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“Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.” - Girl Genius, by Kaja & Phil Foglio

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

Perspective, it's all about perspective ...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sir Terry, Happy 65th, Sir!

Today is Terry Pratchett's birthday.  He's my favorite author.  He was the best-selling living author writing in English in the world prior to the Harry Potter phenomenon.  I suspect he'll retake first place eventually, if it hasn't happened already.  *grin*  He may be the most shop-lifted author in Britain.  And some folks compare him to Shakespeare. 

An article by Brandon Sanderson gives a marvelous argument for the Shakespeare comparison.  And also says: "But what other authors do with light allusions, Discworld does with a sledgehammer.  And with light allusion too.  Then it steals your wallet."

An article at Tor is another tribute.  "His ability to write fantasy novels that are sharp, referential, and relevant have led many fans to the genre who might have otherwise never explored it.  His is a mind that never stops learning and exploring, and the books that he writes reflect the scope of his interests, making us smarter in turn." 

If you've never read this man's work, I'd suggest Going Postal or Small Gods or Witches Abroad or Hogfather to get you started.  If he's your kind of author, well, then you'll understand firsthand about Discworld stealing your wallet.

Worth every dollar.  Or pound.  Or cockle.  Or whatever your local bookseller accepts in trade. 

Cover images from lspace, a place of awesome Discworld information.

Terry Pratchett's website

Friday, April 26, 2013

Memories of a One-eyed Teddy Bear

I have another Library group homework to share.  Items were prompts for this one.  Our instructor brought in a mixed group of stuff:  a transistor radio with only AM, a well-loved teddy bear with only one eye, several framed pictures (one was a birthday party), and other things I don't remember.  We were to choose one and write a story about it - no more than 500 words.  I picked the one-eyed bear.  I seem to be on a violence kick; have no idea why. 

Memories of a One-eyed Teddy Bear

Pudge, a scruffy white rabbit with a black circle around one eye, suggested a trip to the copse at the end of the lane.  It was a beautiful July day and the shade under the trees was inviting.

They went, a mismatched cluster meandering down the dusty road.

It took far longer than expected to get there.  Shiny Knight kept dropping his sword.  His armor prevented him bending to pick it up.  Tiny Dragon would stand on the blade and taunt him until All In Red, the lion with a bright red coat with shiny silver buttons and the unofficial leader of the group, made Dragon give way.  Bear wandered to the edge of the road to smell the flowers.  Pudge nibbled leaves in case they were food.

They welcomed the coolness of the copse and the fresh water from the gurgling stream they found there.  Tiny Dragon flitted over the water, dove in and emerged with a small silver fish in his jaws.  All In Red napped under a large oak.

The light turned orange as the sun set.  They decided to spend the night under the trees.  An adventure!

The first unicorn appeared at moonrise.  She snorted and stamped around the group before trotting off down the lane. 

Tiny Dragon quivered in fear, pushed up hard against Shiny Knight's leg.  "Unicorns.  Nasty.  We must go." 

Pudge wiggled his nose.  "But who knows the way in the dark?"

No one answered. 

"It was only one," said Shiny Knight, so stiff in his armor he could only swing his arms forward and back in a slicing motion.  His sword was long, with many nicks. 

All In Red settled it.  "Their horns get tangled in the branches.  We're safe here."  He growled softly to emphasize his words.

Bear had his doubts.  He'd heard unicorns lived in forests.  They must be used to trees.  And they were territorial. 

Knight knew, too, and said as much, but his voice was muffled by his face plate so All In Red found it easy to pretend he hadn't heard.

The others fell into restless sleep.  Bear stayed alert under a beech tree.

And so it was Bear who gave the alarm when the unicorn returned with her friends.

Knight slashed at a bay unicorn.  It turned and kicked him in the chest with both hooves.  Knight's armor rang like a dinner bell and he fell back into the dead leaves.

After that Bear's memories were disjointed, mere flashes.  A dappled grey unicorn with All In Red's coat dangling from his mouth, Red's stuffing wafting among the branches.  Pudge skewered and shaken on a glistening black horn.  Bear's last memory of the fierce battle was a silver horn heading toward him.

He woke to the morning songbirds.  All around him were the bodies of his friends, the ground torn up by many hooves.  The world was aslant, cockeyed.

Bear still has nightmares.

Monday, April 22, 2013


Ursula Vernon has a wonderful post on self-publishing.  Being Ursula, there's potatoes, cauliflower, and nonexistent forehead tattoos ... in short, funny and realistic.

The rocket ship on her mantelpiece she mentions is the Hugo award she won for her web comic, Digger.  She mentions Girl Genius in her post as well, a web comic that has won several Hugos.  Yes, plural.

I currently have no plans to self-publish.  It's a lot of work I don't have time for because of the Day Job.  If traditional publishing doesn't happen, I'll consider it.  But only as a last resort.

After you digest Ms Vernon's good thoughts, check out Digger (a fantasy story).  Here's the link to the first episode:

Girl Genius, a steam punk story written by Kaja and Phil Foglio, is still ongoing.  It's updated Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  Link to the first episode:

I love plugging favorite authors!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hobbit-like Houses

I really enjoyed the Lord of the Rings movies.  At the time I thought it would be so cool to live in a house like Bilbo's.  It seems lots of other folks thought that, too.  Some of them had enough money to build one!

Check out this article at io9 for some spectacularly cozy homes.

I can't decide which is my favorite.  I love the Deitikon, Switzerland one for it's unusual openings, the Florida one for that sunken couch area and the view, and the Welsh one for the large oval window in the living room and the feeling that hobbits will soon be emerging from the kitchen with tea.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Reading Sir Terry Pratchett

I love Sir Terry Pratchett's work.  The man is brilliant, insightful, and possesses a marvelous sense of humor.  On the right side here on my blog, four of the icons below my profile are from his work:  the Discworld (which travels through space supported by four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle),  Death playing guitar (from Soul Music), the Librarian, and the Watch (from Guards! Guards!).

To celebrate becoming a Knight, Sir Terry made himself a sword that includes thunderbolt iron (pieces of meteorite).  Collected the ore, smelted it on his property, made the sword!

Starting in on the many books in the Discworld series can be daunting.  Here's my contribution to the many reading order lists.  As a fan it's probably a requirement!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Here, have a ... Bighorn Sheep

"Gravity is totally overrated..."

Picture and quote from here (US Department of Interior).

I knew they were sure-footed, but wow.  I am boggled.  And so impressed.  What a skill to have.