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Posts by Kate Paulk

Money Matters

It’s kind of funny how most of the science fiction and fantasy I’ve read skims over matters of finance. Or maybe not so funny, given that I’ve not run into too many authors who actually get how money works. I will freely admit that my understanding is shallow at best.

At the same time, there are so many opportunities missed by just having some vaguely defined currency unit that every follows, whether said unit be credits (common in science fiction), gold or silver coins (staple of fantasy, although you don’t often see much about the weight of said coins or about shenanigans like degrading gold coins with cheaper metals – and the inflation that follows.

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Faking It

Just so you are aware before you get pulled too far into the vortex, today’s post is brought to you by the wonders of insufficient sleep and excess brain flatulence. Or something. Aka I can’t think of anything sensible to say so I’m going to ramble a bit about faking it in writing.

“It” of course being the deep knowledge of thousands of interlocking specialties we writers pretend to have while we’re writing about them.

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Of Common Earth

I’ll happily agree with Sarah that I’ve got no real idea about how stratified societies work. I can sort of fake it with enough research, but I don’t have that bone-deep knowledge that goes with growing up in a culture where your parents – or more specifically your father’s – name dictates what opportunities you have and how you should behave.

It’s something that Americans and Australians (there are others, but these are the ones I know about) find utterly alien. The average Aussie would have the same reaction to discovering that someone was of royal descent as they would to learning that someone had a notorious highwayman or any other interesting person in their ancestry, namely, “Oh, wow, that’s interesting!” I rather suspect the average American would respond similarly. After all, interesting ancestors can make for good stories. Read more

Festive Cultures

As we approach Memorial Day, I got to thinking about just how deeply national holidays – and the inevitable festivals and traditions that go along with them – are embedded into our culture. I’ve noticed that American holidays tend to lean towards family and celebration, albeit in different ways depending on the holiday.

Australian holidays mostly involve family and a lot of irreverence with one exception. Other cultures that I’ve researched the holidays tend to be either decided on by governments to commemorate significant dates or coincide with old festivals – and quite often do both because it’s a damn site easier to avoid upsetting people by coopting their old festivals towards the new politically correct goal.

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When Overloaded

the normal response is to fall back to habitual things, to narrow one’s perspective to the most immediate concerns and just try to survive.

As far as I can tell, we’ve been like that pretty much forever – it seems to be a slightly more self-aware version of animal survival instincts.

Which would, of course, explain why we just keep doing it, even when it’s not the best way to deal with a situation. Or in some cases a decent way to deal with something.

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Of Warriors Born

Every now and then I’ll surface from my mostly-hibernating state and notice another twit rabbiting on about whirled peas and how any form of force or competition is evil, bad, and causes pimples or something. Most of the time I have a quiet little giggle to myself about stupid people and hope for the poor deluded fool to have a Darwin-worthy ending.

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Life Is Pain

Highness. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

There was a time when I and my sisters could quote The Princess Bride from start to finish. It remains one of my favorite movies, packed with eminently quotable quotes. Not to mention what remains in my opinion one of the greatest swordfight sequences ever filmed (“I’m not left-handed either” – at which point the first time I watched it this leftie was utterly stunned to realize that yes, all the fencing so far had been done left-handed).

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