Cosmos 2014 – “The Waiting” is almost over!

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Tonight at 9 p.m. The Fox Network broadcasts the premiere of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s updated reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic CBS series “Cosmos.” As a loyal viewer of the original, I’ve been excited about this since I first learned it was in the works more than a year ago. I can’t wait.

Though certainly not a scientist, I’ve read most of Sagan’s books and found them quite edifying. My favorite is probably “The Demon Haunted World” which I wish more people were aware of. I also read the “book version” of Cosmos back in the day, and I’ve recently re-watched the original series in preparation.

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Have you read any of Sagan’s work, or any other “popular science” books? Which are your favorites? Will you be watching Fox tonight?

Yes, Of course, I’ve also been a Tom Petty fan since before the original Cosmos was broadcast. (His album “Damn the Torpedoes” pretty much got me through high school) So, given the title of this post, here’s a gratuitous YouTube clip of his thrown in: 🙂
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AIP9wN7X2TQ

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Deal Me In – Week 10 Wrap Up

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First, a tidbit about short stories from none other than Kurt Vonnegut, who likened them to “Buddhist catnaps.”

“…a short story, because of its physiological and psychological effects on a human being, is more closely related to Buddhist styles of meditation than it is to any other form of narrative entertainment.”

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Below are links to stories posted about since the week 9 update. Please consider supporting your fellow travelers in DMI2014 by visiting or commenting at their blogs. 🙂

Katherine read a story with a playing card in the title – not the ten of spades she drew, but Karen Joy Fowler’s “The Queen of Hearts and Swords” http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/deal-me-in-week-10-the-queen-of-hearts-and-swords/

The above quotation (which i had already planned on sharing) turns out to be appropriate this week as the luck of the draw led Dale to read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Find Me a Dream” http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/kurt-vonnegut-find-me-a-dream/

Returning Reader’s two of clubs led her to Leile Aboulela’s story “Missing Out” http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/short-story-10-missing-out-leila-aboulela/

Hanne at Reading on Cloud 9 has two stories to share: “Gomez Palacio” by Roberto Belano http://readingoncloud9.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/week-8-gomez-palacio-by-roberto-bolano/
And Rebecca Curtis’ “Twenty Grand” http://readingoncloud9.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/week-9-twenty-grand-by-rebecca-

Over at Read the Gamut, Candiss found Deal Me In intersecting with another popular meme, The Classics Spin ( http://theclassicsclubblog.wordpress.com/category/classics-spin/ ), and the resulting illegitimate(?) spawn was the King of Diamonds, or rather the Raymond Carver story, “Cathedral.” http://readthegamut.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/deal-me-in-challenge-story-10-cathedral-by-raymond-carver/

Here at Bibliophilopolis, my seven of clubs was a dystopian story, Ekaterina Sedia’s “Hydraulic” https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/hydraulic-a-short-story-by-ekaterina-sedia/

That’s it for now. See you next Sunday and – in the meantime – happy reading!

“Hydraulic” a short story by Ekaterina Sedia

Represented by the six of hearts, this was story #10 in my 2014 Deal Me In Short Story Reading Challenge. I own this story as part of an electronic copy of the anthology “Dark Futures: Tales of Dystopian Sci-Fi” which is lending a few stories to my annual project.

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hy·drau·lic\hī-ˈdrȯ-lik\
adjective
: operated by the pressure of a fluid
: occurring or used in a hydraulic system
Full Definition
1 : operated, moved, or effected by means of water
2 a : of or relating to hydraulics
b : of or relating to water or other liquid in motion
3 : operated by the resistance offered or the pressure transmitted when a quantity of liquid (as water or oil) is forced through a comparatively small orifice or through a tube
4 : hardening or setting under water

I’m sure I’ve written before about how I enjoy stories that have a cryptic title. Perhaps it was the title “Hydraulic” (what could THAT be about?) that led me to add this story to my roster for my 2014 Deal Me In challenge. I don’t remember now. Anyway, I’m still not 100% sure what the story title means. The setting, I can tell you, is a future dystopian America. One that has become isolationist, where Congress voted in 2012 to “sever all ties with the rest of the world,” and where “government crop dusters” herd clouds and citizens use velorickshaws to get around. It’s raining almost constantly too, and domestic cats are beginning to turn green from an algae that has taken up residence in their fur. Perhaps this last element felt the most dystopian of all for many readers…

The protagonist of the story, Lewis, is a detective on the trail of Jack Elsinger, suspected of “illegal battery charging and possibly worse.” In this dystopian future, energy is at a premium and the country had “switched to a rain powered economy” in 2017. (See? Here we’re getting closer to the title of the story) During his surveillance (aided by “spidercams” of course) Lewis is surprised by recognizing the woman Elsinger is dating as none other than Callie Swainson, a fading star of the world of interactive computer/video gaming.

It is Lewis’s reaction to seeing and meeting Callie, this person “he knows but doesn’t know,” that made this story interesting to me. It certainly wasn’t a happy story, but I liked it.

I do not believe the story is available for free online anywhere, but the kindle version of the entire collection mentioned above is only $4.99. http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Futures-Tales-Dystopian-SF/dp/0982619723

What did you read this week? Any new good short story discoveries?

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My own personal first experience with hydraulics was when I was (I think) eleven and my family bought some hydraulic jacks – similar to the one pictured below – for use on an extended summer camping trip. What an amazing, magical technology this seemed to me to be! Lifting the great weight of our pop-up camper so easily. 🙂

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“The Autopsy” – a horror story by Michael Shea

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So, this week (#9 of my “Deal Me In 2014” short story reading challenge) I drew the seven of spades (see my full roster here) and was rewarded with a re-read of a great horror story I first read more than twenty years ago… Seeing the story’s title reminded me of something else,

The case of the never returned short story anthology. 🙂

50 horror stories

In the late ‘80s/early ‘90s I read an anthology of American horror stories which included one story per state. I remember very little about most of the stories in it these days, but I do remember loaning the book to a friend and never seeing it again.  Not a big deal, as I had already read it, but I’m still not thrilled about it no longer gracing my shelves.  There were a couple great stories as I recalled, and when I purchased “The Weird” anthology of stories was pleased to see that one of them, “The Autopsy” was also included in that collection.  I decided I must re-read that story.

(below: author Michael Shea <from Goodreads>)

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In “The Autopsy” we meet an aging doctor working in the coroner’s office. He has cancer, and to add to the misery, he is on a sad errand to perform autopsies on ten miners killed after an explosion in the mine.  Why do they need autopsies? Because it is assumed that the explosion was a willful act of murder by one of the ten men. The mining company’s insurance only has to compensate the families if the miners die in the process of doing their job.  Being murdered while at their job? Well, that would save the company a lot of money.

But the greed of the company and the aging coroner are just the backdrop for a chilling story.  What the doctor learns and finds while doing the autopsies is out of this world. Literally.

The story is part of the chunky volume “The Weird: An anthology of Strange and Dark Stories.” Here is a link to the book on amazon.com.  I own the kindle version of this great collection. It’s worth the $$

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Deal Me In – Week 9 Wrap Up

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Welcome to the week 9 wrap up post for DMI 2014! Lots of new stories and links this time.  Please try to browse around and see what your fellow participants are reading.

Katherine reads Steven Millhauser’s “Klassik Komix #1” http://katenread.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/deal-me-in-week-9-klassik-komix-1/

Dale posts about Mark Helprin’s “Perfection” a long short story http://mirrorwithclouds.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/perfection-by-mark-helprin/

James makes an unexpectedly easy connection between George Orwell’s “Raffles and Miss Blandish” and “The Next Time” by Henry James: http://jamesreadsbooks.com/2014/02/24/george-orwell-as-jamess-literary-critic-a-deal-me-in-short-story-challenge/

Returning Reader found Franz Kafka’s “The Penal Colony” just too violent and chose ‘the better part of valor’… (She does provide a link to the story, though, if you think you can handle it) http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/short-story-abandoned-the-penal-colony-franz-kafka/ (I read the Kafka story as part of my 2011 edition of this challenge, but didn’t care for it much either, only posting about it indirectly: https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/executioners-and-coincidences/ )

BUT (updated 3/3/14)… Returning Reader also read  Mme Zitta Mendes, A Last Image by Alaa Al Aswany http://returningreader.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/short-story-9-mme-zitta-mendes-a-last-image-alaa-al-aswany/

Candiss enjoyed the story “Sea Oak” by the oft-lauded George Saunders. http://readthegamut.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/deal-me-in-challenge-story-9-sea-oak-by-george-saunders/

Susan has added a few more story reviews via Shelfari:
Jimmy Buffet’s “Take Another Road” and “I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever” http://www.shelfari.com/books/152829/Tales-from-Margaritaville/reviews/4410805
Also Sharon Shinn’s “The House of Seven Spirits” and Dana Stabenow’s “A Woman’s Work”: http://www.shelfari.com/books/4196424/Unusual-Suspects/reviews/4410828

Jay (that’s me!) revisited a story I first read twenty-odd years ago. I was pleased that Michael Shea’s “The Autopsy” lost none of its spine-tingly-ness over that gulf of years. https://bibliophilica.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/the-autopsy-a-horror-story-by-michael-shea/

Well, that’s all for this week. I hope everyone is continuing to enjoy Deal Me In 2014. I am. 🙂

-Jay

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