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The local motto: “A little science. A little magic. A little chicken soup.”
Updated: 2 hours 26 min ago

Oh, I forgot to mention

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 22:31

…in all the excitement. Ebooks Direct is having a 50%-off-everything sale through the weekend. (It actually started on the 5th but I forgot to post about it here…sorry, stuff got hectic. So I extended the sale a bit so you folks wouldn’t feel left out.)

“Everything” also means The Big Meow (that’s Feline Wizards book 3) and Interim Errantry 2: On Ordeal, which have been on sale only once before and very briefly. As well as the Young Wizards New Millennium Edition 9-volume box sets. ($2 per book, sort of, at this level of discount.) (And they’re also 51% off, don’t ask me why… the store’s software is jerking me around somehow. Not an unheard-of event.) So if you’ve been waiting for a sale, this is your moment.

…And now the fireworks!

Pride and Prejudice and Starships: so here we go

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 14:58

Houston, we have a website. It’s here:


As I considered this project over the weekend, I found myself thinking “Why shouldn’t people see this work as you write it? It’ll encourage them not to be scared of their first drafts.” (Which struck me as a good thing, because I’m sure as hell scared of mine sometimes. But toujours l’audace, you know?)

So here’s the deal. As I register my word counts at NaNoWriMo each day, I’ll publish the actual words on the P&P&S site. The pages / chapters will be locked down in such a way that only people who register for the site can see them. (I’ll also drop a brief note in here each day when there’s new material.)

If you choose to register, you will be promising not to publish ANY of the P&P&S  content anywhere else online (or elsewhere, wherever “elsewhere” might be.) This means even excerpts, even tiny little quotes: none of it. The TOS is very clear, and the registration page spells out the rationale in a little more detail.* Color me a touch paranoid about this if you like, but there are some godawful stolen-content horror stories floating around out there, and on this particular project I’d sooner be safe than sorry. … If you register, you might like to drop in to the “Hi there” post and leave a comment to say hello.

There are a few pre-writing blog posts up at the website now: maybe you’d like to wander over and read them. Mostly they have to do with thoughts about how I’m going to manage this book in the short and long terms. The blog side of the website is here: http://www.dianeduane.com/p-p-s/blog/  …Most future blog posts will be locked down for access by registered readers only, and only registered people will be able to comment, whether posts are locked or not. Time permitting, I’ll be chatting about individual chapters with those who have questions or comments.

I’m starting work this afternoon (I want my lunch first…) and will get as much done as I can each day this week in order to get caught up – I’m about 11K words behind at the moment. (Warning: there are some time-sensitive business things going on around the house this week, so catching up with everybody else may take me four or five days.)

…So there we go. The launch message for this project got a really gratifying number of reblogs and likes. If those of you who feel inclined will reblog this post or otherwise tag it to the attention of those who might be interested in watching this work unfold, I’d appreciate it. Thanks, everybody!

*I have a number of protections in place to keep that from happening, but any technology that people can devise, people can of course break. If that happens, well, I have recourse to other options.

YIVO Announces Discovery of 170,000 Lost Jewish Documents Thought to Have Been Destroyed During the Holocaust | YIVO Institute for Jewish Research | The Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collections Project

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:54
YIVO Announces Discovery of 170,000 Lost Jewish Documents Thought to Have Been Destroyed During the Holocaust | YIVO Institute for Jewish Research | The Edward Blank YIVO Vilna Collections Project:


The new discovery is of particular note for its wealth of manuscripts, precious religious writings—in Hebrew and Yiddish—record books of shuls and yeshivas; mystical writings, and more. Additionally, the collection contains post-war and wartime materials, such as poetry written while in the Vilna Ghetto by Abraham Sutzkever. All other materials that have previously been found from this time period in Eastern Europe precede the outbreak of WWII.

babyanimalgifs:the best thing you will see all year

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:51


the best thing you will see all year


Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:51

"If you’re going to admit that stories matter,” Wilson told me, “then it matters how we tell them,..."

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:09
““If you’re going to admit that stories matter,” Wilson told me, “then it matters how we tell them, and that exists on the level of microscopic word choice, as well as on the level of which story are you going to pick to start off with, and then, what exactly is that story? The whole question of ‘What is that story?’ is going to depend on the language, the words that you use.””

- Emily WIlson

artist-caravaggio: Sleeping Cupid, 1608, CaravaggioSize: 105x71...

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:43


Sleeping Cupid, 1608, Caravaggio

Size: 105x71 cm
Medium: oil, canvas

princesspotpourri: some-triangles: blurds: Terry Pratchett started his career as a...

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:42




Terry Pratchett started his career as a crypto-monarchist and ended up the most consistently humane writer of his generation.  He never entirely lost his affection for benevolent dictatorship, and made a few classic colonial missteps along the way, but in the end you’d be hard pressed to find a more staunchly feminist, anti-racist, anti-classist, unsentimental and clear-sighted writer of Old White British Fantasy.  

The thing I love about Terry’s writing is that he loved - loved - civil society.  He loved the correct functioning of the social contract.  He loved technology, loved innovation, but also loved nature and the ways of living that work with and through it.   He loved Britain, but hated empire (see “Jingo”) - he was a ruralist who hated provincialism, a capitalist who hated wealth, an urbanist who reveled in stories of pollution, crime and decay.  He was above all a man who loved systems, of nature, of thought, of tradition and of culture.  He believed in the best of humanity and knew that we could be even better if we just thought a little more.

As a writer: how skillful, how prolific, how consistent.  The yearly event of a new Discworld book has been a part of my life for more than two decades, and in that barrage of material there have been so few disappointments, so many surprises… to come out with a book as fresh and inspired as “Monstrous Regiment” as the 31st novel in your big fantasy series?  Ludicrous.  He was just full of treasure.  What a thing to have had, what a thing to have lost.

In the end, he set a higher standard, as a writer and as a person.  He got better as he learned, and he kept learning, and there was no “too late” or “too hard” or “I can’t be bothered to do the research.”  He just did the work.  I think in his memory the best thing we can do is to roll up our sleeves and do the same.

This post seems to be making the rounds again so here it is on the word blog

GNU Terry Pratchett

GNU Terry Pratchett

noirandpumpkinspice: “A Member of the Audience Disapproves,” by...

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:39


“A Member of the Audience Disapproves,” by Marc Simonetti
Discworld 2013 Calendar October Image

Definitely fullsize this one.  I swear that guy right to the left of Granny is PTerry.  But the big question is which Phantom is that?

mechanicalcurator: Image from ‘Father Rhine. [An account of a...

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 18:37


Image from ‘Father Rhine. [An account of a summer tour. With plates.]’, 000799135

  • Author: Coulton, G. G. (George Gordon)
  • Page: 111
  • Year: 1899
  • Place: London
  • Publisher: J. M. Dent & Co.
View this image on Flickr View all the images from this book

Following the link above will take you to the British Library’s integrated catalogue. You will be able to download a PDF of the book this image is taken from, as well as view the pages up close with the ‘itemViewer’. Click on the 'related items’ to search for the electronic version of this work.

The Turkey Story

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 14:50


 So it’s 2001, and my family drives from fucking California and like three blizzards to get to Ohio for thanksgiving, becuase my grandparents are moving into a nursing home and it’s their last holiday in that house.  So its a bit bittersweet but ultimately a good thing.

Since it’s their last holiday there, the family pulls out all the stops when it comes to dinner, all the Russian desserts come out, as does the Lethal Bacon Mashed Potatoes and the horrible candied yams dish because not all expressions of love are good, even if they are sincere.  In the spirit of going all-out, Uncle Bobby smokes a Turkey.  

Uncle Bobby started cooking as a boy scout by tossing foil-wrapped potatoes into a campfire and has been addicted since, and now has a hand-made smokehouse in the backyard where he makes various cured meats and other delights.  He seasons the turkey in the traditional manner, but he and grandpa have a shared passion for a spaicier mesquite-style bird, so Bobby makes a Cornish Game Hen seasoned that way, for them.

Then Bobby has a Brilliant Idea.  He realizes that he can stuff the turkey (once it has been smoked) with regular stuffing, and there is still plenty of room for him to put the game hen inside THAT, and stuff the game hen becuase why not?  He confers with Mom, and she explains how to cut open the turkey so there’s  dramatic reveal as the stuffing and game hen come out.  It’s Genius.

Except, of course, that my Aunt Sue is attending, Uncle Cliff slouching after her.

So the day of the dinner, tensions are running a bit high, between the marathon cooking, the kids all being trapped indoors due to aforementioned blizzards, and Uncle Cliff deciding that the best way to amuse himself is by hiding from the adults in the basement, getting drunk and rambling about how various ethic groups were destroying America.  Being that I had close Muslim friends that were leaving the country becuase of 9/11, I was near tears from this nonsense and ready to fight a man roughly five times my size.  

Sue, for some reason, keeps coming down and defending him, or telling us we’re rotten children for ‘attacking’ him, becuase she Must Stand By Her Man, even if her man is a hefty bag of feces with an ugly mustache.

My sister eventually bolts upstairs to tattle and my grandfather limps down to the basement and brandishes his Hip-Bone Cane, hands rock-steady in spite of the Parkinson’s slowly taking over him.

“Firstly Cliff, It may not be my roof much longer but while you are under it you will be civil, or I’ll beat your skull in.  Also, dinner’s ready, everyone go wash up.”

We go upstairs and sit down, and do the traditional “Name one thing you’re thankful for” as the bread gets passed around the table, and things calm down a bit.  Bobby brings out the Turkey and everyone goes OOH becuase it’s really pretty, them Mom carves it open so that the stuffing spills out dramatically along with the game hen and there’s an appreciative gasp all around becuase it looks cool.

Only Sue KEEPS gasping, in utter horror, before getting up and clasping her hands to her face ala Edvard Munch and shrieks-


We all stare at Sue.  We all look back at the fully-dressed-cooked-and-stuffed birds that in no way had any internal organs in them or ever gave live birth. Then we all looked back at Sue, trying to figure out where to begin but since she’d been trying to justify Cliff’s behavior she was pretty much free-associating conspiracies and scandals now, and just kept going.

“IT WAS PREGNANT MY GOD WE’VE COMMITTED AN ABORTION WE’RE ALL GOING TO HELL FOR THIS, I’M SO SORRY JESUS-” She goes into full pearl-clutching gibbering horror at this point and falls back into her chair like it’s a Victorian fainting couch only it’s a shitty chair from the Eisenhower administration so it collapses and she slams into the floor, sobbing and kicking her feet like a toddler.

Everyone watched for a moment before my Mom sighs heavily and starts carving and serving the turkey while my grandmother mouths “she’s not coming back”.   

Cliff, reactions delayed by about six beers, finally notices his wife is on the floor and tries to pick her up, falls on his ass himself.  They are assisted by Dad, who is saintly patient man and less immune to this jacknapery at that point. I am stuffing dinner rolls into my face to keep from laughing at this grand spectacle and it’s not working.

“I CAN’T EAT IT, I REFUSE TO PARTAKE IN THIS BARBARISM-”  Sue begins but Dad puts on his best Kindly Father voice (he went to seminary school long enough to learn that before getting drafted but that’s another story) and assures Sue that she need not eat, or even be in the room if she wants.  She nods, placated by being the center of attention again, and Dad goes in for the kill.

“I wouldn’t want you to go hungry.  Can I make you some Eggs?”

“That would be lovely.” Said Sue, joke flying over her head like a boeing 747.  I recall watching my grandmother nearly choke to death on the green beans over that, and everyone pointedly trying to avoid talking about anything poultry-related while Sue sat there and ate the most ironic scrambled eggs in the history of mankind.

Shortly thereafter, Cliff threw up in the sink and they went home, and the party got underway properly, with Grandpa raising a toast to Mom and Uncle Bobby “For marrying well, for a change”

“Pregnant Turkey” has been an Ohioan thanksgiving staple since then.  I’ll see if I can hit Uncle Bobby up for instructions but if you decide to make it 1. you HAVE to shriek “OH MY GOD IT WAS PREGNANT” when you carve it open, or it’s not authentic and won’t taste as good 2. Share the pictures with me.

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