...that this here video was why the internet was created:
"Just a unicorn, innit?"
Natasha Pulley, The Watchmaker of Filgree Street, The Bedlam Stacks, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow
These are wonderful books, sort of steampunk, all sharing the same universe, in which a Japanese man, Keita Mori, can "remember" the future, or rather futures, and -- at certain junctures -- intervene to make sure one specific future occurs. When that happens, he can't remember any of the other futures, or the things he would have known in those futures. In the Watchmaker, a young British civil servant, Nathaniel Steepleton, meets him and falls in love with him. It's the 1880s, though, so homosexual love is a problem. Also, Mori is suspected of being a terrorist, since a recent bomb was set off using his specific sort of clockwork.
There is also a mechanical octopus which runs on quantum programming, and a workhouse child named Six. I love these books and I wish Pulley would write more of them very, very quickly.
Stella Gibbons, Cold Comfort Farm
I liked this a lot, though I didn't think I would, at first. It reads at first like it's going to be one of those books that labors heavily to mock people. But as we move further into the story, it stops being quite so twee in its mockery, and the book improves immensely. If you can wince your way through the opening 20 pages or so, it's worth reading. Also a good look at what people in the 1930s thought the near future would look like.
Lemony Snicket, Poison for Breakfast
My kid read all the Lemony Snicket books when he was about ten, and loved them to bits. This is the first one I have read all the way through. (I read bits to him when he was little.) It's an adult novel -- novella, really -- and has the same tone and feel as the kids' books, but is definitely aimed at adults. It's about what it says on the tin: the narrator, Lemony Snicket, finds a note saying that he's eaten poison for breakfast, and he investigates the crime. It's really, as Snicket notes about halfway through, more of a philosophical muse than a crime novel. Wonderful writing, though, and short enough that you can read it in an hour or so. Recommended for those who like this sort of thing. (I like this sort of thing.)
I've signed up to do another Guest Review for Asimov's, which is why my "What I'm Reading Now" posts have been scarce -- pretty much everything I'm reading is aimed at that review.
But I am doing some non-SFF reading, so there should be another post eventually.
Previous to that post, I highly recommend Natasha Pulley's The Bedlam Stacks. Also everything else she writes. Great stuff.
It's a wonderful and very insightful review. My favorite bit:
...this is not a space opera with a ton of action scenes in it. This is a novel far more interested in the political machinations, maneuvers, conversations, revelations and negotiations than in straight up conflicts. If you prefer your space opera with more laser guns and less wrangling, this is not quite the space opera you are looking for. On the other hand, if you want deadly dances of interstellar politics, this novel, this universe, has all you could want, in spades, and will eat up what is offered here with as poon.
This is a question someone asked on Twitter. I posted it on my FB page, and the answers were interesting.
1. What did your father's father do for a living?
2. What did your father do?
3. What did your mother's mother do?
4. What did your mother do?
5. What do you do?
1. Sold used cars
2. Chemical engineer
3. Worked in a furniture factory
4. School librarian
What are your answers?
This is true!
It is fitting that Kelly Jennings' In the Deep launched on Labor Day, since it explores several types of labor: from interpretations of noblesse oblige to savage versions of indentured servitude (with parallels to C. J. Cherryh's Union/Alliance azi). #sciencefiction #spaceopera https://t.co/BOdOt6qzis— Candlemark & Gleam (@CandlemarkGleam) September 6, 2021
It's the sequel to Fault Lines. This time Velocity and her crew are working for the Pirians. They accept a mission to a planet in the seldom-patrolled area of Republic space known as the Deep, where they hope to rescue some Pirians impressed into contract labor, and to foment a revolution.
Meanwhile, Brontë and Adder have been left behind on the Pirian ship the Sungai, to keep them safe. Will they stay where they were put? LOL.
The e-copy can be had for as little as $6.00.
Appearing soon on John Scalzi's Big Idea!
Elsewhere, and from Hilary Mantel of all people (I love her books), we get this argument:
In case you're only ten years old, that's exactly the argument that was used against disabled people, including deaf people, blind people, and those in wheelchairs. Why do we need to change the way we make buildings, run schools, pave our roads, when "those people" are only a tiny minority of the population?
It's the same argument that was made against immigrant children coming into the public school system, and dyslexic children, and autistic children: they're such a tiny minority, why should we change the system for them?
It's the same argument that was made for centuries against Jews. Against black people. Against Catholics, in some places, and Protestants in others.
Why should the majority change its ways so that the minority may be treated fairly? Why should the majority recognize the humanity of the minority?
Honestly, if that's a question you actually need help with, I don't know what to tell you.
I do note that Mantel was upset because she was misgendered -- someone used "they" pronouns with her when she prefers "she/her" pronouns. So clearly she understands that misgendering a person is a problem.
But apparently only when she gets misgendered. Using the wrong name and wrong pronouns with "those" people, well, they're only a tiny minority, so what does it matter?
Most of my family has left New Orleans in the aftermath of the storm -- one brother and his family are staying at a family member's house in Boone, NC (which they report is lovely, with a temperature yesterday of 66 degrees and low humidity); and my wonderful nephew is staying with his parents (my other brother and SIL) in Gulf Shores, AL. This nephew just heard that power has been restored to his apartment, and that his landlord is willing to wait for this month's rent, which is good news.
My father stayed in his assisted living facility. I spoke to him yesterday, and he seems in good spirits. Their power was out (the generator failed) but he said they were working on it. He sounded much more alert and aware than usual, though my brother tells me that when he spoke to him -- shortly before I did -- he was bewildered and confused, and kept asking why he couldn't get his Google Assistant to work. I suppose that's common with this disease -- the flashes of awareness, then the descent back to the dark.
I used to bike past this refinery back when I lived in New Orleans and was riding my bike 30 or 40 miles every day. One of my uncles worked there (the one who died of cancer in his early 50s). I've always suspected the toxins this place spills into the environment non-stop caused my cancer and the cancer of so many of those who went to my school. Cancer alley, we called this stretch of land.
A twitter thread starting here explains in detail why the new Texas law about abortion is such a deliberate and intentional act of injustice.
The way Texas's anti-choice law actually works in practice is so diabolical and dystopian that it almost sounds fake. A Rube Goldberg machine of state-sanctioned misogyny. A quick thread on what the Supreme Court allowed to take effect last night: https://t.co/CaZRYc95TP pic.twitter.com/tOw90lri3g— Jay Willis (@jaywillis) September 1, 2021
Clearly, being black in public is CRT
Dr James Whitfield was the first Black principal of a TX school. A parent complained Whitfield posted a wedding photo of him & his wife—who is white. The school district suspended him without explanation on accusations he was teaching CRT😳#WhiteSupremacyhttps://t.co/PFmh6mUOHO— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) September 1, 2021
It's going to be 100 degrees today, and according to the weather channel, all the way through Sept 15 we will have highs in the 90s.
Summer is hanging around TOO LONG.
I don't know if it's the ceaseless heat or my killing schedule which is making me so exhausted all the time -- I have 8:00 classes three days a week, and I'm teaching a class with a new prep, and I have a night class, and I'm TRYING to write a novel (insert more whining here). But anyway, I'm just exhausted 70% of the time.
I'll feel better when winter comes.