El Goes to Elle

Okay, I guess I’m really back, because I’m delving into morality, philosophy and politics. With the revelation of Harvey Weinstein’s staggering abuse of his phenomenal power to coerce his employees into undesired sexual situations, Hollywood’s floodgates have opened. It seems everyone being accused, from Louis C.K. to George Takei. And one question that keeps coming up for the public to munch on is, “Are these people, alone, to blame?” After all, along with the accusations almost always comes the statement, “And everybody knew all about it.”

So, when behavior that’s been accepted, even encouraged, for decades is suddenly revealed, and finally recognized as the problem it always was, who’s to blame?

Mara Wilson, former child star and current left-wing social activist (her Twitter presence is self-dubbed “Mara ‘Get Rid of Nazis’ Wilson”) has an answer:

We all are.

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I Just Finished – Stranger Things 2

There aren’t many TV shows that I have to watch anymore. I like The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. I enjoy Supergirl overall. I tend to fall way behind on them, though. I’m still finishing Iron Fist and thus haven’t started The Defenders. Beyond those, I’m a little behind on This Is Us and a lot of the shows friends are watching I’m just giving a pass to. I don’t need The Orville. They made 79 real episodes of Star Trek, and enough Next Gen that I’ve never seen them all. I gave Star Trek: Discovery what I feel was a fair chance, and it didn’t impress me any more than any other non-Enterprise Trek has.

But Stranger Things I must see. It’s too gripping, too engaging, too much plain fun not to. It’s such a great piece of 80s nostalgia, not just in costumes, music and décor, but in the feel of 1980s films about young people.

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My Philcon Schedule

Sat 1:00 PM in Con Suite (Room 800)

Yoji Kondo Memorial

Sat 6:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)


[Panelists: Christopher Mayer (mod), Jay Smith, Steve Wilson]

How do you find appropriate Voice Acting talent? What happens to your property rights if you sign up with a company to produce it for

you? Is ACX.com the solution to all of your problems, or just a good place to start?

Sun 10:00 AM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)


[Panelists: Mitchell Gordon (mod), Steve Wilson, Tom Doyle, Hakira D’Almah, T. Patrick Snyder]

Why does SF make repeated use of certain myths? How do classical

ideas expand the scope of science fiction themes? Our goal in this panel will be to understand how science fiction dialogues with ideas from the past to explore possibilities for the future

Sun 11:00 AM in Autograph Table (1 hour)


[Panelists: John Grant (mod), Steve Wilson]

Sun 12:00 PM in Plaza III (Three) (1 hour)


[Panelists: Peter Prellwitz (mod), Steve Wilson, Tom Doyle, Diane Weinstein, Aaron Rosenberg]

How is the hope for a Hollywood adaptation influencing writers and their current works

I Just Finished – Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein

I should say I just finished it this time. This is probably my fifth re-reading of this, my favorite of the Grandmaster’s novels. The timing comes because I decided this year to treat myself to The Virginia Edition, a set of 40+ leather bound copies of everything Robert A. Heinlein ever published. That’s a lot of books, and it’s intimidating; so I decided to start with my favorite.

This is my desert island book. If I could only have one, this would be it. Short version if you don’t know it: Lazarus Long has lived over 2000 years and is the unwilling leader (and direct ancestor) of a society of people bred for longevity. Ready for death, he’s tempted back to life by descendants who collect his memoirs and provide him with ideas that might be interesting enough to keep living for. It’s time travel, it’s western adventure, it’s erotica, it’s space opera. Above all, it’s never boring.

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Life With Lazarus – A New Day

Whatever god there be—or spirit, or entity, or faceless multinational or computer program—or is it Robert Heinlein’s Time Corps that watches over little orange tabby cats?

All I can say is “Thank you.”

This is the day he wasn’t supposed to be here, and he’s sitting on the bed with his feet propped on my leg. His fur is soft again, instead of matted. His eyes are no longer sunken into his head. He runs instead of walking. He jumps instead of waiting to be placed on a chair or bed.

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Life With Lazarus – Three Days

Day 2 – Back to Work

Lazarus woke me up around 5 this morning, wanting to go out. He seemed fine, and I figured he just needed the litter box. Of course he’d already had diarrhea on the rug. No blood, at least. And it means everything is working in his digestive tract, which is huge.

It also means that we now have two aging cats who aren’t always using the litter box. In the other room, Oreo, who had become somewhat incontinent, had urinated on Ethan’s bed.

As we were getting ready to arrive at the 911 Center to begin a week of fairly stressful testing of new technology, Renee settled down onto the bed, shaking her head. “I cannot take another thing.”

She was right. It’s been almost too much. We were both feeling pretty broken.

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Life With Lazarus – Day 1 – Let’s Go Get Our Boy

After a late Saturday night, it was not easy to roll out of bed at 6:30, but Dr. Hutt had told us that one day of hospitalization ended at 8:00. We’d spent about $2,600 so far, and knew we would need more as the days went on; so we wanted to be sure to get Laz discharged by 8:00.

It was not a good morning. I will not go into why, but, frankly, I had no patience. When a family member is ill, possibly dying, even if it’s a four-legged family member, it puts things in perspective. It also drains your emotional resources. I was in no mood to take responsibility for anyone else’s feelings. My own were too much for me.

Anyway, we got to the vet and they brought out Lazarus. He had a Fentanyl patch in a shaved spot on his back. It seemed to make him walk like a drunken man. That worried me, because the patch said it was applied at 11PM, and Dr. Hutt had said it took 12 hours to kick in. Would this get worse?

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Life with Lazarus – Day 0, Continued – Some Prefer the Roller Coaster

Ethan, Jess and I got to my book signing with about five minutes to spare. We have an amazing used bookstore in Howard County, in Glenwood, called “Books With a Past.” Recently, the owner, Erin, branched out and opened another location in Savage Mill, an actual textile mill that’s been turned into a shopping and dining venue, plus art studios. The new store is more focused on new books and book-related knick-knacks, and Erin says science fiction does better there. That maybe because the Family Game Store, of which my old friends Laura Burns and John Cmar are part-owners, is next door.

I spent the next two hours texting back and forth with Renee, and trying to be upbeat. Fortunately we didn’t get a lot of customers. That’s an awful thing to say, but, if we’d had hundreds, I don’t know if the stress might have broken me. In text messages, I learned that Lazarus definitely had pancreatitis, and that that could be caused by Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS. So we were testing for that. After that, he needed to go to the ER for at least the rest of the weekend, and Renee would drive him there.

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Life with Lazarus – Day 0 – You Don’t Look Right

My very brief post two days ago hit the low spots of a couple of very bad days, but, as these days are still going and their events are foremost on my mind, I’ve decided to share them with you. Not a happy story, and I don’t know its ending as I write this. But it’s a story, and the characters in it are special to me. So here goes. 

So I’m sitting in the family room, having just dragged myself out of bed on a Saturday morning. I’d planned to take it easy. I’d been going and going with house renovations and work, and I decided, before my 1PM call to sign autographs at one of our local bookstores, I would just eat breakfast, talk to my wife and get my books ready to sell.

Lazarus shuffled into the room. Lazarus does not shuffle. Lazarus waltzes with grace and purpose, looking up at you only enough to let you know that he has arrived, and he is now in command of the operation. Today he shuffled, and he didn’t look in command of anything. He moved tentatively toward a square of morning sunshine on the floor, but didn’t seem particularly enthused about it.

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When Things Happen Too Fast

When I got up this morning, this was the furthest thing from my mind. Two days ago he was bashing his head into my feet while I was trying to work, and I was saying, “Dammit, Lazarus, knock it off!” Last night he seemed very tired. This morning he wasn’t hungry. Tonight we know he has liver cancer and is bleeding into his abdomen. We don’t know the how, the why, or most of all the when. But he’s leaving us. Fourteen years went by too fast. Hope these last days slow down a little. At least, on his meds tonight, he’s not hurting. Tomorrow he may be able to come home and spend his last days with us. However many there are.

Dammit, Lazarus…