Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Miss Lurk's Guide to Shopping with a Gentleman

"Oh, whatever shall I do with my gentleman when he accompanies me as I attend to my shopping?" This frequent complaint, uttered by young unmarried ladies and newlyweds, has been asked for centuries. Countless jests and japes have been made of this conundrum throughout the common media, and though the answers provided have been amusing, they certainly do not address the central precept of the question. To whit:

"Why does my young man not enjoy shopping in the same manner as do I? Why does he shuffle along behind me, dejected and sullen as a freshly-beaten servant? How shall I ever convey unto him the importance and excitement of shopping, and how much I treasure our time together?"

It saddens Miss Lurk to tell you this, my poppets, but the unfortunate truth is that your young men would rather enlist in the Army, travel in a cramped steamer ship for six weeks, and die in port from dysentery  miles from home than accompany you to even the closest boutique or shoe shoppe, because from their perspectives, the dysentery would at least be somewhat exciting. This is why, when you sweetly ask them to accompany you on your gay errand, they moan and complain as if physically ill.

As much as Miss Lurk would like, this is neither the time nor place to dwell upon the differences (and failings!) between the sexes. Suffice it to say that gentlemen have much in common with their beloved dogs: unless in pursuit of something -- be it ball, stick, pheasant, or other form of prey -- they are constantly underfoot and nipping at one's heels. Oh, but give them something to chase! Thence you shall burst forth from them such energy and desire as you had never before seen, and once their target has been run down and seized, they are only too pleased to return to you with their bounty, delivering it to your feet with a smile and a flourish.

This is because, dear ones, gentlemen and dogs are aggressive hunters, whereas we ladies are placid gatherers. To have your gentleman trail along behind as you shop is as dull and pointless for him as it is for a dog to be yoked to a horse. Instead, Miss Lurk suggests that if you utilize his natural desires to hunt and please, it should make for a more enjoyable (and efficient!) experience for you both.

First, before you embark upon your shoppage, you should effect great consternation at all that you needs must accomplish today. Your young man, if he be truly a gentleman, should practically leap from his chair with desire to assist you in this most arduous of tasks. (And if he does not, ladies, then he is a cad and a bounder and you must cease all interaction with him forthwith!) At this you must smile sweetly while politely declining, suggesting that it would not be proper to task a proper gentleman with tiresome woman's work.

This, ladies, is akin to wagging a stick in front of a dog's nose and saying, in an excited voice, if he desires to fetch it. No man can resist a challenge, after all, and he will be most eager to prove his manhood by performing your "difficult" task with ease, and curry favor with you besides. But you must play this game carefully! If you decline him too readily, he is apt to accept your suggestion that he not be bothered, but if you accept too quickly he may become aware that something is amiss. You must tread the delicate line until he is practically howling with desire to serve you.

Then, and only then, do you appear to concede. Your posture should reflect resignation, but your countenance must show grateful acceptance of his help. With a smile and gentle touch upon his shoulder, inform him in solemn tones that he is no mere shopper, for that would not suit his masculine nature; instead, he is your Autonomous Resource Hunter-Gatherer.

We shall not mention to him that, abbreviated, the ARHG sounds like "argh". It shall be our little secret, yes?

With much to-do, assign your ARHG his quarry. This list may be as long as you think his patience will tolerate, but be aware of two things. For one, you needs must be exceedingly specific! Do not simply tell him to retrieve "some washing powder," for he undoubtedly will return with the wrong kind. Instead, tell him which brand, what size package, how much it should cost, et cetera.

For two, it is best if you give your gentleman a list of items which are not grouped together in one place. For as much as we ladies enjoy pondering the varied merits of different items, your AHRG most enjoys being on the move, on the hunt, searching for an item to bring back to you. Miss Lurk recommends you give him a list of no more than three items, preferably all in different locations, and thence to meet you at a prearranged location. Upon his return, praise his success (or chide his failures, as necessary) and give him yet another list.

In this way, you may shop at your own speed and discretion, whilst giving your gentleman a task at which he can excel. He is pleased to have so handily solved your "petty, girlish problems," and you have enjoyed the  benefits of having a man along to do the heavy lifting without having to listen to him complain.

Until next time, my poppets!
Miss Lurk

Monday, January 24, 2011

Random Disease Generator

Sometimes it is necessary to simulate diseases in RPGs. For GMs who desire either an element of randomness instead of assigning diseases with known symptoms, or who wish to create a truly exotic illness (extraterrestrial, magical, etc), consult the following tables. You will need at least one 12-sided die and one 30-sided.




Type of Disease
1-4       Minor Illness. Roll once on the Minor Symptom Table.
5-6       Advanced Minor Illness. Roll twice on the Minor Symptom Table.
7-9       Major. Roll once on the Major Symptom Table and three times on the Minor Symptom Table.
10-11   Advanced Major. Roll twice on the Major Symptom Table and four times on the Minor.
12        Life-threatening. Roll three times on Major Symptom and



Contagion
1-3     Not contagious.
4-7     Mildly contagious (example: fluid exchange). Basic sanitary procedures (wearing gloves, no open wounds, scrubbing after interaction) will prevent infection.
8-11   Fully contagious (example: aerosol from sneezing and coughing inhaled or lands on mucous membranes). Masks and eyeshields are needed in addition to basic sanitary procedures.
12      Massively contagious (example: just breathing the same air). HAZMAT gear necessary to avoid infection.



Minor Symptoms
1     Runny Nose
    Clogged Sinuses ("stuffed-up head")
    Mild fever (99-101 degrees)
4     Nausea/upset stomach
5     Chills
6     Sweats
7     Body aches
    Headache
    Vertigo
10   Coughing
11   Sneezing 
12   Roll twice on this table



Major Symptoms
1     Vomiting (results in malnutrition)
2     Diarrhea (results in dehydration)
3     Massive Fever (102-107 degrees)
4     Crippling body/joint pain  (may result in hit point loss)
5     Weakness/Inability to stand or move
6     Incoherence/Delusions
7     Spasmodic Coughing
8     Fluid/mucous buildup in lungs
9     Muscle spasms (example: tetanus)
10   Uncontrollable trembling (neurological damage)
11   Blood coming out of places it shouldn't
12   Coma



Method of Cure (all results are cumulative)
1-3   Bed rest
4-6   Plenty of clear fluids
7-8   Antibiotics
9      Intensive care ward (conventional medicine)
10    Experimental drugs/retrovirus/DNA therapy (unconventional medicine)
11    Pray to whatever gods there may be
12    You have no chance to survive make your time




Name Generation
(note: if in a Sci-Fi RPG, the PC doctor who discovers the disease may name it himself)

The structure is: Noun ('s) Adjective Symptom.

Noun
Clearly there are too many to list. Examples include: Name of discovering doctor; name of first patient; name of location where disease first manifested; name of people with whom the disease is endemic. If stuck, name generators may be of use. 


Adjective (pick one or roll randomly)
  1. Aching
  2. Agonizing
  3. Awful
  4. Bloody
  5. Burning
  6. Bursting
  7. Dripping
  8. Excruciating
  9. Gooey
  10. Horrendous
  11. Horrid
  12. Ichorous
  13. Insufferable
  14. Intolerable
  15. Liquid
  16. Mucosal
  17. Painful
  18. Painful
  19. Raw
  20. Rugose
  21. Scabrous
  22. Severe
  23. Slimy
  24. Squamous
  25. Throbbing
  26. Thunderous
  27. Unbearable
  28. Worse Than Death
  29. Wracking
  30. Wrenching
Symptom

Take the most life-threatening symptom (or in the case of minor ailments, most inconvenient) and use it or a synonym.

Example of use:
An intrepid space-explorer who contracted an intestinal bug that results in fever, cramps, spasms and diarrhea has a case of the Glorflaxian Thunder-Shits.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

WNW: Down in the Valley of AWESOME

"Conan, what is best in life?"


"To crush your enemies... to drive them before you... and to HACK AT THEM WITH FLAMING SWORDS POWERED BY ARC WELDERS."

This is epic. Just... fucking EPIC. I mean, flaming swords are awesome by themselves, but when you realize that people are not just acting but are ACTUALLY doing this, and with the Conan soundtrack playing.

Oh my. I think I need a cigarette.

Be warned: If you are faint of heart, or pregnant, you should not watch this video. It is so full of awesome that it could result in an Overload of Awesome.



I think what impresses me most is that one of the guys has long, flowing hair and yet manages not to catch it on fire.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Some days you just gotta shoot stuff

The problem with writing is that I can only do so much of it at any one time. Consequently, if I spend my time working on my novel, my campaign setting, or anything else which earns me money, I have subsequently less time to spend on this blog.

On the one hand, this can be taken as a sign of progress. I started this blog as a way to hone my craft and become recognized as a writer; I think it's safe to say that I've accomplished both of these things. Last week I sold my first article to a magazine publisher, which officially makes me a Professional Writer. (It was for the January issue of Unicorn Rampant's 3.5/Pathfinder e-zine Claw/Claw/Bite, and it will be available at the end of the month. I expect all of you to buy an issue!)

But on the other hand, all this "for realz" writing means I have less time to work on this here blog. That troubles me, because blogging is a lot of fun and I can say all sorts of strange things.

FLAMING MONKEY PANTIES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

.. like that. Try as I might, no one is ever going to pay me to write "Flaming Monkey Panties," no matter how awesome that phrase might be. (Hint: it's pretty damn awesome.) So I am saddened, mostly because I am not immediately rich and famous and so successful that I can talk smack on this blog during the day and then work on my "serious" writing at night.

On days like this, the only thing to do is go shoot the fuck out of some zombies. 

Erin Palette, straight-up zombie killah

I know I said that my next time out would be at 50 yards, but I didn't want to deal with that today. Besides, those zombie heads are damn small at 25 yards. Even with a scope and bipod, I still managed to clip a civilian in the right thigh...

This, however, is a damn sexy shot group.

Damn you, 10 ring! DAMN YOOOOOUUUUU


It was a good day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chrysalis

Too damn many people I know have died this year. In the span of a week I've already attended two funerals for friends of family, and at the end of the month my friend Jeannie is going to bury her mother-in-law.

Not really knowing what to say about these deaths, but feeling the need to say something, I wrote this. It just kind of came to me this afternoon while I was putting dishes away. I don't even know if it's any good, but it made me feel better after having written it.


CHRYSALIS

To all things there is a season
Even trials which, for no reason,
Seem to strike us down without remorse;

And when our time has run its course
We must remember, through our fears
That we are allocated only years.

We are born into this world
Larval, incomplete, and furled
With no knowledge of what awaits us soon;

And then we crawl into cocoons
Of wood and earth, and thence to die
While all around us, mourners ask God why.

In our rebirth, they cannot see
Our souls borne into eternity
As we emerge from our chrysalis.

And so, my love, I tell you this:
As from eternal grace hope springs
A butterfly begins to spread its wings.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Be It Resolved

So, I seem to have made it through 2010 basically unscathed, which made it a lot better year than some friends of mine, sad to say. I had the usual ups and downs of life -- met someone, fell in love, had a lot of drama, got my heart broken -- and as a result of working for the Census, I had a really awesome injury, which now means I can tell the story of how I almost cut off my thumb for years and years to come. (Speaking of which: the skin in the affected area is beginning to tingle, ever so slightly, in a pins-and-needles sensation whenever I touch something, and that means the nerve is not only regrowing/reattaching but also reconnecting to the surface.)

My only real New Year's Resolution is to aggressively carve out more quiet "me time" in which to write, or just be alone with my thoughts and imagination. So far, this is working well. I hope that as the days stretch longer and warmer, bringing with them new distractions, I will have ingrained this behavior as a habit.

2010 was, in many ways, my own personal Year of the Phoenix, which is what I had meant to accomplish back in 2009 but couldn't quite manage. Or, I suppose you could say it was a two-year project. Either way, I feel like I am about to reinvent myself as a successful writer, and it is a thrilling prospect.

My goals for the year:
  • Crank out chapters of Curse/Or at an increased rate. I'd prefer one chapter a month but that may prove unrealistic. 
  • Put out more content for Pellatarrum. This last one is practically guaranteed since in a few days I will submit an article about it to Unicorn Rampant for publishing in their Claw/Claw/Bite PDF e-magazine. If it proves popular (as I hope and pray it will), then writing about Pellatarrum could become a monthly, paying gig for me.
  • Devise an adventure outline for Raggi's LotFP WFRPG that he actually likes. This is harder than it sounds.
  • Get out of my slump and update this blog more often. 3 times a week seems lazy to me. 
  • Write more weird, silly, brain-breaking, or Discordian stuff. This blog has been too damn serious for too damn long. 
  • Continue to be awesome and mind-blowing, and keep showing that punk Sortelli who's boss.

I will conclude with The Penmonkey's Paean, written by the brilliant Chuck Wendig. I'd get this as a tattoo if I could. (I'm thinking seriously about getting the first line put someplace I can see, like on the inside of my left forearm.)

I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started.

I will not whine. I will not blubber. I will not make mewling whimpering cryface pissypants boo-hoo noises. I will not sing lamentations to my weakness.

My confidence is hard and unyielding. Like a kidney stone lodged in the ureter of a stegosaurus.

These are my adult pants. The diapers have burned away in the fires of my phoenix-esque rising.

I will burn down the forest. As the conflagration rages, all my excuses shall come scurrying forth like syphilitic rats whose backs smolder with the smoky scent of my coming victory. When my excuses bound, shrieking and squealing, toward my feet, I shall use my mighty wordhammer to squash them all, ‘asploding each like a sausage stuffed with self-deception and disillusionment.

This book is not the boss of my shit.

These characters dance when I tell them to dance. They leap, cackle, fuck and punch because I jolly well told them to and if they don’t do as I say I will have them nibbled to death by marmots.

This plot is knotted tight in the configuration I demand. With it I shall tie a noose, and with that noose I shall hang my fears and uncertainties by the neck until they void their bowels and their legs quit kickin’.

These words march in the order I choose. They are my little bitches, cobbled together of letters and made to carry heavy notions and lofty ideas and character motivations and bad-ass non-stop mad ninja action. In this way they are like ants, carrying more than they should rightfully be able to carry.

They can even be forced into sentences that no one has ever written before. “Betty Scarpetti can take pictures with her robotic hoo-hah, and those pictures will steal your dreams and sell them to goblins working the Secret Carnival down in the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly.” See? Nobody has ever written that before. Every word journey is a Journey West. I am Lewis, and I am Clark. I am not the Donner Party.

I recognize that writing a novel is hard. And I don’t give a lemur’s left foot. I don’t give a good goddamn. I don’t give two shits in a wicker basket. The best things in life are hard. Like hunting pterodactyls. Like getting married. Like climbing a mountain and building a ladder to the moon. Like raising children. Like raising robotic children. Like making a golem who will build a robot who will raise your robot children.

Writing a novel is hard because it needs to be hard. If it was easy, every jackalope with chalk dust on his fingers would write an epic masterpiece on his cave wall.

I am like a crazy mountain goat, clambering to heights no man should go.

I can almost see the top now. The pinnacle awaits.

I will sally forth until I have this book by the balls and by the throat.

I am the Commander of these words.

I am the King of this story.

I am the God of this place.

I am a writer, and I will finish the shit that I started.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Curse/Or: Chapter 5, Scene 3 (second part)

(continued from part 1)

"Shitshitshit!" shouted the doctor, as if the obscenity were a mystical ward against danger, spitting the burning pen out of his mouth and jumping backwards in that odd little bunny-hop people do to avoid having something hot fall on them.

Teresa just watched the pen, fascinated. It wasn't melting or smoldering like she would have expected. It was actually on fire, burning just as merrily-as-you-please, like it was a candle or a match.

Or a cigarette, she thought. She hadn't deliberately ignited the doctor's pen. In fact, she wouldn't have even thought to do so, let alone consider it a possibility. Then she began to remember what she had done in the restaurant earlier, how she had reached out with her magic to dissipate the effects of the stun grenade on everyone else around her. How Tommy had somehow brought her back from the brink of death.
 
Like calls to like. Cancer wants to spread. Path of least resistance.

"So doc," she mused as he yanked the fire extinguisher from the wall and doused the flaming pen with CO2, "I'm guessing you used to smoke?"

He looked up at her, blinking in confusion. "Y-yes. Started in med school. Only stopped about a year ago." He set the extinguisher down, nudging the pen with his toe. Now it just looked like a charred piece of plastic, covered in a layer of dry ice. "Why are we talking about this?"

She laughed. "Netty never told you what I do, huh? 'Course not. Bitch. Anyway, the Amazing Broken Nose out there calls me cancer's Typhoid Mary. Only I do it with magic."

"Carcinosurgist," he offered.

"You just sneeze?" Teresa asked.

Dr. Rauche shook his head. "No. I said carcinosurgist. It means one who uses cancer in Latin." He turned to her with a quirky grin. "Sorry. I analyze and catalog things when I'm nervous. It's why I went into medicine in the first place."

Teresa simply shrugged. "I just smoke."

He nodded. "Yes, and I can see why. This certainly explains a lot." He picked her chart up from the floor and studied it again.

"Okay, honesty time," he said after a few moments of uncomfortable silence. "I need to look at your hand, but before I can do that I need to know what's going on with this magic of yours." He held up a finger to forestall an already-forming objection on her lips. "I'm not going to lecture you on lifestyle. We both know it's unhealthy and probably killing you. That's your business. What I want to ensure is that it doesn't end up killing me."

He sat down on the stool again and looked her in the eyes. "Irritability. Aggressive behavior. Destructive impulses. Ms. Reyes, you are a raging nicotine addict and, according to Netty, it makes you unbearable to be around. Add to that your propensity for setting things like computer monitors and pens on fire, and you present a very real threat to me. Now, I could just anesthetize you until you aren't dangerous anymore, but I'd rather avoid that. Instead, what I would like to do, with your permission, is placate your craving without letting you smoke anywhere near me."

She gave him a wicked, tobacco-stained grin. "How're you gonna do that?"

He smiled and pulled a foil-backed sheet out of his coat pocket. "Nicotine gum. Chew on this until the cravings go away," he instructed as he handed the package.

"What if the cravings don't go away?"

"Chew another piece."

"Isn't that dangerous?"

"For other people? Yes. For you? To paraphrase a movie, you've spent the last twenty years building up an immunity to nicotine. I suspect you could chew the entire box and it would only give you a slight buzz."

"Gimme," she cackled, almost witch-like, as she tore into the foil, tossing two pieces into her mouth and chewing voraciously. The thick squares had a minty flavor at first, but as she chewed a hot, peppery sensation developed on her tongue. It burned pleasantly, like an ointment on sore muscles.

"Thish ish soo good," she mumbled around the thick wads, like a child with a jawbreaker.

For the first time in what felt like ages, she began to un-tense her muscles.

"Excellent," said Dr. Rauche. "I'll go take care of your friend's nose while you bliss out. Then we can treat your hand, and I'll show you how to administer nicotine patches."

"Take… your time…" she said to the closing door as she lay back on the exam table. Deep inside her, Tommy nursed contentedly.

Grid Revelations

To everyone who is complaining about Tron: Legacy either having a poor plot, or poor science, or whatever, I have one thing to say to you:

Shut up. You don't understand the film.

Your problem, and it's quite an understandable one, is that since you were in a movie that was about computer programs, you assumed it would be science fiction and therefore have a sci-fi plot that made sci-fi sense. What you are forgetting, however, is that sci-fi has a long and illustrious history of subversion. It is one of the few genres which allows the writer to use satire or allegory to comment upon a host of other issues, such as politics or culture or the environment (Avatar, anyone?), and if handled deftly you will hardly notice it's there. On the other hand, sometimes it's done so clumsily that it's as apparent as the "Racism is senseless and bad, mmkay?" message embedded in the original series Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."

This is the opposite of subtle.

So let's look at the original Tron movie for a moment under this light. What we have here is a fun little tale about computers at a time when computers were poorly understood but slowly becoming more prevalent in the world. Most people -- the target audience for the movie, basically -- didn't know how computers actually worked, and there was this sort of magical fascination with them*. Of course, these people didn't really think that programs were miniature people living inside a computer, but it makes for a fine allegory: We press the buttons, and the magical elves software inside our computers do our bidding. So this gives us a wonderful opportunity to revisit the "stranger in a strange land" trope, performed with a sort of Neo-Swiftian whimsy that would be perfectly at home inside Gulliver's Travels.

That was in 1982. It's now almost thirty years later, and people know a lot more about computers because they're ubiquitous within the western world. We may not have flying cars in the future, but we have pocket computers that can access a planet-wide communication grid that allows us to talk to each other all the time.In another 10 years an entire generation which has never NOT been wired to the Internet will enter the workforce. Computers have lost their mysticism and whimsy, their "gee-whiz" factor replaced with the casual acceptance of a tool you use daily. (See previous generations for similar reactions regarding: television, radio, the automobile, and electricity.)

So when the writers decide to update Tron, they have two options. They can get really technical because they know their audience is computer savvy, and try to use computer science to explain and justify things. However, under close scrutiny this idea falls to the ground and shatters, because if you try to explain one thing then you have to explain them all, and the audience starts to wonder things like "Wait... if they're programs, why are they eating? In fact, WHAT are they eating? Is that a pig? How can they have a roast pig on the grid? In fact, not only did I not see any infrastructure that could support a pig farm, digital or otherwise, but up until this point (and never again) do we see even a hint of any life form that doesn't look humanoid. WHAT THE HELL, MOVIE?"

What does one drink with digital pork, anyway? 110V AC or 120V DC?

Or they could go the other way and say, "You know, the original Tron was a fun little allegory that didn't take its premise too seriously. Let's just do that again and not worry about this technical stuff. We can just think of a different allegory to explore this time."  And this is what the writers did, thankfully.

So, I hear you ask, if Tron: Legacy wasn't strictly a sci-fi movie, but used sci-fi trappings to tell a story using allegory, what then was that allegory?

An excellent question. Hearken, and I shall explain.

Once upon a time, there was a powerful being that created a universe. And at first, that universe was good. But later, imperfection was discovered. That powerful being, who we might as well call God, decided to fix those problems. At first, God tried to fix them himself, but he couldn't without wiping everything out. So he created helpers -- let's call them angels -- to make them orderly. However, the first among these angels (Lucifer, naturally) took his mission a little too literally and started a war against the Creator.

Now if you've been paying attention, you've probably figured out by now that God is Flynn, Clu is Lucifer, and the Grid is Earth. All of this happened "prior" to Legacy, so let's call this the Old Testament. This would make Tron: Legacy the New Testament, if you will.

Next, the Son (Sam) appears, in service to the Father, wanting to defeat Lucifer (Clu) using different tactics (love, action, and resistance) than the ones God (Flynn) had been using previously (ineffability, distance, mysticism). This course actually works, even though the Son is betrayed by someone he thought he could trust (Gem, performing the role of Judas.)

In a handy twist on the trope, Sam is saved by Quorra, who represents all that is best in Humanity: she is simultaneously both Mary, Mother of God and Mary Magdalene; the Virgin Who Loves The Son. (She talks about wanting to see the sun, and later, upon Sam's bike, she turns her face to it and basks in its warmth and glory. Hello, symbolism calling.)

I just really like this picture.
In a similar subversion of the trope, at the very end, instead of the Son dying for Humanity, it is the Father dying for the Son and Humanity, because he wants them to be safe and happy, and with his death he wipes away all sin and evil.

Or put another way: "For Flynn so loved his son, that he gave his only begotten world .."


(Oh, and for the sake of completeness: Rinzler, aka evil Tron and Clu's best fighter, would probably be the Archangel Michael. The analogy is very weak here, but it brings up an excellent (if short-lived) notion of faith and redemption.)

Therefore:  It isn't a movie about programs inside a computer. It's an allegory for how we have become so dependent upon technology that we (perhaps unconsciously) worship it as a savior, but perhaps we need to be saved from it instead. If you want to read it as such, it could be a call to stop playing games (as that was all the inhabitants of the Grid wanted, and remember they are supposed to be us in this analogy) and get on with living real lives in the real world instead of the virtual.  Or you could say that we (represented by Quorra) just need a deeper relationship with the divine (Jesus/Sam).

That's the problem with movies. You can argue themes and real messages all day long, and unless the writers come out and say "This was a movie about X" there's no real right answer. However, I can with a great deal of confidence that Tron: Legacy used biblical allegory to tell its story, and then covered the serial numbers with glossy black paint and glowing neon.

Now you understand the film. Whether or not you agree with it is your business, but again, using biblical allegories in science fiction movies has a long and illustrious history. 




*William Gibson would, two years after this movie, write his seminal Neuromancer on a manual (not electric) typewriter. As the story goes, he bought his first computer with the royalties earned from that novel, and when he opened its case for the first time he was disappointed to see it was made of chips of wires. Apparently he had expected some kind of fantastic crystalline structure.

The Fine Print


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