Monday, July 9, 2007

Four people, so far, have told me that I have talked them (so far) out of one or another degree of serious intention to commit suicide. Since I could talk them out of it, they probably needed someone to talk to a lot more than they needed to die, and I believe all four are reasonably happy about their decision at this time.

It's remarkably difficult to convince someone who's serious about suicide that there is something worthwhile about life, or rather worthwhile enough, though most seem to agree to at least some extent that death will come all on its own without really needing to be sped along.

"Growing up I loved Dickens and Mickey Spillane."--Jackie Collins

"Growing up I loved Dickens and Mickey Spillane."--Jackie Collins, the 7/8 New York Times Magazine, as quoted by John Boston and brought to the attention of the members of the FictionMags list.

Which would eventually result in The World is Full of Tiny Guns:

"The strapping young orphan, with his aquiline nose and only the slightest hint of his childhood limp, glanced across the room at her, his steely blue eyes flashing. 'Nell?' he asked, mixed emotions playing across his face. 'I...I thought you were dead.'

"'Darling,' Nell laughed, her white teeth flashing, her diamond and platinum earrings jingling, but her dark eyes still unreadable pools. 'I got over it. It was easy.'"

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

My friend's Bahamian porpoise interaction experience:

Definitely a memorable experience. Was a bit concerned about dolphins in captivity and the profit from it, but most were rescued. They have lived long, and they are not forced to interact, at least that's what the "trainers" say. We saw that in motion as one, the oldest one, would not interact closely with [her husband] Stacy. Apparently, after long consideration and impressive detection by her trainers, she was uncomfortable with the titanium in Stac's left knee. After using the opportunity to influence her behavior ("training") she was allowed to interact with Stac in a way that she felt comfortable. She, Princess, a 40 yo female (25 is the average in the wild), only felt cool with connecting facially while keeping the rest of her at a safe distance. After this, I concluded that they are good "slave" owners. This made me a little more comfortable with enjoying the opportunity to interact with the two dolphins. It seems that all of my party had the same concerns and appreciations. Frankly, though, I'm still mixed about the experience. Mostly, good though. Especially being propelled through the water by them, each of their noses pushing the bottoms of my feet. Memorable.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

...the parts left out of JAMES TIPTREE, JR....

Excised from the final ms., this fragment is from a chapter scheduled for publication in the May, 2007, IF.

After a brief interagency presentation about psychological warfare at Foggy Bottom, [Alice] Sheldon and a young college intern named Robin Wilson were among the most enthusiastic audience members who approached [Paul] Linebarger to ask questions, and Linebarger asked them to accompany him to lunch. For a brief period in 1947, this became an irregularly-scheduled kaffeeklatsch, wherein they discussed the progress of the Cold War, by no means yet cooled in Linebarger's beloved China, and, increasingly, their mutual engagement with science fiction. At one of their meetings, Linebarger brought rather smeared carbons of a jape it had occurred to him to type out the previous evening, a simultaneous parody of the "filler" articles that editor Ray Palmer published in the pulp magazines he edited for Ziff-Davis (they were usually semi- or quasi-factual, and clearly pseudonymous, means for Palmer and other favored contributors and staff to pick up a few extra dollars while also making the contents pages impressively long), and of the "Shaver Mystery," an odd combination of paranoia, mysticism and sf presented in Palmer's Amazing Stories as revelation more than fiction. Linebarger's jape involved Richard Shaver's villains, the Deros, and their attempts at mind-control among the skiing-crazed denizens of a Colorado resort town.

Wilson looked at the title line on his copy, and asked, around his pastrami sandwich, "'Scanners Live in Vain?'"

Linebarger laughed. "No, 'Scanners Live in Vail'...sorry about the blurriness..."

Linebarger looked thoughtful, and Sheldon noted that Linebarger's left hand tensed, as if he was digging his fingernails into the ball of his thumb.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

CATting about for charity.

In my first blog swipe, I steal this from Bill Crider's:

The Cat in the Hat Turns 50

Books: 'Cat in the Hat' Explained at Last - Newsweek Books - MSNBC.com: "Here’s how to celebrate.
• To honor “The Cat in the Hat’s” 50th birthday, send him an e-mail birthday card. For every card the cat gets, Random House will donate a new book to First Book, a nonprofit organization that promotes reading in low-income communities. Since it was founded in 1992, First Book has distributed more than 40 million books to young readers in 1,300 communities around the country. To send a card, go to www.seussville.com/CITH_50th/. Cards must be received by May 1.

• Random House will also donate a new book to First Book for every copy of any Dr. Seuss book it sells before May 1. For more details, go to www.catinthehat.com."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A favorite description of a literary character's existential plight:

From The Science Fiction Encyclopedia describing Captain Zero, the protagonist of a short-lived odd-hero pulp:

When invisible, he speaks in italics.