Outside, in a Ship Suit: BASIA

The description of Ilus is quite lovely. This is from the Basia POV. You’ll note self is making good progress: she’s almost halfway through Cibola Burn.

sky earth space working

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

p. 281

Seventeen hundred kilometers below, Ilus spun past at a dizzying pace. Alex had told him that the Rocinante had an orbital period just under two hours, but Basia couldn’t feel it. Floating outside the ship in microgravity, his inner ear told him that he was drifting, motionless. So instead the universe appeared to spin far too quickly, like some giant child’s toy. Every hour, moving from dark to light, and then an hour later back to darkness, the sun rising from behind Ilus, spinning around behind him, and setting again briefly. Basia had been outside long enough to see the change three times, the center of his own cosmos.

The planet’s one vast ocean was in night.

Thinking about how beautiful and strange Ilus is, self suddenly remembers a short story she read when she was but a child: If I Forget Thee, O Earth.

She forgets who wrote it, but wow. What a story.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

“Beyond the Waters of Death,” Joan Acocella’s New Yorker piece on the making of GILGAMESH (14 October 2019)

  • “A young Londoner, George Smith, who had left school at the age of fourteen and was employed as an engraver of bank notes,” was fascinated by artifacts. He spent lunch breaks at the British Museum and “studied the shards for around ten years . . . it was he who found the most famous passage inscribed on them, an account of a great flood wiping out almost all of humanity, with one man’s family surviving. When he read this, we are told, he became so excited that he jumped out of his chair and ran around the room, tearing off his clothes.”

George Smith died of dysentery in Aleppo, where he’d gone to do research, age 36. But not before he discovered the oldest long poem in the world, Gilgamesh.

Everywhere in the world has an ancient flood story. Even Mexico. Even the Philippines. Self thinks this means there must have been an actual climactic event whose effects were felt worldwide.

Stay safe dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

“This planet is officially ours now” — CIBOLA BURN, p. 109

If you have not read the books, stop reading right now. SPOILERS.

The pace is picking up.

It always happens in a James S. A. Corey book, at least with the books that followed Leviathan Wakes.

The Rocinante lands on Ilus. Holden and Amos see “hardpan dirt, with small shrublike plants.” There’s even “a cloud of biting insects.” Oh, eeeewww. Mosquitoes? “But a number of them bit, drank their blood, and dropped dead.” YES!

Amos and Jim keep walking.

They arrive at what “looked like a shantytown.”

Humans, Holden realizes with some amusement, have traveled “fifty-thousand light years” to build “houses using ten-thousand year-old technology.” That’s rich.

Holden thinks: “Humans were very strange creatures, but sometimes they were also charming.”

They encounter a crowd of people. In true Holden fashion, Holden drops his bags, smiles, and waves (lol). Amos “smiled too, though he casually rested his hand on the butt of his pistol.”

Here are the intrepid duo, discussing . . . something . . . :

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Captain James Holden (Steven Strait) and Amos Burton (Wes Chatham): Two of her favorite characters on the show

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Revisiting Self’s Melancholy/ What Is Going On With WordPress?

Three years ago, a short story called “This Is End” appeared in the Cost of Paper, vol. 5

It was science fiction about a character self kept using again and again, in different stories. The MC, Dragon, had a girlfriend, Her, who’d gone missing.

He doesn’t know what happened to Her (There are finite ways to disappear in space) but his favorite theory was that she was still alive, on another ship:

Floating, off to the right: the remains of the former space station, the Kobayashi Maru.

It caught fire. The wreckage drifted, was lost. Then found. Then lost, and found again.

And sometimes, when the ships drift past each other (literally ships that pass in the night HA HA HA), Dragon thinks he sees Her, gesturing to him from a window.


AND NOW FOR THE REST OF THIS POST, WHICH IS A VENT ABOUT THE NEW WORDPRESS SYSTEM OF FORMATTING, WHICH IS CALLED BLOCK EDITING.

Suddenly, without warning, right while she was in the middle of typing this post, each paragraph acquired its own frame. Like it was a picture. Which, self doesn’t have to tell dear blog readers, is ridiculous.

BLOCK EDITING WITH THE NEW WORDPRESS SYSTEM OF FORMATTING IS THE WORST.

The text floats in little bubbles, and appears so unstable. One little press of the key, and the entire block disappears.

Oh no! There it is again, but then it disappears again. Sort of like Dragon’s girlfriend, lol

Why mess with a system that worked fine — at least, it did for self.

Now, instead of editing tools being all to the side, they appear in the text, right on top of these little boxes — confusing as heck! She doesn’t need to see extra little visuals on top of each paragraph, what are they doing there, it’s not as if each paragraph requires its own format.

She starts typing and whole paragraphs bloom THAT SHE DID NOT HERSELF TYPE. Oh it’s auto-fill. WordPress remembered that you typed a sentence like this before, so it makes it easy and just copies what you typed before. WHICH MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE, because where would the fun be in blogging if you just copied from something you’d written before?

With block editing, everything gets so — jiggy. Like the text needs Xanax. The toolboxes and the blocks and the menus keep floating around on the screen, as if the document were suffering from ADD, and self doesn’t know how to get the words to stop moving because they apparently move in response to every slightest twitch of a finger.

And, self discovers to her dismay, she has very twitchy fingers.

FINALLY: This message that suddenly popped up on her Dashboard: START MAKING MONEY FROM YOUR POSTS!

10 (or more) years ago, she asked a friend (who was a marketing whiz, who was being paid big bucks to be said whiz) whether she thought self could release some of her writings as “extras” for people willing to pay a very small amount — say, a dollar. And this marketing whiz (who is still her friend, believe it or not, just not the type of friend she sees a lot, really just someone she encounters occasionally on FB), gaped and said: Why would you charge for something that’s free? I mean, that’s why it’s on the internet, because it’s supposed to be AVAILABLE. You can’t charge for anything on your blog. People would stop reading. And such was self’s faith in her obviously successful friend, she let the matter drop and never explored the idea of making a little money from blogging.

Until today, 12 years later, when she saw this message.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

#amwriting of First Contact

Cortez had just conquered the Aztecs, and their ancient cities were filled with gold.

The Spanish thought there was gold in the Philippines, too.

First sight of the Philippines by the Spanish:

  • Limasawa has the shape of a finger thrust into the ocean; its topography is generally flat. Butuan is much larger, a ring of beach surrounding a mountain wreathed in clouds, whose topmost peaks flash in fading evening light, flash like prince’s metal.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

The Generation Ship: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 343

Self is still here! She managed to make it through a very dramatic weekend, and continue reading Abaddon’s Gate (Not another quote! Dear blog readers must be thinking: When will this end?)

One thing that’s always fascinated her about this series is the way the authors explain gravity and how space stations meant to accommodate whole cities would need to generate it.

Point of view in p. 343: Bull (She loves the Bull point of view because he’s the character-most-likely-to-explain-hard-science)

  • Spinning up the drum had meant stripping away as many of the alterations that had changed the generation ship into a weapon of war as they could. The medical stations and emergency showers had all been turned ninety degrees in the refit, prepared to use under thrust or not at all. What had been designed back in what seemed like ancient times to be floors had become walls, and now they were floors again. The whole thing was a hesitation. A stutter-step in industrial steel and ceramic.

See what she means?

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Holden: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 230

Self is amazed, simply amazed that she’s so far managed to hold onto the thread of this story, even through a) pandemic b) riots and c) lack of direction from xxxxxxxx, not to mention d) insomnia.

But it’s Holden. Guy just finished reminiscing about his dog Rufus. While in outer space. While headed to an encounter — maybe fatal — with proto-molecule (The Roci, as stated on p. 226, is over “30,000 kilometers away”). That is so, so Holden. Hard as it is to believe, the guy even manages to fall asleep for who knows how long en route to his destination (But why not? Space isn’t always exciting. Especially if you’ve lived in it all your life)

With the infinite and unbroken black all around him, and the only visible spot of light coming in from the blue sphere directly ahead, it was easy to feel like he was in some vast tunnel, slowly moving toward the exit. The human mind didn’t do well with infinite spaces. It wanted walls, horizons, limits. It would create them if it had to.

His suit beeped at him to let him know it was time to replenish his 02 supply.

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Self is sooo glad they’ve stopped making a big deal of his radiation exposure, because she would not like to visualize Holden with all his hair falling out. Not that this is for sure a symptom of radiation over-exposure. But having watched a few episodes of The Expanse, the hair is very nice, yes. It would be a pity to lose it. Just sayin’.

She ordered the next two books after this one, but not sure if she should go all the way, since she knows it will be super-angsty.

To stretch out the pleasure, she’ll alternate The Expanse with other books on her reading list, like Olive, Again (which was highly recommended by a friend in Canada with impeccable reading taste)

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

Bull: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 217

Yes, it has taken half the afternoon for self to move ahead nine pages. But to be honest, she’s been so distracted by the news. Last night, she watched the escalation of the protests and there were rubber bullets being fired (at journalists) and tear gas and all kinds of mayhem. She prays no one gets hurt tonight.

As the day winds down, self settles down for her most deeply immersive reading. It’s a good thing she stumbled upon The Expanse (she’s only seen one season, the fourth), she really didn’t expect to read beyond Leviathan Wakes, but here she is.

She’s liking the split point of view more and more (At first, she found it annoying, she was impatient with the Miller sections in Leviathan Wakes and the Prax sections in Caliban’s War). In Abbadon’s Gate, there is not that much Holden (Self loves his point of view, always) but Clarissa/Melba’s gives her chills. And she didn’t expect the authors to use Bull’s at the point when the Behemoth (she only wishes they’d thought of a better name) enters the Ring, but here we are at p. 217, and the Bull point of view is very effective here:

They made the transit slowly, the thrust gravity hardly more than a tendency for things to drift toward the floor. Bull couldn’t say whether that was a technical decision on Sam’s part meant to keep them from moving too quickly in the uncanny reduced speed beyond the ring, or Ashford giving the Earth and Mars ships the time to catch up so that they’d all be passing through at more or less the same time. Only if it was that, it wouldn’t have been Ashford. That kind of diplomatic thinking was Pa’s.

Probably it was just that the main drive couldn’t go slow enough, and this was as fast as the maneuvering thrusters could move them.

galaxy wallpaper

Photo by stein egil liland on Pexels.com

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Ring: Abaddon’s Gate, p. 208

At the center of the spectral Ring is a station.

James Holden: “We’re calling it a station pretty much only because it sits at the center of the slow zone, and we’re making the entirely unfounded assumption that some sort of control station for the gates would be located there. The station has no visible breaks in its surface. Nothing that looks like an airlock, or an antenna, or a sensor array, or anything.”

Beyond the station is a “slow zone.”

Holden again: “… the most intriguing factor of the slow zone, and the one that give it its name, is the absolute speed limit of six hundred meters per second. Any object above the quantum level traveling faster than that is locked down by what seems to be an inertial dampening field, and then dragged off … ”

Think of the slow zone as a kind of garbage disposal, only GIANT. Super giant. Because it dragged away an entire spaceship called the Y Que. And the only reason the Rocinante made it through the zone was because Holden gave his pilot a nav package that specified a speed just below that of the Y Que’s. He’s pretty smart, and that is why she has no problem with his being the Captain of the Rocinante, even though not everyone may be enamored with his character.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Am Here: ROSEBUD Issue 67 (Spring 2020)

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Felipe II is one hell of a sexy guy, just sayin’. From The Vanishing:

Spanish ambitions took root and flowered in a dream born as a whisper in the ear of a friend of a friend of a friend: Francisco Serrao, Portuguese, who wrote to the Crown from the Moluccas, his words both ardent and teasing.

Part of self’s “Voyager” series of short stories.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

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