Jan 28 2018

NPR’s On the Media’s profile of Le Guin


Just popping in here for a moment, to let you know that NPR’s show On the Media did a lovely profile of Ursula K. Le Guin.   A full 15 minutes, with some real appreciation of her work, her life, and her effect on the literary world.  I thought it was excellent.


On The Media

Jan 24 2018

Le Guin


Ursula K. Le Guin — gone. She was one of the first female SF writers I knew of — not hiding her gender behind initials or an androgynous name. And on top of that, she was so blindingly good at what she did, ground-breaking in so many ways.  Her influence and inspiration are beyond measure…

The Left Hand of Darkness left me stunned.  A Wizard of Earthsea filled me with longing of the sort that’s both painful and beautiful.  Always Coming Home puzzled me; then made me laugh; then made me jealous; then startled me;  then led me in circles; then made me jealous again.

You should read Jo Walton’s essay on her at Tor.com.

And John Scalzi’s at the L.A. Times.

Tor.com has also collected writer’s remembrances from all over the Internet…

I know she had to go sometime — all of us do — but I’m sad that it was now.   And glad that she was with us as long as she was.

The Left Hand of Darkness (Ace Science Fiction) by [Le Guin, Ursula K.]

I hate to see the great ones pass away…

Oh, I know there are more great ones coming, great ones not born yet; or born but not writing yet; or born and writing but not yet arrived at their best wisdom, their furthest sight —

But I hate to see them go.  They are so precious.



Jan 19 2018

I’d say it was exciting, but it was merely bemusing…


Just pottering along, minding my own beeswax, and suddenly: the building’s fire alarm went off!

It was Quite Loud.

Mind you, it was 9:30 PM, about, and I was completely alone in a three-storey building…

Stuck my head in the hall: no smell of smoke, no sign of trouble.

Looked out the window: no sight of smoke, no sign of anything.

Shrugged, put on my shoes and my good glasses, bundled up (20 degrees F, -6.6 C).  Detached my laptop from the big monitor, grabbed my bag and keys, and ambled downstairs  –  with my hands over my ears, so my eardrums wouldn’t burst from the noise.

Well, this is interesting, I says to myself, as I wait by my car.

And… here come the fire engines.

And… there they go, down the street, passing me by entirely.

So… okay.

After I while, I could hear the sirens getting closer again, and I realized that they had gone to the other side of the entire warehouse/office complex, on the far side of my building.  Faced with the prospect of walking completely around the entire complex to find out what was going on, I thought; shrugged again; re-entered my building (alarm still screeching); and exited straight out the back door.

Out there: two fire engines, two auxillary SUV’s and several perplexed guys sort of milling around in full fire-gear, trying to figure out where buildings 1 and 38 were.  In fact, Building 1 is mine, and 38 is the adjacent.  We share a fire-escape.  The buildings are only labeled on the front.  Thus, their confusion.

Alas, I could not let them in the building: the door had closed behind me, and I only had keys to the front door.

So, we all got in the trucks and rolled through the whole complex, past the tractor-trailers, past the massive piles of discarded wooding packing skids,  out to the street, back in by the other entrance, and to the front doors of 1 and 38.

Those two lighted windows on the top floor? That’s my office.

What I really wanted to do was hang around and look over the firemen’s shoulders as they dealt with everything, asking all sorts of questions, and generally getting the way.  But such participation on my part was not actually welcome.  So I observed from a respectful distance, stomping around in the cold, while the firemen checked things out.

Upshot: the sprinkler system in Building 38 froze and broke and then triggered, setting off the alarm in that building and mine.


Broken sprinkler drenches the place!

Much relief all around, as there was no actual fire.

The owner of the complex showed up, reset the alarm, and they discussed things as I wandered back up to my office.

Made tea.

End of semi-adventure.

In other news: still workin’ on my stuff.  Occasionally coughing.



Jan 15 2018

That flu thing…


Pretty sure it was the flu, after all.  Just after my last post it ramped up again, just to assert its dominance, I suppose.

But it seems to be gone now, and I’ve been back at the proofing and cover-fixing for The Lost Steersman…

Yep. That many.

Rather a lot had to be fixed… there was an issue with ellipses (“…”) where moving the text from Scrivener into Word for upload to Createspace caused them to be converted into three dots with spaces between (“. . .”).  According to some sources, that’s the way to do it (Little, Brown, and Chicago Manual of Style), and according to others (various semi-official internet sources) you can do it either way.  But the problem arose when the Createspace automatic layout software decided that the dots did not have to hang together, and if they occurred near the end of the line, one or two of ’em might end up on a whole new line.  Ugh.

So I decided No Splits, Dudes!   And I had to go in and change all the  dots-with-spaces into dots-without.   I’m glad I did it.

And then decided to reverse my previous trad-publisher’s inexplicable war against all hyphenated words.   Hyphenated words have their place.

And then I found a place, previously overlooked by me, where the trad-publisher’s copyeditor apparently did not understand a sentence.  So, they simply re-wrote it to what they figured I must have meant– unaware that it was a British-ism.  (“He was a moment understanding” is not the same as “He had a moment of understanding.”)

And then, the other errors, of which there were plenty.  Copy-and-paste from Scrivener generates a lot of mess.  I’ll try the export function next time instead.

So, as of now Createspace has the whole shebang for The Lost Steersman, and they’re reviewing it to make sure there are no problems on their end.  Then they’ll give me the okay.  After which I will order a new physical copy, just to make absolutely certain — because there are some things that just don’t show until you see it printed.  Like the previous color problems.

And that was my week: Coughing, proofing, writing (once I felt better),  some music.  My sister, meanwhile, has been basking in the Florida sun.  Here, it’s 12 degrees Fahrenheit (-11 Celsius).

I can take breather for a couple of days…


Jan 8 2018

Well, it’s good I did that New Year’s Day thing…


… Because right after that I came down with something.

Possibly the flu, despite having had a flu shot.   The virus is always evolving, and the shots can’t be perfect.  Possibly just a massive cold.

Anyway, I basically hunkered down and lived on Dayquil and Nyquil (or their generic equivalents) for a few days.   Eventually I dragged myself back to the office.  I figured that I could be sick there just as comfortably as at home — I have a rocking chair, a comfy blankie, a very efficient space heater, a mini-fridge, and a microwave.  Also, all the tea and honey I could ever use.

The bonus was that if I felt good for any periods of time, however brief, I could put them to good use.

Which I did.

The latest iteration.

My thanks to all who pointed out problems with the previous iterations.  You all were right, every one of you.   So, feel free to embiggen and scrutinize this one!

Meanwhile, still proofing the physical copy of the previous iteration.  I have discovered that I’m much better at proofing text on paper than I am proofing Createspace’s online proof copy.  Which involves staring furiously at a GREAT BIG GLOWY SCREEN for hours on end.

Also going ahead on the cover for The Language of Power.

And taking Dayquil.

My latest thing to soothe me to sleep: Starship Sleeping Quarters.  It’s white noise with a deep bass beneath it.   The screen is slightly amusing, but rather bright.  I generally turn it away so it doesn’t shine through my eyelids.   But I do like the sound.

Also, TV binge-watched while I was good for nothing else:

Travelers, second season (Netflix): Excellent.  I did have to re-watch the first season in order to remember why I liked these characters, but once I did that, I was swept up again.

Humans, second season (Amazon):  Also very good.  It seemed to come to an interesting point that could be an end-point, so I do wonder if the series is completed.

The anthology series Black Mirror, fourth season: The opening episode has generated a lot of buzz in the SF/F world  — and it does not disappoint!   Really well done.   Also, I note that the second episode was directed by Jodie Foster, whose work I admire.  I’m not bingeing these…

I’m also looking forward to Halt and Catch Fire, and I see that The Good Place has returned for a new season.

Don’t worry, I’m actually reading things, too. Especially as my brain comes back on line between cold-med doses.

Must go now.  More later.




Jan 1 2018

What you do on New Year’s Day…


I don’t know where I first heard it, but there’s a saying — or tradition, or possibly superstition — to the effect that what you do on New Year’s Day will set the tone for the rest of the year.

Which is why I came to my office today, to read and write and work on my covers, and possibly practice some singing and guitar.  Also, to not skip my walking.

So, here I am, doing, intermittently, all those things.  It’s lovely.

New Year’s Day 2018

I hope your New Year’s Day has also been lovely, and that the new year will be a whole lot better than last year, because: Damn, that was unpleasant.   But let’s not dwell on it.

Meanwhile, randomly, here’s a video of sundogs in Sweden.  I’m a fan of sundogs, and these are the best I’ve seen!