Dragon Rehabilitation

Have you noticed that at some point, dragons became the good guys? It’s very much a 20th Century development in western culture. Until probably the 1960s, with Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. Leguin, dragons were always bad, ranging from (to use the D&D system) lawful evil to chaotic evil. But still evil. Now, we see dragons ranging from practically candidates for sainthood to no better or worse than average to, hmm, I’m not certain how to classify the dragons from A Song of Ice and Fire because so much depends on who is “managing” the beasts. Continue reading

I’ll talk, I’ll talk!

If anything terminal happens to the neighbor’s new security light, I had nothing to do with it, I was nowhere near it when the accident occurred, and I have witnesses and receipts. Promise. Although, if looks could kill, that floodlight from h-ll would have died a hundred times over.

Redquarters is in a middling nice neighborhood. Crime is not all that common, aside from littering, kids trying to see if they can go 0-60 in less than a block, and occasional windows shot out by BB guns. We do lock our doors and back gates, but don’t worry about someone stealing the cement animal in the flowerbed. Continue reading

Come Wind and Flame

By nine-thirty that morning, the west wind had begun picking up dirt, sending dust and even bits of gravel skating across the ground, then into the air. Just before ten the moan and howl became audible. Smaller birds walked, and the harriers fought the wind as they hunted. The western sky took on that reddish-tan color, then the entire sky turned brassy tan as soil from New Mexico and the western Panhandle took to the air. The howl became constant, punctuated with occasional rattles of small stones hitting the wall. The noise of the wind drowned out the singing of the power lines. People became twitchy, watching the sky, sniffing the wind, listening for the sound no one wanted to hear, the crackling roar of the red devil of the grasslands.

And then, somewhere, two powerlines touched and arced. Sparks flew. And the battle began.

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Reader Question

So, I’m in the throes of another Colplatschki novel that has turned itself into two volumes. Given the period it is based in, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I realized that development.  This series is probably going into the record-books as the longest one-off short story in the history of the English language, up there with the five books of the Hitchhiker’s Trilogy. Those of you snickering and pointing at me can just stop now, thank you. Someday your characters will gang up on you and then we’ll see who is laughing.

Anyway, here’s the question. This book (and its second half) really want to get published. They are better than the Colplatschki book I’d intended to release this coming fall, the one about the Great Fires. Is there any interest in my running that book (Fountains of Mercy) as a Saturday serial on the blog? It would still get published as a book-book, just not this calendar year.

An Odd What If

Blessed Purim to my Jewish readers!

What would have happened if the Princes of Kiev, in the late 900s, had not converted to Greek Orthodox Christianity, but to Judaism? There’s actually a weak precedent for a nation converting, in the tradition of the Khazars of the Crimean steppe in the 400s-500s, and Judaism was one of the faiths the princes considered. Continue reading

Brussels and Matamoros

No, not in Mexico. I was thinking about the original.

St. James, the Hammer of the Moors (literally). He is not the image of St. James the brother of Jesus that most of us think about.  But after the attack in Brussels, I wonder just how much closer Santiago Matamoros is coming to Northern Europe. Continue reading

The Hugo Follies Continue

Caution: Cranky blogging follows. I’ve been reading about Lenin and Stalin, and my patience with First World folly is rather low. You’ve been warned.

It’s been said several times in several ways that truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction readers demand a certain level of logic and wrapping up of loose ends, with limits to the characters’ follies. Reality? Can be head-shakingly daft without getting blue-penciled by the Great Editor.

So the latest is: authors who want the Hugo Award but only if the right people nominate their books. Or, to be more correct, so long as the wrong people do not nominate their books. Stop and think about that for a moment. Authors are contacting the coordinators of recommendation lists and asking to be removed from the recommendation lists. They do not want their work recommended for the best of science fiction/fantasy if that recommendation comes from [Brand X] list. Continue reading

The Battle of the Trees

Back in my undergrad days, an upperclassman introduced me to Celtic music other than the Irish Rovers and Chieftains (which I had grown up with). One of the tapes I very carefully copied was a harper and poet (not Patrick Ball) reciting Irish and Welsh stories as well as playing the harp. And one of those stories was a strange tale about a battle of trees. A few years later, I got a tape by a group called Ceredwyn, and one of the songs (my favorite) was a rock setting of the Battle of the Trees. I was lucky enough to find that most of that later recording had been saved and was available on CD, which I snapped up used. I listened to it on my way back from central Texas recently and got to musing.

(NOTE: The introduction is relatively quiet. When the electric guitars kick in, it gets loud in a hurry.)

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