Sex and Chocolate, Together Again -- REALLY Together Again -- For The First Time!

It's Amazing what shows up on Goodreads giveaways pages sometimes:

This collection of shorter pieces in the "Candy Man Delivery" series has  a pretty simple premise: The hot muscular guys the female leads become involved with are literally made from chocolate.

I have absolutely no idea if these stories are well-written or not, but as "high-concept" goes, sexy guys made from chocolate is sheer genius. Hat tip to Graylin Rane (who also writes as Graylin Fox).


Karen Memory: Ripping Yarn or Message Fiction?

(originally written as a comment posted to Mike Glyer's File 770):

I’m curious if any of the Puppies [Sad Puppies, the group who claimed to have gamed this year's Hugo Awards nominations process because they just want to see good old fashioned entertainment winning awards instead of that artsy-fartsy literary and/or Commie/Marxist/Liberal/Degenerate stuff]  have read or commented on Elizabeth Bear’s KAREN MEMORY.
I bring that up because if you want a “ripping yarn”, Bear delivers in spades. Daring rescues, gunfights, airships, escapes from burning buildings, everything you could want in an adventure story. When I finished the book, my first thought was “Damn, that was a fun read!”
It was only my second thought that “Oh, and most of the cast of characters is GLBT.”
I’d suggest KAREN MEMORY as a litmus test for the people who say they just want entertaining stories. If that’s the case, Bear’s novel should make them happy.
But if you say you want entertaining stories, but your first and primary reaction to KAREN MEMORY is “Gay characters! This is message fiction!“, then I’d like to politely suggest that maybe the problem isn’t with what the author wrote, maybe the problem isn’t with what the publisher published, maybe the problem isn’t with the actual story. Maybe the problem is with you.
- - - - -
Jim Henley posted a later comment on File 770 I thought drew some insightful distinctions between message and non-message story-telling, with a compare-and-contrast between Larry Niven's "The Jigsaw Man" and John Chu's "Water That Falls On You From Nowhere".

(The comment threads on File 770 can sometimes get harsh or unpleasant when they get into the politics and personalities of people involved in this year's Hugo controversy. Less so than a few months ago; I think Outrage Fatigue is settling in, plus many of the most unpleasant commenters there have flounced off over time. There's been a lot more interesting discussion and commentary about books and reading.)


My Brush With Flame, err, Fame

The other morning I stopped for gas at a station on the corner of a strip mall. Gassed up and started out of the mall's parking lot, when suddenly a pickup truck trailing black smoke zoomed into the entrance and past me, with a police car following closely behind. I figured, Hah, someone's getting a ticket for for a really smoky exhaust. Then I looked in my rearview mirror, and saw there were actual flames starting to leap up from the bed of the pickup truck, and growing.

I turned onto the street, went down to the next mall entrance, and turned back in, stopped, and got out my cell phone and turned on the camera. By now the pickup had stopped, the driver had jumped out and run back towards the police car, and the entire cargo bed was filled with bright flames. I held up my phone, went for a shot and realized my hands were shaking. Took a deep breath, went for a second better shot, then put the phone away and left, figuring the fire department was probably enroute and not wanting to get in their way.

On the way home, I thought about what a great pic the scene had been, and even thought about how I might send it to some of the local news stations and papers.

Then I got home and actually checked out the photos.

Apparently I hadn't pressed the shutter icon hard enough on the second, better, shot and that second shot had never actually been taken at all.

And the first shot... what I actually ended up with was an extreme close-up of my fingertip.

Damn. One of the superheroes I always wanted to be while growing up was Spider-Man. And it turns out not only that I'm never going to be Spider-Man, I'm not even going to be Peter goddamned Parker.


A Literary Meme-Thingie

This, a list of "books literally all white men own", from The Toast, was going around a while ago. Finally got around to it myself.

Bold those you own. Italicize those you have read. Strikeout those you've never heard of would have to be paid to read. Bonus points if you're not a white male.

1. Shogun, James Clavell
2. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
3. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
4. Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace

5. A collection of John Lennon’s drawings.
6. A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
7. The first two volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R.R. Martin

8. God Is Not Great, Christopher Hitchens
9. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
10. I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, Tucker Max
11. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
12. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Oliver Sacks
13. The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
14. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
15. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
16. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

17. Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk
18. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
19. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
20. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
21. The Stand, Stephen King
22. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
23. The Naked and the Dead, Norman Mailer
24. Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom
25. It’s Not About the Bike, Lance Armstrong
26. Who Moved My Cheese?, Spencer Johnson

27. Portnoy’s Complaint, Philip Roth
28. Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand
29. John Adams, David McCullough
30. Ragtime, E.L. Doctorow
31. Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis
32. America: The Book, Jon Stewart

33. The World Is Flat, Thomas Friedman
34. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
35. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
36. Exodus, Leon Uris (if Jewish)
37. Trinity, Leon Uris (if Irish-American)
38. The Road, Cormac McCarthy
39. Marley & Me, John Grogan

40. Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt
41. The Rainmaker, John Grisham
42. Patriot Games, Tom Clancy
43. Dragon, Clive Cussler
44. Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond
45. The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone
46. The 9/11 Commission Report
47. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John le Carre
48. Rising Sun, Michael Crichton
49. A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
50. Airport, Arthur Hailey
51. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki
52. Burr, Gore Vidal
53. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
54. The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan 
55. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
56. Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
57. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
58. Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter

59. The World According to Garp, John Irving
60. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
61. The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass

62. On the Road, Jack Kerouac
63. Lord of the Flies, William Golding
64. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
65. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe

66. Beowulf, the Seamus Heaney translation
67. Rabbit, Run, John Updike
68. The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie
69. The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
70. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
71. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey
72. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

73. House of Leaves, Mark Danielewski
74. The Call of the Wild, Jack London

75. Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon 
76. I, Claudius, Robert Graves 
77. The Civil War: A Narrative, Shelby Foote
78. American Psycho, Bret Easton Ellis
79. Life, Keith Richards

I didn't feel comfortable using the strikeout feature because it uses one attribute for two different categories (unaware of/aware of but don't want to read). That latter part (don't want to read) could also be further subdivided into "public discussion has left me with a negative impression towards reading this" and "ehh, it might be interesting to read, but if I never get around to it, that's okay too".

There are also several books on this list (The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Airport) that I've "read", but only in old Readers Digest Condensed Books versions. I'm not sure if that counts.

Hilary supporter merchandise - a small stumble

So I get an email from the Hilary for America campaign, with a link to their merchandise shop. I look over the t-shirts and stuff there. I generally don't do shirts or bumper stickers or other merchandise in support of a specific campaign or candidate. But one of the shirts, the "Trailblazer Tee" has a message that's applicable to life in general, not just to Hilary Clinton's Presidential campaign, a message I wouldn't mind purchasing and wearing:

Just one problem, though: It's only available in a "women's fitted" version.

Hmmph. Almost like someone thinks men wouldn't be interested in supporting women's rights.