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Darrell Bain's Newsletter

October 2005

  Katrina, Teenage Slang, Williard Brothers Release, Rita, Quantum/Information Theory, Velcro the Cat, More Tonto, Most Readable Science Fiction, Fictionwise and a Few Other Tidbits.

As always, I enjoy letters from fans and interested correspondents. I can be emailed from my web site, www.darrellbain.com

In my August newsletter I mentioned that I was reading Mother Of Storms by John Barnes. Hardly a month later Katrina came along. Curious, huh? I imagine most everyone spent the first part of September with a lot of their attention focused on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. I know Betty and I did. My most lasting impressions are seeing images of people sleeping on an Interstate and still being rescued from rooftops days after the hurricane passed, and wondering how such a thing could be happening in America. I won't comment further on the way the disaster was handled. I suspect most of you have read quite enough about that already. I will say that Betty and I opened our checkbooks to the extent we could. We donated to The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army, two organizations where we thought the money would mostly be spent at the local level. We also donated to a private group which we thought would spend the money wisely. In addition to that, we donated clothing and all the books we had been saving to trade on our next trip to the bookstore. We kept thinking of all those people who probably had no books with them, or anything to read to help while away the time spent in shelters. And a final note: if that article I read about the Siberian permafrost melting for the first time since the last ice age is true, there's going to be a huge amount of methane and carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. We may see storms even more devastating than Katrina in the future, if that's the case.

Teenage slang has always intrigued me. Like jokes, no one seems to know where it comes from or why and how it changes. I still have no idea, but I did get a chance to experiment with it in my latest book, Mindwar, which I just finished and sent to my publisher for editing. It should show up as an E-book in the next two weeks or so at www.fictionwise.com or www.ereader.com (you can find all my E-books at these two sites). Parts of Mindwar deals with young teenagers growing up with odd talents after a failed terrorist attack. I invented quite a number of expressions for them to use as slang. Below is a partial list. It lists only about half the words I made up.

Goodyslit–girl so good it's disgusting, one who masturbates rather than be touched intimately by a boy. Used in derogatory sense by sexually experienced teens.
Broke Rock – teen going bad or already bad
Popping, Pop – excitement Damn and Desolation – pissed off.
Hit a snag – get into trouble
Pokey – not into it, as in won't do drugs. E.G. "He's pokey."
Green matter – Pot, marijuana
Liplocked – paired off closely, going steady, in love.
Scorching – good, look good.
Realtimer – girl or boy willing to push the envelope in having fun, either with sex or drugs.
Skip the rope – have sex the first time.
Petting the kitty – touching intimately but hasn't gone any further yet
Gravitizing – kissing and touching
Ramping B-cells, ramping – thinking about something
EC moment – Elder Citizen moment, as in duh, forgot.
Natter – talk
Decipher? – Understand?
Bums – a mild expletive
Lovie – expression of endearment, never used casually.

I would be interested in knowing from readers if any of these expressions, or the ones not listed here, but used in the book, make it into the current vernacular of teens. Probably not, but it would be fun knowing I was responsible for a new descriptive word or expression, even though few of the slang terms teens use ever make it to the dictionaries.

Since writing the opening paragraph about Katrina, another huge storm has entered the gulf—and this one promises to affect us and our family. We live about 75 miles NNE of Houston and according to predictions, will be in the path of hurricane force winds. We live way out in the country and we're usually at the end of the list for restoring power. Twice before we've weathered storms that came near us, but both times we lost power for over a week. Know what? You can do without electricity for a week much easier than you can exist without running water (our water is supplied by a well operated by electricity). We've learned. I've filled six big 30 gallon cans with water for flushing. Another two clean containers are filled with water for cooking (over charcoal or wood fires). We've stocked up on the essentials, like canned goods, bread, batteries, etc. Now all we can do is wait. The kids and grandkids who live near the coast will be coming in today and tomorrow. Two of our kids live out here with us on their own acreage, but they'll probably spend the time of the height of the storm with us, since we have the strongest home of the three.

The E-book version of Three For The Money, the fourth book in the Williard Brothers series is available at www.fictionwise.com, www.ereader.com and should be available shortly at Amazon.com. I love writing these books. They really don't fit into a single genre but are a mix of Adventure/Action/Suspense/Thriller/Science fiction/Humor and maybe a couple other genres. The print version will be out next year, but will have a different title.

The other books in the series are Medics Wild, Postwar Dinosaur Blues and Bigfoot Crazy. Medics Wild and Postwar Dinosaur Blues are already in print.

Last month I mentioned that I would start listing some of my most notable reading experiences in science fiction. Well, as the quote goes, "The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley" or something like that. It turns out that Double Dragon would like to publish the complete article, with updates. Authors are so poorly paid, for the most part, that it's hard to turn down a cash sale and I didn't. The article, with updates and annotations, will be published first at Double Dragon e-books under the title "My 100 Most Readable (and Re-readable Science Fiction Novels", and then offered to fictionwise and ereader. My apologies.

From my eclectic reading habits I've learned that the esoteric world of the quantum theory is increasingly leaning toward the proposition that the entire universe is dependent upon thought—and that physical reality may be based entirely upon what we collectively think it is. It sounds absurdly close to mass solipsism but it's hard to argue with the scientists and mathematicians doing the heavy thinking. This isn't wild blue stuff. Reputable scientists are endorsing the possibility. I freely admit I'm not smart enough to understand the math or the reasoning, but I have enjoyed two books where information theory was tied into quantum theory similar to what I just mentioned. The books are Blood Music by Greg Bear and Finity by John Barnes. Lots of food for thought in both, even if they are science fiction. I wonder if we can think our way into a simple method of faster than light propulsion sometime in the future. Wouldn't that be neat?

Sometimes I complain about getting old, but the complaints are mostly derived from resentment that I almost certainly won't live long enough to see so many interesting trends in technology mature. Nanotechnology, space travel, composite materials and many other marvels are still in their infancy. The youngsters today will see even more amazing changes than I have in my lifetime, because they happen faster now. Knowledge is like compound interest. It just keeps multiplying until the interest exceeds the original investment many times over. Shucks, my family generally lead pretty long lives. I may yet have a chance to go into space, a childhood dream I've never outgrown.

With the demise of Cutie Pie from old age, we're down to one cat, Velcro. He came to live with us as a result of visiting my brother Gary in Oklahoma on his 40 acre spread. At the time he had a barn full of kittens. His wife Barbara gathered a handful of them and set the kittens on the lawn and invited us to choose one to take back to Texas with us. Before I had a chance to look at any of the others, one kitten came rushing up to me. He sprang onto my jeans, scurried up my shirt and clung to my chest with such determination I thought for awhile I would have to use an industrial strength solvent to peel him off. He obviously wanted to go live on our farm, and he pretty well picked his own name. Velcro. Is that a fitting name or not? He still likes to cling.

Velcro likes to play with Tonto, one of the Dachshunds, but Susie, the other one, won't have much to do with him. She's mostly interested in sleeping on the couch and rouses herself twice a day so we can serve her meals. Tonto stays busy all day, with little doggie chores, such as moving the water hose while the sprinkler is going, returning it to the position where he put it earlier. Betty will have a timer set, then go out and find that the sprinkler has been watering the big pine trees instead of her flowers. Tonto spends an hour or so first thing in the morning dragging the water hose around and arranging it in a design that appeals to his doggie mind and that's the way he wants it to stay! The rest of his schedule involves sweeping or shoveling with his sticks.

POST RITA NOTES. We came through the hurricane with only damage to the roofs from flying debris. Poor Tonto was terrified during the storm and confused afterward at the changes in his domain (so were we for that matter). We lost several trees, including a huge 100 year old pine that scraped our roof. Debris is everywhere. Our grandson-in-law and his brother (both of whom lived in Beaumont near the gulf and had major damage to their homes) spent the storm here. They rigged an old generator and we saved our freezer items and had cold drinks most of the time. Also a fan. The lights were out for 5 days and we're still just a little island of electricity in a sea of darkness. We have no idea why we were so fortunate this time—we're usually at the end of the line for getting power restored. The temperature set new records three days while the power was out. It was too hot to read or do much of anything.

You won't read much about this or hear much in the news, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of small towns, communities and cities in East Texas and Western and Southern Louisiana still without power and many of them suffered major damage. A lot of our relatives southeast of us won't have power for a month or more—and many haven't much of a home to go back to. All the ones who came here for the storm have gone, but they will return, if for no other reason than to get a shower, a hot meal, and wash some clothes. School openings have been delayed indefinitely. Even our schools are closed until further notice. Our little downtown is still dark even though we have lights. I had an appointment at the VA clinic 60 miles northwest yesterday and almost all of that stretch of highway is still without power.

I had computer withdrawal symptoms while we were without power. Our phone lines were also out and cell phones worked only sporadically. Betty suffered more from the heat than I did. All right, enough about hurricanes, except one final thought: it will be a while before I read Mother Of Storms again!

One of the e-mails I got after the power came back on was from one of my publishers, informing me that at the end of September, I am now the best selling author at www.fictionwise.com , displacing Lois McMaster Bujold from the top spot. Thank you, readers! I appreciate your support and loyalty, even when some of my books don't turn out as well as others.

A few days before the hurricane, I finally got tired of waiting on the phone company to get DSL in our rural area and got satellite service for my computer. Wow! There's a world of difference. All I have to do now is decide what to do with the time saved by not staring at the monitor waiting for something to download.

And that will be all for this month. As always, you can visit my web site at www.darrellbain.com and write me from there.

Happy reading, always!

Darrell Bain
October 2005
Shepherd, Texas



Places to find my books

Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.


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