But if this man has a son who sees all the sins that his father has done, considers, and does not do likewise, who does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not wrong anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no advance or accrued interest, observes my ordinances, and follows my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, he dies for his iniquity.

Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own.

—Ezekiel 18:14–20


Reported to the South Health Campus tonight with various symptoms. The doctor assured me that I have a textbook concussion, but fortunately, not a serious one. I am advised not to do any strenuous mental or physical work for a few days.

Posting, and the release of Superversive, will, alas, be slightly delayed.

The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume 2


Now available on Amazon, and wherever such indisputably fine books as this are sold: The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume Two.

I have the honour to serve on the staff of Abyss & Apex as Editor-at-Large. This collection contains many of the finest stories I have helped to edit during my tenure there. I can’t pick a favourite, but Celeste Rita Baker’s ‘Name Calling’ is an excellent piece of work, and George S. Walker’s ‘Dreadnought Under Ice’ is exceptionally nifty. All this and C. J. Cherryh, too!

The book is immediately available in both paperback and ebook editions. The price is a very reasonable $9.50 and $3.00 U.S., respectively, or the equivalent in your local dosh.



One of the duties attached to my position was to do the interior design for this ‘Best Of’ anthology, in both ebook and print formats. It can do no harm to mention that I am available to do this kind of work for other clients at reasonable rates. (The cover design, however, is by other capable hands; though I assisted in getting it ready for press.)

Cosmic claustrophobia

Apropos of nothing particular, A Theory:

If you do the whole Star Trek thing, leave Earth behind, explore the galaxy, and boldly go where no man has gone before…

…you will STILL end up face to face with someone you knew in high school, and you couldn’t stand each other then, and it isn’t any better now.

This is my theory, and I would point out that it has never yet been disproved. It is neither logically impossible, nor is there any empirical evidence against it. Which is more than you can say for a lot of crackpot theories.


Today, so the calendar tells me, is my birthday. I had hoped to have Superversive available today, but matters became complicated when ‘The exotic and the familiar’ firmly announced that it needed to be in the book. (It was right.) So the release is delayed a few days.

As for my age: I admit to 117, but the Powers That Be have an unreasoning reluctance to pay me a pension, and insist that I am only fifty. Whichever is the case, as Aragorn said, I am no longer young even in the reckoning of the Men of the Ancient Houses. Wish me well, Loyal Readers, on the back side of the hill.


The modernist thirst for originality makes the mediocre artist believe that the secret of originality consists simply in being different.

—Nicolás Gómez Dávila

The exotic and the familiar (Part 4)


Continued from Part 3.

Before we examine the merits that made our three breakthrough fantasies break through, I hope you will permit me a Historical Digression:

As luck or providence would have it, the other night I saw, for the first time, Tim Burton’s magnificently lurid production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. That tale has been around, in various forms, for nearly two hundred years; it is one of the hardy perennials of horror fiction – far older than Dracula, almost as old as Frankenstein, almost exactly contemporary with the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe.

Mr. Todd first appeared in 1846, in a story called The String of Pearls, by James Malcolm Rymer and Thomas Peckett Priest – who, for that achievement alone, deserve to be ranked in the first class of Victorian novelists, but never are. For, alas, The String of Pearls was a penny dreadful. That is a term, or insult, that may need a bit of explanation for the benefit of the modern reader.

Every so often, the business of literature is turned topsy-turvy by some new technological development, and the previously unchallenged assumptions of the Grand Old Men of the business are blown to atoms and scattered widely over the waste regions of the cosmos.

[Read more…]


To tolerate does not mean to forget that what we tolerate does not deserve anything more.

—Nicolás Gómez Dávila

Spangling the conversational firmament

You can tell you’ve been having a strange conversation when – well, let me just give you the last line:

‘You know, there’s a reason why very few dogs are employed by the better restaurants as dishwashers.’


Over at According to Hoyt, they’re having Sunday Vignettes. The object is to write 50 words (exactly 50, if possible) on a given prompt. Today’s prompt is ‘alchemy’. My own humble contribution:

I went Midas one worse. Everything I touch is transmuted. Food turns to metal when I try to eat. The love of my life is now a lifeless statue. Everything in my house is hard, shiny, and useless.

But I didn’t even get gold.

Anybody want fifty tons of zinc?