Notes & sources (II)

Well! And so there it is. A new story. Unlike most stories, which need at most a short headnote, what this one really wants is a bibliography. And an apparatus criticus. Here they are. Enjoy, O ye pendents of this fallen world! The story’s title is an infamous remark made by James I/VI at the […]

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Nightstand IV

John S. Farmer. A dictionary of slang: An alphabetical history of colloquial, unorthodox, underground and vulgar English. (1980 reprint of Slang and its analogues, 1890). Mostly eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century slang, with an emphasis on the London underworld. In two fat volumes! As great for browsing as it is for reference (“tip us your flipper” = […]

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Where do stories come from?

Where do stories come from? Of course, the real answer is: You don’t want to know. But in this case I’m going to tell you anyway. One morning, towards dawn, I was lying abed half asleep when these sentences began circulating in my head: Ryan North was no magistrate. Why, he was not even a […]

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Notes & sources (I)

Maybe you’ve read the story “Sinseerly A Friend & Yr. Obed’t” and maybe you wondered how much was fiction, how much was fact, and how much was some messy mixture — also known as conjecture. I wanted to append a short note on sources to the story, but the editor persuaded me not to. Here, […]

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Commonplace book I

But what have been thy answers, what but dark Ambiguous and with double sense deluding Which they who asked have seldom understood. MILTON   If one had studied the human spirit a little, one knows what power the marvelous has over it. FONTENELLE   Since inquiry is the beginning of philosophy, and wonder and uncertainty […]

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