William H. Stoddard

William H. Stoddard

  • Commented on Book day!
    It bothers me, too; reflecting on my reaction, that was the biggest "came out of left field" in a novel that had more than one of them. Both the Mandate's power level and Iris's ties to him felt like having...
  • Commented on Book day!
    If you've seen "The Arrival," conceivably the circular alien writing there might be kind of similar....
  • Commented on Book day!
    Interesting. I'd put them in a quite different order. Omitting the shorter pieces: The Rhesus Chart The Fuller Memorandum/The Nightmare Stacks (tied) The Jennifer Morgue The Atrocity Archive The Apocalypse Codex The Delirium Brief The Annihilation Score Of these, I...
  • Commented on Book day!
    Though, Greg, if you're relating it to OGH's situation, then yes, entirely appropriate, at least in prospect. Please excuse the second thoughts; I'm a bit slow today....
  • Commented on Book day!
    I like that one a lot. In fact I quoted it to my wife a few days ago, on the first anniversary of her mother's death. But I'm not sure I see how it applies in this case. Bob still...
  • Commented on Book day!
    Yes, though I was thinking more of Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer's lease hath all too short a date....
  • Commented on Book day!
    Oh, by the way, I've dropped the mysterious phrase into Google, and it comes up with The Delirium Brief and a bunch of financial firms discussing asset management. None of the earlier novels shows up. And I'm not going to...
  • Commented on Book day!
    This reminds me of a brief conversation I had with Vernor Vinge a decade or so back, at a San Diego con. I mentioned Shakespeare writing about how his sonnets would still be remembered long after he and the young...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Whereas even though I know intellectually that possessive adjectives agree with the nouns they modify in gender, it never even occurred to me to think of someone applying that to English possessive pronouns. Traditional European fairy tales seem to have...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    First of Spies and Liars was the daughter of All-Highest by his first wife. The head of air cavalry is his second wife, who murdered FSL's mother and is now hoping to make a clean genetic sweep of it. There...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I talked about the rules in California because I have recent experience with them. I don't have streetlevel knowledge of how other states handle marriage, let alone other countries. But my primary focus was on the idea that there are...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Here in California, anyone—well, at least any Californian—can be authorized to perform a single marriage ceremony. You go to the county clerk's office, pay less than $100, swear to adhere to the constitution of California, and name the date and...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    There are other possibilities. Iron is at the bottom of the curve of binding energy. Given the effects of medusae and basilisks, that might be magically significant....
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I have the Kindle edition. Could you give me a distinctive phrase of four or five words near the start of each passage?...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    That could be true. Can you point to specific passages that give you that impression?...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Yes, both those key points were clear by the second time I read The Nightmare Stacks. My focus is on a different and perhaps more specific point: When FSL/All-Highest recited the formula of asking for refugee status, was she doing...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I'm sorry, but I'm not getting why that point is relevant to what I'm speculating about. By the time Cassie/FSL recites the formula of seeking refuge, she IS the All-Highest and has no more need to worry about what her...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I expect that Cassie knew how to google for such things; after all, she was a college student. I'm not sure that FSL would realize that Cassie had that capability; it depends on how much she's assimilated to English technology...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Was it Alex who persuaded Cassie to surrender? When I read the final pages it sounds to me as if Cassie came up with the formula on her own. At least, it's preceded by her ceremonially ordering her forces to...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    The British upper classes spent centuries seeking spouses with enormous tracts of land for their children. Breeding for land seemed to work pretty well for a while, too; at their peak the UK controlled more land than any other polity...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Then there are the worlds where ontology recapitulates philology....
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I'm not mainly focused on the tactical implications, though of course they're potentially interesting, but on the literary problems. How do you give the reader a sense that they are reading about a conscious being when by definition their theory...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    You seem to be taking me as saying "I don't think you can do this." If I meant that I would have said it. I meant, quite literarally what I said: I will be interested to see how it's done....
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I will be interested to see how you work around John W. Campbell's thesis that no human author can write fiction about superhuman intelligence (as stated, for example, in his rejection letter to Vernor Vinge's proposed sequel to "Bookworm, Run!")....
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    Incidentally, it should be "Homo sapiens", "Homo alfarensis", and "Homo neanderthalensis". (Or on some accounts "Homo sapiens neanderthalensis".) In Linnaean taxonomy the second term of a species name is not capitalized, even if it derives from the name of a...
  • Commented on Crib Sheet: The Nightmare Stacks
    I have to say that the dinner party was my favorite scene in the novel, too, and I enjoyed it more than Miles Vorkosigan's ill-fated birthday party, partly because no one there did so spectacularly horrible a job of shooting...
  • Commented on The World of Tomorrow
    While your formulation "want to be protected? Surrender your will to us" seems accurate, I think you might have it on the wrong side. From what I'm seeing in Pacific Coast politics, it looks like a perfect summary of the...
  • Commented on Traveller RPG, Firefly, Dumarest, Vatta's War... are they all "Star Punk"?
    I wouldn't call Vatta's War "planetary romance" because it doesn't take place on a planet most of the time; much of the key action takes place in space. The prototypical work of planetary romance, A Princess of Mars, is about...
  • Commented on Traveller RPG, Firefly, Dumarest, Vatta's War... are they all "Star Punk"?
    Not quite true about farming not being mentioned. In talking about Erebor, one of Thorin's company tells Bilbo that their mines and workshops were so productive that they never bothered to grow their own food, but traded for it. The...
  • Commented on Traveller RPG, Firefly, Dumarest, Vatta's War... are they all "Star Punk"?
    (a) K-selected, like humans under hunter-gatherer conditions, or elephants, or trees. (b) From the fact that two out of three dwarves are male, it's evident that half the males not getting to breed is normal; they must be doing something...
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