In the meantime, let's wrap up this month's Astounding. shall we? After all, new issues come out in just a couple of days, and I have to have the boards clear before pressing on.
(illustrated by Martinez)
George O. Smith, science fiction's A-lister of latin descent, turns out a fine story for animal lovers with History Repeats. In the far future, canis familiar has been given enhanced intelligence to rival that of humanity's, but their loyalty to their bipedal companions remains undiminished. In this tale, Terran agent, Peter, and his furry companion, Buregarde, are sent to Xanabar, a sort of latter-day Byzantium, to rescue a kidnapped damsel in distress. It's worth reading just for Buregarde--Smith always writes a fun, poetic story.
(illustrated by van Dongen)
Operation Haystack, by Frank Herbert, is an interesting political thriller set about a thousand years from now. It involves a centuries-old plot by the descendants of nomadic Arabs to seize political control of the galaxy. What makes the story special is that the orchestrators of the plot are women--and they pretty much win in the end. That said, it's a little disappointing that these powerful women generally rule through their husbands, who hold the political offices (though the women pull the strings). I'd like to think that the future lies in the equality of the sexes rather than the eternal struggle, with one side or the other side enjoying supremacy for a while. Still, I suppose Herbert's is as plausible a future as any, and at least the women are getting their say in it.
Philip Latham's Disturbing Sun is written in the form of an interview, the kind of transcription you often find in NASA press releases. It's one of those non-non-fiction pieces, and it is not un-clever. Psychologist Dr. Niemand describes the untoward effects increased sunspot activity has on the psyches of people during the sunlit hours. Given that we still don't know what sunspots really are (well, we know they are cool spots, but we don't know why they exist or how they're made), I suppose Latham's fancies are to disprove. Interestingly, Latham (who appears in the story as the interviewer) is actually the alter-ego of real-life astronomer Robert Richardson; Richardson was even the technical advisor on Destination: Moon, so I imagine he knows whereof he speaks. Even if you don't buy the sunspot/neurosis connection (I doubt Richardson does either), the style is captured with verisimilitude and is a fun read.
(illustrated by Summers)
Last up is Hex by Larry M. Harris. This is a story I would have expected to find in Fantasy & Science Fiction (that's a compliment) dealing as it does with witchcraft, a do-gooder welfare worker with fine intentions but creepy, eldritch methods, a scheming Russian ex-patriate who wants to bilk the system rather than be magically compelled to find work, and a gypsy witch in over her head. Interesting, whimsical, disturbing. Good stuff.
Gosh, where does that leave us? I guess this really wasn't a bad book, all told. 3.5 stars? Worth getting, particularly if you want to catch Dorsai in serial form.
Next up: The last issue of Satellite! Stay tuned!
(Confused? Click here for an explanation as to what's really going on)
These are (mostly) gen, and if there are pairings, they are implied, incidental, or just barely getting started (basically, they are not the focus of the story). I've recced some of these before, but they're so good, I'm sharing them again.
( recs under the cut )
[Photographs: Shao Z.]
For me, a dim sum brunch isn't complete without a plate of Supreme Soy Sauce Chow Mein. A simple dish of stir-fried thin noodles cooked with bean sprouts and scallions, it's cooked with just a bit of thin, soy-based sauce that coats the noodles in a concentrated layer of flavor. I turn this snack into a meal by adding an array of colorful, crunchy vegetables and tofu.
Why this recipe works:
- Preparing the vegetables in fine julienne is a little time consuming, but it's essential for even, rapid cooking and good integration of flavors.
- Cooking the noodles in an empty wok allows you to crisp them up and cook down the sauce until it coats them evenly, giving every bite good flavor and texture.
Note: Hong Kong-style noodles come pre-cooked. If using raw wonton noodles, boil in salted water for 45 seconds, rinse under cool running water, drain carefully, toss with 1 tablespoon oil, and arrange on a tray and allow to dry for 1 hour before stir-frying.
About the Author: Shao Z. was born in Guangzhou, the birthplace of dim sum, and raised in the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia. As a sibling-less child, cooking was a way to cure after school snack attacks and a way to keep herself entertained. That's how her love for food and cooking started, and it continues to grow. She blog at friedwontons4u.com and is on Twitter at @friedwontons4u.
Special equipment: Wok
serves Serves 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoon light soy sauce, divided
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 16 ounces Hong Kong-style (chow mein) noodles (see note above)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or peanut oil, divided
- 6 ounces five spiced tofu, julienned
- 1 bunch (3 ounces) Chinese flowering chives, cut into 2-inch lenghts
- 1 small carrot, cut into fine julienne
- 8 ounces bean sprouts, trimmed
- 3 scallions, cut into fine julienne
In a small bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon light soy sauce, the dark soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Mix well and set aside. Open the package of noodles and loosen them in a large bowl. Separate any noodle strands that are clumped together.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat until smoking. Add the tofu, spread it out, and cook without moving until lightly browned, about 30 seconds. Add remaining tablespoon of soy sauce, mix, and add in the chives. Stir-fry until chives are bright green, about 1 minute, then transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons in now-empty wok over high heat until smoking. Add the noodles. Using tongs or long chopsticks, spread the noodles around, toss them in the oil, and make sure they are not in one big clump. Cook, stirring, until they start to get a little bit crispy, about 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and continue stirring and mixing the noodles around. It is important that you keep the noodles moving once you add the sauce. Once the noodles are combined with the sauce, add the bean sprouts and the carrots. Continue tossing until the bean sprouts begin to turn transparent, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add the scallions, tofu, and chives back to the wok. Toss until everything is combined. Serve immediately.
mskaylee: defira85: leeshajoy: mschaos: joebagofdoughnuts: M...
Magnetic Cushions Let You Easily Build a Structurally Sound Pillow Fort
The Future is Now!
I think many people I know need to own these
I need to invent a time machine and send this back to my seven-year-old self.
THIS IS ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS
I totally want these, but a gentle reminder that if they’re magnetic, you should maybe keep them away from your computer and cell phone. Maybe read a book in your magnetic pillow cave!
Brave New Sci Fi
Thursday, April 24th, 7:30pm
Basement of The Rialto Pool Room
JACK LONDON BAR
529 SW 4th Ave., Portland, OR 97204
$10.00 cash at the door
($7.00 for students and seniors)
Or just $5.00 when ordered online!
Online orders end at 4:30 today!
Racheal Joy Erickson
WHY I LEFT HARRY'S ALL NIGHT HAMBURGERS by Lawrence Watt-Evans*Brave New Sci Fi runs 2 hours, including intermission, and is for audiences 21 and over.
“I told you I get some strange customers, boy.”
DEB & JOAN by Isaac Rathbone
“You sounded so... melancholy. That’s very advanced.”
MY HEART IS A QUADRATIC EQUATION by Shane Halbach*
“If you could do that with your tools, why couldn’t you just construct a boyfriend?”
TK'TK'TK by David D. Levine*
“I had spent almost five days on Bug Planet and all I had to show for it so far was one customer.”
* Adapted by Matt Haynes.
Hope to see you there!
You can hear an interview with director Matt Haynes, and excerpts from "Why I Left Harry's All Night Hamburgers" and "Tk'Tk'Tk," on the Geek in the City podcast, issue 254 beginning at 22:35.
Back when I asked this on my personal journal, ashen_key suggested corelite and bangparty. Another good option looks like 2thousand3, and I have a bunch from when Thor came out that I'll hunt down as soon as I can. So yeah! Whose icon work have you seen that you love?
This is the shape of my 2014, with travel dates and everything. Beautiful travel dates. Hope to see you sometime in the months to come. I know I just did one of these posts, but there's been some updates, and I want to make sure I don't lose track of anything (remember, these are as much for me as they are for you).
Sparrow Hill Road, May 6.
"Knit a Sweater Out of Sky," May 13 (Dead But Not Forgotten, audio).
"Stingers and Strangers," May 13 (Dead Man's Hand).
"IM," June 1 (website).
"Lady Antheia's Guide to Horticultural Warfare," July 1 (Clockwork Universe).
"Oh Pretty Bird," July 1 (website).
"Bury Me In Satin," August 5 (website).
The Winter Long, September 2.
"Snakes and Ladders," October 14.
"The Fixed Stars," November 4 (Shattered Shields).
"Each to Each," 2014 (Women Destroy Science Fiction).
"The Happiest Place...," February 2015 (Wastelands 2).
Pocket Apocalypse, March 3, 2015.
"No Sooner Met," unknown.
"Driving Jenny Home," unknown.
"Rolling in the Deep," unknown.
"In Skeleton Leaves," unknown.
"Opening Band," unknown.
"There is No Room For Sorrow in the Kingdom of the Cold," unknown.
Sparrow Hill Road release party, May 10, Borderlands Books, San Francisco CA.
Phoenix Comic-Con, June 5-8, Phoenix AZ.
San Diego International Comic-Con, July 23-27, San Diego CA.
Loncon 3 (Worldcon 2014), August 14-17, London England.
Disneyland Paris, August 18-21, Paris France.
Shamrokon (Eurocon 2014), August 22-24, Dublin Ireland.
Filk Continental, October 3-5, Hamburg Germany.
Windycon, November 14-16, Chicago IL.
Eastercon: Dysprosium, April 3-5 2015, London England.
Westercon 68, July 2-5 2015, San Diego CA.
No fixed deadline/being written/unsold:
The Best Thing
"The Star of New Mexico"
"White as a Raven's Wing"
"Carry Me Home"
"These Antique Fables"
"All the Pretty Little Horses"
Again, to clarify some recent confusion: some things, especially novel-length things, may appear more than once, on both the "publication date" and "being written" lists. This is because the "being written" list is an aggregate, which also includes "no fixed deadline" (IE, being written on spec or for the website) and "unsold" (IE, being written because I can). So new books will appear there for a long time before they vanish, since books take a long time to write, but may also have pub dates listed higher up.
Look at that list. It's so shiny!
I have a dilemma. I’ve been having a terrible year in 2014 (and 2013 was pretty shit also!) My husband and I have been having a rocky year in our marriage, I have just started an antidepressant to deal with my ongoing and dangerous depression, we have a $25,000 fee to pay to our condo I still don’t know how we’ll finance, and I have been balancing full-time work and full-time school schedule for nine months. Basically, I’m tired to the bone physically and emotionally.
My husband, Jack*, and I are currently in the process of going through some counseling and things on that front seem positive and hopeful. The problem is, he recently asked me if his brother can come stay with us from June to August to work in our town. Jack’s brother, Bill*, along with the rest of his family members, live in a faraway province with little economic action. We live in a booming economy with many jobs, especially in Bill’s area of interest.
I had not been planning to take any courses over the summer and was looking forward to some rare downtime and the chance to recover and feel like myself again. With an air mattress in the basement serving as a “spare room” and only one shower, living area and kitchen, it’s inevitable that Bill would end up encroaching on our space. Although he’s in college now he’s still a teenager, so I’m also concerned about his cleaning ability or lack thereof. Plus, frankly, I just don’t want to deal with a houseguest for the whole summer!
Jack misses his family a great deal. This would be a great chance for him to catch up with his brother and bond, to say nothing of the opportunity for Bill to build work experience in his field. I can’t help but feel like the bad guy if I say no, but I’m already mourning my lost, private summer full of reconnecting with Jack and having plenty of alone time. Should I kibosh the trip and live with the guilt? Say yes and quietly resent every moment? PLEASE SEND HELP.
Houseguest versus Hag
*all names changed
You’ve gotta bring it up with your husband, maybe as part of the counseling you are doing, as directly and clearly as you’ve done with me. And you’ve got to put the onus on him for figuring out a solution that works for you as well as (maybe) his brother.
“Husband, I’m feeling a lot of anxiety about the prospect of having your brother stay with us for the whole summer. Can we talk about it?”
See what he says. There might be some reason that the family really wants Bill to be away this summer, or a reason that Bill particularly needs his big brother that he hasn’t quite told you. Try to tease this out if you can.
Then, state your issues as you told them to us.
-Have you already promised Bill he can stay the whole summer? What if we started with a shorter visit? (My sense is that he asked you if it would be okay with you first, before talking to Bill, in which case, Good Husband! Biscuit! but it’s good to know whether this was an actual question that you get to say no to.)
-Is it your expectation that he’ll be getting a summer job and out working most of the time? I’m worried that if he doesn’t find a job he’s going to be always around. Could we agree that if he hasn’t found a summer job by a certain date (1 month in), back he goes?
-Who will be responsible for making sure he cleans up after himself?
-Tell Jack what you told us: You want him to be close to his family, and you don’t want to be the bad guy, but you’re feeling overwhelmed and it’s hard for you to look forward to the visit right now (so soon after a rough school year, with this big debt hanging over you). What can he tell you to reassure you? What plan can he make to make sure Bill will be a model houseguest?
Give your husband a chance to address and talk through your issues and make a plan. Even if he has already issued an invitation, he and you are allowed to say “we’re having some health and money issues that makes this summer a very bad time for us, and I’m so sorry, but we’ll have to reschedule.” It’s not comfortable or fun, but it is possible to cancel the entire summer visit and change it to a week or 2 for the brothers to connect. See if you can make a deal with him, along the lines of:
“If you can give me this summer to get back on my feet, I promise that we will invite Bill for (future time) and I will host him enthusiastically.”/”If you feel you can’t or really don’t want to cancel on him, I understand and will do my best, but I need you to take care of x, y, and z concern to make things go smoothly.” And part of the deal is, whatever you decide, you present a united front and you don’t constantly revisit the decision or punish the other person. For instance, if you do decide to keep the invitation open, you can resent it quietly all you like in your own head and in your therapist’s office. Taking that resentment out slowly on Jack or Bill will not help you feel better or make the situation better, it will just (depression or no) make you a jerk. So “no” is possible and “yes” is possible but “sure but I will hate the situation and you every minute” should just become no. If you do decide to postpone the visit, your husband isn’t allowed to resent you for “keeping him away from his family” or constantly bring it up. This is the kind of stuff the marriage counselor can help you with, so, use them.
X, Y, and Z could be:
- Making sure that Bill has a bike to get around and plenty to amuse himself with.
- Making sure that at least 2 days or evenings/week Jack will take Bill Somewhere That Is Else so you can have some peace and quiet in your own house with no people in it.
- Jack taking the lead in figuring out how to get that $25,000 fee taken care of so one stressor is off your plate.
- Jack dealing with the extra laundry, cleaning, and food prep that comes with an extra person in the house.
- And Jack telling Bill the truth: You, his Sister-in-Law, have been going through some hard times lately and need a lot of space and time to yourself. I imagine that one anxiety-making aspect of having a houseguest is the thought of having to perform “okayness” for his sake for the entire time that he’s around. Could Jack remove that aspect for you?
As a teacher of college freshmen, my experience with hanging out with teenaged dudepeople is actually pretty copious, so here’s what I can say to reassure you if Bill does visit:
- They mostly don’t want to interact with Olds all day and are pretty self-amusing. Is there an internet connection? Do they have a device that connects to said Internet? Then you’re probably good for large stretches of time.
- A basement air mattress might be more freedom and privacy than he’s used to and you might find him quite grateful for a basement lair to retreat to. Put a second-hand recliner down there and you might never see him except at mealtimes.
- Once he’s working and made a few friends, he might come home only to sleep and eat.
- Their bodies are still growing and they sleep and eat more than you think is possible.
- I can’t speak to this boy, obviously, but as a group I find them to be capable of great hilarity and great compassion.
I hope you can work some of this out so at very least you can feel better, and I hope you get the rest and recovery and freedom from financial worry that you need.
The mashed potatoes of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, refried beans are a versatile, addictive, and delicious side dish. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]
Refried beans are like the mashed potatoes of Mexican and Tex-Mex cooking: they're a versatile, addictive, and delicious side dish. While a relatively simple dish, this master recipe allows you to choose exactly how you want to make them, whether chunky or smooth, cooked with pork fat or vegetable oil, or made with pinto or black beans.
Why this recipe works:
- By offering choices, including bean type, fat type, and mashing techniques, this recipe makes it possible to get exactly the style of refried beans you want. (Read the accompanying article to learn more about how each component affects the final dish.)
- Starting with dried beans and cooking them with flavorful aromatics like herbs, onion, and garlic results in a much more delicious final dish.
Note: Epazote, a Mexican herb, can be found at Mexican grocers. To add other flavors to the refried beans, try sautéing a pinch of ground cumin or fresh chilis with the minced onion, or puréeing toasted dried chilis into the mixture.
Special equipment: Bean masher, potato masher, or stick blender
serves Makes about 4 cups, active time 20 minutes, total time 2 hours 20 minutes
- 1/2 pound dried pinto or black beans
- 2 sprigs fresh epazote (see notet above) or oregano
- 1 medium white onion, 1/2 minced (about 1/2 cup), 1/2 left whole
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- Kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons lard, bacon drippings, vegetable oil, or butter
In a large pot, cover the beans with cold water by at least 2 inches. Add herb sprigs, the whole onion half, and garlic cloves and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until beans are very tender, about 1 to 2 hours. Season with salt. Drain beans, reserving bean-cooking liquid. You should have about 3 cups of cooked beans; if you have more, measure out 3 cups of beans and reserve the rest for another use. Discard herb sprigs, onion, and garlic.
In a large skillet, heat lard, bacon drippings, or oil until shimmering, or butter until foaming, over medium-high heat. Add minced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in beans and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of reserved bean-cooking liquid. Using bean masher, potato masher, or back of a wooden spoon, smash the beans to form a chunky purée; alternatively, use a stick blender to make a smoother purée. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until desired consistency is reached; if refried beans are too dry, add more bean-cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed. Season with salt and serve.
This post is a free-for-all for people to:
a) post links to perfume-related content they posted elsewhere (on or off DW)
b) talk about anything they want to talk about that isn't big enough for a full post
c) socialize and hang out without worrying about "off topic"
d) or anything else that comes to mind!