Journal Entry #8

December 18, 2007

Joe Haldeman's The Accidental Time Machine is the sort of book that first got me hooked on SF. It's as good as anything I can recall reading in the field. Ever.

Two excellent recent stories by John Kessel have appeared: "Pride and Prometheus" in the January F&SF, and "The Last American," in the February Asimov's. I met John originally back in the 1980's, when I was invited to attend the Sycamore Hill Workshop in the Raleigh-Durham area. John was one of the founders. It gave me a chance, early in my career, to work with pros like James Patrick Kelly, Nancy Kress, Karen Joy Fowler, James Morrow, and Harlan Ellison. It was, to say the least, a formative experience.

Odyssey made the preliminary Nebula ballot. Also listed was Julie E. Czerneda's Regeneration, a superb novel featuring her continuing character, Mackenzie Connor.

Maureen and I celebrated our 40th anniversary Sunday. As anyone else who's had a 40th anniversary of anything will tell you, it's hard to believe so many years could pass so quickly. Mostly what you come to regret is opportunities blown. Things not done. Maybe not even attempted. (Those are the worst of all, I suspect.)

A cloud was thrown over the proceedings because we were dealing with a sick cat. We've taken to collecting stray felines since our kids left home a few years ago. One of them, Punkie, had taken ill and was headed for surgery in Jacksonville at 8:00 a.m. Monday. The vet clinic is almost two hours away. Throw in rush hour traffic, and we had to get up at five. Punk was in surgery 3-1/2 hours. We don't really know the results yet, though it looks good so far. I originally brought the cat home from New Jersey four years ago, where it was trying to survive the winter.

I've been listening with dismay to the religious argument currently crowding out everything else in the Republican primary season. Religion should not be a test for office. But I've been waiting to hear any journalist ask what seems to me to be the obvious question: Have we learned yet the cost of electing a president who is so incurious about the world around him that he's utterly unaware of the vastness and majesty of the universe, that he could honestly contemplate the notion that it was put together for us? Six thousand years ago? If that idea doesn't raise a few questions, what else is he not paying attention to?

— Jack

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