This isn't it.
Thanks to Ruth H. for the initial discomfort.
Note from john: For those you you who may not know, usually "DOA" stands for "Dead On Arrival." Less common meanings are "Dead Or Alive", "Date Of Arrest" and the ever-popular, "Darkener Of Apricot."
I hope it's obvious that this is not really a spoiler for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Of course the book isn't even out yet, and I have no idea how it will end, so it's not even possible for me to spoil it.
I must say, I think people get a bit too worked up about spoilers sometimes. I've had several things spoilered for me. I know who did it in The Usual Suspects, despite not having seen the movie yet (I do plan to see it one day). I know what Rosebud is. I knew what the Maltese Falcon was before I saw the movie. I knew Spock died before I saw Wrath of Khan. I knew what would happen at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince before I read it, because I accidentally saw it mentioned somewhere in the media blitz that accompanied the release of that book. I knew how Casablanca ended before I saw it.
And it hasn't ruined my enjoyment of any of those works.
Now, I don't go around deliberately spoiling things for people. I won't be mentioning anything that really happens in Deathly Hallows until well after the release date. But I figure a year or so after release is plenty of time for anyone who actually cares about spoilers to already know them. I have no compunction whatsoever in revealing significant events in Half-Blood Prince now, for example.
There has to be some reasonable limit beyond which you can talk about events from some fictional work without people yelling at you about spoilers. I recall a friend of mine got abused for revealing a plot point of a Shakespeare story, for Pete's sake.
And I certainly feel no need to avoid spoilers for a certain classic movie released in 1968.
2017-10-18 Rerun commentary: That classic 1968 movie is, of course, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Yeah, sorry, if you haven't seen it, it ends with a guy on a beach cursing at a half-buried Statue of Liberty. ;-)
And I still have pine sap on my foot. What gets pine sap off?! Hand soap doesn't do it...
Spouse went for a crown on one of his teeth, but the dentist didn't like the x-rays and wants a root-canal specialist to look at it because he doesn't want his crown getting holes drilled in it for root canals subsequently.
Kid has no spoons because yesterday burnt them all.
I still need to go down and do my exercise ring on my watch.
I didn't get enough sleep but I did get a nap so that helped some. I'm still so tired.
Got a little editing done for friend.
Here, have a somewhat distressing article.
"No, you may not help me mine dilithium, Flicker. Cats do not make good dilithium miners. Especially one rubbing on the screen."
--My spouse, talking to Flicker, who is 'helping'
( INwatch+Bookwatch )
( Dragons under fold )
Roy first took up acting in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II, and went on to become one of the giants of British stage and screen, decorated by the Queen. He set a record for his one-man play BRIEF LIVES, and performed the key role of Mozart's father in the film of AMADEUS, among a hundred other credits. He was a supremely gifted actor.
He was also my friend. He lived in the United Kingdom and I lived in New Mexico, so we did not see each other often, but whenever we did get together, it was a delight. I will always treasure the memory of the dinner I shared with Roy and his wife Kay (who passed away a few years ago) at his club, the Garrick, a centuries-old haunt of the legends of the British stage. That was a truly amazing evening. The last time I saw Roy was in Los Angeles, however, at the party his daughter threw him on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
Many of the news stories about Roy's death identified him as a GAME OF THRONES cast member. He was that, of course. He played the pyromancer Hallyne in two episodes during our second season... and, as with everything he did, he played him wonderfully.
Truth be told, Roy might have had a much larger role in the series. When we first cast the show, he was our choice to play Grand Maester Pycelle, and I have no doubt that he would have been magnificent in that role. Sadly, health problems forced him to bow out. Julian Glover stepped up and performed admirably in his stead, but sometimes I still wonder at what might have been.
Roy's association with GAME OF THRONES runs far deeper than the television series. He was also the reader of the audiobooks of all five volumes of the series... though calling him a "reader" does not truly reflect his work. Roy performed those books. He gave every character his (or her) own distinctive voice, despite the fact that there were hundreds of them. So many, in fact, that the Guinness Book of World Records recognized him for voicing the most characters in an audibook for his work on A GAME OF THRONES, a record he still holds today (though actually I suspect he broke it himself for his readings of the later books).
I loved what Roy did on the audiobooks. He did not just read my words aloud, he brought them to life, in a way few actors could. And the fans agreed. Roy did the audiobooks for A GAME OF THRONES, A CLASH OF KINGS, and A STORM OF SWORDS, to great acclaim. When it was time to record A FEAST FOR CROWS, however, he was unavailable. Off doing a play in Birmingham, I was told. So my publishers used another reader. But the fans were having none of it. After the audiobook of FEAST was released, Random House received so many complaints that they had no choice but to go back and re-record the book with Roy, and release a second version. So of course when it was time to tape A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, there was never any question as to who would read it.
With Roy gone, I have no idea who will can possibly get to do the audiobooks for THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING. But whoever it is, they will have a hard, hard act to follow.
For all the great work he did on A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, my own memories of Roy Dotrice go back earlier, to the three years we worked together on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST for CBS. Great memories, for me; that was a wonderful show, and a joy to work on. We had an amazing team of writers, and of course a terrific cast, with the likes of Jay Acovone, Linda Hamilton, Jo Anderson, the incredible Ron Perlman... and Roy, of course, as Father. It was an honor and a privilege to write for him.
Those years on B&B meant a lot to Roy as well. Just last month, he posted a farewell messages to all the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans around the world. You can find it on YouTube:
Such a fine actor. Such a sweet man.
Everyone who knew him is sad today.
⌈ Secret Post #3940 ⌋
Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.
( More! )
Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 25 secrets from Secret Submission Post #564.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
For the month of October, I've decided to try drawing the comic digitally, since I planned to be on the road a lot this month (and sort of on the road, at NY Comic Con). There may be a bit of a learning curve, and some panels may end up being tweaked (by which I mean, "obsessively fussed with") after posting. So far, though, the learning curve isn't as severe as the last time I tried drawing the comic digitally. I think that's because of an improvement in the tech, not me.
( click to see the comic )
I find that drawing digitally makes my line a lot looser--not necessarily evident in this comic, since I forced the line into line--so we'll see how that develops.
Today Tor Books is releasing Old Man’s War in a spiffy new “mini”-format hardcover edition: All the benefits of a hardcover book, miniaturized for your convenience! It’s available at your favorite bookstores in the US and Canada, and it’s no coincidence that it’s being released just prior to the holiday season. Stocking stuffer, my friends, and/or a nice little gift for, like, day four of Hanukkah. But you don’t need to wait for the holidays to get it. You can get it today. For yourself! And pick up several copies for friends! Distribute them like Pez! It’s the Covandu version of OMW, if you will, and if you get that joke, thank you for being a fan.
I’m delighted at this new mini hardcover of OMW because, among other things, the original hardcover run of the book, almost thirteen(!) years ago now, is actually pretty small: about 3,700 for the first printing, and about 7,700 overall. OMW really took off in the trade paperback edition a year after the initial release. As a result, the hardcovers have always been hard to find — great news for collectors, to be sure. Not so great for anyone else.
So, dear everyone else: This edition is for you. Enjoy!
Hey, you know how irritated you get when your internet access goes down? Elizabeth Bonesteel gets you. And so does her latest novel, Breach of Containment. She’s here to explain — provided your connection doesn’t suddenly go out…
We live in the woods, and that means, among other things, we have the crappiest internet service in the state*.
(*This almost certainly isn’t true. I’ve heard rumors there are towns in the western part of the state that still rely on dialup. I keep hoping that’s an ugly rumor spread by Verizon to keep us all compliant and grateful.)
People in town rely on a mish-mash of solutions. Ours is a T1 line. It’s slow (1.5 Mb up/down), and when it drops it drops for days. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of seeing Netflix give up the ghost, and then pulling up your web browser to see that progress bar just…stall.
It amazes me how much I’ve come to depend on the net—not just for news and cat videos, but for a sense of connection to the rest of the world. When the line goes down, it’s so easy to imagine there’s nothing out there at all anymore—that the silence will go on forever, and we’ll sit here alone in the woods, never discovering what’s happened to the rest of the world.
Within my lifetime, society has become dependent on instant communication.
Breach Of Containment is set roughly a thousand years in the future, where we’ve colonized a (still pretty damn small) part of the galaxy. Despite the distances, everything is elaborately connected. In addition to a network of government and military communications channels, all monitored and encrypted, there are entirely unregulated data streams over which both reliable and unreliable information fly unfettered. Most of my characters live aboard Galileo, a military starship, and they’re never disconnected from the officers giving orders. Neither are they ever free of consequences when they get creative about interpreting those orders (which happens far more often than it should).
At one point, as I was assembling this book, I thought: what if all that gets cut off? What if I dump them in the soup, and sever their access to intelligence, orders, even news of their families?
Structurally, that idea both simplified and complicated the plot. Breach Of Containment is, in many ways, your traditional are-we-preventing-or-starting-a-war adventure story. Galileo is working in an atmosphere of uncertainty and deceit at this point: some of their orders are legit, some are distractions designed to keep them out of the way of internal government intrigue, and they don’t always know which are which. When the communication channels back to Earth are lost, it suddenly stops mattering which commanding officer is trustworthy and which is a seditious traitor. Losing communications meant my characters didn’t need to waste time figuring out whether or not a bunch of tangential folks we don’t care about are on the right side or not.
But severing communications also let me play with people’s heads, and it’s no secret I love the messy character stuff. I’ve got three principals at this point, and Breach Of Containment begins with all of them stretched thin. Elena, formerly Galileo’s chief of engineering, has been out of the Corps for a year, and is feeling rootless and without purpose. Greg, Galileo’s captain, has been dutifully following orders, but is feeling less and less like his years of service have resulted in making any substantive difference for real people. Jessica, Greg’s now-seasoned second-in-command, sees most clearly the tightrope they’re walking between following potentially erroneous orders and dealing with a massive conspiracy that is almost certainly beyond their ability to stop.
Basically, I made sure everybody was tense and cranky, and then I cut their T1 line.
On top of that, I put them on a timer. There’s an armada headed toward Earth, and the big question is whether they’re intending to help, or to invade the vulnerable planet while nobody can warn them. And the only sources of information my happy crew has got? A retired Admiral who’s a gray-hat at best, a rival government’s starship and her relentlessly cheerful captain, and a nervous emissary who’s delivered a cryptic message that she seems convinced makes perfect sense. (Oh, and a talking box. I always forget the talking box.)
When you have no news and you can’t Google, how do you make your decisions?
Here in the real world, I didn’t have a smartphone until last December. (I’m not a Luddite. I’m just cheap.) Since then, the T1 outages have been far less unnerving. It’s comforting to be able to check Twitter and verify the outage isn’t part of some apocalyptic event. Sometimes I’ll even waste some data on a cat video. But every time, in that few seconds before my Twitter feed comes up, I feel that disorienting sense of being unmoored from the rest of the world. It’s not a great state of mind in which to make important decisions…but it’s not a bad catalyst for a plot.
[howling wind and dog together]
[plus a sprinkling of light rattling chains]
Darkness falls across the land...
The fowl-est stench is in the air...
The FUNK of forty thousand years!
Give or take an eon.
And Grizzly ghouls from EVERY tomb...
Are closing in...to seal your DOOM.
And though you fight to stay alive...
"Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. I'm missin'myarm, and whereismyface?"
Your body starts to SHIVER.
(Or maybe that's Orlando Bloom. Hm? LADIES?)
For no MERE MORTAL can resist...
... David Caruso riding a unicorn under a double rainbow!
(Oh. Or that)
Is that supposed to be steak?
Thanks to Melinda M., Sarah C., Natasha, Nell H., John M., Rebecca J., Carrie, Robin L., Wolfie, and P. Humperdink for saving us from having to find a cake for "y'alls neighborhood."
Every so often while running a game, randomly deny the players some inconsequential piece of information. It has to be utterly trivial, irrelevant to their mission, and completely useless, so it doesn't matter if they don't have access to it. But make a point of pointing out that they don't know it.
Watch them try every trick in the book to learn what this bit of information is. If they get creative enough, you can even let them have it.
Instant player satisfaction, without giving away all the info that you want to keep mysterious for now. Sometimes running a game is very much like being a stage magician.
Pete will always be concerned with the location of a Star Destroyer. Because clearly every monk needs their own Star Destroyer.
"That's probably what I was thinking". This is a great line. Pete really was just pulling the triangulation thing out of thin air, but in swoops Jim to throw enough technobabble at the GM (yes, it's real physics, but to the GM it's likely just technobabble) that he agrees to it. In fact, he even over-agrees.
Was Pete trying to get a second familiar? What senses would this one have? If Pete has speech and hearing, and Baze has sight... well technically speech isn't a sense, and they both have touch, taste, and smell, so... this guy I guess couldn't have anything. He doesn't sound like he'd be overly helpful...
Unless he was a droid of course. A non-speaking droid. A non-speaking droid with no obvious eyes that has to rely on sensors.
This sounds familiar.
We have our two red robes again. They are farmers worried about the black alpha sub-noise. Clearly, they know someone is about to die :-).
But that will be a plot complication for later. Right now, we have a big old woofer. A bass system so powerful you feel it in your bones. All we need is an engineer (call him "Spanners") that is willing to pulse the engines on and off to a beat.
We might then have some music that you can dance to, music that (as the ship is taking off), would be singing something like "To the left, to the left, to the left, to the left..."
Hey, that's it. We need a crossover between Irregular Webcomic's Space theme and Darths & Droids.
(No, pulsing the engines like that won't crash the ship, at least, not unless you name the engineer "Serron". So I guess we can use the name of the engineer, once revealed, to tell us what happens to the ship, right?)
I feel like, given enough raw materials, tools, and time, I could quite possibly build a boat that I might be willing to go out on water in. A submarine? No way. I reckon the people who tested the first submarines were even braver/more foolhardy than the ones who tested the first hot air balloons and wing-flapping flying contraptions.
Tried to do dental things but kid was having too much stress and the dentist was not taking the right tone to help the kid get through it, so... we rescheduled. For January. *sigh* Unless they have a cancellation. Well, we'll see.
I am direly tired of having to park outside. I want my garage back! *sob* But this requires our contractor guy to not have thrown his back/leg out on other stuff. (Like, for instance, getting almost all the siding back on the garage exterior.) I WANT TO NOT HAVE STICKY PINE CONES LANDING ON MY CAR! *sob* I want to be able to get in and out of the car outside of the weather and most of the climate!
I want my garage space back. *cry*
At least my headache went away when I was able to sleep on MY pillow in MY bed.
[AO3-5188] - When trying to download a work as an ePub, users would frequently be served .zip files or a page of gibberish instead. We found the cause for this (caching! it's always caching!) and rewrote part of our download code to address the issue. Downloads should be served more reliably now.
( INwatch+Bookwatch )
( Dragons under fold )