GRANTVILLE GAZETTE – Athena’s Journey

I’ve long been a fan of the 1632 Universe series. It and the critiques of the alternate universe it describes from many other fans in the Baen 1632 Tech conference inspired me to write my Shapechanger Tales series.

Recently I entered a story, the first of several, into the 1632 Slush forum. Participation in it is required before you submit a story to the editors of the online 1632 publishing site. If you’re not familiar with it, click on this link to The Grantville Gazette. For just $12 you get access to the latest edition and to ALL THE PREVIOUS ONES. There’s lots of good stuff in it.

Stories in the Slush go through several versions. When critiques cease for a particular version I go through all of them and make any changes needed to the story. So far not a single critique has struck me as being off base. As a result my story has improved a lot. Two critiques in particular made me completely rethink my main character and how I portray her.

Athena Sarah Mawusi Akwete Ocampo is a “quarter-blood” or “quadroon” woman living on the west coast of Africa. Her father is a rich merchant there dealing in, among other things, gold and ivory. But not slaves. His wife is half-black. He hates the slave trade but can do nothing about it. As he has no son, she has long been his most capable assistant. She is also a fierce and expert fighter.

Sarah (she prefers that name rather than her prestige name, Athena) hears of the appearance of a magical city from the future called Grantville. At first she discounts the news but too many stories and convincing ones makes her decide the city is real. Like many, she wonders about it. Unlike most, she goes to find out.

Join others in reading the latest version and helping me make it better.

CLICK IMAGE TO SEE A LARGER VERSION

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Latest Vorkosiverse story from LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD

Anything new from grand master Lois McMaster Bujold is a cause for celebration. I hastened to download her latest story in her Vorkosigan Universe series. THEN I celebrated.

Click the image to read an excerpt and to buy the story.

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MURDERBOT 2 now available – terrific

The follow up to Martha Wells‘ novella “All Systems Red” is now available. It is as compellingly readable as its predecessor. It is complete in its own right, but part of a longer story arc which will span two more books till the overall story finishes.

Martha is a prolific writer with several series as well as single books to her credit. I’ve long been a fan of her, ever since I was introduced to her Ile-Rien series, one of my favorite series of all time. Find out more about her extensive works on the Martha Wells web page.

Click on the images to preview or buy the books.

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Eric Flint’s RING OF FIRE press

I’m a big fan of the 1632 Universe created by Eric Flint. I’ve read all the novels in the series, and they inspired me to write my own alternate-history series: The Shapechanger Tales.

Recently I discovered that Flint created the Ring of Fire press, an organization which publishes short novels published originally in the online subscription service The Grantville Gazette. This service is a place for shorter fiction taking place in the 1632 universe. Each issue also includes one or two short articles exploring some part of the universe. For $4.20 a month the Gazette is a real bargain.

So far I’ve read and recommend the following. My favorite perhaps is the first. Click on the images to read the first few chapters.

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LAER’S POLITICS – complex, not red or blue

In these highly political times I’ve decided to openly declare my politics. They are complex, because the universe is complex. They are NOT binary: black or white (or red or blue). Or liberal or conservative.

I am liberal AND conservative. AND moderate, a rare bird in these divisive times, where you must be one or the other.

On most SOCIAL issues I’m liberal. On ECONOMIC issues I’m moderate. And on most DEFENSE issues (personal and national) I’m conservative. My personal flag is red AND white AND blue.

At the base is defense. At the personal level, I interpret the 2nd amendment right to bear arms as applying to personal defense, not as applying to militias as the founders viewed it. I also believe that for every right come responsibilities, the chief among them to act wisely. (To see more click PERSONAL defense.)

At the national level, I support a leaner and more effective defense. I believe we need to focus less on hugely expensive weapons, and more on ground troops and cyberwar. (To see more click NATIONAL defense.)

After our physical survival is assured we must consider our fiscal survival. Economies are cybernetic systems. History has shown that massive top-down control of economies (socialism) is largely a failure. Bottom-up controls (capitalism) is much more effective. But only if some top-down controls ensure certain endemic ills of capitalism are prevented. Small businesses, for instance, like all infants, must be protected from big-business predators. (To see more click ECONOMICAL issues.)

Physical and fiscal survival supports our spiritual and social health. Racism is an evil we must aggressively fight – BUT with firmness not fanaticism. The same goes for religious intolerance and sexism. I am a feminist, because feminism is at its base about fairness. Not just to the women in our lives, but also to men. We have also been victimized by paternalism though obviously less so than women. (To see more click SOCIAL issues.)

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Terrific book: THE BOY WHO COULDN’T MISS

I really enjoyed Laurence Dahners’ The Girl They Couldn’t See, about a teenage girl with a sort-of-super power who takes on a criminal gang. Now she gets help from her brother, who never misses whether with a football or a bullet, to take on another gang. Dahners has a golden touch: the skill to pull you quickly into the story and keep you there.

Click on the images to read an excerpt and to buy the book if you like what you read.

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PROOF – marvelous movie about a female math genius

It’s rare that I highlight an old movie on this site. I usually focus on what’s soon to come out, or did so recently, and which you might not have discovered. But I recently rediscovered a fabulous older movie: Proof, a movie based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning play of the same name.

We SF/Fantasy fans like to read and write books about superheroes and geniuses, like the recent terrific Gifted and like Good Will Hunting. Proof is about a mathematical genius, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, the daughter of another genius. In it we discover that she has done original ground-breaking research of her own, and must fight to convince others that it is her work rather than the unpublished work of her recently passed-away father.

Besides a drama of a high order, I especially liked that it realistically shows what it’s like to be a genius, heir to all the weaknesses as well as the strengths that all of us share.

Proof is available streamed or on DVD from Amazon.

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Two terrific YOUTUBE DANCE CHANNELS

I spend two or three hours a week on YouTube looking up interesting and fun videos. I often download the ones that are fun to re-watch (usually dance videos) and put them on a DVD. This way I can more easily watch them on my TV in high resolution. I can also control whether I slow, freeze, or back them up to better view favorite segments.

I’ve found two channels that post the most interesting and also the artistically  best videos. They are called Gioma and Km Music.

Here is a recent video from each channel that I really like (plus a bonus from Km Music).

 

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KELLY SHADOW WALKER pictures & story beginning

I had an idea this morning after reading a thread in the Absolute Write writers’ website. AW, if you don’t know, is a terrific collection of over a hundred different forums for just about every kind of writing imaginable. My favorite is the SF/Fantasy forum. The thread was Superhumans?

After reading it an image came to me. A young girl writing in her diary – a secret electronic diary hidden in her brain. She was a superhuman unhappy with her lot.

Click on each image to see a larger size.

It’s tough being a superhuman. Oh, excuse me, POSThuman. Mustn’t be politically incorrect, suggesting superiority to ordinary humans. Even in my secret diary stored in one of my brain’s nanoscopic memcores. (As opposed to my public supposedly private pback diary I’m keeping to keep my school counselor happy. Not that she or anyone else can read it, it being in my 256-bit personally constructed code.)

So, future me, hope you don’t sneer at me. I’m only 10 years old. Cut me some slack. Are you really that more mature, five or fifteen or fifty years from now? Or five thousand. I’m supposed to be able to live that long. I cringe at the thought. Cringe.

What really annoys me is the missions PH Rescue Central assigns me. Last week it was getting a cat down from a tree. I couldn’t use my supersuit, it and me, Kelly “Shadow” Walker, being secret. Nor could I jump up to it, supposedly being a mere human. Yes, MERE human. MERE MERE MERE I said it. (Silently, to this memcore.)

That’s it so far. The story continues, but I haven’t put much online yet. See it at THIS link.

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THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL – series name is perfectly true

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is funny, touching, sad, and happy in turns, and sometimes in the same instant. Inspired by the rise of female comics like Joan Rivers and Totie Fields in the late 50s and the 60s, it has been greenlit for a second season. It’s almost a superhero movie in its heroic exaggerations, but it is also very effective because of the exact opposite. This is its subtly understated sets and costumes and seemingly incidental scenes which evoke the times. The show and the lead actress, Rachel Brosnahan, have been nominated for the Golden Globes 2018.

The show is the mature creation by the team best-known for “Gilmore Girls” – Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino. For more info, see its Wikipedia page. And to see how to get it, go to its IMDB.com web page.

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