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Follow Me, Boys! I Know the Way!

(promptly falls off horse)

JONES, SR (to Indy):

Lost in his own museum, huh?


You know how to toot your own horn, right? You just pucker up and blow.

You know how to toot your own horn, right? You just pucker up and blow.

As much as I aspire to be Indiana Jones and would even be tickled to be Henry Jones Sr., I am, I must admit, much more like Marcus Brody than anybody else. I possess vast armchair knowledge and, as of this writing, lack much field experience. Yet, I am very conscious that I stand on the threshold of, perhaps, changing all that. Maybe.

I’ve done some housekeeping around here. I ditched the stuff in the sidebar nobody ever clicked on and I made it easier for people to find my work, should they be inspired to do so. Furthermore, for those of you who like to swing by regularly, I encourage you to follow/like me on AmazonFacebook, and Goodreads. Of the three, I am most active on Facebook and then Goodreads. The Amazon page is a work in progress.

Anywho, I’ve been adventuring in Goodreads more and more, lately. I think it’s a great place to connect with your fellow readers, talk to your favorite authors, and find interesting books to read. I’ve spent entirely too much time adding books I’ve read to my shelf, and it’s been fun rating and remembering all the books that I’ve come across.

For all that, though, I’ve not written a review yet. I’m hesitant to do so. Yeah, I’ll give a rating, but when it comes to putting together my exact thoughts on the work in question and writing them out, I worry what that might mean for me. Now, for the rest of the universe, you should write reviews (bad or good) for the books you read. It helps the authors (in the case of a good review) and it can help your fellow readers (in the case of a bad one). Try to be fair, don’t be insulting, etc, etc, but you should do it. For me, however, the question of whether to review or not becomes more complicated.

The Fantasy and Science Fiction world isn’t huge, really. I am about to enter it as a new author and go full bore to try and make a name for myself in that industry. I’ve got an award coming to me (Writers of the Future), I’ve got three books on the horizon, and for me to start writing reviews for far better established authors than I, while tempting, has no discernible upside for me. On the one hand, if I dislike the book and say so, the author might read that, remember my (rather memorable) name, and next think you know I’m sitting on a panel with the person at a convention sometime and it gets…awkward. On the other hand, if I write good reviews only, I start to look more like a kiss-ass than somebody providing his honest opinion, and that’s not very good either. Given the odds of me actually having to interact with and even possibly work with these authors in some settings, it is perhaps best I keep my opinions to myself as much as possible.

Then again, I’m not much for self-censorship. Ask me what I think of you and I will tell you straight. You might not like it; I might not like saying it, but I will anyway. So, I’ve decided that, while I will give a 1-5 star rating to the books I read on Goodreads, I won’t write reviews (good or bad) as a kind of personal compromise. I also will try and stop reviewing my prospective peers here, on this blog (which I have a few times in the past). It strikes me as some kind of bad karma, maybe. I don’t know. Perhaps I’m overreacting. Or underreacting. Who knows?

So, yeah – a bit of a new look here for the blog, a resolve not to write too many reviews, and an entreaty to check me out at all those places. That about covers it. Thanks everybody!

Graceful Ladies of the Skies

I love airships. For those of you savvy enough, you might have gleaned as much from the subtitle of my blog (“Hooray, what fun, it’s time we flew!”). It’s a quote from a Shel Silverstein poem, “Ickle-me, Pickle-me, Tickle-me Too.” The first verse goes like this:

Ickle-me, Pickle-me, Tickle-me too,

went for a ride in a flying shoe.


“What Fun!”

“It’s time we flew!”

Said Ickle-me, Pickle-me, Tickle-me too.

And off they go, into the wild blue yonder. Higher and higher and higher, eating mulligan stew and trying not to fall out.

And they never come back.

Airships manage to combine my love of boats and the romance of flying. I’d love airplanes if they weren’t perpetually designed for people shorter than 5’9″ and smell like old carpet. An airship, though, is like sailing, but in the sky. You’ve got the open air, a deck to stroll around, a wonderful view, and your own cabin/hammock to sleep in when you need a nap. They probably even have a cook or a galley. Then off you go, wherever you want, to have adventures of whatever kind you can manage.

Now, there are a variety of practical concerns with the idea of airships as ‘sailboats in the sky’. Chiefly, their main problem is how to steer if you’re using windpower to ‘sail’ through the air. The only thing that keeps a sailboat from going sideways is a keel or centerboard of some kind, but you can’t do that on an airship and have it work, since it isn’t interacting with a second medium (like the water or the ground) to keep it pointed in a particular direction. Blimps are only steerable because they use mechanical engines to propel them and then use fins to direct the flow of air over their hulls. Honestly, the Final Fantasy airships, with their helicopter-like propulsion model, seem the most practical in the fantasy setting.

In the real world, though, we once had dirigibles. Zeppelins. The great leviathans of transatlantic flight. It is a real shame the Hindenburg (and the US’s decision to keep the world’s helium to itself through the 30s/40s/50s) had to ruin that mode of travel. Yeah, it might take longer, but for those of us who sometimes like to travel for the journey itself, an airship gracefully floating across the Atlantic, like a cruise ship in the air, would be a real treat and would beat the hell out of those damned sardine-can airplanes they shoe-horn you into. I’d even bet they’re more fuel-efficient (or could be made so), since their engine power doesn’t need to keep them aloft so much as keep them moving. Heck, with inert helium as a lifting force, they’d be rather unlikely to crash. They could drift, certainly, but they wouldn’t be dropping from the sky like a stone.

In any case, the time of the zeppelin is past and, with the world’s supply of helium dwindling rapidly, it is unlikely to return. I curse my luck a bit at this and am filled with jealousy everytime I see Indy and his dad fleeing Germany aboard a zeppelin in the Last Crusade.

Still, I guess there’s always flying shoes…