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Month: May 2008

Books Books Books!

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon
Yes, the girl and I managed a library run (to the GOOD library) on Friday. It took more time and energy than expected, of course, but we got a bunch of very good books.

I read My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon last night, with much giggling. The stories were a bit uneven (normal for an anthology), but worthwhile overall.

I especially liked "Heorot," the Harry Dresden piece from Jim Butcher. I love the way he brings in mythology from so many different cultures.

Kelly Armstrong's "Stalked" was fun, too. Her werewolves are just more wolfish than most, in my opinion.

P.N. Elrod's "Her Mother's Daughter" wasn't bad at all. I've obviously missed some of her Jack Fleming novels, and I'm looking forward to catching up.

I want to find some of Marjorie M. Liu's longer works, as "Where the Heart Lives" isn't the first of her short stories that have impressed me. What's even better is that WtHL is a total departure from the earlier stories I remember.

SBQ: Sick of a WIP?

The Stitch­ing Blogger’s Ques­tion of the Week is:
Do you ever get to a point work­ing on a project that you’ve had for so
long, you start to won­der what pos­sessed you to start it in the first
place?

Of course! It has always hap­pened with pat­terns I chose to do for some­one else, though, rather than those I chose because I was inter­est­ed in them. There are a few WIPs that have out­lived the rela­tion­ships that inspired them, and they may nev­er be fin­ished. That’s a bit embar­rass­ing, but in at least one case I wouldn’t have ever start­ed the piece if I’d real­ly known what an unsta­ble, vicious being the intend­ed recip­i­ent was.

Vicious Teacher Leads Bullying of Disabled Child

Teacher lets kindergarten students vote 5-year-old "out of the class"

After each classmate was allowed to say what they didn't like about Barton's 5-year-old son, Alex, his Morningside Elementary teacher Wendy Portillo said they were going to take a vote, Barton said.

By a 14 to 2 margin, the students voted Alex — who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism — out of the class.

The teacher, Wendy Portillo (portillow@stlucie.k12.fl.us), has acknowledged that the incident happened. She had been participating in the child's IEP team since February, so she knew that Alex was being evaluated for a disability (most likely Asberger's syndrome, from the information in the article).

There isn't be any excuse for any adult treating any child that way, but a teacher to encourage children to ostracize a disabled child? That's even worse.

The school district has refused to fire Portillo, but claims that she has been moved to non-classroom duties. That isn't nearly enough.

Civil Rights Win in Florida

Months ago, I post­ed about Ponce de Leon High School in Flori­da ban­ning the wear or dis­play of any kind of gay pride sym­bols or words, claim­ing that they indi­cat­ed involve­ment in an “ille­gal orga­ni­za­tion.” I lat­er found out that the prob­lem start­ed last fall, when a les­bian stu­dent com­plained that she was being harassed. Instead of inves­ti­gat­ing or try­ing to stop the harass­ment, the school admin­is­tra­tion cracked down on any show of sup­port for her. The prin­ci­pal lat­er said that he was sure that gay pride sym­bols would cause stu­dents to visu­al­ize gay peo­ple hav­ing sex, lead­ing to dis­rup­tion.1

Any­way, Flori­da man­aged to get some­thing right, or at least one judge there did so. Oh, wait – he was a fed­er­al judge, not a state author­i­ty. Any­way, on May 13 he issued a per­ma­nent injunc­tion against the school! He told them that they must stop their uncon­sti­tu­tion­al cen­sor­ship of expres­sions of sup­port for gay peo­ple, and warned them not to try retal­i­at­ing against any­one involved in the case.


1 Damn, those are pow­er­ful rain­bows! Won­der what kind of porn they’d find in a raid of his house?

Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

From Dead to WorseAfter reading From Dead to Worse, I feel as if Charlaine Harris is finished with the Southern Vampire Mysteries. If so, she's doing so well, as volume seven is the most satisfying book of the series.

This is not a "happily ever after" book, but it isn't an "oh my God what's going to happen next," either. I'm sure that more could be written about Sookie Stackhouse and her very interesting life, but Harris has a history of leaving series on a high note. The Aurora Teagarden and Shakespeare sequences felt a bit more "done" at the end, so maybe I'm wrong. I certainly don't hold Ms. Harris' confidences.

In any case, I hope that we'll see more books by Harris before long. She's a good author, and I enjoy her ideas.

Diane Duane Rocks

The Sword and the DragonBack when the Meisha Merlin warehouse was being cleaned out, Sam picked up a copy of The Sword and the Dragon, first volume of the Epic Tales of the Five by Diane Duane that MM put out. It contains The Door Into Fire and The Door Into Shadow.

The Door Into FireI've wanted my own copies of the first three Tales of the Five books for decades, since reading an old friend's copies. I'm still disappointed that MM never put out the next volume, which should have included The Door Into Sunset and the never-before-published The Door Into Starlight. But then, there are other people who have far more reason to be disappointed about MM matters than I do, so I can't fuss too much. And I have this volume, and will continue to hold out hope that Duane will find a new publisher who will bring out the others sometime in my lifetime.

The Door Into ShadowAnyway, I had to stop reading to show this bit to Sam. It sums up much of what I love about Duane's philosophy.

…death is inevitable. But we have one power, as men and beasts and creatures of other planes. We can slow down the Death, we can die hard, and help all the worlds die hard. To live with vigor, to love powerfully and without caring whether we're loved back, to let loose building and teaching and healing and all the arts that try to slow down the great Death. Especially joy, just joy itself. A joy flares bright and goes out like the stars that fall, but the little flare it makes slows down the great Death ever so slightly. That's a triumph, that it can be slowed down at all, and by such a simple thing.

The Door Into Sunset

R.I.P. Robert Asprin

I only encoun­tered him per­son­al­ly once, on a pan­el the first time I attend­ed a con (Drag­on Con, 1988 or so?). I thought he was an arro­gant jerk. I’ve heard from oth­ers that he could be quite nice, so maybe it was some kind of schtick. I did enjoy all the Thieves World books, despite their unre­lent­ing darkness. 

He was sched­uled to be at Mar­Con this week­end, so it seems his death was sud­den and unex­pect­ed. I wish the best to his fam­i­ly and friends.