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From Southtown to the stars

Well, I tried the new McDonald's premium coffee with the McMuffin this morning, and can truthfully say that it's not as awful as the Maxwell House they used to serve. It's nothing special, though - no better coffee than you could get at SA, Holiday, or any other fast food joint. By the same token, SA is now offering free chili and cheese extrusions for their hot dogs. These are worth what you're paying for them; they remind me of the stuff Hormel used to put in their stuffed hot dogs a few years back, except that the chili is more spicy and chunky this time around.


C.J. Cherryh offers high-quality brain food in Destroyer, the latest in her novels about the complicated interactions between the humans and the mathematically-obsessed atevi. When last we saw them in Explorer, the atevi were off to rescue another station full of humans who had run afoul of a second alien species. On their successful return, though, chief translator Bren Cameron, aiji-dowager Ilisidi, and aiji's heir Cajeiri find the atevi alliance sundered, the aiji himself missing, and the human enclave of Mospheira debating whether to send aid to the orbital station or build anti-missile defenses. The Publishers Weekly review at the book's page on amazon.com calls it slow-moving, which makes me think the reviewer needs downers, because Destroyer seemed to move along right smartly. Maybe I'm just used to Cherryh's prose by now. Anyway, if you liked the earlier books in the series, this is well worth the read; it stands on its own well enough, but it definitely behooves you to read the other books first.

Also well worth reading is John Scalzi's Old Man's War. This book gets compared to Starship Troopers and The Forever War, which I suppose is appropriate since they're all part of the military SF subgenre, but wildly inappropriate in another sense because Scalzi's book (contra Cory Doctorow, who should be put under a lifetime ban from writing blurbs) has little in common with Heinlein and Haldeman's award-winning novels. Those are both Bildungsroman, "coming of age" books in which young men grow up and learn about the Universe; Scalzi starts with a 75-year-old man and throws him into a situation utterly unlike anything he could have imagined before his enlistment in the Colonial Defense Forces. The book is definitely full of strenuous action, poignant emotion, and a certain amount of not terribly graphic sex, but the reasons I'm recommending the book are basically the same reasons I'm recommending Destroyer: the author has built an interesting Universe, put characters in it that you can care about, and told a fascinating story about them. I'm looking forward to the sequel, The Ghost Brigades.


I'm on my second day of the prednisone, and the rash from the hives is diminishing. They're still a tad itchy, though. Stopped taking the amoxicillin last night - hopefully after eight days of that, whatever bacteria were making my life miserable have been cut down to the point where the white cells can deal with them unassisted.

And now for some administrivia. I've never banned anyone from this LJ before, because doing so would force me to make it friends-locked and I have friends who don't have LJs that probably wouldn't get them even if I did lock up. So since I want to leave the LJ open, I kicked animaltofriends off the friends list and banned her from commenting as a pre-emptive measure, because I really don't care to see her comments on my LJ. You'd think after being told several times since the separation that I want as little to do with her as possible that she'd get the message and quit trying to be my friend, but I guess some people just can't get their mind right. So, enjoy your LJ experience, animaltofriends, but leave me out of it.