A Sorry Excuse For A Post

It’s late, and I’m blah, and I should be writing….

I blame the cats for enticing me back to bed once I’d got up.

So this is a sorry excuse for a post, in which I’m going to give you a bunch of cool stock photos, then links to some blogs you should be looking at if you’re not.

This is from Mikhail Nilov, at Pexels

Strangely, though in general superior, Pexels seems to have fewer “could make a cover out of this” illustrations than Pixabay. I suspect this is because I haven’t found the way to search it that will unlock them. As in “illustrations, not pictures.” https://www.pexels.com/@mikhail-nilov/ has a series of “woman in spacesuit” though that should be suitable for anyone doing space opera with a female protagonist, and they’re free.

Photo by Akwice from Pexels

This one is also nice, I suppose, though I get an “SF thriller” vibe from it, and it’s the only one of its kind by the photographer, so…. you know?

I mean, there’s lots of cool abstract things that look a lot like the science fiction covers of the 50s through 70s in Portugal. (Might still do. Portuguese publishers are CHEAP.)


And don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty. Just doesn’t signal genre as well as I personally like for my covers. Now could be totally used for a background, with, say, a fairy in the foreground, of course.

Pixabay, as usual has interesting stuff, though nothing so far that screams out “I must use this” (I’m also not looking for a cover, as such, more looking at things while the caffeine comes onboard.)

Though no offense, but some of ya’ll looking for a cover might do worse than this sort of generic thing:

Image by press 👍 and ⭐ from Pixabay

Or this for your more woo woo SF:

Image by Patricio González from Pixabay

I mean, I can totally see that for some of Clifford Simak’s stuff about aliens.

This for more generic:

Image by Michael Heck from Pixabay

Add a spaceship:

like this. Or this:

or even this:

(All from Pixabay) in that lower left corner, adjust the color to match, and you’re in the business.

Then are are some lovely, lovely images that can be used as is, but not (alas) for books I write. Like this one:

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I think it could work very well for a Dave Freer book, mind. One he hasn’t written yet, of course.

And this would be perfect for a YA Science Fiction.

Image by Aurélien Dumont from Pixabay

And if I ever write anything even vaguely Phillip K. Dick-esque (I have, but only short stories. I don’t think I could do a novel.) I will use this as a cover, mostly because it reminds me of the covers of his books. (In Portugal, at least.)


And okay, I’ve wasted enough of your time looking at pretty pictures, so for more substantial (and not mine) fodder.

If you’re not checking out Tilting at Windmills, by Tom Knighton, at substack, you should be. He’s a friend, yes, but also one of the people to whom I dole out my limited funds in subscription. Because he’s worth it.

The other two people I subscribe to are Frank Flemming’s Frank Talk (also at Substack.) Remember he’s the guy who started IMAO. Though here he mostly shares his fiction, you still won’t be disappointed.

I also subscribe to BillWhittle.com and have for years. I really need to figure out where I put my password. Since I can’t find it, I mostly watch the public stuff, but I still think the endeavor is worth supporting.

Speaking of that, and supporting, and subscriptions, the boys have been at me again, on “you need to have an annual fundraiser on the blog.” Sigh. They’re probably not wrong, since this costs me a couple of hours or more a day, and 2k a year seems paltry for that. (And that’s about what I get from subscriptions. Okay, there’s another 1 to 2k from the Amazon associates account, but still.)

Reluctantly, I think I am going to do it. Mostly because people like Jerry Pournelle tried for years to get me to do it. (As does Chris Muir.) But also because husband needs to stop working sixty hour weeks. That’s fine when you’re in your twenties but when you’re staring sixty in the face it gets old. Also leads to car-fixing expenses. (Don’t ask. Truly.)

No, this won’t be an emergency like the last one (You guys have no idea how much you saved my bacon. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to extricate ourselves from the house, as we had to have stuff done for the deal to close. Thank you.) And it will be a scheduled thing.

Son suggested I do it on the 4th of July. Or at least that week. And that makes sense. There will be prizes and stuff, too. But absolutely no balloons and face painting. Unless you guys want virtual face painting. (Have paintshop, will not travel.)

So anyway, that’s something I’ll do. Er…. unless all of you think I’m out of my mind.

The “Boxes from Sarah’s Garage” are coming. What happened is that we had to pack them and move them, and son has spent the last month and a half sorting and organizing the contents, so we can DO something. Right now we’re doing the “How much do we even charge?” (December, January and February son was attempting to cough up a lung, which is not conducive to doing much of anything. Eh.)

And this weekend I need to finish Bowl of Red (Maybe it IS cursed) while hampered by prednisone, which makes me sleep. (Apparently this is contrary to everyone else. Well, you know, 23 and me says part of dad’s genetic contribution is “from unknown origin” so maybe I am part alien?)

Which bring us back to interesting or in this case weird links.

I again re-iterate that going to zerohedge is what I do in lieu of climbing into a filled bathtub holding a plugged-in toaster. You can tell how crazy I am by how much I check it. So…. three times to five times a day is probably not good.

But this is weird even for zerohedge. And to be fair, it’s not THEIR weirdness.

Pentagon Report Claims UFOs Left “Radiation Burns” & “Unaccounted-For Pregnancies” After Encounters.

And if you just said “What in the name of light fandango?” yeah, that’s what I said too.

I’m just going to say that whenever Democrats are fully in charge everyone starts seeing UFOs or talking about UFOs. Maybe it’s a “Beam me up, Scottie,” effect/wish.

Moving right along, you should probably check Spin, Strangeness and Charm at least once a week.

Samizdata is often interesting.

I’ve been reading Neoneocon for decades, and when I disagree with her it’s because we followed different but equally valid tracks. I sympathize with her — what now would be called red pill — experience of political conversion, because even though I was never leftist, I did grow up in Europe, where the center and even the right are leftist. So it took me a long time to figure out “Liberty-right” or American right. So we have commonality.

Kim Du Toit, whom older son (who greatly likes him) refers to as a “retired space pirate” (It fits, somehow) has Splendid Isolation. If you’re going to pearl clutch over semi-clad or wholly unclad women don’t go over, but he often has insights combined with devastating humor. And he’s almost — almost — as angry as I am these days.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t direct you at Behind the Black. Some politics, but a lot of space news. Now if I could find the like site for dinosaurs, my life would be complete. 😀

As for the state of the writer, in case you’re wondering, other than sleeping a lot (mostly prednisone, though I suspect also healing from all that’s been going on) I’m getting better. I mean, I’m not reading dinosaurs, true crime, or fan fiction. I’ve clawed my way up to (clean) regency romances. Next up his mysteries, historic mysteries, and eventually science fiction again. (Look, guys, it’s a slog once I fall all the way to true crime, which I did mid-last year.)

The sun is shining. I have flowerbeds to build. But first I need to finish Bowl of Red which is a …. very weird book. No, I mean, even for me.

Bows. Exists stage left.

Don’t even think of sending the bear after me. Not even if it’s just a guy in a bear suit. PARTICULARLY not if it’s a guy in a bear suit.

110 thoughts on “A Sorry Excuse For A Post

  1. Sarah, I don’t know what it was labelled, but that middle “spaceship” image is the DS9 space station from Star Trek.

    1. The first one looks like a cross of something from the 1984 Dune movie and a late art-deco steam locomotive. Coaf-fired spaceship, hmm. (Thinking about Jerry, the craft in Exiles to Glory could have been coal-fired, depending on where they got the power for the laser launcher…)

        1. “This ship is amazing. What powers it?”

          “Our desire to be ANYWHERE else.”

          …It almost sounds like something out of Hitchhiker’s Guide, doesn’t it?

            1. [activate Peter Jones voice]

              The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy begins its entry on the Psychological Repulsion Drive with three simple words: “Don’t go there.”

              The Psychological Repulsion Drive – or PRD for short – is powered by the mental discomfort of the ship’s crew and passengers in response to some local annoyance. It was marketed to civilized space-faring cultures as a cheap way to escape whatever was getting on your nerves; the more irritated you were with something, the faster the PRD would carry you away from it. It was marketed to the Vogons as not requiring any fuel beyond the torment of sapient beings. Either way, many were eager to adopt it.

              Unfortunately, it quickly proved to have a fatal flaw; once a ship reliant on a PRD has left the vicinity of whatever was annoying the people on board, it could not move again until a new, local source of frustration was found. To avoid being stranded, this necessitated bringing your own source of constant misery along with you, essentially guaranteeing endless migraines and high blood pressure. The PRD fell out of favor once insurance companies began refusing to cover the astronomical medical and psychological counselling bills that resulted.

              The Guide notes that the PRD did enjoy a brief renaissance when it was discovered that allowing Vogons to conduct a poetry slam over the ship’s intercom system would allow it to achieve interstellar travel speeds which have not been equaled before or since. However, it quickly fell back out of favor when it was discovered that no starship captain would be permitted to survive the mutiny which inevitably followed.

              [/Peter Jones voice]

              1. Clearly, one needs to apply an SEP field (Somebody Else’s Problem) to the local annoyance.

      1. I’m looking forward to Bowl of Red, having just finished Noah’s Boy. Early in that book (when you first mentioned dragons from outer space) I thought we were about to get a guest appearance of PERN’s dragons. 🙂

          1. “You?” Tom said. “He wanted to see you? Why on Earth?”
            “I have no idea,” Rafiel said. He’d grabbed Tom’s sleeve as he walked. “I just know he summoned me. But then I got here and…. This was going on. The last time I tried to stop a dragon battle….”
            Tom gave him a sidelong glance, “You told you could be crispy and good with katsup?”
            “No,” Rafiel said. He sighed. “Might have gotten worse than that if Kyrie hadn’t shown up…”

      1. Surely you mean a dog? Who works as a police officer, or if you want people to have to work slightly harder to recognize the cameo, as a lawyer.

          1. Wasn’t trying to say you didn’t, just thought it would be amusing for the “law” part of LawDog to be a lawyer rather then a LEO.

  2. The third image screams “Hi! I’m 1970s New Wave sci-fi, or I’m trying to be!” Yes, I might have spent too much time on GoodShowSir looking at vintage and newer book covers of, um, unusual awkwardness.

    1. That third image made me feel a little nostalgic, because it looks like something from a summer arts camp I went to between 8th and 9th grades. One day the visual arts lady had us using a technique where multiple paints/dyes that don’t easily mix with each other were added to a large tray and given a little swirl, then we dipped heavy paper, cardstock, etc. into it. The results were a lot like that image. After she got us going she went back to working on a commission, which was a Carmen Miranda hat she was constructing for Joe Piscopo. One of our other projects was helping her with it a bit by constructing some of the paper mache fruits that got incorporated into it.

    2. I’m still looking for a cover that fits zombie apocalypse sci fi in space. So far the one I hacked together in five minutes is holding in place. I’ll sketch one up if I have to but I really don’t wanna.

      Life’s hard when you write in the niche of niche genres. I begin the dread the coming editapocalypse.

    1. That would nicely replace the long worn-out Abacus World Expo and the Tubes Rock shirts from the After Y2K/Geekculture people.

  3. Son suggested I do it on the 4th of July. Or at least that week. And that makes sense. There will be prizes and stuff, too. But absolutely no balloons and face painting. Unless you guys want virtual face painting. (Have paintshop, will not travel.)


    Anybody who wants to play can make a blog post with a picture, call it Virtual Face Painting, and link to the fund raiser postie!!!!!

  4. Ugh. You have my sympathy on car repairs. Just got new tires & rims put on mine. Hit a pothole hard enough to blow a tire and damage the rim. Was almost cheaper to buy all new rims and tires than to just get a factory OEM rim. So all that money and something’s up with the brakes too (not life threatening thank God; pads aren’t wearing evenly. Car stops just fine but something’s out of whack somewhere). So not cheap and going to get more expensive.

    But hey, at least you’re still writing and posting. I haven’t written a blog post in… well, nobody’d ever heard of Novel Coronavirus yet, let’s just put it that way. Haven’t written any fiction in probably almost as long. Once work finally stops kicking my ass (seriously, every time I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, more projects land in my lap. I think that light is actually an oncoming train) I’ll be able to think long enough to put something together.

  5. R and C have pushed me to bed several times this week since I can’t seem to snap out of zombie mode. Of course it’s prime snuggle time for them so that might have something to do with it. I’m still in said zombie mode, unfortunately, so not much I can contribute other than the pictures are all nice!

  6. I occasionally wondered how you did your covers. I am in no danger of ever writing the Great Amercian Indie SciFi Fantasy but, should that happen, I now have a better idea how to create a cover for it.

  7. How about pursued by a beer? Everyone knows that you’re Mormon, right? So that would be something that you’d flee from, correct?


  8. Somebody needs to ship a barrel labeled ‘FECK‘ to the White House with a note, “Since it’s obvious that you’re completely out of this.” 😛

  9. Hi! Off-topic, but our esteemed hostess has often complained about bad Austen fanfic. By any chance, is there an archive of said complaints, or complaints about “Longbourn” in particular?

    My book club is reading “Longbourn” by Jo Baker, and I’m bouncing hard off it. In the first chapter we have that the Bennets have their laundry done once-a-week, and that Elizabeth is extremely careless with her clothing. I went “What!” But I’m sure that Sarah would find a lot more issues with it than I would. (Would the Bennets really hire an six-year-old orphan girl as a servant and feed her bread-and-milk with sugar on it?)

    Any fact-checks for this horrible book would be appreciated!

      1. A lot of the more recent fanfic is of the ‘I saw the movie” school. They think that Longourn was a farm, and not a very prosperous one, including livestock in the bottom floors and Lizzy traipsing around barefoot.
        They’re insane.

      2. Thanks for the pointer to the review! And, yes, good point about the Victorians and sugar.

  10. My nine yr old insists all bears are just people in bear suits. All the bears on YT and the like make it seem even more clear. This before the birds aren’t real meme. He wants someone to write a horror story about a person being chased by a person in a bear suit, and no one believes him because they all think it’s a bear.

    1. Nine years is plenty old enough to be handed paper and a pen and told, “So go write it.”

    1. Reminds me of a bit a Bugs Bunny cartoon where someone gets ‘magically’ turned into a donkey (I think..) and they take off the donkey suit… to reveal a donkey suit, so they take off the donkey suit… to reveal a donkey suit… so.. and Bugs quips, “Well, that gives him a hobby.”

      1. A nod to Apulius? Given the other bits and pieces of Classical mythology and legend that turn up in Bugs Bunny, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. (Every time I watch some of the WWII Bugs Bunny et al cartoons, I catch new stuff. Stuff I don’t really want to explain to my students, sometimes.)

    2. I saw a let’s play of God Hand once, and one of the bosses was a gorilla wearing a wrestling costume complete with a luchador mask. Only, when you knock him out and examine the body you find a zipper, so apparently it’s a human in a gorilla suit after all. Except that the human is actually a demon.

      So: a demon wearing a human suit wearing a gorilla suit wearing a luchador suit.

      Yeah, God Hand was a weird game.

  11. Cheer up! At least you don’t have to work a professional paper through a public release process that gets harder every year. Especially when you are having to pay to get to the conference where you are giving it out of your own pocket (long story involving finishing what I started before retiring).

  12. A bit off-topic, but I’ll throw out a thought…

    Classical SF had protagonists who were inventors, who created spaceships, time machines, teleportation booths, and similar ways to do Great Things and get into Big Trouble. Being Arch-Heroes, they could use super-science to solve the problem and escape.

    SF after around 1960 changed. The heroes may have been Heroic, but they were not Inventive. They were users of technology, not its creators. And it’s been that way ever since.

    I suspect that this may have been a repercussion of the space program. Which was decidedly NOT the work of any one individual. Yes, you could only stuff one astronaut into a Mercury capsule, but Chris Kraft and his Mission Control team were virtually riding on the outside.

    Perhaps it’s time to revive the Inventor-Hero again. Stoke the fires of creation in the younger generation. Get them dreaming of building a starship in their garage, or perhaps as part of a small Band of Heroes working on a secret program.

    For it is from those dreams that reality is forged.

    1. Dr. Z is, technically, an inventor. The story doesn’t focus on that, more action/mystery/survival stuff. But it’s part of the plot, and will become more important in later chapters.


      I’m also ripping good ideas from Black Tide Rising, Prey, I am Legend, and a bunch of other stuff. Because cool stuff.

      So inventor heroes aren’t quite dead yet. Maybe they’re just sleeping.

        1. True this. It helps that he has cheaty nanite powers. Unfortunately, the cheaty nanite powers are currently trying to kill him. Definitely some act II worthy stuff coming up in the upcoming chapters.

    2. I wonder if part of it is that fewer sci-fi authors (as far as I can tell) come from the engineering side of things, so they are not used to thinking about “we if we combined this with that to make them do this other thing? OK, after the big kaboom, what if we substituted the cool new shiny thing instead?”

      The other thing might be scale. When I think of inventions that everyone oohs and ahs over, they are small. Space-racing has been denigrated, at least in popular culture.

      1. As usual, a huge chunk of it comes down to law.

        a) Most of the “pre-products” for an invention are patented or licensed, and unless you are an IP lawyer on the side, you are going to spend a fair amount of time looking to see if you require permissions.

        b) a lot of people work for companies instead of themselves, and most companies have employment contract clauses saying anything an employee makes belongs to the company, especially since you might be spending time that you could have been spending working / studying for them. 8-( I wish I was joking.

        1. It is remarkable how many patent lawyers think explaining how an employee had to jump through a dozen or so of their hoops to let the company let them use the beekeeping stuff they’d developed on their own time is good for moral.

          For reference, nothing the company does has anything to do with beekeeping, agriculture, horticulture, food production, or consumer products…

      2. I’d suggest another part is that when the writers aren’t super knowledgeable about tech, they prefer to write to their strengths instead of their weaknesses. How do you write an inventor creating some amazing spaceflight technology if you don’t have a good idea of how spaceflight physics works?

        I can’t say I enjoy every tech monogram in the Honor Harrington books, but it’s obvious that David Weber has done the math and learned the real physics and carefully crafted his fictional physics and tech to be as realistic as possible. Not many authors bother. Massive props to Timothy Zahn for coming up with a different mechanism for space travel in every universe he creates. The interstellar train in the Quadrail series is very cool.

  13. So anyway, that’s something I’ll do. Er…. unless all of you think I’m out of my mind.

    For the love of that God of yours, Sarah: DO IT.

    You’re spending a lot of work to provide us with morale boosts, insights and a community that we consider valuable. You deserve to make more doing this than you currently do.

    Or, if that’s not enough, let me rephrase it in the form of a guilt trip: have you considered OUR feelings? I’m sure I speak for more than just myself when I say we’d feel better knowing you were more financially secure, and the last thing we want is to lose this place because you overworked yourself and burned out (or worse).

  14. Do you ever find yourself procrastinating about writing weird things? I don’t seem to have a problem writing about a character getting repeatedly murdered by their own nightmares, but a light hearted domestic sequence? Why does that always seem to leave me reeing in the corner?

    1. If it’s not a general writing block, it generally means the scene needs a skill I’ve not got yet.

      1. Yeah. Apparently I don’t have a good handle on light domestic scenes…

        I’ve been going through some writing tools and identifying various story elements, and that does seem to be helping. Also ended up going off on a long tangent rant of romance for several hours, but finally tabled that…

        (One of the books argues in romances the other partner is the opponent. Given the definition of opponent used is entity that is trying to act in opposition to the protagonist’s goals, I disagree strongly for healthy relationships. Destructive ones, that’s totally true. But I realize he may be specifically talking around the romance genre instead of character romances in general, plus, I need to find the parts I need to write and write more than argue about that…)

        1. Trying to be fair– there is a MASSIVE range of “light domestic scenes” that really. Do. Not. Translate.

          For an insanely simple example– my family yells. (K, mom’s family. Deaf as a post! By and large, but yelling even before that.)

          My husband’s family? They only yell when agitated.

          And they don’t do “screaming arguments as a bonding exercise.”


          Good thing he’s worth all the weirdness.

          (I am only a little joking, my sister and honest to God did screaming fights as stress relief BECAUSE we knew it was safe.)

          1. That’s true. This one, her boss entered them into a dance competition, because her boss thinks it would be funny. She’s having tons of trouble with this, mostly because of emotional baggage and a nice little dollop of stoic self-loathing for good measure.

            It’s like, I need to write about complex emotions. What are these things and how does one describe them?

            And for extra fun, the boss has kind of been trying to get her to drop the whole romantic nonsense, without actually coming out and saying it or getting caught.

            Does mean I can leave Easter eggs in the background that the momfia is having a fifty xanatos pile up in the background that the main characters are blissfully unaware of, but that’s more fun for the writer than key story elements.

              1. It is a gift, freely given.

                It wasy mom’s nickname for the little old church ladies. Apparently one of my aunts enlisted them to help land one of my uncles. I gather it was quite an impressive campaign, up to and including the drafting of the local Bishop into their forces…

            1. K, stealing from a “character creation” thing my husband has been doing for D&D/writing exercises—

              have you tried thinking about what her family culture is?

              Even if she doesn’t have a family, functionally speaking– I think the video that got him started was constantly yelling “OK, but what will you DO!!??!?!?”

              (Based off of 5E D&D with their ‘character traits’ like “make the world better”)

              1. You’re right. I think that’s the key thing. I’d been struggling to figure out how the emotional/cultural baggage would halt her from figuring it out, when really she would be able to get the basics fairly quickly, but the real problem is she’s just not ready to deal with the emotions involved.

                Basically, the culture is sort of middle ages rural, with odd bits of exposure to modern day too. But the relationship stuff is very medieval. The boys ask the girls, always. Thing is, she’s a sort of monster hunter, so all the local boys were afraid of her growing up, so she’s spent her entire time growing up never being asked, and watching every guy she had a crush on with someone else.

                What I’ve realized now is the whole thing stirs up so much unexpected envy and resentment she just nopes out of there hard.

                1. What I’ve realized now is the whole thing stirs up so much unexpected envy and resentment she just nopes out of there hard.

                  :loves this so much:

                  1. And it ties in really nicely with her whole “am I really a monster?” thing she’s sort of had rolling around in the back too. Don’t even have to have the lady teaching them pushing the flirting line either.

                    They’re all adults so they’re mature enough to act with reasonable restraint, but that doesn’t mean the emotion isn’t there, just that she knows it’s completely unreasonable.

                    I think that’s all the major pieces. Now to salt it was destructive advice from the opponent, flesh out the ‘one who did walk away’ subplot and start writing it out.

                    Now I’m excited about this story.

        2. In a romance plot, the chief obstacle to the romance is internal. Consequently, its resolution is the rearrangement of whatever internally was blocking it, and the other person is the opponent: One wants to commit, the other doesn’t, they struggle. One thinks the other is insufficiently serious to marry, the other grows more serious, or the one comes to appreciate the levity, after a struggle.

          1. Interesting. Still, one of Truby’s arguments is that the core conflict between the protagonist and their primary opponent is over something that only one party can have. That fundamentally, the real opponent is the entity that needs the protagonist to fail.

            Given that I’d argue that there must be both relationships where, even if the partners come into conflict, they still have either the same or fundamentally compatible core goals, and relationships where the characters have core goals that really are incompatible and a relationship that would ultimately destroy one or the other of them. And if that is the case, it would seem like one could make compelling romances about both dynamics.

            The two examples of my admittedly very limited pool of romances that I can think of are 50 Shades, and Dil Chahta Hai (Bollywood romantic comedy, about 3 hours, and I actually sat through and paid attention to the whole thing). Any analysis of 50 Shades turns up that the male lead is basically a psychopath who’s using cult conditioning to turn the girl into his personal meat puppet. Their roles are blatantly antagonistic, and his win condition is fundamentally opposed to her true interests.

            In Dil Chahta Hai, one of the core conflicts is driven by a series of people simply assuming what other people wanted. (She is marrying someone she doesn’t love or really like because she wants to do right by her adoptive parents. He lets her go because it’s what he thinks she really wants.) None of their core goals are in actual conflict. In fact, the end solution comes down to everyone asking everyone else why they’re doing what they’re doing. (His parents: Son, if she’s marrying someone she doesn’t want to, have you ever thought to ask her why? Um, no? Her parents: Her parents: Wait, you doing this because you think this will smoke is happy? You’re our daughter, we want you to have a good life. If this isn’t it, don’t do it, ok?)

            I haven’t read any of the Alien Bride books, but from the blurbs, I get the impression they follow the latter arc, rather than the former as well. The couple may disagree on things and have conflicts, at a fundamental level, their goals are either compatible, or the conflict in goals is internal to one of them: they are not competing with each other over the same goal.

            I think even in the ones where the relationship reflects a major upset of the character’s goals. She is not competing with the guy. Rather she is competing with an alternative version of her future self. One who has gone one direction to be with the guy, and a different one who went the other way.

            Sorry, I’ve just been digging a lot into the mechanics of romance and character relationships lately, and I’m coming to the conclusion that romance is additive layer that goes on top of another fundamental intercharacter relationship* and that that fundamental inter-character relationship it what really determines the course of the relationship.

            *It can also be the instigator for the inter-character relationship, but I suspect even in that case, the two characters who have been thrown together by this, still have to develop what their fundamental relationship is, and that relationship depends on who and what they are beyond the basic attraction to each other. The attraction can only act as the instigating element.

            And of course, I could be totally wrong here. I’m probably going to have to write a bunch of these out and see if they work and feel organic, but if this is roughly right, I think it opens up a very wide color palette for compelling romantic relationships of all types.

            1. Consider Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth refuses to accept Darcy on his terms, and he has to change to meet hers.

              1. I accept that romances are written with the couple written as opponents. I’m more arguing that, I’m not sure that is actually a requirement, and that we should be able to build romance plotthreads and full stories where they are not opponents.

                Which probably means I actually need to try writing one, which would be probably as hilarious as watching chuthulu baking a birthday cake with sprinkles and rainbow unicorn frosting…

                1. I’m not a Romance writer (or any other type of writer), but the opposition that the couple could face may be people who don’t want them to get together or situations that “just had to happen” while the couple to trying to “build” a possible relationship.

                  1. That may well be the difference, if the Romance genre requires the two to be opponents.

                    That also carries an implication that there are separate customer bases for romances and love stories.

  15. Off topic. Food riots reported in Shanghai. All they wanted to do was take out number two premier, Xi’ s primary rival. Price might be higher than they thought

      1. It’s all a bit murky. There were two primary factions in the CCP, one from the industrial north and one out of Shanghai. Xi came out of Shanghai but has built his own faction with members from both. Xi is an autocrat and is looking to smash both the old factions in favor of his own, so, it could be an attempt at Xi as shanghai is still his primary power base or more likely a shot at Han Zheng, the first vice premier who is tied to the Jiang Zein and is the one getting all the bad press at the moment. Or, it could just be a f-ck up. We shouldn’t lose track that two of the wheat growing provinces in the north a shut down too and the crop is at severe risk, nor should we lose track that this is an upper respiratory virus so everyone is going to get it. Peking next? Once you get stuck in zero tolerance for a chest cold you’re sorta stuck on stupid, All the world wonders.

        1. We’ve seen this pattern of things snowballing when the regime thought they had a handle on things before. I just hope it doesn’t turn out like the last big one in the late 80s. Start with a state funeral, then eff that up a couple of times, combine with a student protest (and approved protest, no less) and end up with soldiers in the street getting burned alive in their own vehicles and mass disappearances after the fact.

          China’s not in a good way right now. I’d almost count on there being Bad Things going on there soonish. The sort of things that future history will look back and call The Reason Things Are So Bad Now.

          1. Things are bad there, very bad, not that it’s good here but compared to China we are golden. It’s all going pear shaped for them on the belt and road front too. Sri Lanka. Is facing starvation and China’s guy in Pakistan has just lost a vote of confidence. They’re facing hundreds of billions in write-offs overseas to go along with the defaults internally. Another developer has just defaulted on $35 MM in payments. Does not foresee being able to pay. the only thing keeping China going is an interesting piece of their bankruptcy code that doesn’t allow creditors to wind up a failed concern — shocked me that did, it’s a big reason my forecasts have been so wrong even taking into account that aim always too damned early. Still, the money is gone and they’re just throwing more money into the pit.

            To me, this is one of the the really great tragedies of Biden. All the CCP needed was one good shove and the world, particularly China, might have gone on to a better place.

            1. Yeah. That not allowing creditors to wind up a failed concern, that’s not something I was aware of at all. Paints a lot of things I thought I knew in a different light now. And ye blobs and little fishes yes, it’s bad. They are slipping a lot faster than we are.

              That makes me wonder, though. There’s a lot of tech manufacturing in China. A smart, savvy person with some spare cash might could make a decent chunk of change setting up a similarly inclined tech factory somewhere less likely to burn down, fall over, and sink in to the swamp soon…

              1. There is insolvency law but Bankruptcy is political, not legal, especially for foreign creditors, If the state believes the bankruptcy would be bad for them they can stop it, the carve out is explicit in the law. What the alternative is, who knows? There is no requirement for the company to file in any case, only a large. (GT 10%) creditor can and they don’t have too either. It’s possible the whole thing could stumble on indefinitely so long as they keep paying suppliers, consuming capital and increasing the final cost. It’s bizarre.

                There are a bunch of creditors trying to force Evergrande into liquidation in the HK courts but even if they win there, they still have to go in front of a judge in the PRC. Unless the CCP has decided to let evergrande go, well. Good luck with that.

              2. There were already some moves underway as a result of Trump’s actions. A number of businesses apparently moved their factories from China to Vietnam during the previous US presidential administration. However, I’ve heard (possibly here) that Vietnam has a power infrastructure problem. Hanoi wants the foreign manufacturing dollars, and is willing to play nice with any manufacturer that wants to relocate there. But they don’t yet have a power grid that’s big enough to support lots of manufacturing.

                1. Therefore they divert water from rice growing to manufacturing at the beginning of a world-wide food crisis…

  16. You may want to consult Chris Muir (et others) before scheduling your fundraiser. IIRC, Chris (DBD) has his sometime June/July. Hate to have you schedule yours at the same time and have a poor turnout. Just my 2 cents (with inflation, 25 cents? 75 cents?)

  17. You may want to consult Chris Muir (et others) before scheduling your fundraiser. IIRC, Chris (DBD) has his sometime June/July. Hate to have you schedule yours at the same time and have a poor turnout. Just my 2 cents (with inflation, 25 cents? 75 cents?)

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