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Busy day today, and none of the three ideas I had for this post came together. Instead, have some fiction, this time read to you by Levar Burton. (You know, the Jeopardy host, and oh yes, Roots and Star Trek and Reading Rainbow and a few other things as well;)

His podcast is Levar Burton Reads, and he picks some of the best speculative short* fiction out there. So when you have a few minutes, sit back, listen, and relax.

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

* Shortish, anyway. Reading aloud always takes a bit of time, so a typical episode is about an hour.

How does fiction help us reimagine the future of worlds, including our own? This essay explores the history of that relationship:

A Century of Science Fiction That Changed How We Think About the Environment

If we think about science fiction (sf) in terms of the genre’s connections to pressing issues in 21st-century culture, no topic is more urgent than climate change and the ways it promises to transform all aspects of human life, from where we live to how we cultivate our food to what energy sources will fuel our industries.

Preparedness discourse responds to change, understood as disaster, through strategies of containment. But science fiction offers something much more. It offers us a way of thinking and perceiving, a toolbox of methods for conceptualizing, intervening in, and living through rapid and widespread change — and the possibility to direct it toward an open future that we (re)make.

Here’s to thinking new thoughts, building new worlds, and making them.

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Photo by veeterzy on Unsplash

“Life, a good life, a great life is about “Why not?” May we never forget it.” 

― Danielle Steel
Original Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Oh look, I’ve used this quote before. Guess it must be true:) Bonus quote!

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

― Shel Silverstein

Dreaming of Winter

It’s hot and sticky, I’m in the middle of several projects but have nothing finished, and I’m short on time because Mr. Man wants me to give him a haircut. What does that mean for this blog post and you, fair readers?

How about something fun and easy, with a bit of history thrown in? I give you the NHL’s oldest recorded footage of hockey:

Safety gear? What safety gear?

Stay cool, friends!

Welcome to Atlanta

One of my favorite reads is the terrific* Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.  

Here’s the first book:

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) by Ilona Andrews

This husband and wife team also have a number of other great books, all starring kick-ass women willing to go to any lengths to save what needs saving.

The writing is excellent, the plots fresh and unpredictable in the best ways, and the characters, even the bad ones, are complex and well-drawn. (The authors are particularly adept at helping readers understand, and at times forgive, even the darkest characters.)

What’s not to love?

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So when I decided it was time to learn how to make a vintage-style travel postcard, I thought of Atlanta. Not the vibrant city it is now, but as Kate sees it after magic returns to the world, complete with mysterious denizens, vampire Casinos, witch jungles, shapeshifter Keeps, ruins and one lone high rise. 

Welcome to Atlanta.

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Original photos by Shashidhar SMorica PhamHidayat AbisenaMichael DenningCory GazailleToa HeftibaAustrian National Library & Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash

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* Feel free to disagree with me, I don’t mind. Just know that I am right;)

Today in things I like: Here’s an item I did not know existed before I moved to Canada: the electronic mosquito swatter.

The Zapper

You may know that mosquitoes are annoying;) This year has been pretty good* but even one mosquito indoors at night can be disruptive. (If you’re me, anyway. Mr. Man is born and bred Canadian and is mostly unfazed by even the largest of blood suckers. ) 

And I’m trying to be more tolerant outside. Inside? No.

Cue the swatter. Its mesh displaces less air than a standard fly swatter and also sends a current through the wires. Any mosquito or other biting insect caught in the layers is toast. Sometimes literally.

Seriously, don’t activate this thing while touching it.

Zip zap, all done. 

As penance, I put the mosquito corpses outside so that something, somewhere might benefit.

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Photo by Syed Ali on Unsplash

* That’s good and bad. Good, because it means fewer giant, itchy welts, bad because the dry Spring that led to fewer mosquitoes has a lot of follow-on effects, for insects, the birds and other animals who eat them, plants, trees, and of course, us humans.

Have I mentioned that I have a museum? Its archives are mysterious and its vaults are deep.

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Shadows of multi-dimensional butterflies, visible only once every two-hundred thirty-four years. Faithfully recorded by Miss Kara Ellen Swanlea.

Dinner with Jane

This is fun: 

Eat Like Jane Austen With Recipes From Her Sister-In-Law’s Cookbook – Gastro Obscura

If you’ve ever wondered what Jane Austen ate, or if the menus in her books were true to life, this is the link for you. Here’s the book the article highlights.

And if you’ve ever thought about what life was like on the other side of the scullery door, check out Longbourn by Jo Baker

In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. 

I found the world below-stairs fascinating, and not just because I’m the sort of person who likes to learn about practical and medicinal plant properties, or what chilblains felt like.

It’s good to give every person a chance to be the main character, you know?

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Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

It’s Tuesday and there’s a nasty storm coming (heavy rain and powerful winds with a potential side of hail and tornadoes, so that’s fun). Is it time to take a trip to the virtual used spaceship lot?

Who knew the Halo Pelican was almost the size of the Millennium Falcon? (Also, with apologies to Mr. Bezos and Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, but yours are definitely not the biggest!).

Drabble for a Monday morning.

Today might be crap. Wake to rain, the car won’t start and the kid’s hamster is under the weather too.

You’re out of coffee.

Steam builds and you dash headlong toward the Scylla of anger and the Charybdis of self-doubt. You seriously consider a cup of despair.

The boss asks you to step in last-minute for the most important meeting of the year or the kid’s hamster dies or it really is uphill both ways or (fill in the blank here) and you think, “I just… can’t.”

I hear you.

But. 

What if this is the ‘verse where you can?

— J.R. Johnson

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Photo by Tom Henell on Unsplash