Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, July 30, 2018


Openers:  Everyone in trade and a good many who are not have heard of Werner's Agency, the Solvency Inquiry Agency for all British trade.  Its business is to know the financial condition of all wholesale and retail firms, from Rothchild's to the smallest sweetstuff shop in Whitechapel.  I do not say that every firm figures on its books, but by methods of secret inquiry it can discover the status of any firm or individual.  It is the great safeguard to British trade and prevents much fraudulent dealing.

Of this agency I, Dixon Druce, was appointed manager in 1890.  Since then I have met queer people and seen strange sights, for men do curious things for money in this world.

-- "Madame Sara" by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, from The Strand Magazine, October 1902; reprinted in The Sorceress of the Strand, 1903

July Incoming:

  • Robert Adams, Pamela Crippen Adams, & Martin H. Greenberg, editors, Phantom Regiments (1990).  Fantasy/horror anthology with 14 stories.
  • Neal Barrett, Jr., The Gates of Time (1970), bound with Dwellers of the Deep (1970) by "K. M. O'Donnell" (Barry N. Malzberg).  Ace SF Double.  Early SF novels by two vastly underrated writers. 
  • Caleb Carr, The Italian Secretary (2005).  A Sherlock Holmes mystery.
  • "CLAMP" (Satsuki Igarashi, Mick Nikoi, Mokana Apapa, & Nanase Ohkawa), xxxHOLIC, Volume 2 (2003).  Manga, translated and adapted by Bill Flanagan.  I came across six manga for a quarter apiece this past Saturday and thought I'd give them a try.  CLAMP is a consortium of four women who began in fan comics and have now become one of the most famous manga creators in the United States.  The xxxHOLIC series is intertwine with another series, Toubasa; this book directly follows Toubasa, Volume 2.
  • Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, editors, Magicats II (1991).  Fantasy anthology with 12 stories.  Cats are very popular in genre fiction.  there's more anthologies listed below.
  • John DeChancie, Castle War! (1990), Castle Murders (1991), and Castle Dreams (1992).  Books four, five, and six in the Castle Perilous series.  Humorous fantasy.  Castle Perilous has 144,000 doorways leading to strange, "inverted" worlds.
  • Gordon R. Dickson, Mission to Universe (1965).  SF adventure.  Benjamin Shore, commander of Earth's first starship goes against orders and heads to the heart of the galaxy to find habitable worlds.  What he finds is an ancient race that has driven all other races from the galactic center.  Also, Invaders! (1985) and The Man from Earth (1983), two collections with eight and ten stories respectively.
  • Martin H. Greenberg & Janet Pack, editors, Magic Tails (2005).  Fantasy anthology with more cats (!), plus other animals with tails.  Fourteen original stories/tales/tails.
  • Michael Goss & George Behe, Lost at Sea:  Ghost Ships and Other Mysteries (1994).  Nonfiction combined with folklore.  This one relies heavily on fact but strays into legend when applicable.
  • "Michael Gregorio" (Michael G. Jacob & Daniela De Gregorio), A Visible Darkness (2009).  Mystery, the third featuring Hanno Stiffeniis, a Napoleon-era magistrate in Prussia.  Someone is murdering young girls and the French occupiers wand Stiffeniis to find out who.
  • Kazume Kawahara, High School Debut, Volumes 7 & 9 (both 2003).  More manga.  Translated by Gemma Collinge.
  • Richard A. Knakk, Warcraft, The Sunwell Trilogy, Volume 3:  Ghostlands (2007).  Manga with art by Jae-Hwan Kim.  A tie-in to the best-selling (and seemingly neverending) gaming franchise.
  • Keith Laumer, creator, Bill Fawcett, editor, Bolos, Book 4:  Last Stand (1997).  Shared world SF anthology based on a concept by Laumer.  Nine stories and an essay.
  •  Ian McDonald, Speaking in Tongues (1992).  SF collection with eleven stories.
  • John Morressy, The Questing of Kedrigen (1987), Kedrigern in Wanderland (1988), and A Remembrance for Kedrigern (1990).  Humorous fantasy novels about the Wizard Kendrigern, a lazy and cowardly expert in counterspells.  These are, respectively,  the second, third, and fifth books in the series.
  • Andre Norton & Martin H. Greenberg, editors, Catfantastic (1989) and Catfantastic II (1991).  Two more cat anthologies with fifteen and eighteen stories, respectively.
  • Jerry Pournelle, creator, and "With the editorial assistance of John F. Carr and Roland Green," Warworld, Volume 1:  The Burning Eye (1988).  Shared world military SF anthology in the CoDominium universe, with nine stories by Baen Books regulars.
  • Eric Protter, editor, A Harvest of Horrors (1980).  Horror anthology with nineteen stories, about half fairly familiar.
  • Christopher Rice, The Snow Garden (2001).  Thriller.  Rice's sophomore novel.
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch, The Devil's Churn (1996).  Horror novel.
  • Natsuki Takaya, Fruits Baskets, Volume 12 (2002).  Still yet another manga.  Each member of the Sohma family is cursed by the vengeful spirit of an animal from the Chinese zodiac.  Translated by Alethea Nibley and Athena Nibley.
  • Leslie H. Whitten, Moon of the Wolf (1967).  Horror novel, also published as Death of a Nurse.  Does anyone remember the 1972 TV movie, starring David Janssen, Barbara Rush, and Bradford Dillman?
  • "Woo" (Kang-Woo Lee), Rebirth, Volume 21 (2006).  The last of the six mangas I picked up this month, this one with a vampire theme.  Translated by Jennifer Hahm.
  • Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, A Baroque Fable (1986).  Humorous fantasy.  If it ain't baroque, don't fix it.
How Florida Can Kill You:  Let me count the ways/People pass from this Earthly plane/There must be a zillion in my state/And most involve great pain.

The Sunshine State is the hurricane capitol of America (80 deaths in 2017), but is also the country's lightning capitol (6 dead this far).  And we have gators (25 deaths that we know of) since 1948) and shark attacks (31 last year but so far -- fingers crossed -- no deaths since 2010).  We have six species of venomous snakes (you can find all six in Tampa Bay),   Raccoons are the number one carriers of rabies, followed by bats in second place; a woman in Sun City Center was bitten by a rabid bat this month.  Rabid otters terrorized kayakers early this year.  In 2010, a 96-year-old man was attacked by a rapid otter.  Bill Crider would have been proud to know that Texas leads the way in wild pig attacks, but Florida comes in a number 2.  Near Ocala, rhesus macaque monkeys carry the deadly herpes B virus.  and there's the brown widow, red widow, and black widow spider, as well as the brown recluse and the deadlier Chilean recluse spider which have been reported in Florida.  (I don't like spiders.  Hate 'em, hate' em, hate 'em.)  Did I mention the giant African land snail which carries the parasitic rat lungworm?

Plants in Florida are also out to get you.  There's the chinaberry tree, the poisonous mistletoe berries, and the deadly seeds of the rosary pea.  Think it's safe to go in the water?  Besides shark attacks,there's the Vibrio vulnaficus, a bacteria found in shellfish, a deadly bacteria (24 dead since 2016).  You don't have to eat them undercooked or raw in a restaurant either, you can get it swimming in warm ocean water if you have an open wound.  Ciguatera is a neurotoxin found in grouper, red snapper, barracuda, and hogfish.  If the brain eating Naegleria fowleria ameoba crawls up your nose you will be dead in a week.  Jumping fish, such as sturgeon, stingrays, and needlefish have killed unsuspecting boaters.  

Think twice before digging a hole in the beach sand -- at least seven people have died from "recreational sand collapse."  Rip currents have killed sixteen people this year, and we have another five months to go.  Sinkholes?  Florida's got them and they can (and do) gobbled up people.  Florida is hot and as it gets hotter heat related deaths will increase -- by 2050, it is predicted that we will have at least 100 'danger days" where the heat index will top 104 degrees.  Theme parks are supposed to be safe.  Hah!  They can be deadly for those with a pre-existing medical conditions and, times, for just about anyone else.

Florida is also a Stand Your Ground state so you are at risk if some yahoo decides you are a threat.  Gun violence appears to be a sport in this state.  Multiple shootings at schools and nightclubs here make national news but our legislature is in the pocket of the NRA.  Domestic violence, drug-related violence, and gang-related violence can claim innocent and not-so-innocent lives.

And then there are the usual cases of heart disease, cancer, overdoses, suicides, and accidents.  And then, there's Florida Man and Florida Woman.

Florida may be God's Waiting Room, but for many the wait can be unexpectedly short.  So come on down and enjoy the beauty and the bounty of Florida...while you can.

Question:  Who is the most inept lawyer in the world, Michael Cohan or Rudy Giuliani?  Defend you conclusions.

Today:  It's National Lasagna Day, National Lipstick Day, and National Chicken Wing Day.  I suggest you celebrate by eating only two of the three.

Happy Birthday!:  Celebrated Broadway actress Barbara Harris was born on this day in 1935.  In her honor, here's celebrated Off- Broadway actress Barbara Harris and cast performing Bertold Brecht and Kurt Weill's "Moon of Alabama" from Mahaggony:

Confession:  I have been somewhat lax in posting on this blog over the past few weeks but I promise to try to be more active.  Perhaps a lax-active will help?

Today's Poem:


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen in snow.

-- Langston Hughes

1 comment:

  1. I bet it would be much nicer in, say, Maryland. That McDonald SF collection sounds intriguing.