Archive for October, 2004

Turkey City Lexicon

Friday, October 29th, 2004

Turkey City Lexicon

I thought that I had blogged this, but a friend needed it and I couldn’t find it.

This is what is wrong with SF in two ways:

One, there is an element of truth to many of the observations and implied rules in this.

Two, blindly following all of these rules will result in bland, unreadable mush.

Writing is like goulash – first you steal a chicken, then you through everything that you can find into the pot.

The Telling

Friday, October 29th, 2004

I said that I wasn’t going to do this any more, but yesterday at around 3:30 PM I decided to take a look at my story idea list. In there I found a reference to John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem “Telling the Bees”.

And the song she was singing ever since

In my ear sounds on: —

“Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence!

Mistress Mary is dead and gone!”

I thought that a SF version might be good where instead of bees, someone has to tell mysterious aliens about a death. It was only 1800 words, just a sketch of the idea, but I had it done by 4:45 and sent out to Ideomancer by 5PM.

I enjoyed writing it. It has romantic religious undertone to it, but I don’t think it is really saleable (except to Tyree, but I am not waiting 95 days again. I will send him a story when his response time is back under a month.)

I had not read the poem since high school so I looked it up after I sent out the story. The first line is almost word for word the way I start the story.

Here is the place; right over the hill

Runs the path I took;

You can see the gap in the old wall still,

And the stepping-stones in the shallow brook.

I suppose that nobody will figure that the title is from an old poem. I doubt if they will even get the “Take. Eat.” reference that the aliens tell the starving humans. Like the Science Fiction Godfather – I’ll make you an offer that you can’t understand.

My "Yondering" Blog discontinued

Tuesday, October 26th, 2004

I used to keep track of general web wandering with my Yondering Blog. Since the last post was in August, I elected to delete it from and continue here with general stuff.

From now on you will see more of my other interests including Web Publishing, Programming, Cats, Harmonica as well as my Science Fiction comments and reviews.

I am changing the name of the blog to Keith Graham’s Wanderings.

The Duke’s Left Eye

Monday, October 25th, 2004

Tyree sent back the Duke’s Left Eye with a “no”. He noticed (rightly) that the story is a fragment from a larger piece and that it would make much more sense if all the suggested plot points were explored.

Unfortunately, the story is 3800 words and reaching the top limit of a short story that editors will look at. I have zero chance of selling a novella. This story combined with “Through the Stone Gate” is the third novel of my witch heroine. I should try writing an interstitial chapter to see if I can do a chapter that is not structured like a short story.

The Scottish tale is the only story out right now, and if it get’s rejected, I don’t know where else to send it. That leaves me with about 30 unfinished stories, 6 trunked stories and nothing to submit. I have published 17 stories, 12 of them for pay. (This does not count flash.)

I started seriously writing around the middle of summer last year and I have been writing for over a year. I have not written much lately except synopsi and beginnings. Is it time to move on? I have done the writing thing and I might always take some time to write a story, but it has been an obsession too long. I need to be obsessed with something else.


Friday, October 22nd, 2004


This article describes an experiment where living mouse neurons are placed in a dish over a grid of electrodes. The electrodes are hooked up to the controls of a flight simulator. The attitude of the aircraft is fed back to the electrodes so the neourons can both sense the position of the aircraft and control it. The cells from a neural network and quickly learn how to control the simulated aircraft. They learn to keep it straight and level in different weather conditions.

The goal is to understand how neurons and neural networks learn, but what they actually created is new class of computer. This may be the first completely generalized man-made biological computing device.

Smeerp Lite Released

Thursday, October 21st, 2004

I released my simple Slush Management system today. Of course, I made a last minute change that broke it. I was testing this morning and trying to put some more suitable files on the demo system when I found the bug. Luckily, there was no great rush to download the software.


Rejectivitus – Speed Trap

Thursday, October 14th, 2004

The rejection comments on “Speed Trap” from NFG give me a better idea how others see the story. I am trunking the story based on them. I see the story as a modern horror story about a security system that is much too agressive. The NFG reader seems very concerned with the technical plausability. The Kit reference stings a little. I think Christine is reference to a King story which I have never read.

“This starts out interesting but rapidly becomes an implausible computer-operated bastard son of Kit and Christine. I would anticipate a super-security system with the suggested capacity would attempt to remove the driver from risk – run away – rather than try repeatedly to run down the thief, getting stuck in the process. It would not lock the doors when in the presence of a fire.”

I need to write more stories!


Wednesday, October 13th, 2004

The political piece at offended a conservative. I have trouble understanding how a Science Fiction writer can be a conservative. I know that it happens more frequently than I would guess, but it still seems odd.

I tried to smooth the ruffled feathers as best I could. I didn’t want to offend, just state a position that I feel strongly about.

“Speed Trap” was rejected at ASIM with odd comments by the readers:


Yes, although there’s something that bothers me, I can’t put my finger on it.


There’s a lot of good stuff in this story, not least the idea of a modern day wrecker, but it doesn’t work for me.


I thought it spent a lot of time concentrating on the technical attributes of the car, and not enough in moving the story along.


I always feel that the comments are by the same person. There is a flow to them. The first comment from ASIM is always positive. The last is always the most pointed (and sometimes rude).

I sent the story off to today, not because I expect to sell it there, but I think that they give a good critique and they do it in just one day.

I still like “Speed Trap” and even after 12 rejects, I intend to keep submitting it until it sells. I might sent it in to ATSOISE, but it is not really their style.

Gracie the kitten gets her stitches pulled today. She is finally eating on her own, although she doesn’t drink. She doesn’t snore anymore. She is as cranky as she was before the encounter with the car. She is still blind in her right eye, even though the swelling has gone down and the color is returning to normal.

Waiting – not writing

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004

My flash piece is up at This is the political piece that I wanted up. It will appear at AR until after the election, so maybe it’s a good place for it. I hate sending to free sites, but I can’t waste more time on this, even if I do like it.

I submitted the ghost stories to a site called “Ghost Whisperings”. I am not sure it is what they are looking for. I am having trouble finding sites that will publish (and pay for) a Scottish Ghost story. The story is 4800 words and too long for many places. I should realy expand it out to 6000 and explore the characters a little and sub to the print mags.

I haven’t heard back on the ASIM story – its been 9 days and it hasn’t left the initial slush pile – someone’s not doing their homework.

I had a disasterous demo on Wednesday. My programs all seemed to lock up or fail completely – in front of important people. It’s a good thing that I am a consultant and they’ll fire me outright instead of giving me humiliating reviews and warnings.

I need to finish a few more stories. I once had 9 stories out at the same time and now I have 3 out. (One is with Tyree at SamsDot for 80 days – he is 120 days behind on slush and rising).

As soon as I fix the bugs in the Airport Management program that I demoed yesterday, I will finish a couple of more stories. Perhaps something for Martian Wave or Fifth Dimension since they seem to like my stories.

Gracie update

Friday, October 1st, 2004

Gracie now has pins in her jaw. Her soft pallete was sewn up. Her infection is almost gone. She has eaten some of the other cat’s food and she has chased Ollie around the house (to his great joy). Her right eye now reacts to light and she appears to be tracking with it.

Miracle Kitten! 12 days ago I didn’t believe that she would stay alive until I got to the pet emergency room and now she is near full recovery.

She is now officially the most expensive pet that I have ever owned – over $4000 and still rising.