Book Report: Hedy’s Folly

Published April 6, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Sooner than expected, here’s my report on the book I picked for Challenge #13 “Read a nonfiction book about technology.”

Since the text on the image is so small, let me spell out the full title of the book:  Hedy’s Folly:  The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World.  (And yes, that is a torpedo she’s sitting on on the cover.)

I admit that through the first few chapters, I was worried that it might not count as a book “about technology,” as those early chapters were pretty much standard biography of Hedy Lamarr (or rather of Hedwig Kiesler, who would later adopt the stage name of Hedy Lamarr), and her co-inventor George Antheil, a composer and author.  Then it got to the part where they were actually working on their invention, and suddenly it was absolutely all about technology.  In fact, it completely glossed over the rest of Hedy’s life in maybe five or six pages.  (Of her six husbands, the book only named two.  Or was it three?  Yeah, it was three, but still!  It did mention that she had had six, but didn’t see any need to go into details.)

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IWSG – Something’s shifted

Published April 5, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

I’m not quite sure what, but something is just a little off from what it had been.

I mean, some of it’s the same.  I’ve been obsessed with writing fanfic for Velvet Goldmine since July’s CampNaNo session, and that hasn’t changed (despite coming up with what feels like a really good idea for an original novel series in the meantime), but the stuff I’ve been writing has been.  I’m not sure if that’s a maturation of my interest, a reaction to the real world, a suggestion that maybe I’m starting to tire of it, or what, but it’s kind of been weirding me out a little.

So, when I started, it was mostly just “how can I get my two favorite characters to hook up and have their happily ever after?”  (Because I am, at heart, a very shallow person who would prefer to live in a fairy tale world.  Especially since this one sucks.)  Of course, there was usually some situation going on outside their relationship that needed resolving, often relating to the reporter managing somehow to expose the conspiracy behind the scenes of the 1984 section of the film.  Now, it’s not like those elements have gone away, of course.  Getting them together is still the primary goal of almost every one of my fics.  (There have been a couple of really short ones that didn’t do that at all.)  Or rather, I should say that it starts out as a primary goal.  Lately they’ve been twisting and going strange (and dark) places I didn’t intend as I started writing them.

Take, for example, the one I’m about 75% finished with right now.  The idea was to take the surveillance the rock star is under in the movie (almost certainly a temporary measure in canon) and imagine it carried further, where he’s under an unknown amount of constant surveillance, preventing them from being able to simply start dating like a normal couple.  So what happens is that he knows there’s a wiretap on his phone line (I never had him explain how he knows that, though), and he assumes he’s also under scrutiny whenever he goes to public places, though he isn’t quite sure how much scrutiny.  The premise, therefore, was that they can only get together in his apartment, on weekends, and have a very awkward relationship until they finally decide to leave the country to get away from those surveilling them.  It was supposed to be the usual romantic fluff.  Somehow it’s turned into a festival of paranoia and failure to communicate.  They’re both totally convinced the other one doesn’t have any genuine feelings for them, and that whatever they have will be ended at any second.  And at this point, they’ve already moved to London together, but they’re still thinking that way.  (Okay, actually, as of Sunday night, the rock star is starting to believe the reporter really does love him, because the reporter was about the write the exposé that the rock star thought was his only goal in the relationship, but then changed his mind and decided not to write it, giving three reasons, one of which being that it would bring their relationship under too much harsh scrutiny.  But the reporter is more convinced than ever that he’s entirely unloved.)  I’m really not sure how that happened.  The weird thing is that while it’s not entirely in character for them to be so paranoid, it’s not entirely out of character, either.

In another one, I realized I’d written myself into a situation where they had to break up for about six months in the middle of the piece.  That was odd, too, but it feels a bit more natural.  (In fact, that one may be my favorite I’ve written so far.)  In another, my decision to play around with the idea of the reporter’s brother turning up in the employ of the government agency that’s behind the conspiracy turned really dark.  Like, his brother ordered him beaten up and killed.  Thankfully, rescue arrived before the killing part could happen, but the poor reporter spent the whole rest of the story covered in bruises.  Again, very odd.  (Especially since I hate real world-style violence (fantasy violence is a different matter), and the movie has pretty much zero violence in it.)  And yes, I have a whole lot of fics for this movie by now.  (Most of which are only half-edited, and therefore haven’t even been posted to AO3 yet.  I have to take it a bit slow on the posting, anyway; I don’t want to have two of my pieces right next to each other in the chronological posting list if I can avoid it, because it just looks bad.  (I wasn’t thinking about that at first, so early on, there are places where I have three in a row, and it makes me cringe.)  Which is annoying, ’cause I just finished posting something, and now I have to wait for someone else to post something before I can put up anything else.  Especially annoying because someone posted something the day before I put up the final chapter.  So if they’d just waited one more day before posting…!)

Anyway, long story short, I feel like my writing’s getting away from me a bit.  Maybe I’m just stressed out from work and school and having been sick for the entire month of March.  (Which is when I wrote all of that still-unfinished piece, btw.)  If it’s not stress, I’m not sure what the change indicates, or if it’s anything I can — or even should — try to fix.  (After all, these darker pieces are definitely better than the light fluffy ones I started out with, so maybe I shouldn’t be complaining.)

Addressing the suggested question for this month, about using April A-to-Z to publicize a novel, well, I’ve never published anything, but if I do write that original series I mentioned above, and if I decide to self-pub it as I mentioned in an earlier post, maybe I should think about doing that.  Might be an interesting thing to use April A-to-Z for, if one was careful to be interesting and not make it just boring, shameless advertising.  (Sadly, I’m not doing the challenge this year, unlike the past two years.  I meant to spend all year getting ready for it, another nice, research-intensive world mythology theme, but…I kept putting it off for one reason or another, and never got the research completed.  And I have a lot of work to do this month for school, so…school work is always more important than blogging, and therefore I just can’t do the challenge the way I want to.  And I’d rather not do it than to do a half-assed job of it.)

MLM No “S” – “Terrible March”

Published April 3, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Terrible March

A mere cold.
No need to worry.
No need to panic.

A 2nd week…
Well, no need for alarm.
That kind of thing will happen,
From time to time.
Next week will be better.

The third week,
Identical to the earlier two.
Antibiotic medication procured,
Recovery now at hand!

Or not.
Coughing not letting up.
More medication needed.

And when can I do my work?
I needed to go to the library!
A lot!
Now I only have about a week left
To write my take-home exam.


My ill March.
I hated it.


Book Report: Armageddon 2419 / The Airlords of Han

Published March 30, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

This time (instead of getting my school work done, ’cause I’m still freakin’ sick and can’t go to the library to research) I ended up reading my choice for Challenge #7, “Read a book published between 1900 and 1950.”  I borrowed this book from my father, having been intrigued by some of what my mother said while she was reading it.

(Image from publisher’s website. Click for link.)

Rather than being a single novel, this is two novellas, first published in 1928 and 1929.  The editor’s introduction (from 1928) is interesting in a few key respects…

HERE, once more, is a real scientifiction story plus.  It is a story which will make the heart of many readers leap with joy.

We have rarely printed a story in this magazine that for scientific interest, as well as suspense, could hold its own with this particular story.  We prophecy that this story will become more valuable as the years go by.  It certainly holds a number of interesting prophecies, of which no doubt, many will come true.  For wealth of science, it will be hard to beat for some time to come.  It is one of those rare stories that will bear reading and re-reading many times.

This story has impressed us so favorably, that we hope the author may be induced to write a sequel to it soon.

The Editor, Amazing Stories

Apparently, “science fiction” as a term hadn’t been coined yet in 1928.  I’ll get back to my other reasons for quoting the whole introduction later in the review, but first let me address what you may (or may not) be able to read in the lower corner of the cover image:  that these novellas are the original origin of Buck Rogers.  (Which certainly makes the editor’s prophecy of the story’s future value ring true, though most likely not in the way the editor intended; he probably didn’t mean financial value for the author.)  This is true, but if you’re familiar with the 1939 serial or the 1979-1981 movie/TV show, you’ll find very little that’s familiar here.  About all that’s the same (other than the 20th century man ending up in the 25th century premise) is the following:

  1. The name “Rogers”
  2. The name “Wilma Deering”
  3. A post-apocalyptic America in which people live almost like animals on the surface (this is less so in the serial)
  4. A few technological gadgets in the serial (like the anti-gravity belt) that didn’t make it into the ’70s and ’80s version.

Pretty much everything else (including the name “Buck”) came into the franchise with the comic strips, beginning in 1929, though (according to the Wikipedia article) most of the plot elements familiar to us came in through the Sunday comic strips that began in 1930, including the characters of Killer Kane, Ardala, and Dr. Huer, and the presence of alien races.

So what is this story about, if it’s not about the beleaguered people of Earth fighting back against the space gangster/Draconian warlord Kane?  Well, you may regret asking.

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MLM No “R” Repost – “Hey, Listen!”

Published March 27, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

“Hey, Listen!”

It’s all Link’s fault.
It totally is,
You gotta believe me!
I’d’ve been on time
If he hadn’t messed me up!

It’s all Link’s fault,
You gotta see that.
Just what is that dude, anyway?
He’s not an elf,
But he’s not a man,
And he doesn’t even talk!

Anyway, it’s all Link’s fault,
So I don’t wanna get any complaints.

It’s all Link’s fault,
Got it?

MLM banner init MLM R

If I had a Wii-U/Switch, I would totally be playing the new one.  At this second.  I saw the opening.  Blinkin’ awesome, that’s what it was.

1st posted on 3/28/16

About April…

Published March 24, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

I’m sorry to say that this year I won’t be taking part in April A-to-Z.  I already had a plan in mind for this year’s A to Z by the time last year’s ended, but I kept putting off working on it, and consequently instead of it all being done by January, I still haven’t made even half a start to it.  And I’ve got a take-home test and a research project due in April, so there’s just no way I’d have time to do it on the fly.  Not unless I was going to abandon my plan and just post anything, willy-nilly, that happened to have to do with the letter of the day.  That I could do, but I’d feel like I was being half-assed, and I wouldn’t like the results.

But I’ve done a little bit of the pre-work for what I was going to do this year, so if I keep building on that, I should be able to do it next year.  So I’ll go ahead and tell you what I was planning, as a long-range preview.

Last year, my thing was comparative mythology, with no post-titling myth one that had been represented in video games, using the Shin Megami Tensei series as my guideline about what had made it into games and what hadn’t.  (Because if it hasn’t made into a MegaTen game, it’s probably not in any game.  Very heavy mythology and folklore basis to those games.  That’s part of what I love about them.)

So what I was going to do this year was the reverse:  I was going to exclusively look at mythical beings that are included in the Shin Megami Tensei series (limiting myself to the games that have officially come out in English) and compare what the game says about the original myths to the original myths themselves.  And then looking at how else the myths have been treated in popular culture otherwise, where applicable.  I got most of the way through compiling the list of possible subjects, but no further than that.  And there’s a lot that was going to go into it just from the list to the final selection, since I wanted to make sure that every major region of the world was well represented, and to make sure I had some decent sources for the original material.

And I guess that’s about all I have to say in this post.  I’m only just barely beginning to actually recover from my cold/bronchitis, so things have been pretty dull around here.  And I haven’t been able to go into the library to do the ludicrously massive amount of research we’re supposed to do for the take-home test, either.  (Which really, really sucks, let me tell you.  That take-home test is evil.  It’s brain-dead, parroting busy work, appropriate to low-level undergrads, not graduate students.  We should not have to put up with this garbage.)

MLM No “Q” Repost – “Peril-Led Princess, Part 4”

Published March 20, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

“Peril-Led Princess”
Part 4

Trang, the King of Thieves, had thought he was getting the best deal of his life.  A pretty teenage princess had come to him for help, and got him out of the tower where he’d been confined by his own people when the thieves proved they had absolutely no honor at all, and deposed him.  Him, whose grandfather had founded the Kingdom of Thieves!  Him, whose father had stolen a diamond the size of a roc’s egg, and then a jade sculpture the size of a roc!  Him, who…well, he hadn’t really accomplished much of anything, but he would have if they hadn’t locked him up like that!

Trang had imagined that within an hour, the pretty girl would be madly in love with him, and they could use her dragon’s fiery breath to melt the metal man and sell him as ore to the nearest blacksmith, while making off with his jeweled egg to fund their happy home as Trang retired in peace.

But this girl!

It was like she didn’t even know what men were for.  Or even what girls were for!

She didn’t even seem to know it was a dragon they were riding.  She kept insisting it was a horse.

And she absolutely would not give up on the idea of saving Cloxlan from the sub-elves.

Trang tried to explain to her that no one even lived in Cloxlan — that tiktox with her objected to that obvious fact, as you’d expect — so there was no reason to kick the sub-elves out.  And he tried to explain to her that sub-elves were a lot more dangerous than regular elves…and regular elves could actually be pretty fearsome!

But no matter what, the princess with the silly name just wouldn’t listen to him.  She just kept insisting that he use his power as a king to get them some soldiers to save the other tiktox.

Eventually, Trang admitted defeat, and so when they went into the old familiar pub, he told the princess and the clockwork man to stay back and keep quiet, then he approached the nearest mercenaries, and began the tedious process of buying an army.

* * *

Being the king of the sub-elves was supposed to be a pretty sweet deal.  All the wives you could want, all the money you could ever spend, and the power and freedom to inflict the most grievous bodily harm on anyone who crossed you.  Or just crossed your path.  It didn’t matter.  You had the power to get away with it.

Yes, from all the indications, the king of the sub-elves had a really great life.

The king’s daughters, on the hand, did not.

His favorite daughters were, one by one, married off to his favorite men.  Do the king a solid, get one of his daughters as a wife.  That was the usual arrangement among the sub-elves, and Gerlax was no one to break with tradition.  Not unless tradition broke with him first, anyway.

The daughters he didn’t like, though, they were just kept out of sight — and out of mind — in a corner of the palace or the cave or wherever else they were living at the moment, and told not to make any noise or otherwise remind anyone that they existed.  Sometimes the obedient ones starved to death because everyone had forgotten about them.

Now, Meriax was not what you would call obedient.

In fact, she rather reveled in not doing what she was told.

But as she watched her sisters — the ones their father actually liked — get married off one by one, and she stayed behind, unwanted and unloved, she had to admit it stung a little.  Not that she wanted to marry her father’s friends.  They were either disgusting barbarians or pretty boys who were more interested in sharing a bed with her father than with her sisters.  But under the current arrangement, she would never get married at all until her father was overthrown.  Then she’d get married, like it or not, to his successor.

That was how her mother and all her aunts had ended up married to Gerlax, after all.  He’d killed her grandfather — his skull was still hanging on the wall in their old home under the mountain — and married all his unwed daughters to solidify his claim to the throne.

Really, it was traditional.  Meriax had studied the history of the sub-elves and their kings — her ancestors — and not a single son had ever inherited his father’s throne.  All the other sub-elf princes — like her own brothers — were stupid brutes who either got themselves killed to prove they were tough, or were killed by their fathers for eyeing the crown too greedily.  (So far, 47 of her 56 brothers had been killed.  12 through regular stupidity, and the rest by Gerlax.  Meriax figured the rest would probably be dead within five years, if not sooner.)

It was always the way:  when a king had exhausted his sons, some tough warrior would wheedle his way into the king’s confidences so he could behead him when the king least expected it, and place the still-bloody crown on his own head.

No king could fail to expect it.

But then, once the bloody deed was done, the new king promptly married all the king’s maiden daughters, and started fathering as many babies on them as he reasonably could.   But their mothers reminded him of the man he’d had to do away with to become king, so he always hated the children of the old bloodline.  The sons were usually killed by their father before they reached manhood, and the daughters wasted away in spinsterhood…until someone beheaded their father and the cycle began again.

Meriax had the blood of every single past king of the sub-elves flowing through her veins.  On her mother’s side, she could trace her lineage all the way back to the first sub-elves, kicked out of the elven race for being too big, too burly, and too brutish, while not being very bright.  When she tried to trace back her father’s bloodline once, Meriax had found that two generations ago, his family was working in the dwarven mines, and before that they were cleaning out stables for humans.

So Meriax didn’t care for her father any more than he cared for her.  Possibly even less.

She hadn’t thought much of his decision to invade Cloxlan.  Sure, there was gold and silver and other metal there in plentitude, but it was walking and talking and generally giving all indications of being alive.  And okay, yeah, you could find just about any excuse to do away with just about anybody, if you worked hard enough at it, but…the tiktox were really not much fun to kill.  It was more than a little creepy, watching a tiktox be melted down for its metal, and Meriax didn’t like it at all, even though she had always rather enjoyed a good execution.

Just at the moment, her father was trying — as he had been for the last five years — to find out what had happened to the lord of the tiktox.  “Where is your emperor?!”  Gerlax was screaming in rage by this point in the proceeding.

“The tiktox have no such thing,” the tiktox on the torture table told him.

Gerlax gestured to the torture master, and out came the red-hot poker.  So cliché!  But there wasn’t much you could do to a tiktox to hurt them, apart from melting them a bit.  As the searing hot instrument pressed up against the brass body of the tiktox on the rack, it let out a shriek like a rusty door being swung open all too fast.

All the other tiktox in the room let out the same shriek at the same moment.  Even the ones out on the street did; Meriax could hear them through the open window.  It was eerie, how the tiktox could all feel each other’s pain like that.  She wondered if they could feel each other’s pleasure, too.  For a moment, she thought how awkward that must get between husbands and wives, then sharply remonstrated herself that tiktox weren’t male or female and they built their young, so it wasn’t the same as it was with “flesh creatures” like herself.

“Why are you protecting a ruler so cowardly that he’s never shown himself in all the time we’ve been here?” Gerlax demanded, when the instrument of torture was lifted from the tiktox’s metal body, sparing everyone from the pain of its screech.  “All we want is the gold and jewels.  Give us your rulers, and we’ll go away again and leave the rest of you in peace,” he lied.  Meriax knew very well that her father wanted to melt down every single tiktox there.  All that metal to make new weapons, without having to go through the hassle of mining like the dwarves…that spelled money and power.  Lots of both.

“The tiktox have no need of rulers the way flesh creatures have,” the tiktox informed him.

Gerlax let out a stunning round of very inventive swear words.  Meriax was actually rather impressed that his vocabulary was that large.  “Slag him!” Gerlax shouted at the torturer.  “Melt him down slowly, so he really feels the pain!”

The torturer winced.  But seeing that Gerlax had a hard look on his face, he didn’t talk back.

He just reached for a pair of ear plugs.

As the torturer began his work, Meriax hurried out of the throne room.  She knew an isolated spot where she probably wouldn’t hear too much of the screeching from the other tiktox.

But the whole time, she couldn’t help contemplating the idea of being the one to take out her father and become the new king.

* * *

As Princess Spiderweb watched the soldiers of fortune arriving and milling about, she decided she didn’t much like armies.

No, that wasn’t true.  She didn’t like them at all.  They kept staring at her and whispering things that sounded very unpleasant.  The only thing keeping them away from her, as far as she could tell, was that she was standing beside her horse, and they all seemed oddly afraid of her horse.

“Will these men really help us save Cloxlan?” Mr. Tiktox asked her, still holding the jewel-encrusted egg in two of his metal hands.

“I hope so,” Princess Spiderweb answered.  She wanted to tell him that of course they would, but…she had begun to have her own doubts about them.  Particularly because the woman in the pub’s kitchen who had been bringing them food all this time had taken Princess Spiderweb aside and explained a few choice facts of life to her concerning ‘mercenaries’ and their ways.  She had expected Trang to provide his own army, since he was supposed to be a king, but obviously he was just a liar and had no army to provide, and so he was just buying one!  Princess Spiderweb resented his lie all the more because it meant that surely he had lied to her former guardian, the nice trollup who had watched out for her for so long.

Princess Spiderweb was not fond of the whole concept of ‘lying,’ and she wanted nothing more to do with it from now on.

But right now it was more important to save Cloxlan.

After all, what would poor Mr. Tiktox do if that egg he was carrying around started to hatch before he was ready to take care of the little baby tiktox inside?

MLM banner init MLM Q

Originally posted on 3/21/16

Book Report: Phoebe and Her Unicorn

Published March 18, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So I’ve finished another challenge much more quickly than expected.  Largely because I needed something to read in the bath and couldn’t take my class reading in there (I refuse to use my iPad or to read a library book in the bath), and I ended up grabbing my selection for Challenge #6 “Read an all-ages comic.”

My original choice for #6 was the latest Asterix book (which I’ve been putting off reading because both original creators passed away some years ago (one more recently than the other), and so it was written and drawn by new hands, making me leery of it, though I’ve been assured it’s actually good), but then I saw this one recommended and compared to Calvin and Hobbes.  So I checked out the more detailed information on Amazon, and saw that the introduction was written by Peter S. Beagle, so of course I had to read it!  (Well, of course they asked him to write an introduction.  While Marigold Heavenly Nostrils’ personality is a bit, um, more comical than that of title character of The Last Unicorn, her appearance is clearly inspired by the animated version.)  While he, also, makes the Calvin comparison, he also compares Phoebe to Charlie Brown, which I think might be the more apt comparison.  But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

So, what is Phoebe and Her Unicorn about?  (Um, apart from the obvious.)  This collection of comic strips (apparently web comics, rather than newspaper comics) starts with fourth grader Phoebe meeting the unicorn Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, and being given a single wish.  Like any fourth grader at the bottom of her class’s social ladder, Phoebe wishes (after some false starts) for Marigold to be her best friend, and her wish is granted.  Their adventures together tend to be quiet ones, riding through the forests, and just generally talking to let their different-yet-similar personalities create the humor.  (Though there are also the occasional highly imaginative adventures as well.)  There’s also a lot about Phoebe’s trouble with her classmates, who look down on her as a weird loser.

The Calvin and Hobbes comparison seems obvious, right?  A boy and his imaginary/stuffed tiger, a girl and her unicorn; they seem like they’re on the same page.  And to a certain extent they are.  Phoebe does have quite an imagination for crazy adventures (and, to be honest, Calvin’s adventures often were quiet things like sledding or walking in the woods, having deep conversations with Hobbes).  But the really big difference is that to everyone else in the world, Hobbes is just a stuffed animal, whereas everyone else in Phoebe’s world can see Marigold.  It’s just that they don’t pay much attention to Marigold because she has the Shield of Boringness to deflect their awe.  (Technically, that ought to be in a Gothic font, but I don’t know how to change the font on here.)  Said shield rather reminds me of the “Somebody Else’s Problem Field” from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  (Not sure which part of it; it may have only been in season two of the radio series.)  Something similar was also introduced in the new series Doctor Who as well, though I don’t remember exactly what it was called — a “perception filter” or something, maybe.  (I think that was in “The Lodger,” but the way the new series is structured, it’s really awkward watching just one episode instead of all (or most of) a season at a single go, so…yeah, not gonna check.  I don’t have time to start marathoning vast quantities of Doctor Who right now.)  That gives Marigold a very different presence as Phoebe’s constant companion than Hobbes had as Calvin’s.

That brings me back to the other comparison, to Peanuts and Charlie Brown.  I’m very fond of the really early Peanuts strips, from the late ’50s and early ’60s, and there are definitely similarities.  Phoebe is entirely modern, of course (smart phone and all), but she has the same kind of insecurities, and the same desire to be accepted by her classmates.  She has all her own ways of approaching things, but she has a basic interest in accepting and being accepted that’s very like Charlie Brown’s.  (Unlike Calvin, who really doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with the majority of the other kids at school.  And given what most of his classmates are like, it’s hard to blame him, really.)

Bottom line, this is a very endearing little book.  It’s funny, intelligent and charmingly drawn.  Despite the sparkly pink cover (and the unicorn), it’s not “Calvin and Hobbes for girls”; this book is its own thing, and (just like Calvin and Hobbes) should be equally able to entertain girls and boys both, as well as adults.

Book Report: No Rainbow

Published March 14, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

I told you this one would go up today.  This time, I tackled challenge #21, “Read a book published by a micropress.”  Probably one of the most difficult challenges to meet, simply because so many people (most of us, perhaps) had never even heard of the idea of a micropress, let alone know where to find one’s books.  Fortunately, Book Riot provided an article discussing what micropresses are, and giving links to a few of them.  In that article, there was a list of some of the qualities of a micropress, the first two of which are


  • The main criteria is that the books are published in limited releases – no more than 300 copies for handmade chapbooks and 500 for spine bound (glued).

  • They are run by one-two people, usually out of their homes

Which definitely explains why you don’t see micropress products in your big chain bookstores!

Anyway, so I followed one of the links Book Riot’s article provided, and went to Greying Ghost to find a book for this challenge.  Can’t vouch for the number of people assembling the books, but the one I got was in an edition size of 50, and handmade, so I think it definitely meets the criteria.

(Image from Greying Ghost website. Click for link.)


You can’t really read the cover very well in the photo, so I’ll just add here that it’s called No Rainbow and it’s by Judson Hamilton.  (That circle around the woman’s head seems to have been added in Photoshop, because it’s not on the actual book.)  This is very short — the pages are unnumbered, but I think there are about 30 of them — which makes it rather hard to find a way to review it as such.

This story (for lack of a more apt term to use) is very much the kind of thing you might expect to see in a literary magazine.  A bit experimental around the edges, sometimes with poetry-style line breaks, and definitely feeling heavy with meaning.  You’re not given all the details of the situation surrounding events — events being a few conversations over the course of a day or two — or even a full description of the characters, but by the end you have a pretty firm grasp on the situation.

Given the brief nature of the text, I don’t really want to go into it further, so to expand the review a little, I guess I’ll talk about the more technical aspects of the book.  It’s printed on very high quality, heavy paper, and seems to have been printed with a more-or-less ordinary printer, given that there were a few lines on one page that had a printer line smudge thing going on.  (Happens to everyone…)  My biggest complaint would be that right on the very last page, the author used “there” instead of “their”, which is one of my especial pet peeves.  (Maybe it was intentional, but it’s still jarring to my former English major self…)

So, this is me halfway done with the Read Harder 2017 challenge.

Not sure which individual challenge I’ll go after next.  Like I said last time, I already have the books for almost all of them, so I have lots of options.  But I have a massive take-home test due the 1oth (which I haven’t started on due to being sick) and a research PowerPoint (yeah, in graduate school) due on the 24, so I should probably focus my reading on class work for the next month and a half.  Much as I dislike that idea…

MLM No “P” Repost – “The Best of the Achaians”

Published March 13, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

“The Best of the Achaians”

What quality makes a man great?

Strength of arms?
No, not that alone.
Any demi-god has that…
…and look how they turn out!
(Only Mycenae’s founder remained
A good man and true.
The rest died horrible deaths,
And Theseus abducted a child for his new bride!
And he died a horrible death to boot!)

Wisdom beyond measure?
If that was the case,
There would be few great men.
Maybe none at all.

Kindness, and a gentle heart,
Dedication to his friends?
Yes, yes, indeed!
A great man has devotion
And love in his heart,
Ready to lay down his life
To save those he cares for.

In truth, there is but one
Who sailed to Troy
With the strength and heart
To call himself the best.
Though he would never so call himself:
He would award the title
To the one he loves the most,
Friend, comrade, and so much more.

But his kind heart outshines
His selfish, fair-faced friend.
While Achilles sulked,
He shed tears of grief
For the deaths of the Danaan warriors.

His might in battle
Was ne’er so lauded
As that of his fickle friend,
But he killed so many Trojans
In his final stand
That they were maddened for revenge.

His death, too, was greater
Than the humiliation of Achilles.
(An arrow in the ankle?  Laughable!)
For the son of the Nereid,
Leto’s son needed but one mortal’s aid,
A tool to unleash the arrow.
But for he who was truly
The best of the Achaians,
The far-darter required the aid of two mortals,
A coward to stab from behind,
And lamentable Hector
To stab from the front.
Dishonorable though the kill was
— what honor could there be
In killing a naked, unarmed man? —
Hector was filled with hubris
To have brought down such a mighty foe.

The son of Menoitios
By his blameless life
Brought honor to his obscure father,
As his name suggests.
By his death he brought down
Hector, and all dreams of Troy’s survival.

In a golden urn
His bones were sheltered
While the son of Thetis cried and groaned
In an anguish more overwrought
Than any widow on the stage,
Though he knew his own bones
Would soon join with his lost comrade’s,
And they would be united in death,
Forever together.

Where is that urn now?
Is it hidden from view in the ground
Near Hisarlik?
Or was it stolen away,
In the ancient days of antiquity?
Which “tomb” covered those bones
When Alexander and his lover
Made their offerings at two tomb-shrines,
And ran their naked race on the sands?

Where now is the best of the Achaians?
The White Island is deserted,
The shrines of antiquity lost to time.
Who now wails for the hero that was lost?

MLM banner init MLM P


(I shall ever remain his fan-girl!)

(But I still suck at endings.  *sigh*)

Originally went up 9/14/15

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