Back to previous post: Their plan for you

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Robert Sheckley

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

December 9, 2005

Me been feciting.
Posted by John M. Ford at 01:55 AM * 24 comments

Some more stuff is up.

Now with the notorious Janus sonnet and a map inspired by Neverwhere, by Neil’s permission and with a share going to benefit the CBLDF.

Give one of the big guy’s elves a night off.

Comments on Me been feciting.:
#1 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 02:58 AM:

I've just been to the Cafe Press site to inspect the goodies, which look fab. I'm just having a bugger of a time trying to get a close-up look at the Cosmology poster. When I click on the "zoom-in" thingo, I wind up with a blank image. Would you mind reposting the text of this item here, please?

As far as further product ideas go: I'd also suggest your history of artificial intelligence piece, which was a hoot!

#2 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 03:25 AM:


[Greek letter alpha]
First Cause, the Word, Big Bang -- what name you choose,
One bright note sounds. A symphony ensues.

If we, who love the light, had never been,
The stars would find new shoes for dancing in.

Beyond, no fusion burns to light the stars;
The waves will not collapse, the joke won't parse.

First one cuts down the tree, then hears it fall --
It seems we don't need this one, after all.

Our sight and hearing span the spectrum, yet
Most of the universe plays hard-to-get.

The(stellar fires are profligate indeed,)
And what they throw away, we glean and read.

Hello out there! We're here! Do come and play!
Don't mind what our old broadcast quanta say.

You hold the chalk, and I'll apply the glue;
Oh, dear, that's loose again. One's never through --

The galaxies rush on; the redshifts climb,
And loneliness increases over time.

When it was new, the cosmos moved right quick;
Then (sound familiar?) things began to stick.

"Like a great thought," he said, but did not cease
To search and blueprint its machineries.

He wished elliptic orbits to prove wrong,
Yet still proposed them. Reason's whips are strong.

If you will not stand still, while I do so,
I shall see you diminished as you go.

The cosmic egg-shell cupped against your ear,
The rush of the dark ocean's plain to hear.

It's not that he was wrong, the clever Greek;
But where bare Beauty's seen from, so to speak.

So will it stop, or not? The answer tells
Much less about the stars than of ourselves.

One flash when gravity was consummate --
No era spans less time, or greater weight.

The particle is here, and then is there --
But never in between. How does it dare?

One clock stayed on the ground; its double flew.
And it ran slow. So, then. The mad thing's true.

The particles extend like tightened strings,
And when their frets are plucked, they chord all things.

First conjure up that one you love to please.
Now, once again, with quarks, or galaxies.

Position, yes, or speed, but not the two:
To learn, to see, must be to alter, too.

Some facts (see Heisenberg) we cannot know,
So mass can rise from void, and back there go.

Reduced to mathematics, matter's germ --
"Reduced?" What an unfeeling, thoughtless term!

Beyond the atmosphere, a higher light
Proclaims unique new glories of the night.

All sterile are Narcissus and his twin:
When symmetries are broken, things begin.

Too massive in thin space to ever thrive,
Yet, rarae aves, dinosaurs survive.

[Greek letter omega]
Heat death or cold, in randomness or Cause,
It is not how it ends, but what it was.

#3 ::: Vance Maverick ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 05:20 AM:

Check line 10 of the sonnet -- "ma" for "may".

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 05:55 AM:

Mike, OK if your user's manual of comology gets passed on to others?

Also, since you brought up Neverwhere... That reminds me I have to watch it again. Been too long. And do you or anybody else know what's going on with the big-screen adaptation?

#5 ::: Sigrid Ellis ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 09:15 AM:

Oh thank you! Last time I looked there were not so many mugs and posters, and now there are. Whee!

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 01:17 PM:

Serge, I don't know what Mike's take on it is, but I always flinch a little at passed on. I've had pieces of my writing go samizdat, and I'm sure Mike has too.

#7 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 01:28 PM:

I simply meant sending an email of it to one of my friends. She's also a writer and is very ticklish about writers losing rights to their creations (Elisabeth Vonarburg is funny that way). Still, if she sends it to yet another person, Mike's work might wind up in the hands of someone who is not too ethical.

I'll just skip it. Better that way all around.

#8 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 01:30 PM:

Serge, might she be interested in a link to the text in question?

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 01:33 PM:

She could, Aconite, but the issue of dissemination would still be there.

#10 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 02:02 PM:

But she would most likely forward on the link, not the text. There's no way to prevent its being copied. The best we can do is not do it ourselves. If the link gets passed around, it might actually generate sales for Mike.

#11 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 03:29 PM:

Cosmology and the Janus sonnet are both in Heat of Fusion, along with several other verses and stories.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2005, 03:31 PM:

Thanks, Mike.

#13 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2005, 06:04 AM:

Oooo, neat :)

Still impatiently waiting for my elegant Shakespeherian Rags to arrive; during the meanwhile, I wonder how the Janus sonnet would look half left-justified and half right-justified, instead of all centered-- could the ragged ends be made into a more facial profile that way, as well as making the Janissary nature more obvious? (No, that probably isn't the right adjective, but it sounds nice there.)

#14 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2005, 06:37 AM:

Wow, thank you so much for posting that.

#15 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2005, 06:57 AM:

I wonder how the Janus sonnet would look half left-justified and half right-justified...

Unbalanced. And rag left rarely looks very good, though there are sometimes reasons for doing it; it can work for a few lines, or if the lines are relatively even (as when you're setting block text, and can move words to balance the lines). It's really not good at all when the lines are very different in length. (Imagine the differences that are there now, doubled.) In fact, I'm now regretting doing the centering (it's always been set plain ol' flush left). Thank you for the interest, though.

#16 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2005, 11:29 AM:

Serge -- why not buy it for her as a poster, it's only $7.

#17 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2005, 01:21 PM:

A poster, Jo? Hmmm... Where, where?

#18 ::: kate ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2005, 02:49 PM:

Serge-- Um, here?

Or did you want something even more specific than that?

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2005, 03:33 PM:

That'll do it. Thanks, kate.

#20 ::: LnddMiles ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 12:57 PM:

Great post! I’ll subscribe right now wth my feedreader software!

#21 ::: Terry Karney See Spam ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 01:44 PM:

Of the usual mindless sort.

#22 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 21, 2009, 02:16 PM:

Is it really spam? There's no load there. No link or anything, and Googling the name gets someone who's a junior member of the Webmasters' Forum.

OTOH it does seem to be plugging the feedreader software. I don't know.

#24 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: February 01, 2011, 08:07 PM:

On the other hand, it got me to look at Mike's "stuff" again. Now I'm crying, but I think I've got a birthday present for Mom.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.

(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.