Just So Stories

Elephant's Trunk

This was first posted in April of 2005. And it's all true.I've reviewed Kipling's Just So Stories before, back in 2001 when I was reading them to David. After that they got put on the shelf, not to be taken down again until we were reading Prince Caspian. There were several evenings when David wasn't available at story-time, and on those evenings I needed something different. I scanned the shelves, and Aha! This book fell right into my hand.There are many stories I remember my … [Read more...]

A Voyage to Mars, by Sea-Plane

In December of 2004, scientists from the Hawaii Underwater Research Lab discovered the sunken hulk of a seaplane called the Marshall Mars, one of six giant seaplanes built for the U.S. Navy by the Martin Corporation during World War II. After Pearl Harbor, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser responded to fears of Japanese submarines preying on American shipping by suggesting that his shipyards turn out a fleet of flying boats. He eventually teamed up with Howard Hughes to build the Spruce Goose. The … [Read more...]

Good Advice: Just Say Yes

The original of this post first appeared in February, 2005.As the title says, "Just say yes!"My friend Ian says that this is good advice for screenwriters; I’d say it’s good advice for software developers as well, and probably for anybody involved in doing creative work for a customer. In short, when asked to do something you think is a mistake, say “Yes.” Then find out what they are hoping to get from it; they have a reason for asking. Then think about it, and see if you can figure a way … [Read more...]

Stood Up For A Fish

Koi #5

This was first posted in November of 2004.I suppose I've been stood up a time or two in my life, but never for such a reason as this.Every Friday, I and a couple of other folks get together at lunchtime to play recorder music. (If you don't know what a recorder is, go here.) There used to be four of us, and then Mo decided to move up to the Bay Area. (Shame on her!) Every once in a while, though, she comes down to Los Angeles, and when she does she tries to join us on Friday so that … [Read more...]

A Question of Values


This was first posted in October of 2004, about events that occurred around 1980.When I was junior in high school a fire in the mountains above our house threatened to make us evacuate, and my mother sent me to my room to pack, just in case. She warned me that we couldn't take everything. So I grabbed a brown paper grocery bag and went to my room and into it I placed that which I valued most—my Tolkien books. I had a boxed set of paperback copies of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings ( … [Read more...]

How Not To Write A Best-Selling Fantasy Novel

This post was written in September of 2004, relative to a blog post about how to put all of the typical fantasy cliches into your manuscript. Jaq's post is still available, because Jaq's got stamina, and you go look at it if you like. In this post, I refer to two novels of mine, one of which is indeed available to read on-line (though not in e-book format) and one which is still not quite done, ten years later. Jaquandor comments (with reference to his manuscript in progress) on this post … [Read more...]

What Is Christian Fantasy?


This post was first written in May of 2004. I think it holds up pretty well. I made some minor edits, and fixed a couple of typos. Kudos to Phil Wade, of Brandywine Books; the link below hasn't decayed, even though it's to the old version of the blog.Phil at Brandywine Books has written several posts (most recently here) on the subject of "What is Christian Fiction?" My answer is that there are several things which can go by that name. The first is simply, "Fiction written to be … [Read more...]

Review: The Complete Peanuts, 1950 to 1952


This review was first posted in May of 2004.The Complete Peanuts 1950-1952 (Vol. 1) (The Complete Peanuts), by Charles M. Schulz, is the first of a series of books to be published over the next twelve years, containing the complete run of Peanuts cartoons from October of 1952 until Schulz's retirement, a span of nearly fifty years. I bought it for two reasons.The first is purely nostalgic. During most of my life, the only Peanuts cartoons I read in the newspaper were the Sunday … [Read more...]

Jeeves and the Nameless Ichor

Back in May of 2004 I heard of a Wodehouse/Lovecraft mash-up called Scream For Jeeves, and my mind boggled. And then, a few moments later, the following emerged from mine own fevered brow. I reproduce it here for your delectation.I was in bed, eyeing the morning egg-and-bacon while getting outside of a stiffish brandy-and-soda, when Jeeves shimmered into the room. I don’t know how he does it, and I would never dream of asking. There are things about one’s man one simply isn’t meant to kno … [Read more...]