The small starship crew lives at a different rate, in essence, from planetbound people, and in a very different way as well. Locus , February The new online magazine Helix offers a very good third issue. Rastigevat is a highborn member of a rather darkly formed society. His partner is of lower class, but we learn quickly that they are in love, for which the lower born individual is liable to be executed. Their job is curious — they track down time travelers and try to minimize the damage they can cause.
Locus , March Jonathan Strahan serves notice that may be as strong a year as the past few in original anthologies with Engineering Infinity. The nature of the trees and the reason for them is pretty neat, in an SFnal way. Fine work from a first-rate but I feel underrated writer. For example, the narrator, Cap, and his wife Sam are homeless people on Earth, shipped to Mars in lieu of time in the army, hoping to earn their way back to Earth by prospecting.
The story is in a sense about how Cap — who is telling it decades later — finally hits it big — and why Sam is the reason he did.
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Sentimental stuff, I suppose, but in the best way, and it hit me right in the gut. Locus , December Strahan also gives us a new anthology of stories set in the relatively near future Solar System, Edge of Infinity , which has a plethora of neat pieces. Barnes seemed to deliberately sprinkle that book with references to Heinlein, and in many ways it read like a present-day Heinlein juvenile.
But Barnes evidently has different things in mind, and the sequel, A Princess of the Aerie , is certainly not a Young Adult book. It is, however, an interesting and very enjoyable read, set in a politically and technologically fascinating future. Jak's former girlfriend, Shyf, was revealed in the first book to be a princess of a nation in the Aerie, a cluster of space habitats located at the Earth-Sun L4 point.
Lots of crepe paper. And construction paper. Bunches of different-colored construction paper. In my childhood home in Tuscaloosa, my Thanksgiving Mother always made sure we creative and restless kids had all the cardboard, scratch paper, partly-used tablets, corrugated surfaces, unused napkins, backs of cancelled checks, rough brown paper from disassembled grocery bags, backs of advertising letters and flyers…anything at all that we could use to make things.
We cut out rough rectangular sheets from stiff black wrapping paper and glued the edges together to make Pilgrim hats. Old belt buckles were tied to our shoelaces—we never could get it straight, whether the Pilgrims were Quakers, or vice versa, or neither. But it always seemed important to put buckles on our shoes and sandals, wear tubular hats and funny white paper collars, and craft weird-looking guns that flared out like trombones at one end.
Sister Barbara and Mother would find some long autumnal-hued dresses for the occasion, but they were seldom seen outside the kitchen for hours on end, while the eight-course dinner was under construction. There was always an accordion-fold crepe paper turkey centerpiece on display, hastily bought on sale at S.
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And for some reason, we ate cranberry products on that day and that day only. Nobody ever thought about cranberries the other days! And those lucky turkeys were lucky because nobody ever thought of eating them except at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is Thanksgiving Day. My wife and son and granddaughter are all out of the country. Other family and relatives are either dead or gone, or just plain tied up with their own lives in other states, doing things other than having Thanksgiving Dinner with me.
My brother, Tim, my friends Tim Baer and Don Henderson and I decide that we will have to spend Thanksgiving Dinner together, since each of us is bereft of wife or playmate or relative, this particular holiday this particular year.
But we laugh at our situation and each other, tell jokes, cut up a bit, and thank our lucky stars that this one Thanksgiving Dinner is surely just a fluke. This is way back when I believe that the profession of Public Relations Practitioner is tantamount to a Calling, that I can actually change the world—or at least cause it to shift slightly on its axis—by telling the Truth. My audience of writers and communicators is rapt, which encourages me to go on about the importance of Detecting BS in all public messages, be they purposeful or inadvertent. And I preach about the BS factor, the litmus test for finding fact amid the babble.
Proud of myself, I stop to take questions. I freeze, my mind racing to do two things instantly without allowing the crowd to see me sweat. That seems to satisfy the inquisitor. I provide lively examples from popular culture, so that each point will have some gravitas as it is being digested. Two days ago, I am groaning my way into a very cold car seat, preparing to face low temperatures and a short ride to the shop.
A glove! Shivering excitedly, I pull the soft fabric onto my left hand and reach down for the right-hand glove. There it is!
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I try to don it but it, too, is a left-handed glove. Muttering in amazement, I open the glove compartment—where else would you find a spare glove—and pull yet another one out. It, too, is a left-handed glove! I slam the glove compartment closed, but it pops back open because the stuff stuffed within is expanding like a nova.
I suddenly see popping out onto the floor a genuine right-handed glove. Fifth try is magic and it sticks shut. At this point, my mind is sorting out what else is going on around me, and I realize someone is giggling nearby. I lower the window because my friend Lon is standing there, having observed my entire Passion of the Family Dollar Store Bargain Gloves. SOLO Fleming. Isaac Singer. Liz is preparing to go to church, to sing in the choir. Then, I remember that today will be different—I am to be guest speaker at the annual Thanksgiving gathering of Eagles Aerie near Graysville.
I never turn down an invitation to speak or perform publicly, since it serves to pull me out of my shell, away from my routine.
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And it forces me to re-live all that wonderful practice I got back in youth-time, when years of acting on stage, followed by years of announcing and interviewing on radio and television gave me the self-confidence I needed to deal with other people. Plus, I like to make people laugh and remember the good tidbits of life, if only for a few minutes.
She has been called "an American virtuoso of the short story form" Salon and "one of the quiet giants. Now, for the first time, Davis's short stories will be collected in one volume, from the groundbreaking Break It Down to the National Book Award nominee Varieties of Disturbance. Lydia Davis is the author of one novel and seven story collections, the most recent of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is the recipient of a MacArthur fellowship and was named a Chevalier of the Order of the Arts and Letters by the French government for her fiction and her translations of modern writers, including Maurice Blanchot, Michel Leiris, and Marcel Proust.
She is at work on a translation of Madame Bovary. He will call again. I knock at his apartment door and then at all the garage doors, not knowing which garage door is his—no answer.
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I write a note, read it over, write a new note, and stick it in his door. I wait. Finally I sit down and write in my notebook that when he calls me either he will then come to me, or he will not and I will be angry, and so I will have either him or my own anger, and this might be all right, since anger is always a great comfort, as I found with my husband.
And then I go on to write, in the third person and the past tense, that clearly she always needed to have a love even if it was a complicated love. He calls back before I have time to finish writing all this down. When he calls, it is a little after eleven thirty.
We argue until nearly twelve. Everything he says is a contradiction: for example, he says he did not want to see me because he wanted to work and even more because he wanted to be alone, but he has not worked and he has not been alone. There is no way I can get him to reconcile any of his contradictions, and when this conversation begins to sound too much like many I had with my husband I say goodbye and hang up.
- John Barnes.
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- Virginia at War, 1865.
I finish writing down what I started to write down even though by now it no longer seems true that anger is any great comfort. I call him back five minutes later to tell him that I am sorry about all this arguing, and that I love him, but there is no answer. I call again five minutes later, thinking he might have walked out to his garage and walked back, but again there is no answer.