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Thursday

Listen up: something fun and something serious

Funny how things come in phases. For instance, when I met one six fingered baby at work, I promptly met another one within the week, and then never again (so far).

This week I had a couple of coincidences in my reading. I'd been listening to the Moby Dick Big Read for a while. It was kind of fascinating what with Moby Dick being a book that, as one critic said, everyone thinks is great but no one wants to read. The audio version was a great idea but I kept falling asleep and missing bits and then having to go back over it to try and make sense of the story. While I was doing that the list of SF podcasts to choose from got longer and longer.

So I picked a couple of stories that sounded good, by which I here mean amusing. A version of Kij Johnson's story Spar, in which the F word is replaced with the word bacon sounded like it would be fun and I really wanted to know what Kate Baker, the Clarkesworld narrator, would sound like when she was being funny: Clarkesworld podcasts are usually so serious. So I had a bit of a laugh at Spar's characters licking their bacon, and Kate Baker sounded serious as usual although she says she could barely keep from laughing all the way through it. Maybe my earphones could be better.

Still, it was funny-weird because  the Starshipsofa story, Andy Duncan's On 20468 Petercook, which was a generally amusing story and read exactly right by Dennis M Lane, had a section in which the two characters amuse each other by playing sausages and mash with an old Asimov story. They explain the game in the course of the story. The story is dedicated to Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, which duo you can find on youtube.

Two word substitution game stories in my first hit for weeks.

Of course, Clarkesworld remains mostly serious and had another Aliette de Bodard story, this time not about revolution but about the aftermath of invasion in which refugees had gone to live in the country of the victors. The first generation of migrants just want to blend in and stay alive, the next generation wants to bring the truth to public attention. Mother and daughter have an argument that's very similar to a father and son argument in my latest bookgroup book: Catfish and Mandala: A Vietnamese Odyssey by Andrew X.Pham. The father says his son should just keep his head down and work hard, but the son sees this as grovelling and doesn't want to. Whether the weight of the past will free the daughter in de Bodard's story or just drive her insane is something readers will have to speculate on. You can hear The Weight of a Blessing at Clarkesworld.

So here's a mix of stuff to amuse and stuff to think about. Enjoy.