Open Floor

The Mad Ones have run away. The floor is yours. Just make sure there aren’t too many large holes in it when we get back later today.

Tell us what you want us to blog about. Tell us about the books you’re reading right now. Tell us silly stories or post cat pictures.

Until later!


  1. No cat pictures, or other pictures currently. Dealing with my three foot writers block again along with other real life issues. Let’s see, what can you folks tell us about? *Ponders*

      1. I think so, Draven, but how are we going to get the blimp and the skydivers over TOR headquarters?

  2. More on Stuart Slade.

    I’m not sure if my last post went up, its not showing me it… Sigh, me, the web page, my Wordsmith settings, …

    In any case, some of his stuff is at but this forum seems to have gone dark several years ago even though he is still publishing.

    Here is my earlier post if it got lost…

    Stuart Slade’s Salvation War Books

    I have some favorite books that almost no one else se
    ems to have read and same seem not to have even made it into digital publication.

    The top of my list in this category are two books by Stuart Slade. Stuart has some good books on Amazon ( but, possibly, his most interesting are the Salvation War pair:

    Armageddon (Salvation War #1) at

    Pantheocide (Salvation War #2) at

    Has anyone else here experienced this phenomena and/or tried these books?

  3. Not too many large holes, check. What about a plethora of smaller holes?

    Reading at the moment … in no particular order
    Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
    Les Misérables (English translation) by Victor Hugo
    The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon by Moira Greyland.
    Just started Freehold by Michael Z. Williamson
    Just finished 1984.

    I wanted to read Red Harvest when I learned that it was the source for two movies that I like. (Yojimbo and Fistfull of Dollars)

    Les Mis, Last Closet and Freehold are on my Kindle. I flipped between them while soaking. Les Misérables has been on and off for a while, the dry details that go on and on and on and on keep slowing me down, but I am determined to finish it. Last Closet is a tough read that I can only take it in small doses, hence the flipping to other books.

    1. Les Miserables reads like Victor Hugo wrote his dissertation on the customs and mores of early 19th-century France, with a particular focus on Paris, then decided to write a book around it.

  4. Currently reading “The Leopard” by Jo Nesbo. Recently finished “The Lost Property Office” by James R. Hannibal. But most of my heroes write short stories.

    Cats make me sneeze.

    1. I’ve read several of Nesbo’s books. They were generally enjoyable, except for a few places where the story jagged off at an angle and I had trouble following along. But I have that problem with a lot of fiction; reasons that were so obvious the author felt they didn’t need to be explained, what left me wondering who turned out the lights.

      I was a bit annoyed by the writing style at first, but I suspect that’s an artefect of translation.

      1. …or an opossum. Opossums have four hands and opposable thumbs, better than most primates’, and prehensile tails; there are videos on YT of opossums walking upside-down across the tops of wire cages.

        1. Hmmmmm… I don’t know… does the top of a wire cage count as a ceiling? Because I’ve seen pictures of “ceiling cat”, but never one of “ceiling possum”. 🙂

  5. Just got an advanced copy of a historical by CW Gortner about the dowager Empress Marie, who was the mother of the last Romanov Czar. And a copy The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society … and I’m about halfway through Faded Coat of Blue…
    Had an inspiration for another of my own novels; write one about the minor character in Sunset and Steel Rails who was female crusader for abolition, and nursed during the Civil War. I had only dealt with the CW as it touched on the Hill Country Germans, but doing a character who was in the thick of the Abolition movement, to the point of doing public lectures … well, it is a tempting thought…
    Als finishing up a new Victorian outfit to wear for this seasons’ book events.
    Oh, and we officially are adding another cat to the herd.

  6. Putting up tile has joined wall-papering as a job I won’t do. It went up, it stuck like it should, it looks fine, but by ghu I’m never doing it again if I can help it. What a pain in the fundament.

    Today, primer. Did you know that alcohol based primer stinks like there’s no tomorrow? Yes it does. I’m so happy I have a full-face gas mask. ~:D

  7. Currently working on a time travel story set in LA at the time of the Watts riots (August, 1965) and I’m wondering how in the Heck people wrote historical fiction prior to the internet. Everything from “were there Chippendale dancers in ’65?” (no, they were founded in 1979) to “how were the LA Dodgers doing in ’65?” (awesome–they won the Series that year) that once would have had me running to the library are answered by a quick DuckDuckGo search and I’m back in business.

      1. I know, right? It turns out that male strippers were almost unknown in America prior to the mid-70s, which ends up punching a hole in one of my subplots.

  8. Currently reading: Chung and Halliday’s biography of Mao.
    A collection of anthropology papers about the goth sub-culture. [Oh My Deity. I’d forgotten how bizarre anthro can get…]
    A couple of archaeology books, and a paleontology monograph about a sub-species of pre-reptiles in what is now South Africa.
    And some German history and archaeology books.

      1. Modern. Research for the WIP, or at least it was. Now it is entertainment reading, because I can fill in the sentences, the writers are soooooo repetitive. “Post-modern” “transgressing sexual identities” “post-capitalist anti-patriarchial” “using androgyny to subvert feminist ideas implicit in’ BINGO!

      1. Especially because accuracy gets much less grant money and recognition than lurid stories to titillate the Leftist psyche.

        1. When reviewing the reports of anthropologists, sociologists, and other researchers and scientists, public officials should always keep in mind one of Eisenhower’s warnings from his farewell address (no, not the military-industrial complex one): “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocation, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet in holding scientific discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

    1. I so missed ‘anthropology’ and just read “how weird anthro can get’ which…. can have a rather different meaning. And, well, yeah, it sure can.

  9. I’m plotting a logical revolution. Or a reformation. Or a renaissance. Or something like that. Working on the propaganda.

      1. What do we want? Non-binary logic that’s good for something!
        When do we want it? Ninety years ago!

  10. Recent reading has included:
    Kipling – Kim (re-read, still love it) and The Complete Stalky & Co (also good)

    Fairy tales – Grimm Brothers, Lang Blue Fairy Tale book, Russian Fairy Tales collected by Afanasev (more Baba Yaga!), Norwegian Folk Tales by Asbjornsen and Moe, and Popular Tales From The Norse by Dasent

    Laurus by Eugene Vodolazkin

    and finally finished reading The Hobbit out loud to my monsters (aka kids)

  11. A modern Pentacost.

    “We are going to use this machine to go back in time and follow Jesus of Nazareth around for the 3 years he was preaching until his death. We will revolutionize Christianity and sweep away all the legends, myths, errors, and misconceptions the various Churches have foisted on us for over 21 centuries!”

    I thought that was a bit extravagant for the CEO to be saying about our time machine. We originally built it for the purpose of confirming and disproving several theories of physics and the way the Universe worked. But John, our CEO, wanted to make it big enough to carry people. So we humored him and built it that way, even though it increased the energy requirements by an entire magnitude.

    Once we were done, the Messiah Project was a go. Took them about 6 months to collect everything they needed. The team of 3 researchers we were sending back had to prepare to be gone for 3 years. So they needed portable, convertible wealth. They needed recorders that wouldn’t be noticed or identified as magic or witchcraft; had the power to last that entire time, and had the storage capacity for 3 years worth of sounds. Oh man, and did they ever need a massive series of vaccinations against everything from the plague to leprosy! That was almost enough to make 2 of them quit.

    However, the day finally dawned, and at precisely 12:00 noon, we sent them back to the day before Jesus was baptized in Ancient Judea.

    The next 3 years went by quickly. We had several surprises from the machine when it confirmed several theories that shouldn’t have worked, and negated one we thought everything in the universe was based on. Good thing that theory was wrong, because the machine wouldn’t have worked if it was real. Most of the stock holders made a fortune. John kept his CEO position. And the Vatican got really nervous as the days ticked down for the researchers return.

    Their return was rather anticlimactic. The machine powered up, they stepped out, tired, thin, excited, and dirty as heck. They handed over their gear to the lab team and raced off to take badly needed showers and reacquaint themselves with modern fast food, and a good night’s sleep before starting a huge round of briefings and publicity shows.

    The next day things weren’t so happy. We came in and it turned out the lab team had never gone home for the night. They were screaming and yelling at each other, saying someone had sabotaged the entire project! Three years wasted with almost no audio record, and zero visual.
    The top lab guy said, “There’s nothing functionally wrong with the recorders. All three work perfectly. But there’s only 10 seconds of audio record out of the 94,670,208 seconds total stored. The rest is all static.”

    John looked furious. “Ten seconds? And just what did you record for ten seconds?”

    The lab man just shook his head and pushed the play button.

    We all heard a rather deep, kindly voice say, “Get that thing out of my face. If you want to know, just Listen, and Remember.”

    “That has to be one of the researchers starting the dictation”, said John.

    “Uh, no sir. That’s not any of the researcher’s voices.”

    “Well, who’s is it? Jesus’?”

    “We think so, but the strange thing is, none of us can agree what language he’s speaking.”


    “Everyone who hears that recording hears it in their native tongue.”

    1. Perhaps the quintessential “missing the point,” but why were the researchers gone for 3 years? Couldn’t they have gone back, stayed for the 3 years of Jesus’s ministry, then returned to the exact time that they left?

      1. Feechur of the time machine.

        Because aging three years while everyone else stays the same age is too disruptive or illegal or something. (Perhaps the whole thing was illegal.)

    2. Reminds me of Andreas Eschbach’s _Das Jesus-Video_ (sadly AFAIK not available in an English translation). Archaeologist working in Israel on ~2000-year-old excavation finds a very odd object: a linen-wrapped parcel containing a plastic-wrapped object inside which is what turns out to be…a manual for a Sony camcorder. A camcorder that isn’t on the market yet, but which, when contacted, Sony admits is currently under development, using a new solid-state storage medium (perfect for long-term storage). Conclusion: someone, somewhere in the very near future is about to be going on a trip thru time, with their camera, to do the Obvious Thing, and somewhere buried in Israel there may be a 2000-year-old memory card with some very interesting video….

  12. Currently re-reading early Heinlein (especially the juveniles), and I was struck by how they end about a hundred pages earlier than most people trying to emulate his style. Boy became a man? Done, onto the next story! Did he get the girl? Did the colony survive? What do you think, kid?


    1. When you’re charging close to ten bucks for a paperback book, quantity becomes a selling point.

      Though back in the early 1980s, some people were blaming book bloat on word processors.

      Think about writing something as long as “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” on a typewriter, with White-Out and penciled edits…

      1. Shogun, 1975, 1,210 pages in paperback, $3.50; The Shadow Rises, 1993, 1,006 pages in paperback, $6.99; Steven Brust’s Good Guys, 2018, 307 pages, $13.99 on Kindle. Modern pricing strategy has nothing to do with quantity, quality, or production costs.

        Side note: the Jordan novel is 1/8-inch thicker than the Clavell; I’d have measured one of the earlier Wheel of Time paperbacks, but all the pages fell out, because Tor hadn’t mastered the art of gluing monsterbacks yet.


  13. So far, my efforts at writing have gotten to about twelve chapters, 67000 words, and working on Chapter 13 right now.

    I’m not sure if I’ve hit a point where I’ve explained too much, or not enough. But, I know that I had to move the first big dance number (a fight) back a chapter because I needed to build up some more events and characterization.

    Oh, and describe in detail my main character’s costume.

  14. uhm… I was just working in lab 26, and may have caused a tiny tinytiny little hole… might wanna avoid lab 26 …

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