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[links] Link salad from the wells of disappointment where the women kneel to pray

In case you missed it, Mark Bourne’s eulogy: [ | LiveJournal ] — Also, the photo montage displayed at his funeral.

My Sunspin short, “To Raise a Mutiny Betwixt Yourselves”, is reprinted online at BEst SF

Black Steampunk / Negra Vaporpunko — Interesting. (Via [info]goulo.)

Stupid Latin footnote abbreviations

Why humans have computers, and chimps are stuck with sticks

Oceans Acidifying Fastest in 300 Million Years Due to Emissions — Darn that liberal bias in reality!

Will Limbaugh apology quell controversy? — I really don’t understand why this is a controversy. This is much like the recent Pat Buchanan firing. The man has built an entire, incredibly successful career out of being aggressively offensive. This deep nastiness has made him the soul of the Republican party. Who could possibly be surprised now? More on this from an overseas perspective.

Santorum Can’t Run Away from Limbaugh, who is just taking Santorum’s ideas to their logical conclusion — Well, duh. Limbaugh’s hateful diatribes and nasty, fact-free manipulations have made him the monster from the id of conservative America a lot longer than Santorum’s been on the national stage.

Cruelty, Continued — Ta-Nehisi Coates on Limbaugh. [A]rguably the dominant trait of the conservative movement was cruelty.

George Will’s No-Confidence Vote

?otd: Who will serve and who will eat?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (30 minutes of WRPA, 30 minutes on the Going to Extremes nonfiction proposal)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.5 (solid)
Weight: 236.0
Currently reading: 1491 by Charles C. Mann; Permeable Borders by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

[writing] Killing even more darlings

Yesterday I took a day off from Sunspin to let the book steep a bit in my writing subconscious before diving back in. (Though late in the day I did get back to it.) Instead I worked on revisions to my steampunk fairy tale novelette, “You Will Attend Until Beauty Awakens”. A combination of wise first reader feedback and my own confirming judgment have led to me delete an entire scene. Rescued from the cutting room floor, here it is for your perusal.

(Note this is first draft, the raw stuff, and because of the decision to cut it, I haven’t cleaned it up at all.)


[writing|process] A Sunspin darling I killed

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that working through Sunspin in this revision process has been an exercise in killing my darlings. Just for fun, here’s a snippet that got excised yesterday, for being heavy on tangential world-building and getting in the way of the plot. I don’t know if it will ever re-appear, either in this book or in a related piece. And I really do like it.

And the snippet… (more…)

[links] Link salad thinks about meals it wishes it hadn’t eaten

The voting poll for the Endurance caption contest will be open for another day or two

A reviewer talks about swords and sorcery in sub-Sahara Africa — Holds up Mainspring as a negative example of 19th century attitudes. Except Mainspring is in large part about 19th century attitudes, so from my perspective, it’s an odd critique. And though it’s not germane to either reading or critiquing the book, I did in fact spend some years of my life living in sub-Saharan Africa. As always, the story belongs to the reader.

A reader responds to Mainspring — They liked it, a lot.

Lessons From the Gutenberg Bible for Publishers Going DigitalGutenberg’s reward for the invention of the printing press was financial ruin, but others figured out a unique way to keep the printing business afloat.

HG Wells or Enrique Gaspar: Whose time machine was first?

A Start-Up’s Camera Lets You Take Shots First and Focus Later — Interesting. More from Tech Review. (Via David Goldman.)

St. Jude Postdoc Faked ImagesA former postdoctoral researcher at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fudged images published in two papers, one of which has since been retracted. Faking cancer research results… I have no words.

As arctic ice shrinks, so does a denier claim — You know, reality wouldn’t have a liberal bias in the first place if conservatives didn’t insist on ideological counterfactuals over actual data.

Despite horses and buggies, Amish aren’t necessarily ‘low-tech’

Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality? — Bigotry, pure and simple. If this was about the written word of God, the Christianists would be campaigning just as vigorously to ban shrimp, mixed fabrics and crop rotation. (Via @willshetterly.)

Quench Not the Spirit — Slacktivist Fred Clark on the doctrine of Hell. This is inside baseball for a part of the culture that isn’t my game, but I still find it pretty interesting.

Christian Faith Requires Accepting Evolution — I have no objection to people denying evolution if that’s their interpretation of their faith. What I have enormous objection to is people projecting the deliberate irrationalities and counterfactuals of their faith onto the political and social landscape, as if a personal opinion could substitute for reality.

Surprise! Bachmann Supports Creationism in Schools — Apparently she thinks this is a scientific issue of reasonable doubt. Repeat after me: Just because you believe it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Michele Bachmann’s Holy WarThe Tea Party contender may seem like a goofball, but be warned: Her presidential campaign is no laughing matter Yes, Virginia, the GOP’s deliberate fostering of the crazy in their base to drive votes does have consequences.

“Gooble, gooble, one of us!” — Digby on conservative pacifism.

Journalists Reportedly Outnumber Voters At Huntsman’s GOP Campaign Events — Your Liberal Media, fluffing Republicans every day.

?otD: Ever eaten live eel soup?

Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (Kalimpura revisions, plus a little WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (solid)
Weight: 230.2
Currently (re)reading: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

[links] Link salad considers its options

So Many Names for the Same Things — Paul Jessup is interesting about genre labels.

Technology Review Goes From Fact to (Science) Fiction — By gummies, I wish I was a cool enough kid to have been invited to that party.

The Bilingual AdvantageA cognitive neuroscientist, Ellen Bialystok has spent almost 40 years learning about how bilingualism sharpens the mind. Her good news: Among other benefits, the regular use of two languages appears to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it’s good enough for me.

Blanks for the MemoriesWhat’s Your Earliest Childhood Recollection? Scientists Delve Into Brain Circuitry for Answers

Simulating Moons Around Terrestrial Planets

Stunning pic of Endeavour‘s last spacedock

Woman selling ‘suicide kits’ reignites right-to-die debate

Damon Fowler and the Abuse of Church/State Plaintiffs — Ah, yes, Christianists. Nothing like a good round of abuse and assault to prove how much you love the word of God.

PatternsSlacktivist on religious conservatives, and Obama. What could possibly be the problem here? More on this from Dispatches From the Culture Wars. Couldn’t possibly be racial bigotry, absolutely not. No sir, not in conservative America.

Non Sequitur on how Republican policy positions are achieved

Public Good: What the Upper Big Branch mine disaster says about the importance of government.Keep this episode firmly in mind whenever you hear conservatives’ ritual denunciation of “burdensome, job-killing regulations.” Life-saving would be more like it. The free market really isn’t a panacea.

DNC Chair Throws Truth to ‘Wolves’ — Come on, Democrats. Leave the lies where they belong. You make it mighty hard to be principled in opposition to the endless stream of blatant counterfactuals from the Right.

Carney invokes Reagan in debt fightWith House Republicans getting ready for their symbolic vote on the debt ceiling just down the road, White House press secretary Jay Carney had some helpful, historical notes to ease them along. “I would point them also to President Ronald Reagan, who wrote then-Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker in 1983, he said that, ‘The full consequences of a default, even the serious prospect of default, by the United States, are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate.'” Rush Limbaugh to the Press Room, stat! Saint Reagan is being misquoted! They’re using his actual words instead of what he really meant!

?otD: Monads or modalities?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (revised non-fiction project, WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.5 hours plus napping (solid)
Weight: 229.8
Currently (re)reading: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

[links] Link salad goes to Seattle

The Necessity of Blindness — Urban fantasy author J.A. Pitts on how writers see themselves and their drafting process.

Goodnight Dune — (Snurched from [info]james_nicoll.)

Come On, I Thought I Knew That!Font size may not aid in learning, but its style can. Huh?

Tsunami Warnings, Written in StoneThe stone tablet has stood on this forested hillside since before they were born, but the villagers have faithfully obeyed the stark warning carved on its weathered face: “Do not build your homes below this point!” This is downright post-apocalyptic. Some very cool culture stuff.

Only 26 per cent of Iowa Republicans believe Obama was born in U.S. — Or, put more clearly, 74% of Iowa Republicans are functionally insane tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists. But then, that’s pretty much the modern GOP in a nutshell.

Ignoring ‘The American People’ — The GOP insists public opinion is critical (on healthcare reform), except when they don’t agree with it (on Medicare). Hypocrisy? Business as usual? Both! Remember kids, character counts. Some conservative said that once.

?otD: Rainier or Hood?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (cancer follies)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 246.0
Currently reading: Nifft the Lean by Michael Shea

[links] Link salad wonders about ornithopters

My flash piece “In the Green Jungles of Envy” is live at 10Flash Quarterly — Go check it out.

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities — A curious book, in which I have a curious piece of fiction, along with many literary and artistic luminaries.

Best Fantasy Magazine Story of 2010 — A poll, in which calendula_witch and I have a story for consideration.

From Stars to Steam — In which I am one of several guest bloggers at Borders Babel Clash, along with Tim Akers, Felix Gilman and Mark Hodder.

Hazards of early success — cathshaffer on the perils of breaking out as an author.

Photos of Japanese aircraft captured at the end of WW II — These are fascinating. (Via x planes.)

The Mysterious “Anonymous” Behind Egypt’s RevoltWho is El Shaheed, the person who has taken a dead man’s name to call for change?

Model predicts ‘religiosity gene’ will dominate society — Hmm. Statements like this always make me very suspicious. For one thing, if this were true, why hasn’t the effect already been overwhelming? Religion isn’t exactly a modern phenomenon.

Bill O’Reilly: tidal bore — Phil Plait discusses willful ignorance. I seriously and strongly feel that everyone has the right to believe what they want, and to find comfort in it if they need it. But you can’t let that belief narrow your view of the Universe to where it’s simply easier to avoid what you don’t understand. This is precisely the sort of pathetically flawed thinking that American society’s practice of allowing conservatives to sabotage education leads to.

?otD: Are flying wings a canard?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (2,500 new words on Sunspin book one, minor WRPA.)
Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 252.0
Currently reading: One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde

[fiction] “Elf Shit” – Christmas fiction for your reading pleasure

In the spirit of the season, I bring you fictive tidings of, well, if not comfort and joy, at least Santa and his elves.

Elf Shit
by Jay Lake


“I love the smell of elf shit in the morning!”

Big Red’s voice roared like an ice sheet giving way. The fat man was unnaturally cheerful. But then, damned near everything about him was unnatural. I’d known him since our boarding school days, when he’d been a fat boy of strange appetites and stranger passions. None of us from the old days were surprised at the man he had become.

The elves keened in their cages, enclosures too small for them to stand upright or turn around. Their broken voices wailed in a minor key harmonic that in another time and place might have heralded the rising of an omen-drenched comet, or the bloody harvest moon towering over the Wild Hunt. Their elegant, predatory beauty had been whittled away under Big Red’s none-too-gentle care until they had become cankered horrors with only a stray goose feather or amethyst to recall the beauty they had once been part of Under the Hill.

“It’ll never work,” I told him. PR was my job in this whole deal, making sure the folks at home bought into the Santa trip.


[writing] Back in short fiction land

1,700 words on “The Decaying Mansions of Memory”, a novelette for a Sekrit Projekt. Written in a florid style which is entertaining me greatly. We shall see what the editor thinks… I may have to write some splatterpunk or nurse romance or something to clear my palate once I’m done with this. Moving a tad slower than usual through this draft, but that’s ok. Words is words.