More on my favorite topic: ME!

Each time I make progress at being humble, something comes along to inflate my self-opinion.

Yesterday I visited a gaming store with my rollicking children, and fell into a conversation with a nice young clerk named Dave. Shamelessly, I tried to interest him in my wife’s book PROSPERO LOST, but with true matronly modesty, the wife insisted I tell the youth my name, and that I also wrote books. I wrote her name and book info on a napkin for him, and also added my name. He stared at it a moment, and said, "John C. Wright — I have heard of that name–"

Thinking he had heard of me from posts on the Democratic, naturally I placed my hand surreptitiously yet casually on the hilt of my sword-cane and loosened the blade in its scabbard while continuing to smile and marking the distance to the exit. But no, as it turns out, he had read STAR WARS ON TRIAL edited by David Brin, noticed and remembered my prosecution’s argument in favor of the proposition that The Force was not really a religion.

Nice young clerk named Dave also said he was one of the few people to visit the Star Wars on Trial website to argue the point, but he was exasperated by the poor quality of the Defense Attorney’s argument, he vowed not to buy the book (lest the writers for the Defense be paid for their efforts) but then he vowed he would pay the Prosecution if ever he had a chance to meet one of us.

Sure enough, the young man in a magnificent display of elan pulled a five dollar banknote from his billfold and bestowed it upon me. Times being what they are, I suppressed the masculine impulse to refuse gifts, and immediately used the unexpected lucre to buy myself a bagel.

Meanwhile, Nice young clerk named Dave entertained my children for nearly an hour, so that they are now hooked, addicted, and devouted to WARHAMMER 40K, not to mention LORD OF THE RINGS. The little tykes are already pestering mom and dad to take the expensive how to paint a miniatures class the game store offers. (I am inclined to do so, as soon any I can afford it, if only to reward the nice young clerk for his good humor and good nature.) 

Uplifted, I returned to my email in cyberspace, where a message awaited me:

Grasping for the Wind named me the best Weblog of 2009. Myself, I would have awarded that honor to John Scalzi, but, hey, I was not asked:

Also, in the same e-mailbox, I saw where the great Gardner Dozois had released the table of contents for The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection, slated for a July 2010 release.

Note item 24:

  1. "Utriusque Cosmi" by Robert Charles Wilson (New Space Opera 2)
  2. "A Story, With Beans" by Steven Gould (Analog)
  3. "Under The Shouting Sky" by Karl Bunker (Cosmos)
  4. "Events Preceding the Helvetican Revolution" by John Kessel (New Space Opera 2)
  5. "Useless Things" by Maureen F. McHugh (Eclipse Three)
  6. "Black Swan" by Bruce Sterling (Interzone)
  7. "Crimes and Glory" by Paul McAuley (Subterranean)
  8. "Seventh Fall" by Alexander Irvine (Subterranean)
  9. "Butterfly Bomb" by Dominic Green (Interzone)
  10. "Infinites" by Vandana Singh (The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet)
  11. "Things Undone" by John Barnes (Jim Baen’s Universe)
  12. "On The Human Plan" by Jay Lake (Lone Star Stories)
  13. "The Island" by Peter Watts (New Space Opera 2)
  14. "The Integrity of the Chain" by Lavie Tidhar (Fantasy)
  15. "Lion Walk" by Mary Rosenblum (Asimov’s)
  16. "Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction" by Jo Walton (
  17. "Three Leaves of Aloe" by Rand B. Lee (F&SF)
  18. "Mongoose" by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette (Lovecraft Unbound)
  19. "Paradiso Lost" by Albert E.Cowdrey (F&SF)
  20. "It Takes Two" by Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three)
  21. "Blocked" by Geoff Ryman (F&SF)
  22. "Solace" by James Van Pelt (Analog)
  23. "Act One" by Nancy Kress (Asimov’s)
  24. "Twilight of the Gods" by John C. Wright (Federations)
  25. "Blood Dauber" by Ted Kosmatka & Michael Poore (Asimov’s)
  26. "This Wind Blowing, And This Tide" by Damien Broderick (Asimov’s)
  27. "Hair" by Adam Roberts (When It Changed)
  28. "Before My Last Breath" by Robert Reed (Asimov’s)
  29. "One of Our Bastards Is Missing" by Paul Cornell (Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Vol. Three)
  30. "Edison’s Frankenstein" by Chris Roberson (Postscripts 20/21)
  31. "Erosion" by Ian Creasey (Asimov’s)
  32. "Vishnu at the Cat Circus" by Ian McDonald (Cyberabad Days)

of course, since so many of these stories appeared in New Space Opera 2, we must conclude that this was a volume of superior workmanship, selected by an editor of more than discriminating taste and ability, and you should rush right out a buy a dozen copies for the Feast Day of St. John Neumann (tomorrow, January 5th).
You should also get a least two dozen copies of the anthology Federations for the frantic gift-giving that surely surrounds the feast of Servant of God John the Gardner (Jan 14th).
And it is not too late to buy several scores of STAR WARS ON TRIAL edited by David Brin in case you would like every member of your school, or every member of the branch of the armed service in which you serve, or every citizen of whatever country where you live, to have his own copy. Remember that the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul (Jan 25th) is nearly upon us!