A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Advent of TOF

TOF's first paid publication was a collection of fillers and quotes, for which he was remunerated the princely sum of $60, but his first actual paid story had a more checkered career.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sometimes the Mask Doesn't Just Slip

It is tossed off entirely and dances and capers:
From Pro-Choice to Pro-Abortion
All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.
-- Mary Elizabeth Williams, “So What If Abortion Ends a Human Life?” 
There may be a reason why such sentiments make one look like "death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers."

We can only wait and see what other lives will be deemed less than equal. Lebensunwertes Leben is making its long-awaited comeback.

Added in postscript: TOF spoke too soon, we are already designating such.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Way, Part I: A Moving Tale

OK, TOF has finished "In Panic Town, On the Backward Moon" and is ready to resume what he joshingly refers to as "real life."

Back to the Argument from Motion (See Preface)

Getting 'Motional

[T]he arguments require the appreciation of certain metaphysical principles that are unfamiliar or seem archaic to the contemporary philosophical mind...  In particular, the notion of causation employed by Aquinas in the arguments has a decidedly obscure ring to modern ears.
-Oderberg, ‘Whatever is Changing is Being Changed by Something Else’
Part of TOF's herculean effort here will be to translate, as much as he is able, those original items into more modern lingo. This is not always quite possible and not always well-advised, because words in different languages in different eras do not always divide thought into the same categories. But, Excelsior!¹
1. Excelsior. As all men know, this is a packing material used as dunnage.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


The TOFheim, dryer which for fourteen years had done its duty vis a vis wet laundry, gave up the ghost and joined the choir eternal. The several repairmen who had tinkered with it for a month agreed to refund most of the moneys paid; and so this past Saturday TOF and the Incomparable Marge visited a store of appliances and examined the possible replacements.  Sample conversation:
I/M: We'll take this one.
The manager of the store (who was also the owner, it being a small family-owned establishment) told us he could have it delivered next (now this) week. "Wednesday isn't looking good, so it'll probably be Thursday."
On the way to the register, the fellow remarked, "You've been in here before."
Yes, three years ago, to buy a new stove after the old one was struck by a meteor -- i.e., a hot casserole dish being pulled from the overhead microwave without adequate temperature buffers. Sample monologue:
Son of TOF: Ouch. Oops. Damn.
"Flynn," says the Incomparable.
"Flynns!" says the owner. "I can get it to you Monday afternoon. At 1:00. Plus-or-minus 15 minutes."

TOF is not making this up. Life is good, and the clothes are dry.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

TOF, Covered

TOF is taking a break from his Achilles-like tortoise-chasing to finish "In Panic Town, on the Backward Moon" and amused himself by finding the covers of all the Analog issues that featured his story. In recent years, the mags have all found it cheaper to use generic covers rather than commission special covers for specific stories; but in Olden Tymes, this was not so. So here they are:

Oct. 1987. TOF's first cover was for part-1 of In the Country of the Blind, a 2-part serial that led to his first Novel. The cover it got was "high concept." The story is set in the Babbage Society milieu and is loosely connected to the Firestar series.

June 1989. This was another 2-parter, for part-1 of The Washer at the Ford. The story was part of The Nanotech Chronicles and gives us a look at Charlie Singer of Singerlabs. Stan Schmidt actually apologized for the cover; but I thought that if it were only a bit more wooden and stylized it might have worked.

April 1990. This was my first and only Kelly Freas cover, for the Hraani story, "The Common Goal of Nature." It appeared in a stolen German translation in Partners fuer Lebens. (A German agent had fallen into gambling debts and had started selling stories for his clients without either informing them or passing on the monies. It was collected in The Forest of Time and Other Stories.

Jan 1994. The cover for "Melodies of the Heart," which was a Hugo nominee. I can only imagine what readers thought they were getting when they saw this one. There is a bit of high concept here, too. "Melodies..." shows up in both The Forest of Time and Captive Dreams. 

Oct. 2009. After a long absence, TOF returns to the cover with "Where the Winds are All Asleep," one of the Irish Pub stories. The secret to cover-tude is to have weird-looking aliens or space-ships. Somehow or other, the text is on the intertubes, although the Greek text is garbled, and the sections in the Pub are not adequately indicated.

Feb 2010. This is a cover for a podcast called StarShip Sofa, an audio of "The Clapping Hands of God," appearing earlier in Analog. It's not a bad cover, and the story made it onto the Hugo ballot.


A couple of items, courtesy of Mark Shea, offered without comment: