December 18th, 2010

20111112, Marilee

Finally! The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Law is Gone!

Last night I watched a DVD and read the paper I bought. I got to bed to read at midnight and finished the book at 2:30am. I wasn't sleepy, so I started the next, which gets one more try tonight. No paper again today -- I filled out the form again and asked if there were humans because I haven't heard from any of them. I didn't get the TV Week, so I'll have to work with TitanTV to find out what I'm watching next week. Admittedly, during this time, most of the real shows go away and tacky holiday shows come on.

For December, our bookgroup gets a good story from a Best Of and then comment on others that are good. I brought one of the old DAW ones, and the librarian/leader/fan and her husband brought two different DAW ones. The others had newer anthologies. I was the only one who'd typed up comments for the one I liked best. We didn't go to dinner because half the group had colds and another quarter had places to go.

I was planning to put this up, and even though it doesn't matter as much now that DADT is dead, I think it's a really great moving opinion by a Marine infantry captain.

An ad in last night's paper caught my eye -- bottled tea. Bottled tea is almost always sweetened, so I looked to see what it said. Yes, the picture had bottled sweetened tea. And then the words were:

Enjoy the home-brewed taste of Gold Peak Iced Tea -- made with real sugar, hand-selected tea leaves and natural flavors, just like real tea.

I thought I didn't put natural flavors in my tea, plus I like mine unsweetened. I went to the Gold Peak Tea forum and find that first, there is unsweetened tea, and that the flavors are green tea and lemon. Coca Cola put up an ad that would have made me go on if the "flavors" didn't bother me. I wonder how many people just pass it up.
20111112, Marilee

The Gospel

The packet says this is a retelling of the Prodigal Son, but there's almost nothing to compare.

When a teenage boy is running the choir of his father's church, his mother dies -- he can hardly stand it. Fifteen years later, we see him as a big-deal rapper. He gets a call from a friend that his father is now sick. Back home, now that his father isn't working so well, the other church men start moving in to be bishop and other titles. They also want to build a new church. He sets up a concert with lots of real singers and they get money for the church. One of the pushy guys sets out to be a really prideful bishop there, and some of the old folks aren't happy.

At the same time, the rapper meets a separated woman with a girl and they got to going out and spending a lot of time together when the woman's husband comes back, and she goes back to him, surprising the rapper.

The rapper gets sued for not keeping up with his agreements and staying at home and he goes to the combined grave of his folks (good continuity -- Dad's side didn't have his death date yet) and yells at God to tell him what to do. In the end, we see the people in the old church, coming forward to get help, and he does that too.

It's not bad, but it's not the Prodigal Son. There is some good music in the churches.
20111112, Marilee

The 1980 Annual World's Best SF

Here's the TOC, gifted by ISFDB:

Introduction (The 1980 Annual World's Best SF) • (1980) • essay by Donald A. Wollheim
The Way of Cross and Dragon • (1979) • novelette by George R. R. Martin
The Thirteenth Utopia • [Inquestor] • (1979) • shortstory by S. P. Somtow [as by Somtow Sucharitkul ]
Options • [Eight Worlds] • (1979) • novelette by John Varley
Unaccompanied Sonata • (1979) • shortstory by Orson Scott Card
The Story Writer • (1979) • novella by Richard Wilson
Daisy, in the Sun • (1979) • shortstory by Connie Willis
The Locusts • (1979) • novelette by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes
The Thaw • (1979) • novelette by Tanith Lee
Out There Where the Big Ships Go • (1979) • novelette by Richard Cowper
Can These Bones Live? • (1979) • shortstory by Ted Reynolds
The Extraordinary Voyages of Amélie Bertrand • (1979) • shortstory by Joanna Russ

I told the story of "The Locusts" by Larry Niven and Steve Barnes:

In the first colonization attempt, there are 30 people, couples, who land on Ridgeback. They bring everything they need to make a town, fields, bacterium, and animals. The women are supposed to wait to get pregnant for two years, so Doc can be sure it will be okay. Later, Nat managed to make sure Doc didn't see her not-swallow, and her daughter, Eve, arrives early in a year and some months.

Doc is a little worried about Eve -- her hands, her fingers. And as more babies are born, he becomes even more worried. The mayor, Jase, tries to get Doc to say what's wrong. Eventually, out on a pond fishing (no ponds befor they came), Doc tells Jase that there's something wrong with all the children. He doesn't know if a virus changed by radiation or someone brought something with them or what, but there's a change in their genes. Jase sasy he thinks it's aliens who are changing the genes so they can take over the prepared planet and use humans as slaves.

Every year, Ron, one of the media couple, goes up to the Orion and sends a Year Day message to Earth, although they won't get it for 11 years. Then the colonists have their biggest parties.

Doc keeps looking in the lander's electronic library and finally finds that the children look closest to Pithicanthropus erectus. He shows that to Jase who agrees that they have to tell the entire colony. Jase gathers the group and the colonists are devastated by the news.

As the children grow, they have a lot of hair but a minor vocabulary. Many of the families put their kids (some have more than one) in a complex made just for them. The kids have fun there, but when people take them out for walks, there's a lot of trouble getting the kids out of the trees.

The colonists think the colony is doomed and start walking out, drinking themselves to death, cutting their wrists. They think the only thing that can help is another spaceship from Earth, even though ir will take a long time. One year, Ron goes up for the Year Day message, but the Orion blows up. They no longer have any help.

The colonists decide that all the kids have to be neutered, but Doc refuses to do it. He thinks the kids will develop again into what looks like humans. Others who can do it, however, will. Doc decides he has to let them try to live and gets them all out of the complex (stunning his wife, who was on duty) and deliver them to two different places. He flew the sled into water and swam to shore, finding and living with one set of the kids. The other set is found by the colonists and are being used as semi-slaves anyway, helping in the fields.

Long time passes and Jase walks into his house and finds Doc with Eve and her baby as well as Doc's kids Jerry and Lori. Jase tells him about the colonists and how many are dead and why. That last time that Ron is up in the Orion, he gets a message from Earth that says the colonists have to work out because every child born on Earth now is Pithicanthropus erectus. As Doc and the others leave, Jase asks if he thinks the kids are human. Doc carefully says that he's sure they're humans. On their way back to the forest, he thinks that he knows they're humans because he had tested them the only way he could.

(Two people got that last bit.)