Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Mayerling

For the interested, the opening of "Mayerling", that alternate Austro-Hungarian yarn mentioned in Scribble, scribble, scribble, runs as follows.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Scribble, scribble, scribble... and scribble

There are several stories of sundry lengths in various stages of (in)completion in the Flynnish oeuvre.  For anyone interested, they run as follows.

I forgot one! So I have added 098e below, in the queue at Analog.

The opus number runs generally in the order in which they were started, except 098f. All the Journeyman stories are 098, with each installment getting a letter. The current word count is indicated in order to shame TOF into finishing them rather than starting another.

In process
079 Mayerling.....................4200
Short story. Alternate history. Crown Prince Rudolf is at his hunting lodge at Mayerling, contemplating suicide. Or not.
087 The Shipwrecks of Time..........92,786
A novel. Back in the early 1340s, Heinrich of Regensburg was brutally murdered over a now-lost manuscript known as "The Peruzzi Papers."  In the 1960s, an historical researcher in Milwaukee becomes interested in the contents.  What could have been so dangerous to know that the author was so brutally killed?  Why did the banking House of Peruzzi keep the papers secret for 600 years?  Inquiring minds want to know.  But maybe they should not be so inquiring?  Later, in Part II, a documentary film-maker in 1980s Denver and, in Part III, a small town police detective in the fictional 2010s Neston PA are also entangled in the mystery.  Some mss. are better left unread, it seems. However, we are already up to 93 kilowords and still in Part I. Damn. Don't know whether to cut it drastically by 2/3rd or to make each Part a separate book. Still plugging away.
098f The Journeyman: At the Heights of Iabran.......7973
Teodorq sunna Nagarajan the Ironhand is leading a cavalry regiment he helped organize. They are setting up to take the enemy's capital. Problem is, Teo's commanding general is trying to get him killed, due to a small misunderstanding over the general's wife. There's this deep canyon penetrating the aforesaid Heights; but it is likely a dead-end, in more ways than one.
101 The Chieftain....................................16,421
A fantasy novel -- yes, you heard that right -- in the lackadaisical course of being rewritten from an old draft from TOF's youth. It was written long ago, in and shortly after college, as a straight historical, the market for which can best be described as multiples of SQRT(-1).  The writing sucks because I was just a kid; but it is as capable of rewrite as The January Dancer was.  The world has a shortage of medieval Celtic fantasies.  No, really.  It does. This one is set in Ireland in AD 1225.  A bit of medieval magic should pepper it right up.  Don't usually see prayers instead of spells, or saints instead of imps to answer them; so we shall see.  And calling on God may not be quite as simple as calling on gods....
107 Hunters Moon.................1063
Short story set in the Firestar milieu. The narrator is a troubleshooter for Phobos Port Authority, sent to audit the procedures used for aiming the Lunar catapult dedicated to sending cargo to Mars and finds a suspicious death when he gets there. Same narrator as "In Panic Town on the Backward Moon."
108 Adventures in Mythistory........5747
Fact article on how history is turned into myth, with special emphasis on Hypatia.
109 The Three Faces of Science........859
Fact article on the three phases of science in the Modern Age: Mathematical, Statistical, and Modeled.
111 The Singing City...............2200
A vignette set in the Firestar milieu. Flaco's grandson is about to leave for Saturn in a magnetic sail, and Flaco's son "Memo" (born at the end of Rogue Star) is having a crisis.
112 Moonrise at the Tatamy Book Barn...........2750
Short story. Jacinta Rosario, who never became a space pilot because the whole Firestar history never happened, is running away from home and finds herself taking shelter from a thunderstorm in the Tatamy Book Barn, where there are lots of books. Henry Berge, a neighbor who is storing his papers there for safekeeping, is also trapped by the storm. The store manager, whose name is Roberta Carson, invites them both to stay for pizza. Stuff happens.

Completed
In the queue at Analog:
098e  The Journeyman: Through Madness Gap...............................................14,765
Teodorq had crossed the ocean to Old Cuffy, where his sponsor expects him to organize a regiment of Savage Archers modeled after the Riders of the Great Grass. But a foreign country takes some getting used to.
102 Laminated Moose Zombies and Other Road Maintenance Problems........4786
Short story co-written with Son of TOF, Dennis. Zombies are getting to be a nuisance for the Anchorage DPW. It's a fungus-borne disease, and the narrator's girl friend is researching for a cure, or at least a treatment. Should appear in an upcoming issue.
110 Victor Frankenstein's Bar and Grill and Twenty-four Hour Roadside Emporium........1293
Everybody needs a place where "everyone knows your name." This is true even for nameless monsters who want to hoist a few. A deep psychological study.

Recently appeared
104 Nexus..............25,156
Novella. This was in Analog (Mar/Apr 2017). A concatenation of several science fiction tropes.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Thought for the Day

from David Warren:
I had always assumed that mock chicken was an industrial by-product, containing traces of poultry for flavouring, in a crumbly rind probably coloured with orange textile dye. I supposed that live chickens had been harmed somewhere in the manufacturing process, which had included the mocking operation. I guessed the managers at the industrial abattoir hired underemployed professional comedians to mock the chickens, prior to slaughter — doing satirical imitations of the way they walk, try to fly, express enmity towards those who steal their eggs — while taunting them with demeaning imprecations such as, “You’re not a real chicken,” &c — ideally in dactylic hexameters.
It turns out I was wrong. Unless the ingredient list on the package is fake news (I have just retrieved it), our contemporary mock chicken contains miscellaneous “and/or” meats, possibly but not necessarily including winged animals; plus potassium lactate and soy protein; sodium phosphates, erythorbates, diacetates, and nitrates; glucose solids; maltodextrin; “spices”; and of course my favourite, monosodium glutamate. 
-- Mock Chicken

Saturday, July 22, 2017

22 July 1964

Once upon a time, TOF was all alone, and reigned in solitary splendor, king of all he surveyed.
Able seaman TOF

Then, one day, while minding his own business, reading a book....
Scholar TOF
...he was suddenly beset by Another.
This pint-sized intrusion was named Dennis Harry Flynn; and all that can be said of our respective personalities can be summarized in the expressions on the two faces above.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Today we went to the funeral mass at Our Lady of Lebanon church for our neighbor's girl, Elizabeth, who was only 12. It was a sad affair. The grandmother broke down when they came to close the lid on the casket and began to wail. Not a few others came close to it, as well.

There were five priests concelebrating, including a couple of Latin-rite priests from up the hill. The deacon was a guy I went to high school with -- Tony Koury. 
 
 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Thought for the Day

One learns something of a society through its statutes, and by old scholars like Rashdall, and Haskins, I [David Warren] was introduced to the punctilios in mediaeval university towns.

Much attention is given to student behaviour, and from Leipzig, for example, I recall the carefully stepped fines that begin for threatening your professor with a missile. The fine increases if you throw and miss; doubles if you hit him; and further costs may be assessed, depending on the nature of his injuries. For this and for other infractions, it is useful to have things spelt out, so the student on a tight budget may know what he can afford.

-- David Warren, "Some Attitudinizing"
Today, of course, it is all or nothing. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

James Hammontree

Monument to the 153rd Pennsylvania at Gettysburg

Memorial Day

Alright, so I missed the deadline again this year. Stuff Happens, so we're posting this for the Fourth of July, which this year falls on the Fourth.

A couple years ago, TOF posted an account of the Incomparable Marge's grandfather's grandfather; viz., John H. Hammontree, who served in Co. H 5th Tenn. Vol. Infantry, US Army of the Ohio. This year, we turn our attention to his grandfather, James Hammontree, who served in Duncan's Company, Bunch's Regiment, during the War of 1812.

The Backstory

 1. Jonathan Hammontree appears to have been born in England, ca 1693 and emigrated to Virginia sometime before 1719, settling in Richmond Co., which had been erected from the northern half of old Rappahannock Co. in 1698. Specifically, he appears like magic in North Farnham Parish. Like magic, because the surname Hammontree has never been found anywhere earlier than 1719, in North Farnham VA, in any reasonably variant spelling. 
Hertfordshire
Note: A William Hammontree, age 64, appears in an English Census of 1871, living in Westmill, Hertfordshire, where William claimed to have been born. Thus the Hammontree surname finds European roots in England at least as early as 1807, although this is nearly one hundred years after the name is first attested in Virginia. It has appeared as spelled Heamondre, Hamontre, Hamondry, and just about any other variant imaginable. These were likely the results of non-standardized spelling back in the day than of actual name changes. But the spellings ending in -dre look suspiciously French and raise the possibility that the family was among the 50,000 French Huguenots that took refuge in England after Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in October 1685. If so, Jonathan would have been a first-generation Englishman, born shortly after his parents (illegally!) sneaked out of France.
Jonathan Hammontree and his wife Mary had four known children, christened in North Farnham, to wit:
  • Rubin Hammontree (1719-1802), 
  • Anne Hammontree (1721-??), 
  • John Hammontree (1723-1786), 
  • David Hammontree (1726-1770)

Whoa, What's This?