'Bad Neil Gaiman' stories

November 30th, 2014

Neil Gaiman Reads "Bad Neil Gaiman" Stories. Be sure to stick around for the last story (which Gaiman declares to be his favourite.)

[Via The Millions]

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The important thing is that I'm thinking like a founder.

November 26th, 2014

Paul Ford's One Day, I Will Die on Mars:


I am living a nightmare before lunchtime. First, the sofa delivery people gave me a window of 7 AM to 7 PM, so I'm a prisoner in my own apartment. Second, worse, I am out of cat food, and in consequence my beloved companion Squee has, under the duress of feline starvation, started a brutal ankle-biting campaign. I do not blame him. For Squee, bless his tortoiseshell heart, is a Cat Most Special with Issues of Digestion, and, to maintain his sleek coat and sterling disposition, must only ever eat cat food of great expense, and I am out of it. Simple, you say! Just buy some food! But I cannot leave this abode for fear of missing the sofa. Also: The very smallest bag of said food is a full eighteen ounces too heavy for micro-delivery, which means hand-delivery on a major surge day. And so I have to spend All The Money to get cat food hand-Ubered or risk not obtaining my sofa. My ankles are suffering, friends. I look forward to the healing balm of your supportive replies.

I am Uber. I searched along the many predefined vertices within my system and I found the exact cat food at many warehouses within the New York City area. I knew my node of destination and many potential nodes of departure; I needed now to find an optimal revenue path. […]

[Via kottke.org]

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The Sea Witch Sets The Record Straight

May 31st, 2014

The Sea Witch Sets The Record Straight:

I didn't take her voice for myself. I want to set the record straight on that, right up front. People got a lot of crazy notions in their heads, the way the story got around, and that was one of them.

I'm not saying I never did an evil deed – anyone who says they haven't is lying through their teeth – but I didn't take her voice for myself. I didn't need it. I've got a perfectly fine voice, thank you, trained by whale divas, and it's mine. […]

[Via MetaFilter]

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The whale awaits your judgment

May 24th, 2014

Robin Sloan contemplates The Moby-Dick variations:

Where does one novel end and another one begin?

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Joyful and Triumphant (St Zenobius and the Aliens)

December 25th, 2013

Courtesy of Jo Walton, Joyful and Triumphant (St Zenobius and the Aliens):

It's a bit of a cliche, but the first thing I thought when I came to Heaven was that I didn't expect aliens. It's a cliche because it's the first thing we all think — aliens are a surprise. And what a delightful surprise! Welcome, everyone, whatever your planet of origin. Joy to you! Heaven welcomes you. My name is Zenobius, and I am from Earth. Earth is a perfectly ordinary planet. We had a perfectly standard Incarnation. If we're known for anything it's our rather splendid Renaissance, which I'm proud to say has been artistically quite influential, but although that happened in my own city of Florence I can't take any credit for it because it happened centuries after my death and I didn't really participate. […]

[Via Making Light / Particles]

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I know that on November 12 2015 at 3:45:41, @justinbieber is going to say 'I'm so, so, sorry.' Why? I have no idea.

May 28th, 2013

A Twitter bug report pivots into a spooky little science fiction story:

Subject: Twitter API returning results that do not respect arrow of time.

This will take some explaining.

It started as an afternoon hacking project with your Twitter API. […]

[Via nielsenhayden.com Sidelights]

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Murder everywhere

January 25th, 2013

The BBC, courtesy of figures produced by More or Less, provides the hard statistics to demonstrate that Jessica Fletcher was the world's greatest serial killer:

Location Murder rate
Midsomer County (assuming its population equivalent to Oxfordshire, where it's filmed) 32 per million (average of 2.6 murders an episode, eight episodes a year – so 21 people murdered each year). So Midsomer's crime rate equivalent to Chile or Turkey)
Oxfordshire 10 per million
Honduras (world's highest murder rate) 910 per million
Cabot Cove (setting for CBS's Murder, She Wrote – pop: 3,500) 1,490 per million

Granted she always managed to find some poor devil to take the fall, but you don't end up in the vicinity of so many murders by coincidence.

Seriously, the article makes some good points about how little murder as depicted on TV resembles the crime in real life.

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

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Two Presidents

October 8th, 2012

Courtesy of Maureen Dowd: President Obama seeks post-debate tips from a master

The lights from the presidential motorcade illuminate a New Hampshire farmhouse at night in the sprawling New England landscape. JED BARTLET steps out onto his porch as the motorcade slows to a stop.


BARTLET They told you to make sure you didn't seem condescending, right? They told you, "First, do no harm," and in your case that means don't appear condescending, and you bought it. 'Cause for the American right, condescension is the worst crime you can commit.

OBAMA What's your suggestion?

BARTLET Appear condescending. Now it comes naturally to me –

OBAMA I know.

BARTLET It's a gift, but I'm likable and you're likable enough. Thirty straight months of job growth – blown off. G.M. showing record profits – unmentioned. "Governor, would you still let Detroit go bankrupt as you urged us to do four years ago?" – unasked. […]

BARTLET [… That] was quite a display of hard-nosed, fiscal conservatism when he slashed one one-hundredth of 1 percent from the federal budget by canceling "Sesame Street" and "Downton Abbey." I think we're halfway home. Mr. President, your prep for the next debate need not consist of anything more than learning to pronounce three words: "Governor, you're lying." Let's replay some of Wednesday night's more jaw-dropping visits to the Land Where Facts Go to Die. "I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don't have a tax cut of a scale you're talking about."

OBAMA The Tax Policy Center analysis of your proposal for a 20 percent across-the-board tax cut in all federal income tax rates, eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax, the estate tax and other reductions, says it would be a $5 trillion tax cut.

BARTLET In other words …

OBAMA You're lying, Governor. […]

[Via The Morning News]

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Neoliberal Holmes

June 30th, 2012

Neoliberal Holmes, or, Everything I Know About Modern Life I Learned from Sherlock (BBC 2010):

Every age gets the Holmes it deserves.

[Via Making Light (Particles)]

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The Bombadil – Dark Santa connection…

December 19th, 2011

The Bombadil-Dark Santa connection…

The following paper was posted to the usenet newsgroup, rec.arts.sf.written, by a person posting under the name "Sea Wasp". The circumstances whereby he acquired a copy of the paper were not related. The matter is under investigation by They Who Shall Not Be Named.

(the following is a transcript of a paper presented by Eukonidor at the Fifth Age Conference on Arisia to the delegation from Middle-Earth)

An Examination of the History of
the One Ring subsequent to the
"War of the Ring", and the
Implications Thereof for the
Future of Civilization

As is well known, at the conclusion of the Third Age of Middle-Earth, the One Ruling Ring fell into the Cracks of Doom and was destroyed, obliterating the works directly tied to the One and undoing the Dark Lord Sauron entirely.

Unfortunately, that which is "well-known" can often be incorrect. Subsequent events of a disquieting nature demonstrate all too conclusively that in point of fact not only was the One not destroyed, but it was also taken up by a being more than capable of utilizing it for its own purposes. […]

While I was checking my archives to see if I'd linked to this already, I came across a post from almost exactly nine years ago about alternate versions of The Lord of the Rings that's worth a look if this is your sort of thing.1 Be sure to read the comments, which added another couple of links to still more worthwhile material.

[Via kengr, posting here]

  1. A couple of the links have succumbed to rot, but most are still good.

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