Spring Afternoon Activities: A Sampler

Kage Baker’s baleful aspect (yeah, she had one of those) is standing behind me, pointing like Longfellow’s spectral Viking at the desk (http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/longfellow/12202), abjuring me to work on TWONG II.

Among the other things I have to do – besides make the corrections Linn-the-agent requested – is attach some of the niceties like a word count, a title page, and a dedication. In this case, I shall be sending a page with a list of potential titles – with thanks to all of you who send me suggestions over the last couple of days. I liked ’em all, personally! I can’t guarantee the publisher will, but giving him options is always a nice touch. Thank you all, Dear Readers!

In the meantime … the temperature is up in the ’80’s again here in Los Angeles, although we are told to anticipate a chance of rain in a couple of days. At the same time, the Santana winds are beginning to blow, and the first tentative brush fires have sparked hither and yon … any one of these phenomena would be normal on its own; the weird part is the rapid and unseasonal progression we are having this Spring.

Still, we aren’t having tornado fronts a mile wide sweeping through our cities here. The Midwest is besieged by weird weather, and I am grateful our own oddities are so far confined to hot weather and late rain. California is still a blessed land in many ways.

In the meantime – I have my porch door open to the lovely afternoon, and the perfumes of hot stone, roses and camphor trees are drifting in. My room had become the pet clubhouse: the little black cat is on my bed where the breeze from the door and the overhead fan can ruffle her tummy fur, Harry is singing softly to himself on his cage by my bed, and the Corgi is whuffling in his sleep in an attempt to convince me he is on duty …  even the Elder Cat is dozing in the hall, where she can stare out at the finches playing in the wisteria.

But it’s back to work for me! One edge of my mind is wondering about Denisovans and Neanderthals. Another is at work on TWONG II.

And yet another edge is looking at a rough tent of vizeo set up around the statue of the Marswife in the central plaza of Mars Two. The shelter is using her outstretched arms as supports. Behind the heat-blurred panels, a young woman stares out at the path of the pyroclastic flow that has ripped through the plaza and the edge of the Dome. It’s a few days after the bomb went off in the Olympus Mons Power Plant, and red dust is beginning to obscure dozens of black figures – all with their arms held to their breasts, all with their hands drawn up over their featureless charcoal faces.

There are Mars stories due …

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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7 Responses to Spring Afternoon Activities: A Sampler

  1. Margaret says:

    I believe I prefer Mistress and Commander to any of my own suggestions. Apparently, if any of the Ladies should take command of the appropriate sort of sailing vessel, it would be called a ‘hen frigate.’ (I get this from Joan Druett’s book with that title.)

    I am pleased that Mars images are nudging you, as I’ll be glad to hear how they’re all coping.


    • Kate says:

      A hen frigate? Surely, that must be a very recent circumstance in the Royal Navy! I don’t believe women are yet allowed in the Submarine Service there, nor in combat duty … one must wonder how a female officer would find herself in the position, and what led to the phrase?

      Luckily, the Ladies don’t have to worry about it – they are adamantly civilians, and at most would engage in privateering, lol.

      But I like that title, a lot …


      • Tom says:

        ” . . . one must wonder how a female officer would find herself in the position . . . ”

        A genderless first name, perhaps, and a dirty-greasy thumbprint distorting the ‘M/F?’ checkbox on a computer screen somewhere?


  2. Valerie says:

    Margaret, I hadn’t heard of hen frigates before! The Druett book looks interesting…

    Y’know, the title Mistress and Commander doesn’t have to refer to a ship – I had an image of that scene from Not Less Than Gods with the Ladies, the young Gentlemen, and some articles of riding tack.

    Though I feel compelled to rave a bit about Master and Commander, possibly the greatest movie of all time. Great because they got the language right. They got it right! It might have been a story related by one of Miss Austen’s brothers. (And the script even avoided O’Brien’s tendency towards a Heyer-ish fascination with period slang.)

    And that is the same delight I found in Iden, that recognition of a period language done right. And not just one, but the styles of different languages expressed in English, with a beautifully understated exposition of the differences. And then all the other stories, told in Victorian English and translated Chumash and future “thieves’ argot”…

    That’s how it ties together, you see. It’s language, not ships. (Flowers, not owls!)


  3. Kate says:

    “Flowers, not owls.” That’s The Owl Service! – by Alan Garner – one of the best stories from one of the best, best, best children’s fantasists of the later 20th century. I loved that! Kage loved that! I read “The Weirdstone” aloud several times to younger sisters, but I never did Gowther’s accent as well as Kage did … oh, such a lovely book. And yes, language is the key to so much, and Kage was so very good at it.


  4. Margaret says:

    I’m afraid my rather addled brain crossed two Joan Druett books that I read at about the same time: Hen Frigates, and She Captains. I’ve traded both away, so have had to refer to Amazon (how appropriate) descriptions. I was wrong – a ‘hen frigate’ was any ship that had the captain’s wife sailing on board. She Captains was the one about women who led their own naval forces, starting pre-Greek. Sorry. Both excellent books, though.


  5. Kate says:

    Thanks, Margaret – that makes much more sense, and now I can see how it came about, too. Both those books sound great, BTW.


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