Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.


Klingon Mating Habits?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

Okay, this is just not right!

I was going through some old e-mail and found a link to this article on Wired News about Klingon Erotica. I can’t get to the actual site, thanks to my pornography blocking software, but the article is enough. First, they created a language for the fictional Klingons, now this. I shudder to think of what’s coming next.
And to think, Gene Roddenberry named Klingons after a former co-worker that he didn’t like! I wonder what Gene would think now! Heck, if they were real, I wonder what the Klingons themselves would think!
After yesterday’s entry, and the shows from the night before, it really makes me wonder what all those science-fiction script writers are up to!! They must be really, really frustrated and repressed.


Space Stripper in Heat

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a Full Moon

It must be sweeps week.

That is the only explanation I have for last night’s episode of Enterprise. It was called “Bounty” and the “main” plot was about Archer being held captive by a bounty hunter. However, the plot that they advertised was all about T’Pol being in heat.
I almost feel sorry for Jolene Blalock because I can’t be the only one who thinks of her as the Striper in Space. I mean, really, she’s in that decontamination chamber every other episode greasing up with “Decon Gel #5” and thrusting her mammaries at the screen. Who do these people think they’re kidding? That’s not story-telling, though it might be considered science-fiction. (I mean, really, can those things be real?) I know their audience is somewhat less than they’d hoped, but I think resorting to T&A just isn’t the way to win viewers. For once, I’d love to get through an entire season of Star Trek without some low-brow, trailer-park-trash alien shaking her “money-maker” at the screen. Is that too much to ask?

Of course, the fun didn’t stop there. When we flipped over to the Cartoon Network and saw “The Family Guy”, which is part of Adult Swim and get more sex. Frankly, I understand why it was pulled from regular TV and put into syndication. So, it wasn’t just Enterprise that stooped to the lowest common denominator, but still….

As my dear, departed grandmother would say, “What’s the world coming to?”…


Review: Forgotten English

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

After yesterday’s entry, I got thinking about other fun linguistics books and it occured to me that Forgotten English by Jeffrey Kacirk fell into that category.

English has gone through some really amazing changes over the years. It used to resemble German much more closely than it does now, but over time, meaning and pronunciation have changed significantly. This book looks at some of the more interesting changes.
It’s broken up into categories, which are further divided by word. Each entry is a page or so long and has interesting historical, as well as linguistic, information about the word, it’s usage and where it went in our modern language. It’s really fun and much more literate bathroom reading than junk mail!
My first introduction to this book was actually through a calendar. It was one of those “word-a-day” types and used to really tickle me and make me think. If nothing else, it gave me some idea about how a language might change over time. Always interesting literary possibilities in that.
I have to admit that I found mine in a used book store, but you can click that link above and get it from Amazon.


Review: Teach Yourself Linguistics

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I’ve just finished Teach Yourself Linguistics, by Jean Aitchison.

This is one of the best non-fiction, technical, non-computer books that I’ve ever read. I tried reading an introductory linguistics textbook last year and almost suffered an aneurysm as a result! But, this was actually a pleasure to read. It’s a really good introduction to the basics of linguistics. It starts out talking about language in general, covers a bit of linguistic history and then digs into the meat of what linguistics is all about. One of the really nice things about this book is that it assumes the reader knows nothing about linguistics. Then, it starts gently building up the reader’s vocabulary and basic knowlege of linguistic theory and practice. Most importantly, for me, is that it saved the really complicated topics, like Universal Grammar and Translational Grammar and all things Chomsky, for the last bit of the book. That textbook started out there and just got worse. So, finally, I feel like I have the basics of linguistics down well enough to actually talk about it with someone. And, I think I have a good enough grasp of the basics to start working on a decent conlang.

This book was so good that I looked at Ms. Aitchison’s other work. I found another linguistics book that looked interesting, Language Change : Progress or Decay?. It covers historical linguistics, which is of interest to me in relation to conlangs and world building. I have some other books to read first, but I know I’ll eventually get around to this one. I hope it’s written in the same style as Teach Yourself Linguistics. I’d love to have a book on historical linguistics that’s actually readable.

Well, I’m off to pick my next book to read and invent a language.
Stay tuned for more!


Electronic Paper?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Is such a thing possible?

Well, according to this article on Yahoo, it just might be! Imagine what it might mean to the future of publishing. Add in some wireless connectivity and you’ve really got something here. Textbooks that change based on which class a student is in when they’re opened. An entire university library available to students on campus, wirelessly. Books that can be downloaded from the ‘net directly to a reading device.
Then, of course, there is the interactivity aspect. The article talks about catalogs that can be used to place electronic orders. Add in the ability to automatically update inventory, price and availability and you’ve really got something.

Of course, we’re a ways off from that, so it’s still science-fiction, but the possibilities are endless. In a fully networked world, devices like this might replace PCs alltogether. They would become the ultimate PDA. It could be the Next Big Thing. Or, it might never get enough market penetration, like the poor Mac. That Mac was revolutionary, too, but it got beat out by a cheap knock-off.
In any case, it did strike me as an interesting thing to have in a sci-fi story.


Gambling Part 2

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

What’s the attraction?

Is it the danger of losing “everything”? Is it the possiblity of “scoring big”? Is it the simple lure of something for nothing?
The other day there was a news story on NPR about a public figure who was critisized for gambling. He was participating in a legal activity with discretionary money and he didn’t seem to be in any significant financial difficulty. In short, he was not a compulsive gambler. But, still, he was critisized because he claimed to stand for “family values” and people had a hard time buying that while he was a gambler. Why? He wasn’t breaking the law or causing his family any apparent financial difficulty, so why did some people see it as “wrong”?
As a writer, the motivations behind this kind of behavior interest me. I see plots and sub-plots in the idea that something which is legal may not be moral or socially acceptable. Gambling strikes my fancy for a number of reasons. For one, there are lots of angles to take. The honest, lucky gambler, for instance. He might be well-to-do, but many of his fellow gamblers are jealous of his success and suspect him of cheating. Or, the very good cheat. Everyone knows the cad is cheating them, but they can’t figure out how. Or, better still, that part-time gambler that either scores big or loses everything in one weekend of all-out gambling. And, then there are all the reasons why any of these people might have been gambling in the first place: thrills, desperation, relaxation, greed.
Then, too, I can imagine someone who does it as a kind of worship. Imagine, for instance, someone who judges how “righteous” they are based on how well the dice roll or how good a hand they’re dealt. The “spiritual” gambler. The fanatic who gambles to see if God is listening. Or favors them. Remember the old joke about the guy who prays to God to let him win the lottery? He prays and prays, but never wins. So, one day he asks God why he’s never been allowed to win. God responds, “You have to meet me half-way. You need to buy a ticket.” So, it’s not that far-fetched. Many of us equate how lucky we are with how holy we are. The more we’re favored by God, the more “lucky” we seem to be.
So, my job as an author, is to pull the interesting stories out of these situations and make them real. It sounds like an interesting challenge. Hmm, maybe I should be off writing those stories instead of this blog!


Paper Art

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I love paper art.

I have ever since I was a kid. My Dad brought home a couple of origami books from work one day and I was hooked. They were just some samples from a printer, who turned out to be a gangster, but they opened up a whole new world for me.
I’ve played with origami, or Japanese paper-folding, ever since. I can do some things from memory, like the ubiquitous “flying crane”, but most of the time, I need someone else’s directions. So, of course, I found someone on the web… The site is called Paper Folding. It’s well worth the look.



Fact or Fiction?

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Blog of a fugative heiress?

Maybe, maybe not. I saw the story on Wired News, but it’s been other places on the ‘net, too. It’s possible, of course, that this fugative from a repressive, arranged marriage is legit, but there’s enough controversy surrounding it that it quite possibly is just a stunt. Some have speculated that it’s just a creative attempt to generate some buzz about a fictional account of an escaped “poor, little rich-girl”. Who knows for sure? No one, yet. I’m sure it will come out eventually, but for now, no one really knows. It certainly would be an interesting literary device. In fact, I had thought of doing something similar, but in a fantasy setting.
My idea was to have an electronic version of a fantasy character’s diary. In particular, a Marco Polo-like character who would allow the reader to explore the fantasy world I was creating via journal entries. It’s an idea that I may still pursue.
In any case here’s her blog if you’d like to check it out.

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