Well, when I last wrote anything substantial, both Kathleen and I were recovering from simultaneous disasters; Kathy from a near-fatal kidney infection (it had apparently started to go septic) and me from injuring my back trying to move a truck axle.
Kathy got better and until a couple days ago we thought it was done with. Then she started having vaguely similar symptoms and went back, and sure enough, she has another kidney infection. The good news is that this one we've caught early and the treatment doesn't involve antibiotics so hideous that she has to stop nursing. Last time Kathy couldn't nurse Vicky for about 10 days, which was traumatic (and let me tell you: a breastfed baby doesn't smell much. Formula made Vicky STINK.)
I am mobile and working, but I have phantom pains and wierd "feelings" in my back and sometimes around my legs and waist. I am not permitted to lift anything much over 10-20 pounds. I finally got an MRI, which revealed I did indeed herniate two discs -- the L4-L5 and the L5-S1, quite badly. I see a neurologist at the end of the month.
Christopher got a zit which for some reason decided to turn into a particularly vicious infection on his ear and the side of his face. It appears to be getting better now under a day and a half of antibiotics and hotpacking, but we're watching it closely.
For those who don't know, I work at a company called IEM, International Electronic Machines; currently we are without an office manager (I believe we just hired one but he or she doesn't start until sometime next week) and are shorthanded on engineers (we're looking). IEM does sensors/instrumentation/rugged metrology work for industry and government clients, and right now everything's running really fast -- a DOD SBIR solicitation coming due in July, reports for several projects, etc.. I've found myself doing management and even, in some wierd instances, tech work. This week I'll be in Washington (on Wednesday) to present a project review to the military on one of our most important projects. It's a great job, I just hope I can survive it. Whee!
I am still waiting for a "yea" or "nay" from Jim Baen on "Demons of the Past". It's reminding me of the old joke "How do you keep an idiot in suspense?" (yes, that's the whole joke) PLEASE LET IT BE A "YEA"!!!!! Of the 30 - 50 stories I know I have to write in my multiverse (before I have to start inventing new ones), there are three I really, really, REALLY want to write so bad that it hurts. This is one of them.
I still haven't gotten anything back on exactly how well Mountain Magic is doing (though it doesn't have to do too terribly well to start earning royalties; the advances on this particular project were small), or updates on whether DK has earned anything more from Webscriptions or anywhere else. DK is effectively unavailable now, though technically still in print; if I write some other books that do well it will likely get a reprint. I actually no longer have a spare copy anywhere; I sent my last available one off some weeks ago to someone who had a relative in Hollywood who might be interested.
Boundary, the hard-SF novel by Eric Flint and myself, will be coming out in February (tentative but likely date). As I occasionally do "ego googles", I was doing one the other week and by pure luck came across what seems likely to be the cover. In my personal opinion, this image kicks ass and Kurt Miller is my new hero for making it. . There is already some advance buzz on the book on Abusenet, er, Usenet; while people are currently busting on the cover (de rigeur when it's a Baen release) general reaction to the advance publicity and the sample chapters which are available here (and which were previously posted to Baen's Bar) has been pretty positive. I agree with Eric's assessment of the book: what I handed to Eric after I'd completed the first draft was a nice, solid hard-SF novel. Once he was done hammering out the rough spots and I'd tweaked things to suit, we had a DAMN GOOD Hard-SF novel, which neither of us was sure we could write. And we already have ideas which could become a sequel, if it does well. Keep fingers crossed.
FALL OF MONOLITH
In the interval, we concluded the campaign that I started four years ago as a PBEM with my friend Eric Palmer and which grew to include Kathleen and our old friend Vern Sodergren. This campaign has been something of an apotheosis and climax for me as a GM. Starting as a simple Amber campaign whose only PC hadn't even taken Pattern yet -- he was GOING to, but hadn't quite gotten around to it -- it developed into the most byzantinely complex, monstrously powerful campaign I have ever run, with the PCs pitted against a pitiless, nearly omnipotent, nigh-omniscient adversary who was not only capable of, but willing to, rewrite all of reality just to eliminate their interference. From the quirky action-comedy of a DragonWorld Shadow the game brought them into contact with heroes and villains from legend and fiction, and thrust on them responsibilities for the caretaking of all the multiverse... while trying to remain themselves, or to recover themselves when the first had proved impossible. In the end, the PCs and their allies took the battle to their enemy in its fortress between all spaces and times, and -- not without great cost -- won. And then, still tired and wounded, had to fight one more battle against the greatest Enemy of all, to ensure that they would not have to fight again. They lost that battle... but they had survived long enough for the battle to be found by the one who had to be there, and so in that sense, they had won. And in that victory they had the chance to remake all space and time, to fix all that had been broken, and to make what SHOULD be into what IS.
I have temporarily retired from GMing (aside from the one PBEM I am running for certain people from the Bar; Yes, I will get back to that shortly, I've just been running ragged) following that game. I'm not sure what to follow it up WITH.
Eric Palmer, understanding this, has undertaken to begin a campaign involving me, Kathy, and Vern which promises to be very interesting, set in a slightly AU Earth in the early 1800s, something that would be kinda like a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen/Pirates of the Caribbean/Van Helsing setting. Looks to be fun.
I wasn't sure what to think of the new Who for a while. There were a lot of positive points, but Eccleston's Doctor seemed badly OFF to me and I wasn't sure what was going on. Then in "Dalek" we find out exactly why, when the Doctor goes almost completely off the deep end: "You Would Have Made A Good Dalek". I spent the time after I saw that ep hoping that they realized that the events in that episode should mark a turning point for the Doctor. I couldn't be immediately sure if they realized it or not.
Then I saw "Empty Child/The Doctor Dances".
Yes. Yes, they did. THAT is the Doctor -- a new man doing him, a new interpretation, yes, but THAT is the man who gave up his world because he had too much compassion, the man who spends his time among humans because his own people haven't got the fire that drives him. I literally had tears in my eyes at the end: "Just this once, please..." and then that transfiguring look of utter triumphant joy on Eccleston's face, "JUST THIS ONCE -- EVERYBODY LIVES!" (I got a little lump in my throat just remembering it). THAT was a Doctor Who story, and an excellent one -- one of the best I've seen, and I've seen an awful lot of them.
I bought the Airwolf DVD set (first season) and then discovered my first disc was defective and had to return it :( . Kathleen and I have been watching it and I've been actually very surprised by how GOOD it is. I mean, yes, it has the flaws one would expect from an '80s show focused on a gadget, but... overall, it's surprising how NOT-stupid they make Archangel and, sometimes, even the Firm. Speaking as a writer, I'm impressed also to recognize how HARD it is to write stories which will require the use of a super-cool ass-kicking chopper. It's much easier to write ones with a car (Knight Rider) simply because you don't have to explain anything about how the hero can have a car, where the car can be hidden, what excuse you need to get a car into a scene, etc.. I understand Jan-Michael Vincent was a PITA to work with as an actor, which is possibly why he vanished when USA network took over the show, but that was also fatal; Vincent's Stringfellow Hawke, and his interaction with Alex Cord's Archangel and especially with Borgnine's Dominic Santini, MAKE the show. Oh, the Airwolf itself is undeniably one of the coolest machines ever put onscreen (nice choice for the chopper -- there were very few of that model around at the time of filming), but it wouldn't be half as interesting without the irascible pilot who often breaks the rules of Standard Hero.
And unlike the A-Team, LOTS of people die when the Airwolf flies.
We will probably be going to see Revenge of the Sith -- so that we can use our Spork Rating System and cheer on Palpatine. I also intend to see Batman Begins -- I *know* Christian Bale will make an awe-inspiring Batman, after seeing him in Equilibrium (a very good film which I never heard of until a friend brought it over) and Fantastic Four.
Well, now, at least THAT was a respectable update.