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A bit of excitement

I pulled up at Chez Angela not long after a car acci­dent. As I was prepar­ing to leave, the ambu­lance pulled up and parked next to me, box­ing me in, so I went back into the bak­ery and had a cof­fee to wait them out.

The cars involved are on the oth­er side of the fire truck in the pho­to. I felt it would be bad form to wan­der around the site tak­ing pho­tos. Plus it was way warmer inside, sip­ping my cof­fee, than out in the street.

When I left, about ten min­utes lat­er, the police were still there, and two tow trucks had showed up.

As far as I could tell, no one was seri­ous­ly hurt, but at least one of the vehi­cles was not in great shape.

Volleyball action

My nephew Isaac is in town for a vol­ley­ball tour­na­ment again, so I snapped a few pho­tos. I post­ed ’em on Face­book, but not every­one is on Face­book (hi, Mom!), so I’m putting them here too.

Isaac’s team (Col­lège Louis Riel) won in 3 sets: 2514, 1825, 1512.

The Hollow Bean 2019 count

Happy Hollow Bean

This year we had the fol­low­ing cos­tumes come to the door look­ing for can­dy (and receiv­ing 2 full-size bars apiece, because frankly we bought more can­dy than we should have):

  • a kid in par­ka and bal­a­cla­va
  • a knight
  • a princess in a par­ka
  • a princess in a dif­fer­ent par­ka
  • Mal­e­fi­cient, horns ‘n’ all
  • a princess
  • a uni­corn with wings
  • Elsa (I think)
  • a princess asleep on her mom’s shoul­der (her old­er sis­ter, in the Elsa cos­tume, col­lect­ed can­dy for her)

…for a grand total of nine.

I should’ve giv­en ’em all 3 bars.

Last year: 10; 2017: 16.

Some themes & references

Aurora Borealis at Minnedosa, MB

Here’s an incom­plete list of the themes and ref­er­ences that I’m con­scious­ly includ­ing in my new short sto­ry, “Sum­mer­time in the Void” (1st draft com­plete, work­ing on the 2nd draft):

The last few days

Our friend Tess dropped by for a vis­it last week­end, and stayed overnight. I decid­ed to snap a pho­to of her, and one of Kath­leen as well.

Then I saw a love­ly red-and-yel­low autumn tree on my way to work.

Autumn leaves
The tree up the block went all red and yel­low

And today it snowed.

Winter
The court­yard through a win­dow spot­ted with snow

Review: This is How You Lose the Time War

Signed copy of the novel

I was­n’t going to buy any books on our Ottawa trip. I was­n’t. I have too many books already at home.

Then we were walk­ing back to the hotel from Byward Mar­ket, and we stopped in at Chap­ters, and I found myself in the SF/F sec­tion hold­ing a copy of This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar (an Ottawa writer) and Max Glad­stone. I opened the book, intend­ing to skim the first chap­ter and then set it back on the shelf, intend­ing to go home and request a copy from my local library.

But I found Amal’s sig­na­ture on the title page, and well, long sto­ry short, I bought the book.

It’s a wild ride, a time-trav­el novel­la about two agents work­ing on oppo­site sides of a time war. Red works for the Agency, a tech-based orga­ni­za­tion, and Blue works for Gar­den, an orga­ni­za­tion that might be an organ­ism. They write each oth­er let­ters across the time­lines, the threads of his­to­ry and future, at first to taunt each oth­er (“Nyah nyah, you’re gonna lose!” “Are not!” “Are too!”) and, lat­er, as they get to know each oth­er, to express their feel­ings for each oth­er.

The epis­to­lary affair spans all of his­to­ry, most­ly in var­i­ous ver­sions of Earth (at one point, one of the char­ac­ters goes to see Romeo and Juli­et, to find out if it’s a tragedy or a com­e­dy in her cur­rent time­line), but some­times on oth­er worlds or even in the vac­u­um of space. Red and Blue’s rela­tion­ship pro­gress­es upthread and down­thread, through past and future, in let­ters writ­ten in some of the weird­est stegano­graph­ic ways I’ve seen: one is writ­ten in a vol­cano, anoth­er in a thorn­bush grown over a year from a seed. Only one, if I recall cor­rect­ly, is writ­ten in ink on paper.

The writ­ing itself—Amal’s and Max’s, I mean, not Red’s and Blue’s—is beau­ti­ful­ly wrought, by turns amus­ing and hor­ri­fy­ing. Moments as calm and sedate as a woman braid­ing her hair or enjoy­ing tea con­trast with the same woman, pages lat­er, wash­ing her hands after slit­ting some­one’s throat.

And the lan­guage! I’m pret­ty proud of my vocab­u­lary, but the authors, in their search for le mot juste, more than once sent me to the dic­tio­nary to make sure I under­stood the pre­cise point or image they were try­ing to con­vey.

I enjoyed the novel­la, with its twists and turns, its hunter-vs.-hunted sto­ry chas­ing itself down the cor­ri­dors of time. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

Buy it from McNal­ly-Robin­son or Indiebound.