There will be a slight delay

I stepped on my reading glasses today. Stupid me. Probably no further posting until I get them replaced.

Pain in the neck II: The MRI Strikes Back

Last night, as promised, I had my neck MRI’d. The machine is not built for persons who are fat and bulgy like myself; my elbows rubbed against the sides of the chamber when the technician shoved me in. Then, of course, there were the customary deafening noises, curiously reminiscent of very bad 1990s techno music, and made slightly worse because my right earplug came loose. On my way out, I gibed, a little sourly:

‘The floor show wasn’t bad, but the music was terrible. If you had a better band, you could probably afford to hire a bigger hall.’

I then went home and slept for a time. Upon waking, I decided I had better work on one or another of the promised blog posts. I ended up choosing the lafferty, and wrote several hundred words (interrupted by boning up on the Standard Model), culminating in the following bit of oddness:

This particle, which Dr. Boudreaux dubbed a hemion, was duly detected among the emissions of the F–V device, and the decision was taken to produce hemions in quantity and observe their interactions with normal matter.

I thereupon relayed a warning to the Psychological Correction Bureau, and prepared to observe Dr. Boudreaux’s interactions with normal humans.

Wendy sez I ought not to post the finished story for free, but see if somebody like McSweeney’s will buy it. Me, I dunno. I just write them, see?

Pain in the neck

This is a blatant cheat. I am posting today to let the Loyal 3.6 know that there will be no post today. Normally I wouldn’t do that, but I’m trying to keep the string of daily updates going.

In a little over two hours, I am to report to the local hospital for the long-awaited MRI on my busted neck. We shall see if any genuine treatment is indicated, as opposed to taking ibuprofen and toughing it out.

Possible upcoming posts, if I continue to be able to work regularly:

  • Another lafferty, this one about the psychological fallout from finding the elusive left quark.
  • ‘Goodbye, Radar’, #11 in the M*A*S*H essay series.
  • ‘The Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council’, in which H. Smiggy McStudge explains how to destroy science fiction.
  • ‘Quality vs. Quality’: a teaser for a new essai to be included in Style is the Rocket.

Once I work up to that point, expect the new collection to be released at any moment.

Suggestions? Requests? Bouquets or brickbats?

A follow-up: On hope

After all, he never had any real hope in the affair from the beginning; but being a cheerful hobbit he had not needed hope, as long as despair could be postponed.

The Return of the King

Dear Theophilus,

Not being a cheerful hobbit, I have not Sam Gamgee’s happy frame of mind. My outburst the other day, which the Loyal 3.6 have read, some have remarked upon, and one has sneered at, came from the exhaustion of hope. I shall try, this time, to be less cryptic and elliptical about what is bothering me. [Read more…]


I shall not fool myself again. I shall immure my heart in the living rock a thousand fathoms deep, where it will trouble no son of Adam, and vex no daughter of Eve. And though I have nothing to gain by my labours, labour I shall: for I cast my defiance in the teeth of oblivion. I have seen that no reward can come for my work in this world, for the longing of my heart is denied, and the desire of my soul is shut up against me. Asking bread, I have received stones; casting my net for fish, I have caught serpents. Very well, I shall live upon stones and serpents while I may; and though none may mark my passing, or remember my works thereafter, at least it shall not be said that I ceased from my duty. I shall sow, though I cannot reap; I shall pour out the last measure of myself, though the vessel be not refilled. Let it be for a bitter jest; and if all the world have no manner of use for me, nor for the work of my pen, still let the jest be played. God at least may laugh.


That which is filthy can be washed, and made clean, and redeemed. But that which is filth itself cannot be made clean: for if it is washed, all of it will be removed and nothing remain. It is fit only to be cast into the midden, or consumed by fire.

Huzzahs and bemusements

I must say, that fellow John C. Wright knows how to throw a party. He has just finished the fair draft of his latest book, The Vindication of Man, and this is how he announces the blessed event:

Unlimber the big guns, ring the church bells, release the kraken, remit all executions, free the gladiators, gather the greenskinned Orion dancing girls, decree a clone parade of endless twins, and have the Death Star blow up the peaceful and unarmed planet Alderaan in joyful celebration! Two firkins of water shall be distributed to every Fremen!

Read the rest.

In other news:

Earlier today, I received from CreateSpace my printed copy of Sci Phi Journal #2, in which Yr. Obt. Svt. has the honour to be published. It makes a lovely product on paper, with a single caveat: Somewhere in the production process, an extra blank page got added at the beginning, so that all the odd-numbered pages are on the left and even numbers on the right. I am hoping this oversight will be corrected for future printings (if that is the cromulent word for the single-copy print runs of print-on-demand books).

On her Superversive blog, L. Jagi Lamplighter conducts an excellent interview with my Honourable Number One Boss, the publisher/editor of Abyss & Apex, Wendy S. Delmater.

And over on the SuperversiveSF site (my, how that word is getting around!), Jason Rennie (who is also the publisher/editor of Sci Phi Journal) takes a well-aimed shot at the racist and sexist claptrap of K. Tempest Bradford. Yr. obt. svt. is mentioned therein, to his nearly infinite surprise.

On a personal note, tomorrow I am due to see my G.P. for the results of the tests, pictures, pokings, proddings, and siphonings that have been performed on me over the past couple of weeks, in the interest of diagnosing more accurately what is wrong with me and why I cannot concentrate well enough to get any damned work done. My apologies to those among my 3.6 Loyal Readers who have been expecting blog posts and/or fiction from me.

Checking in

Just to let the Loyal 3.6 know—

I have recently been ill, with some combination of allergies, sinusitis, and cabin fever. This all got me down sufficiently to make my depression kick in at full strength; so that yesterday it actually hurt to breathe. I was having cramps in my diaphragm and actually had to lie down and consciously concentrate in order to take one breath after another. My depression has manifested itself in this way before, but yesterday’s bout was uncommonly severe.

I do feel substantially better today, and may try to do some writing once I have found myself some food. (The larder is a bit bare at the moment, because I have not been well enough to do any shopping. Before anyone asks, yes, I have enough money to do the shopping; it is health and energy that have been wanting.)

Summing up

Thanks to that minor but inconvenient new malady that I mentioned earlier, I got less sleep last night, and less work done today, than I intended; but I did manage this much between about 10 p.m. last night and 10 p.m. tonight:

1 silly short story (‘A case of vengeance’), 3,239 words

1 vignette related to The Eye of the Maker (‘Droll’s audition’), 2,756 words

1 scene for the ‘Orchard’ (‘Fox and Lory’), 1,138 words

22 lines of verse (‘Out of the cage’), 185 words

The original ‘Christmas letter’ post, 2,541 words

Total for the 24 hours: 9,859 words

Plus various little odds and sods not worth counting. (I had a rough draft of about half the lines in ‘Out of the cage’ kicking around on my iPhone, so I did not, strictly speaking, write it all today; so let the pre-existing draft stand in the balance against the odds and sods, and call it even.)

I do not believe I could do that much every day, and would not wish to. But I think it is sufficiently established now that I can still write. The next thing is to write well, and to finish what I write, and to finish something that people will want to buy.

Wish me luck; I shall have sore need of it.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Christmas story at ABYSS & APEX

Not mine, but very very different:

‘Redcoats’, by Larry Hodges.