Myth Happens - Time is an asterisk

Sovay
Date: 2012-12-03 23:59
Subject: Time is an asterisk
Security: Public
Music:Big Daddy, "Once in a Lifetime"
This weekend did not get away from me; it's just that going to Backbar on Saturday was a lot more fun than going to the Burlington Mall on Sunday. The one has flaming absinthe and ice cream sandwiches that come in pumpkin and ginger. The other has corduroys that do not fit me despite being numerically identical to the pair I came into the store wearing. I do not understand fashion.

1. I owe selidor at least a short post on the ways in which Diane Duane's So You Want to Be a Wizard (1983) and its two sequels hold up, especially since I had sort of an epiphany about High Wizardry (1990) on the 73 bus this afternoon. In the meantime, can anyone tell me anything about The Big Meow (2011)? I know it's right there online, but I think my internal bar for cat-wizards and Damon Runyon is set very high.

2. Matthew Timmins on the sameness of Hollywood disaster movies, this afternoon at the Diesel: "And there's always some guy trying to get home to his kids. Why do you need a disaster for that? It could be anything, it could be a snowstorm. That's the plot of every Christmas movie. You don't need to kill 4.8 million people for it!" (Then we started quoting Dr. Strangelove.)

3. Courtesy of madwriter: Fibber McGee and Molly Jim and Marian Jordan in Suspense's "Backseat Driver" (3 February 1949). The same Facebook thread produced the belated revelation that like Derek Jacobi in The Secret of NIMH (1982) or Kenneth Mars in The Little Mermaid (1989), I first heard Bob Newhart in The Rescuers (1977). I should just give up on being surprised at voice acting. It just encourages derspatchel to look ironically at me.

4. Courtesy of nihilistic_kid: OF COURSE THIS IS HAPPENING. "Based on a ceremonial evocation of the spirit of Mars, first written and performed in London in 1910 by the famed British occultist Aleister Crowley, the ritual later became part of Los Angeles history in 1946 when Jet Propulsion Laboratory rocket scientist and Crowley protégé Jack Parsons conducted his own version of this rite, with the intention of placing a martial curse on a pre-Scientology L. Ron Hubbard." AND WE ALL REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO JACK PARSONS, DON'T WE.

5. I had never heard of Otis Ferguson, but Self-Styled Siren is right: his writing on Cagney means I need to read him.

There will be content here again.
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selidor: chaotic system
User: selidor
Date: 2012-12-04 05:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconchaotic system
Jet Propulsion Laboratory rocket scientist and Crowley protégé Jack Parsons
...whut.
Somehow, I just never thought to connect British occultism and the early days of JPL! ...I think something in my head just broke. Although now I can't get out of my mind images of Gaiman's Morpheus visiting JPL and being Rather Angry.

Ah, right, The Big Meow. It was, hmm, not helped by the instalment publication model and the several-year break halfway through. The characters return reasonably intact from On Her Majesty's Wizardly Service etc, and there is at least one cute garden party Hollywood scene. The city is lovingly crafted, as Duane is well capable of doing. But the plot hammers a bit too much at a favourite theme of Duane's: the Lone Power (whichever universe it may be) comes to take out the favoured city, and the lone wizard/small group stand against incalculable odds...It's familiar ground compared to Stealing the Elf-King's Roses, which also uses an alt-LA. Read if you're a Duane completist.
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thistle in grey
User: thistleingrey
Date: 2012-12-04 16:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Seconding selidor's take on The Big Meow.
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Sovay: I Claudius
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconI Claudius
Seconding selidor's take on The Big Meow.

Useful, if slightly saddening. (I am not sure how well it bodes for The Door into Starlight.) Thanks.
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thistle in grey
User: thistleingrey
Date: 2012-12-05 06:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*nods* I have managed so far not to worry about Starlight because doing so would be silly, yes? But the percentage of recentish books that reprise certain patterns has been mounting, and one wishes for a bit more nuance at times.
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selidor
User: selidor
Date: 2012-12-05 07:22 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Well I think we are safe/sad? as Starlight may not eventuate for many, many years.
...Maybe I'll just go re-read the Middle Kingdoms and the short stories (some are quite fun) for comfort.
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Sovay: Rotwang
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:31 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconRotwang
Somehow, I just never thought to connect British occultism and the early days of JPL! ...I think something in my head just broke.

He really feels like Alan Moore invented him. The fulminate of mercury is just the icing. As it were.

But the plot hammers a bit too much at a favourite theme of Duane's: the Lone Power (whichever universe it may be) comes to take out the favoured city, and the lone wizard/small group stand against incalculable odds...

Check. Ah, well. I had mixed feelings about To Visit the Queen after The Book of Night with Moon, so I may hold off a while longer. I do not consider myself a Duane completist since I drifted away from the original series after A Wizard Abroad.

(. . . Is Damon Runyon a significant part of the plot, or is he just there for local color? I could see the importance of words to him being both poignant and resonant in the world of the Speech, or there could just be a lot of present tense.)
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selidor
User: selidor
Date: 2012-12-05 07:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I didn't realise there were ones after Abroad either until maybe last year, when I read of Mars out of interest. It was workmanlike, but not dissatisfying; a little by-the-numbers, but the setting was handled well. (Ok, I have seldom had reason to complain about settings with Duane).

Hmm re. Runyon. I am...not familiar enough with actual!Runyon to tell, I think I will conclude; the character here is a lovely poignant, unnamed shadow in his own life, speaking only through his notebook and the magic of the cat-wizard communication. He is a primary protagonist, yes, and the cat-vision of his life and loneliness is used to draw him in quite lovingly.
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Sovay: Rotwang
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 21:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconRotwang
the character here is a lovely poignant, unnamed shadow in his own life, speaking only through his notebook and the magic of the cat-wizard communication. He is a primary protagonist, yes, and the cat-vision of his life and loneliness is used to draw him in quite lovingly.

All right; then I am glad to hear that.
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Erik Amundsen
User: cucumberseed
Date: 2012-12-04 06:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
He was the one who blew himself up, right.

*checks*

Oh yes he was. I think we've talked about him before, too. And there was a writing challenge that I am still not up to. Not yet, anyway.
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Sovay: Sovay: David Owen
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconSovay: David Owen
And there was a writing challenge that I am still not up to. Not yet, anyway.

I can wait.
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Owlet: Patamon
User: snowy_owlet
Date: 2012-12-04 14:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconPatamon
Hm! I might eat a ginger ice cream sandwich even outside ice cream season.
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Sovay: Rotwang
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:34 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconRotwang
I might eat a ginger ice cream sandwich even outside ice cream season.

I have no such thing as ice cream season—I eat ice cream, preferably in cone form, no matter how cold it is outside—but I can recommend the ice cream sandwiches at Backbar any time of the year.
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Owlet: Bumble
User: snowy_owlet
Date: 2012-12-05 14:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconBumble
I have not so far met anyone who agrees with me that ice cream is a seasonal food.
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ethelmay
User: ethelmay
Date: 2012-12-05 23:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I do, pretty much. Okay, I'll eat it with birthday cake any time of year, but I definitely enjoy it most when I need to be cooled down.
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asakiyume
User: asakiyume
Date: 2012-12-04 14:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"And there's always some guy trying to get home to his kids. Why do you need a disaster for that? It could be anything, it could be a snowstorm. That's the plot of every Christmas movie. You don't need to kill 4.8 million people for it!"

--basically my feeling about all stories, sadly common in genre, that need to take the stakes to over nine thousand, always and forever.
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Sovay: Rotwang
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconRotwang
--basically my feeling about all stories, sadly common in genre, that need to take the stakes to over nine thousand, always and forever.

Or the entire planet of Vulcan.

Is there something about nine thousand?
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asakiyume: highwayman
User: asakiyume
Date: 2012-12-05 04:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconhighwayman
Is there something about nine thousand?

It's an old Dragonball Z meme which was lying around our house from back in the day when the tall one used to visit 4chan.
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Sovay: Cho Hakkai: intelligence
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 21:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconCho Hakkai: intelligence
It's an old Dragonball Z meme which was lying around our house from back in the day when the tall one used to visit 4chan.

Gotcha! (A meme I had no idea about. Neat.)
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greenlily
User: greenlily
Date: 2012-12-04 15:41 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ooo, I look forward to your post on So You Want To Be A Wizard. That book has had a considerable influence on my life. (I enjoy the sequels, even the later ones which are less good, but I read them as an adult so they didn't have the punch of the original, which I read at Just The Right Age.)
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Sovay: Sovay: David Owen
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconSovay: David Owen
Ooo, I look forward to your post on So You Want To Be A Wizard.

I'll try to write it before we leave for Orlando! I make no promises!

(I enjoy the sequels, even the later ones which are less good, but I read them as an adult so they didn't have the punch of the original, which I read at Just The Right Age.)

I cannot remember how old I was when I read So You Want to Be a Wizard for the first time, but I was younger than Nita and I was reading in bed. "And indeed one strong sign of a potential wizard . . ."

I always liked Deep Wizardry because of the sea; I used to be much less impressed with High Wizardry, but I think it clicked on this latest re-read, even if it will never be my favorite of the three. I enjoyed A Wizard Abroad because of the Irish mythology, but it felt superfluous and everything after that even more so. I wasn't even sure how many novels there were at this point, and the answer was at least two more than I'd thought.
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AudioBoy
User: audioboy
Date: 2012-12-04 16:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
"Backseat Driver" is one of my all-time favorite "Suspense" episodes. And I, too, was surprised to find out it was Jim and Marian Jordan. I would never in a million years have expected them to be so good in a dramatic pairing like that.
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2012-12-05 02:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And as I mentioned in the original post, I might not have recognized them--they were using their "normal" voices. :)
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Sovay: Morell: quizzical
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconMorell: quizzical
And as I mentioned in the original post, I might not have recognized them--they were using their "normal" voices.

There was also a distinct lack of closet.
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Sovay: Claude Rains
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconClaude Rains
I would never in a million years have expected them to be so good in a dramatic pairing like that.

I just had no idea they'd done any!
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ap_aelfwine
User: ap_aelfwine
Date: 2012-12-04 23:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm glad Backbar was better than the mall; then again, if the mall is at all like any of the ones I've been in, it would be hard not to be. I regret the strangness of the corduroy sizings. I don't understand fashion, either.

1. I owe selidor at least a short post on the ways in which Diane Duane's So You Want to Be a Wizard (1983) and its two sequels hold up,

I look forward to this post as well.

4.

Interesting. I suppose I feel a certain relief that none of the participating actors are, so far as I recall, folk whose work I am familiar with and would miss seeing further acting from them. I hope for their sake and the sake of their fans that they stay well away from both figurative and literal jars of fulminate of mercury.

I also hope that this ritual doesn't ultimately lead to someone becoming a new LRH. I spent far too much time reading more about Parsons, which is usually what happens when the subject comes up. Cliché it may be, O Reality, but sometimes I really have to say that you're stranger than anything we can get away with in fiction.
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Sovay: Sovay: David Owen
User: sovay
Date: 2012-12-05 04:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
iconSovay: David Owen
I also hope that this ritual doesn't ultimately lead to someone becoming a new LRH.

I haven't heard that Bradbury's house blew up . . .
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ap_aelfwine
User: ap_aelfwine
Date: 2012-12-05 04:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I haven't heard that Bradbury's house blew up . . .

So far, so good, then. I'm not sure what the time delay was between Parsons' Bartzabel working and his death.

I'm mostly hoping this working doesn't have a target who will go on to become a new L. Ron Hubbard. One Battlefield Earth (1982) in the world is enough, I think.*

*And yes, I suppose I just threw away my chance of ever winning a certain writers' contest. Oh well.

Edited at 2012-12-05 04:50 am (UTC)
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