Aten’d Dead Yet: Granny Non-Weatherwax Returns

Posted: February 27th, 2015 under Background, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
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There are days I wish I were Granny Weatherwax and think of knitting stockings like that, but my present form is more that of Nanny Ogg, who in other ways I don’t much resemble.  Yet.  Anyway:  Stuff has been going on, of several forms and various levels, and you folk have been neglected.  My apologies.  The neglect, or partial neglect, will probably continue at least another two weeks.  Things that Ought to Have Been Done have Not Been Done because things that Ought Not to Have Been Done were done (partly by others, partly by me) and got in the way of the Ought to Have Been Done ones.

That being said, where I am in the book is farther along, with some Interesting Revelations about characters (not quite plot-bombs, not yet)  and a disconcerting tendency for Book I to spread out and demand more space.   Not in a linear way, but like the difference in growth habit between a cypress (the kind you see lining cemeteries) and a live oak, the narrow vertical v. the wide-spreading more globular overall outline.   I have a flash of something very near the end which I think Must Not Be, but we’ll see.  If it is true, then Book II is going to be…well… something else very interesting.  (Gunpowder.  Match.)

Meanwhile a Paksworld story is itching on the upper right inside of my skull and I’m slapping it away as a distraction until I get this bit right here nailed down, and also a better idea of an anthology story I’m committed to (for which I have the perfect last line and a vague idea of the xenobiology involved.  But I want this one milestone crossed before pausing to work on either story, esp. since the above mentioned difficulty with LifeStuff.

One day this past week we had a longish power outage (well, it felt longer than it was because the house chilled down pretty fast and even when the power came back on,  it wasn’ t stable enough for the computers, and then after that not stable enough for the DSL.   Another day began with a roar of wind before dawn, then sleet, then snow, then freezing rain and snow, then freezing rain…and the it was clear and bright and much warmer.  But froze again that night.

Meanwhile.  I must get back to the scene at hand, in which the very first ping that someone may not be what he seemed can be detected if you’re watching closely.   It’s a marker for me, and may or may not survive to be noticed by you.  I’m also trying to convince myself on the topic of bears v. no bears, and if bears then which bears.  Speaking with my amateur but educated ecologist hat on, any stable ecosystem needs top predators.  If derived from this planet, that gives you dogs, cats, weasels, hyenas, bears, some reptiles and some birds  to play with on land, and some marine mammals as well as birds and fishes to play with in the water.  Total human population of this planet is around 1 billion or a little less, so there’s still plenty of room for large wild animals–hoofed prey, tooth-and-claw predators.   Small continents, lots of islands of various sizes, so less desert than we have–and at the moment I’m not dealing with every ecosystem on the planet, just one.  So…bears?  No bears?   Bears would be cool, but…am I indulging myself with ecology when what I really need to be doing is Story?


  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 27, 2015 @ 3:06 pm


    Kodiak Island?

    Wait, no, get back to Story, or PlotDaemon will go hunting.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 27, 2015 @ 4:21 pm


    Worse than that.

    And if you enter the mysteriously appearing beautiful castle, and sit down at the long, long dining table in a warm room with a crackling fire over there, and bouquets of sweet-scented flowers on the table, and eat the mysteriously appearing food, and drink the mysteriously appearing drink, and lie down in the oddly comfortable bed and go to sleep…what do you think will happen???

    Wait…that’s Fairytale Fantasyland, and this story is Science Fiction. Nothing like that can happen in this story. Absolutely not. No magic. Everything starkly rational and easy to understand. Nothing to see here….move along, move along.

  • Comment by Tuftears — February 27, 2015 @ 4:35 pm


    After that, the spaceship takes off with its newly acquired research specimen. 😉

  • Comment by Linda — February 27, 2015 @ 6:54 pm


    Transporter, holodeck … find myself slipping into Star Trek nostalgia as memories of Leonard Nimoy are stirred up.

    Virtual reality? hallucinogens? post hypnotic suggestion? hitherto unexplored part of the multiverse? just a dream?

    Probably all cheating.

    Why do Nordic traditions seem to be the ones with the interesting ambiguous ursine shape changers ? Or an I just ignorant of others except for wolves, seals, and bats?

    Living in Black Bear habitat, where human bear interactions are becoming more numerous, I am thinking back to coming across a steaming fecal plug in late winter many years ago during back country cross country skiing, and bear nests in beech trees and fresh apple rich scat in wild orchards in the wilderness, widely spaced encounters 20 years ago, to bears looking in the window, stopping to watch me drive down a road, and leaving tracks in freshly dug soil all in the last three years.

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — February 27, 2015 @ 10:57 pm


    Bears? We had quite a large black bear sow and her year-old cub move in to our cabin a few years back. They stayed a long time, ate everything – the black oil sunflower seed for the bird feeder, a quart of Crisco, five pounds of flower – which generated more than you can imagine on the cabin floor. The cub’s little flour footprints still dress the wall above the counter. Messy, bears.

    I don’t know if the logic of your book permits it, but consider North American Pleistocene apex predators. Much more interesting than today’s bear.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 28, 2015 @ 12:25 am


    Unfortunately, unless I indulge in serious time warpage (not that I couldn’t, she says, buffing her fingernails and cocking an eye at the reference copy of Crown of Renewal off to one side), I am limited to the range of wildlife presently on this planet.

  • Comment by Dale — February 28, 2015 @ 1:46 pm


    So no magic… I guess no bugbears then 🙁

    My favorite sci-fi story that hinged on ecology was Legacy of Heorot, by Niven (and Pournelle?) — beware the grendels!

  • Comment by Larryp — February 28, 2015 @ 5:20 pm


    Well they there is the Jaguar which ranged as far north as Kansas in the 19th century and is the third larges cat, and Queens with cubs have been seen near Phoenix in last few years, Or Cougars as mail Florida panthers have been seen here in east central Alabama and photographed on the Riverwalk in Columbus GA just this last summer.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 28, 2015 @ 5:56 pm


    I’m writing in a polar climate. Jaguars and even mountain lions aren’t there. Bears are.

  • Comment by Tuppenny — March 1, 2015 @ 11:16 am


    Snow Leopards or Siberian Tigers? If there is ice- Leopard Seals?

  • Comment by Larryp — March 1, 2015 @ 7:46 pm


    Or a pride of time traveling medieval Sea Lions (Roar) WEll which ever you pick dear writer Ill read it.

  • Comment by rkduk — March 2, 2015 @ 5:29 pm


    How about killer whales?

  • Comment by Jonathan Schor — March 3, 2015 @ 7:48 pm


    Weren’t there some strange sea creatures on Ireta?

  • Comment by Mary E Cowart — March 4, 2015 @ 5:39 pm


    I have not been following your blog for more months than I like to admit, since before Deeds of Honor came out (I did buy it). I have started reading it. I like it. (I have been in a rereading binge of something else. which I also like.)

    Take care of yourself and yours. I am sitting through the 2nd snow storm for Oklahoma in two weeks. My grandson was with me all weekend. We watched golf and basketball for him and NASCAR for both of us. I went out early Friday afternoon and then didn’t get out again until Monday afternoon. Hope you don’t get much of the storm that is hitting us (west of McAlester, OK).

    God bless you.

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 4, 2015 @ 5:45 pm


    We had frozen precip early last week and then again on Friday-Saturday morning. Now we’re about to get it again. Not as bad as you folks in Oklahoma, but bad enough for us. I’m skipping choir practice tonight because by the time I’d be starting home from the city (50 mile trip) the temperature would be below freezing and the bridges & overpasses starting to ice up. This old gray mare is too smart to attempt that. With any luck, I’ll never have to drive on ice again.

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — March 4, 2015 @ 10:35 pm


    Most often, the big winter storms down your way have their origins in big, high pressure cold air masses that hang around Interior Alaska for a while first. We’ll have a cold siege here and then, 59 days later, the same cold front has moved to your part of the continent where it meets warm wet air from the Gulf and gives you Weather.

    As a consequence of moving 3-4 of those cold air masses through ere, we’ve had almost no snow. Southern Alaska had to move the Iditarod, the big dog-sledding race, up here for the start. There’s no snow down there way.

    So no one here would object it you returned your snow to us…

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — March 4, 2015 @ 11:08 pm


    And maybe drop some off on the Sierra Nevada in California!

  • Comment by Lise — March 5, 2015 @ 8:23 am


    Good luck on the ecology part. I remember a conservation officer telling me about the trouble they have with the racoons on Mount Royal getting bigger than their fox predators. I guess lynxes and foxes are too small to support plotline although lynxes can certainly make very scary noises in the night.

    Weather here is also unseasonably cold. We have had days and days of -25 to -15°C weather in the mornings. So much so that -10°C feels almost tropical. We have been spared the heavy snowfall, but it has been relentless, and the wind sometimes mean you have to shovel the same snow twice. With no freeze-thaw, there has been less ice, but some of the compacted snow has solidified so much it is basically ice. Anyhow, everyone here has winter tires (by law) so everything but black ice is easy to handle.

    However, it is warming up. It went above freezing for the 4th time this year yesterday and we were all out shoveling and scraping and breaking ice. The sun on the exposed asphalt really made a difference and we ensured most of the meltwater went down the drain, so no black ice.

  • Comment by GinnyW — March 7, 2015 @ 4:24 pm


    We have had the coldest February on record in Philadelphia, which is not used to cold. Not much snow, it only precipitates when a warm front comes through so rain on cold pavement and ice, ice, ice. I have discovered many of the draft producers and now have weatherstripping in the living room. We woke up to 49 degrees (F) in the house a couple of weeks ago because the furnace couldn’t keep up.

    If your subconscious says bears, bears it is. Black bears? Polar bears? Koala bears? Not teddy bears.

  • Comment by Richard (Simpkin) — March 12, 2015 @ 12:26 pm


    R.I.P. Terry Pratchett

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — March 13, 2015 @ 10:24 am


    Indeed, Richard. I hope Elizabeth will excuse a moment for Sir Terry. Given the title of this blog post, we know she is a reader, perhaps a fan. My tribute is here:

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 13, 2015 @ 10:37 am


    “Perhaps” a fan? You wrong me, sir. I have been an avid fan since the first book of his I read, and consider the time we were on a panel together (Melbourne WorldCon 1999) one of the great panels of my experience. I was at Esther Friesner’s Jewish wedding at another WorldCon in Boston, where Sir Terry held up one pole of the chuppah, and when kidded about wearing his black hat instead of a kippah, raised it to show the kippah underneath. He was one of my writer-heroes from the first.

    So let’s have no more “perhaps” about it.

    I’m still not able to write the post about him I want to write. Great feeling can throttle a voice.

  • Comment by Wickersham's Conscience — March 13, 2015 @ 3:44 pm


    Whoops. Sorry. Always a delicate thing, talking about other writers on an author’s blog.

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