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Log of Smallship One - Passionate and Confused
I'm just, you know...I'm just the guy who does the thing.
First of all, while what this was was bad enough, I want to talk about what it was not. It was not a trick, or a Gesture, or a cry for help. It was not a bid for attention, or Making It All About Me, or an attempt to punish anyone but myself. It did not come from a place of power, but from a place of utter powerlessness.

More on the hows and whys behind here if you"re interested...Collapse ) Overall, I have been exceedingly lucky and come through this incredibly dangerous drug overdose with no lasting damage. I will not--ever--be doing it or anything like it again. It is far too late to fix the problem of my existence now, and my gut will simply have to scream till nature gets its finger out and sends round the tall-bony maintenance guy to correct the mistake. (Though at the moment it's quiet. I think I may have startled it.)

On the practical front, we have both spoken to a social worker and a mental health nurse, and we have a bunch of information about help we may be able to get to relieve some of the stress. Jan is obviously still upset about the way I messed up the situation vis-a-vis her mother, but she is now in touch with her family and hopefully they will find a resolution. I am proceeding with my application for a new provisional licence and (if I get it) will take the test as soon as I have boned up on the Highway Code and am confident on the theory. I may need some lessons to remind myself of all the things one Does Not Do Till After One Has Passed The Damn Test. At the moment, if anyone out there is on the list of people who are authorised to sign the back of a photograph to prove it's me, let me know and I'll be in touch when I have a decent photograph.

This is not going to be easy, and we are going to need help. I have been in the old habits for far too long to ditch them overnight. "Trying harder" is how I got there in the first place, so that on its own will not work. Neither of us is particularly good at drawing a line under things and moving on, but that, to an extent, is what we have to do. It really won't be easy.

But for now, I'm alive, and that is good.

More probably tomorrow.
You wanted to say something?
Though (as I may have mentioned) I do not deserve to be. That most risibly pathetic of (living) figures, the Failed Suicide.

I apologise to everyone to whom I have caused distress, and especially to those who wrestled so valiantly with the darkness for my soul in the night. I'm sorry I could not contact people sooner, but in the rush to get me to hospital the tech got left behind.

More later.
What they all said (7) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
There is no fucking justice in this world.

Love and sympathy to Gwen, Emily, Anna, and their family, and to all of us.
What they all said (7) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
...to all my readers (if anyone's still here).

May 2016 bring better times for all of us.

(Yes, still alive (sorry) and had a very enjoyable day yesterday. Sorry about continued absence from webbiness.)
What they all said (10) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
Something really strange happened yesterday. aunty_marion arrived for her expected and very welcome visit, bringing with her Deborah C (or rather, brought by, as we discovered). Jan was crashing after a week of all-night study sessions, but they said it was important that she be up and dressed, so we did that, and then we were bundled into a car and driven to what appeared to be the town council offices. I had no idea what we were in for.

This bunch of totally mad, wonderful people had booked a local function room to throw me a surprise 60th birthday party.

I will admit that for the first ten or twenty minutes I was horribly embarrassed--I was in no state to be at a party at all, having spent the whole morning trying to finish cleaning the house, a futile endeavour (house cleaning is an art, and you know what they say about works of art) but there we are--and had no idea what to say or do. Once I relaxed into it, though, it was very, very nice, and to see so many of our friends who had come all this way to see us was incredible, with more tuning in via Skype. I couldn't hear or understand everything they said, but it was lovely to see them.

So, a huge thank you from both of us to everyone who came, everyone who organised it, everyone who was there virtually or who sent messages of congratulation and hugs, and as I have said many times before, friends like you are far, far more of a blessing than someone like me could possibly deserve. As I embark on my seventh decade of life on this planet, I feel loved, and I only hope you do too, because you are. And I hope my singing wasn't too abysmal.

Thank you.

What they all said (3) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
I'm truly and deeply sorry that my absence from the net has caused concern. I am still alive and functioning. And a year older today, apparently.

It's been a combination of things: real-life worries have been part of it, including Jan's toe and the OU course she has taken on. Mostly, however, it's been me; the worst bout of exhaustion and depression yet, partly prompted by the things I mentioned in my "coming up for air" post a while back, the complete and abject failure of my latest attempt to gain professional publication not only for my stuff but for Jan's far more serious and worthwhile stories, and the gentle, indefinite and possibly infinite recession into futurity of any kind of serious musical project. Again, though, that's only part of it, and the greater part of it by far is just me, being a wimp and a willy weed and failing to cut it, as they say.

I could say I'll try and do better in the New Year, but we all know how well that works. In the meantime, love to you all, thanks and apologies to those who have been worrying, and special thanks to those who have sent birthday wishes. *hugs* to all.

More as and when. Hopefully before Christmas.
What they all said (12) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
I've been a little preoccupied lately what with one thing and another, so I've missed much of what's been going on. (Well...a lot of it I haven't missed at all, but you know what I mean.)

On Thursday my friend haikujaguar posted about how she doesn't think creating "safe spaces" is a good idea, because it means people aren't prepared for the nastiness of life when it breaks in on them. It's an unsafe world, she said, and the illusion of safety does us no favours. It was a brave thing to post, and I saw her point.

And yesterday she posted again about how, when she was having trouble coping with said nastiness, she found a book that gave her courage to face this unsafe world and fight for her dreams. It worked for her, and I'm glad.

And then Paris happened. Co-ordinated terror attacks, attributed to Islamic extremists, that killed hundreds. I don't know much more than that, nor do I particularly want to.

There's no book that will help you survive that. There's no amount of individual courage and toughness that can make you equal to that. There's no degree of "unshelteredness" that will withstand that.

If our world is as unsafe as it manifestly is, we are not doing it right.

We need safe spaces. Real safe spaces. We need this entire world to be a safe space. Not safe from ordinary things like an acorn falling on your head. Not safe from illness and death. Not safe from unavoidable natural disasters. Not even, necessarily, safe from people saying rude things, though I wouldn't rule it out.

We need the world to be safe from some of us trying to kill the rest of us. And if it starts (because we can't wave a wand and make it happen everywhere at once) with places where nobody is allowed to carry a deadly single-function ranged weapon...even if it starts with places where you're not allowed to be rude about somebody else's religion, or lack thereof...however it starts...it must start. And if, when it's done, people are free to grow into human beings without having to be tough, without having to learn to fight, without having to be soldiers, then we will at last be starting to do it right.

Okay. Back into the hole.
What they all said (9) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
I see via cherylmmorgan that the World Fantasy Award people have ditched the cruel Gahan Wilson caricature of H P Lovecraft that was the physical form of their eponymous awards, because it's not right that notorious racists should be cruelly caricatured, or something. There appears to be some uncertainty about what form the award should take; I imagine it's quite hard to find a fantasy writer from a hundred years ago who didn't have some distasteful ideas. There were, after all, a lot of them about.

I have a modest suggestion that should offend nobody. The individual I have in mind is both a writer of fantasy and a character in fantasy, is named after the protagonist of an iconic ghost story, and has, as far as I know, no offensive prejudices at all. In his other persona, as it were, he has also had a long and honourable involvement with fantasy of one sort or another.

I think the World Fantasy Award should be a bust of Terry Molloy, in the character of Professor Edward P Dunning.

Although they'd probably end up being called the Dunnies. No, maybe not.
What they all said (4) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
That Ralph Waldo Emerson quote in full, courtesy of William Tenn, who is well worth rereading:

"If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or build a better mousetrap than his neighbour, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door."

To those who continue to force their way through the undergrowth to my door, I owe more thanks than I can say. I'm still having a problem uploading; I've rebooted everything, put all the information I have into FireFTP and FileZilla, and they still can't find Avevale or the Tangle. I don't know what to do about that.

The Argenthome album is...stalled. I have this dilemma; if I do everything myself I can occasionally produce an album that is more or less okay, but if I want to make something good I have to ask real musicians and techies for help, and they have real lives, work, health problems of their own and their own real music to make, and no reason in the world to put any of that aside to help out someone like me who is stuck out in the wilds, can't afford to pay what their help is worth and can't even get to see them. So that's where we are on that.

Jan's absent toe is healing very well, apparently.

In the good news department, I have a new Shop story on the go, and when it's firmly established I'll go back to putting chunks of it in here for your delectation. I got more comments that way anyway, and if I can't make money then comments will do very nicely, thank you. I've been doing some research for it, in among other things (thanks to lexin for pointing the way) and one thing that has resulted from that is the following little ditty, which will not be appearing in the story, and which may not mean much to most people. Explanation will probably emerge in a comment. The tune is, once again, the damnably earwormy "Be Our Guest," and the voice is the voice of the immortal George Formby:

Fus Ro Dah, Fus Ro Dah,
It can give you quite a jar,
If you hold it for three seconds you could overturn a car.
With the power of your voice
Your opponents have no choice,
Though they're armed in heavy metal
They'll go arse over teakettle;
Bounce a bear off a wall,
Needs no exercise at all,
Just don't ever use it in a crowded bar;
For folk might make a stink
If you upset their drink
With Fus Ro Dah, Fus Ro Dah, Fus Ro Dah.

And there we are. See you all later.
What they all said (3) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
I just saw a graphic that said "If animals are like us, then animal experimentation is morally unacceptable. If animals are not like us, then animal experimentation is pointless."

I am opposed to animal experimentation, though uneasily aware that I am very probably alive today because someone wasn't prevented from experimenting on an animal...but I am also opposed to bad arguments for good causes, and this is one on the lines of the famous "If these books say the same as [sacred text] they are superfluous; if they do not say the same as [sacred text] they are blasphemous. Burn them." It's entirely possible that animals are enough like us that experimenting on them could be useful, while being enough not like us that someone (who is not me) might not have a problem experimenting on them. It's a false binary, if that's the phrase I'm after.

But what's your feeling on this? Do you get itchy when something you agree with is supported, or something you oppose is attacked, using arguments the holes in which a four-year-old could see? Or if you feel strongly enough about it, is any argument, however faulty, good enough as long as it's on the right side? I'd really like to know.
What they all said (7) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
Julia Ecklar's CD "Horsetamer" is bloody brilliant.

Never mind whether it's filk or not. This is MUSIC. Played on real instruments by real people and gods can't you tell, arranged by an absolute master and beautifully recorded and engineered, but all that would be nothing if the songs and the singer were not first-rate. If the passion and power in the writing and the performance of these songs do not register with you, then I don't know what will.

Tastes differ, of course, and you may just not like Julia's voice or her songs or both. You may not be keen on the subject matter, which ranges from Elfquest to Susan Cooper to Dune and further afield, from sf to fantasy to nature to war. (EDIT: or, of course, you may feel that, since there are songs on here based on Darkover and Ender's Game, by buying the album you would be indirectly promoting the work of noted homophobe Orson Scott Card or recently outed child abuser Marion Zimmer Bradley. I think this would be an utterly absurd reaction myself, but it's a possible point of view, so fair warning.) You can listen to some sample tracks on the page linked to above, to make sure. I can only speak for myself, and to me there isn't a single song on this album that isn't a jewel. As soon as I get to the end I want to start it again, and the bravura rendition of "Horsetamer's Daughter" that is the centrepiece of the collection leaves me breathless and teary-eyed every single time.

I would love to produce an album a hundredth this good. (Who said "producing an album at all would be something"? They're coming, they're coming. Just not sure when.)

Give it a listen, and get it while it's still gettable, because there probably won't be any more like this for a good long while.
What they all said (2) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
Tetrad and Oonaverse rejected. Oik and Argenthome probably to follow. No personalised feedback possible. In other words, as expected.

I retain my artistic integrity. Go me.
What they all said (3) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
"Right, then, settle down. I'd like to call this meeting to order--and if the orcs at the back would kindly shut their faces we might get some--because we have a serious issue to discuss, we all know what it is, and it's time we got it out in the open and talked about it.

"This is, on the whole, a very beautiful world in which we live. (Laughter) I mean, yes, we have our problems--the high elves hate the dark elves, the dark elves hate the high elves, the halflings hate the goblins and everybody hates the dwarves (laughter) but mostly we rub along quite reasonably. But there is a shadow hanging over our world, brothers and sisters, and it is the shadow of privilege. A tiny, privileged minority is ruining it for the rest of us. (mutters)

"You've all seen them. They wander into the village or the mine or the camp, from nowhere, they've got no idea what's going on, they're a bit clumsy and a bit crap and maybe at first we feel sorry for them, right? And then, suddenly, when there's a quest to be done or a monster to be killed, they're the only ones who can do it. Not any of us, who've been living here our whole lives. Why is that? Nobody knows. So off they go, singly or in a group, and they manage the quest and they kill the monster, and we all have to pretend to be grateful. And that's all right, you know, because okay, we had been meaning to retrieve the jewel or clean out the orc nest--no offence--but we let it slide because there was the harvest or the planting or a new tax levy or something, so yes, they did us a favour.

"And then you wake up one day and they're striding around in their armour pinched off dead people and talking about how they've gone up so many levels and all this. Levels? Who talks about levels? Does anyone come up to you and say "What ho, congratulations, you're now a level three farmer or a level five miner and now you can do such and such"? (Cries of "no, no") I do not think so. But these people, who have no job as far as I can tell, no trade, no useful function in the community, are putting on all these airs and asking pointedly if there aren't some more monsters they can beat up for us. Because of levels.

"And you know what happens then. They go out looking for trouble--quite literally--and they find it and they stir it up. And then before you know it there's dragons swooping about causing mayhem, and armies of undead crawling out of the earth--no offence again, some of my best friends are undead, but you know what I mean--and once again we have to turn to these people to clear up the mess they've caused. (hear, hear) And still, mark you, they expect gratitude. More than that, they expect us to welcome them into our villages and so on and let them settle down there. Houses. Henchmen. Servants. And then it's "oh, I've got so much money, I've got so much power, I'm so high level, you should call me 'my lord' or 'my lady' and show some respect" and all this, you see. Social disruption, economic disaster, currencies destabilised because all of a sudden there are mountains of gold and diamonds flooding the market, all because of this tiny minority of--let's use the word--adventurers. (Boos, hisses, and the usual lone raspberry)

"Now I'm not saying they do it deliberately. Privilege is something you may not even be aware of--if you've got it. They may not realise how they've tipped the playing field. That does not mean it isn't happening, and it doesn't mean it isn't a problem we need to deal with. And it's no good simply going round beating them up whenever you find them. That just makes them angry, and more to the point, because of this levels business, it seems to make them stronger. That's the last thing we need.

"All right. Now you've listened to me rabbiting on long enough. I'm going to throw this open to all of you. Questions, suggestions, anything, but please, no fighting. And in--oh, half an hour, say--we'll break for coffee, tea, mead, elderflower juice or whatever, and then we'll split up into action groups and discuss whatever we've come up with. Right?

"Off you go, then."
What they all said (5) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
I promised you things, so here they are. I sprang for a couple of games on Steam when they were ridiculously cheap, because they intrigued me, and now I'm a-fixin' to talk about them.

Incidentally, I'm cheered to learn that there is now a term for the kind of game I really like, which is "walking simulator." I'm aware that the term is derisive in original intent, but I don't care. Walking everywhere as I now am, it becomes apparent to me that I mostly walk to the same two or three places every day, and while it is true that in every wood, in every spring, there is a different green, from day to day in a semi-urban environment the changes aren't that noticeable. So it's nice to walk virtually in different places. Also less tiring on the legs.

The Old City: Leviathan, for the most part, doesn't offer a very inspiring alternative. I feel there is something about some game designers in this area that's got stuck, as if they took to heart early criticisms of CGI as looking "too clean," and go overboard on grunging everything up. For this premise, it works; the setting is an old, abandoned city (as advertised) or rather its outskirts, so everything is filthy, everything's broken, there's rubbish everywhere, and the overall effect is depressing. The protagonist is also (we are told at the outset) insane. TOC:L is not so much a game as a prolonged philosophical muse with scenery, and I think I might have preferred the philosophy of someone like Rousseau or Thoreau; again, the tone is pessimistic, fatalistic and negative, right up to almost the end. There are puzzles, things to do, and there is a plot, though I'm not sure I caught all the nuances. The end, though, made it all seem to some extent worthwhile, and apparently there is, or is to be, a sequel, which I hope will be significantly different in tone.

Ether One is disturbing in a different way. Again, we're told at the outset that we are going to be exploring a mind that has been damaged. The scenery is more attractive, though the artwork does not stand up to close scrutiny (as in it looks like am-dram painted scenery, which, it belatedly occurs to me, may be intentional). There are more puzzles here, and some quite startling effects, and a twist at the end which, while it didn't come as a complete surprise to me, was still effective. The ending, however, is downbeat, even more so than TOC:L, and I doubt I'll be playing this one again unless I can get clear enough of my own depression to find sad endings enjoyable.

EDIT: as you were. I just went back in to get one puzzle that had eluded me (having looked up a hint guide, cos I is fick) and discovered the real ending, which is not downbeat at all and rounded the story off perfectly. I'm still not sure if I'd play it again, but it makes Ether One a whole lot better than TOC:L.

Mixed experiences overall, but people more mentally robust than I might find them more enjoyable. Lovers of bleak, particularly, may enjoy TOC:L.

And there you have it, as the poet Mercury sang.
What they all said (3) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
"Yes, I am a false Odin. I admit it, I lied. That big fella? He lied too, because what is the one thing gods never do? Gods never actually show up." (yup, still watching)

In other words, there are no gods because there are no gods. (Because there are no gods because there aaaare...)

If that's one atom better than the logic of faith, it's an atom I can't distinguish.

"God can't be proved!" they roar to raise the roof.
"But this proves God." "Well, then it's not real proof."

Admittedly, the Doc was on fairly safe ground in a BBC family-oriented adventure series, but even so.
What they all said (8) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
I had done a thoroughly depressing political post, but I've consigned it to oblivion, so instead you get some recommendations.

I may have mentioned that I've been listening to the Phryne Fisher books by Kerry Greenwood and enjoying them a lot. I've emailed her a couple of times (no more, though--pro writers are busy people) and she seems very nice and our kind of people. (I think she was in the SCA at one point.) I've now moved on to her Corinna Chapman series, and I think I'm actually enjoying them even more.

Health warning first, though: these books are sweet. Very sweet. It's the real stuff, nothing artificial about it, and there are a nice selection of complementary other flavours, but if you're a grimdark addict or an emotional diabetic and can't handle stories in which a bunch of thoroughly nice characters do good deeds in a wicked world, then these books are probably not for you. My taste happens to run that way.

Not that they're unrealistic or twee. I said this was the real stuff, no saccharin here. The stories are once again set in Melbourne, but in the present day, and drug addiction, child abuse, corruption and other crime are very much in attendance. The eponymous Corinna is a baker, whose shop and flat are in a block constructed on Roman lines and called Insula. She knows and likes almost all the other tenants, and almost all of them know and like her, and one day she gets involved with...well, that would be telling. Again, she's not an impossible Pollyanna figure; she gets cranky and upset, has parental issues, and feels much the same as you or I would about getting up at four in the morning. But she does it.

Along with the drug addiction and so on, the stories are full of loving detail about baking, and also lots of sf and horror references (some of which I'm sure she gets wrong on purpose; doesn't everyone know Christopher Lee wasn't in The Brides Of Dracula?). There are vampires (not the real kind), witches (mmm, maybe), genderqueer people who don't come to grief and nuns whose faith seems to work. But what they're really about is love: the love you can feel for people to whom you aren't related, for whom you do not have a smidgen of sexual attraction or vice versa, with whom you can get extremely annoyed on occasion without it changing your feelings about them in the slightest, and who in a crisis will be on the spot with what you need, sometimes without you even asking. Corinna is very blessed in her friends. I know the feeling.

The series starts with Earthly Delights, and goes on to Heavenly Pleasures, Devil's Food, and if you aren't hooked enough by then to Google the remaining three then you don't need me to tell you about them. If you like the kind of thing I like, you might like these.

Well, that seems to have made a post, so I'll do the "...and things" another time.
You wanted to say something?
(from an idea I came up with a while ago, to make zombies less horribly dull)

FIRST DUDE: Wow, that was just like awesome, man. Did you see her? She looked like an angel or something.

FARMER: She was...beautiful.

PROFESSOR: Yes. It would seem we have been wrong about zombies all this time.

HOUSEWIFE: What are you saying, Professor?

PROFESSOR: It appears the comet triggered the next stage in our development as a species. The "zombies" are what one might call the pupal stage, protecting the soul while it matures into the higher being we just saw. Unfortunately, for most of us, the transformation seems to need an infusion of some sort from someone already in the pupal stage to get it started. That explains the urge to bite.

SECOND DUDE: Yeah, but did you notice she was also like really pissed, man?

BUSINESS TYPE: Well, we did shoot her husband before she could change him.

FARMER: Like we did with my wife. (Covers eyes with hand) My wife could have been...

REDNECK TYPE: Hey, she was beggin' us, pal. I say we did the right thing.

PROFESSOR: No, no. We've been tragically mistaken. We've been destroying zombies for a year now, and each one of them--oh God, how could we know?

LEADER TYPE: Never mind that. What's done is done. Now we have to make it right.


LEADER TYPE: There must be people all over the world doing the same as we were. Organising into groups, stockpiling weapons, killing zombies. We have to--we have to stop them.

FIRST DUDE: But meanwhile the zombies are still gonna be tryin' to kill us, man.

SECOND DUDE: Not kill us, doofus. Change us.

BUSINESS TYPE: Wait a minute. What about the ones that just eat people?

PROFESSOR: Well, clearly in some zombies the instinctual patterns have broken down. We've been stuck in this larval stage for thousands of years, remember. Who knows how it was originally supposed to go?

REDNECK TYPE: Ah, you're full of it. You scientists--you don't know jack. I say we carry on doin' what we're doin'. If God wanted us to be zombies he'd have put it in the Bible.

PROFESSOR: Doesn't the Bible talk about the dead being raised at the Day of Judgment?

BUSINESS TYPE: Oh yes, let's drag religion into this, why not? (to LEADER TYPE) What should we do?

LEADER TYPE: We have to find the other groups and warn them. We still can't let ourselves be bitten, but from now on, no killing. Of anyone.

HOUSEWIFE: It may not be that hard. Surely some other zombies must have reached this stage somewhere.

FARMER: Yeah, but if they all do what she did, go off to roam the universe or whatever, it's going to be tough providing proof.

REDNECK TYPE: Sure, and how you gonna stop a zombie bitin' you without killin' it? No way, pal. I see a zombie--BAM. I waste it. It's the only way.

LEADER TYPE: We'll just have to find another way. One thing is for certain. (going all visionary) We've been given a second chance. A chance to put our species back on the right track. Whatever it takes--whatever we have to do--we can't throw that chance away. Who's with me?

(Pan round the various faces, rebellious, confused, scared, sad. Blackout. Roll credits.)

I think it could work...but zombies still really aren't my thing.
What they all said (1) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
At a loose end reading-wise, I pick up Terry Pratchett and Jacqueline Simpson on The Folklore Of Discworld, which I've only read once, and the following hits me in the face:

"Legends don't have to make sense. They just have to be beautiful."

I don't know whether Pratchett or Simpson wrote that immortal line, but one can see the grizzled, pith-helmeted heads nodding sagely in the fug of pipe and cigar smoke. This is colonial condescension at its purest. These natives, they're like children, y'know, believe anything you tell 'em. Do some dashed fine work in bronze, though, just sayin' to Carruthers, we'll have that lot for the Museum. Another, old man? Don't mind if I do...

Legends always make sense. They may not, as it happens, be true, but they can be relied upon to make sense. This is because they were common currency among farmers, fishermen, hunters, soldiers, merchants and other grown-up people to whom sense was survival. If the crops were good one year and bad another, it made sense to think someone had done something to make that happen, and sense to ask them not to next year. If there were memories passed down of a great flood, it made sense to tell the story that somebody built a boat. If a monster is turning people to stone by looking at them, it makes sense that looking at its reflection would have no effect. And if the world has to stand on something, it makes sense that it's a turtle, because they're the right shape.

It is scientific and philosophical hypotheses which do not have to make sense, because they are developed by academics who don't care about such things. As long as the words make elegant, symmetrical patterns, or the numbers can be made to balance out by inventing the square root of next Tuesday or whatever, and of course as long as observation does not directly contradict the theory, sense, in the sense that the rest of us understand sense, need not apply. And, of course, as several people are about to shout angrily at me, the real world seems--at the moment--to be on the side of the scientists and philosophers. That, as one might say, is a minor detail. The fact remains that legends, as stories, are scrupulously, even rigidly, sensible, as they should be. It's only when they start to verge on metaphysics that the logic begins to slip a bit.

Come to think of it, I'm fairly sure Sir Terry knew this truth, so it must have been Ms Simpson who wrote that line. Oh well.
What they all said (12) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
One possible answer, anyway. There are many, and none seems preferable to any other.

Spoilers.Collapse )

Still lots of AAARGH and fudging and handwavery and self-conscious cleverness, but better enough than Moffat to keep me watching, blast the thing.
What they all said (3) . Unless... You wanted to say something?
Alexei Panshin, for whom as an sf writer I have a great deal of respect, has a bee in his bonnet about horizontalism. This he explains as a system for running the world without hierarchies--I've probably mentioned this before--where nobody has authority over anyone else and people just do the right thing because it needs doing.

I don't believe it can work as long as people are people and not angels, but in this it resembles capitalism, communism, anarchy, democracy and really any form of government apart from tyranny, so I don't see why we shouldn't try making a mess of this system as well.

But Mr Panshin also scorns to participate in the current "verticalist" system of government, describing elections as "a verticalist amusement," "choosing the frontrunner of the evil empire." (This from a FB post, one of many.) He regards both major political parties in America as equally foul and corrupt, Obama and Bush as equally evil, because they work in a verticalist system, and maintains that "the future lies in horizontalism."

On how we make that future a practical reality, he has refused to be drawn, but he is very clear that voting for any candidate in any election is counter-productive and merely perpetuates the verticalist system.

As I said, as a writer of sf I respect Mr Panshin. As a political thinker, I think he's rubbish. He is saying, if I interpret him correctly, "Elections are a sham, so I refuse to take part in them and advise all my friends to do the same, and when people we don't like get elected it just proves what a sham elections are." I'm not very bright, but I can see a circle when it's in front of my nose.

If you believe the future lies in horizontalism, then develop the theory in practical terms, form a party, gather support, stand for office in the current verticalist system and win, and then you will have the authority to put your theory into practice. Alternatively, you could learn to fight, buy weapons, outfit a very large army and overthrow the government.

Otherwise, horizontalism to me looks very much like lying down and taking it.

EDIT: personally, I like my government three-dimensional at very least, with both horizontal and vertical magnitudes, and possibly even depth. I think it would be nice if we could avoid conferring special status and extra money on somebody just because their role is managerial rather than clerical, and I don't see why that should be unavoidable, but a government without someone co-ordinating and directing the effort and resources would be unworkable.
What they all said (5) . Unless... You wanted to say something?