A MORALITY PLAY in seven scenes.
I wrote this story on the fly around Christmas time in 1999. The notion was to give Dolly a Christmas Story of her own. I could have wished for the vision to come up with something as good as O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” but it didn’t come to me. So this is it. Anyway, at the time, Dolly and Drummond were a more sugary confection — light and airy. Heaviosity wasn’t in the cards for them.
Traditionally (if a 15-year habit could be called a tradition), I have presented this in parts, one a day, for the week leading up to Christmas Day, with Part 6 appearing at midnight on Christmas Eve, and Part 7 at 7AM on Christmas Day. (Read it and you’ll see why.) Maybe, sometime down the road, I’ll put this out as an eback book. But, for the moment, this is its exclusive edition. So, click the link (opens in a new tab/window) and read the story. Enjoy. Merry Christmas.
ON FRIDAY WAS 45,437. A bit of a cheat, as I started this nearly a year ago and have been being very slow and herky-jerky in my progress. I have been intending the use of NaNoWriMo as a fallback – a Plan B – to getting my book finished and published by the end of the year. “How’s that working for you, so far?” you might well ask. Well… Not so much. I hope to make significant progress over the weekend. But I have this shed to build in the back yard. Not to mention repairing the side steps.
ALL ALONG IN THE CREATION of the Dolly myth, I’ve assumed the stories are fantasy. Urban, Contemporary, whatever. Like Charles de Lint’s Newford stories. Or Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks. As I’ve endured the past year with virtually no sales — I’m not whining — NOT, I’ve had a lot of time to wonder if I’ve correctly identified the genre to which the stories belong.
The fantasy elements are clear — elves, brownies, trolls, other little people, magicians at a school for magicians (that’s not an intentional major theme, but it’s there). But so are the science fictional elements — parallel universes, Heisenberg uncertainty as fate, branching probablities, the conservation of events, a school for techno-mages, cloning, artificial life, transfer of consciousness and identity between bodies, a global secret business consortium going back to the late stone age, gods and goddesses, telekinetics, teleportation, advanced science…
So, I can’t help wondering if The High T Shebang might not be more visible on the science fiction shelf than with the Tolkien, Weiss and Hickman, Brooks, and Jordan. So I’ve put the price back to $5.99 (all of my sales have come at full price and none at discounts) and genre-identified the book as science fiction. We’ll see if the readers ratify the choice.
The last scene in this chapter. About a thousand words. Next week, we begin Chapter 3. Also, for those of you playing along at home, there is a call for critiques of the cover of the first book in this series. Please feel free or obligated to participate.
The Gabrielle Dolly
“Dolly,” Pete said in a resigned tone of voice and stood aside, holding the door for her. The word — two spare syllables — lifted the dolly’s heart. Among all the people of various species she knew or was acquainted with, Pete alone used the descriptive term as a name. As an intimate, use-name. (Her formal name being that of her karmic predecessor, Gabrielle Francesca East. Which nobody, it seemed, was quite ready to acknowledge for various and sundry reasons political and moral.)
“Hey, there, Petra,” the dolly said. “How’s it hangin’?”
SORRY TO BE SO LATE WITH THIS. It’s been a bit of a week. I didn’t really have time to pre-prepare this post before today, and I’ve been infected with the napattacks. Dozing off in my desk chair leads me to believe that napping with the kitties is a better way to spend my day. I dare you to gainsay me on that point.
I also discovered that I mislabeled last week’s snippet. Instead of three scenes, there was only the one, called Not Same Place, Not Same Time. For which mislabeling, I apologize. However, since Not… Not is 1800 words, I won’t apologize for that. Also but however anyway… The next two scenes, while not exactly new (if you’ve never seen it, it’s new to you, right?), haven’t appeared before. And it’s the placing these scenes in this order which I hope helps the pacing of the story.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you, Dolly’s sister, the Xena Dolly, better known as Xe Doll.
The Xena Doll
She was naked. She could not have said how she knew she was naked. That part was hazy. But the air on the skin of her body was the first clue that she was bereft of that covering called clothing. She was also able to move with greater grace than she could remember, although the memory was — again — hazy. She sat up and swung her legs to the side. She did it more-or-less automatically, without thought or planning. And, as she did so, a great deal snapped into sudden focus and she remembered — things. She sat there for a few moments, her legs dangling over the side of…
What was this thing she sat on? It was about as long as she was or a bit longer, and about half as tall.
How did she know that?
An Eighth Story Job
Marduk the Babylonian
“Aphrodite said,” explained Marduk the Babylonian, “That there were six altogether. Here’s my plan. I transport a mischief in…”
Freya the Aesir interrupted Marduk at that point. “How? Have you been to this dwelling?”
It was a reasonable question. In order to teleport to a given location, the God doing the teleportation had to have an image of the destination locus firmly fixed in his mind. The easiest way to get that was to have previously visited the place.
“No.” Marduk answered candidly. “I am availing myself of an album of photographs taken at a soiree Doctor Drummond hosted last year.”
“I see,” Freya said. “Proceed.”
I SAW IN PASSING on Facebook, a post slagging the release of a dystopian future novel by the Jenner sisters. Apparently on accounta they’re rich and famous and their parents have no sense of restraint when it comes to plastic surgery and public behavior.
I’m sorry. Here is a pair of authors enjoying success in the market. We as entrepreneurs should be applauding. If there are substantive reasons to denigrate the work on the merits, do that. But this cattiness is unbecoming of Joan Rivers, let alone serious literary businessfolk.
SIMPLY IGNORE THE Glittering Hoo-ha crowd at SFWA, having severed all connection to them. Having successfully subverted the organization to their leftist ends, they have ensured that we in the Right will have to not only refuse to associate with them (perhaps starting our own, parallel organization, analogous to AMAC versus AARP), we will have to struggle against their continued importunate behavior across the political barricades. I can’t argue with Wright’s personal decision. I would, however, urge anyone opposed to the evil that is progressivism to fight to destroy the SFWA and end its credibility as a writer’s organization. Or, rather, remove the cover that pretending to that credibility gives to the leftists’ activities under that cover. You’re going to have to continue to fight them as long as the organization exists. Why not fight to win?
I LIKE THE CONCEPT OF Good Reads. The site is a place where people who love words in a row can go to natter about their fascination with wordcraft.
The high concept of the place is a turn-on.
The reality of the actual Place is a stone drag.
Where are the buttons? I want to note my favorite authors – whether they’re members of GoodReads or not (Not: Robert A. Heinlein). Right now, I only have Joss Whedon – worthy enough, but not my only favorite. And I can’t remember how he got there. Nor can I find how to put another there – say, Charles de Lint, who, I wager, probably is a member of Good Reads. Or Sarah A. Hoyt, who I’m pretty sure IS a member. Or Amanda S. Green, who I know for a fact is a member – I’ve found her listing, but there’s no button to recommend her, or add her to your favorites list, or follow her, or anything.
Some time ago (the actual length of time is no matter – a week is a year on the Internet), I was promised the ability to add Amazon purchases to my My Books listings. A thorough description as to how to access the interface item in your controls was included with the promise. But, to date, nothing has appeared there. It ought to be an iron law of web design: Don’t Jerk Users Around. If you can’t deliver TODAY, don’t promise something TOMORROW.
I’m posting this on my blog to ensure that it appears on Good Reads. Go thou and figure why that seems necessary.
I recently encountered Joan Didion for the first time — her note on keeping a journal, a subject with which I admit to having recently some fascination. The note, short though it was intrigued me, and I looked into her biography. Five novels? 12 collections of columns and memoirs?
Lightweight. Sorry, but that’s not impressive for a career spanning nearly sixty years, now. The quality of the work had better be world-fucking-class. Might be, but I’m not THAT impressed with what I’ve seen so far.