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September 9, 2007

The book with everything
Posted by Teresa at 05:14 PM *

We’re at this year’s Farthing Party. Here’s a program item I was on this afternoon:

16h00 The Book with Everything
SF has a plethora of weird novel awards. It would be theoretically possible for one book to sweep them all. The panel attempts to brainstorm a plot that could fulfil all the requirements. Glenn Grant, Jo Walton, Marissa Lingen, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Jim Macdonald.
I did some research in advance, listed all the awards I could remember, and came up with a set of specs that satisfied all their requirements. It was a good panel. The book, which Lis Riba christened Atlantis Nights, had a truly extravagant plot. Jim Macdonald drew a cover for it, and wrote a limerick to serve as its epigraph.

Afterwards, everyone demanded that I put the specifications up on Making Light. I said I would, but only if they promised to help reconstruct the plot. They said yes, so they’re stuck now. Here are the specs that’ll make you eligible for the Arthur C. Clarke, Aurealis, Compton Crook, Crawford, Ditmar, Eisner, Golden Duck/Hal Clement, Hugo, John W. Campbell Memorial, Kindred, Lambda, Locus (for Best First Novel), Lord Ruthven, Mythopoeic Fantasy, Nebula, Nova, Parallax, Phillip K. Dick, Plunkett, Prix Aurora, Prometheus, Rhysling, Seiun, Sapphire, Sidewise, Spectrum, Stoker, Sunburst, Tiptree, and World Fantasy awards:

The book has to be a graphic novel which is the first novel published by the author, a person of color who is an active and well-liked member of SFWA. It must be initially published in Canada, in French, as a paperback original, with simultaneous British and North American English-language editions following about ten minutes after, and a Japanese translation already in the works. It must satisfy the genre expectations of hard SF, mythopoeic fantasy, horror, alternate history, and romance, have positive gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered characters, and include examinations of gender, gender identity, racial identity, class, and libertarianism, while not being unsuitable for younger readers. Also, it has to have poetry in it. And a vampire.
Take it away, guys. Key insight: Hexapodia.
Comments on The book with everything:
#1 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 05:59 PM:

The book is entirely in verse, with each character having his or her own poetic style.

We have a graphic novel.

This is the limerick that appears in the very first square caption:

There once was a space-going squid
Who said, "For a song--or a quid--
I'll fly to the stars
Where you find great gay bars...."
And that's what, precisely, she did.

#2 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 06:06 PM:

Here's the cover:

A giant bio-engineered squid is the gasbag of a zeppelin moored to a mast in a futuristic New York City skyline (played by Toronto), the sort of futuristic that you'd see on a 19th century pulp-novel cover (for this is an alternate history). The buildings all have spiral ramps around the outside.

The zeppelin-squid is rainbow colored (to show its sexual orientation), though in the book it's only referred to as "iridescent."

#3 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Do the cover, or interiors, well enough and you might be able to squeeze a Chesley in there as well. And publication in the other Spectrum.

#4 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 06:13 PM:

You guys are teh awesome.

#5 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 06:24 PM:

But where are the insects (hexapoda), Jim?

A polypus* launched into space
with a gigantic grin on its face
announced 'To the stars
in my suspended cars!
I'll ensure Making Light wins the race.'


*Thank you, David Goldfarb.

#6 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 06:33 PM:

I'm writing from Atlanta in shock,
my spaceship's just out of its dock,
but a fellow named Jim
whose light is not dim
has just christened it 'Four O'Clock'.*

I knew I was just on the brink
of transilience; yet without pause to think
Teresa declared
what we all wanted aired
that now it was time for a drink.

All you people who voyage in space
know matters have their proper place;
before the first call
up in Montreal
the order is 'splice the mainbrace'.

I got the contract -- lowest bid --
but one simple fact I had hid.
Though we were all staunch
about the great launch,
the one who got drunk was the squid.


* Yes, I misread the header and thought '16h00' was part of the title....

#7 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 06:33 PM:

It is not merely a generic Squid; it must be Vampyroteuthis infernalis. Perhaps with a sperm packet from her brother or other meaningful male, which must be delivered to a suitable female squid-- squide, because then it looks sort of French and will get the Kushiel vote-- thus making her symbolically male.

#8 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 06:51 PM:

And the whole story centers around an alternative timeline Alan Turing (positive gay character) who secretly is also black, but passing (positive character of color). And he's also secretly an insect (hexapedia). In fact, he's secretly a mutant enormous mosquito (vampire). And he makes a fortune designing free-market codebreaking computers to sell to His Majesty's Anarchist Non-Government (libertarianism). Which eventually become important in the fight against the giant bioengineered squid. (Opportunity for Mary Dell's photoshop magic.)

#9 ::: Tansy Rayner Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 07:18 PM:

If you want your novel to be eligible for the Aurealis (and who doesn't???) it would have to be authored by:

a) An Australian (not necessarily living in Australia)
or
b) A non-Australian who has lived in Australia for some time and looks to be a fixture (eg. Jack Dann)
or
c) A non-Australian who spends a significant amount of time living in Australia (eg. Scott Westerfeld)

With b) or c) it helps if they are married to an Australian!

Cheers,
Tansy

PS: It doesn't have to be published in Australia

#10 ::: Cass R ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 07:28 PM:

Where's the sodomy? And the dinosaurs?

#11 ::: Konrad ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 07:33 PM:

Wasn't each entry
Supposed to be different
Type of poetry?

#12 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 07:46 PM:

Poor Half-blood Vampyre
A squid of passing gayness
Clash in futures past

#13 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 07:52 PM:

Since when is someone secretly-black-but passing-as-white a "positive character of color"? Just because he's a vampire insect?

#14 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 08:13 PM:

Oh, spendid! Bone Dance is as close as I'll ever come, and it falls far, far short of these high standards. Someone had better accept the challenge, because I long to see the results.

#15 ::: Adam Lipkin ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 08:31 PM:

Cass (#10):

They could be anywhere in the book. But what matters is that they're together.

#16 ::: Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 08:40 PM:

Squid
Goes
To space:
Picture it!
All the tentacles,
Sparkling, iridescent; so gay!

#17 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 08:54 PM:

When your fandom is up to their necks
In airships and squids and gay sex,
For a book that puts geeks
In convulsions for weeks
You had better compose it in Hex.

#18 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:19 PM:

Cover now uploaded; original post amended to link to it.

#19 ::: Cheryl ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:36 PM:

The squid, they said,
Was blue, not red,
And therefore not up to snuff.

We knew, instead,
That squid was well-bred,
And always exceedingly tough.

The vampire he wooed,
Our squid, and pursued,
Her blood with unflagging fervor,

But the squid did collude,
With others more shrewd,
To foil the vampire's endeavor.

#20 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:37 PM:

While waiting for Jim's cover to be uploaded, I couldn't resist throwing together a quick mashup: Squid Zeppelin.

#21 ::: Jim Kiley ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Now I know what I'm doing during nanowrimo.

#22 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 09:42 PM:

Actually, having the squid be Vampyroteuthis infernalis ("the vampire squid from hell", an actual species--it can turn inside out to reveal that its tentacles are lined with teeth) should cover the vampire requirement; and like most squids V. infernalis can change color.

#23 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:07 PM:

The book (a first novel!) is to be written by an Australian with landed immigrant status in Canada.

The squid (bioengineered!) is what sucks down the Titanic (alternate history), not the iceberg that everyone thinks. The purpose of this was to take Captain Smith to the undersea Libertarian paradise (Atlantis) settled by Canadians.

Meanwhile, aboard the squid, in the rear of the gondola you find a dark eidolon (the horror!). Every time a crewperson visits the Eidolon, on passing the threshold he or she switches either sex or gender.

Except Fredo.

Fredo is called back just at the threshold and half-switches. Thereafter, every time he/she passes that threshold, he/she still switches, only it's right for left.

This state of affairs lasts until the morning Fredo is found dead on the deck, totally exsanguinated. Vampires! Hyperspacial vampires. Like the crew of the squid they too are seeking the Holy Grail....

#24 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:10 PM:

Oh, the thing about the song: This society's economic system is based on sound currency. Therefore, the unit of exchange is the song.

#25 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:13 PM:

If it's an 18-gun squid, you might be able to fake your way into Napoleonic, thus bringing in another set of rabid fans.

I am not going to write crossover fanfic for two scenarios that do not exist. Remind me of this.

#26 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:31 PM:

Higgledy-piggledy
Doc Alan Turing as
black, gay, mathematical
genius vampire

often he wondered with
hexapod frankness "will
this tape and state machine
let me retire?"


#27 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:34 PM:

Jim @ #24, hence the expression, "you can get it for a song".

#28 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:48 PM:

Lila #27:

Their currency is based on a highly secure mechanism for transforming your private song (which only you know) into a public song (which you can tell everyone). The transformation uses very bad singers. That's right--it's a public off-key system.

#29 ::: Scott Spiegelberg ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 10:58 PM:

Not to rain on the parade of squids, but how does a first-time author qualify to be a member of SWFA?

Quibbling aside, the squid ends up being a metaphor for the grasping materialism encouraged by the economic class system.

#30 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 11:18 PM:

albatross @#28: transforming your private song (which only you know) into a public song (which you can tell everyone)

Sounds like a call for piracy prevention! RIAA to the rieescue!

Scott Spiegelberg @#29::

Not to rain on the parade of squids, but how does a first-time author qualify to be a member of SWFA?

The first three chapters are sold as individual short stories to SFWA-approved markets, which gets the author into SFWA, and helps hir land an agent and a deal for the completed novel.

#31 ::: Gursky ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 11:24 PM:

It whispered "Just kiss me you fool",
And outstretched an engorged tentacule.
So rather than speak
I bussed its great beak
The ruler of steam-powered Thule

#32 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 11:40 PM:

Not surprising about the song currency. Spaceborne squid use hyperspace waveforms to communicate, and the same means to manipulate intrastellar fusion reactions to provide the pulse radiation that they require to move from star to star on the solar winds. The exact form and sequence of the hyperspace wave required varies from star to star and over time, and according to the vector in n-space. The songs therefore control a scarce resource, so they can be traded as currency, but they're also high art.

Humans call it "the singing of the stars", and there has recently been a vogue for translating the lyrics and rendering the wave forms into a (limited and approximate) analogue in sound. The results are usually meaningless to humans, but when has that ever stopped an artistic movement?

#33 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2007, 11:47 PM:

Dave @ 32

Does that mean we can add spaceborne whales too? And space sharks?

#34 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:07 AM:

But, soft! what squid through yonder zeppelin breaks?
Ay, what rough beast? For Jeanne de Gaulte is my son--
Arise, my son; infernokrush the moon
That burns our bat-wings brown as a dead leaf.
Out, out, brief candle, and out with you, damned Spot!
(For such is named our dear cephalopod,
Although less dear when dripping on our floor.)
The lunar overlords are sick and green;
They all are bourgeois scum. So cast them off!
And we shall rise, we bat-folk and our squids,
Above those damp amphibian peons!
And then you, Jeanne, can find your lady's grave
To get genetic samples, make fresh clones
And live an unstain'd wife with your sweet love.

#35 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:13 AM:

I think the Atlantean libertarians were also an all-female parthenogenetic society that included many women of color.

#36 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:27 AM:

albatross @ 28: In an alternate universe, I just spewed coffee out my nose and all over my bio-computer (caffeine improves processor speed!), but also utterly ruining my fabulous make-up.

#37 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:34 AM:

IIRC, the space squid was to originate in a hard-SF universe. But after the tragic death of its beloved companion, it would travel through a gate to the Witch World, backward in time, whence it would attempt to change history to prevent the incident.

(Hmm. If the death was a suicide, and the story was done in graphical format, it could be an extra-strong contender for the Squiddy Awards.)

#38 ::: Mike Scott ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:44 AM:

You might want to add "Seiun" to your spelling reference.

#39 ::: Twirlip of the Mists ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:49 AM:

Thank you for your positive review of my work. Since my network connection is slow and expensive, I don't often partake in full sensory interface, and sometimes miss important messages. However, my work investigates the important influence of of the congruence of hexapodia and the regulatory amiphlage that precedes ablative dissonance, and the role of unisexuality as a transliteration method. I'm proud and humbled that I have won all those awards at once - it give me hope that we will intubulate further with the rest of the galaxy soon.

Emplazigotic returns,

Twirlip

#40 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:49 AM:

The squid is bio-engineered (hard science content!), and was supposed to be straight, but turned out otherwise. Attached to the squid is a gondola which is actually the Holy Grail. The evil government bureaucrats are pursuing in a rocketship shaped like a Buick hood ornament, which keeps trying to mate with the gondola.

#41 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:58 AM:

Twirlip, welcome! Now behave yourself, or we'll delete all your sub-Planck diacritical gestures.

#42 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:59 AM:

The alien squid's vampiric nature confounds and awes its peers, who share membership in a species with five sexes. Oppressed in our world for its lifestyle preferences and economic philosophy, the squid quests for the Holy Grail -- in order to open a magic doorway into the next universe (where it plans to set up a parthogenetic colony of libertarians).

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:13 AM:

I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade

#44 ::: Twirlip of the Mists ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:22 AM:

Apologies if my diacritics decohered before it was welcome - as mentioned, my connection to the net is slow, and some intramessage loss is statistically slominate, if not reempathized coherently at critical graph junctures.

OK, I'll stop now. In other news, it seems that aside from the publishing schedule (which I really know nothing about, so can't say) Peter Watts' Blindsight seems to actually hit a lot of these themes.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:31 AM:

Patrick @ 41... we'll delete all your sub-Planck diacritical gestures

Venturing into Stephen Baxter territory... Maybe the gondola-squids are microscopic creatures engineered to serve as transports inside a neutron star for equally miniaturized humans, some of whom have turned to piracy and who make their captives walk the sub-Planck.

#46 ::: Twirlip of the Mists ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:05 AM:

Maybe the gondola-squids are microscopic creatures engineered to serve as transports inside a neutron star for equally miniaturized humans, some of whom have turned to piracy and who make their captives walk the sub-Planck.

Ohh... I see room for a crossover/collaboration with Egan - political considerations cause some of the tiny pirates to use some other class of tiny pirates as experimental subjects involving a black hole, a time scale so short that it is hard to image (alternately, an art project lasting until the heat death), and interpersonal conflict of the sort that goes on when one person in a family gets too in to renfests.

#47 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:23 AM:

Serge,

And these subminiature humans (sub-humans for short?) keep talking birds which they use to send messages. Unfortunately, some of the outlaw humans are allergic to the birds causing they to reject parrotcy.

#48 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:35 AM:

Nicely done, Mary Dell, I like the steampunk background.

Patrick, where did you put the link to Jim's cover? I must be very tired, because I don't see it anywhere.

#49 ::: janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:39 AM:

As to membership in SFWA--as soon as contract was signed, the new author could join. But of course it would be two years later (at best) when a graphic novel would come out. Plenty of time to make friends (blurbs) AND enemies (vilification) in SFWA.

And since squids squirt dark ink--even in space--we have our darkness factor. Hermphroditic, color (or colour) changing.

Here is my homage to William Carlos Williams for the book. It is from the surprise villain, who used to be the hero/heroine's best friend.

This is just to say
I have taken the eggsac
from under your bed.

Yes, you were probably
saving it for your own
post-history.

Forgive me
but it was cold and plummy,
and I was that hungry.

Jane

#50 ::: Jeff ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:23 AM:

It's far too late at night for me to check, but couldn't a single book with multiple authors win every award? A team could be put together to fulfill eligibility. And William Gibson would have to be on that team.

#51 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:24 AM:

Here's a mockup of the cover, using an image of Toronto I grabbed from Google Earth, composed with a line drawing of a squid in Painter. I was hoping to see Jim's cover before I posted this, mostly so I could decide not to post it if I was too embarrassed by the relative clunkiness of my version, but it's late, and I have to quit now. FWIW.

#52 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:10 AM:

A scene from a very graphic novel.


"My God! Cynthia, you are naked!"

Lady Cynthia Timebinder stood defiantly in the centre of the cabin, making no effort to hide her voluptuous curves, and tossed her flaming red hair. "It is necessity that drives me," she declared. "Bruce, we are being pursued by a pod of wild space squids, and the Captain has instructed me that this is preferable to having my clothes torn from my body when the psychic emanations of their lust overwhelm all on board."

Bruce twirled his moustache in momentary thought. "Cynthia, while I appreciate the economic logic of the proposal, there is an untutored part of my mind, still shackled by the past, which balks at the conclusion."

"Oh my love!" Cynthia did not so much step forward as bounce. Clutching Bruce to her bosom, she kissed him with a frantic enmthusiasm. "Do you not feel it? Why, the Navigator, who is Psensitive, is already rogering the cabin-boy."

"But I thought the cabin-boy was the disguised, under-age, half-sister of my valet, the product of an indiscreet liaison between my father's butler and a second under-cook in New Orleans."

"The Navigator is in no state to notice, and it would in any case be immaterial to a squid. Hurry, Bruce, lest your hesitation give some opening for undirected excess to overwhelm you."

Too late! From the cabin door a rough voice declared, "Get your kit off, lad! You're pulled!"

#53 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:11 AM:

It surprises ne that nobody at a Farthing Party though of adding a murder mystery, so rendering the work eligible for an Edgar.

#54 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:40 AM:

The Edgar? That would be silly.

#55 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:47 AM:

#48, Bruce Speaker, Cohen to Managers: "Patrick, where did you put the link to Jim's cover? I must be very tired, because I don't see it anywhere."

Our fault. Teresa accidentally overwrote the edited post with a previous version. The link is back, from the words "drew a cover" in the original post.

#56 ::: Del ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 06:29 AM:

What about the Penicillin Award, for the book that's got everything?

#57 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 06:40 AM:

A giant squid arrived here to explore
this planet full of bipeds, yet it knew
already something revealed but to few:
there would be carnivals of blood and gore
and elder beings would arise. A score
of insane prophets laid it all in view,
that there would come a day when Cthulhu slew
all humans and restored what was before.
Now we, the fortunate, on the squid-ship
are set to voyage to an eldritch place.
We are the passengers of cuttle-fish
whose dark existence was but now a blip,
still we must venture out into deep space
where we will be the ones upon the dish.

#58 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:15 AM:

The work was [pirated/released under its CC license]* onto Scribd. [Un/fortunately]*, it contained the following line of dialogue:

"Seeing as I'm over the age of consent, I think you're out of line to tell me I can't sleep with that squid."

After being despaced and de-punctuated, this yielded the following string:

SEEINGASIMOVERTHEAGE...

It was therefore subject to a DMCA takedown notice.

-----
* Delete as appropriate - I don't recall seeing anything about its copyright status...a sinister omission.

#59 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:18 AM:

Not entirely coincidentally, it was at Saturday night's music session that I realized that the lyrics of the trad classic "Angel Band" would require only a couple of touchups and some strategically-deployed italics to be a Lovecraft story.

"The Holy Ones! Behold! They come! I hear the sound of...wings!"
Ia, Ia, Shub-Etcetera. And so forth.

#60 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:37 AM:

Patrick said, "The Edgar? That would be silly."

Your humble correspondent, while conceding the erpertise of a Hugo-winning Editor, ventures toi suggest that past events hereabouts do not indicate that silliness need be an obstacle.

(looks at notes...)

Now why did I coloue the space squids gold, bronze, green, and brown?

#61 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:40 AM:

Makes note to use "as I'm over" as many times as possible...

abi, did you put that in the wrong comment thread?

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Now that Patrick has brought Lovecraft into the plot, how about adding some Ayn Rand? And a pinch of John Norman?

#63 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:56 AM:

Serge #62: Not to mention....

Perry Rhodan took an axe
and gave his planet forty whacks;
when he saw what they had done
he gave his authors forty-one.

#64 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 08:07 AM:

Jim Macdonald (#24): Oh, the thing about the song: This society's economic system is based on sound currency. Therefore, the unit of exchange is the song.

Which is why the book is written in verses: the book itself is instrumental to the plot, the readers realising at the end of the book that the deflation their reading caused is what forced the squids's time-looped invasion in the first place.
And the vampires actually are trying to save their natural cephalopodan enemies by terminating the in-story book readers, for such is the only way to the Graal.

#65 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 08:08 AM:

Lady Cynthia yawned delicately. "Bruce, the space squids have gone. You can stop quoting John Norman as though you believe him."

Bruce glared at her. "On your knees, you ungrateful Kajira!"

There was a noise not unlike a large frying pan striking a balk of timber. Bruce crumpled, in a manner that would have been wholly unappropriate to the aforementioned balk of timber. The cabin-boy, a handsome dusky-skinned lad, placed the cast-iron frying pan on the occasional table. "Will that be all, Ma'am."

"Pray assist me with this gown, and then call for Mr. Bruce's valet. And well done."

"Thank you, Ma'am!"

#66 ::: Ian Osmond ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 08:09 AM:

RE: #27:

As I recall, it WAS an eighteen-gun squid.

Modified.

#67 ::: Ian Osmond ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 08:09 AM:

RE: #27:

As I recall, it WAS an eighteen-gun squid.

Modified.

#68 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 08:59 AM:

abi @58: "The work was [pirated/released under its CC license]"

Is there an award for CC licensed novels? And if not, why not?

albatross @28: "Their currency is based on a highly secure mechanism for transforming your private song (which only you know) into a public song (which you can tell everyone). The transformation uses very bad singers. That's right--it's a public off-key system."

It's a little more involved than that. Currency exchanges could originally be performed in a building that contained the remains of dead relatives. It was a public off-key crypt system.

But this became unweildly, and now a drawing of the building is generally considered acceptable. It's a public off-key crypt-graphic system.

#69 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 09:39 AM:

Jules @ 68

And since the identifying tags for the bodies are attached to the most conventient place on the feet, it's a public off-key crypt-toe-graphic system.

#70 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 09:51 AM:

Has anyone told PZ Myers about this thread?

#71 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:06 AM:

The undersea Canadian lesbian libertarians are attempting to build a perfect society based entirely on the works of Ayn Rand.

When Captain Smith (of RMS Titanic) is brought into that society, however, his natural male dominance (and penchant for iambic pentameter) lead to two or three chapters that would make John Norman blush in shame (all in a way that is not inappropriate for younger readers).

The author (an Australian of color with landed immigrant status in Canada, at the time of the book's release living in the Pacific Northwest) became a beloved member of SFWA based on the publication of three short stories in qualifying markets. This is a first (graphic) novel.

The murder mystery begins when Fredo is discovered exsanguinated on the deck in the gondola cabin.

The clue that puts the crew on the track of the vampires is that, when found, Fredo is left-male/right-female, while the last time anyone saw him/her he/she was left-female/right-male. He/she must have entered the Dark Eidolon between Lights Out and his/her discovery the next morning (by Lady Penelope--class issues are very much at the forefront in this novel).

#72 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:10 AM:

James Macdonald @ 71... his/her discovery the next morning (by Lady Penelope...)

Thunderbirds are go!

#73 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:13 AM:

Also, each chapter begins with a stanza of a long saga-poem, making the work eligible for the Rhysling.

#74 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:20 AM:

PNH @ 55

Thanks for fixing the link.

Jim, that's a cute drawing. The dialog balloons made me think the gondola ought to be liberally covered in bumperstickers (24 ft. font?) with slogans like "Honk if you love someone of the same sex!" and "My other cephalopod is an octopus".

#75 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Not only have I been laughing all through this thread, at one point I actually broke out into applause.

More, plz?

#76 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 11:56 AM:

The encrypted songs are sung by people in small boats moving down the river. Each boat can hold eight people.

This is called an octet stream.

#77 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:01 PM:

Jim Macdonald at #23: "Meanwhile, aboard the squid..."

I am in the middle of a forgotten paperback called Petrogypsies, in which oil drilling is not done by machines but by giant tunneling worms that people can ride inside of.

#78 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:03 PM:

#61 Makes note to use "as I'm over" as many times as possible...

Andover over Dover ready to hand over to Dover, over

#79 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Oh it's squidcraft, wicked squidcraft...

Great stuff, everyone! And "Making Light" is the one true source.

#80 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:13 PM:

Scott Spiegelberg @ 29"
"Quibbling aside, the squid ends up being a metaphor for the grasping materialism encouraged by the economic class system."

Wasn't there a long-tentacled eye of the pyramid named Leviathan in Illuminatus?

#81 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Other people seem to have already hit the high-points (or should I say, low-points) of the consensus story.

I just want to add that near the end of the panel, I came up with another idea which manages to hit most of the bases, which I'd like to share. [I'll post it to my blog after business hours.]

In an alternate-history Nigeria, a recently-widowed woman of color hopes to use her newfound freedom to explore her gender identity and alternate sexualities. In short, she is looking for romance.

Unfortunately, with the loss of her husband, Miriam Abacha has lost her social status and faces a dramatic struggle to regain personal liberty and her property rights against the bloodsucking usurpers keeping her captive.

Her only recourse is to invoke a mythopoeic ritual dating back to the Spanish Armada, which she will innovatively update with new verse translations and perform upon a worldwide collection interconnected computer networks (to be described in lovingly-accurate technical detail).
Oh, and were I actually crazy enough to write this out, it would be my first novel, though I fit none of the other racial, national or membership qualifications.

#82 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:25 PM:

Erik @ 77

Giant alien tunnelling worms! (I have a copy. Weird and funny both.)

#83 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Could we give the giant space-squid main vessel a smaller, younger space-squid "cabin boy"? Or would it be GLBT-unfriendly to have him circumnavigate the skipper?

#84 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 12:53 PM:

P J Evans @82.

More proof that there is no book that hasn't been read by at least two fluorospherians.

I'm convinced that if I mention the bizarre book I read a few years concerning interplanetary truckers who use a system of jump gates left by a mysterious civilization called the "road builders" and which featured among other things a creature which had memorized a poem that told the other characters where they needed to go (kind of) and which ended with the line of dialogue, "You just punched God's lights out!", at least somebody here will know which book I'm talking about.

#85 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:06 PM:

Jules @ #84:

It's actually a trilogy.

#86 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:07 PM:

I know. But I only have the middle book. :(

#87 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:29 PM:

As this is a graphic novel, it will be eligible for a Squiddy. But the voters will probably think the author's trying to pander to them.

#88 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 01:33 PM:

Leave it to Making Light-ers to bring me out of a blue funk with a sudden onset of mad giggles...
And Fragano....Perry Rhodan!?

#89 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:01 PM:

As her servants hacked their way through the brush surrounding the tomb of her executed husband, the Nigerian Princess Díla da Zarb'é contemplated her life. No longer would she have to live in secret, attended only by her 50 most loyal servants, able to eat caviar only twice per week! Now that she had found, at last, a kindly westerner with an appropriate bank account, she would be able to convert the $30 million in blood diamonds her husband had swallowed before his death, and live as she had formerly been accustomed to living.

As she deserved to live. She was firmly convinced of that.

At last they arrived at the tomb. It was pathetically small; the mausoleum would barely hold her and the 5 men (actually 4 men and one transgendered-in-transition-from-female-to-male, greatly enhanced with bioengineered hormones) she'd brought to do the heavy lifting. They'd had to leave their jackal-and-heron livery at home, lest they should be discovered. She would take vengeance upon those who had brought her to this humiliation, vengeance!

With magical crowbars they pried the sealed lid from her husband's casket. It fell to the floor with a crash. Then they all stood staring at the empty space within. They were undone; all of them knew that all their secrecy had been for naught, and they would soon be in the hands of the authorities. At last, Díla herself gasped out what no one else dared to say.

"By the gods!" she exclaimed. "He's been—decrypted!"

#90 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:10 PM:

Emma #88: I'm sorry. I just couldn't help it.

#91 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Jules and Trip: I have all three of them. C'mon, it has a reference to Arthur Treacher.

#92 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:40 PM:

So where does the Silverhawks crossover come into the story?

This certainly gets my 10 thumbs up...

#93 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Skwid @ #92: whew! For a minute I thought you meant this.

#94 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:52 PM:

The Google ads that come with this post are ... things of wonder.

#95 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:59 PM:

Jim @ 94

Yeah, I'd never have expected one for the '4-H Mall'. (slight croggling here)

#96 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 02:59 PM:

#84, Jules
I'm convinced that if I mention the bizarre book I read a few years concerning interplanetary truckers who use a system of jump gates left by a mysterious civilization called the "road builders" and which featured among other things a creature which had memorized a poem that told the other characters where they needed to go (kind of) and which ended with the line of dialogue, "You just punched God's lights out!", at least somebody here will know which book I'm talking about.

#85, Trip the Space Parasite:
It's actually a trilogy.

You mean Erq Yvzvg Serrjnl by Wbua QrPunapvr, right?

Oh yeah, I read that. I didn't know there was a third book though, I'll have to find that.

Bonus Round:
Name that post-apocalyptic tale about the psychically endowed Canadian priest who meets the giant slug on his journey to defeat the bad guys in book two. After meeting and shagging the psychically endowed Native American princess.

#97 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:32 PM:

midori @ #96: Uvreb'f Wbhearl?

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:44 PM:

Could we have a Corsair Queen of the Space Lanes in there? She might be from an alternate reality where Mars was like Leigh Brackett's.

#99 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:51 PM:

#84, 85, 86, 96

The Series: Fxljnl
Book 1: Fgneevttre
Book 2: Erq Yvzvg Serrjnl
Book 3: Cnenqbk Nyyrl

Thanks to: The Internet Speculative Fiction Database

#100 ::: Duncan J Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 03:55 PM:

Me @99
Gosh Darn It!

Delete them Expletives!

Linking is not my priemier skill!

Link in 99 should be: The Internet Speculative Fiction Database

#101 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 04:21 PM:

#97, Lila
midori @ #96: Uvreb'f Wbhearl?

Yup.
With a wacky premise like that or the aforementioned Erq Yvzvg Serrjnl, I really wonder that Hollywood hasn't come calling a long time ago. I mean, they did Waterworld and Independence Day.

Jules,
I don't know about being surprised that Making Lighters would know these books. I went through a period in my early-to-mid adolescence where I read (almost) every SF mass-market paperback (between Waldenbooks and the library), so I can recognize anything from about 1983 to 1988. My interest level dropped off (I got picky) and the market kept getting bigger. Nowdays, I don't know who's publishing in SF, outside of the big three* who post here from time to time.

I have a hunch that different Lighters** can cover different periods for much the same reason, and there's probably enough overlap to go back to about 1940.

*BONUS ROUND: This is a projective test: who are 'the big three' in modern SF?
**like whitelighters, only more nerdsy-sexy? Or like, well, lighters. (E.g. Reki's Imco 6700.)

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:16 PM:

I'm still waiting for the rotten fruit for my horrible pun, which united the Nigerian scam (thanks Lis!), allohistory, biotech, stupid fantasy writing, and the code subthread.

Come on, there was even real live Hausa in there!

*crickets chirp*

i'll be over here now

#103 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:18 PM:

Xopher:

I'm awed to silence by it. (Also ROFLMAO, if it's possible to do both at once.)

#104 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:23 PM:

P J 103: I'm awed to silence by it. (Also ROFLMAO, if it's possible to do both at once.)

If you block a laugh wrong, you can blow your ass off (or so my inner 7-year-old assures me). So yes, it is possible.

And thanks.

#105 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:31 PM:

@Xopher (#102): Not enough dinosaurs.

(Add to that sometimes the genius seems so obvious it doesn't need to be praised... can I get away with this one ?
In all honesty, I read post #102 before #89... still, I thought it was great)

#106 ::: Fragano \Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:35 PM:

Xopher #90:
Jr xabj ur abg va qr pelcg
qbhtu qr zbarl ur unq oneryl yvccrq;
ab uneq-jbexvat tbcure
vg jnf, vafgrnq Kbcure
gubfr zvyyvbaf bs qvnzba'f unq pyvccrq.

#107 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:36 PM:

For #90 please read #89. I'll go off and shoot myself now....

#108 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:39 PM:

Xopher
MD^2 nailed it, I'm afraid. All the really good ones so fundamentally alter the fabric of reality that it becomes impossible to believe in a universe that never contained them. They have a certain inevitability, as though the language were constructed around them instead of vice versa.

#109 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 05:52 PM:

OK, OK, my fragile ego is now repaired. Thank you all very much. Sentnab, vs bayl lbhe cbjref pbhyq or hfrq sbe tbbq vafgrnq vs rrrrrihy.

#110 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 06:19 PM:

I keep getting the feeling that Mike is sitting somewhere reading these threads and grinning.

#111 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 06:24 PM:

Re #84, 85, & 86:

The first book in that series featured a swell cover of a red '57 Chevy passing a towering futuristic space truck, which introduced me to the work of James Gurney.

I liked the ending of the first book, and was a little disappointed when sequels appeared to fill in the time-paradox action. But at least we got a John Berkey cover and another Gurney out of that.

#112 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 06:53 PM:

It also did not stop at reviving truly ancient puns: Speculating on whether a woman's affections were for sale, a man speculates whether she is one of those "star whores".

#113 ::: Kate Eltham ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:18 PM:

Hi, actually Tansy (#9) is not quite correct. To be eligible for an Aurealis Award the author must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident and the work must have been first published in English in the period under consideration. Details at http://www.aurealisawards.com

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 07:19 PM:

PJ @ 110... Yeah. Remember the Zeppelins of Phobos?

#115 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 08:59 PM:

I just find it fascinating that nobody has so far noted that to hit all the high notes, any such book needs to reference Heinlein somewhere.

Did Heinlein ever write about space squids? Or dinosaurs and sodomy?

#116 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:28 PM:

Kbcure #109: Zl cbjref ner nyjnlf hfrq sbe tbbq; lbh arrq n arj cnve bs ebfr-pbybherq tynffrf.

#117 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 10:40 PM:

For our tale to be truly fit and fine
it must do more than mention flying squid
(so Charlie says). Therefore I've now been bid
to put in mention of Robert Heinlein;
I can't declare that this improves the line
but here lies open what had once been hid,
now is permitted what was once forbid
and we have cleared up all the tangled twine.
What we must write, we write with might and main,
our messages have gravity and pith,
and we will surely show the world the way.
And so the story must include Podkayne,
another Martian better be named Smith,
but I'll be dammed if I can praise Friday.

#118 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 10, 2007, 11:13 PM:

Fragano 117: *applause*

How about....

Robert A Heinlein
springtime, giant mating squid
mobile infantry!

#119 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 01:16 AM:

Emma re: #14:

Bone Dance is one of my favoritest books ever. Except when I've just finished Finder.

Two! Two! Two favorites from one!

#120 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 01:36 AM:

Charlie, #115, I did use a red-haired heroine.

(Or is that more Doc Smith than Heinlrin?)

#121 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 03:11 AM:

He'd go bouncing around in his armor,
Settle Jupiter's moon as a farmer.
RAH resurrected would not be dejected,
and his mom would still find him a charmer.

#122 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 03:22 AM:

P J Evans @ 110

I had the misfortune never to have known Mike Ford personally, and not to discover his writing until after his death, so I don't know anything about his feelings about mortality and immortality except what I can glean from his own words. Still, I think he would be sympathetic to the idea that what remains of Mike resides in places like the Fluorosphere, where collections of his friends and admirers treasure and reuse his ways of thought and speech, and carry on the spirit of the things he cared about.

#123 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 04:38 AM:

I just find it fascinating that nobody has so far noted that to hit all the high notes, any such book needs to reference Heinlein somewhere.

During the panel, it was noted that at one point in the novel the crew of the Space Squid is fooled by a sapient automobile, the Gay Deceiver.

#124 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 07:13 AM:

Shouldn't there be a homage to 'doc' Smith too?

#125 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 07:22 AM:

Xopher @ 102:

Be assured, rotten fruit is on the way. It's just that I'm in Germany, so it will take a while to get there.

(Metaphorically, you made me bang my forehead several times on the table in appreciation. Does that help?)

#126 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 08:16 AM:

#124 Serge:

Sorry, the book plot has gone inert, and your suggestion has harmlessly impacted against it and pushed it along. Be good, or the Valerian Marines will be swinging their space axes to restore order.

albatross for Boskone

#127 ::: Ceri ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 08:22 AM:

And I believe it was Lis who suggested the title (since we do have the vampire squid taking the Titanic to an Undersea City) should be Atlantis Nights.

#128 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 08:42 AM:

Peter 125: Yes, yes it does. Thanks.

#129 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 08:56 AM:

Lady Cunthia paused to admire herself in the mirror. My, but her grey suit was scandalously close fitting. She adjusted the clasp of her cloak and gave it an experimental swirl, the light coruscating in the gems that adorned her flaming red hair.

"Kit, do I or do I not look hot today?"

Kit, who had been christened Ruth, paused, holding Lady Cynthia's gunbelt at the ready, and assumed a thoughtful mien. "Well, M'Lady, weather asied, I do declare you should epxect to be fighting the boys off with a broom."

Lady Cynthia chuckled. "How tedious." She took the gunbelt and settled it's weight comfortably on her hips. "And the mask..." It must, Lady Cynthia was certain, be some ancient magic, perhaps held by the pattern of the jewels inset into the black domino, but nobody seemed to recognise her thus attired.

Kit carefully adjusted her flying helment. Attired as she was in the black harness of a Servitor, not one in Atlantis would even notice her particular presence. "M'Lady", she said, "Your bathyscaphic assault transport awaits."

Lady Cybthia wasn't sure why nobody should notice Kit, and following her along the corridor only emphasised the apparent blindness of the Atlanteans. As she passed beneath a sign, "To the B.A.T. Cave", she inhaled deeply, steadying her nerves for the imminent confrontation.

#130 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 08:59 AM:

Maybe it's just an innate streak of perversity, but I've always wanted to see films made of the Lensman books in which high Boksonian officials* are played by Muppets. I've been suspicious of Bunsen Honeydew's extracurricular activities for a long time.

* As you know Bob, it's very difficult to keep all the thionite out of the air-conditioning system.

#131 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 09:15 AM:

Your Attention Please

The character of Lady Cynthia Timebinder, that flame-haired hussy of the spaceways, is the intellectual property of David Bell, esq., of the ancient County of Lincoln. In deference to the truth, charm, and beauty, of T____a N_____n H____n, a general licese is granted to the particupants in Making Light comment threads to use the character, so long as the reults are fun.


#132 ::: Bunsen Honeydew ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Hi there! Bunsen Honeydew here, from Muppet Labs, where the future is being made today!

And it's a very exciting day today, because we've just finished development of our spiffy new transdimensional vortex. No more tedious chugging along with rockets. No longer the inconvenience of travelling inert, with all of that messy zero-gravity confusion. You just flip a switch, and you are instantly connected to your destination through the sub-ether.

Ah, here's Beaker now. As you see, my faithful lab assistant, Beaker, is all dressed up in his flight suit, and he's just so excited to be the very first person to have a chance to travel by transdimensional vortex. Aren't you, Beaker?

#133 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 10:12 AM:

Dave Bell @ 129

Was that first reference to Milady's name really a typo, or was that a catty editorial comment?

#134 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 10:23 AM:

This Sunday, you'll see spine-tingling (for you vertebrates) phylum on phylum action! It's Mollusca versus Arthopoda, as Space Squid, the Samurai Cepalopod, takes on the BattleShrimp, armed and armored as only a shrimp can be. Don't miss this evolutionary grudge match where the stakes just couldn't be higher as the loser goes to the wall! Sunday!

#135 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 10:29 AM:

"Oh, Helmuth," Lady Cynthia sighed breathily, as the Boskonian's ruthless hands stormed and pillaged every nook and cranny of her Grays, "You're the only pirate who knows how to undo the Gray Seal."

#136 ::: Beaker ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 10:51 AM:

#132: Meep.

#137 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 12:11 PM:

q: Are you really a Lensman.

a: Yes, here is my grey seal.

q: That's not a grey seal, it's a walrus.

#138 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 12:12 PM:

albatross #118: Thanks!

#139 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Dave Bell #129: Fortunately, I had just swallowed my tea!

#140 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Dave Bell @137: Not a lensman, then, but perhaps one of the eggmen?

#141 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 01:31 PM:

Dave,

I'm noting that Cynthia is a double dactyl waiting to happen....

Higgledy-piggledy
Cynthia Timebinder
Dogfighting bathyscapes
block out the shapes

Tentacled horrors come
swatting the ships aside
Out of Atlantis town
nothing escapes.

#142 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 01:34 PM:

(Rats, I messed up the rhyme scheme.)

How about....

Higgledy-piggledy
Cynthia Timebinder
Dogfighting bathyscapes
block out the shapes

Tentacled horrors come
swatting the ships aside
out of that wild ride
No one escapes.

(Not quitting my day job just yet....)

#143 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 01:41 PM:

midori @ #96:
Bonus Round:
Name that post-apocalyptic tale about the psychically endowed Canadian priest who meets the giant slug on his journey to defeat the bad guys in book two. After meeting and shagging the psychically endowed Native American princess.

Ah, but have you read the sequel? (About which I remember almost nothing, except that I enjoyed them both and should extract copies from the used book store while they still exist.)

#144 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 03:12 PM:

Ah, those endowed Canadians... No need for a stud finder up there. Eh?

#145 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 03:59 PM:

midori, #96

This is the series with the moose, but not the squirrel?

#146 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 05:12 PM:

#144 ::: Serge sighed:
Ah, those endowed Canadians... No need for a stud finder up there. Eh?

Well - I'm having a dreadful time getting my hard wood nailed...

#147 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 06:14 PM:

The door slammed, cutting short the blaring fanfare. Wilson stood smartly to attention. "Lord Emperor?"

His Insane Iridiscence, Gavin the Ruthless, Lord of Ceres and Emperor of the Out Planets, carefully removed his ceremonial earmuffs. "My father," he remarked, "was indubitably tasteless when it came to music. Rupert, you were right about the space-squid."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Sir. The potential payoff was considerable."

"You're not gay, are you?"

Wilson shrugged. "I've never felt any desires, but you know what the Academy can get like."

The Emperor winced. "I know it was bad politics, but I really enjoyed suppressing that coup d'etat. So it was just the usual feeling that you ought to keep you back to the wall?"

"Well, more the lack of other evidence. And the sailing records. A normal space squid would have been drydocked with must at least twice, by now, and they would have had to have sent in the fluffers." Wilson sat on the end of his desk and grinned. "It was obvious when I looked it up. Otherwise, just a hunch."

"You have good news. You always smile like that when you have good news."

"Sire?"

The Emperor practiced his regal frown.

""This is not something you need to know."

"An agent, I suppose."

Wilson nodded. "One of my best: an hermaphrodite Kerulean shapechanger."

"That is definitely TMI."

#148 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 06:47 PM:

#135: But in the back of her mind Cynthia couldn't help but think of that night with Qadgop the Mercotan and his zymolosely polydactile tongue. Slurp!


#149 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 09:02 PM:

Jim Macdonald #149: Not a sapient pearwood automobile by any chance?

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 09:27 PM:

Is it my imagination, or is it indeed the third time that James Macdonald's Heinlein response has shown up word for word in this thread?

#151 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 09:55 PM:

I'm having major time-out "unable to post" moments with my browser. I'll fix the multiples if I can ever get things stabilized that far....

(I sure hope this posts ... once.)

#152 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 11, 2007, 09:58 PM:

No problem, James... I only mentionned the repeats in case there was some bug creeping around.

#153 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 08:06 AM:

Joel Polowin @83: Could we give the giant space-squid main vessel a smaller, younger space-squid "cabin boy"? Or would it be GLBT-unfriendly to have him circumnavigate the skipper?

IIRC, that was the punchline to a Damon Knight short story titled 'Cabin Boy' (printed in the collection Far Out). Wasn't described as a space-squid, but it might work...

#154 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 08:39 AM:

Frodo is found dead on the deck, with Aragorn hovering nearby, blood dripping from his blade, and a scantily clad Arwen in tears.

#155 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 09:32 AM:

Rob @ 154: Yes; the story was written towards a "punch line" based on an obscene poem. IIRC, the species was egg-shaped (and communicated by odour).

#156 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 09:57 AM:

Serge @ 155

For this book, I think it works better with some gender stereotype bending: "with Arwen hovering nearby, blood dripping from her blade, and a scantily clad Aragorn in tears." Admirers of Viggo Mortensen's form will no doubt be appreciative.

#157 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 10:05 AM:

Naked save for a loin cloth brandishing a long steel broad sword?

#158 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 10:11 AM:

Now, I myself would be very wary of a loin cloth brandishing a large sword.

#159 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Bruce #159:

Front toward enemy!

#160 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 11:02 AM:

Let me just check my accumulation of CGI tat on this here hard drive.

Fetishistic French Maid outfit.... Check!

Software to convert clothing to fit different base figures.... Check!

Assorted ships.... Check!

Mauser Pistol, with and without Han Solo attachments.... Check!

(One case for same.

One same.)

Sundry orcs, trolls, lizardmen, Elven archers, and scantily-clad babes.... Check.

Japanese schoolgirl with really big spectacles.... Check.

Assorted close-fitting leatherwear with procedural shaders for every colour imaginable.... Check.

Figure morphs to emulate Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, most of the crew of Serenity, and a pack of rampaging Tank Vixens, with poses for every imaginable purpose.... Check

Pink Series III Land Rover.... Check

Wireless Set #10 sans front panel labelling... Check

Assorted Vietnam-era cigarette packets.... Check.

Steam Walking Machine with leather armchair for pilot and Gatling Gun.... Check.

Non-regulation nurse's uniform, with options for indecent transparency.... Check.

Uniform clothing for Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and some of the US Army, appearing suspiciously redesigned for female personnel.

Small zebra-girl with Thompson submachine gun.

SMS Emden

Two different versions of Nemo's Nautilus.

Handley-Page Victor K Mk 2 in desert colour scheme.

Kits for neolithic stone circles, modern American domestic interiors, futuristic flying machines not really made for atmospheric flight, and assorted laboratories for Mad Science.

Lab Coat.

Fourteen different combat swimsuits.


You know, I'm sure I shall be able to come up with some illustrations with all that.

Chemical weapons?

#161 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 11:09 AM:

albatross,

You missed me, you missed me. I wasn't drinking anything! But I did ROTFLMA.

But I did come up with the dialog for that little scene: "It's mine, Precious."

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 11:15 AM:

Dave Bell @ 161... You forgot the bulky goggles.

#163 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 11:27 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 159... I myself would be very wary of a loin cloth brandishing a large sword.

Ever seen Lee Horsley in The Sword and the Sorcerer? He plays a swordsman-for-hire, and a beautiful woman shows up, requiring his services. He quickly responds:

"My sword is poised, Milady."

#164 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 11:45 AM:

161: impressive list. "Shoot, a fellow could have himself a pretty good weekend in Vegas with this stuff."

#165 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 12:12 PM:

Bruce @ 159: It's from "The Eye of Aragorn". (Or Peter Jackson's adapation of it, at least.)

#166 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Apropos of Viggo's body, SFGate recently had an article (not review) about his next movie -- nude fight scene in bathhouse! Or something like that, where his enemies are clad and he isn't. By the same decadent director as his last film (Cronenberg?).

#167 ::: seabream ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 12:22 PM:

For those who are interested, I've posted the audio of the panel here: http://seabream.blip.tv/

The audience participants have not been named so that they can take credit for or deny any knowledge of their contributions as they see fit. Also, I don't actually know all of their names and I don't want to offend by leaving anyone out in particular.

I'm in the process of asking whether the panelists would mind the video being there too, since a few of them don't have official web presences that include their image (that I could find in a cursory search).

"You're just assuming that the squid is white."
"Fine, then you're bringing your pink privilege to the squid."

#168 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 01:30 PM:

#143, Trip the Space Parasite
Ah, but have you read the sequel? (About which I remember almost nothing, except that I enjoyed them both and should extract copies from the used book store while they still exist.)
I think I've read both books, though I dimly recall book 2 left a lot of plot threads dangling. I'll have to find a used bookstore too.

#144, Serge,
Ah, those endowed Canadians... No need for a stud finder up there. Eh?
Quoted without comment, for great justice.

#145, Dave Bell,
This is the series with the moose, but not the squirrel?
Correct, but there is an interlude with a talking dog. Or bear.

Well, nuts to that. The Author of the series died a bit over a month and a half ago! *sigh*

#169 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2007, 02:34 PM:

#163, #165

Yes, Zebras...

#170 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2007, 12:47 AM:

Dave Bell,

Combat swim suits? From the Sports Illustrated special issue?

#171 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Or maybe the sun'n'surf issue of the Marine Corps Times?

#172 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Dave (172), I bet it'd sell like hotcakes.

I did think of throwing in the Edgar, but I thought that would make it too complicated.

#173 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2007, 03:10 PM:

TNH 173: Dave (172), I bet it'd sell like hotcakes.

Or...beefcakes.

#174 ::: John C. Bunnell ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2007, 04:28 PM:

If the author writes the book while living in the Pacific Northwest, it also becomes eligible for the Endeavour Award. (This is not necessarily trivial; winning the Endeavour is worth $1000.)

#175 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 13, 2007, 05:31 PM:

I might add that if the author writes in Spanish or Portuguese, or is a resident of Latin America and the Caribbean (and, if in the Caribbean, writing in English, French, Dutch or English or French Creole), the book will be eligible for the Casa de las Américas Prize.

#176 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2007, 07:50 AM:

And if the book was written entirely on Talk Like A Pirate Day?

#177 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2007, 10:23 AM:

Anybody at Nippon2007 notice the two aerodynamic, somewhat squidy sculptures at Narita airport? Well, squidy, except for the lack of tentacles, I guess. But they did look a lot like visualisations of Tiptree's critters from "Up the Walls of the World", or even squid-zeppelins, I thought. I'll post pictures when I eventually arrive home.

(I'm in a PC-room in Seoul at the moment, surrounded by teenagers play Starcraft, World of Warcraft, and other very noisy games, so forgive me if I'm even more disorganised in my thoughts than usual.)

#178 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2007, 12:13 PM:

One character in the film "Across the Universe" (as reviewed by the NY Times) sounds like she belongs in this book: "Prudence, an Asian-American lesbian cheerleader who hitchhikes to New York from Dayton, Ohio...."

#179 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2007, 12:31 PM:

the sun'n'surf issue of the Marine Corps Times?

Special holiday supplement: Hitting The Beach

Tarawa: 3/10. Great weather, but offshore coral can be a problem.
Saipan: 7/10. Nice offshore break. Try the clams!
Iwo Jima: 4/10. Scenery horrible and locals distinctly unfriendly - but some great photo opportunities.

#180 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2007, 01:24 PM:

NelC @ 178, are these photos of the Narita Airport squiddy sculpture you mean?

(Looking forward to hearing about your experiences of Nippon & Korea.)

#181 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2007, 03:43 PM:

Narita Airport squiddy: So this is what happens when the "The Way to Eden" space-hippies steal a White Star ship instead of a Federation craft.

#182 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 14, 2007, 09:24 PM:

Epacris, those look a lot more like musical sperm to me.

#183 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2007, 09:58 AM:

Epicris @181: Why, yes, it is. Though there is also a red-themed one a hundred metres to the right.

As to writing about Nihon and Korea, I'll leave that to the professionals, I think. You can read about Saturday in my livejournal, if you like.

#184 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2007, 11:28 AM:

#178 ...the two aerodynamic, somewhat squidy sculptures at Narita airport?

I read this at first as "Narnia airport," and certainly got an odd mental picture.

#185 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2007, 11:44 AM:

James D. Macdonald @ 185

In a parallel universe where Flying Tiger Airlines formed a subsidiary to carry passengers called Flying Lion?

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2007, 02:00 PM:

Musical sperm, Marilee?
(Cue "Dueling Banjoes".)

#187 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2007, 02:16 PM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #186: One can get to Narnia by train.

#188 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2007, 02:33 AM:

Fragano Ledgister @ 188

Then, despite my lack of fondness for C. S. Lewis, I have to say it must be a civilized place. Train travel is considerably more comfortable and ever so much less stressful than air travel. Only if there were regular dirigible service between cities could trains be outmatched by air.

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