Say hello to Moo! Moo is the official convention representation dragon for Betty Adams and Dying Embers. Look for him at conventions around the Pacific Northwest. Also look for him on top of mountains, in hanging valleys, and in deep caves. You know, dragon type places.
Old friends and new turned up at Norwescon 40!
After eating no less than six of my photos of the Red Dragon Rider I gave up on that SD card and switched to hard-drive memory storage on my camera. (I swear I'm not a creepy stalker nice lady!)
Sorry for the lack of updates but the internet was acting as if there was a deluge of internet happy geeks flooding the wires all weekend. Go figure.
Well despite the SD card being greedy for bites of my photo data day one of Norwescon 40 went pretty well. Looking forward to tomorrow!
After a Michigan plant reported "a huge foaming event" 7200 gallons of concentrated Mountain Dew spilled out into the local watershed.
Local government officials called the situation "Highly Unusual".
The sound of mad giggling was heard from the river and local fish were seen darting up and down the waterway at remarkably high speeds.
Local fisherman commented that they were excited at the prospect of some free range fast food.
(Okay, the last two points are ridiculous of course. Seriously, don't spill soda in the river. It's bad for fish.)
In honor of national pet day a short list of all the best books about pets.
"Lad A Dog"
"Smokey The Cow Horse"
"Treasure Island" (Don't tell me it's not about the parrot)
"Was that trader Jack's English?" Retro asked as they moved toward the door.
"None that you should say in front of the elders or parents."
They stepped outside into the storm and Retro was nearly blown off his feet. The wind roared all around them and carried bits of ice as well as rain. He clung to his sister and stood trembling at the furry of the storm. When he dared to open his eyes the trees around the round house were dancing. Retro shuddered; massive, thousand year old conifers bent and twisted like grass. They creaked and moaned in protest. The male flattened his antennas into his hair to drown out the noise.
Retro looked up at Booster to see why they had stopped walking and saw her face twisted in horror. He followed her gaze to the glass-grow and cried out. A giant coniferous tree had fallen across it horizontally. Booster started to run and Retro followed her. They tried to get in through the door but branches as big around as a human blocked the way. They finally clambered in through a shattered plexicreet wall. Retro gasped. The delicate white Mothers' Feast were destroyed. One branch had driven right through their hydroponics system. The smoke feeders were belching weakly through a thousand punctures. Booster was frantically trying to salvage what she could when a branch snapped and fell on Retro.
He tried to scream, but it pinned him to the floor and stopped his breath. Then with a wrench it was gone. He lay looking at his sister in amazement. He knew she was strong but that branch had to weigh several hundred neals. Her talons flashed in the light from the dying hydroponics as she picked him up and leapt out of the building. She didn't put him down until they were back in the house. Then she laid him down on the table while crying out for the matriarch. Fuzzy figures moved around his vision until the pain and everything else faded into darkness.
"No! We won't go begging to the southern colonies for help. Besides we need our own source.."
"But where? No other plant has high enough protein content, and you know the synthesizers can't get any where near the nutrient balance."
"Child, more than anyone I know the issues here. Have I not cared for three generations now? The birthing mothers most have the rich supplements supplied by the Mothers' Feast. But it simply won't grow here. This accident has only ended sooner what was a dying hope any way." The matriarch's voice was firm.
"Yes, so we need a source. Trading with the Southern…"
"Hush he's waking up."
Retro slowly opened his eyes and focused on the matriarch. She smiled and bent over him.
"How are you feeling softling?"
"Thirsty," he croaked. Booster moved to get him some water and he looked worriedly at his grandmother.
"Grand? How will we feed the mothers now? The storm ruined our last Mothers' Feast."
"We will find a way little one. You simply rest for now. Booster is going into the post to phone your parents at the University. They will send up a emergency supply of Mothers Feast for now. But how do your ribs feel? I…Stay down you." Retro was trying to struggle up.
"I need to go with Booster to the post! I am her Helper." His grandmother pushed him back down.
"And a good Helper you are. She will be fine on her own though. You need to rest and heal." Retro sighed and slumped back down onto the bed. He shot a pleading look at Booster when she brought him his water, but she only shook her head. It looked like he would be missing out on this trip.
But the storm kicked up again before she could leave. For five more days the wind roared through the trees. On the sixth day it died down although the sky was still ominously overcast. The matriarch declared Retro fit to accompany his sister and they set off on foot. The Elders and the workers were busy clearing the road of debris and repairing the damage to the round house.
The post was humming when they arrived. Retro spotted five of the six sentient species living on Centra in the crowd. While they were waiting for their chance to use the com Booster looked for Trader Jack to place their orders for the goods they would need. They finally found him in some sturdy new sheds behind the post. As soon as Retro walked in the door, a delightful smell flowed into his nose. Jack crouched under a midsized tan animal. The creature raised her head at their entrance and let out an inexpressibly beautiful sound. Retro glanced at Booster, she too was entranced by the creature.
Jack finally finished what he was doing and stood up holding a bucket filled with a pearly white liquid. Three of the post cats curled frantically around his ankles. He dumped it in a cooler but not before Retro recognized it as the source of the delicious smell.
"So, you two like the Nubies?" Trader Jack smiled at them.
"Is that their name?" Booster moved forward to stroke one of the animals.
"Sorta, they're goats of the Nubian breed. Produce a lot 'o milk with only a little feed and care. Plus they're the best suited for this climate of all our Earth critters." Jack said it casually but it was well known that the human's stock thrived far better on Centra than animals from any other world.
"Milk?" asked Retro.
"You saw what I poured into the cooler; easy to digest protein rich liquid. And they can be easily genetically tailored to fit any species' needs."
Booster and Retro stared at each other over the tan back of this miracle animal. This was an answer to prayer, almost too good to be true.
"How much would it cost to have a pack designed for us?" Booster asked.
"Well it would be called a herd, not a pack, but let me look in the registry." Jack quoted a price a fraction of what they spent each ten-day keeping the Mothers' Feast alive. Retro saw the gears turning in his sister's head. As they reluctantly left the warm barn her antenna curled firmly down and he knew she'd come to a decision.
"Retro, stay here with Trader Jack and take care of the com call and the rest of our purchasing. I am going to speed home." Retro nodded thrilled that he would be the one to use the com. He really must be turning into a competent Helper if she left the shopping up to him. Still, he was a little nervous as he moved among the crowd. He silently thanked heaven his people were the tallest of the seven species. It made it pretty hard to be intimidated by someone who only came up to your waist.
Grandmother has informed us that there is a rule on the farm.
The first person to spot a newborn baby goat can personally claim said baby goat.
So now Maddie is now Grandma's new goat.
Are you ready to go on the ultimate geek Easter Egg hunt? One nearly two centuries in the making?
Then gird your loins, get down to the local library, and get ready to start.
If it is possible to pin such a concept down to one author, than the English speaking world owes the birth of much of modern science fantasy to the singular Scottish author George MacDonald.
LOTR, NARNIA, STAR WARS, THE HUNGER GAMES, STAR TREK, SUPERNATURAL; each of these universes owes critical building blocks to the works of MacDonald.
An ancient race, their world changing around them, gather in procession to sail west across the great sea to a better world. They play their eerie instruments as they leave behind a world that advances in knowledge but not perhaps wisdom.
Strange beasts, similar to those of our Earth but smaller and more clever, capable even of speech, boil out of the dirt of a strange world.
A wrinkled, odd speaking old sage, urges the hero to stay in a distant and desolate place in meditation rather than go rescue his friends through battle. The hero ignores him and girds his loins to disastrous results.
A dystopian world, rich in resources and poor in freedoms, is ruled with an iron fist. Colonies of children with odd, uneducated, language patterns and courageous as young lions survive on their own on its fringes. Their hero, a courageous young woman who serves as their battle queen.
Courageous travelers extend their love and care to beings of other worlds out in the cosmos as they search for truth and knowledge.
Bare is the back without a brother behind it and as brothers the heroes face off with dark powers that lurk in the city that might be dark powers cloaking themselves as science, or mad sciences masquerading itself as arcane arts.
Go back and read his works. It is the ultimate geek Easter Egg hunt. Over a century ago these images, these scenes, can be found in one form or another in the fairy tales, romances, and adventures of George MacDonald.
A Good Solid Pulp Western
Wade returns to the Wild West from his youthful impulse to be a sailor to find his only surviving kin, his sister, mentally broken and surviving a living death in Carson City. The person responsible is said to be one Pat L. Wade vows to avenge his family and sets out to hunt down this man.
Pat L. meanwhile has just completed finishing school and is moving out west to meet her father on his ranch.
A classic story of range war, misunderstanding, and adventure plays out against the back drop of the Wild West.
This is a fine example of a good old fashioned Pulp Western in the tradition of Manning, Gruber, and Short. There is adventure, action, gunfights, and romance. Good clean fun would be the best tagline. In “To Swallow the Earth” Karl Beckstrand and Ransom Wilcox revitalize an old American tradition. You get attached to the main characters and cannot put the book down until you know what happens to them. This is pulp fiction, the plot is clearly formulaic and there are few true surprises or plot twists. The ones that do catch the reader off guard are amusing and logical though. Also the voices of the characters do sometime sound a bit jarringly of the twenty-first century rather than the nineteenth they are set in.
Overall it was a fun romp and a nice taste of a very American literary tradition.
Whiskers and Scones
By Betty Adams
“I just think,” Mrs. Rattson said in high distress. “That you do need to be more careful.”
Old Mr. Cropper carefully poured out the nettle tea but didn’t offer a word of advice to add to the pile that Mrs. Rattson had just dropped on her nephew. Young Dash sighed and reached his paws out for another scone. He never could figure out which of the two old friends baked them.
“I am very careful Aunty,” Dash insisted. “You know I never put myself in a dangerous situation willingly.
“Well,” Mrs. Rattson said with a sigh as she lashed her long tail in agitation. “I think the problem is just that you and I have very different ideas of what a dangerous situation is.”
“Well I’m still here,” Dash said a bit sullenly, rubbing his paws over his gleaming white face.
“Well I heard from the titmice,” Mrs. Rattson began.
“Terrible gossips,” Dash muttered in a fair approximation of her voice that got a small smile from old Mr. Cropper.
“Be that as it may,” Mrs. Rattson said stiffly. “I heard that you met up with a very large fox just last Monday-“
“She wasn’t even a stone heavier than me,” Dash muttered.
“Do stop interrupting dear nephew,” Mrs. Rattson said stiffly. “As I was saying I heard that you ran!” She fixed her bright black eye on him and bared her teeth in accusation.
Dash sighed. “It was only three tail-lengths to the fence Aunty,” he explained. “And she was a good forty tails away. My course of action was perfectly safe!”
“That,” Mrs. Rattson said stiffly, “is entirely beside the point. Do have another scone. It is perfectly scandalous for a healthy young opossum like yourself to run instead of dropping! For a fox no less! It might have well as been a coyote! Or a wolf even!”
Dash groaned as his Aunt rambled on. Though the image of the scrawny half grown vixen being compared to a wolf made him chuckle a bit. He took another scone and munched happily on the crispy exoskeletons that covered the topmost layer. He really had to get the recipe.
Betty Adams is an up and coming author with a bent for science and Sci-fi.