In Which There Is Nothing Under the Blue Monkey

9 September 2005

Sampo revisions have picked up again. For awhile I was pondering a change in how I do revisions in general: there are large enough changes to Sampo that I was considering going in and implementing the ones in the first third of the book before I went on to the first read-through on the last two-thirds. I thought maybe it would be good to have them nailed down a bit more, to have something solid to stand on. But now I think having the whole thing refreshed and having an idea of how it all has to go will be better, so I'm going to stick with what works.

I have crossed out pages and pages -- and one page all but one line -- but I still keep finding good things that make me happy, so it's really a heartening process all around.

On another major front, I think if Ista had one complaint about us, it would be that we don't understand the great importance of hiding things. We try to provide places for her to hide her best treasures, but we really don't get the fundamentals of the concept. Sometimes we have been known to move something she has carefully hidden, just because we found it under a blanket and wanted to sit down there or some stupid monkey reason like that. Her latest thing was hiding her Busy Bone (one of her favorite treats) under her blue monkey (one of her least favorite toys). Nothing good here! Just some old monkey! La la, nothing behind the monkey!

Mark is still laughing when he sees that particular hiding spot.

I'm still in the mode where I'm reading on the couch a lot. The current volume is Alexandre Dumas's The Knight of Maison-Rouge, which is set in the Revolutionary period. I'm interested in how Dumas doesn't think much of the Revolution but can still think a great deal of individual Revolutionaries. Also it's feeling pretty Scarlet Pimpernel right now; we'll see if that goes on.

I read Gordon Welchman's The Hut 6 Story recently, one of the books I'd picked up at Bletchley Park. It didn't have very much new information (although I think one detail will enrich Thermionic Night a tiny bit; we'll see), but it was engagingly told, I thought; I came out of it feeling warm and fuzzy towards the late Mr. Welchman. Recommended for those who are curious about Bletchley Park and Enigma. (I begin to suspect that I am at the phase of research on this topic where the new books don't actually add anything. But they're still sometimes good anyway.)

I also read P.C. Hodgell's Dark of the Moon, which I liked better than God Stalk, and Dorothy Dunnett's Race of Scorpions, which had a few unexpected deaths. There were people I expected to have around complicating matters well into the sixth volume at least (of an eight-book series), and here they are expiring in the third. I have confidence in Dunnett, however, that their absence will complicate things as much as their presence ever could, and how's that for confidence? There was a bit of Race of Scorpions where I almost thought we'd slipped sideways into the Lymond Chronicles, but then series integrity reasserted itself; whew.

I figured out what I really want to read today: The Mark of the Sea Serpent. Only some idiot hasn't written it yet.

I think this falls into the category of good help being hard to find these days.

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