November 5th, 2006

Patience and Prudence

(no subject)

Thanks for all the help with Language in SF.  I'm sure my student appreciates, or will after having fought through the density of links.  One of those from ffoeg sent me to a great site -- -- where I discovered a comment on Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, which reveals that it has a character in it named Bobby Shaftoe.  The fact that I didn't know this reveals of course to my embarrassment that I've never read the book; but I thought it was interesting that there is a character named Bobby Shaftoe in Aegypt too, my corresponding history/mystery work.  Mine's a girl, though.

I can't resist retailing this a little farther.  I found the reference at (I still don't know how to insert a Friend's login name).  It's a comment on the Ted Haggard scandal by another hardworking minister faced with the evils of the world.  (boxofdelights supplies  a neat analogy in Anna Karenina).

"Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either."  Emphasis (I think) in original.

This seems like a good suggestion for gay husbands in general.  If their wives would just be a little sexier they might not be forced to choose two from Column B instead.  (Is that an antique reference?)

Not Psychic -- Stranger than that

SO it's not psychic, and we all know about coincidence, how we notice things that are not only coincident but somehow meaningful or interesting to us:  but surely such coincidences are on the rise to the point of changing their nature or effect or power.  Yesterday had a conversation with my nephew, who has become intrigued (maybe just shy of obsessed) with a virtual-shared-world called Second Life (ah yes, YOU knew, but I didn't) and how he had an Avatar going around in it, and how much of his time it consumed.  So I went and looked for it, and found it, and went into it, creating an Avatar of my own; and was plunged into a realm, not particularly rich as far as I could get, feeling much like Alice in Wonderland as I tried to navigate -- you can fly, and I dropped myself in the ocean by accident, and found a shrimp boat to perch on, but couldn't find land; when I did I was constantly getting lost in trees, and coming up to signboards that said nothing, Other people appeared, and made cryptic remarks to me, and I to them.

And last night I kept dreaming or half-dreaming of this place, or a place like it, and following my Avatar around, the realm expanding or diminishing.

And this morning I turned on the radio, and a man is talking  baout driving his virtual car in a virtual world -- an article on NPR about Second Life.  Actually a preview of one that will be on tomorrow. 

The World Data Stream converges again.

Grand Old Man

I was asked on another thread how I felt about winning a Lifetime Acheivement Award from the World Fantasy Convention.  Paul Park was kind enough to accept for me, and I asked him to say this:

"I am sorry not to be able to be there to receive this very unexpected award and to express my gratitude to the judges and to all readers who have read and responded to my books and even kept them in print, which is almost all a writer can ask.  Welcome as this award is, though, t does seem a bit early -- even premature -- I hope it is anyway -- I hope I am not expected to retire from the field, like a former president who can never run for anything again.  Maybe if I can keep working long enough, and you want to keep reading what I write, some day I can qualify for another."

So all in all it has been a very good year for my books.  The 25th Edition of Little, Big; the publication at long last of the fourth volume of Aegypt; a good prospect of the other three volumes coming back into print (more on that soon); a Talking Book, with me talking.  And now named a Living Treasure.  I should head for the Gray Havens or sail to the West at this.  But I have another book midway down the birth canal, and some more ideas.


1976 and all that

I was given to think, on winning that award, of the first World Fantasy convention I ever attended, the second one held, in New York City in 1976.  I had published a couple of fantasy and/or SF novels by then.  I note that Fritz Leiber won the Lifetime Acheivement award.  L. Sprague de Camp was nominated for a Lovecraft biography.  (He got a Lifetime Achievement award in 1984, at the age of 104 (at a guess)).  I remember him illustrating for us how to say the word or sound Cthulhu.  He'd heard Lovecraft say it, and knew.  I met Evangeline Walton (Lifetime Achievement Award 1989) there.  An elegant elderly lady in a dark suit who was blue.  Entirely dark blue.  Her skin I mean.  (It was later explained as a side effect of medication cointaining silver nitrate, which did not diminish the initial effect.)  I first met Tom Disch there.  I also noticed a weird small man with bullet head protruding from outsize shirt collar, mistied tie, jacket sleeves nearly covering his hands -- just the fingers poking out -- and knowing that Gahan Wilson was there I thought Oh my god -- that must be him -- looking exactly like one of his own creations.  But no, Wilson turned out to be a dapper together fellow:  the other was just one of his models.  Harlan Ellison said to a crowd of fans, "It's all a substitute for getting laid.  I bet over half the males in this room are still virgins.  NO NO don't raise your hands!..."   De Camp and I had a genealogical chat about our joint connection to the Lyon family (my mother's) and it's connection to the Bowes-Lyons (the late Queen Mum.)  Altogether an extraordinary and certainly fantastical occasion.