Book Review #28

Days of Future Passed

The shape of things to come!  This author was prescient.  This is where it all began, or at least, a big part of it.

The book: Neuromancer

The Author: William Gibson

The Review:
This book was written in 1984.  I had a chance to read it over 30 years ago.  The son read it, but I passed on the opportunity.  It would not have had the effect on me back then, as it did to read it recently.  I read a post by a blogger who was doing what I am doing, taking old Science Fiction books out of storage, and re-reading them.  His description intrigued me, so I got a 2010 re-published copy from the library.

The story itself is not all that exciting –by today’s standards.  His protagonist is a computer hacker who can mentally access, not merely individual computers, but can surf the entire Internet.  Of course, the author doesn’t call it that.  The term, and the function, did not exist back then.  He did not coin the term Cyberspace, but this book popularized it.  Soon, readers and other authors were regularly using it.

In 1984, computers, and their interconnectivity, were far less common than in his then-future fiction.  Since he couldn’t call it the Internet, he coined the term The Matrix.  While this author, and this book, are not completely responsible, they both heavily influenced Tron, and the three Matrix movies.

The précis reminded me of Johnny Mnemonic.  A bit of research revealed that, 17 years later, he shuffled some concepts around and wrote the novel that another Keanu Reeve movie was based on.  Microsoft had incorporated in 1981, but the microsofts (small m) that the hacker uses to jack in, are nail-sized inserts that plug into a socket at the base of his skull, like Sim-cards, or SD cards.  They contain relevant data, and operating code – the Apps of their time.

The plot involves the hacker either slicing or surreptitiously oozing past security protocols, to free a manacled A.I. – Artificial Intelligence.  The story also contains a couple of computer ‘Constructs’, which are essentially the uploaded knowledge, experience and personality of hackers who were killed while online.

This author impresses me like the deaf composer, Ludwig von Beethoven.  He conceptualized huge amounts of technology that he couldn’t see, but which later came to exist.  Finally, there is another peculiarity, not of the story, but of the particular copy of the book that I received.

It is in the page numbering.  Each page is numbered in the lower corner.  Each number is underlined.  The underlining on the right-hand, or Recto page, extends to the edge of the page, across the thickness of the sheet, and continues till it underlines the number on the left-hand, or Verso page.

Infinitesimally and imperceptibly, the numbers and the underlining rise and fall several times through the book.  If you firmly close the book and look at the lower edge, the ink forms an EEG brain-scan readout.

Parents Of Kids Say The Darnedest Things

Pros

Don’t cast aspirations on her femininity – Cast aspersions, instead.

It continues to reside in the attack. – I had to go up to the attic, to research this.

He spoke a sort of pigeon Galician – This pigeon thinks it should read pidgin.

So, needlessly to say – It was needless to use an adverb instead of an adjective.

He built the viaduct that brought the water – Then it would be an aqueduct.

Mary had a little lamb.  Her cheeks were white as snow – And the lamb’s fleece was white as snow.

The horseflies left whelps with their bites – The young whelps had welts on them.

The squad debauched from the fort – This debauched author meant debouched.

The pilot waggled the plane’s wings for an instance – an instance where it should read, instant.

The company was marketing Santinism. – They weren’t marketing the correct spelling of Satanism.

Phone gets stuck in base guitar – It’s fishy that there’s no bass.

Businessman revels how he got rich – If I were rich, I’d revel, but I wouldn’t reveal how I did it.

He sniffed his depreciation of the idea. – I’d appreciate him using deprecation

The family fortune was dilapidated – and my patience with this usage was depleted.

Amateurs

The idea has gained some exposer recently – Police arrested the exposer for indecent exposure.

Believe it or not – I found a Belief It Or Not Christian video – not wrong…. just wrong!

They were forced to be reckoned with. – I was forced to write, “A force to be reckoned with.”

An elderly none came in – but the nun would have none of that spelling.

She was dancing in the isleI’ll tell you that it should be aisle.

Vacuums don’t cause autism – Neither do vaccines.

I pulled up the parking brake leaver – Well, leave ‘er parked, and look up lever.

Darwin advocated ‘Survival of the Fitness’ – The fittest of us know that’s not true.

It could justify killing or torchering – That spelling is torturing me.

One only has to take a looksy – to know that it should be a look-see.

I was going to lambest him for saying that – I’s like to lambaste you for using lambest.

I’m into essential oils and incest. – Does your daughter know about this?

‘The Office’ is a meaty okra show. – About as mediocre as that spelling.

She said she got a Bachelorette Degree – Blondie meant a baccalaureate!!

I have only lent in my pocket – because you gave up your dictionary for lent.

A term that attempts to draft on an air of coolness – I drank some cool draft while I looked up graft.

This woman had the gull to insult him – A little bird told me she had gall.

He’s got the saddle soars to prove it – Lets waft on over to where they are sores.

***

Now that I’ve had something to say about some things that other people say, it’s back to business as usual.  What??!  Ranting IS my usual?  I dare you to read this post and say that.   😉

’22 A To Z Challenge – C

 

 

I am green, but not with envy, when I can Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Christian Apologists sometimes ask, even if the claims were false, what is the problem with believing “If it’s not hurting anyone?”  A YouTuber recently held up a newspaper headline – “Woman scammed of $160,000 by mother/daughter fortune tellers who promised to rid her of demons.”  There is no ‘not hurting anyone!’

Anyone who believes one thing without good reason, has a mental predisposition to believe other false claims.  Her Christianity had convinced her that angels and demons existed, and she paid the price.  That brings me, highly incensed, to the word

Crucible

a container of metal or refractory material employed for heating substances to high temperatures.
a severe, searching test or trial.

Arthur Miller wrote a book titled “The Crucible.”  It was a rebuke against McCarthyism in the early 1950s, disguised as a novel about the Salem Witch Trials.  There was only one death attributed to McCarthyism, a wrongfully-accused Senator who committed suicide.  Scores of careers and lives were ruined.  In Salem, 24 people died.  19 innocent women were hanged.  4 more died from appalling jail conditions, and one man was tortured to death – all because of lies and fake news, gullibly believed.

Lightening up just a bit, I’m going to recycle a story about a friend who also reused  and recycled by melting down beverage cans, and broken lawn furniture and storm doors in small crucibles which he purchased online, to produce little aluminum hexagons that he used to pave a portion of his back yard, around the barbecue pit.

That whine which you may have heard when you arrived, was not a quad-copter drone, providing Neighborhood Watch security.  That was my mind desperately trying to grind out refills for my random facts posts.  We’ll see how well I do.  Y’all come back now, ya hear.   😎

I Cant Rely On Kindle

I continue to hold my love of dead-tree versions of books, if only because I can get many of them for free, from the Library – and often in LARGE PRINTTo you, with failing eyes, we throw – something you may more easily read.  I am becoming more habituated and inured to the Kindle book variants, especially since a couple of authors, whose series I follow, publish only electronically.

One of the benefits to Kindle is that, when the writer uses an esoteric or unfamiliar word, I need only poke the screen to get a dictionary meaning.  I had hoped that the meaning of every word used in each book would be available, but the dictionary file is on-board, not accessed on the internet.  That hope was dashed, repeatedly, by a recent book.

I read, I knew by the cant of his head, so I poked CANT in the eye – actually, in the A.  I got back, an expression of enthusiasm for high ideals – a sermon or extended oration.  Neither of those seemed to fill the bill, so I took a taxi over to Dictionary.com, which told me that my ‘cant’ meant, a salient angle – a slanted or tilting position.

On the next page, They had not hung the celebratory bunting.  Kindle only offered me two small, seed-eating birds, one European, one American.  My online dictionary was far more generous.  First it told me that bunting was a baseball play, where a pitched ball is gently returned by a stationary bat, or, it could be a hooded sleeping garment for infants (also, bunting bag).  Finally, it admitted that bunting was patriotic and festive decorations made from coarse cloth, or from paper, usually in the form of draperies, wide streamers, etc., in the colors of the national flag.  That’s the one I needed.  Busy word!

The story said, “Fashion was becoming important.  Lacing emphasized waists, and skirts flared out with gores.”  I poked the word ‘gores,’ and got, Gore, Al, Vice-President of the United States.  It’s a good thing they weren’t playing cards, or I’d have been told that trump was the President.  Their boat-launching site was a couple of klicks past the fort.  I should have known better.  Kindle claimed that klicks meant the same as clicks.  Now see here, Kindle, see also: slang, (mainly) military, diminutive of kilometers.

At last, the literary bad guy, returned to his hant.  When I prodded Kindle, it told me that Han was a Chinese river, or a dynasty from 206 B C to 220 A D.  Interesting, but that’s not even the same word.  Dictionary.com only told me that hant was the Scottish form of the verb – to haunt.  I had to go further afield for this one.

I eventually found that, from that Scottish verb form, came the noun which means, an often light-duty structure, temporarily or intermittently occupied, such as a party tent, duck blind or fishing hut.  This all qualifies as an episode of Things I Learned While Researching Other Things.

I am surprised that I was never asked, Did you mean can’t?  I can’t wait to see what I publish in a couple of days.  Are you as excited as I am?  😉

TILWROT III

In Search Of A Name

I was reading a Science Fiction book that began with a Space Navy shipwreck.  After her husband dies, the group of survivors is led by a broadly knowledgeable and adaptable woman with the Italian-ish name of Buccari.  I mentally pronounced it boo-kar-ee, until the author had one of her compatriots address her as, “Hey, Booch.”  I was reminded that in Italian words/names like bocce and Puccini with double C’s, they are pronounced as CH, so she was boo-char-ee.

Now I was curious.  Beginning with The DaVinci Code, I realized that authors often hide Easter Eggs in the background of their books.  What does the name mean??  Whatever it is, there’s a bunch of them, because the final I indicates a plural.  Translation programs just shrugged and walked away.  Google and Bing and friends, didn’t do any better, although one admitted that it was a surname, but the 286,532nd most/least common one.

Down at the bottom of the page, the note said, People who ask about Buccari also research Buccari fiasco navale Croazien.  Clicking on that delivered an article, all in Italian.  I fed the first section back into the translation program.

Apparently, just at the end of World War II, a division of the Italian navy decided to shell the Croatian city of Bakar, because it had been used by the Italians as a concentration camp.  Based on the plural of “people from the city of Bakar,” the Italian name for it, and anyone from it, is Buccari.

Bakar, in Croatian, means ‘copper,’ and our heroine’s head is adorned with luxurious, Italian, copper-red tresses.  The author brought the uncommon name completely around in a circle.

***

The great-grandson is approaching his first birthday.  While a little slow starting, he is developing a nice head of Italian-red hair.  He and his parents will be joining us for a belated Easter/birthday celebration this Sunday.  I’ll bet that a photo or two of him will sneak its way into a blog-post before the end of the month.  😀

Tell Me If You’ve Heard This One – VI

Something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue

BINGE-WATCH (verb)
To watch (multiple videos, episodes of a TV show, etc.) in one sitting, or over a short period of time
Due to COVID19, there’s been a shit-ton of this going on over the last two years.  Netflix may end up ruling the planet.

CHIASMUS (noun) Rhetoric
a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases, as in
“He went to the country, to the town went she.”

DECATHECT (verb) 1930-35
To withdraw one’s feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss
from de-cathexis, the investment of emotional significance in an activity, object, or idea.
He thought it best to decathect from his cherished toy, since he would soon have to sell it.

EPISTEMIC (adjective)
of or relating to knowledge or the conditions for acquiring it
An example of something epistemic is a journey to discover new sources of truth.

FOREMOTHER (noun)
A female ancestor
Virginia Woolf was the foremother of writers like Joan Didion.

HORSEFEATHERS (noun)
Something not worth considering
This usage refers to something which does not, and perhaps cannot, exist – like feathers on a horse.  In the MASH TV show, Colonel Potter’s usage of the term horse-pucky, is a euphemism for the round, puck-like material often found on the ground behind a horse.

INFIRMARY (noun)
A place (as in a school or prison) where sick or injured individuals receive care and treatment
A large medical facility
Like the forgotten roots of dis-ease, this word shows that it is used by those who are infirm.

FLOTSAM (noun)
the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water
material or refuse floating on water.
useless or unimportant items; odds and ends.

JETSAM (noun)
Goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore

LAGAN (noun) Law
anything sunk in the sea, but attached to a buoy or the like so that it may be recovered.

MAJORDOMO (noun)
A man in charge of a great household, as that of a sovereign, a chief steward
a steward or butler
a person who makes arrangements for another
Alfred was Bruce Wayne/Batman’s majordomo.
In the TV show, Magnum PI, Higgins was ostensibly the majordomo for the author, Robin Masters.  His name comes from the Irish Gaelic uiginn, meaning Viking.

MARMOT (noun)
Any bushy-tailed, stocky rodent of the genus Marmota, such as the groundhog
In 2021, Wiarton Willy, Ontario’s albino groundhog equivalent to Punxatawney Phil, died before Groundhog Day.  Somehow his handlers failed to mention that fact until late November.  They may still be looking for a replacement – for all the difference it makes.

MUFTI (noun)
Civilian clothes, in contrast with military or other uniforms, or as worn by a person who usually wears a uniform
A Muslim jurist, expert in the religious law
The Army agent behind enemy lines, tried to blend in, disguised in mufti.

SAGGITATE (adjective)
shaped like an arrowhead
Sagittarius, the name of the astrological sign of The Archer, the bowman, doesn’t actually refer to the bow, or the man, but to the arrow which is launched – for all the difference it makes.

STARDUST (noun) alternate definition
A naively romantic quality
There was stardust in her eyes every time her beloved entered the room.
Astrophysicist, Carl Sagan said, “We are all stardust.”  He meant, literally, that we are composed of heavier atoms which were produced when stars die and go (super)nova.

So, our vocabularies are expanding to match our waistlines.  I’ll be dropping some more great words in a couple of days, in a vain attempt to lose weight.   😉

To Put It Another Way – II

Where, oh where did it all go wrong??  😕  I don’t know about all, but here are a few examples of Many a slip, twixt the ear and the lip.   😯

Pros
It seamingly permeates all of society – You seemingly don’t know one word from the other.

Leaving them so depended on others – That is dependent on knowing the correct word

The powerful engine enabled verticle takeoff – That’s just straight-up wrong.

They’d sell corpses to medical schools for extra mullah. – If they’d had a little extra moolah, they could have hired someone to teach them that a mullah is a Muslim teacher/priest.

A wisened runner – who should have wisened up to the fact the correct word, is wizened.

To shoe away pests at a campfire – now mosquitoes get free footwear as we shoo them away.

To unravel them aboard his dingy – He’s a bit dingy, if he doesn’t know it’s a dinghy

A car ran into a power pole guide-wire – Let me guide you to the phrase guy-wire.

Under the guides of friendship – Under the guise of correct usage, try again.

Computer litearate clerk needed – More than they realize.

He wrote the forward for the book – Looking back, he wrote the foreword.

The way ahead is wrought with danger – and it is fraught with pretentious misusage.

It would be wise to stick upon them – But I’d stock up on them

Black cats got a bad wrapwrap up that mistake and listen to some bad rap.

The idea sprung from the fact – I quickly sprang to correct that.

Technology could breach the gap – Shouldn’t it bridge the gap…. which is already a breach?

The plane was in the throws of destruction – I throws out the suggestion to use throes.

Amateurs

What word on this list reasonates with you? – The word resonates would, if it were there.

A copying mechanism to deal with problems – I’m not coping well with that spelling.

I conquer with Brian – You might conquer, if you were to concur.

It wreaks of scamming – Actually, it reeks of misusage.

I was working, went a high-pitched squeal…. – But when did it happen?

Should evoke a sign of relief from thinking people – I’m thinking that it should be a sigh of relief.

A starring wheel replacement – I’m steering you away from that.

A brain chokeful of grey cells – I choked, yelling that it was chock-full.

I hardly took a breath during my trade – which did not include the word tirade.

Hubby left a stinky thrown in the bathroom – I was thrown, until I realized she meant throne.

Therefor, he was wrong – but, Therefore is right

As I cantor up 9th Ave. – a Jewish singer tells me that it is canter.

It’s something we continue to carey with us – Drew says that it’s spelled carry.

The director when to the censor – I went to the Spellchecker.

Bible says not to ware mixed fabrics – so beware what you wear.

New Arkansas law to target instain mother who kill thier babbys.
Everything you’ve ever needed to know about rednecks.

A rouge motorhome ventured onto the track – That’s a huge mistake – both ways.

It chucks it up to illusion – I chalk it up to misusage.

She was ready to throw in the tile – Even before I wiped it with a towel.

He told a bold-faced lie – People with print programs haven’t heard of bald-faced lies

’21 A To Z Challenge – V Twofer

’21 Reading Challenge
Vanquished

I read somewhere…. That I read somewhere.  In a vain attempt to brag (Are there any other kinds??!) about all my free time in retirement, I present a rogues’ gallery of the books I read last year.


Gregg Loomis – The First Casualty

Tom Clancy’s series

Line of Sight


Oath of Office

Enemy Contact


Code of Honor


Lee Child – Blue Moon


Lee Child – The Sentinel

Gregg Hurwitz – Out of the Dark
Gregg Hurwitz – Hell Bent

Nick Petrie – Burning Bright
Nick Petrie – Light It Up
Nick Petrie – Tear It Down

Ilona Andrews – Sweep Of The Blade

Ilona Andrews – Sweep With Me

Ilona Andrews – Magic Steals

Ilona Andrews – Blood Heir

Steve Berry – The 14th Colony

Steve Berry – The Lost Order
Steve Berry – The Bishop’s Pawn

Raymond Khoury – The Templar Salvation

Mark Greaney – Gunmetal Grey
Mark Greaney – Agent in Place

Crawford Killian – The Empire of Time

Mark Greaney – Agent In Place

Eric Flint – The Course Of Empire

Mike Massa – River Of Night

Grant Blackwood – War Hawk

James Rollins – The Demon Crown

James Rollins – Crucible

H. Beam Piper – Paratime

H. Beam Piper – Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen

Philip K. Dick – The Zap Gun

A.E. van Vogt – Masters Of Time

James S. A. Corey – Persepolis Rising

James S. A. Corey – Tiamat’s Wrath

John Brunner – Time Jump

John Brunner – Total Eclipse

Kenneth Bulmer – The Key To Venudine

Neal Stephenson – The Rise And Fall Of D.O.D.O.

Crawford Killian – Red Magic

Seth Andrews – Sacred Cows

Herman Melville – Bartleby The Scrivener
*
Edgar Allen Poe – The Cask of Amontillado

Mark Twain – Letters From The Earth

Ward Bowlby – A Canadian’s Travels To Egypt

Flash Fiction #262

PHOTO PROMPT© Ted Strutz

CANON LAW

…. But the Contessa’s brother is left-handed – I showed that in chapter III, when I had him defend Uncle Auggie from that footpad.

She can’t approach the Duke, because I had her in Milan when the robbery occurred.

I could have Rodrigo, the valet, carry the message, but I’ve already showed that Duke Milburn refuses to converse with other noble’s servants.

Could my cook tell his cook?

Writing this historical fiction isn’t as easy as it seemed.  I should have put up that story-board when Bob suggested it.

Where’s a really good Deus ex Machina, when I truly need one?

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

All The Languages Of The World

I am so glad that my blog-buddy, BrainRants made me aware of The Expanse series.  I have been reading the books and, not quite as quickly, watching the TV programs for several years.  It is a great epic series, not just because I love Sci-Fi, but because the writers provide tons of eclectic detail to flesh out the story arc, and the characters.

Two male writers, taking a cue from their mentor, George R. R. Martin – he of Game Of Thrones fame – and/or J. R. R. Tolkien, publish as James S. A. Corey, when neither of them is James, nor Corey.  As male authors, they have created at least four powerful, well-defined female characters.

The depth and breadth of their knowledge, which they work into the books is awe-inspiring – especially (for me) the linguistics.  Millions have gone into space, and many are mining the asteroid belt.  People move around on Earth, and the language where they migrate to slowly changes, but remains basically the same.

There was no Native Tongue in the Belt, so a new language, called Belta, has come into existence.  It includes some sign language, for folks encased in space suits, who can be seen but not heard.  The spoken language is mostly English, with additions and admixtures of American Spanish from Pittsburgh to Patagonia, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Maori, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more.

Every chapter brings examples of words and expressions that impress the Hell out of me, or drive me to dictionary or search-engine sites.  Remember, Belta is like Star Trek’s Klingon.  It is a non-existent language that these two are completely creating themselves.  The fact that I’m at least a year behind the avid fan readers, means that I sometimes reach a site where others have gone for explanations.

Recently, I hit four words on two pages that I needed to research.  One of the asteroids described, was not an asteroid, but rather, a collection of rocks with enough common gravity to hold them together, but not enough pressure to coalesce into a single unit.  Like a bag of giant marbles – without the bag.

The writers described it as a Duniyaret.  The Hindi word duniyah means ’world,’ and the Hindi word ret means ‘sand, or gravel.’  They had created a neologism in a foreign language, to describe this conglomeration of rocks.  A habitat had been created on the biggest chunk, by welding together, what were essentially steel shipping containers, at a slight angle to one another, to bend around the curve.  The authors called this “town”, Nakliye, a Turkish word that means ‘shipping.’

On the next page, I found a blazon – from heraldry, a patch or badge, often worn on lapel or sleeve, indicating owning or belonging, especially with good qualities.  When we affix such a marker, we use the slightly more-common word, emblazon.

The residents drank water that was hyper-distilled.  At first, I thought it might be like double-distilled whiskey, but the Hyper, in this case, refers to Hyperion, the Titan that the Greeks believed was the father of the sun.  They didn’t waste precious power, but used a large parabolic solar-collector, aimed at the distant sun.  I had trouble researching this term, because the search engines kept throwing up an American company named “Hyper Distillation,” which is not the same thing.

The UN Space Navy had an Admiral named Souther.  I was reminded of J. D. Souther, a singer/songwriter from Detroit, who influenced Glen Frey of The Eagles, to compose country-lite style.  I had assumed that the basis for the name was someone originally from the South of England – a southerner.  Imagine my surprise when I found that the name is occupational, coming from old English/old French soutere – a boot or shoe – therefore meaning a cobbler.

I have cobbled together a little more click-bait to lure you in.  Drop by in a couple of days, to see where my mind has gone without me.  😎  🌯