Things Yet Dreamed Of

Actually, I lie. This is beyond supremely lazy. Particularly because I’m right now working on 3 novels and a rewrite on a script at the same time, so you guys aren’t going to see this any time soon.

For the record, though, I can’t start every day with a dose of politics, because then it takes me till 10 pm to be able to write fiction, which means I get up late, which means…. yeah. That. And for some reason I’m not getting guest posts. I guess I’ve become a tad-bit radioactive. Who knew?

I do intend to do more very short science fiction tales, which eventually will be a companion volume to the fairy tales (which are “in the process. Trust me) but today I’m not feeling it.

I’ve been sleeping very badly, partly because I can’t go out in the sunlight, though I’ve been doing minimum 3 miles on the treadmill every day.

And sometimes, at least for me, sleeping very badly, means very weird dreams. why these weird dreams must take the shape of Pride and Prejudice fanfic, I don’t know.

I woke up with the whole of Pride Prejudice and Martians in my head, but I need time and possibly an extra pair of hands to type it in.

Husband says I need to buy dragon and dictate while I clean, so I have a time set aside for fanfic. He might not be wrong, even if it seems a little insane “I need to work while I clean.” Eh.

On the incidental front, this whole thing p*sses me off, since I have a DAZ3D model of a steampunk ostrich pulling a carriage, and if my subconscious is going to spit up crazy stuff, it should be something I could use that image for.

But of course, my subconscious delights in vexing me. Oh, my poor nerves. Someone pass me the vinaigrette.

Anyway, I woke up and wrote up the parts the made me giggle, so I’m going to share those. I want to point out these are NOT the H. G. Wells Martians, because those are kind of futilely defeated.

Oh, these bits are obviously not consecutive.

Pride, Prejudice and Martians

It was the Summer of 1811 when Mr. Wiggins, a noted amateur historian sat back in his arm chair, and rubbed at the eye he’d kept pressed to the occulus of his telescope for far too long.  What he’d just seen—

“Mr. Wiggins,” his wife shouted from down the stairs – she was a vulgar woman and prone to sudden screams.  “I demand you come down from that tower right away and help me entertain the vicar and his wife. You knew they were due to come to dinner.”

Mr. Wiggins sighed. Unless he was much mistaken, they were soon about to have bigger problems than the fact Mrs. Wiggins was quite uncouth.

That night at dinner, he failed singularly to explain the problem to the vicar, the learned but very unimaginative Mr. Blunter.

And yet, though he’d not live to know it, being carried off of an apoplexy when Mrs. Wiggins entered his tower to direct the staff in what she called “A good spring cleaning,” Mr. Wiggins was absolutely right.

In the Summer of 1811, England – and the world – were about to have bigger problems than Napoleon.


Mr. Darcy had always had a hankering to engage in mechanical inventions, but of course, he’d never talked about it. He was not Louis XVI th in his pretend workshop, designing new locks.

But surveying the devastation of his lands, and the smoking ruin of his tenants cottages, and while the servants pressed close around him, he felt a strange kind of freedom come over him.

He’d been reading on electricity and even stranger arts. And he thought….

No, he was sure. As the war machines moved on to cause devastation elsewhere and Mr. Darcy’s staff and tenants came out of the caves they’d hidden in to escape the devastation, he was ready to direct them.

They babbled that sometimes, when villages and estates gave signs of life again, the machines came back and destroyed them. He nodded sagely and told them that’s why they must help him build his workshop in the caves, before they started rebuilding the estate.

And when the machines came back in late September, he was proven right. As he’d supposed, a young man of large fortune defending his estate from Martian invasion must be in need of a plasma cannon.


The Meryton assembly rooms looked quite altered, the ladies and gentlemen dressed in rough work clothes. No music. No amusement going on at all. As the Martian menace moved South, veterans of the war in the North had come South as well, to explain the implements and techniques of defense.

These were scarred men, who’d been fighting the invasion since last summer, and who had scored countless kills against the enemy.  Mr. Darcy was said to have invented the plasma cannon which stopped the machines in their tracks, and it was said he would have won the war by now, were the Martians not continuing to land in never-ending numbers.

But Mr. Blingley, Mr. Darcy’s friend, though he’d been through just as many battles, looked very conversable, eager to help. He was explaining the plasma cannon and its intrincacies to Miss Jane Bennet – known as the greatest beauty in the neighborhood – when he caught sight of his friend Darcy sitting against the wall, doing nothing.

He left Jane to finish assembling the mock up of the cannon, and came to remonstrate with his friend, “Come on Darcy, you must help teach. I must have you teach.”

“In an assembly such as this?” Darcy said, looking around with perfect disdain. “It would be insupportable. I suspect not one in ten of these rustics can grasp the principles of my invention. You are explaining it to the only intelligent-looking person in the room.”

“Miss Bennet?” Mr. Bingley said, looking over his shoulder and smiling as Jane’s quick fingers assembled the cannon.  “She’s very quick. Very intelligent.  But look, there sits one of her sisters. I would bet she’s also very capable.”

Mr. Darcy cast a disdainful look over his shoulder, “She might be tolerably quick, I grant you, to host a dinner or dance a reel. But she looks dull. I don’t think she’s alive to any suit. No, Bingley, go teach your pupil. Enjoy her responsive mind. I’m in no mood to give consequence to young ladies whose mind would be strained by the concept of zero.”

Overhearing this, the “dull” young lady, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, wondered if Mr. Darcy had always been this rude, or if the horrors of war had unhinged him.

193 thoughts on “Things Yet Dreamed Of

  1. ” a young man of large fortune defending his estate from Martian invasion must be in need of a plasma cannon” is one of the best fanfic reframings of that line I’ve heard in a while. XD

    1. The whole thing suggested to me a “Mr. Darcy as the Batman” theme. And I don’t mean that in the “private solder acting as valet to an officer” sense.

      1. You still get points for knowing the “private soldier acting as valet to an officer” sense, though XD

        1. Okay, I s’pose there are people who don’t know that, but nobody with whom I’ve any interest in talking.

          Fun Fact: the inspiration for Samwise Gamgee was Tolkien’s WWI batman.

          1. Aww, that’s not entirely fair. There are lots of excellent people who both do not know the origin of ‘batman’ and who would be delighted to learn it. English is a monster-huge language, I don’t blame anyone for not knowing specific words. 🙂

            1. My apologies – I was not entirely clear and forgetting you are relatively new here. The population defining “people with whom I’ve any interest in conversing” is extremely limited and is definable (in part) by about any rule you might contrive.

              Heck, I don’t even much talk to myself.

              1. @mcahogarth,

                RES can take a little getting used to, and I don’t just mean learning to cope with his puns. You have to mentally add a /sarc tag to most of his comments.

                But Sarah seems to find him cute so apparently we’re stuck with him. 😛

                  1. >> “Well, he’s the only Wallaby around here.”

                    And thank goodness for that. Can you imagine two of them getting into a duel over who can molest the English language more?

                    1. Or distraction. Or…. er, best not use THAT term.
                      Ox slow, not damned fool.

                      And RES is… amphoteric. No matter the pH of the comment/post, RES is apt to (appear to) take the opposing case. Not seriously, but as a lark. (Yes, RES, I know you is a wallaby. NOT that kind of lark.)

                    2. >> “Um, RES, that’s not distinction.”

                      Heh. I have noted before that wallabies can’t be housetrained…

    2. This. And I really, really want the steampunk ostrich-drawn vehicle. The reason why, when on the job, I can’t do reader’s advisory for Oprah’s Book Club types, is explained this way: “Because on my planet, the three things that make a fun story are: 1. Airships; 2. Sword fights; and 3. Pterodactyls.”

      1. If the Gardiners made their respectable fortune in bio-engineered ostrich farms, the products of which became all the rage for the dashing Corinthian to yoke to his carriage… And they became important to the war effort…

        Perhaps you might get them on the cover?

        (No prize!)

      2. As the squadron of Pterodactyls swooped low over the upper deck of the airship, the soldiers mounted on their backs leapt onto the airship, fired single shots from their dual plasma pistols and then reached for their swords…..

    3. “in a while”?!? Maybe I need to read more fanfic, but “ever” for me. I literally LOLed (is LLOL a thing?).

      1. Maybe I need to read more fanfic

        The answer is yes, unless you know for certain that the answer is no.

        Recs are not linked, to avoid moderation. Format is handle, title, which fanfic site, notes. Mostly stuff I had close at hand.

        Impracticaldemon, The Teachings of Demons, Archive of our own dot org (AO3), Hakuouki AU (19th century Japanese secret policemen and artificial vampires).
        Solid_Shark, Oath of Rebellion, AO3, Sword Art Online AU.
        Liangnui, Dig Two Graves, AO3, two OCs and a Kenshin deriviative are crossed from an extensive Naruto fic into Master of Demonic Cultivation.
        Vathara, Track of the Apocalypse, AO3, Air Force hitchhikers on alien world picked up by nuclear train on the run from metal zombie vampires (SG1/Kabaneri).
        FiendLurcher, Man Off The Moon, Fan Fiction dot Net (FFN), Nameless Archer from Fate/Extra in Mass Effect.
        drakensis, Davion & Davion (Deceased), FFN, BattleTech.

        I got to quibbling with myself over criteria, so I will stop with that.

        Actual link is to something that might or might not be fanfic, depending on how you parse the technicalities. If you’ve noticed me talking about a current obsession with kung fu wizards recently, this is probably it. Has horror elements, and dark bits, but has not so far been grim dark.

        Rith, Memories of the Fall, Royal Road, Epic Fantasy/Xianxia/Mythos.

  2. Fiddlesticks. A reply seems to just gone *poof*. Not showing up, AND no message about it not being allowed for reason unsaid. So either it is lost… or WP is waiting for me to retype the thing (yeah I know, text editor is my friend..) and THEN show both, because WP Demonic Eeez.

    1. I think they keep Shug-Suggoth, Eater Of The Internet, on call. He (no, it) lives on screams of frustration.

            1. Oh, so we’re doing this again, are we? Fine. I’ve been waiting for the excuse to inflict this on all of you:

              My favorite part is that it can work as either an origin story for Orvan or a theme song for an Orvan fan club. I haven’t decided which will be my head-canon yet.

              1. * Ducks the inevitable carp… *

                I don’t see it working as origin.

                I had a couple badge ribbons I’d offer at cons.
                One was ‘OX FAN’ and the other, well, I understood it was rejected consider potential implication, ‘ORVAN’S HERD’.

      1. It’s been a day or so, so a re-try…

        OT, except maybe not since lock(s).

        Take Our Modern Technology and apply it thusly…

        A lock (with battery backup recharged by solar/wind/isotope source…) with:
        A facial (or gait, or something you-ARE-this) recognition system.
        A voice recognition system (‘incantation’)
        Capacitive or IR beam grid-array sensor to pick up gestures.

        And if desired, make it ‘rotating code’ (ala garage door systems) if baffling witnesses further is critical. And… gee, a “magic” lock.

  3. Actually, treat yourself to Dragon. I’ve often found that when my hands are busy with work, ideas are more free flowing. I rarely stop to write things down because that would mean I’m losing focus. But a good talk to text app world probably help immensely.

    1. According to my friend James, there’s a micro cassette (tapes using) that can be operated one handed with just a push of the thumb. One could use something lime that to dictate into while doing other work quite easily.

  4. Definitely Dragon.
    At the very least it can take down these streams of consciousness you have while puttering around the house. And by puttering, I mean everything between picking up an orphaned sock, to re-sheet rocking the living room ceiling

    1. I’m not familiar with the current version of Dragon (and I only had a passing acquaintance with it, oh, fifteen years ago), but it seems that the built-in dictation on my phone seems to be around 80% or more working, but I haven’t done much with it lately so I could be over-estimating its accuracy.

  5. They say Robert W. Service wrote the entire poem “The Cremation of Sam Magee” on a walk in the snow one night while he was living in Alaska. He came back and wrote it all down in one sitting, no edits. (At least, that’s the story) that said, I would say nix to doing the dragon thing while cleaning. To me, doing the rote is a chance for the brain to re-index and rectify. Great ideas sometimes pop up, but ‘Processing’ time is equally important. Think about it.

      1. Wait, was that the one where it took them a week to put out the pyre fire? 😀

        1. Something like that.

          Was never a big VtM fan or VtR. In OWD, sorry “World of Darkness”, I was big on Mage and Wraith. Now, NWD, sorry “Chronicles of Darkness”, I loved most lines. Werewolf was much better. Mage was very different, but just as good. Changeling was better. Demon is more interesting. Prometheus is weird. Geist is…scary. Only Vampire and Beast leave me cold.

          Actually, both Hunters are good, but like Mage very different from each other.

          Oddly, I find the CoD splats much darker, except Vampire. Even then, a Vampire Catholic Order is more interesting than most VtM material.

          But CtL is about abuse and PTSD and recovering from abuse instead of some stupid “science steals childish wonder” setting. Hunter is also about PTSD and going all Batman (without the money or gadgets) from it. Prometheus is the same issues as an uplifted species would have. Geist is about Faustian bargins and Demon is about the loss of purpose and fear that comes from an actual fall.

          Even the gang warfare and outcast pack nature of WtF beats “fuzzy Captain Planet” of WtA.

        2. Haven’t read it in ages, but it’s fun. “It’s the first time I’ve been warm.” — RWS

          “If he’s cold and dead, he’s not really dead until he’s warm and dead.” (AK, EMT explainer…)

  6. And for some reason I’m not getting guest posts.

    I would suspect you have some lost in your inbox, and the submitters can be encouraged to bring them to your attention again.

    Myself, the dearth is only a small amount being very unsure what sorts of political statements will be safe. The larger part is scrambling with my own business, and not allowing myself time for side matters.

    I know for sure that my expanded comments on two items are not something I feel comfortable transmitting by my current emails, and have not sorted out a replacement email yet. I had also slightly feared that you would not have space to run them if I had gotten them together.

    1. I can rarely think of anything to say that hasn’t been said better…

      …but the spurring that she is in particular want of guest posts I think helped this time. Something about a comparative review of one of the Forbidden Seusses and… whatever new hotness they’re trying to push at the preschool market. I mean, I’d have to figure out what book in particular it is, but… if it’s anything like the last several times I’ve tried to scroll the shelves, I’ll say there’s a reason Seuss is still outselling them almost a century after some of these books were published…

      (Say, Herb, how long until Samizdat Saturday? I’ve got Mulberry and Zoo, but I’ve never read McElligot’s Pool and hear it’s fab. :-D)

      –should I clarify I was formerly user caitliniwoods in a signature? Who knows. Doing it anyway.

      1. I ca usually think of things to say, and say better, but I find it challenging to write them down while in the shower. Even on a legal pad the pens tend to run and Beloved Spouse strongly discourages my proposals of running a drop cord in order to take the laptop into the shower without concern over battery life.

        When I sit at a writing device, however, it is akin to pulling teeth and I was already born short a few. Not being a professional word abuser I find the writing is not something that turns on at will. And Will, the slacker, refuses me any aid.

        As for whether you ought clarify your changed identity, that depends on the reason for changing, although it is nice to know caitliniwoods has not vanished into the ether. If the name change indicates a marriage, mazel tov, may you be very happy together. Should it betoken a divorce, you’re better off rid of the bum. If it is some other cause, some other response is iffered.

        1. While I have no experience with them myself, it sounds like Rite in the Rain has several products exactly designed to address your trouble in particular! (Truth be told, I’m a mite tempted myself; I have certainly lost a number of things over the years due to dampness… perhaps I’ll put it on the “when I’ve been instructed to buy something fun” list. (Also, lavender syrup. I really like what it does to coffee.))

          As to the other, you give me a fond giggle ^.^ I actually got married in 2015, so I think I must have been posting here before that, though it certainly doesn’t feel like I’ve been here all that long… but anyway, made a site and accidentally linked it to *new* name instead of old (forgetful?) and, well. *shrug* I think that means mazel tov! I’ll take it ^.^

      1. Not quite sure I want to spend the time messing around email yet.

        I’ve remembered a topic I might be willing to email, it may even be one you’ve expressed interest in before.

        The precedent part of ‘akshully, precedent and the status quo suggest that Bob’s foreign policy thinking, while crazy, is not that much crazier than expected’ would be pretty safe to send.

    1. Only good I can see that could come out of that bloated attempt to destroy the economy is IF it provided enough shock for the Republicans to finally quit pretending to be party of small government and fiscal responsibility, and actually BE the party of small government and fiscal responsibility.

      No, not holding my breath.

  7. oooooooo……fanfic……and plasma cannons in 1811, oh my!! More, we want more!!! (says the always hungry fandom!)

    Yeah, can’t watch the news here either. Gets us so mad takes hours to calm down and that sucks when it translates to billable hours!

      1. Nope, they went over to the goblins. Gnomes may rule, but goblins do it better.

        I should probably confess my previous membership of The Horde from my days of playing Wow, so I might be a bit biased in the gnome/goblin superiority battle.

  8. woke: The new VTM: BL 2 should be super PC.
    broke (strawman): All the VTM BL 2 characters should reflect conservative Christian values.
    joke: You know, given how the cities are divided between Vampire factions, a) Vampires must run the Democratic Party b) the Democratic policies which make cities shitholes must be deliberate and knowing malice. Down to the gang warfare that has so strong an effect on minorities. All vampires are inherently white supremacist.
    joke, extended: Tell me that Pelosi is not a VTM ghoul.

    Recall the alpha playtest of the latest VTM: Alleged sex predator Zak S. was pushing back very hard with the idea that the design choices were simply normal, and not motivated by an especially perverse agenda. However, the long term pedophile character was associated with a minority political faction, and the backstory makes a lot more sense as someone connected to the European political establishment. Therefore, the character was political propaganda designed to support the establishment, and discredit minority opposition to it.

    Also, the current regime in the US is super weak. I understand that Vampire LARPers can have dots in things like acquiring firearms and explosives. Therefore, people who have LARPed Vampire are a potential danger to the regime. It would make as much sense for establishment security services to add ‘LARPed once at a Con’ to their list of disqualifying signs of extremism.

      1. All I know, they should be treating players of woke Vampire and woke DnD as security risks. Also people who listen to DnD campaign podcasts.

        1. Vampire has always been that period’s woke.

          And WotC thinks woke is the future and wants it instead of me and my willingness to drop four figures annually.

      1. artichoke: I have nothing to say about VtM or any of the other World of Darkness games, I just wanted to add another word that seemed to be a natural progression from “woke”.

  9. Husband says I need to buy dragon

    My instant reaction was, “No, you should rent one first and see how that works out” before I finished the sentence and found that he was talking about software.

    In the shitstorm that’s coming, I can see how a dragon could be useful. 😀

    1. My mine jumped to a certain Vietnam-era gunship based on a DC-3. “Puff the Magic Dragon” is probably no longer available (and mostly illegal); but if you had your own DC-3 (and crew) and if you had weapons made before a certain date (1880 or 1890), those are legal since the (US) firearms act only goes back so far. Gatling guns (if authentic) come to mind, eg.

      1. re: Gatling guns, a hand-cranked Gatling gun is not legally a machine gun. A “machine gun” in legal terms is (paraphrasing) a firearm which repeatedly loads and fires as long as the trigger is held down, without intervention from the user. Go ahead and do a web search for new-manufacture Gatling guns, and then check your bank account to see whether you can afford the ammo…

                1. FYI it appears the domain with the combined words shooting illustrated (no space) followed by .com is blacklisted by WP for comments.

        1. Home Shop Machinist did (might still, haven’t looked) have ads from two companies that sold plans for .22 LR Gatling guns.

          A gun shop had a commercial version as display/eye candy, though I think it was lost in one of the many gunshop burglaries several years ago.

          1. Sorry, that was a generic C-130J vid from LockMart – here’s one from other than LMT on just the gunship AC-130J:

      1. …Until the dragons get annoyed and eat the lawyers.

        Hey, Reptrakos is only available for rent because a big cut of the rental fee goes to his treasure hoard. You think he’s going to let that money get wasted in litigation costs?

        1. Dragons will eat many thigs, but dragons won’t eat lawyers: they disagree with them.

          Which does not discourage dragons from scourging lawyers with fire, but as many lawyers rise from the infernal realm it is a minor discouragement at most.

      1. I think rental dragons are definitely called for. The question is, what kind of license do you need to use a rental dragon? Is there an upper or lower age limit? Do you get to choose the size and color? I’d like a small blue dragon. Female. Or… maybe purple.

        1. “What’s it going to take to get you into a long-term lease on this dragon? Now, we’ve discussed the rate on a two-year lease, but if you opt for a three-year lease I can give you a ten percent lower rate, have the residual at lease end, and a guaranty against flam-outs. Hell, I shouldn’t do this but I like you kid, so I’ll even toss in a free clear-coat on the scales.”

    2. There are more useful things to have on hand than a Dragon.

      “They may have Claymores and Dragons, but we have Bolos and Ogres!”

      1. Much depends on the circumstances. For instance, dragons are more useful for aerial assaults.

        1. A Bolo can drop nuclear artillery shells over the horizon. Who needs air power?

    3. Something like a Rentazilla from the Megatokyo webcomic (when was the last time I read that comic)?

      1. I’m still reading it. He’s slowed down to posting a new page every other week or so, but he’s still progressing the plot.

        1. Huh. I’m kind of surprised it’s still going.

          I can’t really remember why i stopped reading it, though I think the problem might have been that eventually it just seemed like the writer was teasing too much without really ever going anywhere with the plot.

  10. or mind even.

    (There; I’ve gotten all the randomness out of my brain and can get some work done. Ciao.)

  11. That is wonderfully silly and I would read the hell out of that. P&P is out of copyright, so it’s not like you couldn’t write that up and sell it.

  12. Of course you lie – you’re a professional novelist. You lie for a living.
    Unlike politicians and journalists, who lie because it is their nature.

    1. “Writers use lies to tell the truth. Politicians use lies to cover up the truth.”

  13. I’m in no mood to give consequence to young ladies whose mind would be strained by the concept of zero.

    What nonsense! Darcy ought be well aware that many young women understand nothing.

    1. The great irony (imo) is that when talking about any of the sisters *except* Lizzy, the comment might not be too far off the mark.

  14. I will buy this as book as soon as it’s available. I’ll even proof-read it (in an accomplished and thorough manner, of course) before then. Free.

    Let me know.

  15. Derbyshire _was_ the beginning of the water-powered industrial revolution in weaving. And it has underground volcanism which allows for a longer growing season in some areas, and a lot of freaky geology, and caves. So yeah.

    1. Whoops. Underground hot springs, seeping through fissures in the limestone. But still, there’s a lot of this stuff, and a lot of these deep Mesozoic basins of hot water are sitting under farmland.

      And the heat comes from somewhere. It’s just deeper down.

  16. Amusing, but I have to wonder if they’d use the word “plasma” even in an alternate 19th century? “Lightning cannon”, maybe?

          1. Ahhh, Quantum, the Ever-Young.

            Many forget that QM is older than Relativity. Though the knowledge hammers itself home when Quantum occasionally shows up in Steampunk.

        1. That is due to a typo – the term as originally intended was “dork matter.” Use of it in warfare is a universally ((in more than just this universe) acknowledged war crime.

    1. There’s blood plasma.

      Though I’m kind of curious what kind of armored vehicle *that* would be effective against. And a proper British gentleman of that era would be properly disgusted at the thought of using something like that as a weapon.

      1. Plasma meant “a form or shape” or “something formed or fashioned or molded” or “a counterfeit” or “a kind of chalcedony colored between leek green and grass green”. Probably other meanings too.

        1. Lewis and Short has Church Latin “a creature, image, figure,” Augustan Latin “an artificial or affected high voice,” and Latin “a fiction.” Haven’t looked at Greek yet.

          So basically it can mean anything.

      2. IIRC, Irving Langmuir, the first to seriously study the phenomenon, worked in Edison’s lab. (1909 was it?) He had previously studied electric lamps and discharges of various sorts, and chemistry. He coined the term: I think it was by analogy to the way the charge carriers would move about the discharge tube, or the way various layers would “adhere” to the electrodes (light and dark layers where various types of ionization and recombination are taking place.)

    2. You know, contrary to popular belief, a large fraction of the science and technology we enjoy today dates from the mid 19th to mid 20th century. The funny thing about steampunk is that you really don’t have to stretch the truth very far: Reality had a lot of “steampunk” going on. It was just less widely distributed, concentrated in university labs and industrial workshops instead of adorning the hood of every brass-era car.

      Was reading Jules Verne the other day: Captain Hatteras about the polar expeditions. It was more novelized imaginary exploration of things people were actually doing than science-fiction.

      1. I think I read in the autobiography of Simon Lake (late 19th, early 20th century naval engineer) that the author, the inventor of the buoyancy controlled submarine, actually ended up meeting Jules Verne.

        A time with many magic and bright spots to it, despite the problems. WWI really did blow up the world and turn it down a dark path.

      2. There was one idiot remake of Verne’s “Around The World In 80 Days” where the movie-maker had to give the Hero (Fogg?) SF gadgets (like a rocket pack) because “Verne Wrote SF”.

        Well, the Fun-And-Games about Verne’s Book was that everything Fogg did on his trip around the world was possible At The Time Verne Wrote The Book.

        While a few of Verne’s books could be classified as SF, a good deal of his books were “Traveler’s Tales” that were generally possible with the technology existing when he wrote the book.

      3. A nuclear fission reactor is merely a different heat source for a steam engine. Could have been built using 1870’s technology.

        1. Ooh, a nuclear-powered reciprocating steam engine. Now that would be an interesting idea.

          So basically you’d have to have some sort of naturally occurring fissile pile material, and some sort of easy moderator and control method to keep it from running away. I know there are caves that are natural reactors. Hm. Absent the theory they’d have had to figure it all out empirically, without irradiating whole cities…

        2. Agreed. The only thing stopping them, and really only for 30 years, was tgat they were unaware of the reaction.

      4. If you tour a WWII era American naval vessel, such as the battleship North Carolina, you will note that targeting computers were mechanical and (based on reports) performed quite well.

        1. The targeting computer on the Bismarck ranged the Hood exactly by the second shot. Effective technology.

      5. Genuine steampunk would have blown through the coal so fast that it would have been brief.

        And it’s often mixed with clockpunk, except we still haven’t got springs that could do that.

        1. Not sure about the coal thing. Your modern world is still basically coal powered, with gas turbines in place of pistons, the high nuclear technology of the 50s having been spurned.

  17. Don’t rush to buy Dragon. Try a free trial and see what you think for yourself.

    Think about using a memo cube and paying a typist first. Maybe being your own typist for a first revised copy.

    My own experience is that Dragon works for me and gets better with training. Then again Dragon is training me a little bit as well. Best with a limited vocabulary that might be exceeded in fantasy fiction. My own experience is also that for an accent like yours – not a knock but it has been true for me in such circumstances that the product can much resemble one of those spell check satires where every word is wrong despite some resemblance. I find that for folks who really need Dragon e.g. no hands making corrections is tedious and time consuming enough to leave no remaining time savings over a #2 pencil.

  18. Alright. It’s getting weeeird. I just retyped (and saved) the post that WP(DE) ate yesterday and AGAIN it went *poof* with NO error message, nor did a re-load show it. Do I need to screenshot the dang thing and post the image?

    1. Or write in a word doc (or as a text doc), then do a copy/paste.

      Even if WP loses it, you still have it to resubmit.

      1. I used to start in a text editor, a lesson learned from LiveJournal, but I got complacent with WP being generally reliable and usually letting me recover even failed posts. Looks like I might need to back to that. Or at least highlight-copy (and CTRL-C copy to be *sure*) before attempting a post/reply.

        What puzzles me is… ALL my other comment have gone right through, no issue. This particular thing must tickle some obscure bug/censor somehow. Thus my resorting to a screengrab of the text editor version to get around the weirdness.

  19. Attempt the THIRD.
    (If this is a repeat, blame WP for being flakier than Battle Creek in a blizzard.)

    It’s been a day or so, so a re-try…

    OT, except maybe not since lock(s).

    Take Our Modern Technology and apply it thusly…

    A lock (with battery backup recharged by solar/wind/isotope source…) with:
    A facial (or gait, or something you-ARE-this) recognition system.
    A voice recognition system (‘incantation’)
    Capacitive or IR beam grid-array sensor to pick up gestures.

    And if desired, make it ‘rotating code’ (ala garage door systems) if baffling witnesses further is critical. And… gee, a “magic” lock.

    So that’s the way you wanna play, WP?
    Very well. There’s more than one way to chainsaw a blogservice.

    1. And yes, I do tend to cuss with chemical/drug names. To the point that once some I’d worked with for Some Considerable Time was shocked to hear me use an actual (rather mild as they go as I recall) cussword.

    2. It ate one of mine that had what I assume is a blacklisted domain (shooting illustrated dot com).



        1. It’s been a day or so, so a re-try…

          OT, except maybe not since lock(s).

          Take Our Modern Technology and apply it thusly…

          A lock (with battery backup recharged by solar/wind/isotope source…) with:

          A facial (or gait, or something you-ARE-this) recognition system.
          A voice recognition system (‘incantation’)
          Capacitive or IP beam grid-array sensor to pick up gestures.

          And if desired, make it ‘rotating code’ (ala garage door systems) if baffling witnesses further is critical. And… gee, a “magic” lock.

          1. It’s been a day or so, so a re-try…

            OT, except maybe not since lock(s).

            Take Our Modern Technology and apply it thusly…

            A lock (with battery backup recharged by solar/wind/isotope source…) with:

          2. A facial (or gait, or something you-ARE-this) recognition system.
            A voice recognition system (‘incantation’)
            Capacitive or IP beam grid-array sensor to pick up gestures.

          3. A voice recognition system (‘incantation’)
            Capacitive or IP beam grid-array sensor to pick up gestures.

                  1. No. Sorry. That’s my fault. And it’s not what you think. That word is forbidden here, because it’s one of the names of clamps/chlamydia.
                    So star it when you post.

                    1. I think I’ve suggested this before, but a list of blacklisted words/sites would be good to have. Even if you have to download it in a .txt file (for obvious reasons).

          4. And if desired, make it ‘rotating code’ (ala garage door systems) if baffling witnesses further is critical. And… gee, a “magic” lock.

  21. >> “And for some reason I’m not getting guest posts. I guess I’ve become a tad-bit radioactive. Who knew?”

    In my case it’s just that neither of the e-mail addresses you gave me ever seem to fucking work. I swear, at this point it feels like it would be easier to make a road trip to Denver and hand-deliver guest posts every time I write one.

    Have you considered setting up a non-email way for regular contributors to get content to you? Like a drop-box type affair? I could even just upload stuff to a file-hosting service and post the link here if you want, and if someone else wants to download it and spoil themselves that’s their problem.

    >> “a companion volume to the fairy tales (which are “in the process. Trust me)”

    Speaking of, Michael and Al have been stuck on that magic path for quite some time now. This isn’t one of those “year outside, hour inside” things, is it?

      1. I was only joking.

        Well, about the story at least. I’m serious about having another way to get content to you.

  22. Oh, and generally the horrors of war were held to “coarsen” men, more than unhinge them. Darcy having bad manners was more of a coarsening thing, rather than him howling at the moon or similar.

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