Friday, October 16, 2020

Quote of the Week: Never Thought You'd Be Alone This Far Down the Line

And, to her surprise, she could now see that their photograph collection was really pretty good. She stopped before her favorite, a picture of a sand castle competition that must have been held at the turn of the last century. There were very few children visible -- one little girl in the foreground, wearing a knee-length dress and a sun hat that might have been made out of newspaper -- and the competition seemed to have drawn a crowd of thousands. (Would Ros tell her that this, too, was the best day in some poor coal miner's life, the day he had a front-row view of the Gooleness sand castle competition in 1908?) But Annie's eye was always drawn to a woman over on the right, kneeling on the ground, working on a church steeple, in what looked like a full-length overcoat and a peasant sun hat that made her seem as sad and as destitute as an old peasant in the Vietnam war. You're dead now, Annie always thought when she saw her. Do you wish you hadn't wasted your time doing that? Do you wish you'd thought, "Fuck the lot of them," and taken your coat off so you could have felt the sun on your back? We're here for such a short amount of time. Why do we spend any of it building sand castles? She would waste the next two hours, because she had to, and the she would never waste another second of however much time she had left to her. Unless somehow she ended up living with Duncan again, or doing this job for the rest of her working life, or watching EastEnders on a wet Sunday, or reading anything that wasn't King Lear, or painting her toenails, or taking more than a minute to choose something from a restaurant menu, or.... It was hopeless, life, really. It was set up all wrong.
 - Nick Hornby, Juliet, Naked, pp.147-148

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Reading into the Past: 1999

This is something I used to do, back in the early days of the blog. I thought it was fun, and a silly way to look at a random grouping of books -- something like taking a picture of a shelf and writing about the books there.

It fell out of the rotation pretty quickly, particularly as I started writing more seriously about the new books I was reading, but it's been in the back of my head as something I should try again. So here I am.

I'm still not reading at a volume that regularly gives me books to write about -- I will probably finish a novel today (Sunday, October 11), but I'd like to write a blog post before that. And I didn't write anything yesterday; if you want to do something regularly, you need to make mechanisms to keep you doing that, so it becomes a habit.

For all those reasons, I'm looking to bring Reading into the Past back, and do it once a week. I'll be using a random number generator to pick a year between December of 1990 (when I started keeping up a reading notebook, six months out of college and freshly laid off from an office that moved itself bodily to Detroit) to 2010 (roughly when I started writing about everything I read, and giving me a 20-year stretch).

This week, it's 1999, a princely year. Here's what I was reading in the days leading up to October 14, 1999:

Peter Cannon, Forever Azathoth and Other Horrors (unbound signatures, 10/7)

Cannon wrote Scream for Jeeves, a very funny Lovecraft/Wodehouse mashup, a few years before this, and I did it in the SFBC along with Cannon's somewhat straighter Pulptime (also Lovecraftian) in an omnibus called The Lovecraft Chronicles. Forever Azathoth was a new collection of humorous takes on Lovecraftian themes, and, as I recall, was also quite good -- not as sublime as Scream for Jeeves, but that was a short tightrope act to begin with. I clearly was reading this for work, but I know I didn't buy it for work, so my guess is, twenty years later, that the huddled masses of SFBC members did not buy Lovecraft Papers in the quantities they were supposed to. I'm pretty sure I don't have a copy of Forever Azathoth anymore: it went beneath the waves in 2011.

A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young (10/8)

See below.

A.A. Milne, Now We Are Six (10/9)

At this point, I had one son, who was just eighteen months old. I wasn't actually reading anything much to him yet -- toddlers are not the most engaged audience -- but I was clearly preparing for that. I think of myself as not super-sentimental, but I do love the four little Milne books: these two books of poetry (well, doggerel, mostly; you love these only if you encountered them first when you were too young to know better) and then the two, much better, books of Winnie-the-Pooh stories. These were lying around my sons' rooms during their childhoods, so I've read bits and pieces of both of them a lot more than most things. I imagine I was reading them at this point since I was running a Book-A-Day streak, and short books of verse for children is an easy win there.

Deborah Christian, The Truthsayer's Apprentice (bound galleys, 10/10)

No unaided memory of this at all, I'm sorry to say. I'll Google and then type some more...Oh, this is sad. Christian wrote a few SFF novels in the mid-90s, starting with Mainline, and this book was supposed to launch her big fantasy series. But there was no second book -- though it does look like she came back with a new novel last year, Splintegrate (though the SFE claims that was originally published in 1997, so ???). Anyway, this was some manner of secondary-world fantasy, probably somewhat epic. If I still had my reader's reports, I'd tell you more -- but I lost all of them in the 2011 flood as well.

Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That (10/11)

The memoirs, mostly of The Great War, from the author of I, Claudius (and a bunch of other stuff that is mostly not read today). As I recall, there were warring editions around that time -- perhaps a newer critical or corrected edition had just come out, or differences between the US and UK editions were still ranging seventy years later? I remember reading one version of it and then seeing a clearly different version in a bookstore a year or so later, and having that moment of wondering if I wanted to read it again. That aside, I understand that this is still one of the great WWI memoirs.

(After poking about: there's a 1929 edition and a 1957 edition. In the eternal way of the world, older Graves toned down some of his commentary about specific people in the 1957 edition, perhaps because they were then rich and/or influential. I think the one I read, sadly, was the 1957 -- so I may need to revisit this eventually.)

Rudy Rucker, Saucer Wisdom (10/12)

I have trouble remembering which Rudy Rucker novel is which: he's a writer with a distinctive style and set of concerns, so, except for obvious things like The Hollow Earth (a Poe sequel, more or less), all of Rucker's novels are about semi-bohemian people in the near future engaging in odd adventures with mathematically unlikely creatures and realms, often with mildly dystopian backgrounds which are only rarely the focus of the books. I'm sure this was one of them; it was new at the time. I suspect from the fact that I read it as a finished book that it was not being considered for the SFBC, which is slightly sad: Rucker is a zany, unique, wonderful writer whose work I've loved for thirtyish years but he's never been as popular as I think he should be. (Rucker is, to be really reductive, the bastard stepchild of John Sladek and Robert Sheckley on one side and Edwin Abbott and Lewis Carroll on the other.)

This reminds me I have two Rucker novels on my shelf that I could read -- they might come up in the rotation.

Jim Paul, Medieval in LA (10/13)

No memory at all, so off to Google to figure out what this was: Ah! Paul is the author of Catapult, a wonderful mid-90s book about building a siege weapon with a buddy and then testing it. This was his follow-up, a narrative non-fiction book organized around a weekend trip to LA and mostly consisting of digressions about the differences between the medieval world-view and the one he saw in the world in 1997. I still don't remember it, but I have a vague Catapult-shaped memory that may incorporate things that were actually in this book.

Italo Calvino, t zero (10/14)

If there were any questions that I tended to skew to the literary side of SFF, I trust this will prove it. I haven't read as much Calvino as sometimes I think I'd like to, but I've enjoyed his game-like story sequences, particularly the ones that are closest to "science fiction." This is one of those collections.

I'm also surprised to see that Calvino had been dead for a while when I read this: he died in 1985, at only 61. I forget that his major works were from the '60s and '70s; maybe because that was my own childhood, so that era is baseline "normal" to me in a way, and everything else since then is lived history.

That's what I read this week, twenty-one years ago. The younger Andy Wheeler got through a lot more books than the 2020 version does: he had a long commute, eyes still able to focus on a page for hours at a time, and the habit of sitting down, every day off, in a chair and powering through five hundred pages of manuscript. I miss being that guy, for (some of) those reasons and several more.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby

I am quite possibly the last person in the world to read Nick Hornby's 2009 novel in bound galley [1] form. My copy of Juliet, Naked doesn't have a publisher letter stuck in it, so my guess is that I picked it up at BEA at the Javitz center back in May of 2009 -- it's not a book I would in any reasonable world be sent for review, but definitely one that would have large stacks at BEA for the massed hordes to make off with.

Juliet, Naked was published in September of 2009. I didn't read it then. A paperback edition came out about a year later, but I already had this sort-of paperback and didn't read it then, either. Hornby's next novel, Funny Girl, came out in 2014. I bought that in hardcover and still haven't read it, either. And I see that he's had new novels last year and this that I didn't even know about.

But, as I'm fond of saying these days, the earliest you can do anything is today, and I did now read Juliet, Naked. (In a format that definitely has more typos and formatting errors than the standard, and may also be missing other last-minute edits to the final book.)

Like Hornby's other books, it's about people's messy lives, primarily their romantic entanglements, without being anything like a romance or a break-up book, either. Hornby characters are all at least borderline obsessives, when they have something to be obsessed about, and they're deeply real people in the way they put their heads down to get on with their lives and then blinkingly realize a decade or so has passed with seemingly nothing to show for it.

(His people are all also typically white, hetero and middle-class, which may be one reason why I've been drawn to his work: we read the books that mirror us. Not saying this is a great thing, but signposting it, particularly for those of you looking for different mirrors.)

Juliet, Naked is the story of a love triangle. Annie, the curator of a small seaside museum in the dull town of Gooleness (somewhere in the North of England), has been living with Duncan for fifteen years, and loves him, she supposes, basically, as one does.

Duncan teaches at some kind of institution in Gooleness: probably whatever the British equivalent of a community college is, since it seems to be post-secondary. The great passion of his life is for the music of Tucker Crowe, an American singer-songwriter who had five albums over the course of a decade but then dropped out of public life suddenly during the tour for his greatest album, Juliet, in 1986.

Duncan is one of the leading lights of a website devoted to Tucker, the kind of thing that has probably migrated to Facebook these days. Duncan, and perhaps a hundred others (all men, primarily in their thirties and forties now, twenty years after Juliet), obsessively talk about those five albums, about various bootlegged concerts and the difference in live versions of songs, about rumors of what Tucker has been doing since then, and similar things. Tucker is generally assumed, Salinger-like, to have been creating stuff since then, which his fans are dying to see and critique.

And then the first new record by Tucker in twenty years is announced: Juliet, Naked, a collection of Tucker's original solo demos. Duncan gets an early copy, and writes the first review of it anywhere: he loves it and thinks this is Tucker's real masterwork.

Annie is not a Tucker fan at Duncan's level: who is? (No woman, for one thing.) But she has been listening to Juliet for ages, obviously, and she has surprisingly strong opinions on Naked. So, after some mildly contentious conversations with Duncan, she writes up what she thinks (TL; DR: sketches are inferior to the final product) and posts it to the same website.

And then, a day or so later, she gets an email from Tucker, agreeing with her.

Tucker has been living with various women for the past couple of decades -- he seems to settle in with one, have a child or twins, and then let the relationship sour over the course of four or five years until she kicks him out. He refers to these as marriages, but there seems very little actual legal structure to any of these relationships. His current marriage, to Cat, is circling the drain, though it did produce a son, Jackson, now six years old -- and Tucker's self-worth is pretty inextricably bound up with being Jackson's dad, since he has nothing else.

He hasn't been secretly writing and recording songs. He hasn't been secretly doing anything. As far as I can tell, he hasn't even worked a day at any kind of job, creative or otherwise, since he famously walked out of a club in Minneapolis on that Juliet tour. He has been existing, and creating offspring -- he now has five, from four different mothers -- but that seems to be it. (This is perhaps the least likely aspect of the novel; it's difficult to picture an American man spending more than two decades doing absolutely nothing.) Well, he did get sober at some point during that stretch, which is not nothing.

Annie falls in love with Tucker's emails, before too long. Well, he's charming: that's his fatal flaw.

Annie's relationship with Duncan frays and severs. So does Tucker's with Cat. Tucker's relationships with his older children and various exes become more important, with that break and other shifts -- they all stay in touch, more or less, sharing the parental responsibilities he's been dodging for years.

Eventually, Tucker and Jackson end up in England, for a good-enough reason. In Gooleness, because Annie came to see Tucker, and that gave Tucker one more chance to run away from something.

And, at that point in the novel, it's pretty clear Tucker has been running, whenever he had a chance, since that day in 1986. But the novel Juliet, Naked might just be the story of how he stops running.

Maybe. Or maybe he just walks, at a slower pace.

Hornby's characters are rarely "happy," in the same ways people in real life aren't "happy." Happiness is a moment, not a state, and life is full of a million other less-pleasant moments, too. So a reader expecting Annie to "cure" Tucker or for the two of them to settle down blissfully together on either side of the Atlantic is looking in the wrong book.

Juliet, Naked, again, is the story of a love triangle. And of a much more complex love shape surrounding Tucker, including the twenty-years-dead relationship with the woman who inspired Juliet and may, perhaps, not have been the amazingly wonderful perfect goddess that record seems to imply. (And who is?) But, mostly, it's the story of people who got stuck in their lives, and what happens at the moment they suddenly stick their heads up, realize how stuck they are, and try to do something about it.

[1] This is an antiquated term, and was an antiquated term when this edition was available. Then, it was an "uncorrected proof" or an "advance review copy." These days, I wonder how many books get a physically printed pre-publication publicity edition at all.

Friday, October 09, 2020

Quote of the Week: Mourning

They buried Parradan Smith in a separate grave and piled a cairn of stones to mark it, on Burnbright's advice, she being the nearest expert on Mount Flame City gang customs. They felt badly leaving him there, in the shadow of the black mountain. Still, there is only so much one can do for the dead without joining them.
 - Kage Baker, The Anvil of the World, p.57

Thursday, October 08, 2020

Uncle Fred in the Springtime by P.G. Wodehouse

I've written a lot about P.G. Wodehouse here over the years, mostly in reading through Overlook's marvelous Collector's Wodehouse series -- I believe they republished all or basically all of his hundred-plus books over the first couple of decades of this century in matching small hardcovers.

I've even written a bit about Wodehouse's series character Uncle Fred (the puckish Earl of Ickenham, who can accomplish anything, absolutely anything, in the springtime), with the novels Service with a Smile and Uncle Dynamite. But I seem to have read this book, the last time around, well before I started this blog fifteen years ago.

And, frankly, I don't think I can do justice to Uncle Fred in the Springtime here: it's one of Wodehouse's best novels, in which all of the gears of his plots mesh perfectly, his characters are amusingly quotable, the random observations are funny and true, and the sunniest of all possible worlds shines before us as if it could possibly be real.

It's about young people in love, of course, as with the best of Wodehouse. But also about the old people around them: the friendly ones, like Ickenham, trying to help them along to bliss. The grumpy ones, like the Duke of Dunstable, who must be gotten around to allow his nephew to marry. And the scatterbrained ones, like Lord Emsworth, who would be far happier if left just to think about and care for his beloved prize-winning pig, the Empress of Blandings.

There are impostors and the theft of the aforementioned pig. There is a major betting flurry on the clothing worn by a random gent temporarily trapped in a phone booth in the lobby of the Drones Club. There is a private detective who does not fit quite so smoothly into polite rural society as one might wish.

I'm not sure if Uncle Fred counts as a distinct series in Wodehouse's work, or if it's best characterized as an offshoot or cadet branch of the Blandings stories. There may perhaps be a major scholarly disagreement on exactly that point. But Uncle Fred is a wonderful character, and a character who shows to Jeeves-and-Wooster fans that Wodehouse had other arrows in his comedy quiver: he could spin complications almost as easily out of a man who could always talk his way out of trouble as he could with a man always talking his way into it.

This is a marvelous, funny book. Would that we all had Uncle Freds to smooth our paths, and that we could live forever in the Wodehousian springtime.

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Earworm of the Day

We all get songs stuck in our heads. And when we do, we have the bizarre urge to share those songs, as if it were a parasite that could be induced to jump hosts.

So: here's what's been stuck in my head all day:

Note for people of my generation: yes, that is Merv Griffin singing; his first career was as a singer. The world is weird.

Note for people younger than me: yes, this is precisely as bizarre and random as you think it is. It's a novelty one-off song, despite sounding like it came from the middle of some 1950s musical.

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy

Funny can age badly, because what each generation thinks is funny changes. The more generations, the more change, and eventually we need learned professors to explain to us that Shakespeare is approximately 15% dick-and-vagina jokes by volume.

The Dud Avocado is a humorous novel, in the based-on-my-life style, set in the early 1950s in Paris, narrated by a madcap young would-be actress named Sally Jay Gorce. How much of it is "really" what happened to author Elaine Dundy and how much is a fictionalization...who can say at this point? And who would care? What matters now is whether the people still connect, whether the funny stuff is still funny, the thoughtful stuff still thoughtful, and the emotional stuff still true.

The edition I read, the 2006 New York Review of Books trade paperback [1], notes that Dud Avocado is one of those cult novels that gets re-issued with minor fanfare every decade or so, and then mostly sinks beneath the waves before the next burst of cult interest. (Of course, most sixty-year-old books don't even get that: they got a first publication, and maybe a paperback, and possibly a reissue with the next book from the author, and then nothing at all from then on.) Terry Teachout, who said that in his introduction, makes it sound like a sad thing, but it's actually how novels live, for all but the biggest, most ubiquitous writers. They pop in and out of print, in and out of public discourse, because we can't think about or talk about everything at once.

So Dud Avocado has stayed alive. It's been rediscovered multiple times, by two more generations, including a lot of people who didn't get to run off to Paris on family money the way Sally Jay (and maybe Dundy) did. So no matter what I say about it, my questions above about people and funny and thoughtful and emotional are "yes," for a sizable number of people, as recently as 2006. (And, to be frank, "people" is me being deliberately vague: I think Dundy and Dud Avocado speak more clearly to women than to men, more directly to young people than older people.)

Sally Jay is willful and scattered and free-wheeling and all-too-easily led, enthusiastic and prone to fall in love at the drop of a hat and enamored with her own bohemianism. She's also not nearly as self-reflective as she seems to be: I'm not sure whether that's Dundy's point or not. Even this far back, the scatterbrained young woman -- pretty enough for a lot of men to be interested in her, nutty enough to drive a lot of them away, clumsy as the standard endearing/quirky trait -- was the model, though I don't know if modern romantic comedy got that from Dundy or if there's an earlier incarnation I'm forgetting at the moment. She's a modern enough woman to fall into bed without much trouble, and Sally Jay seems to enjoy it though Dundy (writing in 1958, let's remember) leaves it clear that there was a falling-into-bed without saying much more.

The story of Dud Avocado is Sally Jay: her voice, her misadventures, her emotions, her love-affairs, all in one tangled ball. The through-line, such as it is, is bound up in an old friend named Larry Keevil: she meets him again in Paris on page 1, falls in love with him in the first chapter, gets pulled into his schemes (and vice versa) for a few hundred pages, wanders through Paris and some provincial towns doing things that may be scandalous to herself or her relatives back home or even the locals, and eventually learns unpleasant truths about Larry near the end. Those are all things that happen; what matters is how Sally Jay tells us about them and how she feels about them.

She's a mess, in that unformed early-twenties way: unsure what she wants but determined to get it right now. The whole book is in her voice, and the reader has to be able to go with that: to sympathize with what a less kind reader might call a sex-mad spoiled rich white girl on a tear overseas, sowing wild oats madly before inevitably settling down to domesticity and a blandly conventional American marriage. (Spoiler alert: there is something like settling down at the very end of the book, somewhat abruptly, though I misrepresent it here. It feels like Dundy knew she needed to end the book and wasn't able to figure out something more plausible than her own random marriage to theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, and so just fictionalized that as best she could.)

I found Sally Jay a fun protagonist to spend 250 pages with, though she'd be exhausting in real life. (I went to Vassar; I knew girls not a million miles from Sally Jay.) I'm a huge fan of novels written in distinctive voices, and Dud Avocado hits all of those buttons. And, frankly, a lot of it was still funny, to a man born twenty years later, who never had a rich uncle to send him anywhere. I imagine even more of it would be funny to readers closer to the life Sally Jay lives, and I expect there will be another new edition of Dud Avocado in 2025 or so, popping it back up for the attention of yet another generation.

[1] For the people like me who wondered: no, the cover photo is not Dundy. It's an unnamed model in New York in 1962, photographed by Erwin Blumenfeld. I guess mid-century is mid-century, right? 1951 Paris, 1962 New York, comme ci, comme ca?

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Basd Machinery, Book 8: The Case of the Modern Men by John Allison

I always ponder how far to get into history and minutia when I'm writing about, say, the eighth volume collecting a webcomic.

I mean, on the one hand I can just say go read the webcomic already, which is perfectly legitimate. But it makes for a very short post, if nothing else.

Or I can delve into the history of Bad Machinery, linking to my posts on the previous volumes (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven), talking about how it was the follow-up to creator John Allison's previous webcomic Scary-Go-Round (q.v.), and possibly even sidetracking into a discussion of the only-vaguely-related Giant Days (viz.).

It is a puzzlement.

So, instead, I'll pretend to consider both options while actually putting them both in this post, and then dive into the current book: The Case of the Modern Men, the eighth case of the Tackleford Mystery Tweens Teens. It ran in the webcomic in early-mid 2014, with the core cast clearly teenaged and (as usual for teens) somewhat less interested in solving weird external mysteries and somewhat more interested in the more fleshy mysteries of their various innamorata (which, as also is usual with teens, were sometimes each other, though, also sadly usual, never reciprocally).

This story combines French exchange students with the thrill of the Mod lifestyle, in clothing and scooters and the music of The Whom. (Allison's world is much like, but not exactly the same as, our own.) Lottie's family hosts Mimi; Little Claire's hosts Camille. Those two young women had a previous conflict which flourishes quirkily in the fertile Tackleford soil. There is a fabled scooter that may perhaps be cursed, so that every rider becomes King of the Mods and is eventually beheaded.

The Mystery Teens do not exactly try to solve the mystery as try to help their friends, to stave off a riotous Rocker-Mod conflict throughout the surrounding borough, and to foil one of those French young women in her fiendish plans. In the end, at least no one is beheaded, and there have been some kisses exchanged.

In retrospect, this (or possibly the prior story, The Case of the Forked Road) is where Bad Machinery started coming apart. Allison always sets his stories in something like real time, so his cast will inevitably grow and change -- and he tends to write about young people (tweens, teens, twenties), so they have a lot of changing to do, and can do it very quickly. So when I say "coming apart," I mean the premise -- kids solve crimes -- rather than anything on the story level.

Here they were no longer kids. After an event in this story, solving crimes had much less appeal. And that's clear from the Bad Machinery page on Allison's site: right after this case, there was a sidebar story about Lottie and Shauna called "Space Is the Place," then one more case, then another sidebar (more of a Bobbins story, actually) under the ominous title "The Big Hiatus," and then the final Bad Machinery case.

Some creators -- naming no names here -- are content to keep their characters exactly the same age, in exactly the same relationships, for decades at a time, and many of them rake in buckets of sweet, sweet syndication money. (Or the trusts established to keep their descendants from ever working again do, in some cases.) John Allison will have no truck with that, and his work is vastly stronger for it. Every Allison story is set in a moment that will not recur -- just like every moment in each of our own real lives.

So I'm sad, even re-reading half a decade later, to remember that Bad Machinery must inevitably end. But all things must inevitably end. Allison is just better at the process along the way than many others.

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Fifteenth Anniversaries

Yesterday, while doing something else, I realized today was the fifteenth anniversary of this blog.

Now, I was once in the habit of writing long, discursive, link-filled posts for anniversaries -- see the entries for the first, second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth years. But last year I dropped the ball, and (quirkily enough) I also bobbled the supposedly-significant fifth (missed entirely) and tenth (forgotten until a month later) years as well, as if some part of my brain was quite clearly sabotaging me.

I would typically list the number of posts by year after that, know what? I will update that here:

2019-2020 -- 55 posts
2018-2019 -- 178 posts
2017-2018 -- 368 posts
2016-2017 -- 263 posts
2015-2016 -- 144 posts
2014-2015 -- 258 posts
2013-2014 -- 434 posts
2012-2013 -- 285 posts
2011-2012 -- 332 posts
2010-2011 -- 445 posts
2009-2010 -- 711 posts
2008-2009 -- 880 posts
2007-2008 -- 834 posts
2006-2007 -- 841 posts
2005-2006 -- 809 posts

I would previously then add in the posts from my other blog, Editorial Explanations, which ran from 2011 through 2013. But those numbers will not change now, so anyone who cares (no one) can look at one of the older posts to see the numbers.

And then I'd link back to posts of the past year, indulging myself by quoting sentences I particularly liked. Since the pickings are pretty meager the past couple of years -- not to mention the fact that my fingers are racing to get done before The Wife and I run out for the weekly grocery-shopping -- I'll leave that off this year.

But I'm counting this as not a failure this year, since I actually remembered ahead of time. It might be smaller, it might be less impressive, but it is a thing that exists, and that's good enough for me in the annus horribilis 2020.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Quote of the Week: Did Not Even Adjust Its Blood Level Away

(If I got angry at myself for being angry I would be angry constantly and I wouldn't have time to think about anything else.)
(Wait, I think I am angry constantly. That might explain a lot.)
 - Martha Wells, Network Effect, p.205