So We Watched Veronica Mars Season the Next

They call it Season Four, but it’s post-VM-the-Movie, so I suppose we’re supposed to regard the movie as Season Three Point Five?

Anyhow . . . good show, better than Original Season Three, also better than VM-the-Movie.  And like everyone else on the internet, I have opinions about That Ending.

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER  ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

SPOILER ALERT

Actually, I think it was a good ending for the season, mostly because it could be worked multiple ways depending upon the future, if any, of the televised Mars-verse.  To wit:

If there are no more Veronica Mars series, specials, movies, or related works, then the fact that Logan died is genre-appropriate, since VM takes place in one of the sunny California suburbs of the Land of Noir, and in noir detective fiction everything always ends up sucking, especially for the detective protagonist.

If there is another series, or another movie, then the “we never saw a body” and “nobody ever actually says the ‘dead’ word” factors come into play, and more choices open up.  Again, to wit:

If they can’t get Jason Dohring to come back, or if he doesn’t want to come back, or if they just don’t feel like working with the character any more, then Logan stays dead as a string-art nail.  Dead!Logan could either just be a part of Veronica’s Tragic Past, or he could be the heart of her next investigation, since another of the rules of the Mars-verse is that nothing is ever what it seems to have been the first time around.

If, on the other hand, they do want to keep on working with the character, and we’ve got NotActuallyDead!Logan in play, then we’ve got the how and the why of that to drive a future season. The current season made a lot of hay out of Logan’s intelligence work, including sudden summonses to active duty while he was supposedly on extended leave, and references to combat experience, and the fact that he’s learned to speak Arabic — not an easy thing; Uncle Sam will teach it to you if he thinks you’ll need to know it, but the course is no picnic — and maybe it was just window-dressing, but it could also have been positional play for possible future stuff.

(And am I the only person who thinks that the tale of how Logan Echolls transformed himself from “aimless layabout with anger issues” into “responsible US Naval officer with what looks to be a good career going for him” would actually have made an interesting story all on its own?)

Also — I initially tried to hide the spoilers more subtly with a cut tag, but my html-fu wasn’t up to the task.

HORROR FOR THE THRONE

Over on Jim Macdonald’s blog, an ANNOUNCEMENT:

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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Ian Randal Strock’s Fantastic Books has contracted with James D. Macdonald, Judith K. Dial, and Tom Easton for an anthology of 40 short horror stories to be called

HORROR FOR THE THRONE

ONE-SITTING READS

We will open for submissions on August 8, 2019. Submissions will close September 15, 2019.  Proposed publication date is early 2020, in all the usual paper and electronic formats.

We’re looking for reprints.  Previously published where the rights have reverted to the author.   500-2000 words.  Pay is $20 flat fee for non-exclusive reprint rights.  The stories should NOT involve bathroom horror.

Send submissions (and questions) to Tom at profeaston@verizon.net.

The book will join SCIENCE FICTION FOR THE THRONE and FANTASY FOR THE THRONE on Ian’s dealer table at numerous conventions (as well as on his website at fantasticbooks.biz and on Amazon etc.). With luck, everyone will decide they just have…

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These Days, the Internet Would Fall on Their Heads.

It’s not only future right-wing conservative Supreme Court justices who engage in youthful hijinks involving blackface; once upon a time, the young Virginia Woolf and her friends did something much the same, impersonating the Prince of Abyssinia and his entourage and convincing the CO of HMS Dreadnaught to give them a royal welcome and an official tour.

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(That’s Woolf on the far left, in drag and — frankly — fairly unconvincing makeup.)

Everybody seemed at the time to regard this as a jolly good prank, with the exception of the British Navy, which was embarrassed. (What the Abyssinians thought about the whole affair doesn’t seem to have been recorded — if, indeed, they heard about it at all.)

There’s a 2017 New Yorker article about the affair that waxes pontifical about the symbolic meanings underlying the hoaxers’ acts. It makes some interesting points . . . but as far as I can tell, the hoaxers were just upperclass intellectual twits whose agenda, if they had one, could be boiled down to “make Authority look silly.”

“An Accomplished Man and a Gallant Officer….”

From Jim Macdonald’s blog, the first stop on our Major Andre Historical Tour:

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John André, A Representation of Major John André…going from the Vulture Sloop of War, aquatint, circa 1781. John André, A Representation of Major John André…going from the Vulture Sloop of War, aquatint, circa 1781.

Although I grew up in the area I had never paid much attention to this part of American history.  I therefore determined that, since I was once again in southern New York for a science fiction convention that I would go down a few days early to follow the path of Major John André, Adjutant-General to the British Army during the American Revolution.

Haverstraw Beacj State Park

Our first stop was the Treason Site, where Major André met with Lieutenant General Benedict Arnold.  We drove up from Nyack, NY, under clouds that threatened rain, to Haverstraw, NY.  There, in the woods that are now Haverstraw Beach State Park, André came ashore and met with Arnold. From Nyack you go north on Rt 9W (Not, as you might think, 9 West, but 9W.  There…

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In Which I Visit a Museum

From Jim Macdonald’s blog: a museum visit, in which we see, among other things, a submarine.

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And there see a submarine.

Some years ago, for reasons that matter not to our story, I was driving around northern New Jersey when I saw something by the side of the road.  “By golly,” I said, “that looks like a Holland submarine!”  I pulled over and walked to it.  It was!  Holland boat #2, Fenian Ram.  The precursor of all modern submarines.  In the US Navy, USS Holland (AKA Holland boat #6) was SS-1.

I never saw it again though I looked for it every time I passed through the region.  Then, thanks to the Miracle of the Internet, I decided to search for it and to my joy found that it was now in a more congenial place than rusting away by roadside: Fenian Ram was now an exhibit at the Paterson Museum.

Then I had to wait the opportunity to visit: I’m not in the…

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Free Magic Show: Boston

More magic from Jim Macdonald.

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Jim Macdonald, Magician

BEST OF BOSTON

The SAM Assembly 9“Best of Boston” contest will be held Wednesday, April 10th at the Puppet Showplace Theater, 32 Station St., Brookline, at 7:30 PM.  There is no charge for this performance.

Note that the starting time is a bit earlier than usual  because we have eight contestants participating, and we plan to finish voting and present the awards by 9:30.  Contestants include (not necessarily in this order):

 

  • Joseph Caulfield (Lord BlackSword)
  • James D. Macdonald
  • Scott Galbraith
  • Mike Lee
  • Kevin Butler
  • Eddie Gardner
  • Duncan Miller
  • Markus Steelgrave

Each contestant will present an 8-12 minute routine of their choice.

Each audience member will receive a ballot and can vote for up to three
contestants.  The top three vote recipients will be the contest winners.

Duncan Miller
Secretary, SAM Assembly #9

For my part, I intend to present “Pure Jennie, the Moonshiner’s Daughter; or, The Vexations…

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It’s Vaudeville!

More magical entertainment from my spouse and co-author:

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It's Vaudeville 9th of March, 2019 7:00 pm

This coming Saturday, March 9th, I will have the honor of appearing in the Kearsarge Conservatory of the Performing Arts (KCPA) Scholarship Fundraiser — Vaudeville Performance

Saturday, March 9th, 7:00-9:00 pm

Warner Town Hall, 5 East Main St, Warner, NH 03278

Info: kcpastudiocalendar@gmail.com

http://www.nhperformingarts.org/

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Peeve of the Day (or, Not Just Grammar Makes Me Peevish)

There’s a special kind of irritation I feel whenever somebody starts trying — earnestly and urgently — to tell me about some New! Amazing! and Probably Subversive! thing that I already know. It’s a combination of “I will not be manipulated by emotional argument, dammit!” and “You mean you only just now heard about that?” and “Stop being on my side, you’re annoying me!”, with the exact proportions varying by subject matter.

Scientific theories mostly just get the middle, or “I thought everybody knew that” reaction. I remember being mildly surprised, for example, the first time — back in the eighties, I think it would have been — that I saw plate tectonics described in the popular press as a new and until-recently controversial geologic theory, because everybody I knew had known about plate tectonics for ages. Granted, I spent my high school years back in Texas attending meetings and field trips of the local rockhound club with the rest of my family, and the local rockhound club had more than one professional oil-field geologist in its ranks . . . but when you’re that age, what your parents and your parents’ friends know is pretty much your personal definition of “common knowledge.”

I had the same reaction, with a bit more annoyance and grouchy resentment, after first encountering the East Coast wiccan/new age/alternative spirituality community. It’s hard, for example, to take Robert Grave’s The White Goddess seriously as any kind of revelation when you read it for the first time back in high school because your father recommended it to you. (And when your opinion back then was the same as it is now — that the book is an interesting account of how Robert Graves wrote poetry, but as far as sober or even drunken historical or anthropological fact goes, it’s rubbish.)

And politics . . . I realize, for example, that for some people, the massacre at Wounded Knee is one of those shocking things that their schoolteachers never taught them about. But I was able to put together a class report on the incident in junior high from books in my family’s library, a couple of years before Dee Brown and later Russell Means put a national spotlight on it (for a little while, at least.)

None of this stuff was secret. My parents weren’t political activists or students of esoterica — they were a civil engineer and a school librarian, and the closest either of them got to alternative religions was Episcopalianism and (in my father’s case) Freemasonry. They just happened to have inquiring minds and a lot of books and a willingness to let me could read anything on the bookshelves that I was able to reach.

So it tends to annoy me when people carry on as though any of this was new.

As my mother’s aunt said to her on that subject, “Mildred, I never did understand why you had to go and join that foreign church.”

PseudoScience

Over at Jim Macdonald’s blog, there’s a book review that y’all might find interesting.

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The UniversityThe Pseudoscience Warsy of Chicago gives away free e-books.  Every month there’s a new one, and they’re all swell.  This month’s freebie, I think, is one that folks who follow my blog may really like: The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael B. Gordin.

I remember reading Velikovsky back when I was in fourth or fifth grade.  My dad had copies of Ages in Chaos, Earth in Upheaval (both in paperback) and Worlds in Collision in hardcover.  I loved those books.  They were Grand Theories of Everything, in engaging prose, and filled with footnotes to obscure sources.  Then something occurred to me: “Hey, wait a minute,” I said to myself. “This guy literally can’t tell the difference between a carbohydrate and a hydrocarbon.”  (I had a chemistry set and I knew how to use it.  Yes, I was the…

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Questions I Have Asked My Cats, to No Avail

Me: Why, O Cat, when I have gone to the trouble of providing you with a perfectly cromulent catbox and high-quality kitty litter, do you nevertheless persist in using, instead, the floor directly adjacent to same?

Cat: Meow. (If you really understood me, you wouldn’t have to ask.)

Me: Why, O Cat, when I have gone to the trouble of acquiring for you a warm, high-sided, fleece-lined cat bed, which last winter pleased you entirely, do you this winter insist on once again ignoring it in favor of sleeping draped across my forearms while I’m trying to type?

Cat: Meow. (That was last year. Now it’s this year. Get with the program, human.)

Me: Why, O Cat, do you complain vociferously if you do not get your daily ration of wet cat food along with your dry, and then ignore it until it dries out from the winter cold?

Cat: Meow. (Have you considered microwaving it? You don’t eat your food cold, do you?)

And so it goes. I tell myself that they are transitioning from middle-aged cats to older cats, and getting crotchety in their later years.