Fresh babble here! Innocent bystanders Stale babble here Who's to blame Zander's Tangle Last babble Last babble
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Zander Nyrond
Name: Zander Nyrond
Log of Smallship One - Passionate and Confused
I'm just, you know...I'm just the guy who does the thing.
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Those who point out with ill-concealed glee, as the lady quoted in this article did, that we older fans with our antiquated opinions and our nostalgic illusions and our horrible grey hair will soon all be dead, overlook the fact that by the same inexorable process, they will soon be our age. And I shall be very surprised if they do not also find that (regardless of their politics) they prefer the company of their friends to that of strangers, they tend to hold to the opinions to which their experience has led them, and they also wish the future that is staring them in the face were more like the simpler one they imagined when they were younger. That is, I should be surprised, except that I'll be dead.

And just on a general note, anyone who tells a person who is dealing with the manifold failures and inconveniences involved in growing old that they are not living in the real world deserves to be thoroughly beaten about the head with a walking stick. I am, as always, just saying.
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I'm uniquely qualified to review this event, you understand, because I wasn't there. If I had been there I couldn't have written this review. But because I wasn't there, I can give you the complete lowdown on what a triumph it was and how brilliantly everyone performed.

This gets long...Collapse )

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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Two Magicians and a Boat is stalled again, but part 16 of Return To Argenthome is up at http://www.avevale.org/index.php/episodes-plays/10-epsodes-plays/27-return-to-argenthome, and part 23 of A New Chapter may be found at http://www.avevale.org/index.php/guests, for your pleasure.

Another new "Gestalt: Before The Music" short story is in the works.

Read and enjoy.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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By popular request (hi Paul), a short story, The Boy In The Bubble, is now up on Avevale here.

And here's a sneak peek at what I'm writing right now:

“It’s a flute,” said Verneen Halannim blankly, turning the thing over in her hands.

“Happy birthday, darling,” said her mother.

“Wear it in good health,” said her father.

“Mother, Father,” Verneen said, “thank you, very much, but I have a question.”

Professor Elek Halannim and her husband looked at her inquiringly.

“Over the past nine birthdays,” Verneen said, “you have given me, among many other nice things, a flute, two guitars, a trombone, three drums, a piano accordion and a set of six air horns mounted on a rack. Is it possible that you’re grooming me for a glittering career as a one man band?”

Her parents smiled at her.

“Enjoy the flute, darling,” her father said.


New episodes will be up this weekend. This will appear when it's finished.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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I just finished season five and started on season six and I'm not sure I want to go on.

Spoilers, just in case anyone who's interested still hasn't seen it...Collapse )

This is not The West Wing. This is nuWing. And I don't like it.

I may want rid of seasons five and six when I've finished going through. If anyone's interested, let me know.
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Consider the world for a moment. Not the planet, not the ecosystem; I'm talking about the human world as a whole, politics, economics, industry, technology, culture, art, all our societies moving forward into the future one day at a time.

How do you want to see it?

Do you want to see it as a confluence of vast impersonal forces, market forces, technological progress, social evolution, all rushing headlong from places we never knew toward goals we can't imagine, with us human flotsam just caught up in the currents and trying vainly to keep ourselves upright and afloat?

Or do you want to see the human world as composed of human beings, each one of us possessed of a degree of agency in our own sphere, in aggregate capable of determining our destiny and shaping the world the way we want it?

I can see the attraction of the first view. There's something exciting about being on a roller coaster, especially with no safety rails, or being caught up in white water and swept along. It gives people something they can secretly worship, a power bigger than themselves but influencing their lives just the way people used to think gods did. And, of course, it neatly exonerates anyone of personal responsibility for things that happen. You can't stand in the way of progress. Global economic forces are unstoppable. One must grow or die. The weak go to the wall. Nothing personal, it's just business.

But I have a sneaking fondness for the second view. The one that says there are no market forces, there is no tide of progress, those are just metaphors we made up and then put on an altar. What there is is us. We do things, or by inaction allow them to be done. CEOs of companies make choices which result in job losses and call it market forces. Politicians take kickbacks from lobbyists and then stand up and say there was nothing they could do, it was just economic progress. Fifty-two per cent of people don't bother to vote and say it's all just politics, what can you do. Metaphors. Weasel words. Excuses. We don't have time for that any more.

Given enough of us who know what's happening and agree, we can bend the market forces to our will. We can stop the Progress Bus before it goes over the cliff. It's not the tide. It's not a force of nature. It's nothing but us. The human world is us. If we're going to be a global economy, we have to act like one, globally. If jobs are being outsourced to other countries because the labour is cheaper there, then something global needs to be done about that so everyone in both countries can either have jobs, or live without them. Rich economies want their businesses to pay less for labour in poor economies, then the rich economies must support their citizens without demanding that they work for it. That's what the Universal Basic Income is really about, and it says something for human agency in the human world that anyone is even considering it.

We cannot allow ourselves to be ruled by metaphors. We're people. We are what's really here.

If we don't start acting like it, we're going to die.
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So, that happened.

My spies tell me that it was very well attended--so well, in fact, that they set up a video feed in an overflow room to accommodate those who couldn't fit into the main venue. The production went very well, and several members of the cast were singled out for praise, including but not limited to the Rumour-Monger and the Narrator. The band and the chorus also received what I'm sure were well-deserved plaudits. All in all, a resounding success, from what I hear.

I am very, very pleased right now. I've been kind of on pins all day, not because I doubted that the performance would be excellent (I didn't) but because I was afraid they would end up performing in a corridor somewhere to three homeless guys and a dog. I'm really happy to have my fears confounded, and I hope this sets a precedent for more large-scale filk productions at future Worldcons.

I look forward to seeing what other people thought of it.

And well done to everyone involved. You did an amazing job.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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So I'm watching season five of The West Wing. I just re-read the book of selected scripts from seasons three and four, and after reading the huge cliffhanger on which season four ended, I had to watch the episodes in which it was resolved, and I just went on from there.

I don't know if I judge post-Sorkin WW too harshly. I mean, yes, it's like watching ballet with the sound off, seeing the characters he created but not hearing the music of his dialogue, but my raised expectations should not bias my judgment of what that fine cast and crew did once he was gone. I'm more than halfway through the season now and I'm still not sure.

The last three seasons of WW are a story of failure. Right from the outset, the world into which we look is different; Bartlet and his team are smaller, the enemies larger, the many defeats a foregone conclusion, the few victories won at huge cost. Before there was hope for real change; now there is just getting through the days, hoping to survive. It's like the difference between the dream and the reality of Obama's presidency. And maybe that's the clue.

I always wanted WW to take off into the fantasy it aspired to be in those early days, to show what could happen if a good man became president, not what would happen. I wanted Bartlet's America to become all that America could be in the world. I'm not talking rainbows and unicorns, I'm talking about what could happen if democracy could really become a set of tools for making people's lives better, instead of a dismal compromise. I think that's what fiction is for; to show us how life could be, not how it is. We already know how it is.

The producers and writers, after Sorkin left, opted not to do that. And I think that's a shame.

Sometimes, on my more tinfoil hat days, I think the knife went in while Sorkin was still there, when Bartlet was railroaded into a morally abhorrent action that the character I'd come to know would never even have considered for a moment; and then I think that the impetus behind the knife may have come from outside, from a real-world regime which saw a fictional president's approval ratings justly outstripping those of the actual occupant of the White House at the time. I'm probably wrong, as most paranoid conspiracy nuts are...but I'll never know one way or the other, and I'm not American so it doesn't matter what I think.

I'll finish season five and maybe watch season six; I don't have the last one, but that's okay because I'm not interested in what happened after Bartlet. I watched enough of it when it was on telly to know how it ends; exactly where it began.

Aaron Sorkin created a magnificent ensemble of characters and made me love each and every one of them, and he put them through hell and made me forgive him for doing it. The least, the very least, he or his successors could have done, in my opinion, was allow their effort, their suffering, to be in some measure rewarded; to let them fulfil even a few of the hopes and dreams with which they embarked on their journey.

They didn't. And I think that's a shame.
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Anyone who may happen to be reading this who is (a) at Loncon, (b) not planning to zip away immediately after the closing ceremony, and (c) not already going--may I strongly, STRONGLY, recommend that you go and watch and listen to Before The Dawn?

While not actively participating in this performance due to circumstances beyond, I have been involved with this project since its inception twenty-five years ago (in fact I may have caused it, but ssshh), and I hope to continue to be involved in it through the three-disc studio album and the blockbuster movie to be directed by Sir Peter Jackson and featuring twelve new characters and a talking fish. Seriously. Catch it now. They've been working like stink and they're talented, dedicated people; it should be good.

And if you aren't going to read this till you get back from Loncon, I hope you'll go and see Before The Dawn anyway.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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"Hold on," said Verneen. "There's something wrong with your maths here."

"Ten years after my mother died, why was I only nine and seven-eighths?" Tollain said. "They kept me in stasis for a couple of months while they built the bubble and worked out the procedures. My birthday got postponed."

"No child was ever that precocious," Kaichang scoffed.

"I was. I spent most of my first decade unable to do anything much but read and think. You could say I started out as a grown-up and didn't get a chance to be a child till I was eleven."

"And you've been one ever since," Kaichang said, but she was smiling.

"You left off the ending," Orville said. "What happened after all that?"

"Nothing," Tollain said. "Well, what I'd said would happen happened, obviously. But there was no comeback for what I did."

"Then you were lucky," Orville stated.

"I was careful," Tollain said.

"Do you have any of her recordings left?" Suncat said. "I never heard her, stuck out on Argenthome."

"Neither did I," Kaichang said.

"Nor me," added Verneen.

Tollain shook his head. "I gave them away," he said simply. "I didn't need them any more."

"Maybe we can find some somewhere," Kaichang said hopefully.

Tollain looked at them. It would be a shame to douse their hopes. And anyway, who knew?

"Maybe," he said. "Who's going to give me a hand with the dishes?"

*

If you want to know what all this is about, check out The Boy In The Bubble, a brand new short story available here!

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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Avevale is fixed! I still can't get at the Drabbles/One-Shots page to edit it, but The Boy In The Bubble is now also up here, while part 15 of Return To Argenthome is here as usual.

I have the best webmaster. That or it was something stupid I did wrong and I'll have to apologise for pestering him. Either way, he's pretty good.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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Something appears to be wrong with Avevale. I'm contacting the webmaster as soon as I've done this, but in the meantime, if you would like to read part 15 of Return to Argenthome, you can find it at one of the following links:

http://nyrond.altrion.org/stories/RTAPart15/RTAPart15.epub
http://nyrond.altrion.org/stories/RTAPart15/RTAPart15.mobi
http://nyrond.altrion.org/stories/RTAPart15/RTAPart15.pdf

And especially for Paul, who hasn't started reading any of the novel-length stories because they're too long, a brand new short story about Tollain Kintarsh's early life, called The Boy In The Bubble:

http://nyrond.altrion.org/stories/BITB/BITB.epub
http://nyrond.altrion.org/stories/BITB/BITB.mobi
http://nyrond.altrion.org/stories/BITB/BITB.pdf

I hope this works. Normal service will be resumed on Avevale as soon as possible.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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To all those travelling from other climes to experience Loncon 3...welcome to the UK. I hope you have a great con. Just don't go near the castle.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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I've finally started to read this. I knew the song, of course. Peter S Beagle sang it at Bayfilk III, and it's on one of the tapes. It's about three women who come to an inn and raise a certain amount of hell, and then go away again.

"One was as brown as bread is brown,
One was black with a sailor's sway
And one was pale as the moon by day."

When I first knew he had written a novel around the song, I desperately wanted to read it; but it was hardback and imported, and way beyond what I could afford. And then I got shy. Because by that time I had realised--I felt as if I had known all along, but I don't think I had--that the three women in the song were Suncat, Kaichang and Verneen. (That was when I realised that of course Kaichang was black, she just was, and how could I not have noticed that?) I even started my own story at one point, but it got much too fiddly trying to shoe-horn my far future Truesingers into a fantasy setting, so I chucked it in; but it left me loth to read a story in which they weren't, in which they were three other women entirely. And it's taken me this long, two completed Gestalt stories and one more on the way, to pluck up the courage to pick up the book (which in the meantime had got cheap enough that I could get hold of a copy) and start the process of separation.

We'll see how it goes.
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When I thought we were going to a rehearsal this weekend and to Worldcon after that, I bust a gut to get extra episodes out early so that there would be reading matter up there even while I was away from the computer. And then that collapsed, and I'm here. Twiddling, as it were, my thumbs.

So, while Two Magicians...and a Boat is still on go-slow, and A New Chapter is awaiting a further delivery, I do have a new episode of Return To Argenthome, part 14, and in response to shameless pleading from various members of Gestalt I have put it up. You can find it at http://www.avevale.org/index.php/episodes-plays/10-epsodes-plays/27-return-to-argenthome for your reading pleasure.

What will happen next weekend I don't know, but I expect there will at least be part 15, for anyone who has a spare moment during the con and is able to take advantage of the ExCel's free wifi. And, of course, for anyone like me who couldn't or didn't go.

Read and enjoy.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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Contrary to previous bulletins, Jan and I will not be able to be at Worldcon this year. (Or any other, probably.)

Abject apologies have been offered to those who moved heaven and earth and spent a fortune to try and get us there, and I'd also like to apologise to everyone we were looking forward to seeing there. I hope it's a fabulous con and you all have a wonderful time.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.
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http://www.avevale.org/index.php/guests for parts 20, 21 and 22 of A New Chapter!

http://www.avevale.org/index.php/episodes-plays/10-epsodes-plays/26-two-magicians-and-a-boat for parts 14 and 15 of Two Magicians...and a Boat! I know, I'm an episode short. The missing one will hopefully arrive before we depart.)

http://www.avevale.org/index.php/episodes-plays/10-epsodes-plays/27-return-to-argenthome for parts 11, 12 and 13 of Return To Argenthome!

Read and enjoy. I'll be back at the old peanut stand in two weeks' time.

And if anyone does feel like making a donation, it would really help.

Originally posted on http://avevale_intelligencer.dreamwidth.org. Comment here or there or both if you wish.