2001 grabs me by the eyeballs.

Gridlinked has been kind of boring me and I am sitting on the couch, IMing with Rich, thinking about lunch when I pick up 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke and read the Forward:

“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But everyone one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many -perhaps most- of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven -or hell.

How many of those potential heaven or hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. but the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters among the stars.

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become a reality. Increasing numbers, however, are asking: “Why have such meetings not occurred already, sine we ourselves are about to venture into space?”

Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction.

The truth, as always, will be far stronger.


You’ve got me.

Quotes that are sticking with me lately.

“If there are intelligent inhabitants of Mars or any other planet, it seems to me that we can do something to attract them…I have this scheme under consideration for five or six years.”
– Nicola Tesla, From Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, Biography of a Genius by Marc J. Seifer

“Sing cause its obvious sing for the astronauts sing”
Sing, Dresden Dolls written by Amanda Palmer

“We deserve better than the internet.”
– Vincent Baker

The Grabber at Page 4

From St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves by Karen Russell.:

“My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather. One such melting occurs in summer rain, at midnight, during the vine-green breathing time right before sleep. You have to ask the right question, throw the right rope bridge, to get there – and bolt across the chasm between you, before your bridge collapses.”

Perdido Street Station

I just wanted to jot down the part of the novel that outs Mieville as a geek with D&D in his past:

“Apparently, there’s a few serious adventurers in town right now, claiming to have just liberated some major trow haul from the ruins in Tashek Rek Hai. May be up for a little paid work.”

Derkhan looked up. Her face creased in distaste. She shrugged unhappily.

“I know they are some of the hardest people in Bas Lag,” she said slowly. It took some moments for her to turn her mind to the issue. “I don’t trust them, though. They court danger. And they’re quite unscrupulous graverobbers for the most part. Anything for gold and experience.”

From his interview in Dragon #352:

“With the adventurers, I was simply aware of that and I was playfully and affectionally but critically say, ‘You know, if adventurers really wandered around a coherent world with coherent societies and coherent politics, this is what they’d look like.’ They go wandering into other people’s barrows and steal jewlery off their dead kings. This is not okay. They wander around looking for fights, they kill people at a drop of a hat… As I say, I was that soldier, I’m not casting aspersions. But its a playful way of saying, ‘this is what we play.’

“It’s an affectionate critique.”

Soldiers and Poets

I just finished the first Alatriste novel, Captain Alatriste, soon to be a movie with English subtitles starring good ole Vigo.

I read it in 24 hours and it was a fun, fast read with gritty swordplay and lots of pride in Spanish history, and fun foreshadowing of future books’ events. My favorite parts involved poets, priests and soldiers, standing around in Madrid, getting drunk, getting into or talked out of fights and debating politics and religion as politics shifted and their beloved Madrid wasn’t the center of world anymore. I’m not sure I cared about the plot so much; I wanted more drunken loitering.

But I’m in; I’ll check out the others as they are translated into English. Enough swordplay to keep me going, enough history to keep me fascinated but not nearly enough drunken loitering.

“Strange people, we. As someone would later write, confronting danger, dueling, defying authority, gambling life or liberty are things that have always been done, in every corner of the world, whether for hunger, hatred, lust, honor or patriotism. BUt to put hand to sword, or to knife another being, merely to get into a theater performance was something reserved for the Spain of my youth. When good, it was very good but when bad, far worse than bad. It was the era of quixotic, sterile deeds that determined reason and right at the imperious tip of a sword.”

Captain Alatriste, Arturo Perez-Reverte

“Or El Duderino if you aren’t into the whole brevity thing.”

Janaki and I watched The Big Lebowski last night. Every time I re-watch it a line sticks out that rattles around in me head for a while afterwards.

This time there were two such lines:

“Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women, man.”


“Darkness warshed over the Dude–darker’n a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night.”