A Random Bag Of Stuff

So, Witchfinder is done — well, it’s all over except for the (moan groan, sigh) editing — and Galaxy fest is done.

I want to put a question to the hive mind (Stop that, RES, you’re not allowed to answer with either buzzzz or honey): I want to do the goes to hell to figure out why hell is invading Earth thing but unless and until I figure out I don’t need someone with special forces training, there’s going to be a long (possibly six months or more) hiatus.

So, in the meantime (and it could be longer as, as you know, these things can take a time to gel, and also I’m now under contract for the next DS (still unnamed) and for Through Fire, the second book of the Earth revolution) do you guys want me to post Jonathan Blythe’s book?  (Tentatively entitled Magician Rogue?)  ’cause I can start that probably second week in March (I can’t let it interfere with Witchfinder.)

And meanwhile, to keep you all amused and sort of tying in with next post — if it were real, how would we KNOW?  http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/montana-emergency-alert-system-hacked-broadcasts-zombies-war

Okay, zombies are silly (probably.  I mean, the Bible does go on about the dead climbing out of their graves and walking among the living) but suppose it was something like UFOs.  How would you know it was true, or just the upteenth joke?  (And remember that Connecticut school that closed for however long because the students were convinced there were vampires among them?  Right.)  I was recently listening to the beginning of Puppet Masters — why wasn’t it contained?  Because no one believed in UFOs.

And…  Sign, portent or a remarkable coincidence?  http://www.weather.com/news/pope-resigns-20130211

162 thoughts on “A Random Bag Of Stuff

    1. I think the panic stateside was over-stated– the only folks who didn’t get it was a radio show were the ones that tuned in for a few minutes after they did their usual intro thing. (If you’ve listed to old timey radio, you know what I’m handwaving about.)

      1. *AND* they had to miss the commercial breaks.

        *AND* they had to not recognize the voice of Orson Wells — who played a major role (if not lead) every week.

        1. Basically, the folks who were busy doing something else, walked in and turned on the radio to hear something like: “The aliens have just destroyed Detroit!” and went into a panic, plus anyone they met that hadn’t been hearing the news.

          To be as fair as possible, if you REALLY freaked out– ten times 9/11, say– here’s a chance that you wouldn’t sit down to listen to catch a commercial.

  1. Well, I’d buy zombies if I saw one killing a human by tearing one into big enough pieces (or tearing big enough pieces off) that they could not be faked. Or saw military on the streets in big enough numbers, perhaps. Mass panic, well, anything could cause that. News, I don’t trust news all that much in the best of days, but I guess if ‘Zombies!’ stayed as the main news for days I would start to take it sort of seriously. But yep, that is one of the things which might require a case of personally witnessing it, and in a way I would not be able to explain away in any way, before I’d fully believe it. Same goes for an alien invasion – if there ever is one and they don’t start with some sort of mass attack but will first go with some sort of slow infiltration I suppose they will have a good chance of establishing several beachheads and possibly even permanent and well defended bases on the planet before anybody will even start to investigate, we have been so well indoctrinated with the idea that ufos just can’t exist and anybody who sees one is either hallucinating or some sort of crazy :D.

    1. Ahh, that hit the news also with some drug crazed naked homeless guy in Miami attacking and eating another homeless guy, caught by the police with the other guy’s cheek in his mouth. Here.

      1. Hey, pretty alive looking attacker in that case. No falling body parts or anything.

        Come to think of it, a mass attack by crazed cannibals would be pretty scary too. Even if they would be easier to kill, but imagine walking home from the last bus or something and running into a mob in some deserted street.

        1. New horror genre, Attack of the Hungry Cannibals, Night of the Free Ranging Cannibals, Dawn of the Unfeeling Canibals, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    2. Well, I’d buy zombies if I saw one killing a human by tearing one into big enough pieces (or tearing big enough pieces off) that they could not be faked.

      Hello? Evil henchmen unlimited? I want some of those things. 😛

          1. I was thinking more of ‘Fido’. And that ‘Timmy’s in the well’ scene where the tame (or -ish, it did eat a person or two if I remember right, a while since I saw that movie) zombie tries to make the mother understand that she has to follow it because it will lead her to her missing son.

        1. Henchmen tend to be a bit more skilled than Thugs. It really depends on the role you’re filling.

          1. I take it you haven’t browsed their selection of minions, then? It is a recently added product line offered by their highly acclaimed Renfield division.

              1. Thanks for the reminder! They offer a complete selection for all of your laboratory needs. One-eyed or two, hunch on the left or right, fully trained and ready for use.

                I believe they recently ran a special, it may still be ongoing: Buy two Igors and they throw a flunky in free! Fiends available in bulk, get ghouls by the case.

                There has been talk about opening a line in imported Hell Hounds, but I gather there have been some sticking points with Customs.

                1. Ooh! Hell Hounds! I’ll take an even dozen when you get some!

                  They’ll go well with my ferocious Jack Russell Terriorist.

                2. One-eyed or two, hunch on the left or right, fully trained and ready for use.

                  I’m still holding out for a Marty Feldman ‘Eye-gor’ — complete with bug eyes and reversible hunch.

                  1. I’m sorry – the convertible model has been taken off the market. Apparently he kept hitting people with the roll bar and rifling their pockets.

                  2. Try E(vil)-bay, and see if you can pick one up used. But that level of adaptability will certainly cost you extra.

                    1. I may have to put it into my bad fan fic, even… that’s just too perfect for my serpent themed villain that has a crush on Clark Kent!

                      Muwhahaha, she’s got a REASON to be ludicrously rich, and it gives a reason for her to be hanging out around a lot of designated villains!

                      (I said it was bad– pure fluff, but very fun for a writing outlet where nobody will ever see it, so it doesn’t MATTER if things only make sense to me; it’s roughly the level of “serious” seen in Girl Genius.)

              2. If you REALLY want evil henchmen, try “Congresscritters-R’-Us”. They’re not cheap, but they’re guaranteed evil. Most of the folks that work for them are cheaper, but then, they’re not quite as evil, either.

  2. The answer, of course, is that you probably could not know … not until you saw the yellows of their eyes. For the reasons you give: somebody has been spoofing our systems, crying “Wolf!” enough times to ensure that when the real assault begins we will react too slowly.

    As for the papal resignation (cue ominous music) the next Pope will be, per Saint Malachy’s prophecy in 1140, the last Pope:

    “During the last persecution of the Holy Roman church there shall sit Peter of Rome, who shall feed the sheep amidst the many great tribulations, and when these have passed, the City of the Seven Hills shall be utterly destroyed and the awful Judge will judge the people.”

    1. Oh great. Yet *another* end of the world prophecy. I’ve lost track. Will that be the fifth or sixth end of the world we’ve had in the past 20 years or so? 😉

      On Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 11:30 PM, According To Hoyt wrote:

      > ** > RES commented: “The answer, of course, is that you probably could not > know … not until you saw the yellows of their eyes. For the reasons you > give: somebody has been spoofing our systems, crying “Wolf!” enough times > to ensure that when the real assault begins we will ” >

      1. Awful? She’s wonderful. I get to see her yell at people who have been indoctrinated into grey goo and think they are perfectly rational. Woo-hoo

        1. I taught a young lady a film course as part of her home education. We had so enjoyed it that we continued to meet once a week to watch a couple of films together. The default channel for auxiliaries ran the various judges and Jerry Springer. Given our druthers, when changing films, it was always better to see one of the judges scold people for the behavior and beliefs that were seemingly celebrated on Springer.

        1. The “prophecies of St. Malachy” were Irish priests (probably from hereditary bardic families) hanging around Rome drinking their wine and composing poetry about the papabile of their day, with a cute bardic papal history exposition before getting to the politics. A political pamphlet in prophecy form, just like the “prophecies” of Merlin, Thomas the Rhymer, Mother Shipton, etc. that were published in those days.

          Don’t sweat it.

    2. Far be it from me to try to short-circuit the latest “the world is ending!” to do, but… that sure looks like it just says “There will still be a real Pope right up until the final judgement.”

      While that’s handy to know with the ever popular “the Pope is the anti-Christ” theme, not really any more helpful for initial identification than the known good prophecy about Jesus being called “God walks among us.”

  3. About that scouting trip to hell character – how about somebody who is some sort of supernatural, but very mildly? If you have the demons are fallen angel idea in it perhaps you could have minor angel who had an affair with a mortal woman and the child born has grown up but either doesn’t know he’s a nephilim, just that he is stronger and more resilient than most humans, or does and is scared he might end up in hell anyway but tries to do as much good as he can, including risking going there to find out the reason for the invasion? Or who is the child or a grandchild of a nephilim. Or something else like that – a character who is almost normal but has something which makes him able to survive hell, even if he isn’t a trained badass, and also might be the reason why he is willing to go?

    1. hmm… maybe some kind of inherited immunity to, say… a toxin in the air, or something. Then Our Hero is one of a select few now eligible for scouting duty, regardless of how their prior career did/did not prepare them to scout out Hell (first thing that popped into my head – quiet, sorta mousy librarian: You want me to do *what*!? Mm. Depending on whether or not the library in question is stocked with Dante, that librarian might be rather better prepared than she thinks… ) Training montages, fish out of water experiences, possible band of quirky misfits likewise selected for the trait, etc all ensue with various levels of hilarity optional, per preference of the author. I’d read it.

      1. TXGecko, have you seen the three “The Librarian” movies? If not let me just say: Bob Newhart fight scene.

      2. Or someone who assists in something like Ank Morporkh’s Library. They would be USED to danger.

      3. Hmmm. Lots of quotes from Dante, modernize the folks sent there a bit, make the hero/anti-hero someone who rescues a young lady from death, only to have the hospital where he takes her kill her and she goes to hell, literally. How can he rescue her again? What does it take to find her? Is she really in Hell, or only in Purgatory? How can he find out? Who will be HIS guide? Yeah, that would make a pretty good story. I’d buy it, too.

    1. That’s a good video of that song. The last one I saw had such poor sound you could hardly understand the singing, and practically none of the comments.

      That’s got to be the raunchiest “clean” song I’ve ever heard. 🙂

      1. “That’s got to be the raunchiest “clean” song I’ve ever heard. ”

        There once was a farmer who
        played with his,
        banjo in the moonlight,

        With the lady next door,
        you could tell by her clothes,
        she dressed like a,

        Very nice lady,
        who rolled in the grass,
        and every time she rolled over you could see her fat,

        legs in the moonlight,
        she walked like a duck,
        and she taught that old farmer a new way to,

        Raise a big family,
        with girls who knit,
        and boys out in the barnyard shoveling up,

        Hay for the horses,
        to keep them all well,
        and if you don’t like my story you can go to,


  4. Okay, zombies are silly (probably. I mean, the Bible does go on about the dead climbing out of their graves and walking among the living) but suppose it was something like UFOs. How would you know it was true, or just the upteenth joke?

    Reality testing, just like anything else. Look for reasonable sources, see if what they say matches the behavior, test against what is possible. When you have eliminated the impossible, then whatever left– no matter how improbable— must be the truth.

    Example: the original story about the mail ladies whose vehicle was shot-up in the cop killer search said that the cops just opened fire for no apparent reason, and that it didn’t match the description.
    Cops are human, but that just doesn’t make any sense.
    The last update I got was that they came around the corner to the house where one of the targeted officers lived, with their lights off, while it was dark, and appeared to be taking evasive action, then suddenly turned on their high beams. Also, it was a blue pickup with a bed tent. (They turn off the lights to avoid waking folks up, drive back and forth to throw papers out of the window, turned the lights back on because they thought it was safer or something, no idea why they chose high-beam rather than having properly adjusted beams and keeping it in lowbeam to avoid basic stuff like getting T-boned…..)
    Much more understandable, though it’s still a freaking miracle they weren’t killed by the colliding dumb choices.

    Another example:
    A few years back, a Canadian singer girl was “killed by a pack of coyotes.”
    I, having grown up in Nevada and the dry side of Washington, called a tentative BS on that– I’ve never seen coyotes actually hunt in packs, and the report was that they were healthy and had only attacked her because she was something like 5’6 and 95 pounds….which is still pretty freaking huge to any coyote I’ve seen. Even the sheepherds I knew complained about coyotes taking down lambs individually— the might all home in on a badly wounded animal, but that’s not hunting, that’s just nature being nasty and willing to eat before something’s dead.
    Some poking around, and I find out that “coyotes” in that area are up to 90% timber wolf, by definition of the Canadian game department. (I’d actually been expecting coydogs or something.)

    With aliens, zombies or a sudden massed Cryptid attack, I’d probably hear the reports, then look at the video. See if there are obvious contradictions, and how folks uploading it behave vs, say, the ones that were filming the Japanese tsunami. Look to see if there are obvious problems with any aspect of it that I know— for example, if the attack is via dragon, and they have wings that look and work hollywood instead of realistically. (I don’t know how to describe this, but I’ve seen enough birds and bats of various shapes get off the ground and fly to have some kind of a sense, though not a highly sophisticated one.)

    You wouldn’t have to worry about being teased for “falling for it” just by watching videos, either– everyone would be curious, even if they laughed. (One thing script writers seem to have a new bad habit of is having a strawman object to some aspect of the first evidence offered– and then get killed, or otherwise be Wrong Just Because. Wouldn’t be so bad if Strawman didn’t have a point.)

      1. The link worked for me.

        I know what you mean about the Hollywood motion. It’s not that it’s not describable, but it’s not always the same. Sometimes the direction of motion is wrong (for example, by the wingbeat pattern and the angle of the wing, the thing should be either hovering or going backwards), sometimes it’s the timing of the various individual portions of the motion, and sometimes it’s simply jerky and obvious.

  5. “do you guys want me to post Jonathan Blythe’s book? (Tentatively entitled Magician Rogue?) ’cause I can start that probably second week in March (I can’t let it interfere with Witchfinder.)”

    So, the choice is whether to post or not? I mean, let me think. Do I have any other pressing engagements that would mean I wouldn’t be willing to read? Heck, I’m still alive and breathing — bring it on, mama! Rev up the keyboard and let those words wail! Er, wait, wait…

    I mean, yes, please, may I have another? (trying to do my best imitation of little Oliver Twist asking politely for another dish of gruel 🙂

    Yes. Please?

  6. You could always try talking about the invasion from the POV of the aliens. Or maybe one where it’s Earth invading someone in the far future. Why would we do that? Maybe our sun is expanding towards red giant stage and we need a new place to live…

  7. We, from the DHeS (the Department of Homeland and entertainment Security), having just completed our purchase of an additional 831 million rounds of .40 cal ammunition, are pleased to see you complying with the (proposed and still in the regulatory review phase) of ObamaStory. We appreciate your compliance and now feel comfortable to de-task the (lightly armed) monitoring agents from your neighborhood. That said, please do not change your wifi password.

    Looking forward to your Jonathan Blythe book free posting. Please do not feel intimidated, are agents are here to help you.

    1. I don’t think Sarah’s stories would be well received by the current administration. If they were monitoring, they would be looking to inhibit, rather than promote.

          1. I don’t exactly think King George was worried about that particular. He declared us in rebellion in April of 1775. It took us nearly a year for our Continential Congress to declare that we, in fact, were:

            From 1776, Scene 2:

            John: Dammit, Franklin, we’re at war!

            Franklin: To defend ourselves, nothing more. We expressed our displeasure, the English moved against us, and we, in turn resisted. Now our fellow Congressmen want to effect a reconciliation before it becomes a war.

            John: Reconciliation my ass! The people want independence!

            Franklin: The people have read Mr. Paine’s Common Sense. I doubt that Congress has.

                    1. 1776, Scene 3, the Continental Congress, John Dickinson on a bit of a tirade concludes and asks:

                      Dickinson: Violence! Rebellion! Treason! Now, Mr. Adams, are these the acts of an Englishman?

                      John: Not Englishmen, Dickinson — Americans!

                      Dickinson, again pounding the desk: No, sir! Englishmen!!

                      Franklin — he’s been asleep, his chin on his chest; now an eye opens: Please, Mr. Dickinson — must you start banging? How is a man to sleep?


                      Dickinson: Forgive me, Dr, Franklin, but must you start speaking? How is a man to stay awake?


                      We’ll promise to be quiet, sir. I’m sure everyone prefers that you remain asleep.

                      Franklin: If I’m to hear myself called an Englishman, sir, then I assure you I’d prefer I’d remained asleep.

                      Dickinson: What’s so terrible about being called an Englishman? The English don’t seem to mind.

                      Franklin: Nor would I, were I given the full rights of an Englishman. But to call me one without those rights is like calling an ox a bull — he’s thankful for the honor but he’s much rather have restored what’s rightfully his.

                      Laughter, Franklin laughing the longest.

                      I think that is where I should stop for the moment.

          2. I think Akiva has NOT read A Few Good Men. I’ll point out I didn’t expect it to sound so “topical”. I Thought…. well, never mind. But I was forced to write it, and it’s interesting now isn’t it.

            1. Sorry no, my foreign location makes only ebooks a reasonably priced option for English books. And I don’t see that one available in e-form.

  8. I love a “clever human” story–so load up your Hell dimension with Unobtanium and let the entrepreneurs invade.

    And watch the Hell dimension invade right back through the openings your sturdy capitalists made in the wall the Divine built to protect them …

    1. Or they could simply find a way to build a portal there so they could generate electricity from the excess heat, possibly without knowing where they had opened said portal to, and the guy who goes there does so to defeat whatever demon lord would be necessary to cause the forces of Hell to pull back.

    2. Actually it’s the US Army — which is why I’m having issues. I don’t disapprove, I just don’t KNOW enough — sending ONE female scout the only way you can send someone to hell, to find out why and how hell is invading Earth — their stealth scouts are in place, etc.

      1. I knew a Ranger when I was in Panama and he would be sent out two to three weeks before the objective and then when finished would show up about two weeks later. He would sometimes go with another person, but usually by himself. There is a survival show that shows how to survive in extreme situations. When this Ranger reached 35, he was retired (scouting and/or assassination is a young man’s game) and sent to teach his techniques to other people.

      2. Actually, if she has to be killed to be sent to hell, she may not be the best person for the job, but had terminal cancer or whatever, and was quickly trained. Actually, if she’s going to hell, perhaps she murdered someone and is going to be executed?

          1. The problem is you will need a demonologist or a medium to talk to the scout (if she dies or is killed). Plus if it is really stealthy, it have to be a contact when 1)found the answer or 2)something terrible is going to happen.

        1. Train a Dirty Dozen but send out only one? Or send them all, but only one makes it — or makes it to the proper and necessary circle?

      3. If you don’t mind my asking, why a female scout? All other things being equal, wouldn’t a male be a better choice? Or is the nature of this Hell such that physical differences are negated, or perhaps women are more psychologically suitable for whatever they will encounter for some reason?

        1. while a male would be better they have a woman with the right profile, who is terminal with cancer, so…

          HOWEVER this is beyond my control. the thing wants a woman protagonist. Possibly because of the bad ass male love interest… 😉

          1. Because, in the words of the old song about the quarrelsome wife, “You know that the women are better than men; if they go down to Hell they get thrown out again.”

            There’s probably a prophecy or a magic item. Or the Sibyl said so.

            1. What if she winds up in Heaven instead? “I beg your pardon St Peter, but . . . would you turn around and bend over for a kick? I’m afraid I need to go to the Other Place. Umm, I don’t suppose God hires undercover agents?”

              1. according to the Dictionary of Angels (get one, fascinating thing) most archangels are DOUBLE agents. Dangerous practice.

                BUT it’s not a comedy. As in, very not.

                  1. “For everybody else, Redemption is a gift. You will have to earn it.”

                    Theologically wrong, but psychologically right.

                    1. Earning redemption. Heh. Maybe she’ll run into a former SF writer by the pseudonym of Carpentier whose doing much the same thing:-P

                    2. C. S. Lewis again. Perelandra this time. Elwin Ransom. It is not that you are the only one to do it — you have been given the opportunity, you are the best possible one at this time and place, but the plans of G-d will happen.

                    3. (spoiler alert for anyone who actually may be interested in reading Perelandra but hasn’t yet)

                      The part of Perelandra that I really like is when he finally understands that all the talking in the world is not going to change anything, and he attacks the b**tard and kills him. THAT is the lesson that some of the Lunatic Fringe need to learn.

  9. “In the meantime (and it could be longer as, as you know, these things can take a time to gel, and also I’m now under contract for the next DS (still unnamed) and for Through Fire, the second book of the Earth revolution) …”

    Ok. Wait. Hold on. What is the first book of the Earth revolution, and is it published? I suspect I need it right away.

    1. I expect that would be A Few Good Men, available for pre-order even now, scheduled to ship March 5th. Order now to avoid long lines.

      1. Same universe as Darkship Thieves, but focused on the different characters dealing with the chaos that occurs after Athena breaks out Kit, and a whole bunch of other people, too, setting off a whole chain of unintended events. This is the first chapter, you can read it now on Baen. (and now see if you can avoid buying it just to see what happens next, after you runs out of sample chapters)

      1. Thanks! I just pre-ordered. I had it categorized in my head as a DST book, but I’m now up on the lingo. Very cool.

        1. It’s actually a “Future History” book. I’d called my future history “forever fighting” but the husband says it’s a stupid name. I should have a context to name it — I have DSR and AFGM t-shirts I can give away…

          1. Yes, context is very important. (Runs and hides.)

            On Tue, Feb 12, 2013 at 9:31 AM, According To Hoyt wrote:

            > ** > accordingtohoyt commented: “It’s actually a “Future History” book. I’d > called my future history “forever fighting” but the husband says it’s a > stupid name. I should have a context to name it — I have DSR and AFGM > t-shirts I can give away…” >

          2. I like forever fighting as the name of your future history; but you need to Darkships to increase recognition of the series.

            1. I have a t-shirt that says Darkship on it, nothing else. No idea what it is referring to, since it came in a bulk bag of seconds and remainders that I bought for rags when I was painting.

  10. Why Hell is invading Earth? Easily answered: they’re angry because we’re swamping them with damned souls. Their plots to subvert us have succeeded far beyond their wildest dreams and they don’t know how to stop the flood.

          1. Anyone here seen the stage adaption by, hm, McLean? Excellent. Really, it is seriously /good/. He’s working on one of the Great Divorce, too, but I have no idea when it’ll be finished. They’re doing a nationwide tour (do stage shows ‘tour’ or is it called something else?) and I managed to see it when they came through Dallas a while back. Anyway, I highly recommend seeing it if you get the chance. Lessee here, oooh, they have a website! Screwtape on Stage .

          2. On my phone, so not really able to find/link details at the moment, but has anyone here seen the stage adaption? Can’t remember the name of the guy who out it on, but he’s doing

            1. THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS is produced by New York City based Fellowship for the Performing Arts. Max McLean is the Producing Artistic Director,

              1. That’s it, yes! I think he’s also working on one of The Great Divorce. I tried to put up a link to their website earlier but I guess either my email or wordpress swallowed it somewhere.

  11. I want to put a question to the hive mind

    Very slowly she sat up. She focused on Magrat and Nanny Ogg with some difficulty, and said:

    “I wantzzz a bunczzch of flowerszz, a pot of honey, and soomeone to szzzting.”

    I had mentioned what I was just reading? One warning about consulting the hive:

    …You endzzz up with your mind all flying in different directionzzz!

  12. I would certainly enjoy a chance to ride along with your writing process. I am quite interested in learning more about Jonathan.

    I am not sure it would be kind to ask this of you. You have admitted that the process of writing in installments over time is so antithetical to your normal writing process. So I have to ask, is this intended as an exercise to stretch yourself, or is this an example of that self-destructive streak I have heard authors often suffer?

    1. stretch. And learning more about my “real” process and how to change it.

      Don’t be silly on the self destructive. If I EVER go self destructive, I’ll be washing down Crispy Cream doughnuts with Jim Beam (as I did for the week after 9/11)

      1. You don’t want to be on the same continent if *I* ever go self-destructive.

        I might have spells where I wallow in self-pity, but if I ever get to the level of self-destructive, I’ll include a whole lot of “not self” along with it. There will be collateral damage.

        1. Amen, Wayne! Let’s take as many of them sunzabitz with us before we go! We’ll meet in Deleware and plot, then move south! Just as soon as I get this crater-cannon figured out… I’ll test it against the moon — nobody will be able to tell the difference.

        1. You need to understand — or not — who cares —

          At my high school the juniors hosted the senior prom. One of the fund raising activities was a doughnut eating contest, using, you guessed it, Krispy Cream glazed. A friend and I were last minuet replacements for a favored team, much to everyone’s disappointment. I believe my friend only ate two. I apparently turned a strange shade of green at about ten minutes. I am told that this threw everyone else off. I don’t know, I just kept eating. We won.

          I had consumed more than any other pair by myself. I also was the only one who did not ‘loose’ the doughnuts later…

          1. I gained forty pounds the weeks after 9/11. HOWEVER I didn’t commit suicide, so all to the good. And I stopped the doughnuts at one week and the Jim Beam at two weeks.

  13. Are you looking for some kabbalistic or theologic background for the proposition? Hell’s not in my pantheon, but negative forces feeding off the energies of holiness is.

    1. Sigh. No, I was going to use the Hell from my story “Something Worse Hereafter” which I culled from medieval sources (they asked for the story when I’d been wading into some TRULY strange stuff. ) So, high tech weapons, energy demons…. that sort of thing. My sticking point is “military” — even in A Few Good Men which Toni tells me is Mil SF, I’ve tried to stay away from military proper because I have issues with things like ranks and proper behavior sticking in mind (It’s doubtful I’d have done better if I’d lived it. There are things I can never remember, at the level of brain damage. I negotiated Portuguese railways for a decade and a half WITHOUT ever being ABLE to master simple things like what indicates an express train and the schedule of trains that stopped in the village. It’s like my transposing digits — some things my brain CAN’T do. Even things that really young children can do.)

      1. Ah! Well to fix that, you have a sekrit unit that deliberately *doesn’t do things* in the approved military style, on account of them being retired/shanghaied civilians/nisei nephilim, etc. They might have *connections* to the regular military, and be famous for “not getting it quite right” which annoys the regular chain of command and provides lots of opportunities for the writer to Get Silly. Not that you would ever do such a thing, of course. Don’t think of it as you being pig-ignorant about the military. It’s a feature, not a bug! Claim you are doing it on purpose!

        1. In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The A-Team.

        2. Plus the best stealth fighters are given an objective and they put the plan together. Of course there is the groups who are given a plan and do everything according to plan in practice. However– NO plan SURVIVES the battle. (only hindsight says it does lol)

          1. Like cats. How often have we seen a feline do something stupid (fall off bed/ slide into wall because there’s no traction on parquet floors) and then lick a bit of fur, implying, “I meant to do that.”

      2. Well, my local military is considered particularly effective but is NOT big on formality and procedure. Soldiers call their commanders and officers by name, middle ranks aren’t paid much attention to, yet responsibilities are taken care of and things get done. I’ve got 2 children in that military at the moment, if you want me to run a scenario by them — be glad to. (Not U.S.)

        1. If I’m right, your local military is the same that the gentleman who sold us veggies at the farmer’s market last summer served in. The stories tally. He also talked of “losing” his unit in the local sf con. I thought he and older son were about to become blood brothers, or something — same odd sense of humor. Keep expecting to run into him at a con.

          1. I have gotten the impression that some reserve units have high levels of informality; they put up with the chicken poop once, have no interest in doing it again just for the stipend but welcome the opportunity to maintain skills … and they already KNOW what to do when the fecal matter hits the vertical impeller.

            Now, if it is undesirable to have character with even that much military, try the daughter of an ex-Special Forces Recon or SEAL who cut her teeth on Daddy’s bayonet and was loading magazines before she was out of nappies. Set the homestead in the boonies — Rockies, Sierras, Smokies or Ozarks, or maybe place them Cajun, Yoopie or Maine/N. Hampshire.

              1. That would have to be a new granddaughter, his daughter’s are Sarah and Julia.

                A wait, the granddaughter thing has already been done by Ringo.

                1. But who said it was going to be near future? GGdaughter? GGGdaughter? Who knows? I suspect that even Sarah is still a bit sketchy at this point.

  14. Sarah,

    You know it’s real when you see repeated descriptions of “civil unrest” and can hear lots of emergency vehicles from out of your window.

    Whether it’s vampires, terrorists, or zombies, that’s Screen Two. Your job is always, “don’t be that sap who died on the first screen.”

  15. I read a short story once, the author and title of which escape me, about a whole series of well-publicized, inexplicable events. Sightings of various types of UFOs that would appear, float around, fail to interact with anything, freak people out, and disappear. People eventually became so inured to them that they didn’t even react when reports started appearing that the latest wave was killing people…

    1. QUOTE:
      In all, as a work on the life and importance of Roger Sherman, Roger Sherman and the Creation of the American Republic is superb. But Hall has other fish to fry. He wants us to step back from an Enlightenment-drenched conception of the founding, believing that the time for a thoroughgoing revision of the conventional wisdom has come upon us. A section of chapter 2 titled “What about John Locke?” is worth the price of the book. Hall is polemical, but fair. He starts with Carl Becker’s 1922 claim that most Americans at the time of the Revolution “had absorbed Locke’s works as a kind of political gospel” (21) and extends his critique to contemporary defenders of a similar view. Hall makes several moves: first, he shows that Locke’s works were late to arrive, not widely distributed, and, though doubtlessly influential, were not omnipresent, as the Bible was (22–23). Second, he argues persuasively that even if one grants whatever premises a Locke advocate desires—Jefferson did daily devotional readings of Locke and Spinoza, slipping language into the Declaration that only the cognoscenti would discern, etc.—the conclusion that the founding was thereby Lockean simply does not follow. As Hall puts it, even if Jefferson thought that creator in the Declaration signified nature, many of the document’s signers (and here he names almost two dozen of them) would have been appalled to think that creator stood for “anything other than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (22).

      Hall proposes a rival source for American political thought: Reformed theology. In a footnote, Hall mentions Robert Middlekauff’s comment in the Claremont Review of Books that, though it is “a terribly rough equation, … Calvin is to the 17th century and maybe the 18th century what John Maynard Keynes is to the 20th century” (175n53). Middlekauff offers an informative parallel, and it is one that provides a serviceable shorthand for Hall’s approach. His argument is straightforward: 1. Reformed theology, and not Enlightenment philosophy, was pervasive in the colonies, so 2. if Reformed political thought delivers the revolutionary and constitutional goods, we should look to it, and not to the Enlightenment, as the theoretical bedrock for the American founding, and 3. precisely because Reformed political thought does so, we need not look elsewhere to see why the colonists rejected one government and established a new one.

  16. I’d choose the Jonathan Blythe story, but my preference may be caused by having read Witchfinder and not having read “Something Worse Hereafter”.

    I’m a bit tired of zombies. The zombie trend, at least in video games, lasted too long. I was sure it was over several times now. But, like zombies, it keeps coming back.

    1. I read Something Worse Hereafter. Definitely not a zombie type of story, but, you know, demons, large, small, and numerous.

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