A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Friday, October 17, 2014

Throop's Revenge

A satire from long ago has gone up over on the story preview page.

Kelvin Throop was a character that showed up in a variety of shorts, written by several different authors over the years. Throop was a malicious creature who deliberately answered all of his inbox with pure honesty. Some of the episodes were "The Blue-Pencil Throop," "Kelvin Throop Rudes Again," "The Quality Throop," etc.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Flynncestry: The Good Old Days of Murder and Mayhem!


Once upon a time, there was a tribe of Gaels descended from CONN THE HUNDRED-FIGHTER and so known as the Connachta.  The Connachta grew fruitful and multiplied and divided into the Ui Briuin, Ui Fiachrach, and other tribes; and the Ui Briuin subsequently split into the Ui Briuin Ai on the plain of Mag nAi, the Ui Briuin Breifne (O Rourke, O Reilly, etc.) and the Ui Briuin Seola (O Flaherty, etc.).  The Ui Briuin Ai, in turn, diversified into the Sil Maelruain (O Flynn, etc.), the Sil Muiredaigh (McGeraghty, O Connor, etc.) and the Sil Cathail (O Flannigan, etc.)

AD 554. CURNAN, the son of Aedh Abraidh, 8th Christian king of Connacht, went to St. Columcille for protection from the High King, Dermot son of Cearbhail; but Dermot's soldiers ignored the guarantee of sanctuary and forcibly took Curnan from Columcille and killed him, "which was the cause of the Battle of Cul-Dreimhne."  Columcille went to his relatives, the O Neill of the North, who allied with the king of Connaught to defeat the High King.    It is from Curnan that the O'Flynns trace their descent. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Beyond the Bounds

"The love of Theory is the root of all evils." -- Wm. M. Briggs, Statistician to the Stars

A recent issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction announced itself as devoted entirely to “stories that deal with touchy themes or go beyond the bounds of Political Correctness.”

Now, while PC generally entrains touchiness, the converse is not true. Not all touchy subjects are politically incorrect. Indeed, to treat traditional values in a dismissive way is in many ways the hallmark of political correctness. This is because political correctness has little to do with adherence to the orthodoxy of any particular political creed. Rather, it is the bizarre notion that something must be correct because it is politically orthodox. It surfaced among Marxist "political officers" in the grand old days of the Soviet Union, and was most egregiously instanced in Lysenkoism. It is to be contrasted with the opposite process, by which something becomes orthodox because it is correct.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

When the inmost sea of all the earth was shaken with his ships

TOF has been reminded that today is the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, forty-two years after the First Siege of Vienna. In recent years, this has been re-imagined by the bien pensants as a minor border skirmish, barely noticed by the mighty muslim world, although much puffed about by the puny West. That in itself, beside being an instance of what W.S. Gilbert noted as "the idiot who praises with enthusiastic tone/Every century but this and every country but his own", it is even if true an indicator of what a significant victory it was: The very fact that an existential threat to the West was just a ho-hum to Islam tells us what a David-Goliath thingie it was. It would not be until 1683, a century after Lepanto, when the Jihad finally faltered and broke at the Second Siege of Vienna.

Celebrated in verse:

Battle of the Books

The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (or GLVWG, pron. "glivwig") proposes to put on a Battle of the Books, for which we will practice this coming Thursday. In this battle, three contestant authors will read portions of a book of their own exemplifying elements of the writerly art; to wit:

  1. First Impressions: The book’s cover, with title and blurb, are the author’s first chance to make a good impression. Each author will be given a chance to read the blurb and show the cover (if available) before reading the opening page of his or her book.  
  2. Enter the Hero: There is a place in every book where we meet the protagonist (another first impression), and each author will read the paragraph in which the hero is revealed to the reader.
  3. Meet the Bad Guy: Ditto for the antagonist. 
  4. Look Who’s Talking: Dialogue is perhaps the most enjoyable part of reading as the characters interact and move the story forward. The authors will read a short exchange of dialogue without explanation.  
  5. Let’s Go Places: Every scene has to take place somewhere. Each author will read a paragraph that sets a scene for a chapter or segment. 
  6. Random Read: The authors will be required to read from a random page and paragraph selected by the audience.  
  7. Closing Lines: Every book has a conclusion, and each author will share the closing line of his or her book to conclude the program.

TOF will be one of the three contestants vying for the coveted jelly beans to be awarded by the audience.

He appeals here to his Faithful Reader: Which of the TOFian novels shall bear pride of place in this noble contest? Nominations are hereby solicited. Where possible, indicate where in the book you think any of the above categories would be suitable.  Vote early and often.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Timothy Leary, Batu Khan, and the Palimpsest of Universal Reality

Because this story was a longer one, it has been put on the story preview page in two parts. Originally, the two parts were published in a single issue of F&SF.

More than one person has noted the change in tone from Part I to Part II. This was a deliberate choice, and some may find it neither to their taste nor their liking. There is a certain amount of degradation involved. It is also a bit subversive.

Part II is now available

Summa theol. Part IV, Q. 274, Art. 1: Whether there are taxicabs in heaven

From the long-lost rough draft:

h/t Dr.Boli