The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - poster, Japan In the Maze of Troy-Town:
just around the corner
we may encounter a Minotaur
or Penelope's loom;
listed by Whim

Here we list a few jinks and quirks along Troynovant byways: perhaps a surprise, or unexpected nod of recognition —

For discussion of the narrative knot which we call the curse of surprise, see reviews of A. E. van Vogt's very memorable but too often surprised Null-A series and the Weapon Shop series.


Seek the whole truth and through the maze
of dangerous and delightful days
follow the thread that yet can save
and guide through the deceitful cave
where minotaurs, confronted, fail,
into bare light, which sets us free.

Jack Lindsay
"To my daughter Helen", prelude to
Helen of Troy
Woman and Goddess


Nostalgia for Christmas, in a science fiction story written by the only woman member of the Bolshevik Central Committee in Lenin's government. "Soon (In 48 Years' Time)"

How a science fiction author might generate two entirely different stories from a single idea. "Bullet With His Name"

Fortified Neolithic villages assaulted by archery attack, overrun, and burnt. War Before Civilization

"That a tremendous, wild conflict, emerging from dark crudity and cruelty, precedes the Homeric era, that Homer stands as victor at the end of this long comfortless period — this is one of my most certain convictions." "Homer's Contest"

What similar architectural structures are featured in an Eisenstein Communist masterpiece and a Laurel and Hardy comic masterpiece? The Music Box

How and why to mail a light bulb without a package. The Eugene Post Office

Advantages and disadvantages of grinding bones into flour (presuming one's neighbors are very hungry). I'll Grind His Bones to Make My Bread: An Unscientific Enquiry into a Failed Experiment in Quasi-Cannibalism

How should one react to telepathy at a formal dance? Dance Cards: Dating Ahead at a Ball

At the juncture of British war communications, these switchboard operators could have little acclaim out-of-doors: what they did was secret; even where they worked didn't exist to the public. Switchboard Girls with Gas Masks: Calm and Secret Heroism

Mathematicians plan the future, but can they determine it? Psychohistorical Crisis

Beyond the Renaissance Faire — can you live a fragment of the Gothic Revival in your neighborhood park? Living in the Current Middle Ages: Discover The Society for Creative Anachronism

On the collapsing distinction between personal morality and public policy. There Ought Not to Be a Law

Rebels and heroes speaking in tongues; the finest science fiction we have ever seen on screen. Firefly dvd series

It was an old world, incredibly old, with a pitted moon and a dying sun and a sky too thin to hold a summer cloud. There were trees upon it but not the trees of yore, for these were the result of aeons of gradual accommodation. They inhaled and exhaled far less than did their distant forebears and they sucked more persistently at the aged soil. Major Ingredients

There are other intriguing moral lessons in Where the Red Fern Grows. For instance, during a challenge to find a particularly wily raccoon, a local young bully-boy and his bully-hound come to fatal ends while crossing our hero and his dogs. But nobody worries much about accidental deaths; the bully's own family is no more excited than they'd be to see a coon fall out of a tree. So that's all right. Where the Red Fern Grows

I specified that what counted as a rational philosophy was any system of beliefs that included an objective reality independent of the human mind; thus, a Thomist Catholic, a Lockean, or a adherent of the scientific method could be counted as rational, while a fideist Christian or a logical positivist would be irrational. To add nuances, I allowed a basically rational character to have a False Premise, such as belief in God or duty to one's family. Three of the five player characters had such beliefs. Campaigning in the World of Atlas Shrugged

If the fate of freedom turned then on a hinge of resolve, it was Churchill who turned it. Five Days in London, May 1940

David Seabury, author of How to Worry Successfully, suggests that you write a "Worry Play", an actual play in acts and scenes about your anxieties, and that you imagine this on stage. Thurber's attempt at this "ran almost as long as Mourning Becomes Electra"; his thinking and dreaming about this Worry Play itself added anxieties — naturally. Let Your Mind Alone

Little Fuzzy looked the can over, decided that the lid was a member of the class of things-that-screwed-onto-things and got it off. The inside of the lid was mirror-shiny, and it took him a little thought to discover that what he saw in it was only himself. He yeeked about that, and looked into the can. This, he decided, belonged to the class of things-that-can-be-dumped, like wastebaskets, so he dumped it on the floor. Then he began examining the stones and sorting them by color. Little Fuzzy

It is useful that your territory be recognized by the United Nations as independent. If you were conquered by someone and still held, whether recently or long ago, you may be out of luck. Your benefactor nation may grant you status as an "autonomous satellite nation" or some such euphemism, whereby it gains an additional controlled seat in the United Nations. You won't earn much income from your postage stamps and other privileges of sovereignty, because outside the United Nations bureaucracy, most people won't believe you're an independent nation. However, your territory may gain useful publicity. Postage-Stamp Countries: .cc - .to - .tv - .ws etc

This August 1928 cover is shown in full color (mostly red and yellow) in Buck Rogers: The First 60 Years, without explanation. That is unfortunate, because readers will automatically assume that the Amazing cover, by Frank R. Paul, illustrates Nowlan's story, and shows Buck Rogers in action. But the man on the cover, doing tricks with a flying belt, is not Buck Rogers. Amazing Stories, 1926-1995

Now, if I were to wish for a novel that was about twice as long as Flint so there's more room for development — written by someone who also knows and loves the deserts of the American West — and written by someone who also can write first-rate Western adventure set in the years after the Civil War — and written by someone who on top of all that can write heart-in-the-mouth suspenseful romance, thoroughly sexy and sensuous as could not be done in the classic Westerns — then I'd wish for Reckless Love.

The waltz era gave us a great burst of romantic joy in its most classical musical expression. If the waltz perhaps is not quite the birth of gaiety from the spirit of music, certainly the waltz embodies, in its most beautiful form, the whirl of classical gaiety on the romantic dance floor. >> Johann Strauss, Father and Son


[Windsor Park.]

Sir John Falstaff:
And these are not fairies? By the Lord, I was three or four times in the thought they were not fairies, and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of my powers, drove the grossness of the foppery into a received belief — in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason — that they were fairies. See now how wit may be made a Jack-a-Lent when 'tis upon ill employment!
William Shakespeare
The Merry Wives of Windsor, 5,5, 117-123

This is DHF's idea.

Actually there are a lot more discoverables here.
We even surprise ourselves sometimes.

Japanese poster for
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Posteritati Movie Posters


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