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M. C. A. Hogarth
Name: M. C. A. Hogarth
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My life in text: writing, art, massage therapy, fencing, health, humor and language and culture; ethics and society and personal musing.
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Stardancer News - February 5th, 2013
The Pursuit of Beauty

Welcome back to Earthrise! We are now on our regular schedule, free on Tuesdays, with Thursday and Saturday available if donations or subscriptions that week go over $15 per episode. You can catch up on existing episodes, donate, or set up a subscription here! And now, on to the story:

Earthrise
Her Instruments, Book 1

Episode 38

      “Oh, hush,” Reese said. “I’ll come with you. Isn’t that enough?”
      Sascha snorted and flowed out the door. She followed, looking in vain for the bloody footsteps Zhemala had mentioned; she supposed they’d already been wiped up. Past the Lizard Garden, it was a twenty minute walk to the hospital, where Sascha plunged into the grounds with a grim determination that did more to unsettle Reese’s stomach than anything he’d said. They pushed through overgrown bushes, investigated secluded copses, trudged through flower gardens and over ornamental bridges. Reese had no idea how much time had elapsed since they began their hunt, but by the time it ended she was sticky, thirsty, and completely unprepared for the sight of Hirianthial.
      They’d been apart for weeks, she reasoned. Doing separate duties. He’d been rooming somewhere else; she’d had no opportunities to see him, not easily… all a rationalization. Had she made the effort to check up on him, she would have seen this deterioration.
      Reese stood in front of him, struggling to keep her uncertainty from transforming into anger. Sascha stood well behind her, nearer to the pond than to the bench where Hirianthial rested. He was too long for it; one leg rested against the ground, the other curled on top of it. His arms were furled against his breast. She wasn’t sure if he was sleeping and she wasn’t glad of the chance it gave her to see he’d lost weight, that there were real hollows in his cheeks. It made him look half-dead. It was terrifying.
      “Hirianthial,” Reese said. She stopped when her voice fluttered and rubbed her throat. “Are you awake?”
      He didn’t stir. She didn’t want to touch him. Instead, she crouched across from him and addressed him face to face. “Hirianthial?” She thought of her romance novels. “Lord Hirianthial, awake.”
      His eye opened. Behind her, Sascha said, “Damnfeathers! That worked?”
      She ignored the tigraine. “I need your help.”
      That opened both eyes. He didn’t blink or look away. He usually let her go after a few minutes. Maybe he knew his gaze made her uncomfortable.
      “Please,” Reese said. “I need you to come with me to run an errand off-world. To get us some money.”
      “I—” He stopped, licked his lips. This time the words had volume. “I have duties.”
      “I’ve canceled your contracts,” Reese said. “This was more important.”
      He stared at her.
      “Will you do it?” she asked. On a hunch, she added, “It has to be you. You and Sascha. One of you to drive me insane and the other one to keep me from joining him.”
      He didn’t answer immediately. Reese tried not to fidget, but her heart was beginning to hammer when he finally said, “Which one for which role?”
      “I’ll let the two of you figure it out on the shuttle,” Reese said. “Go to the hospital and pack your things, then meet me at the port in a couple of hours. No, one hour, in front of the Long Bird. We’ll eat before we leave.” She took a long breath. “Please.”
      “Yes, lady.”
      She didn’t have the heart to take offense at the title. Sascha joined her as she retreated from the pond, and together they walked off the hospital grounds.
      “You handled that better than I thought you would,” the tigraine said once they’d started down the path back to the house.
      “Yeah, well, I’m not all bad,” Reese said. She sighed. “Thanks for doing what I told you to.”
      “I’m all over the delegation, boss,” Sascha said, grinning.
      “Right. Well, Mister Delegation, you go pack. I’m going to tell the rest of the crew where we’re off to.”
      “Sounds good,” he said. “Where are we off to, anyway?”
      “Home,” Reese said. “To Mars.”

***

      Hirianthial ate because arguing with Reese about not eating took more energy than doing what she wanted. He followed her off-world because following her constituted a course of action, and he had no energy to formulate one of his own. The beginning of the trip involved several shuttle transfers that kept him tracking wayward baggage and investigating new quarters often enough to drive all other thoughts from his mind.
      It was a form of meditation, in the end. He concentrated on the minutia of the trip, moment by moment. New flight numbers glowing on a board. The musk and sweat of a busy space station. The tinny sound of poorly-insulated insystem drives. Cheap carpet, barely soft enough to cushion metal floors. Beds too short for his body; ceilings too low for his height. Reese and Sascha arguing, out of affection, out of exhaustion. Their auras, tingling bright and dimming after too long cooped in a tiny shuttle.
      The second-to-last leg was scheduled to bring them to Pluto’s welcome station, a trip of two days. It was the longest of their rides and the most confining. There were passenger liners that connected there that would have brought them in lush comfort, but the best Reese could afford for their passage involved a single dormitory with bunk-beds and a passenger mess that doubled as a recreation room. Hirianthial avoided it, but Sascha and Reese took turns hiding there.
      “The closer we get, the more irritable she is,” Sascha said as he entered the dorm. “Angels on the fields! Even I want to throttle her. What on Mars could possibly be so scary?”
      Hirianthial turned onto his side to look at the tigraine.
      “And you’re not helping,” Sascha said. “You’ve said maybe two words this entire time. You want me to handle her alone? The least you could do is distract her from me on occasion so I don’t have to deal with the brunt of it all the time.”
      That pang in his chest… guilt. Yes, he recognized guilt. “You seem to do well enough.”
      “Of course I do. If I stop talking, she’ll brood and the longer she broods, the more explosive she is when she snaps out of it. My only hope is to keep her from getting too introspective.” The Harat-Shar stopped across from their bunks and folded his arms, ears flattening. “Don’t tell me I have to do the same thing with you.”
      “No,” Hirianthial said after a moment. “I don’t explode.”
      “No,” Sascha said. “You dwindle. You implode. That’s no good either. I wanted this trip to get away from this kind of behavior, not get socked in the face with it again.”
      That sparked something in him. “There was trouble?”
      The tigraine wavered, eyeing him. Then with a sigh he dropped onto the floor and pressed his back against the bunk frame. “Ah, Angels. My siblings are going to drive me crazy.”
      “So it was as you feared,” Hirianthial said.
      “And worse. They want me to stay, and playing with them again has reminded both Irine and me about how nice family is.” Sascha stared at his folded hands, resting on his knees. “Nice becomes cloying. And then smothering.”
      He could have sensed the shape of the wound in Sascha’s words even if he hadn’t felt the dull red shimmer under the flat gray in the man’s aura. When Sascha didn’t volunteer more, Hirianthial said, “I didn’t know you had other siblings.”
      “With my father having seven wives?” Sascha laughed. “He’d have to be chaste. There are seventeen kits in the family, not counting me and Irine. Most of them are nice enough. It’s just there’s… well, there’s some politicking. Even if we don’t like to admit it, a woman wants her children to have the best of everything. Six other women with children makes it a competitive field.”
      “Your family seems prosperous,” Hirianthial said.
      “Oh, they are,” Sascha said. “Thank the Angels for that.” He scratched his ear. “It’s so hard to say ‘no’ to family. You know?”
      A wave of cold anger and mingled regret washed to the forefront of Hirianthial’s mind. He remembered steel and brown blood. “Yes, I know.”
      Sascha sighed. “Sometimes you just have to get away. I didn’t want to do anything I’d regret.”
      “Wise,” Hirianthial said. “Of course, we’ll be back in less than a week.”
      “Hopefully with the money to cut short our visit,” Sascha said. “I can’t imagine you’ll be sorry to leave either. And don’t go all silent on me. I’m not going to get offended if you tell me you hate Harat-Sharii.”
      “There are very few things I hate,” Hirianthial said. “Your homeworld is not among them.”
      “But?”
      “None of us belong there,” Hirianthial said.
      “Except Irine,” Sascha said. “And I’m going to have to drag her away. She’ll forgive me for it and the excitement of traveling will distract her, but I’ll know in my heart that I took her away from her family. I don’t like that. I don’t like deciding for her, even though she won’t mind.”
      “Perhaps Harat-Sharii isn’t the best place for her,” Hirianthial said.
      “How do I know?” Sascha said; his aura had flattened to a morose black, sticky as tar.
      “You don’t,” Hirianthial said. “But she’ll choose to go with you and that’s all that matters. It is her choice, alet.”
      “Right. Follow me or get left behind.”
      “No. To choose the love of her brother or the safety and familiarity of home. Do not belittle her by diminishing the choice just because you know what she will choose. Instead be honored that her love for you is so constant you know what she’ll choose before you even offer her the choice.”
      The black lightened to gray, more like rain than tar. After observing his own hands for a while, Sascha said, “I guess that’s love.”
      “Such love is rare even in an Eldritch’s lifespan,” Hirianthial said.
      “If you say it, it must be true,” the Harat-Shar with a flush of green humor. He twisted to look up at Hirianthial. “I hope you’ve known love.”
      Faced with such friendly eyes and the suffusion of warmth in the tigraine’s aura, Hirianthial could no more remain silent than he could stop breathing. “Yes.”
      “Good,” Sascha said. He took a long breath. “I guess some people are always the actors and some the followers.”
      “Sometimes,” Hirianthial said.
      “And I’m an actor,” Sascha said.
      “Yes.”
      “And you’re a follower.”
      Hirianthial paused, which gave the tigraine time to fill in the space. “So I’m telling you to pay more attention to eating. And to sleep better. Just looking at you makes me ache. And no more hiding away from the two of us, because Reese wasn’t kidding when she said she’d need us both. I get the feeling it’s going to be even worse when we finally get to Mars.”
      Startled, Hirianthial said nothing.
      “So start being more intrusive, okay?” Sascha said. “I don’t know how someone six and a half feet tall and dressed like a foreign prince can disappear at will, but you’ve been doing it for days now and it’s not helping. Not Reese, not me and not you. Will you promise?”
      “To be more intrusive?” Hirianthial said, finding humor in it despite himself.
      “Yes,” Sascha said. “To be more helpful.”
      “My help is not always enough,” Hirianthial said quietly.
      “Is that any reason not to offer?” Sascha asked.
      “No,” Hirianthial said.
      Sascha nodded. “Good. So promise. And I mean that. I want to hear it out loud.”
      Hirianthial found a short laugh. “You aren’t going to give up, I see.”
      “No. And trust me, we might not be very patient as a race, but we’re certainly obsessive. You don’t want me to get obsessive about you giving me your word.”
      “I certainly don’t,” Hirianthial said. “Very well. I promise I’ll be more intrusive.”
      “Good,” Sascha said. He stood and shook his head. “I don’t know where you get this idea that you’re no good to anyone, you know. Only a few minutes of talking with you and I feel better about everything.”
      Hirianthial thought it best not to respond to that and was doing well on that course when Sascha threw a pillow at him.
      “Stop that!”
      “Stop what?” the Eldritch said, sitting up.
      “Withdrawing. You think you’ve got all the answers and that you’re always right. Well, you’re not. Keep that in mind. And go drink some milk before your bones get too old to hold together anymore.”
      “Dubious science at best,” Hirianthial said, but he stood anyway and straightened his clothes. “Where did you learn biology?”
      “In school, like most people,” Sascha said. “Unfortunately, the teacher was really really cute. I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying; I was too busy posing him in my fantasies.”
      “Harat-Shar,” Hirianthial said.
      “To the marrow,” Sascha agreed cheerfully.

***

Are you ready to meet Reese’s family? Coming up next…

We are $10 away from a Thursday episode!


Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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Word of the Day
sapid, adj. 1. Having a strong, pleasant taste; palatable. 2. (of talk or writing) Pleasant or interesting.

Etymology says this one’s from Latin sapidus, from sapere, “to taste.”

Daughter at 5 Years

This week is the art week! Daughter drew this picture of her stuffed animal fox… with her riding it, to her grandmother’s house. I asked her what was in the thought bubbles, since it’s a little hard to read. Foxy is thinking of giving a Valentine to her. She is thinking “I am havin fun” (spelled just so). And my mother is saying “cam in” (come in).

“Look, Mommy,” she says, pointing this out twice to make sure I see it, “the door is open.” And indeed, it is: she’s figured out how to draw a door so that it’s not just a hole in the house, but you can see the open door across from it, with the handle.

I did just notice that Foxy has five legs, though. I guess that makes him run faster. Either that or drawing legs is too much fun to stop at four!

Creative News/Plans
Earthrise just posted! We are just about halfway through the book now. My commute’s giving me time to work through my audiobook approval queue, so I’ve approved “Unknowable” and am working through the last chapters of Rosary; after that, it’s Godkin (Book 1) and “Anadi Dolls.” Lots of good audiobooks coming!

I’m manually putting stories up on B&N that Smashwords failed to transfer (or transferred without meta-data), so for instance Black Blossom and Alysha’s Fall have finally made it over. Look for more of those in the coming weeks.

Otherwise, more writing. I would like the Jokka novels to be out of my head and into the revision stage.

Elsewhere (The Edition)
Silent Reading Isn’t So Silent. Apparently we “speak” the lines we read to ourselves, or so brain scans show.
Forget the Placebo Effect, It’s the Care Effect That Matters. This one also makes sense to me.

Quote of the Day
Self-knowledge comes from knowing other men. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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Update! Spots the Space Marine has been reinstated! Read about it here and on the EFF.

In mid-December, Games Workshop told Amazon that I’d infringed on the trademark they’ve claimed for the term “space marine” by titling my original fiction novel Spots the Space Marine. In response, Amazon blocked the e-book from sale [original post and update]. Since then, I’ve been in discussion with Games Workshop, and following their responses, with several lawyers.

To engage a lawyer to defend me from this spurious claim would cost more money than I have, certainly more than the book has ever earned me. Rather than earning money for my family, I’d be taking money from them, when previously my writing income paid for my daughter’s schooling. And I’d have to use the little time I have to write novels to fight a protracted legal battle instead.

In their last email to me, Games Workshop stated that they believe that their recent entrée into the e-book market gives them the common law trademark for the term “space marine” in all formats. If they choose to proceed on that belief, science fiction will lose a term that’s been a part of its canon since its inception. Space marines were around long before Games Workshop. But if GW has their way, in the future, no one will be able to use the term “space marine” without it referring to the space marines of the Warhammer 40K universe.

I used to own a registered trademark. I understand the legal obligations of trademark holders to protect their IP. A Games Workshop trademark of the term “Adeptus Astartes” is completely understandable. But they’ve chosen instead to co-opt the legacy of science fiction writers who laid the groundwork for their success. Even more than I want to save Spots the Space Marine, I want someone to save all space marines for the genre I grew up reading. I want there to be a world where Heinlein and E.E. Smith’s space marines can live alongside mine and everyone else’s, and no one has the hubris to think that they can own a fundamental genre trope and deny it to everyone else.

At this point I’m not sure what course to take. I interviewed five lawyers and all of them were willing to take the case, but barring the arrival of a lawyer willing to work pro bono, the costs of beginning legal action start at $2000 and climb into the five-figure realm when it becomes a formal lawsuit. Many of you don’t know me, so you don’t know that I write a business column/web comic for artists; wearing my business hat, it’s hard to countenance putting so much time and energy into saving a novel that hasn’t earned enough to justify it. But this isn’t just about Spots. It’s about science fiction’s loss of one of its foundational tropes.

I have very little free time and very little money. But if enough people show up to this fight, I’ll give what I can to serve that trust. And if the response doesn’t equal the level of support I would need, then I still thank you for your help and your well wishes. For now, step one is to talk about this. Pass it on to your favorite news source. Tell your favorite authors or writers’ organizations. To move forward, we need interest. Let’s generate some interest.

I am available for questions for anyone who has them; you can reach me at haikujaguar at gmail. Thanks, everyone.

***

Finally, several of you have asked about the Spots the Space Marine charity. I have always donated a portion of my profits from the sale of the book (in all editions, serial, e-book and print) to The Wounded Warrior Project, a charity recommended to me by the servicemen and servicewomen who also helped me with my many questions while writing. I’m not sure when Spots the Space Marine will be available again, but until I figure it out, I commend this charity to you. There would be no space marines without the real thing.

Mirrored from MCAH Online.

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