that I’m trying
to make this thing.
I am shy to name it.
My father didn’t like words like “soul.”
He shaved with Occam’s razor.
Why make up stuff
when there’s enough already?
But I do fiction. I make up.
There is never enough stuff.
So I guess I can call it what I want to.
Anyhow it isn’t made yet.
I am trying one way and another
all words — So it’s made out of words, is it?
No. I think the best ones
must be made out of brave and kind acts,
and belong to people who look after things
with all their heart,
and include the ocean at twilight.
That’s the highest quality
of this thing I am making:
kindness, courage, twilight, and the ocean.
That kind is pure silk.
Mine’s only rayon. Words won’t wash.
It won’t wear long.
But then I haven’t long to wear it.
At my age I should have made it
long ago, it should be me,
clapping and singing at every tatter,
like Willy said. But the “mortal dress,”
man, that’s me. That’s not clothes.
That is me tattered.
That is me mortal.
This thing I am making is my clothing soul.
I’d like it to be immortal armor,
sure, but I haven’t got the makings.
I just have scraps of rayon.
I know I’ll end up naked
in the ground or on the wind.
So, why learn Spanish?
Because of the beauty of the words of poets,
and if I don’t know Spanish
I can’t read them. Because praise
may be the thing I’m making.
And when I’m unmade
I’d like it to be what’s left,
a wisp of cheap cloth,
a color in the earth,
a whisper on the wind.

Una palabra, un aliento.

ii

So now I’ll turn right round
and unburden an embittered mind
that would rejoice to rejoice
in the second Revolution in Russia
but can’t, because it has got old
and wise and mean and womanly
and says: So. The men
having spent seventy years in the name of something
killing men, women, and children,
torturing, running slave camps,
telling lies and making profits,
have now decided
that that something wasn’t the right one,
so they’ll do something else the same way.

Seventy years for nothing.

And the dream that came before the betrayal,
the justice glimpsed before the murders,
the truth that shone before the lies,
all that is thrown away.
It didn’t matter anyway
because all that matters
is who has the sayso.

Once I sang freedom, freedom,
sweet as a mockingbird.
But I have learned Real Politics.
No freedom for our children
in the world of the sayso.
Only the listening.
The silence all around the sayso.
The never stopping listening.
So I will listen
to women and our children
and powerless men,
my people. And I will honor only
my people, the powerless.

–Ursula K. Le Guin
1991

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Studies in Frustration

Sep. 25th, 2017 05:36 am
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Posted by Diana Pharaoh Francis

Based on my title, you might be forgiven if you think that the studies in frustration came from writing or the publishing business. Both can be very very frustrating. However this time it’s about knitting. I’ve been working on socks. Mostly I just have been making up the pattern because everything but the heel is pretty easy. But the heel? OMG. So annoying.

This is the foot of the sock:

 

 

 

 

This is the heel:

 

 

 

 

 

I sense it may be hard to put on. What do you think?

I have not made a lot of socks. This one is an effort to play with stripes and also use some of my stash. I also  wanted to try something a little new for me that would give me a less gappy heel than I’ve done before. I found this tutorial, and it looked really doable. I proceeded to do the first half of making the heel cup. That went well. Then I started picking up the gaps to finish it and I got something might fit a heel, if the heel was shaped like an alien yam. Not a good look. So I ripped out (couldn’t tink because frankly, I couldn’t sort out that mess) and now am back to the foot of the sock and a pile of spaghetti yarn in place of a heel. I still want to attempt the heel, but right now, I’m just ready to have a tantrum.

This is my second attempt at this heel, but the first time I wasn’t really concentrating, so I get some slack.

So now I move on to some easier like . . . plotting a novel.

Somebody kill me now.

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Posted by Mike Glyer

(1) DEDICATION. Since the movie Hidden Figures came out a lot of people know this name: “NASA Langley’s Katherine Johnson Computational Research Facility Officially Opens”. When she heard that NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, would name its newest … Continue reading

Maze Runner: The Death Cure Trailer

Sep. 25th, 2017 01:20 am
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Posted by Mike Glyer

Maze Runner: The Death Cure will be in theaters January 26. In the epic finale to the Maze Runner saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they … Continue reading

The Good Place

Sep. 24th, 2017 11:58 pm
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I've been watching this really clever sitcom while doing the exercise bike. Sadly, I only have a couple of episodes to go for the first season. Why couldn't it be longer?

It is so rare that I like a sitcom, but this one is smart and funny, and the actors terrific.

This entry was originally posted at http://sartorias.dreamwidth.org/964475.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

2017 Aurora Awards

Sep. 24th, 2017 06:23 pm
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Posted by Mike Glyer

The 2017 Aurora Awards were announced September 23 at Hal-Con 2017 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The award is for exceptional Canadian literary and fan works. The recipients were determined by a vote of the members of the Canadian Science Fiction … Continue reading
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plaidadder:

plaidadder:

I was looking over the post-Return Sherlock Holmes stories, and finally put something together about the dates.

“The Three Garridebs” case begins in June of 1902. All signs indicate that Watson is still resident at 221B at this point. We all know how that case ends.

“Illustrious Client” begins on September 3, 1902, with the famous trip to the Turkish baths. At that point, Watson says, he was “living in my own rooms in Queen Anne street at the time.”

“Blanched Soldier” begins in January, 1903. Holmes is still in his consulting-room in London, but Watson doesn’t appear in this case and Holmes narrates. And he is BITTER: “The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action which I can recall in our association. I was alone.”

“Creeping Man” is dated September, 1903. This is the one where Holmes sends Watson the famous “Come if convenient, if inconvenient come all the same” telegram, and Watson’s narration says that their relations were “peculiar” at that time. Watson is also manifestly annoyed at being summoned for a case about a dog. Turns out it’s a case about a man who is in love with a younger woman and wants to impress her by augmenting his sexual potency via monkey gland secretions.

Holmes’s retirement to the Sussex Downs happens sometime in 1904, since it is announced in the introduction to “Second Stain.”

“Lion’s Mane” is dated 1907 and is the only story set during Holmes’s retirement (he comes out of retirement for “His Last Bow”). He mentions that “my house is lonely” and that “at this period of my life, the good Watson had passed almost beyond my ken.”

OK. So, in my own headcanon, I always located the Declaration and Consummation pretty soon after “Empty House,” based on the fact that the Return stories indicate a new level of physical and emotional intimacy (plus in “Norwood Builder” Watson sells his practice and moves back into 221B. Really, you don’t do that for a roommate). 

However, if you look at these dates, it occurs to me that another narrative–one which I in no way like as well–would go like this.

Keep reading

OK, so I have been seeing a lot of sadness in the tags about this, so I thought: Let’s find out how intentional this narrative actually is. It’s possible that this breakup narrative I think I’ve identified is an arbitrary artifact of Doyle choosing dates without thinking too hard about them, or something other than authorial intention. Because after all, the date when the story is set doesn’t tell you anything about when it was written. In fact, we know that the date for Holmes’s retirement was established in “Second Stain,” which was published much earlier than the rest of these stories; maybe all the backdating in the later ones is mainly about making sure they take place before 1904 and the bees. 

Well, if you reorder these stories by publication date, you get:

1904:

”Second Stain” establishes retirement date

1923

”Creeping Man” (Sept. 1903, “Come if convenient…”)

1925-27:

“Three Garridebs” (June, 1902; Watson at 221B)

”Illustrious Client” (September, 1902; Watson’s moved out)

”Blanched Soldier” (January 1903, Holmes still in London; Watson has married; “I was alone”)

”Lion’s Mane” (1907, Holmes in retirement)

“Creeping Man” appears to have been a one-off (appearing two years earlier than the others). “Garridebs” kicks off a more regular series (8 stories spread out over 2 ½ years). So it does look as if the Garridebs–>move out–>marriage–>Holmes alone sequence was to some extent intentional. 

Perhaps this was mainly just Doyle taking the opportunity to explain what must have struck Edwardian readers as a very abrupt decision on Holmes’s part to bury himself in the middle of Sussex, but from Doyle’s point of view was obviously another impulsive and failed attempt to end the narrative of Sherlock Holmes (just like the 1893 “Final Problem” and the 1917 “His Last Bow”). Still. It does look like an intentional narrative.

Honestly, now I can’t stop thinking about how H/W fans in the 1920s must have felt just like Johnlockers felt about series 4, only worse.

“Garridebs” comes out, and everyone’s all YAAAASSSS CANON HOLMESSTON ENGAME I TOLD Y'ALL THIS WOULD HAPPEN FOR THIRTY YEARS I TOLD YOU WOOOOOTTT

“Illustrious Client” comes out, and everyone’s all 🤔

ok, the separate flat thing is bad but what a great Watsholmes story this is, he can remember the very pavingstone he was standing on when he read about sigh snif poor lovelorn Watson

“Blanched Soldier” hits the newsstands…and you hear the giant

WAIT…WHAT??? MARRIED?!?!? TO WHO? WHEN? WHAT…AUGH!! DOYYYYYLLLE!!???!!!!!

Then “Lion’s Mane” appears and suddenly everyone writes furious letters to the Strand canceling their subscriptions.

Nothing new under the sun. Alas.

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Posted by Jill Zeller

It all started with Aubrey Beardsley, (1872 – 1898, England) in early studies when I thought I wanted to be an artist. Pen and ink drawings were my oeuvre, so to speak. So, I endeavored to copy him—below (his, not mine) was my favorite accomplishment. The Narnia illustrations by Pauline Baynes seemed to reek of Beardsley, to my un-studied eyes.

Edmunc Dulac was born in 1882, in France. (d. 1953) His elaborate, colorful, dreamy paintings decorated the published tales of Hans Christian Anderson, Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, and The Comedy of the Tempest by William Shakespeare.

Another Englishman, Arthur Rackham, (1867 – 1939) is best known for his fairy tale work, however he also illustrated The Tempest.

Born in 1870, in Philadelphia, an American broke into this esteemed clan of illustrators. Maxfield Parrish (d 1966) illustrated numerous books and magazine ads, and designed for Tiffany. One of his most well-known images was painted for a lamp company. One of his designs for a chocolate box was based on the Rubaiyat.

All of this male talent makes me wonder where the women were. Chicago-born Margaret Brundage (1900 – 1976) comes to mind, with her title “Queen of the Pulps”. In the 1930s she produced beautiful and of course, highly-sexualized illustrations for Weird Tales.

In researching tarot decks, I came across Pamela Coleman Smith (1878 – 1951), who not only illustrated the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, but many books and magazines and produced 100s of images.

These two very talented female artists are, I am sure, only a tiny fraction of female illustrators working at the turn of the last century and beyond. My own lack of knowledge was partly from ignorance but also partly from the lack of female representation (except as subjects) in the reference books I had at the time. Beatrix Potter, Jesse Wilcox Smith, and many more appear in my research.

Who can name others for me? Women who drew for money, and preferably, for other than children’s stories?

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Posted by Brenda Clough

by Brenda W. Clough

 Ah, the medieval villages of France! We are staying in Severac-le-Chateau, in the central Averyon district on the central massif. It is almost unbelievably picturesque — the only American equivalent may be found (I regret to say) at Disney World. Behold, the portcullis over the portal in the ancient walls — we are staying in a gite (a modestly-price hostel) just around the corner inside this gate.

 We have a front terrace, and here is a view from it. The other photo is of my husband opening the door into our impossibly period suite. Many steep crazy steps, nothing is square or on the level, and some of the windows let into the eighteen-inch thick stone walls are but a foot square. I will see if I can get enough daylight to take a picture of the steps, which are original to the building and surely over 500 years old. But there is the WiFi of the gods, and a bathroom that could have been designed in Switzerland yesterday. Also a wood stove! Which (it is late September) we will need tonight. It’s not going to freeze but it’ll get pretty chilly.

It is rural here, nothing like the big cities. We are so high up it is utterly quiet. A few cars can trundle through these streets (believe it or not they can get through that gate — French cars have a button so that you can flip your side mirrors in, to squeeze through tight places) but there is no traffic really. And the main tourist season is over. It is (except for that magnificent shower) almost like it was in the 1400s. Well, and the WiFi.

 

 

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Posted by Mike Glyer

(1) APPROACHES TO MILSF. Greg Hullender’s review of “Infinity Wars, edited by Jonathan Strahan” for Rocket Stack Rank includes this analysis: Make Love not War The stories take the following attitudes toward the military: Hate it. Soldiers are doing evil: … Continue reading

Isle of Dogs Official Trailer

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:21 am
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Posted by Mike Glyer

Wes Anderson’s next movie Isle of Dogs is coming to theaters March 23, 2018. ISLE OF DOGS tells the story of ATARI KOBAYASHI, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City … Continue reading
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plaidadder:

I was looking over the post-Return Sherlock Holmes stories, and finally put something together about the dates.

“The Three Garridebs” case begins in June of 1902. All signs indicate that Watson is still resident at 221B at this point. We all know how that case ends.

“Illustrious Client” begins on September 3, 1902, with the famous trip to the Turkish baths. At that point, Watson says, he was “living in my own rooms in Queen Anne street at the time.”

“Blanched Soldier” begins in January, 1903. Holmes is still in his consulting-room in London, but Watson doesn’t appear in this case and Holmes narrates. And he is BITTER: “The good Watson had at that time deserted me for a wife, the only selfish action which I can recall in our association. I was alone.”

“Creeping Man” is dated September, 1903. This is the one where Holmes sends Watson the famous “Come if convenient, if inconvenient come all the same” telegram, and Watson’s narration says that their relations were “peculiar” at that time. Watson is also manifestly annoyed at being summoned for a case about a dog. Turns out it’s a case about a man who is in love with a younger woman and wants to impress her by augmenting his sexual potency via monkey gland secretions.

Holmes’s retirement to the Sussex Downs happens sometime in 1904, since it is announced in the introduction to “Second Stain.”

“Lion’s Mane” is dated 1907 and is the only story set during Holmes’s retirement (he comes out of retirement for “His Last Bow”). He mentions that “my house is lonely” and that “at this period of my life, the good Watson had passed almost beyond my ken.”

OK. So, in my own headcanon, I always located the Declaration and Consummation pretty soon after “Empty House,” based on the fact that the Return stories indicate a new level of physical and emotional intimacy (plus in “Norwood Builder” Watson sells his practice and moves back into 221B. Really, you don’t do that for a roommate). 

However, if you look at these dates, it occurs to me that another narrative–one which I in no way like as well–would go like this.

Keep reading

OK, so I have been seeing a lot of sadness in the tags about this, so I thought: Let’s find out how intentional this narrative actually is. It’s possible that this breakup narrative I think I’ve identified is an arbitrary artifact of Doyle choosing dates without thinking too hard about them, or something other than authorial intention. Because after all, the date when the story is set doesn’t tell you anything about when it was written. In fact, we know that the date for Holmes’s retirement was established in “Second Stain,” which was published much earlier than the rest of these stories; maybe all the backdating in the later ones is mainly about making sure they take place before 1904 and the bees. 

Well, if you reorder these stories by publication date, you get:

1904:

”Second Stain” establishes retirement date

1923

”Creeping Man” (Sept. 1903, “Come if convenient…”)

1925-27:

“Three Garridebs” (June, 1902; Watson at 221B)

”Illustrious Client” (September, 1902; Watson’s moved out)

”Blanched Soldier” (January 1903, Holmes still in London; Watson has married; “I was alone”)

”Lion’s Mane” (1907, Holmes in retirement)

“Creeping Man” appears to have been a one-off (appearing two years earlier than the others). “Garridebs” kicks off a more regular series (8 stories spread out over 2 ½ years). So it does look as if the Garridebs–>move out–>marriage–>Holmes alone sequence was to some extent intentional. 

Perhaps this was mainly just Doyle taking the opportunity to explain what must have struck Edwardian readers as a very abrupt decision on Holmes’s part to bury himself in the middle of Sussex, but from Doyle’s point of view was obviously another impulsive and failed attempt to end the narrative of Sherlock Holmes (just like the 1893 “Final Problem” and the 1917 “His Last Bow”). Still. It does look like an intentional narrative.

Out For the Weekend

Sep. 23rd, 2017 03:54 pm

The World of Robin Hood at Age Eleven

Sep. 23rd, 2017 12:28 pm
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Sometimes I really need to escape from the news, which seems more horrific every day. And my escape needs a dose of blithe fun.

So I trundle out photocopies of student papers, missing chapters from Robin Hood, as gleefully penned by eleven year olds.

This entry was originally posted at http://sartorias.dreamwidth.org/964218.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

When The Received Wisdom Is Wrong

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:52 am
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Posted by Mike Glyer

This month fanhistorians were turned on their ears when a previously unknown shortlist of 1956 Hugo nominees came to light — unknown, despite the fact that it had been hiding in plain sight for over sixty years. As the official … Continue reading
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Once more unto the breach, dear friends.

McCain’s opposition, announced today, makes this bill’s passage less likely, but there are still only two confirmed Republican “no” votes and one of them is Rand Paul, who’s a lunatic and liable to do anything at any moment. 

The Washington Post is keeping a running tab on where the Republican Senators stand.

Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins are on record as having “concerns.” This means nothing, so if you are from Maine or Alaska, they could use to hear from you on Monday. This thing has to come up for a vote before September 30 or it’s dead in the water because that’s when the budget reconciliation option, for some reason, expires.

If you have a Republican Senator, call. Indivisible is running phone banks in blue states where you can sign up to call voters in red states and ask them to call their Senators. Check your local Indivisible chapter for details.

This bill may already be dead in the water or it may not. But regardless, call; and tell them that not only should they not vote for this bill, they should STOP DOING THIS. How many times do they have to hear that regardless of how many promises they have made, regardless of how much money the Koch brothers are promising them, this is a matter of life and death to their constituents? How often do they need it pointed out that regardless of how many ad buys they can make with their millionaires’ money, they cannot buy the votes of people who need health care to survive? Obviously way more times than I could ever have imagined. But regardless of what you hear tomorrow about whether this thing comes to a vote: they need to know that we are all fucking fed up with this and that no amount of campaign money will sway people on this point. 

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