Formulated by the British author Arthur C. Clarke, these three laws — especially the last one — are accepted as science fiction “fact.”
Clarke’s three laws are so ubiquitous in the literature, they are (with Asimov’s laws of robotry), the basis of many stories by a wide spectrum of authors in the science fiction and fantasy genres.
For your enlightenment:
- When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
- The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
- Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Murphy’s Corollary to Clarke’s Law: Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-legged beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!
– Traditional Scottish Prayer
I’ve never met a ghoul, and I have questions about long-legged beasties, but I can speak from personal experience about things that go bump in the night. Long ago in a house far away, we had our own ghosts, or at least “night bumpers.”
I cannot claim to have seen a ghost, but I lived in a house where we could hear them. It was 1965 when we bought our tidy little brick house. It had been built in 1932. Most of the house was on the ground floor — kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms and the bath. The upper floor had an unfinished attic and a big bedroom. It was a small house. Solid, a short walking distance from the college where my husband worked and where I was finishing my B.A.
The ambiance of the house from the moment we walked into it was cozy. Friendly. It welcomed everyone, made them feel at home. The house had been built by a couple who had lived there for more than 30 years. They had raised children their children and eventually died in that house.
They were not murdered or anything sordid. They merely grew old and passed on in the house they loved. We loved it too.
The house was a bit neglected. Not falling down, but in need of paint and some modernization. Cosmetic fixes. Paint. Floors needed refinishing. The boiler needed updating.
For the first few months, we lived on the ground floor, but we planned to move to the big upstairs bedroom. It was spacious and had windows full of light. We decided to fix it up, give it a coat of paint and redo the floors before settling upstairs.
Shortly after we moved in, our ghosts began to walk. It was startling the first time we heard it. Loud. Clear. Heavy footsteps, like the soles of hard leather shoes or boots. Plus the sharper noise of heels. It turned out everyone — anyone — could hear it. The noise started every night around eight and continued off and on until midnight.
We called the walkers “The Old Man” and “The Old Woman.” They wore different shoes. Her shoes had that sharp sound — high heels on hardwood. His shoes were clunkier, maybe work boots. Both of them had died in the house, so they were prime candidates for ghosthood, especially since no one else had lived in the house until us.
Initially, we heard them upstairs and on the stairway. After we painted the stairs, the footsteps retreated to the upper floor. Once we began painting the bedroom, we heard them for a while longer, but only in the attic. Then, one day, our ghosts were gone. They never came back.
Were they watching to see if we cared for their home? Were we all hallucinating? Maybe the couple who had lived there were watching. Making sure we did right by their house.
I suppose we passed muster and they felt it was okay to leave.
Life is full of stuff that can’t be explained rationally and we didn’t try. But I’ll bet anyone who was in our house during the months our ghosts walked never doubted what they heard.
Custom Zodiac - You’re tasked with creating a brand new astrological sign for the people born around your birthday — based solely on yourself. What would your new sign be, and how would you describe those who share it?
Every astrological sign needs a planet for influence. For this purpose, I am choosing Io, the innermost of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. It’s the fourth-largest moon, has the highest density, and is the driest object in the Solar System — perfect to represent me since I have the driest skin in the Solar System.
It was named after the mythological character Io, a priestess of Hera who became one of Zeus’s lovers. However, the Roman pantheon doesn’t work for me. I prefer be characterized by a god who represents qualities to which I relate and which I hope are the best of me. The Romans were too bloody, physical, non-intellectual, and generally churlish for my taste.
My patron deity will be Ganeesha, the Hindu Lord of letters and learning. He is a patron for writers and others who are seekers and creators. In Sanskrit, the word buddhi is a feminine noun meaning intelligence, wisdom, or intellect and is closely associated with Ganeesha and the many tales of his cleverness, his passion for writing, his love of intelligence.
Thus from hence forth, those lucky souls born between March 10 and March 17 (note that some minor adjustments may be required using a proper ephemeris) will share many of these characteristics:
Intellectual curiosity, a passion for words, both spoken and written. Often accompanied by some degree of musical talent and for the graphic arts. These gifts can manifest in a variety of ways, both passive and active.
Other, less charming qualities may include shortness of temper, intolerance with ignorance, a snappish dislike of poorly spoken and written language. Inclined to be excessively controlling of both self and others. Not a warm and fuzzy personality, this individual lives primarily in his or her head, which will virtually always win when heart and mind come into conflict.
Despite this, given to periodic flights of bizarre fantasy which may be acted on without regard for consequences. Shows a marked lack of caution in emotional involvements as well as a willingness to try pretty much anything at least twice.
Terrified of insects, but a lover of animals and nature. Not a bad egg, but often a prickly one.
It’s almost here, the spookiest, funniest, silliest holiday of the year. Halloween is the perfect kid celebration. Dress up in weird costumes. Harass your neighbors until they give you candy. Decorate the house in ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties. Not to mention things that go bump in the night! Most of the pictures in the […]
Masks Off – We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?
Her slight, svelte, lithe, muscular body seemed part of the shadows as she moved in near total silence through the shadows of Gotham. The chill of the night barely registered on her heightened vampiric senses. She was on the hunt, prowling to find an evil-doer whose warm blood would satisfy her.
She no longer needed blood, not at her great age. She could easily live on nothing … but the hunger remained after the need was gone. Tonight, the thrill of the hunt amplified that need and sharpened her senses.
She smiled, a little ruefully, wondering what her family would think if they could see her now. She had been very careful to avoid letting them see. Waiting until they were deep in slumber before creeping out. Flying over rooftops, hunting the dark alleys of nearby cities. Never prowling the streets of her town.
The dogs knew. Her granddaughter knew, but didn’t believe. In the end, it didn’t matter. Marilyn Armstrong, intrepid blogger, sometime author, pundit, and senior wise-ass … was Vampiric Authoress, ancient blood scourge!
Evil-doers everywhere, quake in fear. She is coming. You will pay for your misdeeds.
Early Friday morning, I was dreaming. In the dream, I was talking to a particularly annoying telemarketer and couldn’t get her off the phone. I was wondering — in my dream — why I persist in answering these calls, I woke up because the telephone rang. And wouldn’t you know it? It was the very same especially aggravating […]
There was rumor going around on Amazon a few months ago that Mike Carey was going to publish another Felix Castor book. I hoped it was true and maybe it will happen yet, but so far … there are five books and no more. I own all of them, but if there should ever be another, I’ll be first in line to buy a copy. I love this series.
I discovered Mike Carey because I reviewed a Jim Butcher book and someone suggested I’d like the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. I’d never heard of Mike Carey, but I was out of new authors to read at the time and I was ready to try anything that sounded good. I got what I hoped for plus a whole lot more.
As a writer, Mike Carey is better than good. He is hyper-literate. He uses words like a rapier. His prose is beautifully crafted, often lyrical, yet never treacly or sappy. He is crisp, witty, intelligent. He does not repeat himself. He never uses the same descriptive passage twice, nor does he — as many popular authors do — copy and paste sections from one book to another to (I presume) save writing time. Mike Carey doesn’t use short cuts.
The result is a style that is richly descriptive, a delicious combination of gritty street slang banging head-on into literary English. Liverpool guttersnipe meets Jane Austen. It gives the narrative a rare and rich texture.
What’s it all about? Felix (Fix) Castor is an exorcist. He sees the dead and the undead. They see him. He is no wizard who magics his problems away with the wave of a hand or wand. He can send the dead away when they linger and cast out demons who possess humans.
Where do the dead go after he sends them away? He’s not sure, an issue that looms successively larger as the series progresses. His weapon is music in the form of a tin whistle, a thin armament in the face of some of the perils he faces. He has a few allies — human, formerly human plus one demon in recovery.
The series consists of five books, each building on the previous one to form what is essentially a single story in five parts. Best to read the series in order. All the books are available as paperbacks, for Kindle, and from Audible.com.
In order, the books are The Devil You Know, Vicious Circle , Dead Men’s Boots, Thicker Than Water and The Naming of Beasts. None of his books are a lightweight romp, but the first three are much lighter in tone and funnier — Carey has a sharp, ironic sense of humor– than the last two, both of which are pretty intense.
Fix Castor works hard for short money, is rarely appreciated by the people he helps, has more than enough of his personal demons, not to mention some very real, otherworldly demons who are seriously out to get him.
It’s a unique series, unlike any other I’ve read. I wish there had been more of them, though I suspect the author is done with this series.
There are so many surprises in this series. The characters constantly surprised me by growing and changing, developing in unexpected ways and not doing the obvious.
Mike Carey can be very funny. His subtle and elegant humor contains no belly laughs, but irony pervades his prose. None of the books are traditionally funny nor are the situations humorous or light-hearted, but the author’s writing style is wonderfully cynical. The stories, pun intended, are dead serious. Darkness notwithstanding, you can count on Mike Carey’s plays on words and twists of phrase to keep the dread from becoming too heavy to handle.
The plots are gripping and creepy. Any or all of the books would make great horror movies. I’m surprised no one has grabbed them yet. Maybe they will. Sooner or later, someone is bound to notice, right?