October 2nd, 2006


Is it Monday again?

Fevered dreams and crummy sleep this last night, and my throat is heavy and sore. At one point I was an exchange student in a Nebraska beach town. Spent my days going from town to town along the Nebraska shore (I think Iowa must have gone missing) looking at decorating schemes and nearly managed to flunk out of both high school and college. Then later dreamt I needed a new refrigerator, but was forced to buy one with DRM that had to be controlled through a MySpace account. Also met an old flame at a tiki-themed bar for an ambiguous (and totally imaginary) reunion.

Meanwhile, erst falling asleep last night, here's Collapse )

Catching up from the weekend

After a rather hypergraphic Friday and Saturday, I slammed into a wall of upper respiratory distress on Sunday. I know a lot of folks drop off lj for the weekend, so here's a few posts of mine which might be of interest to you, from the past seventy-two hours.

The latest caption contest, vote early, vote often
The nine circles of genre publishing hell
The meaning of 'professional', take 1, interesting comments from a number of writers
The meaning of 'professional', take 2, my extended thoughts
Sesquipedalian logorrhea, a poll courtesy of hal_obrien which seems to have sparked all our inner pedants to life

Locus review of Trial of Flowers

Nick Gevers reviews Trial of FlowersClarkesworld | Amazon ] in October Locus. The lengthy and interesting (to me, at least) review concludes:

So the trio of viewpoint characters—Jason the Factor, servant of the City’s most powerful (and again absent) magician, Bijaz the Dwarf, leader of the conservative faction among his people known as the Sewn, and Imago of Lockwood, scion of a self-exiled aristocratic house determined to regain his family fortune by clever confidence trickery—must search for salvific clues in the teeming avenues and murky districts of the City, at first quite unconscious of what they are doing. Jason tries to get the Burgesses to see reason, but they are selfishly plotting to preserve their power over the City rather than the City itself; after various misadventures, Jason becomes a human sacrifice to his cause. Bijaz falls from official grace, surrenders to despair, and ultimately, after gang rape and hideous suffering, embodies the City’s very uncertain Luck. Imago lays claim to the title of Lord Mayor as a dishonest legal gambit, but he is made to fit his office in unexpected excruciating ways. A threefold Passion occurs; the ritual of the Trial of Flowers emblematizes the process of the City’s humiliation and rescue; and as a sequel awaits, Lake conveys with ruthless precision the price of gaining even an interim peace. Trial of Flowers is in sum harsh and exacting as well as exotic and sumptuous; it adds to its genre a reinforcing rigor, starting with the conventional but then interrogating it remorselessly, so that no reader may doubt the continuing integrity and significance of the New Weird.

Trial’s sequel is to be called Madness of Flowers—it is likely that the City will continue to have to earn its ontological keep by methods dire and unhinged.

(He also called me "a writer of great intelligence and protean flexibility.")

Sick and tired and depressed

I'm sick, tired and depressed. Probably won't get *any* writing done today, which deeply pisses me off. So instead I'm thinking about politics. Hey, that's cheerful!

My various friends and acquaintances over the years who've been ardent defenders of the Second Amendment have always argued that without their guns, they cannot defend their essential liberties from government tyranny. In light of the several recent school shootings (Amish? Amish?) I think I'd like to see a scorecard.

Lives sacrificed defending essential liberties from government tyranny in the past 100 years:???
Lives lost to gun owners for all other reasons in the past 100 years:???

Congress has just finished making it utterly clear to us what our essential liberties are worth respect to, oh, habeas corpus, with enthusiastic support from the Red State constituency, apparently. What's the score on Second Amendment defense of essential liberties from government tyranny? If you own a gun, what's that worth to you?

Just wondering what the odds are here. Feel free to reckon it in dead school-girl hostages, murdered ex-wives, innocent bystanders, drive-by victims, whatever your favorite method of defense from government tyranny might be.

I'd much rather give up my non-existent guns than give up my habeas corpus and due process, please, Mr. President. I know which one would make me and my family safer.

Unrestricted gun ownership is the real terrorism in American society.

A bit more on the politics of guns

I was asked quite kindly in the earlier hot-button political post if I was overreacting due to being sick. The answer to that is certainly yes. But, here's my gloss from that response, lightly edited from the comment I wrote:

Truth be told, I've always felt this way about guns. I mean, the 'defense of essential liberties' argument is a great piece of theory, but over 10,000 people a year in the United States are fatally deprived of their essential liberties by widely available handguns. Anyone who makes that argument is placing their theoretical need for defense of liberty over the real deaths and deprivation of essential liberty of 720,000 people in their lifetimes, at a conservative assessment of the current firearms death rate and American lifespan. That is one hell of an offset for a theoretical defense. And we got upset over a mere 2,700 people preventably dead in 9-11.

It doesn't matter what you argue, that just doesn't hold up morally or ethically.

I thought this when I was on the riflery team in high school. I thought this when I was ROTC in college. I thought this when I earned my marksman's medal in the National Guard.

I used to be a very angry political actor, vocally liberal. Bush v. Gore, 2000, pretty much silenced me in a six-year long political depression. Today, for a few minutes at least, my true feelings came back out, goaded by my Dad switch.

Am I overheated? Sure. But I'll say this: if guns, like cars, produced meaningful utility to offset their death and injury rate, lib/con logic chopping about the Second Amendment might hold some water for me. But firearms only support a theoretical eventuality argued by people claiming absolute allegiance to the very foundational law that they themselves are rapidly deconstructing right now.

Dead children, my friend. The world doesn't need more dead children.

Here's the hard part for me. When I feel better, do I put my true feelings back in the box where they've been thumping and whining through the entirety of this decade and go back to being Mr. Mostly Apolitical Writer? I mean, I've worked pretty hard for this blog to be a welcoming space for people interested in writing and general weirdness -- Ghu knows there's enough angry politics on the Intarwebs at all ends of the spectrum.

Am I facing my own Niemöller moment, where I choose to stand up publicly against all that's gone horribly, sickly wrong in this country -- aided in meaningful part by the distorted electoral politics of gun control -- or do I choose to turn back to my own pursuits and hope someone else makes it better for me?

Ask me tomorrow when I don't have a fever and I'm not quite so heartsick for those parents out there. Maybe I'll have found my courage, maybe I'll have put my happy writer suit back on.
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