A very Special book promo and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Book promo

If you wish to send us books for next week’s promo, please email to bookpimping at outlook dot com. If you feel a need to re-promo the same book do so no more than once every six months (unless you’re me or my relative. Deal.) One book per author per week. Amazon links only. Oh, yeah, by clicking through and buying (anything, actually) through one of the links below, you will at no cost to you be giving a portion of your purchase to support ATH through our associates number. A COMMISSION IS EARNED FROM EACH PURCHASE.
*Note that I haven’t read most of these books (my reading is eclectic and “craving led”,) and apply the usual cautions to buying. – SAH*


A tense, character-driven sci-fi thriller full of action, corporate intrigue, and creeping-dread horror.
A young woman defies her father in search of treasure among the stars…
Shao has two choices: live and die the boring corporate life her father demands she live OR go on an adventure searching for space pirate treasure.

Shao hates her boring, corporate-driven spaceship pilot job. Living up to her father’s vision for her hasn’t been easy, but she’s been a dutiful daughter. Until she discovers a data chip leading to a pirate treasure. Suddenly faced with a new path, she convinces her crew to ditch their corporate responsibilities to go on a treasure hunt instead.
Shao has no idea she’s made a huge mistake and that her crew-including her girlfriend, Mai Wren-will wind up paying for.
With forces beyond her knowledge at play, Shao stands to lose everything she holds dear. Her decisions will be her downfall and she’ll have to make tough calls that’ll forever alter her future and the lives of her crew. Some of them might not survive, but that was a choice Shao made, and she must live with the consequences… no matter what they may be.
Set in a hard sci-fi world of Aphelion, Incitatus takes place in the near future, after humanity colonized the entire Solar System, and technology blurred the lines between humans and machines.
The book is full of action, conflicting interests, intrigue, and fear of the unknown, both in the outside world and inside the human mind. From transhumanist themes to matters of love, individuality, and personal freedom, Incitatus is an engaging, exciting thriller for adult audience.

FROM CLAYTON BARNETT: Obligations of Rank

Empress Faustina has always ruthlessly used those around her. With her three sons now young men, it is their turn.

To the imperium’s west, the Texans are increasingly unhappy with the empress, especially following her use of a fusion weapon against the city of St. Louis. A broken demi-human, Edward, is sent to patch up what affairs he can.

North, fleeing the ice and snow of a coming ice age, the Canadians and their army are on the Ohio River, threatening territory the imperium considers its own. Young human Robert, undercover as a simply legionary, joins a task force to find out what is going on.

But the prize is the terraforming of Mars, led by the Russian Empire. Crown Prince Laszlo, a friend of the Russian court, takes an experimental ship to determine what they and their Machine allies are doing on the once-red planet.


He’s a man on the run. But on this harsh alien world, freedom doesn’t mean he’s safe.
Peter Dawe can’t face his mother’s relentless grief. With her anguish deepening his guilt and the colony’s governor out for revenge, he’s desperate to escape a deadly situation ready to explode. So he jumps at the chance to journey north away from danger, chasing the rare sight of a long-lost aircraft.
Buoyed by the glimpse of a machine he’s never seen before, Peter discovers the pilot desperately needs aid for his newborn son. But with sinister agents searching for them both, the remote planet may not be big enough to preserve the young fugitive from his enemy’s vengeance.
Can Peter find them refuge before they all fall to their doom?
Long in the Land is the thrilling second book in the Martha’s Sons science fiction series. If you like captivating world-building, edge-of-your-seat tension, and memorable characters, then you’ll love Laura Montgomery’s high-stakes tale.Buy Long in the Land to make a stark choice today!

And now we come to a very special book promo.

It has come to my attention some of you haven’t read the syllabus and haven’t done the required reading. This cannot be! I send no compliment to your mothers. You deserve no such–


Oh, yeah, if you have time (or a cold. I usually re-watch it when I have a cold. I sit on the sofa with a carton of sugar free rocky road and watch all six hours) you definitely should watch the A & E Pride and Prejudice. I try to sneak a line from it into every book, the least likely the better. You too can participate in the text scavenge hunt.

Now, on the serious side, some of you have been silly enough to ask me for an auto-biography. This is not likely to happen, because I’m not that interesting. Mostly I grew up in books. However, it occurs to me I haven’t shared with you some of my favorite (indeed, some formative) books, so I thought you guys should get a list. Be careful, though, there might be more in the future.

I put a line or two on why I like the books. The authors some of whom are dead are held harmless from associating with such Nekulturny as myself and my fans and friends. Well, except the first one. He brought this on himself. He has no one else to blame.

So, the first book:

This is a special case. He sent me the book for promo a month or two ago, and said something about how stupid of him it was to write silent movie mysteries. For those not aware, I love mysteries set in the early 20th century, so I told him I’d probably read it, though not maybe in a timely manner.

Well, it ain’t be timely, but yesterday I bought it and read it, and then the first book (which seems to have been published by someone else?)

And you see, it’s AMAZING. And I want him to write more. As I know personally, having a pack of derran– er…. a nice group of fans begging for more can get you to write a lot of books. So I thought I’d do my best to get Christopher a whole mob of bay– er… group of intensely interested fans, so that he’ll write more mysteries for me to read.

Look, it makes perfect sense in my head!

From Christopher DiGrazia: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: A Theda Bara Mystery


Hollywood, 1917. Silent movie queen Theda Bara is filming her epic, Cleopatra – “the one they’ll remember me for.” But when a studio extra turns up dead in a PR stunt gone wrong, Bara finds herself the center of intrigue, from a friend from the past who isn’t at all what she seems, to an Egyptian cult that wants her dead. With stars like Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and Erich von Stroheim along for the ride, Bara and her loyal friend, makeup artist Toby Swanson, have to find out who is telling the truth, who is lying and whether it spells the end of Cleopatra. . .or of Hollywood itself.

THE BOOKS I LIKE BECAUSE I LIKE THEM and which influenced me though some of their authors were very politically silly.

FROM CLIFFORD SIMAK: The Werewolf Principle

His body hosting a pair of strange alien presences, an amnesiac space traveler returns home to an unrecognizable Earth

Many centuries in the future, a two-hundred-year-old man is discovered hibernating in a space capsule orbiting a distant star. Transported back to his home planet, Andrew Blake awakens to an Earth he does not recognize—a world of flying cars and sentient floating houses—with no memory whatsoever of his history or purpose. But he has not returned alone. The last survivor of a radical experiment abandoned more than a century earlier, Blake was genetically altered to be able to adapt to extreme alien environments, and now he can sense other presences inhabiting his mind and body. One is a biological computer of astonishing power; the other is a powerful creature akin to a large wolf. And Blake is definitely not the one in control. With his sanity hanging in the balance, Blake’s only option is to set out in frantic pursuit of his past, the truth, his destiny—and quite possibly the fate of humankind.
A bravura demonstration of unparalleled imagination, intelligence, and heart, The Werewolf Principle addresses weighty issues of genetic manipulation that are as relevant today as when the novel first appeared in print. One of the all-time best and brightest in speculative fiction, Grand Master Clifford D. Simak offers a moving, stunning, witty, and thought-provoking exploration of what it means to be human.

Note: more strange political beliefs are thrown out in this book than you can shake a very large stick at. But it gives you a good snapshot of “normal” in the mid century. And you know, the characters and the book itself is the best capture of “Odd” I’ve ever seen.

FROM REX STOUT: Fer-de-Lance

As any herpetologist will tell you, the fer-de-lance is among the most dreaded snakes known to man.  When someone makes a present of one to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he’s getting dreadully close to solving the devilishly clever murders of an immigrant and a college president.  As for Wolfe, he’s playing snake charmer in a case with more twists than an anaconda — whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch a killer who’s still got poison in his heart.

NOTE: I’m a fan of Rex Stout, despite suspecting our political outlooks are worlds apart. Mostly he kept his out of the books, though it got thicker the longer the series went. Anyway, I first fell into his books when I was I think 6 and hanging out in the front room, where dad kept his mysteries.
For reasons known only to the publishers’ psychiatrists, the only collection of mysteries in Portugal at the time was Vampire. For those who don’t know it, I’m a ninny when it comes to horror, and was even more so then. I was afraid to touch the book, because there was a vampire bat on the spine. But I was bored. NO. I WAS BORED. Like, soul killing boredom. So I took that book down and it sent me on a life-long mystery reading habit. Ah, well.

From Agatha Christie: The Moving Finger.

The indomitable sleuth Miss Marple is led to a small town with shameful secrets in Agatha Christie’s classic detective story, The Moving Finger. 

Lymstock is a town with more than its share of scandalous secrets—a town where even a sudden outbreak of anonymous hate mail causes only a minor stir.

But all that changes when one of the recipients, Mrs. Symmington, commits suicide. Her final note says “I can’t go on,” but Miss Marple questions the coroner’s verdict of suicide. Soon nobody is sure of anyone—as secrets stop being shameful and start becoming deadly.

NOTE: This book, right here, made me aware I was not alone. I was one of a type. I was a “smart girl who was likely to become a complete idiot” (No not an exact quote) until I took myself in hand. So I did. It’s also a very good mystery.

From Giovanni Guareschi: The Little World of Don Camillo

Reading ‘The Little World of Don Camillo’ is to travel to the Valley of the River Po, Italy’s widest and most fertile plain, with its unique atmosphere, culture and natural history. And to do so in the incomparable company of a cast of fictional characters who testify to the exquisite humour and humanity of their creator.

In the Little World, eternal forces grapple with the absurd drama of everyday life, and hilarious and unearthly things can happen.

If you keep this in mind you will have no difficulty in getting to know the village priest, Don Camillo, and his adversary, Peppone, the Communist Mayor. Nor will you be surprised when a third person watches the goings-on from a big cross in the village church and not infrequently intercedes . . .

In story after story, the hot-headed Catholic priest, Don Camillo, and the equally pugnacious Communist mayor, Peppone, confront one another, sometimes in a serious and violent manner.

The clever bit is the way Guareschi engineers a resolution to the conflict and transforms the situation to the great benefit of the local community, so that the two men put their political convictions aside and, however begrudgingly, develop respect for one another.

To enable this, the author creates a third main character, his finest creation and the most surprising. Il Cristo presides over proceedings from above the altar of the town church and counsels Don Camillo, exposing and undermining the stubborn priest’s personal politics and prejudices and, with fascinating insights and gentle humour, suggests paths of action which, with the benefit of hindsight, we come to see make things right.

Guareschi claimed that the voice from above the altar was simply the voice of his own conscience, but in the stories it is a living reality which enables solutions so simple that they are beyond the reach of political minds clouded with ideology and the need to win.

Guareschi’s message is that what works at the level of the Little World can be made to work universally, the world over.

More than fifty years on, these enchanting, wise and strangely moving stories of life in the Lower Plain continue to enthral millions of readers of all ages around the world. They have been feted not only in books but in films, in series on TV, on radio and most recently on YouTube. In this newly translated volume, many are available in English for the very first time.

Note: I first read Don Camillo as I first read just about everything. It was on dad’s shelf, and I was bored. It was summer, and I want to say I was seven or eight. These are SHORT stories. A few hundred words. And yet… When I grow up, I’d like to be able to capture humanity that well. Of course, I’m almost 60, so it’s probably hopeless. But you shouldn’t deny yourself. Things are hinkie, and reading things that remind us humanity is not all dross is much needed.

There will probably be some more later, including some very strange comics.


These books are in a way, a way of looking at what is happening, and precisely what can be done, and what can’t. There are others. These are the ones in my head right now.

From Robert A. Heinlein: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

Widely acknowledged as one of Robert A. Heinlein’s greatest works, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress rose from the golden age of science fiction to become an undisputed classic—and a touchstone for the philosophy of personal responsibility and political freedom. A revolution on a lunar penal colony—aided by a self-aware supercomputer—provides the framework for a story of a diverse group of men and women grappling with the ever-changing definitions of humanity, technology, and free will—themes that resonate just as strongly today as they did when the novel was first published.

The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress gives readers an extraordinary, thought-provoking glimpse into the mind of Robert A. Heinlein, who, even now, “shows us where the future is” (Tom Clancy).

NOTE: As you know I’m “the woman who loves Heinlein” so I’d tell you to read all of his work, even the one where he kills the cat. (Yes, I’m still smarting. Why?)
But my favorite is probably The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. It was the primary influence on A Few Good Men, for instance. (Not linking, because I haven’t reissued, but no, not the movie. My book.)

FROM LLOYD BIGGLE JR: The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets

The IPR Bureau (whose motto is “Democracy imposed from without is the severest form of tyranny”) works to bring newly discovered planets up to the point where they have a planetary democratic government and then induct them into the galactic federation. Unfortunately, the planet Furnil offers problems. The continent of Kurr has a well-entrenched monarchy, and the citizens seem little inclined to change. In fact, they immerse themselves in art rather than politics…and have been doing so for more than 400 years! So what’s a poor IPR agent to do…? Classic science fiction!

Note: This is one of my favorite books. Interestingly it gave me a way to visualize what happened with traditional publishing. The idea that they published all worthy books could only continue so long as they could banish the authors who displeased them for whatever reason and make sure they were never seen again. Now, of course that’s broken, and we’re out, playing our trumpets….
I think it’s much like that on the political side. They only win if they can make us invisible. Be as visible as you can afford to be. They can’t silence all the trumpets.

From Giovanni Guareschi: Comrade Don Camillo

‘Those who read The Little World of Don Camillo will need no more than the news of this new volume to send them quickly to their bookshops so lovely, so humorous, and so wise.’ Harpers & Queen

In the Little World of Don Camillo, an Italian village in the Emilia-Romagna, the beauty of life lies in the connectedness of things. But, as at national level, relations between its people – normally pleasant, hospitable, generous, and with a high sense of humour – have become polarised by politics.

Since the end of the war, Stalin has been working to absorb Eastern Europe into the Soviet orbit, with every expectation of Italy being annexed to the Soviet Socialist Republic. Russia and America are like two scorpions in a bottle, each capable of killing the other but only at the risk of his own life. There is the constant fear that one side will press the nuclear button and the whole world be reduced to wasteland.

Meanwhile, in Don Camillo’s Little World, where there were indeed more communists per capita than anywhere in Italy, the global struggle is reflected in hilarious relief in the conflict between its hot-headed Catholic priest and Peppone, its Communist mayor.

But now, in this 4th book in Guareschi’s series, it is 1959; Khrushchev has come to power. There is talk of détente, and Peppone has decided to take a group of Italian communists on a trip to Mother Russia. Determined not to miss a God-sent opportunity to throw a spanner in the works, Don Camillo skilfully inveigles himself into the group, and to Peppone’s dismay he becomes life and soul of the Party.

In a riot of shrewd manipulation, Don Camillo picks off his totalitarian comrades one-by-one, trapping them into demonstrating the repressive nature of the politically correct virtual world they occupy. But then ‘fate’ intervenes, and to everyone’s surprise the group discover a common denominator more radical than any political ideology…

As ever, Guareschi’s fictional characters testify to the exquisite humour and humanity of their creator, while the message of his satire, which applies to all times and all places, remains that what works in the microcosm of the Little World can be made to work universally, the world over.

NOTE: Before Allinski there was Comrade Don Camillo. Some of the tactics are startlingly similar like “Make them live up to their stated rules.”
But Guareschi was a decent human being, so most of his tactics are both more principled and aimed at redemption rather than destruction. Also, it’s funny, of course.

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike.

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it! For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is: Rural

83 thoughts on “A very Special book promo and Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. You DO realize that “A Very Special…” trips alerts, alarms, alarums, and emergency overrides at the ‘bare metal’ level that make WWIII preps look downright MILD?

  2. “You’re going to work for the REA?! I thought you-”

    “I LOATHE the idea of the country spending money it ain’t got. BUT, if we are gonna do something that stupid, at least we can do it to benefit those growing our food. You ever been hungry? I don’t mean ‘gee, I could eat something’ but wondering how much meat is on Fido’s bones – HUNGRY! I don’t know what happens next. Maybe we all die. But at least we won’t be starving in the meantime.”

  3. I’m Annoyed At Sarah.

    Not only did she suggest Comrade Don Camillo which I purchased even though I really shouldn’t, but it became obvious that there are NOW EIGHT Don Camillo Books and I only have the First Four!

    On well, there’s always next month for purchasing more books. 😉

    Now to think about how to use “Rural” for a vignette. 😀

    1. I got an omnibus a while ago after she mentioned them, but I think only two of the five titles included match the ones now listed for the new editions, on top of some of the new ones apparently being more recently translated, so I shall have to figure out what is which and which is what.

  4. “I’m rural. We know who owns which lands, and the origins of feuds from generations back.
    Imagine my surprise when I realized that townies are the same. Oh, there are newcomers aplenty who don’t have any real connection, but the elites that actually own the place – they’re just like us!”

  5. The bar was so dark that it was difficult for Roy’s glare to have any effect on his friend, but his tone of voice was another story.

    “Repeat after me. ‘Truly rural.'”

    “Tr-truly woow…”

    “That’s it. Give me the keys, Bob. No way in hell are you driving.” Roy gripped Bob’s arm and steered him out to the parking lot.

  6. I am so glad you enjoyed Christopher DiGrazia’s Theda Bara mysteries. When he writes it’s like he was really there. He really needs the encouragement to write more, so I hope he gets more great feedback and reviews like yours.

    1. I might have sent him semi-threatening fan letter. What? I get them all the time. “Wha wha wah I want more, and I’ll hold my breath till you write more. Look, I’m turning purple.” I rarely get to write them, so….

      1. I’ve put the first of that series into my “To-Be-Purchased” List. 😉

  7. Another book by Lloyd Biggle, Jr. that I really like is “Monument”. It’s an excellent story about how property rights and the rule of law are important for protecting the rights of the people against wealth and power.

  8. I watched the car as it came down the driveway toward me. As it stopped, the driver’s side window went down.

    “Hello, ma’am. Can I help you?” I asked.

    She looked at me and gasped, “You’re naked!”

    “It’s pretty rural out here. I tend to dress for comfort.” I replied.

  9. Interesting set of promos today. I’d read Stout and Heinlein, but now I’ve got to go find the rest of them… sigh

  10. Agatha Christie’s The Moving Finger is one of the best love stories she ever wrote. And there were some humdingers, bothe set in urban and rural settings.

  11. I loved the Werewolf Principle as a kid back in the ancient days. I remember reading paperback with the original cover, that terrible modern-art thing they slapped on there. Poor old Simak, stuck with a shite cover like that…

    1. Somebody over on Facebook was talking about how silly “don’t judge a book by its cover” is when that’s the point of having cover art…. Well, they were likely right that the phrase arose when a lot of covers were pretty plain, but whoof, sometimes the cover art is really not the author’s fault….

      1. Hideous cover art is the reason I didn’t read the Black Company series for years and years.

        And then I read the first few and realized I hated them and shouldn’t have bothered. Even though I adore the Garrett P.I. series from the same author.

  12. “I could suggest a tome on the changes in rural life as people flock to the city,” said Isabella.
    “Does it cover the changes in magic?” said Ava, quickly. “How the crops increase?”
    “Most talk more of the engines that let the food be brought to the city,” said Isabella.

  13. I am wracking my brain trying to remember where RAH KILLED a cat. Not “The Cat Who Walks Through Walls” – they were all saved there (although not said until “To Sail Beyond the Sunset”). Some books had cats who died – but after a full life.

    The only thing close I can think of is the Venusian cat-thing in “Podkayne of Mars” that had to be killed for them to escape.

      1. Well, I accepted it – but I did shelve “Cat” insofar as rereading it until after “Sail.” “Podkayne” I think I’ve maybe reread once in all these years. I don’t insist on HEA endings, but I do want HOPE.

        (BTW, Imaginos1892 reminded me of Pirate in “Puppet Masters.” Maybe one reason I haven’t reread that one all too many times.)

    1. I was wondering myself, then an hour later I came on the scene in Puppet Masters where Pirate met his demise.

  14. In a lot of ways, the Iowa prairie was a lot like the steppe lands of the Rodina, enough to bring a nostalgic longing to Leonid Gruzinsky’s heart for a land to which he could never return. However, there were differences, both in the flora and in the patterns of settlement. In the old USSR, everyone in a kolkhoz lived in a central village, derived from the pre-Revolutionary peasant mir. Here in the US, each farming family had its own farmstead, a house and associated barns and machine sheds surrounded by fields ans pastures, producing a far more scattered pattern of habitation.

    According to what Connor Westin and Lisa Fox had told him, the technological and economic shifts of the past few decades had resulted in a great reduction in the number of farm families, as larger and larger spreads became necessary for an economically feasible operation. As a result, many farmsteads were now occupied by people with town jobs, or had vanished altogether as the ground under them became more valuable than any rent that could be obtained from the buildings. Sometimes a machine shed or a group of grain bins were the only remnant of a once-busy farmstead.

    However, as a professional military officer, Gruzinsky saw open land with few natural defenses, just as perfect for maneuver warfare as the steppe lands of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War. if the current conflict between Washington DC and several state governors were to turn into open warfare in the tradition of the War Between the States, this was perfect territory for tanks and mobile infantry.

    Unlike the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan.

    However, it was still possible to set an ambush in this terrain, and his intel indicated that the Feds’ false-flag operation involved ambushing a school bus. Things would be so much easier if the cloud cover would just clear. Then he could get realtime data from the GeoScope satellite contstellation.

    Instead he was stuck considering just when to send a drone up to look for their catspaws. Send it up too early and he’d only drain its battery packs. Send it too late, and he’d be caught by surprise.

    Maybe it was just as well that he had no conscious memories of the ambush that had cost him an eye and his youthful good looks. He really didn’t need to relive that right now, when he needed to concentrate on foiling a plot to make the Sharp Resistance look like a bunch of baby-killers.

  15. Rural America announces that it is prioritizing energy use for local food and fuel production, over transporting food, fuel, and electricity to unsafe urban feedlots. Feedlot residents can come and get supplies here, on their own nickel and on our very cautious terms, subject to availability.

    Welcome to muscular federalism.

    1. @ Jester > “Rural America announces that it is prioritizing energy use for local food and fuel production, over transporting food, fuel, and electricity to unsafe urban feedlots”

      I thought vignettes were supposed to be fiction, not prophecy.

  16. I knew Heinlein was harsh and cruel but I didn’t know he was a cat killer.
    I’m not sure how I feel about that.

    I am becoming a little concerned about the book fees for this class though.
    Hubby is going to notice soon and accuse me of going back to my addict days.

    I really hope I don’t get driven out to some rural area and turfed out of the car to make my own way in a cold cruel world far from the nearest library.

    1. He wasn’t harsh and cruel. The man was almost a bleeding heart sentimentalist.
      But sometimes we do need to kill the cat. I killed an eight year old in my second published book. And my fans still want to kill me for killing Abby in A Few Good Men.
      Yeah. Husband makes less noise about the struts or something, since I went mostly electronic.

      1. My sister once said, “It’s very difficult to go through all eight stages of grief every time you read a book. Especially if hubby says, That wasn’t a real person you know, right?”

        The struggle is real.

  17. Perhaps she could go to a true country house, she realized, and for a moment, she dreamed of escaping the city and its politics entirely.
    But travel was too easy. Every nobleman had to care about the whims of the empress, and knew that she would get news of everything.

  18. By The Way!

    I may be as dumb a a box of broken hammers but I’ve loved reading Science Fiction since I was first introduced to it at the Public Library. I would bring home a stack of books 2 feet tall and go back the following week for more. (This was the 1960s and many of the books were anthologies from the 30s, 40s, and 50s.)

    But, but, and again but (to quote Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), I get annoyed at one simple trick.

    I bought the first 10 or so Bob’s Saucer Repair books; but he’s up to volume 27, each one less serious than the next, depending, one suppose, on how they’re lined up. And I don’t want a weekly subscription to anything. So that Author’s off my list. The 27 written so far would really have made three actual novels. I like Sarah’s stuff because I have to think about it.

    No one here planning that type of “cotton candy to fleece the rubes” campaign, I hope? Space squirrels and walnuts indeed… Bah!

    1. I don’t suppose I am the only one who was relieved when Brandon Sanderson took over the Wheel of Time series so we could finally get past Nyneave pulling on her braid while wringing out her sodden shift and move on to some actual plot development.

      Yeah I hated why it had come to the point they had to switch authors, part of why I stuck with it. But still editors exist and should help you cut the padding even when you are sick. It seemed unnecessarily exploitive.

      1. There are reports that Jordan “padded” the story based “suggestions” from TOR people that he took for orders.

        His last editor (and wife) worked to make sure that fewer “suggestions” were given to him.

        Of course, as soon as it became clear that he wouldn’t live to finish the series, he started “making notes” for the replacement author to assist in the completion of the series.

        Oh, his wife decided that there would be no further stories set in Jordan’s world after the series reached Jordan’s end point.

        1. Yes it did give every appearance of a writer being told to s t r e t c h out the story. Which is why it felt so exploitive to me. Particularly when I found out he wanted it finished and wasn’t going to make it. I was cheering him on and was sad when I saw the first book in the series by a different author because that meant he didn’t get to finish. Sanderson did a fine job I thought.

          I’m glad his wife put her foot down on new stories if that’s what he wanted. I hope that’s what he did want.

          1. “Now, according to our definition, Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is complete, and whole, and of a certain magnitude; for there may be a whole that is wanting in magnitude. . . . Again, a beautiful object, whether it be a living organism or any whole composed of parts, must not only have an orderly arrangement of parts, but must also be of a certain magnitude; for beauty depends on magnitude and order. Hence a very small animal organism cannot be beautiful; for the view of it is confused, the object being seen in an almost imperceptible moment of time. Nor, again, can one of vast size be beautiful; for as the eye cannot take it all in at once, the unity and sense of the whole is lost for the spectator; as for instance if there were one a thousand miles long. As, therefore, in the case of animate bodies and organisms a certain magnitude is necessary, and a magnitude which may be easily embraced in one view; so in the plot, a certain length is necessary, and a length which can be easily embraced by the memory. ” Aristotle

            This is why a series can’t be a story forever and will stop working unless episodic.

      2. Sanderson initially wanted to do just one more book, but the more he looked at Jordan’s notes, the more he realized that it couldn’t be done. His opinion was that Jordan himself couldn’t have done it, either, even if he could have managed to actually bring plot threads to a close instead of endlessly spinning new ones. Considering the last half dozen books, that was quite doubtful anyway. The way Sanderson tightened and focused the story was a great relief.

      3. My less than serious comment at the time of Jordan’s death was, “Someone upstairs decided that The Wheel of Time ending was long overdue.”

      1. Yeah, I know. I just resist giving Jeff Bezos any more money past the Prime sub I need for other reasons. Especially just for bubblegum and cotton candy…. 😦

        1. Eh, I admit I have KULL largely for bubblegum. And… uh… taste-testing?

          I did send myself a 24-month gift subscription to drop the cost from $10/month to $6/mo though. I wonder if I should add another one before it goes up.

    2. I would say, it’s not fleecing the rubes if they enjoy the read. The reason I enjoy reading light novels is that they are short, easy reads, often silly, and basically amounting to the continuing adventures of characters that I’m familiar with.The way my life is now I just don’t have the time (or stamina) to invest in a 1000-page door-stopper. A less-than-200 page easy read might take me a few days to finish, because I have limited time each day to spend on reading. That said, Japanese light novels are published by major publishers, so you can be sure of a certain quality of entertainment; if they don’t sell well enough the series gets cancelled. But if the series runs to 30 or 40 volumes, well, it may not be the deepest or most thought-provoking read, but it will be entertaining right to the end of the series.

    3. No, actually, I’m not. For some reason brevity and clarity escape me. I try. Really I do. But Dr. Z has grown… rather large of late. And somewhere in the distance there tolls a warning bell that sounds like “book 2… book 2…”

      Which, after around 130k of words and the end of act II still in the distance is pretty bad. I need to write better. Not just more. And do the editing thing. Because the progression on the psychological front is still wonky in one or two places, the first few chapters look a bit rough, and I’m wonder if there isn’t a way to flesh out the side characters a bit more.

      It still astonishes me that there are actual humans that read and enjoy it sometimes.

  19. Summervale was the very platonic ideal of the rural late-Victorian England medium-sized village, which Solomon had to admit took quite a bit of work. You could imagine, with a little effort, a two-track station for the Great Western coming through town, the manor of Her Ladyship, the Countess of Wiltshire a half-hour’s automobile ride from town, stone houses (which had electricity because Her Ladyship hated natural gas for most applications, and was overjoyed with the appearance of rural electrification getting rid of all that dirty coal), telephones, four rival pubs with four rival local football teams, the local parish house, a shopping district…

    What you didn’t see in this one-hundred-kilometer diameter slice of England was the hidden infrastructure below that made the dreams of Walt Disney seem pale in comparison. Or the advanced technology that ensured that Summervale was hidden very well, nearly four hundred kilometers deep under the Lunar surface, with a two-kilometer-thick shell of fibersteel that would laugh at anything smaller than a multi-megaton nuke. Or the intricate network of teleport relays and stealth wardings that made sure that nobody would ever find Summervale unless Solomon wanted them to find it.

    Summervale was very important to Solomon because it was one of the very few places where the Empress Theodora could actually let her hair down and not be the Empress for a while. Being an Earl was a relief from that kind of pressure.

  20. “You seem sure that he’s coming.”
    “The fairy who cursed the princess was extremely silly but competent with her curses. Coming through the farmland and forest. You will have to direct him to her, at some time.”
    “At some time?”
    “Neither my gift nor her curse carried a time limit.”

  21. “We’ll be leaving the city,” said Nigel Slim-Howland. “Heading into the Appalachians, real wild countryside. Will you fit in?”

    “I do not foresee a problem,” said Jenkins. “My firmware allows me to blend in virtually anywhere.”

    “Really? How so?”

    “I done toldja I could! Why in tarnation dontcha believe me?”

      1. Jenkins and his owner/master visit here often and I keep hoping that I’ll be able to “throw money” at their creator. 😀

  22. “We want them Martian tourists to think we’re simple country folk makin’ a meager livin’,” said Delbert. “Don’t leave that book-learnin’ where they kin see it!”

    “But Delbert, I gotta study,” answered Clem.

    “I know,” said Delbert sympathetically. “It’s just that Doctoral Student in Astrophysics and Moonshiner don’t exactly mix!”

  23. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about one of Professor de la Paz’s speeches:

    A managed democracy is a wonderful thing, Manuel, for the managers. And its greatest strength is a free press, where “free” is defined as “responsible,” and the managers decide what is responsible.

  24. “I’ve changed my mind” said Simon. “I’m going to stay at least one more day before I fly out.”
    He pulled out a credit card. “I’ll pay for one more day of hangarage right now.”
    “Any particular reason?” asked the manager of the small rural Nebraska airport, as he processed the transaction.
    “Weather forecast looks good, but I still don’t trust it”, replied Simon.
    The manager nodded. “There are old pilots and bold pilots, but very few old, bold pilots, they say.”
    “Exactly”. Simon carefully did not add that the spirits of the air were especially restive this season, or that he could taste a malicious influence somewhere, or specify just how old he was, or how many hours of flight time he had accumulated that would give weight to his instinct. The manager didn’t need that information and wouldn’t believe him anyway.

  25. She wished she could have met a man in the fields at harvest, however hot the sun and hard the work. At least her freckles would expected in a peasant woman who sowed and reaped, and a stutter could be overlooked with how well she sewed and spun and wove.

  26. “There’s nothing for it,” said Karl. “We have to move quickly. Catch him before he reaches the farmland. It’s one thing about the children, but he’s a danger to all in the region if we don’t stop him before then. At no time has he cared what damage he did.”

  27. Off topic and Sad News.

    Walt Boyes just announced in 1632Tech on Baen’s Bar that Mrs. Flint has decided to shut down the Ring Of Fire Press. 😦

      1. Nod.

        Apparently, there were debts associated with Ring Of Fire Press and she decided to shut it down.

        I had some books from there on my “To Be Purchased List”.

        While they are currently still in the Kindle Store I wonder how long they’ll be there.

        Of course, while the books will revert to the authors, you have to wonder if the authors will go indie with the books.

        Ryk Spoor has some planned books that he thought would be published by the Press so now he has to wonder about them.

  28. Jalen stepped carefully, one foot in front of the other, heel to toe like he had been taught all those years ago, back home. The ability to move quietly in the woods had been drilled into him to the point it was actually instinctual, rather than a conscious thought. Since dinner depended on it, both for his squad here as well as back home, he had to be good at. He smiled slightly, remembering the acid comments from the older hunters about youths trampling through the woods like a herd of mammoths, then returned his attention to the rabbit in front of him. Just two more steps and he’d be in range.

  29. Sarah, thank you for the reading list – since I was 7 for 7 (not counting Theda Bara), I may have to get them out of storage and re-read. I own or have read all or most of the books for those six authors, not a unique situation in this company I suspect.

    I also started reading “grown up” books as a child, and found them far more entertaining than the age appropriate writings on offer (although I read a lot of them anyway).
    I was allowed to meander through the adult fiction stacks and get what I wanted because my mother was on the library board and had gone to school with most of our town’s librarians. My parents kept their mysteries in a drawer under their closet (my father’s design), but I read them all anyway (Stout, Gardner, Christie, etc.). I remember, sometime in middle school, being shocked to discover that my Dad had read all of Edgar Rice Burroughs, because those were NOT in the drawer; I had to get my own copies later.

    Interesting to see what you picked out of the massive print lists for Stout and Christie. Archie Goodwin’s narration of Wolfe’s cases introduced me to the possibilities of humor in a serious book, and I was always more fond of Miss Marple than I was of Poirot or any of her other regulars.
    Lloyd Biggle wrote many books, but I seldom see him mentioned in must-read lists of Golden Age SF, and “Trumpets” is indeed a masterpiece.
    Fun trivia: he also wrote mysteries; I have “The Quallsford Inheritance” but haven’t ever found any of the others.

    Wikipedia: “Among Biggle’s enduring science fiction creations were the matter-transmission trouble-shooting team of Jan Darzek/Effie Schlupe, and the Cultural Survey, featured in novels and magazine stories, through which Biggle explored issues of multi-culturalism and technology.” – And they are lots of fun to read, and also humorous IIRC, but definitely more in the “light read” rather than the “significant literature” box.

    I think SF writers may have had more fun back then than many of our current ones do.

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