How to Describe Characters

Monkey Typing

Magrat arrived at as near to a run as was possible in the queen outfit, which ought to have had castors. * * * * *Ponder said nothing. When you’re a cork in someone else’s stream of consciousness, all you can do is spin and bob in the eddies. * * * * *Granny Weatherwax seemed to generate a gyroscopic field—if you started out off-balance, she saw to it that you remained there. — Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies. … [Read more...]

Hedy Lamarr is a Beautiful Gal

P-38 Lightning

I panned Jack McDevitt's Ancient Shores a couple of days ago (I won't add injury to insult by linking to my review); but I'm indebted to him for including a bit of World War II-era songwriting on the subject of that epic warplane, the P-38 Lighting. Here's a ditty called "Lightnings in the Sky" (author unknown):Oh, Hedy Lamarr is a beautiful gal,   And Madeleine Carroll is too. But you’ll find, if you query,   A different theory   Amongst any bomber c … [Read more...]

Terry Pratchett on Consumerism

Monkey Typing

Magrat put on her best dress, the green silk one that was unfortunately now a mass of creases. She took out a bundle of tissue paper and slowly unwrapped her occult jewelry; Magrat bought occult jewelry as a sort of distraction from being Magrat. She had three large boxes of the stuff and was still exactly the same person.— Terry Pratchett, Witches AbroadWith me, it's computer and camera gear. And, yeah...still me, after all these years. … [Read more...]

Terry Pratchett on Family Feuds

Monkey Typing

The Oggs were what is known as an extended family—in fact not only extended but elongated, protracted and persistent. No normal sheet of paper could possibly trace their family tree, which in any case was more like a mangrove thicket. And every single branch had a low-key, chronic vendetta against every other branch, based on such well-established causes célèbres as What Their Kevin Said About Our Stan At Cousin Di’s Wedding and Who Got The Silver Cutlery That Auntie Em Promised Our Doreen Was To … [Read more...]

On Tyranny

Being an absolute ruler today was not as simple as people thought. At least, it was not simple if your ambitions included being an absolute ruler tomorrow.— Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (On Lord Vetinari's philosophy of government.) … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: The Check’s in the Mail

Monkey Typing

If, somewhere, any possible world can exist, then somewhere there is any letter that could possibly be written. Somewhere, all those checks really were in the mail.— Terry Pratchett, Going Postal … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: On Using Magic

Oh, you could do it all by magic, you certainly could. You could wave a wand and get twinkly stars and a fresh-baked loaf. You could make fish jump out of the sea already cooked. And then, somewhere, somehow, magic would present its bill, which was always more than you could afford.That’s why it was left to wizards, who knew how to handle it safely. Not doing any magic at all was the chief task of wizards—not “not doing magic” because they couldn’t do magic, but not doing magic when they co … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: On Murder

Monkey Typing

“You mean you knew there was going to be a murder before it even happened?” Ribaud said in disbelief. “Didn’t somebody do something?”“Son, around here, you always know about a murder ahead of time,” Parry replied calmly. He drained the rest of his soda in a great swallow. “That don’t mean it’s healthy to mix in another man’s quarrel.”— David Drake, Night & Demons … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Cat Maintenance

Monkey Typing

After we do the washing-up, I get to spend the rest of the evening reading FAQs on cat maintenance on the web. It takes about half an hour to come to the unwelcome realization that they’re almost as complex as home-brew gaming PCs, and have even more failure modes. (When your gaming PC malfunctions it doesn’t stealthily dump core in your shoes.)— Charles Stross, The Rhesus ChartBob Howard, computer geek, comes to terms with owning a cat. … [Read more...]