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December 7, 2009

I Got Yer Contemporary Urban Catholic Fantasy *Right Here*
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:22 PM *

The Apocalypse Door: A novel of the knights templar Tomorrow, the 8th of December, 2009, will see the re-publication in trade paperback of my novel, The Apocalypse Door. It is a thriller, a spy story, a mystery, a bit autobiographical, a devotion, an explication, and doctrinally correct. It was edited by the perspicacious Claire Eddy.

Here is a review, by Norman Spinrad.

Here is the first chapter.

I humbly beg all who wish to buy a copy to do so, not at Amazon, but by going down to their friendly local big-box bookstore and getting one off the shelf. And I further beg that all who will do so, may do so, sooner rather than later. This will be a positive good.

The main character, Peter Crossman, Knight of the Temple, has appeared in three short stories as well as this novel. (I am, as we speak, at work on another novel, and another short story.) Mr. Patrick reprinted one of those earlier short stories in his New Magics anthology.

  • The Apocalypse Door
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765306085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765306081
Comments on I Got Yer Contemporary Urban Catholic Fantasy *Right Here*:
#1 ::: Renee ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:15 PM:

Got it.

#2 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:18 PM:

Hurray! I have a hardcover* but I know who needs it for Christmas.

Is it possible to get our hands on the other two short stories?

*remaindered; sorry, I was in grad school when it came out!

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:30 PM:

Will call the store first thing tomorrow, Jim.

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:42 PM:

Yes, the other two short stories are available.

On Crusade: More Tales of the Knights Templar is still in print, as is Crusade of Fire: Mystical Tales of the Knights Templar.

Or, if you are looking for the three short stories by themselves, I have them as a chapbook through Lulu.com: The Confessions of Peter Crossman.


#5 ::: Charity ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:43 PM:

Casual reader here, so apologies for the Really Dumb Question. The benefit of buying our books from a local independent store is obvious, but why is buying from a chain store to be preferred over Amazon?

Well, aside from the #amazonfail snafu over Easter. And I suppose the environmental footprint might be smaller, since the bookstore receives cases and doesn't ship one bitty book at a time.

Heh, forget I asked. (Though I'd still be curious if there's a writerly reason.) I just hate rewarding Borders in any way... they moved their nice convenient store to the spectacularly inconvenient and snooty new mall in town, and I try never to go there.

#6 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:50 PM:

Already bought the hardback, but it's nice to know more people will get to find out about the really scary mushrooms...

#7 ::: Samuel Bierwagen ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:55 PM:

"Catholic Fantasy"?

#8 ::: Chris Eagle ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:55 PM:

Well, that's another present sorted. Since my backup plan was to knit him a hat, my fingers will thank you.

#9 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 10:56 PM:

but why is buying from a chain store to be preferred over Amazon?

Because pre-orders from physical bookstores drive print runs for future books. And the big chains are the biggest horsepower engines out there.

#10 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 11:20 PM:

OK, off I go..

Enjoyed the Norman Spinrad review too, 'Literary television' is a fine turn of phrase.

#11 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 11:34 PM:

Don't Amazon orders count for the next print run as well?

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 11:44 PM:

Amazon orders don't help B&N decide how many they're going to pre-order, no. As I understand it, BN.com orders don't do it either. What we're looking for is books at cash registers in physical stores.

#13 ::: truth is life ::: (view all by) ::: December 07, 2009, 11:49 PM:

@12: Ah, I see. Amazon orders are fundamentally quantized by recipient, and while you might sell a huge number of books, they will all be one at a time, and therefore will have no effect whatsoever on the wider industry. Essentially, you'll be doing a print-on-demand thing.

#14 ::: 'As You Know' Bob ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 12:12 AM:

Sorry, I've already got it in hardcover.

#15 ::: Erf ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:37 AM:

"Contemporary Urban Catholic Fantasy"...

That description alone makes me want to get this book. :)

#16 ::: abi the perpetual edge case ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:41 AM:

I'm reasonably certain that I can't affect your demand statistics, even if I get it from the American Book Center in Amsterdam, but I'll have a look there before I put it into an Amazon order.

#17 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:16 AM:

I hadn't heard that Amazon has ever made sufficient apologies and redress of grievances for the events which precipitated the Amazonfail memewar, by the way.

#18 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 04:22 AM:

I read this a few years ago; unfortunately ordered from amazon at the time. I did enjoy it quite a bit, even though the self-proclaimed catholicism of the thing was a puzzler to me before I started actually reading it. To anyone else who might be wary of a novel that is "dogmatically correct", I can testify that to someone who really doesn't care much about catholicism one way or the other, all the churchy, priestly bits come across as very cool authenticism, this kind of detail-oriented writing where you just know the author knows what he's talking about, and even if the subject matter in question may not be dearest to your heart, it's woven into the story in such a clueful way that you just can't help but be drawn in by it.

So, story: very good yarn. Catholicism: very cool and possibly highly authentic trivia/story-glue/provider of themes.

#19 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:44 AM:

Do orders at UK bookstores make any impact (Forbidden Planet or Waterstones)? If so, I'll try to get from physical. If not, I guess it's back to Amazon (who just got a fair amount of my money as I gave in and bought a netbook: as a colleague said, "heaving a 10 kg* backpack around all the time is getting old." (Asus EEE1005HA with 10.5hr theoretical battery life, for anyone that's remotely interested).

* No, my laptop isn't 10 kg, but I'm always carrying papers and stuff as well.

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:57 AM:

abi the perpetual edge case(*) @ 16... Or someone within the US could buy the book for you.

(*) Are edge cases binding or non-binding?

#21 ::: Michael Straight ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:01 AM:

"Roman Catholicism is my favorite fantasy mythos." -- Jerry "Tycho" Holkins

#22 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:43 AM:

Two datapoints:

1. I love this book. I've lost track of how many copies I've given away.

2. One of the biggest fans of the Peter Crossman stories is Ben Yalow. Being a Catholic is definitely not required.

#23 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:44 AM:

I humbly beg all who wish to buy a copy to do so, not at Amazon, but by going down to their friendly local big-box bookstore and getting one off the shelf.

Is that specific to amazon, or applies to online ordering in general? Because if I go to the bookstore now, they won't have it on the shelf, if I order it it won't be in this year, and the the bookseller will hate me for making her deal with weird foreign books in the pre-holiday rush. (Also, unless things have changed a lot, the importer will add 50% to the price.)

I read the Peter Crossman story in "New Magics" and would like to read more.

#24 ::: inge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:48 AM:

Eh, saw it. Sorry. I should re-load before posting.

#25 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 07:26 AM:

Charlie-Bob Stross says "read it, it's good". Srsly. Can't wait for the second novel.

#26 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 08:00 AM:

Serge @20

Knowing abi's standards, she wouldn't allow herself to be perfect bound, it can be such a sticky situation, and would leave her open to accusations of being spineless.

#27 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 08:16 AM:

Charlie # 25: I've just read the first chapter of The Apocalypse Door online and your comment has just reminded me where else I've seen that combination of hardboiled and fantastic-but-logical. If the Temple were ever to meet the Laundry, I guess all we could do is say our prayers backwards and hope for the best.

#28 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:02 AM:

I'm relieved to find that the 'contemporary urban catholic fantasy' in question is a book, not a pictorial representation...

#29 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:02 AM:

Ken @27: You're right. And The Atrocity Archive was the first book in years where I reached the end, turned to the beginning, and read it straight through again. That must be one of my ticklish spots. It's logical, then, that Stephan Zielinski's Bad Magic, which I bought out of the slushpile, is the other fantasy I can think of that has that concise, concrete real-world flavor.

#30 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:34 AM:

Well, all I have ever had was the first chapter online - my own fault, I guess. (Since this is a contemporary urban catholic fantasy, doing a culpa would fit.) While it would be fun to try to submit the reciept for reimbursement (I work for a Roman Catholic diocese and have a book budget) somehow I think it would not get past my boss. She would love the idea and laugh a lot, but I don't think she would sign for it. This will have to be my Christmas present to me this year.

#31 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:36 AM:

Well, I now know what someone's getting for Christmas. Will head to B&N's B&M store anon.

#32 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:37 AM:

My question is very much like the one Charity asked at 5, but not identical: why is buying at a chain store preferable to buying at an independent bookseller?

#33 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:41 AM:

xeger @ 28... I don't remember ever seeing Cathodic Girls thus garbed. Things sure have changed since my high-school days. (You don't want to know how long ago that was. Let's say that Disco didn't exist yet.)

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:43 AM:

Dave Bell @ 26... You wouldn't say that if you'd been in a bookstore with her, and heard her criticize this or that book's spine.

#35 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:50 AM:

I read the book a while ago. I knew little enough about Catholicism that it took me a while to figure out that when she confessed to the priest that she was planning to kill him, it wasn't rough teasing, and he was up against some serious constraints.

More generally, I got the impression Catholic ethical rules are so complex that stupid people can't avoid damnation. What am I missing?

#36 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:51 AM:

I don't want to gainsay Jim, but speaking for his publisher, we're happy to have people buy our books anywhere. If sales are higher than expected at Amazon, we use that as a way of saying to the brick-and-mortar stores, hey, you missed the boat, order more next time. If a book does especially well in brick-and-mortar indies, we likewise make sure than the big chains and Amazon hear about it. We can play this no matter where you buy your books.

#37 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:57 AM:

I trust, Nancy, that that is not a spoiler.

I'm grudging against Amazon, so I'm going to try my local bookstore first. You hit me on a day when I'm DETERMINED to take a full hour break at midday (I have other shopping to do right near the bookstore), so chances are good. Unless they don't have it. The bastards.

Oh, wait, I haven't checked yet. Heh. My local bookstore has shit for SFF in general, but this is a specific case, so I'll try them before cussing them again.

#38 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 11:01 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 35... he was up against some serious constraints

Ever seen Hitchcock's I Confess?

#39 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 11:02 AM:

Nancy @ 35:

Catholic moral theology is designed to be very easy on people who don't know "the rules" but do the best they can; the most famous of these is the concept of "invincible ignorance".

In addition, to be damned (assuming you're within the Church) you have to commit a mortal sin knowing that it is a mortal sin and doing it consciously and deliberately, and then not repenting of it afterwards. Venial sins just rack up time in purgatory, as do mortal sins committed without sufficient intent.

#40 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 11:38 AM:

More generally, I got the impression Catholic ethical rules are so complex that stupid people can't avoid damnation. What am I missing?

"Surely these priests desire our damnation." -- William the Marshall (on his deathbed).

Jerome's Bible, Faustus, view it well:
Stipendium peccati mors est. Ha! Stipendium, &c.
The reward of sin is death: that's hard.
Si peccasse negamus, fallimur, & nulla est in nobis veritas.:
If we say that we have no sin,
We deceive our selves, and there's no truth in us.
Why then belike we must sin,
And so consequently die.
Ay, we must die an everlasting death.
What doctrine call you this, Che sera, sera,:
What will be, shall be? Divinity, adieu.

-- Faustus (Act 1, Scene 1)

Actually, there's a fallacy in Faustus' argument (which the Elizabethan audience would have known) in that he left out the very next line in 1 John 1: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Also, what William the Marshal was objecting to was his confessor's suggestion that to be saved he had to return everything that he'd stolen.

The rules are as complex as you want them to be, or as simple. You are required to love God with all your heart, with all you mind, and with all you soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself. The rest is commentary.

#41 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 12:13 PM:

Thanks for the explanations.

I think the bit about confession isn't a spoiler, or at least it happens very early in the book.

#42 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 12:46 PM:

Also, what William the Marshal was objecting to was his confessor's suggestion that to be saved he had to return everything that he'd stolen.

Well, if that was the confessor's suggestion to a man on his deathbed, then however detestable a person William the Marshal may have been, he was pretty clearly right. Kinda too late to give back all the proceeds of a lifetime of theft when you're already dying.

#43 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 12:51 PM:

Ooh! I read New Magics and I believe your short story was the best thing in it! My book buying budget is greatly suppressed this year (my every penny going for building materials instead) but I may very well make an exception here.

#44 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:00 PM:

Xopher, 42: The confessor was probably hoping for a deathbed donation to the Church.

(More generally, I'd like to point out that occasions of sin may also be occasions of grace.)

#45 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:20 PM:

The Borders nearby me in NYC, at Park Avenue, claims to have it in stock ("Likely in store"), but at least one, 32nd and 2nd Ave, claims to be Out of Stock. I'll go look when I get my lunch. Which I should probably do now, before I forget.

Out of curiosity, when you say "doctrinally correct", did you actually run it through your diocese's Censor?

#46 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:20 PM:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?. Micah 6 (can't remember the actual verse). A Catholic priest I used to know in graduate school told me to follow that rule, and, as Mr. MacDonald said,the rest was commentary.

And I have the book in hardcover but it's beginning to show its age.... But there will be more?

And Ken MacCloud @27: oooooh... *starts writing the Hail Mary backwards just in case*


#47 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:22 PM:

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and I manage to mispell a name... The name of an author whose works I collect... I need more coffee...

#48 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:22 PM:

TexAnne - Ah, I see. I was using too literal a definition of the phrase 'give back'. So the theology from the confessor's POV was that it's OK to steal things if you give them to the Church. Apparently I was too charitable (npi) by half!

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:26 PM:

Emma, it's Micah 6:8. That one I have memorized!

#50 ::: Nicholas Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:39 PM:

GASP!!!

Oh what an idiot I am! For whatever moronic reason, I never made the connection between The Author of "The Apocalypse Door" and the James McDonald of Making Light fame.

I was given a beautiful hardbound copy of The Apocalypse Door...a while ago...I want to say like five years ago...and I LOVED it on first read. And second read.

I can assure you I will walk down to my nearest Big Box store within hours and order it up. I'll probably buy two or three because it's a very easy book to recommend and give away with confidence. It’s a very good book for anyone who likes action/mystical/FUN books.

I always thought it would have made a MUCH better movie than most of the stuff in its vein that have come out in the last few years. People paid good money to see Constantine and Max Payne, and this story is leagues better than those outings.

Wait...wait wait wait!!! Are there MORE Peter Crossman Books?!?! I'm actually giddy! I don't know why, I just thought of it as a singular object. I'm utterly thrilled to go out and find the rest!

#51 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:44 PM:

Texanne @44:
The confessor was probably hoping for a deathbed donation to the Church.

Fact, with evidence? Or presumption? Because we've gone from "probably" to the good old Greedy Church meme* in a heartbeat here.

My reaction was more that if that was the first time William the Marshall had heard that little titbit, he must have slept through a lot of church services. That quote sounds to me like he was complaining that there wasn't a magic quick fix at the last minute that would undo a lifetime of bad behavior.

----
* Which is not to say that there isn't general historical evidence for ecclesiastical greed, both personal and organizational, but was that the case in this instance?

#52 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:50 PM:

Out of curiosity, when you say "doctrinally correct", did you actually run it through your diocese's Censor?

I wanted to, but my editor thought that the Censor Librorum might not understand about publishing schedules. I still think that it would be neat to have it Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

From a comment elsewhere:

> Funny you should mention bookstores. I loaned my copy of _The
> Apocalypse Door_ to Br. Skip, the Marianist monk who acts as a good
> uncle to all the kids at the middle school my son went to. Br. Skip
> loaned it to Br. Utrilo. Br. Utrilo loaned it to Br. Tom, and Br.
> Tom loaned it to Br. ??? and now I don't think I'll ever get it
> back.

#53 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 01:57 PM:

Steve Downey @ 45...

Isn't the censer supposed to be incensed?
("Not the censer, Serge. The Censor.")
Oh.
Navermind.

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:03 PM:

51
I understand he became a Templar on his deathbed, along with making lots of gifts to his household.

#55 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:37 PM:

Serge @ 33 ...
xeger @ 28... I don't remember ever seeing Cathodic Girls thus garbed. Things sure have changed since my high-school days.

Did you get a charge out of the Cathodic Girls?!? ;>

#56 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:47 PM:

xeger @ 55... Well, I certainly gave anode as I passed by.

#57 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 02:49 PM:

I believe this book has the dubious honor of having been on my "To Buy" list the longest. I have never once seen it in a second hand store. I look forward to buying a copy!

#58 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 03:12 PM:

abi @51 -- IF William the Marshall is the one I'm thinking of (contemporary of Henry II of England?) he may have not known enough Latin to understand the service. The Roman Catholic Church did not begin services in the vernacular until the 1960s. Before that there were always some attendees who had little or no education in Latin.

IIRC, this was the Church that was selling Indulgences and forgiving ALL your sins if you became a Crusader -- which explains Marshall enlisting in the Order of the Templars on his deathbed.

Case in point, Henry II "took the Cross" on his deathbed, because he was afraid he would be going to Hell otherwise... (I'm sure Eleanor wished him there often.)

#59 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 03:18 PM:

Duly purchased on lunch hour and being devoured now (have briefly come up for air to check email).

#60 ::: Jenavira ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 03:31 PM:

I've never heard of the book before -- although it does sound fantastic -- but I own both of those Templar anthologies, although I haven't read them in years. I shall haul them off the shelf this evening, and add the book to my list of Things To Do When The Snowpocalypse Is Over.

#61 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 03:41 PM:

I am happy to report that the trade paperback TAD has a matte cover.

#62 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 04:03 PM:

Called my local B&N (MD suburbs of DC), who, notwithstanding the official street date on the book, told me it wasn't due out until next week but that they'd had some orders for it. I went ahead and "pre-ordered" it. With luck it will arrive and they will let me know same. As I'm snowed under at work (figuratively speaking), reading it is best left until the Christmas break anyway, which would be darned near impossible if it was, ya know, just sitting there at home. I'm looking forward to it.

#63 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 04:22 PM:

Looks like someone beat me to it at the nearby Borders. I'll try the Penn Plaza one on my way home. Failing that I may just have to order it.

#64 ::: Steve with a book ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 04:46 PM:

Lori@58: IF William the Marshall is the one I'm thinking of (contemporary of Henry II of England?) he may have not known enough Latin to understand the service. The Roman Catholic Church did not begin services in the vernacular until the 1960s. Before that there were always some attendees who had little or no education in Latin.

I was at a Catholic funeral a little while ago, and near the end, when the priest started to recite the De Profundis (in English), the subset of the congregation that joined in saying it was precisely that subset that was over the age of fiftysomethingorother. The 60s are quite a dividing line in Catholic culture—not just the Latin mass, but an awful lot of other bits of Catholic culture, got pushed to one side back then. At my primary school, some time after Vatican II, we weren't taught the De Profundis or the Hail Holy Queen, and when we progressed up to Big School our ignorance horrified the old-fashioned teachers there. I have awkward difficult-to-summarise feelings about all this that don't boil down to the usual media Punch-and-Judy show of The Society of St. Pius X vs. hippie nuns with guitars (not that anyone on ML ever represents it like that, of course; one of the many reasons to like this place).

#65 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:04 PM:

we weren't taught the De Profundis or the Hail Holy Queen


Weirdly, when I read that, I instantly recited the Hail Holy Queen to myself. When the nuns teach you something it stays taught.

Yeah. I'm on that side of the 'sixties line.

#66 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:14 PM:

Presumably a book acquired with a Borders gift cert still affects the inventory of the store and thus the re-ordering process, no?

#67 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:34 PM:

#66: ...a book acquired with a Borders gift cert...

I would hope so.

As to books not showing up in all bookstores on their release dates -- it's more common than you'd think. If it isn't a Big Book with a major laydown, expect copies to show up as cartons make their way across the country, and as the staff gets around to opening those cartons.

#68 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:36 PM:

And when I saw "Hail Holy Queen" my brow furrowed until limping memory finally supplied "Salve Regina."

I remember reading in a biography of Bernadette that the children were taught the Latin prayers and responses by rote and that would have been late 1800s -- so I'm assuming earlier centuries did the same?

#69 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:38 PM:

Earl Cooley III @17:
I hadn't heard that Amazon has ever made sufficient apologies and redress of grievances for the events which precipitated the Amazonfail memewar, by the way.

They just blamed it on a cataloging error by an undertrianed cataloger (some poor Indian working as a data entry slave for nickles a day). It was the standard corporate non-apology. The offending party has been sacked--no word on whether or not they were replaced with Llamas, trained or otherwise.

#70 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 05:39 PM:

I appreciated the Spinrad review/essay. The idea that you need noticeable prose for non-standard mental states makes sense.

#71 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 06:52 PM:

I went to my local (as in 5 minutes' walk from work) B&N, and after some difficulty with the, um, challenged person who was trying to look it up (fixed when I finally told her how to spell 'apocalypse'), it turned out they didn't have it either.

They offered to order it, and I said "No, I'll just buy it somewhere else" and walked out. I don't believe in encouraging brick and mortar stores not to carry what I want. Probably didn't help much, since they don't record that someone ASKED about a book. Growl.

As for the Hail Holy Queen, like Lori, I took a minute to realize that was the Salve Regina, which I first heard in the beautiful setting in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites, where it's punctuated by the thud of the guillotine as the nuns are beheaded during the Reign of Terror.

At first a chorus, it dwindles down to a sextet, then a quintet, then a quartet...finally the last nun sings "o clemens, o pia, o dulcis virgo Ma-" and dies. Then the heroine comes in from the crowd singing the Veni Creator in a major key, walks right up to the guillotine, and is executed. End of opera.

I listened to that over and over when I was a teenager. The setting is heartbreakingly beautiful; the event is tragic and morbid (perfect for a woulda-been-a-Goth-if-there'd-been-Goths teen); and the combination of the two, with the more and more intense setting as the voices become fewer and fewer...well, if it doesn't give you gooseflesh, you have no skin, that's all I can say.

#73 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 08:26 PM:

Alas, the cartons wending their way across the country have not yet made it onto boats crossing the wide Pacific. Neither Borders nor B&N have it in stock locally.

Ah well, the Borders g/c has no expiration date.

#74 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 10:51 PM:

Jim, that's a really odd staging. A more conventional one (npi).

This is almost exactly what I imagined listening to the recording as a teenager. I particularly like the last few seconds of this video, though. Watch the whole thing, or those last few seconds will be meaningless to you.

#75 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 11:20 PM:

Xopher--your odd is my searing. It hits my dancer-brain, which is where I live most of time.

I like this one too--minimalist again, with much simpler movement. The music doesn't need anything else at that point! I prefer the stripped-down stagings to the Met's for another reason--the Met's chorus is a little loud for my taste.

#76 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 11:29 PM:

TexAnne, I think people who haven't ever seen it before should at least look at the "realistic" staging. The other ones are for people who are already familiar with the story. I don't think someone coming to the opera for the first time would be clear on what's happening in the one Jim posted, for example.

#77 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 11:36 PM:

Teresa @29: Does Stephan Zielinski have anything else in the pipeline - I loved Bad Magic.

The MacDonald book goes on the list for Dreamhaven, which I need to visit soon anyway.

#78 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2009, 11:37 PM:

My local Borders doesn't have it yet - or at least they aren't admitting to having it.

There's a B&N in the area that says it has it, but I'm not too sure where the store is - it's at a mall I don't visit. (For one thing, that neighborhood makes me feel like I'm out of place. It's a Nordstrom-and-Bloomingdale kind of area.

#79 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 12:05 AM:

Xopher, I'd never even heard of the opera until your first post, and I got it just fine. OTOH, I've been watching dance my whole life and I know a lot about the French Revolution. But OTGH, I don't think it's that opaque. If staging were all that important, you wouldn't have been moved by the records.

#80 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 12:55 AM:

Happily for you, Jim, but not for me, the only copy at my Borders was sold out today when I went looking for it. (Any ML readers in East County San Diego?) I will either attempt B&N next, or just give up and order from Amazon.

#81 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 01:00 AM:

80
I'd try ordering from Powell's first.

#82 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 07:57 AM:

Serge #53:

"Censer" said the Censor, "Cension, apprehension, and dissension have begun."

#83 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 09:15 AM:

Thanks for the Poulencs.

I'm torn between wanting some of the initial singing used for scary bits so that the Carmina Burana can get a bit of a vacation, and wanting the Poulenc to stay fresh.

#84 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 10:00 AM:

Teresa @29: And The Atrocity Archive was the first book in years where I reached the end, turned to the beginning, and read it straight through again.

High praise. So I google, glance at the WP article, and find: The stories are Lovecraftian spy thrillers...

At this point, my hands had already typed amazon.co.uk into the address bar.

Bought!

#85 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 10:12 AM:

Borders didn't have it (though it was "likely in store") but B&N did! Neither place had flattened boxes for me, as they were using them to ship stuff out as fast as stuff came in.

For anyone who hasn't discovered it yet, some big book stores will give away their book boxes before they recycle them. Excellent for moving ... well ... books. Also clothing, fabric and patterns. All of which and more I've packing and moving and packing and moving and ... But I'm happy to have your book to read on breaks, Jim.

#86 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 10:23 AM:

Tracie @ 85:

As someone who is about to join the ranks of the moving, thank you. I have, um, quite a few books, and I don't have any boxes yet. Time to hit the local bookstores (as if I needed an excuse anyway).

#87 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 03:12 PM:

Keith @ #86, a while back I got a t-shirt with the following emblazoned on its front:

"Lead me not into temptation (especially bookstores)"

#88 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 03:44 PM:

Linkmeister @ 87:

I got a very nice T-shirt from Lee that says "Who needs drugs? I go broke buying books." It's very true.

#89 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 04:05 PM:

Daniel @84: If you like "The Atrocity Archives", you might want to know that the third book in the series -- "The Fuller Memorandum" -- is coming out from Ace next July.

#90 ::: Steve Downey ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 04:35 PM:

KeithS @ 88
I was always partial to the Erasmus quote. Before my favorite bookstore went out of business, they printed tee-shirts with: "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes."
Not that the tee-shirts had anything to do with them going out of business. That was more due to them moving to a new, smaller, location.

#91 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 05:34 PM:

I used to have a t-shirt with a portrait of Descartes and the legend "Emptor librorum sum, ergo sum." Naturally, I corrected it to "emptrix."

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 07:40 PM:

Got the book. Reading the back cover, I find myself thinking that Burn Notice's Jeffrey Donovan should play Peter. After all, the latter is described as "...performing the last rites with one hand and handling a flamethrower in the other..." As for his colleague, Sister Mary Magdalen, I see Burn Notice's Gabrielle Anwar.

#93 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 07:47 PM:

There was just 1 copy on the shelf at the downtown Portland Borders (SW Third), and I got it.

#94 ::: Geoffrey Kidd ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 11:18 PM:

May ask when Tor will *finally* begin making books available in electronic formats?

I cannot say this strongly or often enough. I don't BUY treeware, I don't READ treeware. I buy open-format eBooks (Baen is a treasure house!), and I read them. I'm happy enough to pay for them, but I am NOT, at my age, going to try to carry around pounds and pounds of dead trees when I've already got about a ton-and-a-half equivalent of open-format either slung around my neck on an encrypted flash drive or the currently active pieces stuffed into my Palm.

#95 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2009, 11:47 PM:

Keith @86

When I moved, I found that going to copy shops and asking for copy paper boxes worked very well for books. They're already sized for paper, so you won't kill yourself carrying them, they're reasonably sturdy, they have lids, and they stack well. Of course, they're not quite as book-sized as bookstore boxes, but if you can't find enough bookstore boxes, copy paper boxes are your friend.

--Cally

#96 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 12:23 AM:

Depends on the copy shop: the one I worked in for two decades used the paper boxes to package orders for delivery, and so had few (often none) to spare to give to people moving.

Bankers' boxes (ostensibly intended for holding documents) can be had reasonably cheaply from office supply stores and work OK for holding books.

#97 ::: James Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 12:28 AM:

The Crossman chapbook is available as a download.

The three Templar anthologies have Kindle editions.

#98 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 12:33 AM:

I find liquor stores are always happy to let people drag away their empty boxes.

#99 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 01:12 AM:

Avram, anyplace that sells liquor, not just liquor stores. I've gotten some excellent formerly-wine-holding boxes from Safeway. The entire top of the shelves that display the booze is usually overflowing with empty boxes, so the managers are delighted to be rid of them.

#100 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 03:55 AM:

Magenta @77:

He does not as yet, at least not that he's said anything about where I could hear. He gets poked about it occasionally. I'll let him know it was asked about again.

--Dave

#101 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 10:48 AM:

James 39: In addition, to be damned (assuming you're within the Church) you have to commit a mortal sin knowing that it is a mortal sin and doing it consciously and deliberately, and then not repenting of it afterwards. Venial sins just rack up time in purgatory, as do mortal sins committed without sufficient intent.

I've been thinking about this, and there's something I don't understand. Doesn't that mean that, at least from the standpoint of Hell-avoidance, it's better if you're a Catholic to remain ignorant of the nature of mortal sin? That way the worst you can do is Purgatory.

I would think, with that theology, the Church would confine the study of mortal sin to priests, monks, nuns, and others who desire a higher moral life; they certainly wouldn't teach it to grade-school kids. That is, if they really wanted to keep the maximum number of souls out of Hell. What am I missing here?

Also, a question: in Catholic theology, people who are not in the Church are all going to Hell whatever they do, right? Unless they're below the age of reason when they die, in which case they go to Limbo? Or is that outdated?

#102 ::: Iorwerth Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 11:04 AM:

"Also, a question: in Catholic theology, people who are not in the Church are all going to Hell whatever they do, right? Unless they're below the age of reason when they die, in which case they go to Limbo? Or is that outdated?"

I think that's changed at the theological level at least (where it's now considered possible for unbelievers to go to heaven, IIRC [1]); whether it has at the popular level is another matter.

[1] Mind you, one can argue that the notion that it was possible has been around for a while: see the appearances of Trajan and that Trojan fellow in Dante's Paradiso, for example.

#103 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 11:21 AM:

Also, a question: in Catholic theology, people who are not in the Church are all going to Hell whatever they do, right? Unless they're below the age of reason when they die, in which case they go to Limbo? Or is that outdated?

I am Catholic only because I was baptized when too young to protest, but this is one of those quirks I found interesting: there was (and still is, in some circles) the concept of the "virtuous pagan", someone who has never had an opportunity to be told about Jesus. Such people, if they live virtuous lives, may be saved because they're ignorant through no fault of their own. These days, I imagine that'd be limited to some Amazonian tribes...

#104 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 11:39 AM:

In the Middle Ages there was a concept called "The Harrowing of Hell", in which Jesus spend the time between his Crucifixion and Resurrection preaching to the souls in Hell--so they all got one last chance. If Hell is outside time, that would include everyone who was, is, or will be in Hell. I have no idea what the past or present doctrinal status of this idea is, though.

#105 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 11:40 AM:

Arrgh. SPENT the time. Why do I always spot the typo right after I hit "post"?

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 12:14 PM:

I thought the Harrowing of Hell was only for people who never had a chance to be members of the Church, which didn't exist before the Crucifixion? Outside time, OK, but doesn't that still amount to Virtuous Pagans?

#107 ::: Chris Eagle ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 12:15 PM:

Xopher 101: Your moral idea is essentially that of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor. On the subject of limbo, the current Vatican position is that unbaptized infants probably get heaven rather than limbo. Nothing about limbo has ever been fully official, though.

#108 ::: James Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 01:17 PM:

The idea that only Catholics can be saved was formally labeled a heresy in 1949 (Feeneyism).

And for far more on the Harrowing of Hell, I really have to finish the next Crossman novel, The Gates of Time (AKA Peter Crossman and His Electric Hell Harrow).

#109 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 01:46 PM:

To be precise, the Catholic Church still preaches the necessity of both Christ and the Church for salvation. But it rejects the idea that only "card carrying" Catholics (those who have expressly received the sacraments and self-identify as Catholics) can be saved.

As one of the dogmatic documents of Vatican II put it: "Whosoever, therefore, *knowing* that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved." (Emphasis mine.)

And a bit later in the same document: "Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience."

#110 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 01:54 PM:

"Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience."

So, in essence, Xopher's right: the Catholic Church should make every effort to keep as much of the world ignorant of Christ as possible. It should send people out to do good things, and to encourage others to do good things, but never ever tell anyone why unless they're sure that the person they're putting at risk can handle the responsibilities that will thus descend upon hir.

#111 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 02:07 PM:

"So, in essence, Xopher's right: the Catholic Church should make every effort to keep as much of the world ignorant of Christ as possible."

No, being ignorant of Christ doesn't help. It just doesn't automatically disqualify you. After quoting bits of what I've quoted above, the Catechism of the Catholic Church goes on to say "the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all..."

One way to look at it is that the Church sees itself as providing a map to a destination (salvation). If you have the map and you use it well, you have a good chance of getting there. If you don't have the map, it will be tougher, but you might manage to make it there anyway. If you've been given the map, and understand what it says and where it points, and still decide to head in the opposite direction, you don't have much of any hope of reaching its destination. But in any case, you're generally better off with the map than without it.


#112 ::: JoXn Costello ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 03:43 PM:

Re: the confession scene.

Gur jnl V haqrefgbbq gur fnpenzrag bs erpbapvyvngvba (sebz zl pbasvezngvba pynffrf) jnf gung sbe vg gb or rssrpgvir, gur crefba znxvat n pbasrffvba unf gb or fvapreryl pbagevgr. Naq shegurezber, fvaprer pbagevgvba vapyhqrf n erfbyir gb nibvq gur fva va gur shgher. Fb Pebffzna'f qvyrzzn vf abg gung fbzrbar unf gbyq uvz haqre gur frny bs gur pbasrffvbany gung gurl unq erfbyirq gb xvyy uvz, cre fr. N fvaprer npg bs pbagevgvba -- vzcyvrq ol n cravgrag znxvat n pbasrffvba -- zrnaf gung gurl npghnyyl nera'g tbvat gb xvyy uvz nsgre nyy. Uvf qvyrzzn vf vs ur oryvrirf gung gur pbagevgvba jnfa'g fvaprer. Ohg znxvat na vafvaprer pbasrffvba vf va vgfrys n zbegny fva, fb vs Znttvr jrer cynlvat gung xvaq bs tnzr, fur'q ernyyl or va gebhoyr.

Npghnyyl, gur vqrn bs nffnffva ahaf jub jbhyq arrq gb pbasrff gurve nffnffvangvbaf jnf gur yrnfg cynhfvoyr cneg bs gur obbx, sbe zr. Ubj pna fbzrbar jubfr wbo gvgyr vf "zbegny fvaare" znxr n fvaprer npg bs pbagevgvba rirel gvzr gurl pbzzvg n zbegny fva, xabjvat gung arkg gvzr gurl arrq n cnlpurpx gurl'er tbvat gb qb vg ntnva jvgubhg dhrfgvba? Riraghnyyl gurve pbasrffbe vf tbvat gb fnl, "V pna'g tenag lbh nofbyhgvba orpnhfr lbhe orunivbe vaqvpngrf gung lbh ernyyl unir ab qrfver gb nibvq guvf fva."

#113 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 03:56 PM:

Npghnyyl, gur vqrn bs nffnffva ahaf jub jbhyq arrq gb pbasrff gurve nffnffvangvbaf jnf gur yrnfg cynhfvoyr cneg bs gur obbx, sbe zr. Ubj pna fbzrbar jubfr wbo gvgyr vf "zbegny fvaare" znxr n fvaprer npg bs pbagevgvba rirel gvzr gurl pbzzvg n zbegny fva, xabjvat gung arkg gvzr gurl arrq n cnlpurpx gurl'er tbvat gb qb vg ntnva jvgubhg dhrfgvba? Riraghnyyl gurve pbasrffbe vf tbvat gb fnl, "V pna'g tenag lbh nofbyhgvba orpnhfr lbhe orunivbe vaqvpngrf gung lbh ernyyl unir ab qrfver gb nibvq guvf fva."

Orpnhfr gurl nera'g qbvat vg sbe n cnlpurpx; gurl'er qbvat vg orpnhfr gurl'er beqrerq gb ol gur uvture nhgubevgvrf va gur puhepu. Bar nffhzrf gung, tvira n pubvpr, fur jbhyqa'g xvyy crbcyr, ohg bar bs gur ibjf bs n aha vf borqvrapr...

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 04:16 PM:

Anybody else remembers Monty Python's skit about "The Bishop"? Obviously, the gang grew up on too many shows that involved Brian Clemens.

#115 ::: KeithS ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 04:27 PM:

Thank you to all who have suggested places to look for boxes. That'll definitely save me a lot of money and trouble.

#116 ::: JoXn Costello ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 05:47 PM:

Orpnhfr gurl nera'g qbvat vg sbe n cnlpurpx; gurl'er qbvat vg orpnhfr gurl'er beqrerq gb ol gur uvture nhgubevgvrf va gur puhepu. Bar nffhzrf gung, tvira n pubvpr, fur jbhyqa'g xvyy crbcyr, ohg bar bs gur ibjf bs n aha vf borqvrapr...

N ibj bs borqvrapr qbrfa'g ovaq n crefba gb fbzrguvat juvpu vf zbenyyl erchtanag, gubhtu. Vs xvyyvat ba beqref (be n fcrpvsvp xvyyvat) vf abg zbenyyl erchtanag, bar qbrfa'g arrq gb or nofbyirq bs vg. Vs vg vf gura bar bhtug abg qb vg.

#117 ::: James Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 06:58 PM:

The Condemnation of Feeneyism.

Leonard Feeney and Me:

When I was in parochial school, one of the books we faced every year was Poems For the Grades, grade 1 and up. These were ... poems. Many of which we had to memorize. Poetry memorization and recitation was a big part of my school experience. About the most exciting they got was Walter de la Mare. A frequent contributor to Poems for the Grades was Leonard Feeney, SJ. I can still recite some of those wretched things:

To a Lighted Lady Window

I kiss my hand to thee,
Mary, Holy Mother.
I kiss my hand to Thee,
Jesus, little Brother....

Anyway. Leonard Feeney. It was with great interest that I learned, when I was in high school, that he had been excommunicated.

#118 ::: James Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 08:08 PM:

Bar bs gur punetrf ntnvafg gur Xavtugf Grzcyne jnf gung gurl urneq rnpu bguref' pbasrffvbaf naq tnir rnpu bgure nofbyhgvba, juvpu ... cnirq gur jnl gb pregnva xvaqf bs nohfr.

#119 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 08:10 PM:

That name, Father Leonard Feeney -- I've heard it before. Took me a few minutes to hunt it down, but behold, from Ned Rorem's liner notes to the recording But Yesterday Is Not Today: The American Art Song 1930-1960 (PDF):

Theodore Chanler's songs, that part of the already small oeuvre for which he is most admired, number fewer than thirty. Of these, half are based on more or less acceptable verse by standard authors, including Blake. The other half are on the smarmy simplistic musings of a poetaster called Father Leonard Feeney. Yet each song is flawless on its own terms, and, like the sighs of inspired innocents, each rings true.

Chanler's dates are 1902-1961, and Fr. Feeney's are 1897-1978, and both lived in Boston. So I bet it's the same guy!

Wikipedia makes no mention of Fr. Feeney's poetry or the connection with Chanler, by the way.

#120 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 08:42 PM:

Chris Quinones #119: from Ned Rorem's liner notes "...the smarmy simplistic musings of a poetaster called Father Leonard Feeney"

Looks like poetaster is the word of the day! heh.

#121 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2009, 11:55 PM:

Earl Cooley:
Poetaster is indeed a wonderful word. Listening to Joanna Newsom's first album a few years ago, I was disproportionately pleased to hear one of her songs rhyme "poetaster" with "disaster".

#122 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 09:48 AM:

"poetaster" always makes me think - for structural rather than semantic reasons - of the Poe Toaster.

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 10:34 AM:

Poet taster?

Roses are red
Violets are blue
My dog is dead
He ate my shoes

#124 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 12:03 PM:

Poetaster's Law: "Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of bad poetry that someone won't mistake for the real thing."

#125 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 12:33 PM:

So a poetaster's output might be described as ... poetastic?

#126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2009, 12:49 PM:

Do poetasters like rhymen noodle soup?

#127 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 04:24 PM:

Re: boxes: When we needed moving boxes in college, we used to dumpster dive in the cardboard-only dumpsters behind the big box bookstores. We probably should have asked them first, but it was handy getting them already broken down. We could fit a lot of boxes in the car that way.

Fetched the two copies of The Apocalypse Door at the local B&N today, by the way. Can't wait to start reading it.

#128 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 04:35 PM:

Boxes, esp: Caroline #127: Last time I moved, I went to the manager's office at my local B&N -- They gave me bundles of boxes -- that's not just broken down, but tied into bundles, pretty much as many as I could cart off. They do have a weekly rhythm, so if they don't have any the first time you go, ask when is a good time to come back for some.

I hit the liquor stores for boxes too, they had larger boxes, which I needed some of.

#129 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2009, 04:37 PM:

xeger @ 55... And their choir's favorite is "Electrode to Joy".

#130 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2009, 07:53 PM:

Made a trip by that B&N, being down that way for another reason. They didn't have it on the shelf. (It took a while just to find the shelf: hiding behind some others that are taller, and not well signed either.)

So I guess I'll have to order it.

#131 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 02:32 AM:

In my fumbling way, I went down to my local bookstore, and they didn't have a copy. Not a big surprise, it's a nice independent bookstore, but it's small. So I went next door to the used bookstore and lo, filed in the mysteries, a first edition hardcover, which I got with some of my store credit. Now I really feel that I'm not with the program, but wow, what a hell of a book.

#132 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 02:19 PM:

An electronic version of "Stealing God" is also in My Favorite Fantasy Story, from Fictionwise.com.

"It is silly of you, for there is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about" (Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray)

#133 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2009, 04:52 PM:

On Thursday this moose will travel to London and attempt to
buy a copy from Forbidden Planet. If that doesn't work, I'll try
Blackwells and Foyles. The fallback position will be mailorder
(Abebooks or Spamazon).

I have examined Mr Crossman's shorts and they are full of win.

3:O)>

#134 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 01:01 AM:

Folks in the US who are looking for copies: There's a neat toy at the Barnes & Noble website. Go to the page, then find the "Pick Me Up" block. Type in your ZIP code, and it will show your the B&N stores within an hour's drive where you can pick it up. (Call ahead to reserve your copy.)

Oh -- and I'm going to have a reading and signing at the Memos store at 96 Main Street, Colebrook, on Tuesday the 22nd (3-5 pm).

#135 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 04:35 AM:

Speaking of doctrinally correct, this probably isn't: Penny Arcade: Selective Reading.

#136 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:46 AM:

To my utter confusion, the computer at the B&N by me (Springfield, Rt. 22) only listed The Apocalpyse Door as "out of print".

Looking at barnesandnoble.com, I was asking for "James MacDonald". The old one is listed as "James D. MacDonald" and "J.D. MacDonald" while the new one is only listed as J.D. MacDonald (despite having James D. MacDonald clearly visible on the displayed cover.)

Borders didn't have it in store, tried to get me to order it through Borders.com; does this give the same level of visibility?

#137 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 11:54 AM:

As Patrick pointed out, a sale is a sale. I'm all for 'em.

This is the right page at BN.com.

The correct ISBN-13: 9780765306081

#138 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 12:04 PM:

Picked it up Sunday. Through some confusion, managed to have two copies waiting at the checkout at my local B&N. Told the clerk I only wanted one of them. He was looking over the extra copy as I was running my debit card and said, "Oh, I'll have to take a look at this." Grin.

Read it, enjoyed it, ordered the chapbook too. I don't know how I missed it the first time around, but am glad to have gotten another chance at it.

Also, Jim #40, Emma #46, and Xopher #49, thanks for mention of those two "all else is commentary" passages. I happened to need that message at the time it showed up. The internet can be an occasion of grace as well as the (perhaps more readily available) occasion of sin.

#139 ::: Sarah S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2009, 12:08 PM:

On the subject of "All else is commentary"

"The phrase “everything else is commentary,” or, as it is more frequently encountered, “the rest is commentary,” has in recent years become such a part of the English language that many people are unaware of its Jewish roots. Yet these origins are indisputable and are clearly traceable to the talmudic story about the two first-century-BCE rabbinic sages, Hillel and Shammai, contemporaries paired together by Jewish tradition as archetypical opposites: Hillel the tolerant and liberal “loose constructionist” of the Law, Shammai the exacting and inflexible “strict constructionist.” In one story about them, a gentile comes to both and asks, with the obvious intention of provoking them, to be taught the whole Torah while standing on one leg. Shammai is indeed provoked and gives the man an angry whack with a measuring rod. Hillel replies, “That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — [and now] go study.”

link

#140 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 04:46 PM:

This moose @133 - status update:

Forbidden Planet had it in stock, so it was duly purchased and
speed-read on the train home.

Initial impressions:

1) I want it in hardcover.
2) I'm not sure that breaking "society" over a page boundary is good[1].

I shall re-read it properly (and with great enjoyment) over Christmas.

Cadbury.
[1] Admittedly, not as bad as hyphenating "legend".

#141 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 04:56 PM:

Cadbury: Or 'therapists'.

#142 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 05:20 PM:

James@118: a comment ENTIRELY in ROT-13 isn't very useful, as I have no basis to decide whether I want to rotate it or not. I can't tell if it's a comment on a nearby comment, or on something far away, or something completely new, or really much of anything. (And when reading from back to front, as I normally do since there's no good way to track where I left off before, if the timing is right won't notice that it's part of an all-ROT-13 thread and therefore on the same topic; and anyway can't tell what that thread is about without ROTing one at random anyway.)

Xopher@101: I don't know exactly where this is in the bible, but I believe theologians are of the opinion that you (any human) are not a good enough rules lawyer to win against God at that game.

#143 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2009, 07:55 PM:

David, not trying to rules-lawyer. God forbid. Just saying the Church doesn't appear to have the logic of that nailed down in a way that makes sense (to me, anyway).

#144 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2010, 07:56 PM:

Sam, the young lady who set up the signing, was one of the people who lost her home in this fire.

#145 ::: Pendrift ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2010, 06:18 AM:

Weirdly, when I read that, I instantly recited the Hail Holy Queen to myself. When the nuns teach you something it stays taught.

I just pointed a friend to this thread and skimmed the comments once again. When I saw the words "Hail Holy Queen" I did the same thing too—and I learned it in the '80s. Nuns were just as effective.

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