Ellis: The Truth of the Divine

Last year I read and very much enjoyed Axiom’s End (2020), a debut novel by film critic and YouTuber Lindsay Ellis. It’s the first book of her Noumena series, which is about powerful aliens showing up on an unsuspecting Earth. It made the New York Times Best Seller list and generated a fair amount of favorable attention.

Earlier this year I preordered the second book, The Truth of the Divine (2021), and it finally dropped last month. I had high hopes and much anticipation about where Ellis would take her story. Sadly, I found myself sorely disappointed by this second installment. This isn’t a positive review.

For balance I’ll mention two books I did enjoy, Neuromancer (1984), by William Gibson, and a new comedy by David Brin.

Let me start with a strong caveat that taste is always a big factor in any review, or even in just enjoying something. Famously there’s no accounting for taste. We like what we like. A review says as much — if not more — about the reviewer as it does the reviewed. Our taste may not be accountable, but it is revealing. (No doubt why some disguise theirs.)

I did not like this book. But it could be that it just didn’t meet my expectations. For me the key sin was that it bored me. I skipped or skimmed a fair number a pages; never a good sign. It also somehow felt very claustrophobic and confined. The ratio of action scenes to internal mulling of thoughts or static dialog scenes didn’t work for me (hence the skipping and skimming).

There is also that the two main characters from the last book are severely psychologically damaged in this book — to the point Ellis introduces two new central characters so we don’t have to spend too much time wallowing in what Cora and Ampersand are suffering. (See my post Ellis: Axiom’s End for some backstory.)

Speaking of unaccountable tastes, explorations of damaged minds, especially ones where those minds don’t get better, are very much not to mine. I read fiction for imagination and creativity. Tight psychological stories like this are too real-world, too ordinary, too mundane. I know these horror stories too well. My heart breaks for those who suffer, and I don’t enjoy that as fiction.

In particular, it’s not what I read science fiction for. It’s true that good SF examines the human condition and what it means to be human, but I lean towards uplifting stories about using intelligence and technology to confront problems. I also favor some sense of adventure.

Which is all to say my negative take here might be rather biased.

I’ll note that I re-read Axiom’s End as an intro to reading The Truth of the Divine and enjoyed the former as much as I did the first time. My disappointment with the latter surprised me.

I recall Ellis, either in an interview or on her YouTube channel, saying the second book of the series does take a left turn that might surprise, even disappoint, some readers. I assumed it would be new characters or a shift to the alien’s planet or something along those lines. I was not expecting a dive into the broken minds of Cora and Ampersand. Ellis’s left turn definitely surprised me.

§

In the second book, Ellis introduces two new characters that mirror the human-alien pairing of Cora and Ampersand from the first book.

The human is Kaveh Mazandarani, an American journalist of Iranian descent. He has some past connection to Cora’s father, and he ends up becoming romantically involved with (the much younger) Cora. The alien — newly arrived — is another member of the hyper-paranoid superorganism that it seems very likely will sterilize the Earth of all life once they get here.

Mazandarani is at first looking for a major story, but he ends up being sucked into a partnership with the new alien that changes his point of view. His relationship with Cora complicates things, because he has past ties to her father, the notorious Nils Ortega (whom Cora loathes).

It’s hard to discuss the plot without spoilers, so very briefly, the new alien, given the name Nikola “Nik” Tesla by Mazandarani, has come to Earth seeking Ampersand. They are the last members of a phyle — a bonded group of individuals — the only analogue for family in the superorganism. The bonds, in fact, transcend spacetime — they’re part of the noumenal dimensions beyond our four (3D+time). Nik turns out to be a drug addict, another complication.

Ampersand has big problems of his own. He is mentally ill, and his symptoms are visible. In the superorganism that means termination, so his fear of being on Earth (among seven-billion flesh eating monsters) is at fever pitch that the other Fremda will find out.

In the first book, Cora, who was effectively killed by the alien named Obelus and repaired (over a two-week period) by Ampersand, is suffering the ‘I almost died’ form of PTSD. (I confess to not understanding that form; to me that seems cause for celebration.) The mental bond Ampersand formed with her is causing their mutual mental states to feed each other.

If I had to summarize the plot: We find out Cora and Ampersand are very messed up; Nik shows up (with his own issues); it turns out Obelus is still alive — saved by Ampersand who is still obsessed with him; Mazandarani gets involved with Nik; there’s a lot of running around; some people die; and cliffhanger.

It wasn’t that nothing happened. More that, in almost 500 pages, nothing interesting or important happened other than Nik showing up. Cora and Ampersand (and Nik) are still messed up, and the situation looks bleak for Earth.

It’s a pretty joyless book. Axiom’s End was fun and an adventure. This one wasn’t.

§

But I emphasize again it may be exactly the story Ellis wanted to tell. John Scalzi, in his afterward to The Interdependency series confesses that world events were a severe distraction that he acknowledged affected his storytelling. (See my post Scalzi: The Interdependency for details.) Ellis, in her Acknowledgements indicates no such stress and every pleasure with the book.

I wondered if the claustrophobic and lack of action sense I got might have been due to COVID confinement leaking through. But Ellis seems to say she’s been working on this text for many years, so that sense I get might be more from the tightly psychological nature of the story. That sense may have been fully intended.

So I can’t say this was a badly written book. I believe Ellis to be too in control of her craft for that, too smart for that. I think it’s a matter of artistic vision and choice, and I’m just not enjoying that path. It is odd that I liked re-reading the first book, and I liked the book I read after (so it wasn’t my mood affecting things).

I do take issue with the typography used in some of the intermezzo pieces. Reading my Apple eBook version on my fairly large iPhone XR, some columns are compressed into widths of about 12-characters. Which makes them a pain to read. Others are too-small bitmap images I can’t expand to make readable.

I’ll also note Ellis leans a bit heavily into SF references. For example:

Ghasabian drew his mouth into a thin line, then turned to go, his Captain Picard bald head shining in the afternoon sun.

Does the Picard reference really add anything there? There’s a fair amount of that sort of thing. Some may enjoy it; I find it jarring. To me it breaks the fourth wall a little and takes me out of the narrative. (On this particular one, I found the insertion of the name disturbed the natural rhythm of the sentence. Try it without; you might see what I mean.)

A possible error in the Apple eBook: in the index the end sections are numbered ii, ii, ii, and iv. Obviously it should be i, ii, iii, and iv. (Also, why does Apple keep offering to sell me the first book when I already bought it?)

§

Bottom line, blame my taste or not, I’m disappointed to have to give this a thumbs down. Maybe there’s an element of middle-book doldrums here — a setup for the exciting third act (so far untitled but due next year).

The book somehow feels more personal than the first, as if Ellis is working closer to her own emotional bones. It’s possible her intended audience, those who can relate, may deeply appreciate the story. I’m just not among them.

§ §

After I finished The Truth of the Divine, I decided to re-read a book I haven’t read in a very long time, Neuromancer (1984), by William Gibson. I found it hard to put down and read it in a day.

William Gibson, along with Bruce Sterling, are considered the fathers of the cyberpunk genre of science fiction. Neuromancer is one of Gibson’s key novels and a major seed from which movies like The Matrix (1999) grew. (In fact, Gibson uses the term “matrix” for cyberspace in this book.)

The story involves a man named Henry Case, a former “console cowboy” — an elite computer hacker.

When the novel opens Case is living his own slow suicide because an attempt to pilfer from an employer resulted in having his nervous system poisoned by mycotoxins that forever destroyed his neural interface with cyberspace. He is a Cowboy no more, now just a street hustler doing ever more dangerous deals.

Then he’s recruited and fixed by what turns out to be an AI with the “Turing registry code name” of Wintermute who wants to join with another AI codenamed Neuromancer. They are akin to two halves of a brain, each with specialties of their own, and they want to be whole.

Well, Wintermute does. Neuromancer isn’t so sure it’s a good idea.

It’s a great adventure in an amazingly conceived reality that defined a new style of science fiction. Could not put it down!

§

I’ve been meaning to re-read Neuromancer as a prelude to reading the two other books that take place in the same reality (the Spawl). I’ve never read Count Zero (1986) or Mona Lisa Overdrive (1988).

All three are available at the library, but for months Neuromancer has been out on loan with a long wait list.

The thing is, I have a paperback copy, but I’m so spoiled by ebooks now I’ve been reluctant to pick up the hardcopy. But after The Truth of the Divine I wanted something really good to read (to double-check my mood, if nothing else), so I made myself pick up the paperback.

Glad I did. I’ve already checked out and started Count Zero!

§ §

Lastly a new book, The Ancient Ones (2020), the latest from David Brin, a hard-SF writer who has long been one of my favorite authors (I’ve mentioned him more than once).

It’s a silly goofy comedy overloaded with puns, and — as should be apparent by the cover art — is a parody of a famous and beloved science fiction TV show.

So imagine Star Trek told from Spock’s perspective among the illogical, impulsive, often astonishingly lucky beyond reason, humans.

Except…

What if Spock was the calm logical human advisor, an “ancient one,” a member of the race of early space travelers who brought technology to other younger races, and the illogical, impulsive, often astonishingly lucky beyond reason, crew were demmies, a race of short-lived, short-statured (pointy teethed) beings who just want to have fun going on adventures, usually rushing headlong into them without thought.

In other words, pretty much Kirk and crew.

The medical demmie is Guts, the engineering demmie is Nuts (a nickname she hates). The security walking dead are greenies after their lime-green shirts (which make just as nice a target as red ones).

Two examples of the humor:

At one point Guts injects a native with Alien Relaxxant Number One, a compound usually privately synthesized and provided to the doctor by the ship’s human advisor, an example of superior human technology. But Guts is sophisticated enough of a demmie to be in on the secret — it’s just highly distilled water because the placebo effect is universal. Upon being injected, hysterical aliens always calm down.

The transporter is a 200-mile hose they carry on a giant reel that takes half the mass and volume of the ship. They unwind it and let the nozzle down to the surface. The crew are converted to chemical slurry, shot down the tube, and reconstructed, usually successfully, at the nozzle. Non-organic gear is sent down in sealed tubes. The hose is invisible to radar, sonar, infrared, and most visible light because it’s painted the mystical color blue, which the demmies can’t see.

§

The planet they’re exploring, Oxytocin 41, turns out to have a serious problem. Due to a disease that began some time ago, when standards (normal people) die, they turn into either: Zoomz (zombies), Lik’ems (werewolves), or Nomorts (vampires). These are effectively the lower, middle, and upper, classes of undead.

Who generally prey on the living standards, but there is a giant hotel-casino neutral ground that lets them prey in a more… financial way.

I’m only halfway through this one, but it’s a lot of fun!

§ §

Stay reading, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

19 responses to “Ellis: The Truth of the Divine

  • Wyrd Smythe

    As a side note, Gibson’s the Sprawl “trilogy” consists of three different stories that take place in the same reality. A number of his short stories take place in the same reality: the seminal Burning Chrome (1982), New Rose Hotel (1984), and my personal favorite Johnny Mnemonic (1981).

    That last one was made into the 1995 same-named movie starring Keanu Reeves. It’s one of those movies (like Waterworld or Johnny Dangerously) that people love to hate, but which are actually little gems once you get past the ‘this movie sucks’ popular gestalt.

  • Wyrd Smythe

    It might be tempting to compare Redshirts, by John Scalzi, with The Ancient Ones, but the only things they have in common are being humorous Star Trek parodies.

    Redshirts is actually a serious story where most of the humor comes from the situation and parody. It’s also hugely, hugely meta and self-aware.

    The Ancient Ones might be thought of as “The Monty Python do Star Trek” but a much more accurate, if also more obscure, comparison is that the level of writing and humor reminds me a lot of the Xanth books by Piers Anthony. In particular the endless stream of puns. Even Robert Asprin’s Myth Adventures books (let alone Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books) are far more serious than this bit of goofy fun.

    That said, there is definitely some edge to the parody. We, after all, are the demmies, and that’s just one vowel away from dummies.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      There’s a bit of a Dune parody, except the desert is made of sugar from the giant sugarworms (sugar is a spice, you know). It’s a vast dessert. It’s inhabited only by femen — groups of females who’ve renounced males (except for a few they keep for breeding).

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Finished. It gets more thoughtful and less silly in the final chapter or so. Very definite thumbs up!

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    After reading your new experience of Neuromancer, I pulled up the preview and read the first several pages. It does seem more understandable than I recall. On the other hand, man, details, details, details, almost none of which I care about. I know it’s like catnip to detail oriented readers, but for me it’s just tedium I have to endure to get to the good stuff. The problem is I often glaze over and end up missing the good stuff.

    I stopped when Case was walking the street and looking in a shop window, and a long description of some product ensued. And then the narrative seemed ready to move on without that having anything to do with anything. That’s when I bailed. Gibson’s just not my cup of tea.

    The preview did include an introduction written by Gibson for the 2000 edition, noting what he’d said in interviews, that he generally got in trouble when he got specific with the technology (printers and modems). But he also noted the lack of cell phones, and the key scene involving a line of pay phones. (I don’t remember much from the book, but I do remember that scene.) He also noted the opening line about the sky being the color of a dead channel. It took him a decade to realize many of his readers had never seen a dead channel, and were probably imagining something very different than the image he meant to convey.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, it’s very dense. And at this point it suffers a little from the Seinfeld Isn’t Funny syndrome. It’s hard to remember those details were new and defined a genre back then. Now we’re so used to cyberpunk it seems old hat. Gibson does paint a vivid and constant picture, I’ll say that. His Sprawl is well-visualized.

      I think you’re talking about the bit where he sees, among other things, the shuriken stars. He thinks they make good destiny stars for him, and Gibson keeps returning to them. (Molly buys him one after noting his interest, and he keeps it as a talisman.)

      The pay phone scene, yeah, the AI is trying to contact him. It’s the each-phone-he-passes-rings thing. And the glow of minimally stimulated phosphor, yeah, that’s another anachronism. There’s also a bit about the noise of a printer — even that has changed.

      I think it says something about trying to predict the future that almost no one predicted mobile devices with the abilities we take for granted. Roddenberry’s tricorders sort of. Dick Tracy’s wrist thing was closer, but was just comms, not a comp. (Loved their flying trashcans, though.) And it’s cracked me up how many authors thought fax would still be a thing.

      The future’s hard!

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        On remembering it’s place in creating cyberpunk, I think that’s true when reading just about any classic science fiction. I still remember my initial reaction to reading Foundation. It didn’t seem that groundbreaking, but I was reading it in the 1980s after having consumed a lot of sci-fi that it had influenced.

        Yeah, the stars are where I got to. It doesn’t surprise me too much that they turn out to be important. But the fact that I glazed out on them probably means I would have missed it. And it followed a lot of other details that, for me, were bogging down the story. Again, I fully understand that for many people, that’s what they delight in about his storytelling.

        On predicting the future, I think the cell phone prediction fail reveals that there are two issues. The first is what technologies will work and become available. The second is how pervasive they will become. Sci-fi predicted computer and communication devices, but not their ubiquity. (I think it was Gibson who said the future is already here, it’s just distributed unevenly.) On the other hand, sci-fi predicted we’d all have flying cars. Some of this seems like just a failure to think through the logistics.

        But definitely, the future is hard.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yes, very true, one often has to compensate (in various ways) when reading classic SF (or even just classic fiction — I run into the same thing with classic mysteries). I think it’s especially true with defining classics because what they defined has become common. (Seinfeld being a canonical example.) As you found with Foundation it really hits you when reading a classic work for the first time. Exactly as you said, it never seems that groundbreaking and you can’t help but wonder what all the fuss is about. (I wonder sometimes if that’s why I didn’t respond to Infinite Jest all three times I tried to read it. A life-long diet of science fiction made it seem mundane to me.)

        Speaking of Foundation it sounds like they’re pretty far off-book and making this into the usual action-hero excitement thrills conflict stuff everything is these days. I watched the first episode of the new season of Doctor Who and saw the same thing there. (I was hugely underwhelmed. I am so not a fan of Chibnall’s writing. This final Chibnall/Whittaker season “Flux” is a six-episode complex multi-arc story that… has some potential, but what it pulls off remains to be seen.)

        There seems quite a spectrum in how people take storytelling. I know I’m more bored by certain kinds of details than others who relish them. For instance, I don’t much care about the weather or its use as a (very old, very tired, very overused and cliché) metaphor. I’m as uninterested in the weather changing as metaphor as I am in listening to Bach. Clothing descriptions tend to bore me stupid, too, or at least they used to. I’ve hated them less as I’ve matured (??) as a reader. Point is, I know people who extend away on both sides, some liking that stuff more, some less.

        Here’s a question: to what extent do you visualize what you’re reading? I’m wondering if there is any correlation with visualization and appreciation of those details that support it. The descriptions of clothing, for example, once I stopped skipping them and read them, did make the described characters more vivid. I think, too, for me some of it depends on the author. Gibson carried me along, but others make my eyes cross with roughly the same ratio of action/description. Even mood might be factor.

        Heh, once again that double-translation, artist-to-medium and medium-to-consumer. The level of detail the artist finds worthy versus the level of detail the reader does. That’s even a problem with non-fiction; I deal with it in most of my posts.

        Good point; how pervasive something becomes is a separate axis. That’s like trying to predict what’ll be a hit song or movie. Technology one can kinda sorta try to extrapolate, but public taste and direction? Ha, good luck with that!

        Some of it does seem wishful thinking that logistics would suggest rethinking. Flying is energy intensive, so not practical for small groups with better options. There’s an issue with “roads in the sky” — defined pathways. That’s easier on the ground. It is done in the sky, but requires special training and gear. Flying is just much more complicated than driving, so flying cars are probably never going to happen.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Foundation does have a lot of action in it, but it’s not like it dumped the philosophical aspects. They’re there too, just interwoven in the action. I noted in my review of it that the novels involve a lot of philosophical debates between men smoking cigars. The show has none of that. But it does have what amounts to externalized debates between many of the same parties. It’s looking like the season will end at the end of the first Seldon crisis, and the resolution looks like it will be similar, just with a lot of onscreen action.

        Yeah, I’m not sure about this Doctor Who season yet. The first episode felt frantic, scattershot, and over the top. It’s not clear the current writers understand how to do a season story, but it could still stabilize into something good. That said, I have to agree. I’m ready for the Chibnall era to be done with. Hopefully Russell Davies will make the show fun again.

        I usually visualize everything I read in fiction. But it’s worth noting that in life I don’t spend a lot of time taking in visual scenery. I usually get the gist and move on. Which is probably why I like having the author just communicate the gist, rather than spend a lot of time describing things for me to mentally assemble it.

        I’ve seen it claimed that readers get satisfaction from taking in the details and figuring out what’s there. I’m sure some do. I usually don’t. There are exceptions, such as when a viewpoint character has never seen something before but it turns out to be something we would recognize, such as a post-apocalyptic character coming across an aerial drone.

        I did read something this morning saying that flying cars, in the shape of electric VTOLs, might soon be a thing. But I’m not holding my breath.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        As far as Foundation, it’s what I expected. On the spectrum of ramping up the story and adding stuff, it sounds from what I’m reading that the show is pretty all in. It’s not so much about what they’ve kept, but what they’ve added from whole cloth and the nature of that cloth. No matter, it is what it is. I have zero sense of outrages.

        I does mitigate against getting Apple TV just yet. Things I’ve been hearing about the Jon Stewart show have done likewise. There is so much to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and the few broadcast shows, that I don’t feel much pull.

        Doctor Who: Yeah, exactly, crammed too much into the episode, and so much seemed unearned — comic book stuff where things happen just because. Kinda hard to judge though, the show could be that way in the past, but somehow it worked better. But I’m sure I have anti-Chibnall bias at this point. You have to number me among those who really had the timeless child thing.

        Talking about describing a specific technical object, I often get hung up by those because the author’s sense of simple words (like “across” or “triangular” or “lateral”) seems slightly different than mine. I sometimes have a hard time picturing such objects. It’s isn’t the picturing, it’s the words. I want to be able to ask, “Well, do you mean…” 😀

        I’ll believe flying cars when one is in my garage! The amount of energy required to keep a body in the air is so much more than to push it on wheels along the ground. The gas mileage on airplanes really sucks! 🙂

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Yeah, Foundation is really the only show I’m watching on Apple TV right now. I do plan to try some others eventually, but this is the only one that’s really drawing me in. There’s a possibility I’ll suspend my subscription after Foundation is done for this year.

        I know what you mean about simple words. At times they’re just too ambiguous. I sometimes get the idea that the author has the image in their head, and the words they’re using are what come to mind while perceiving that image, but they’re the wrong ones to actually generate the image in someone else’s mind.

        In many cases, I think an author has to decide whether we really need to have that image, and if so do the extra description necessary to get us there, or that we just need to know what it means to the POV character.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Very true. Unless the reader has to know for plot reasons, it’s probably best to leave it to their imagination. Unless the author is just determined to add that descriptive color for those that relish it. [Oh, now there’s an idea ebooks make possible. Terse and verbose versions of a book! Readers can pick.]

        I suppose authors of straight fiction have it easier. They can refer to a Tudor house or a Colt 1911 .45 or a 1968 Ford Fairlane and not have to describe it much further (other than embellishes — it was red). The problem with making stuff up is you have to bring your readers up to speed! It’s no wonder SF is usually so info-dumpy.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Just finished the second book in Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy, Count Zero. I liked it, but it didn’t have the can’t-put-it-down aspect of Neuromancer. I’m just starting the third book, Mona Lisa Overdrive.

      I do think Gibson’s choices as an author limit his appeal. One has to be willing to put in some effort unpacking his narrative; he doesn’t spell it all out in easy info dumps. I’m okay with that, but I’m not always sure I’m keeping up, and that puts me off a bit. Unlike C.J. Cherryh or Stephen R. Donaldson, who are likewise very dense, Gibson doesn’t always provide enough adventure along the way to keep the reader engaged. And when he does, his describing action scenes somehow leaves me wanting.

      But he’s definitely unique and very good at what he does.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I know what you mean. He’s not my type of writer, but he definitely works for a lot of people. It’s unfortunate for me, because if someone were to adapt this series into a TV show, which I could consume without having to parse the writing, I’d likely love it.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        In some general sense, people have. Shows like Black Mirror and Altered Carbon (and many others) owe a lot to Gibson (and Sterling), but a TV series based on these books could be pretty cool if they didn’t screw it up.

        Speaking of which, saw the second episode of Doctor Who last night. Nuf sed.

  • Michael

    Taste is definitely interesting, Wyrd! I’ve read Neuromancer, but it’s been a long time and I don’t remember it much at all. Would probably be fun to try it again sometime! The last sci fi I read was earlier this year: Riddley Walker. It was very unique and I enjoyed it, but I’m thinking it may not be for everyone. It is written in a form of fiction dialect that affects the spelling of all the words, so it takes a little while to get into the flow of it.

    In other news, I just downloaded Slumberland by our buddy Paul Beatty and have begun that wild ride. Have laughed out loud multiple times in the first few chapters. He’s pretty amazing. But I can see his satirical treatment of serious issues may not be everybody’s cup of tea either…

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I’d never heard of Riddley Walker until you mentioned it. From its Wiki page I see it’s an oldie, from 1980. The article notes that Hoban used a devolved form of English that was “described as being similar to the Nadsat slang spoken in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange.” That one I did read and had the same experience of having to get into the flow of the language. It does make for a unique experience. (Burgess has a glossary at the end, and at first I was constantly turning to it, which broke the flow badly. I finally just punted and went with the text, and that worked out fine.)

      I haven’t gotten around to Tuff yet (I’ve got it, so one of these days), but of the other three Slumberland might be the least accessible. It asks for a lot of musical background as well as some knowledge of Germany at that time. The White Boy Shuffle and The Sellout seem to have less high entry requirements.

      No, I agree that Beatty isn’t for everyone. There’s the surrealism, which not everyone loves, and, as you say, the satirical edge behind it all. I often have in mind the James Baldwin quote, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a state of rage almost, almost all of the time — and in one’s work. And part of the rage is this: It isn’t only what is happening to you. But it’s what’s happening all around you and all of the time in the face of the most extraordinary and criminal indifference,…” I can’t even begin to imagine the depths of that state of rage, but I can fully appreciate its source.

  • Does Transporting Kill You? | Logos con carne

    […] about how the construction occurs without an end station to perform it. (The David Brin parody I wrote about last post tackles and answers this vexing question.) Larry Niven wrote some stories about transporters and […]

  • Wyrd Smythe

    I mentioned in another comment that schwa confusion tends to make me misspell “divine” as “devine” and while working on a new post (for my other blog) I realized there might be even more to this particular confusion.

    I was typing “devoted” and started to type “divoted” — not at all what I meant. But then a small lightbulb flickered on. Damn. We can be devoted to the divine. No wonder I’m confused. 😮

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