March 16th, 2008


[links] Link salad on a bleary Sunday

Don't forget the new caption contest — Another ARC of Escapement Amazon ], as well as an gift card, are at stake!

Endeavour to orbit — APOD with a much closer view of the space shuttle night launch that I saw last week

Bonsai gear clock — Mmm. Shiny. :: wants ::

Dollar's plunge pushes eurozone past US"With the euro now trading around 1.56 against the dollar, the size of its annual output (at market value) has exceeded that of the United States," US investment bank Goldman Sachs estimated last week. Your Republican Party, safeguarding America's standing in the world.

Iraq war's cost: Loss of U.S. power, prestige and influenceThanks in part to the Iraq war, the next U.S. president — Republican or Democrat, black or white, man or woman — will take office with America's power, prestige and popularity in decline, according to bipartisan reports, polls and foreign observers. Your Republican Party, safeguarding America's standing in the world. Oh, wait. I already said that. Guess it can't be repeated enough.

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (heavy labor yesterday, hiking today, so I gave it a rest)
Last night's weigh-out: n/a
This morning's weigh-in: 276.0
Currently reading: Field of Fire, by James O. Born Powell's | Amazon ]


[fiction] "Over the Walls of Eden"

I'm continuing to post reprints of my fiction here on this blog. Watch for the tag "fiction," as in

The current installment in this series is my short story "Over the Walls of Eden". At 3,000 words, this originally appeared in Descant issue 122. If you like the story, please consider supporting Descant.

Over the Walls of Eden

by Jay Lake

Emissary exits the lander, his first step carrying him thirty odd meters down with a gentle assist from the vessel's inertial compensators. The tail-burning descent has brought him down on the Southern Temperate Massif, Karsage's climatically idyllic plateau originally marked for human settlement — the missing colony that should have spread across the planet in the past two centuries.

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© 2003, 2008, Joseph E. Lake Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


[process] The price of success

I was accidentally reminded of something this morning that I haven't thought on in a while. Succeeding in this field can change friendships. I've been very lucky, in that I can only name two fellow writers whom I counted as friends who've distanced themselves from me as my career burgeoned. One simply withdrew and doesn't acknowledge me any more, the other has made it their business to badmouth me whenever the opportunity presents.

Shortly after kenscholes began making his current splash, specifically with his rather magnificent Tor deal in hand, another writer asked me how our friendship had survived the experience. I thought it was a bizarre question. As I told them, I'd celebrate the success of a total stranger, why wouldn't I celebrate the success of a dear friend? But then I'm really not the jealous type. Envy, sure, sometimes by the truckloads, but it simply never occurs to me that someone else's accomplishments might somehow diminish me.

And that isn't true, at least in publishing. This isn't the Olympics, where three people win medals and everyone else goes home. This isn't a zero-sum game. Success builds on success, competence builds on competence, and in my experience everyone prospers for being on a shared journey. In part, that's why so many writers read each other's blogs these days. Yet people take their aspirations so personally that I cannot begin to count the number of stories I've heard from other writers about friendships lost, crit groups broken up, and other social prices paid because they began to succeed before the people around them.

The oddest, saddest part about these two people who have turned away from me is that both were very important mentors to me. One was the person who introduced me to critique, brought me to my first workshop, showed me how to format a manuscript — all the painful newbie stuff that everyone has to learn somewhere. I should be dedicating books to that person and mentioning their name on panels, not stumbling over angry, petty references to me in Technorati searches that reference their blog.

I don't ever want to be that person. I want to be the kind of human being who can applaud every accomplishment of my friends and still go to sleep at night with a smile on my face. Writing is a solitary enough act at its best. Why isolate ourselves and each other through jealousy and hatred?

Pick up the phone, the email, the IM, and tell someone you know how much you appreciate their work.

[politics] Eliot Spitzer

As anyone who reads this blog for even a short length of time is fully aware, I often rail against conservatives in general and Republicans in particular on this little soap box of mine. I presume that some readers just set phasers on "ignore" when they see the [politics] tag. That's fine with me. This blog covers a wide range of topics, and if we all agreed, there'd be nothing to argue about. What's the fun in that?

A point that I try to remind people of from time to time is that my frequent comments are not based on my philosophical opposition to conservatism. I am in fact proudly liberal-progressive, a fairly strong leftist in American terms (which places me firmly as a centrist in European terms). Rather, my intense frustration with my friends on the Right is that we have seen almost thirty years of their substantial dominance, and often absolute control, over the American political process, based on blatantly false flags.

Millions of loyal Republican voters believe their party stands for family values, fiscal responsibility, ethical government and a stronger America, when those beliefs are patently counterfactual, based on evidence easily interpreted by a junior high school student. There is a profound doublethink embedded in the conservative conscience of America which begins first and foremost by denying its own existence in favor of soi-disant moral principle and high standards.

What I rail against, repeatedly, is hypocrisy. Are there Democrats and non-partisan political figures caught up in sex scandals, financial improprieties or criminal violations? Of course. People are people. Their party label doesn't confer holiness or special virtue. Except to millions of Republicans it does. I don't normally jump on Democrats who skim or steal or sleep around, because their political fortunes are not based on creating and maintaining the lie that they are morally superior.

Enter Eliot Spitzer, former governor of New York state. Here is a man who has built his entire career on moral and ethical crusades, a millionaire hundreds of times over, who sells it out for exactly the kind of high profile prostitution ring he used to bust. His political fortunes are based on moral superiority, and he has proven himself guilty of the basest hypocrisy.

In truth, Spitzer's real political crime is stupidity.1 The same can be said of Larry Craig and many others. I personally couldn't care less who any of them sleep with, in what combination and under what funding mechanism. I don't see how having a hyperactive sex drive is a disqualification from office. But crossing the line from being oversexed to criminal behavior is moronic, especially in a political leader who should know better. Doing so in the face of the foundation of their public persona passes beyond moronic and into the arrogance of power.

Spitzer is a stupid, venal man who can go sit in the Hamptons and cry over his millions for all I care. I want politicians who make good decisions for good reasons, and have a sense of principle. I find far more of those on the left than the right, but perhaps that's observer bias. Spitzer was not one of them. Good riddance to a political fool.

1. Yes, I'm aware there's some suggestion that the way Spitzer got busted in the first place was due to a political hit job, possibly driven by Michael Bloomberg. I don't care. Blaming the whistleblower doesn't excuse the offense. Political stupidity and criminal hypocrisy are what they are.

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