What’s Desmond Reading?
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson.
The benignly-neglected online home of writer Desmond Warzel
I make a habit of visiting the annual Friends of the Library used-book sale in Oil City, PA, each July. This year, I ended up buying about fifty books, but when I got them home I put them aside and only just now have I gone through them.
Part of the fun is the detritus that often shows up in a random selection of old books. Two years ago, mixed in with my purchases from the 2016 edition of this very same book sale, attentive readers will recall that a found a plane ticket, a couple of lottery tickets, and a photo of an unknown couple.
Last year’s sale was unproductive in this vein, but there was some small pay dirt this year. In a copy of Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold, I found the following quite yellowed file card.
“Falling Free Lois McMaster Bujold
“Baen 1998 Read May 94
“Very readable–my kind of story.
“Bionic mutants 1000 strong are created by some corporation for freefall space work but become obsolete by techno advances–company policy is to kill them (are not legally human–are bio constructs). Have 4 arms and no legs (no gravity–don’t need legs)–are saved by engineer type).
“Cannot get over 4 legs [sic] 8.0 Possible top 100.”
I don’t know what possessed my cross-temporal correspondent to make such extensive notes. I wonder if he or she did this for every book, and to what end? It seems like the sort of thing I would have tried, but lost interest in after a few books. I hope you got whatever you needed out of this meticulous practice. I recently read my first Bujold earlier this year and quite enjoyed it; I was already looking forward to reading Falling Free, and your crosstime recommendation has only enhanced my anticipation.
It hasn’t been a banner year for story publications for me thus far; not in terms of absolute numbers, and certainly not in terms of word count. My longest story was “Look for the Union Label” at two thousand words and change, and “Scorn Not the Least” weighed in at an even thousand. (Info on both pieces can be found in previous blog posts.)
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel: two new publications to announce.
And they total six hundred and six words between them.
Nevertheless, every little bit counts. So here we go. “Human Wheels Spin Round and Round” appears in Tales from the Canyons of the Damned: No. 27, edited by Daniel Arthur Smith. It’s a brief (506-word) look at self-driving cars, but there are several other nifty stories included for your reading pleasure.
Additionally, a drabble of mine (a drabble is a short story of exactly one hundred words) has just appeared online. “Strung Out in Alientown,” a story of chocolate and poor self-control, is up at Martian: The Magazine of Science Fiction Drabbles. This one appeared in a print magazine called The Drabbler in 2009, but plenty of time has passed and I’m happy to present it to a wider audience.