Jay Lake: Writer

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[links] Link salad trudges back to the medical trenches

The Nine Trillion Names of Jay Lake — My friend [info]ericjamesstone gives me a gift (again).

Best of 2013: Million-Year Data Storage Disk Unveiled

OK, Glass, Find a Killer AppDevelopers hope apps that improve upon their smartphone versions will help Google’s head-worn computer catch on.

So Valuable, It Could Almost Be Real — The price of fakes.

Scientists tell the truth… — A little honesty goes a long way. Hahaha.

Spared Winter Freeze, Florida’s Mangroves Are Marching North — Climate change? What climate change?

Nailing down climate uncertainty hints at greater future warmingHalf of the differences in climate models come down to trouble with clouds. Ah, science, a giant self-correcting mechanism. Unlike ideology, which is always correct regardless of the evidence.

Apple denies any knowledge of NSA hacking its iPhones

Egyptian Military Junta Jumps the Shark, Interrogates Islamist Muppet — This is as weird as the Bert thing back in 2002 or so.

2013, An Extraordinary Year for Marriage Equality — And the rising tide of bigotry begins to recede. Remember when the anti-gay bigots used to brag about how they had never lost a vote on the subject, as evidence of the rightness of their position? Suddenly winning popular votes is a lot less important to them. The much vaunted intellectual consistency of conservative America on display once more.

?otD: Got prognosis?


1/2/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: n/a (traveling, no scale)
Number of FEMA troops on my block faking evidence for evolution: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[writing] Juvenilia

More or less literally juvenilia, in this case. In the various excavations of my basement, some very old manuscripts have turned up. I don’t have time to re-key them, but I have scanned a few things to .pdf for your delectation. Some of the scans are a little hard to read, but this is a problem with the source material more than with the scanning process.

Untitled high school poetry — Overwrought and anguished with the desperate importance that informed the world for me in my teen years. Probably 1980.

Untitled SF short — Something from about 1980 that is inexplicable to me now.

Untitled SF short — Something from about 1981 that is also inexplicable to me now.

Hempkill” — This is the first real short I have any recollection of writing. It was a class assignment my senior year in high school, dated June, 1982.

Canyon Dam Narrative — Apparently I wanted to be a blogger even in 1983. A narrative of my near-drowning in a boating accident.

Enjoy!

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[fiction] “All Our Heroes Are Bastards”

This is an online reprint of a story of mine which appeared ten years ago in The Third Alternative. I’ve been listening lately to the song which inspired it, Camper Van Beethoven’s “Jack Ruby”.

All Our Heroes Are Bastards

by Jay Lake

My cousin Victor and I stood in the night’s hot rain, wondering if my sister would come back from the dead. The paramedics had departed, leaving nothing behind of Marisol but a spreading stain on the pavement and the tangy reek of blood. The cops holstered their guns and followed the ambulance; it was more valuable than my sister had been. We watched them go, red-and-blue party lights flickering like spastic stars among east Austin’s old limestone buildings, making colored jewels of the rain.

“Drybacks,” I said. The word itself tasted like dust.

Four of them had killed her, a Dryback Roll. It was one way they recruited. The cops had shrugged it off, written it up as an accidental death — Marisol hadn’t been important enough to go rattle cages over, and Drybacks were big stuff these days. I spat, liquid from my mouth as proof-of-life. “Fucking muertados.”

Caballo,” Victor said, laying a hand on my arm. “Show a little respect. Marisol is one of them now. Your sister, man.”

When we’d been little kids, I was Horse and Victor was Bull — together we’d throw off the vaqueros and run free in the crisp-grassed, prairied hills east of town. Then the Drybacks crossed over, rising from their graves, and we grew up — pronto.

I sighed. “Toro, they killed her. And if she comes back, she’ll be one of them. She’s not my sister no more.”

He shifted, a knife fighter waiting for the right time to pop the blade. “You got that look, man, like you’re going to do something.”

“What’s to do? We can’t kill the dead.” I stared at Marisol’s blood until the hot rain washed the reek away.

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[links] Link salad is lost in time like tears in the rain

Asimov’s for April/May 2013 (3 of 3) — In which my novella “The Stars Do Not Lie” is held up as an example of bad fiction. (Honor is restored, however.) Proving once again that the story truly does belong to the reader.

The Telegraph on Sex — Cora Buhlert with a roundup on British commentary on literary sex scenes. Mmm, literature.

A Photo Service That Understands the Contents of Your Images Everpix organizes photos after analyzing them with software that can detect things such as animals, outdoor scenes, and people. Is this really a good idea?

SETI: The Artificial Transit Scenario

Massive flood scarred the surface of Mars less than 500 million years agoWater carved channels at least 70 meters deep and 40 kilometers wide. Mmm, Missoula Flood on Mars.

Sinkhole Science: A PrimerAn expert weighs in on causes—and which areas are most vulnerable.

2 Civil War sailors from the Monitor to be buried at Arlington

The Law of the TongueHumans have trouble honoring treaties with each other, what are the chances they’d respect a contract signed with another species? Pretty good … at least in one case. (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

NOTE: Do Not Kill Yeti Except in Self-Defense

Earth at its warmest since last ice age – and temperatures are still rising — More of those liberal “facts” and “data”, which of course being part of reality, good conservatives can safely ignore.

Antiscience “Academic Freedom” Bill Dies in KansasI have no doubt these same state governments will continue to try to pass bills that curb our children from learning and blind them to the real world. And while they do so, that very same world is still warming up. And species are still evolving. And the Universe adds another few years to its already considerable 13.73 billion year age. That’s the way things are. Ah, conservatives. Stunting the minds of children everywhere in America.

What China’s hackers get wrong about WashingtonNo one can carry out complicated plans. All parties and groups are fractious and bumbling. But everyone always thinks everyone else is efficiently and ruthlessly implementing long-term schemes. Um, maybe. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

What happened to Orson Scott Card?Now there’s a furor from the right, that this is a left wing witch hunt against people who disagree with their agenda, to economically punish those who don’t toe some political line. I disagree quite strongly. This is not some freedom of speech thing, not some despicable and childish refusal to engage with those who disagree politically. I would defend to the death Card’s right to speak his beliefs, but the hell if I have to stock it on my shelves if I’m the owner of a comic book store. And the hell if I have to draw the panels into which those words are written if I’m an artist. Card has the right to speak, but so do all these other people. To my view, Card’s depth of bigotry crosses the line from the usual conservative irrationality into something much akin to mental illness. He would literally condemn people I love to death: this isn’t reasonable disagreement over an objectively debatable point, this is vile poison that gains undue traction and attention due to Card’s prominence. I feel very, very sorry for the misery Card lives with inside his own head that makes him think this way.

Honey, I shrunk the bigotsA new study released today, and summarized by the Washington Post, shows that opposition gay marriage is shrinking, and now generally resides in only three pockets of Americans: white evangelicals; old people; and uneducated whites. The rest are basically on our side. It’s nice to be on the right side of both morality and history. Maybe someday the GOP will catch up.

Medicaid program helped Will Weatherford’s family after all, he admitsFlorida House Speaker Will Weatherford reversed course on Wednesday and said that health care provided for his brother was covered under Florida’s Medically Needy program, which is financed by Medicaid. So ends a mystery that developed a day earlier when Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, voiced opposition to expanding Medicaid in his opening day speech of the 2013 legislative session. I am reminded of Craig T. Nelson’s angry, moronic remark that “I’ve been on food stamps and welfare, did anybody help me out? No.” Ah, once again we bathe in the light of the justly famed intellectual consistency of conservatives.

New York NRA Official Barred From Having Guns After Altercation With Wife — Yep. Guns definitely make us all safer, especially with the NRA safeguarding our right to threaten our spouses in the privacy of our own homes.

QotD?: Can you ever really go home?


3/8/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.75 hours (a little WRPA, 1,000 words of first draft on a requested short)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (fitful, including two hours on the plane)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike, yay hotel gym!)
Weight: 241.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block escorting ACORN thugs to steal the votes of “Real Americans”: 0
Currently reading: Guards, Guards! by Terry Pratchett

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[art] Found photos of the Wall, from Mainspring

Reader (and musician) Luke Atencio yesterday sent me these glorious found photos of the Wall, from my Mainspring cycle.

The Wall 1

The Wall 2B

The Wall 3

It’s wonderful to see that intrepid readers have been able to send back images from my world. This might be one of the coolest things anyone has ever sent me. Thank you, Luke.


Images © 2013 Luke Atencio, all rights reserved, reproduced with permission.

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[links] Link salad’s back and you’re gonna be sorry

“The Stars Do Not Lie” — My Nebula-nominated novella is now online at the Asimov’s Web site.

Fantasy Fans: Where’s Your Outrage? — N.K. Jemisin on the Oscars and Quvenzhané Wallis.

Fifty Shades of BrainsSex. Zombies. Really annoying present tense narration. (Via a friend who almost certainly wishes to remain anonymous.)

Cataloging the Borg Complex — A rhetorical device. (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Lisa fears zombiesWhat happens when good housemates go bad… Heh.

Multigene cancer tests giving doctors new hope — Not to mention patients. (Thanks to David S.)

For Sale: Famed Nobel Medal for Discovery of DNA Structure

Finding Portland — A very nice video montage of Portland. (Via Lisa Costello.)

The Town that spent 25 Years Underwater — (Snurched from .)

WowEvidence exists that a large natural nuclear reactor formed and operated on Mars in the northern Mare Acidalium region of Mars. However, unlike its terrestrial analogs this natural nuclear reactor was apparently much larger, bred 233U off of thorium, and apparently underwent explosive disassembly, ejecting large amounts of radioactive material over Mars’ surface.

Earthquakes’ booms big enough to be detected from orbitSatellites listened to the 2011 Japan quake and located fault beneath Spokane.

Why I’m quitting Facebook — Hmmm.

Why Won’t Yahoo! Let Employees Work From Home?“What’s really troubling about this is that a technology company can’t figure out how to collaborate remotely,” says Kate Lister, president of the Telework Research Center.

Small rise in global temperatures could thaw permafrostStalagmites and stalactites reveal a 500,000-year history of Siberian permafrost Amazing, how liberals have managed to get half a million years of geology to support their climate change hoax.

“The Myth of Persecution”: Early Christians weren’t persecuted — (Thanks to Bellatrix.)

A Short Political Comment, In Re the US 2nd Amendment — Yes. This, too.

Comedian Beppe Grillo turns blog into Italy’s third-largest political movement — Huh. We need more of this kind of principled activism, methinks.

4 Bogus Right-Wing Theories About Poverty, and the Real Reason Americans Can’t Make Ends Meet

I won’t be Rushed — A conservative defends her criticisms of Rush Limbaugh. For one, part of the point I was trying to make was that the impulse to defend anything and everything that a party heavyweight says — to the death — has the deleterious effect of making conservatives seem irrational and herd-like.

If spending is cut, GOP will get the blame — Well, duh. The Republicans are the ones who keep gaming the budget and spending process, all while never producing an actual, detailed alternative budget. The amazing thing is that Your Liberal Media has for once done enough reporting for the accountability to be clear to the public.

Deluded Republican ReformersConservative pundits’ ideas about fixing the GOP are totally meaningless, says Michael Tomasky, until they deal with the problem of their party’s rage-driven fanaticism. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

QotD?: Hey la, who’s back again?


2/26/2013
Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (Research and correspondence for the current non-fiction project.)
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 235.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block converting golf course to concentration campsi: 0
Currently reading: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

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[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, miscellaneous edition

On being exhausted, albeit for good reasons

As previously mentioned, Friday afternoon I drove [info]the_child to Seattle. As a result of that, I exhausted myself and slept long and deeply Friday night. A familiar sleep, one I normally associate with healing. Yesterday Mrs. [info]bravado111 and I cooked through much of the midday, which was followed by an open house than ran about seven hours. A number of my Seattle-area friends dropped by. It was great good fun, and I loved seeing a bunch of people, but a lot of things hurt well before the end of the evening. Again I slept long and deeply last night. Again, a healing sleep. Today around lunch time I need to drive home to Portland. Sense a developing theme here?

A bit more on fiction from Original Destiny, Manifest Sin

A couple of days ago, I posted a bibliography of published short fiction from my novel-in-progress Original Destiny, Manifest Sinjlake.com | LiveJournal ]. Of course my Swiss cheese post-chemo brain forgot something. “Tom Edison & His Telegraphic Harpoon” was published in Weird Tales #345, June/July 2007. There may be another besides that, but I am having trouble sorting it out. Stoopid chemo brain.

The billing problem with my hospital

Remember my ten phone calls to talk to seventeen different people about my insurance company not being recognizing my oncologist as in-network? [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] As of this past Thursday, I have now spoken to twenty-one different people, still without resolution. Friday’s two amazing discoveries were [a] my health insurance carrier has now provided two, completely contradictory explanations for why they don’t recognize my doctor is in network; and [b] my hospital’s billing department has a “no transfer” policy, which means when you call back to follow up on a complex problem, you have to explain everything from the beginning to whomever answers the phone rather than being able to talk to the person who you were previously working with.

[a] is deeply annoying because it makes the problem very hard to solve when the problem definition keeps changing.

[b] I complained about to the hospital’s patient advocate office. It’s a deeply stupid policy. I was promised a callback from either the patient advocate’s office or from the billing department, neither of which I have yet received. It occurs to me that the way around a “no transfer” policy is to call the office about once a minute until the person I want to talk to happens to pick up the phone, but this plan has its disadvantages in that the people I need to help me will not be kindly disposed to me ringing their phones off the hook. This is incidentally the first time in three decades of calling various customer service departments that I’ve ever run into this policy. Something I informed the patient advocate’s office of in detailed terms. I’m sure it makes sense to some manager somewhere, but from a patient service point of view, this policy is deeply stupid.

This has gone beyond ridiculous. If the next round of phone calls doesn’t produce resolution, I am going to open complaints with both the Oregon Insurance Division, that regulates insurance companies in the state, and the Joint Commission that manages hospital accreditation in Oregon.

Getting political

A number of people have suggested that I should try to reframe my experiences for a political audience, both in terms of attempting to place op-eds in one or more major national newspapers, and in terms of writing to senators and congressional representatives. While healthcare isn’t really my core political hot button, it’s certainly the life I’m living now. And the absurdities of the system are profound in their manifest illogic and cruelty. Put simply, we optimize to prevent fraud and protect profits, and in the process punish patients for being ill. So I’m going to be working on that. If you have experience with healthcare activism, or contacts with major national media and political figures, please contact me with suggestions or experiences that might be helpful.

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[fiction] Short stories from Original Destiny, Manifest Sin

A couple of folks asked about details on the short fiction which has been published from the continuity of Original Destiny, Manifest Sin, the Old West fantasy/alternate history novel I plan to resume writing in mid-April. Here’s what has been published:

  • “Jefferson’s West” — Boondocks Fantasy, ed. Jean Rabe — Not currently available online, but a pretty thorough review can be found here.
  • “The Dying Dream of Water” — Flytrap #3 — Reprinted on my blog here.
  • “The Hangman Isn’t Hanging” — Lone Star Stories issue 9 — Originally appearing online here.

More to come, sooner or later.

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[fiction] I have no idea where this came from

Somewhere in the wee hours of last night, I woke up to a mental postcard sent from my now long-buried writing mind. Fred handed me a story stub, which I can yet recall this morning. As I am unlikely to ever write this, I offer to you the first 3%-5% of a new Jay Lake story. Feel free to make it your own, or ignore it as you see fit.

Meanwhile, it was kind of nice to hear from Fred.

“In the Dungeons of the Kings”

This is the First of the Laws: that the king shall always be a foreigner. For if the king were anointed from one of the great houses of this City, then all others would be in an ineluctable competition for ascendancy, and so the pleasing balance of forces which maintains our City would be disrupted.

This is the Second of the Laws: that the king shall be a young man, never married. For if the king were of years and experience, he might seek to govern the City of his own theories of rulership, rather than heeding the wise counsel that has sustained the City down all the ages of its existence.

This is the Third of the Laws: that the king shall be made a sacrifice at need should the displeasure of the gods be called down upon the City. In this, being a foreigner, no great house of this City should be called upon unduly to surrender its heir and treasure, but rather the burdens shared more widely as is just.

Meanwhile, the Dungeons of the Kings were filled young, foreign men. Most of whom were quite confused about the quality of the provisions served to them daily.

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[fiction] Story: Hempkill

This is from my senior year in high school, spring of 1982 to be specific. It’s the first short story I can remember writing. (Prior to that point, I was all about the poetry.) This was a class assignment, to write in the style of Charles Brockden Brown’s WielandPowells | BN ]. I believe I was also influenced by Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Silver BranchPowells | BN ].

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