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dormant in the hearts of everyone

In case you haven't already heard, Subterranean Press has begun taking preorders for Alabaster. I do strongly recommend preordering, especially if you want a copy of the limited edition. Lately, my limiteds have been selling out before or shortly after printing. I think this is going to be an absolutely beautiful collection, thanks in large part to Ted Naifeh. It'll include all the Dancy stories, except, of course, Threshold. The only one of these short stories that's been widely available is "Waycross," which appeared first as a subpress chapbook (2003) and was selected for The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 15. Also, "The Well of Stars and Shadow" has never before appeared in print (it was originally featured on Gothic.net). Same with the full text of "Alabaster" (which appeared in an issue of the subpress e-newsletter). And then there's "Bainbridge." So, if you're wondering why you've never read most of this book, that's why. But you can read it now. Note that the contents of the published book may vary slightly from what's listed on the subpress ordering page. I may or may not write an introduction (I may write an afterword, instead, or Anita may). I may or may not include "On the Road to Jefferson" as the afterword or as an appendix (previously, this piece has only appeared as a chapbook, long out of print). But that is the final line-up of stories. I'll post an approximate release date ASAP.

Last night, looking for something to occupy my restless mind, I turned on my old Mac Color Classic, Pandora, for the first time in ages. I got her in the summer of 1993, a few months after finishing The Five of Cups and just before I began The Merewife. Last year, when we moved from Kirkwood, she got jostled and developed a monitor problem, which comes and goes. If you let her warm up, she usually runs just fine. Last night, I switched her on and spent a couple of very calming hours playing SimEarth: The Living Planet. Once upon a time, SimEarth was pretty much the only game I played, and I played it a lot. For those not in the know, it was released by Maxis in 1990, shortly after the success of the original SimCity. It prefaced the release of a whole wave of sims — SimCity 2000, SimAnt, SimLife, SimIsland, SimTower, etc. Ultimately, The Sims came along, and its success eclipsed most all the sims that came before it (proving that most people have very little interest in anything but, well, people). Anyway, I got SimEarth in 1993 and played it constantly until 1996 or so. After that, as I began to get into PlayStation, I played it less and less. My last game before last night was dated September 2000, I believe. Based in part on James Lovelock's The Ages of Gaia (1988), SimEarth allows you to create a planet and follow it from its infancy as a molten ball, blasted by meteors, through billions of years of time, to the eventual evolution of life, then the evolution of intelligent life, then the evolution of technology, and, if you play long enough and are lucky, the evolution of a lifeform that achieves a level of tech that allows it to venture into the stars. At that point, the game returns you to an evolutionary timescale. In theory, any game of SimEarth is infinite. And once the sim is running, you must constantly monitor and adjust an enormous number of environmental factors. How much CO2 is present? What's the rate of core formation? What about atmospheric nitrogen? Should I increase the cloud albedo? What about reproduction rates? Mutation rates? The biosphere's tolerance for solar radiation? And on and on and on. It's a wonderful tool for teaching the interconnectedness of Nature, and it's a shame that it wasn't more popular. I have a diskette labeled "CaitWorlds" which contains hundreds of planets I created over the years. Some of them never evolved intelligent life (which may evolve from just about anything — cephalopods, cetaceans, primates, dinosaurs, etc.). Some of them are balls of ice. Some are so hot and dry only a few microbes exist, but they were great for watching plate tectonics in action, or for cometary impacts. SimEarth also allows you to attempt to terraform Mars and Venus. In short, it just frelling rocks. It is the perfect biology/astronomy/geology geek game.

By now, most or all subscribers to Sirenia Digest will have received an e-mail from Spooky letting them know that I'm running dreadfully late with Number Two. My sincere, sincere apologies. You'll have it as soon as I can get it finished, I promise, and I'll try not to get this behind ever again. It wouldn't have happened if "Bainbridge" had only gone to 10K words instead of plunging on ahead to 16K. Also, my congratulations and thanks to the winner of letter X of Frog Toes and Tentacles. We'll begin the letter Z auction just as soon as Spooky's finished the letter Z cozy.

Er...that's probably it for today. At least for now. Time to make the doughnuts. Time to pimp the platypus. Time to smack my head against the desk until it bleeds words.

Comments

( 7 comments — Have your say! )
robyn_ma
Jan. 14th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
'In case you haven't already heard, Subterranean Press has begun taking preorders for Alabaster. I do strongly recommend preordering, especially if you want a copy of the limited edition.'

I have done that very thing.
jlundberg
Jan. 14th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
I'm going to order Alabaster just as soon as I finish typing this, but wanted to mention that the name change to "Le Fleurs Empoisonnées" should really be "Les Fleurs Empoisonnées." If you are talking about poisoned flowers, plural, it should be preceded by the plural "the" article les instead of le (which is masculine singular).
jlundberg
Jan. 14th, 2006 06:43 pm (UTC)
Okay, paging through previous entries, I see you did it correctly, but it was typed incorrectly on the SubPress ordering page.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 14th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
Okay, paging through previous entries, I see you did it correctly, but it was typed incorrectly on the SubPress ordering page.

Yep. Someone caught it for me a couple of days back. But thanks, anyway!
oneirophrenia
Jan. 14th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
Gods, I loved SimEarth. I THINK I still have my old SimEarth install disks, so I really need to bust that out on my Win 3.1 machine and fire that game up again.

Incidentally, on my various simworlds, I always seemed to have sapient cephalopods.
greygirlbeast
Jan. 14th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
I THINK I still have my old SimEarth install disks, so I really need to bust that out on my Win 3.1 machine and fire that game up again.

You should. It's still wonderful, even with circa '90 graphics. Oh, if only someone would update this game, or create another along the same lines. *sigh*

I always seemed to have sapient cephalopods.

I got sentient cetaceans a lot.
nokomis1339
Jan. 14th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC)
I just moved out of my parents house for good into my own apartment and during the packing-up process I found all my old computer games, including Sim Earth. Of all those games (Sim Ant, Sim Life, Oregon Trail II) Sim Earth is the only one my new computer isn't too cool to run, so I recently re-discovered my love for that game as well. Though for whatever reason, no matter what I do, I wind up with sentient avians.

And my fiance was re-reading Threshold about half an hour ago and swears that a red ant crawled out of the book and bit him (which is odd as we're in the middle of January). He then fell asleep and now we can't find the ant bite on his hand or the corpse of the offending ant. We're just glad it wasn't MoA and a spider or he'd probably have run down the street screaming.

~L~
( 7 comments — Have your say! )