Sunday, July 16, 2017

This is the State above the Law

I have - reluctantly - been following the case of Charlie Gard in the UK.

I am unable to evaluate the experimental treatment that Charlie's parents want to try. That's ok; it's not up to me to decide whether it's worthwhile. It is - or should be - up to the parents, who aren't even asking the NHS to fund the treatment; they've raised enough money to pay for it privately.

Instead, due to some unconscionable law, the decision is to be made by the courts that have already tortured the parents far too long - granting last-minute stays of a few days at a time, demanding new evidence on short notice. I understand that now, in his great wisdom and generosity, the judge who will decide the case is going to allow one of Charlie's parents to attend the meeting at which the doctor who might administer the treatment will attempt to persuade the doctors of Great Ormond Street Hospital and the judge that it may in fact improve the quality of the baby's life.

At present the parents are not only forbidden to take their baby to America for treatment; they will not even be allowed to take him home to die in their arms. The courts have spoken: they must watch him die in the hospital.

Of course, they're now suggesting that all this might change in a couple of days, if the American doctor is sufficiently persuasive. You see what I mean about torturing the parents? I suspect the judge has already made his decision and that this is a bit of theatre aimed at defusing popular indignation. I just don't know whether the decision is going to be, "See, we gave the parents every chance to prove their case and they couldn't do it, so let's kill the baby," or "OMG! New evidence! Had we but known!" But in any case I believe this is a face-saving exercise for the doctors and the judge, and who cares if it prolongs the parents' suspense? The important thing is to take the heat off the hospital doctors, right?

For the last few days, some fragments of Kipling's 'A Deathbed' have been running through my head, even though the poem is not directly relevant:

'This is the State above the Law,

The State exists for the State alone.'

(This is a gland at the back of the jaw,

And an answering lump by the collar-bone.)

'There is neither Evil nor Good in life,

Except as the needs of the State ordain.'

(Since it is rather too late for the knife,

All we can do is mask the pain.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Counting Stars

One Star - The typo’s and misteaks in this book drove me crazy. I simply cann0t reed anything so fool of errors.

Five Stars – A sensitive and sensuous tale exploring the life and loves of a transgender dragon. May be too spicy for some tastes.

One Star - I hated this book. It was full of words. I’m returning it and waiting until the graphic novel edition comes out.

Five Stars - A thrilling fantasy adventure with an unusual plot. Aeirine is raised by a poor peasant family but discovers when she comes of age that she has undefined but totally cool magical powers. Her foster parents confess that she is actually the daughter of the noble elf Shimmerdwell, changed at birth with the stillborn babe of the peasant. Now she must embark on a quest to find her true family who can teach her how to wield her powers without screwing up by, like, setting the atmosphere on fire, which would make the book way short.

One Star - Why did they put a Messerschmidt FU-69 on the cover when the book clearly states that the hero flies a Focke-Wulf? Lousy research. I’m returning it for the refund.

Five Stars – A gripping alternative history exploring how WWII would have been different if Focke-Wulf had bought out Messerschmidt and dominated fighter manufacturing in the Reich. Leveraged buyouts, bond issues, stock options… I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

Five Stars – X’gh!ul is threatened with expulsion from the Zv’aieee clan for being terminally boring. His boring nature is examined at length before we get an answer to the question: Can X’gh!ul ever utter a single sentence that doesn’t put the listeners to sleep? Thoughtful and stimulating depiction of a truly alien culture.

One Star - – X’gh!ul is threatened with expulsion from the Zv’aieee clan for being terminally boring. His boring nature is examined at length before Zzzzzzzz

One Star – I hate books full of stuff like spaceships and people exploring outer space. I thought this would be different but it’s just as bad as the cover, which has a picture of a spaceship and a person in a spacesuit.

Five Stars – A fast-paced and suspenseful coming of age story. Mary Sue Monaghan thought she was a tough spaceship jockey, but she had to summon all her courage and enlist the help of unlikely allies when she was attacked by the Martians in Chapter 1, the Galactic Federation in Chapter 2, the alien Star Lords in Chapter 3, the Mafia in Chapter 4, the Dallas Cowboys in Chapter 5 and ok, I stopped reading for a while because I was exhausted but I’m sure the rest of the book will be equally thrilling.

Five Stars - I loved this book! I hadn’t read a romance novel before and I didn’t realize they had so many good bits. Going to buy everything else by this author.

One Star - I hated this book! I was willing to overlook the cover featuring a half naked man and a woman draped over him, but it was a total surprise to me when it turned out to be full of dirty bits like those on pages 19,20, 35, 36, 51,52, and many more.. Also the binding is no good, it’s already cracked and falling open at pages 19-20, 35-36, 51-52 and many more.

Five Stars - My Marvelous Mystical Gadget arrived yesterday and I love it! The box is so neat and rectangular and cardboardy that I can’t bear to open it, but I’m sure the Gadget will be wonderful. As a bonus, the box makes a pretty tinkling sound when I shake it.

Three Stars - This radio was a gift for my son who likes to listen to music all the time. He was very disappointed that it comes with a cord too short to reach from the wall outlet to the edge of his bathtub. Eventually (after many calls to customer support) we bought an extension cord, but it’s just not the same, is it? He set it up yesterday and he hasn’t told me yet how he likes the arrangement. In fact, he hasn’t answered his phone all day today.

Five Stars - I’m giving this five stars because it came in time for me to wrap it and it looks like it cost about what my daughter in law would expect me to spend for a present. I don’t care whether she found it satisfactory because I don’t really like her very much.

One Star - This gadget is no good. I didn’t have a chance to check it out right away, so I left it in the basement for six months. After the flood receded I discovered the box was falling apart – lousy packaging! And when my wife went to turn it on, it electrocuted her. So I guess it was some use after all, but I’m returning it because I don’t have any more wives to kill.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Lost in a time warp

Lately all my writing time has been going to, well, actual writing. And editing. And back cover matter, which I don't count as writing exactly; more like, um, torture.

I will say there's nothing quite like discussing the cover and formatting for the first book in a series, while proofreading the second book in a series, while actually writing the third book. No wonder I'm having trouble figuring out what century it is! (The Fashionista and the Organizer would claim I still haven't got it right, that they need to drag me into the 21st century kicking and screaming. Pfui. I'm prepping books for Kindle, what's more 21st century than that?)

All this stuff going on simultaneously isn't because I have delusions of being able to multi-task. The cover designer I hired wants me to approve the final cover and write back matter for Insurgents. The cover designer wants the manuscript of Awakening. And the third book, Survivors, won't leave me alone. I am the innocent victim of a hireling and my subconscious. Mostly the latter.

Anyway, in lieu of interesting thoughts about the world or writing, here's the cover for Insurgents. I'm hoping to release it some time in early September, but that depends on getting my act together on practical matters like DBA, bank account, ISBN's, etc., etc.