Solar Express | L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

I very much enjoy Modesitt’s science fiction novels. Solar Express stands out among them. I finished reading the book and the next day started over at Chapter 1. [Plot summary here at the author’s web site.]

The “unwellness” of March and the new puppies led to an emergency department visit a week ago tomorrow. Home with more albuterol, having refused a hospital admission, thank you anyway. Oxygen level is recovering. Didn’t react too badly to the steroid of the moment, but I’m pretty certain it’ll be off the “safe” list after next time.

It has been a while since I indulged myself in a Modesitt “hard science fiction” reading binge. Solar Express is lovely and absorbing. It would be misleading to compare it to the “Ghosts” books, but there is a similarity in flavor, although not in any other way.

The man writes good books.



Current reading

I’ve been on a re-reading binge. I’ve read The Last Herald Mage and Arrows of the Queen trilogies, the Collegium series (Lackey), and (again) The Goblin Emperor (K. Addison). Right now I am into my favorite series by Wen Spenser: the four Ukiah Oregon books.

Finally turned up my original copy of Sadder than Water (with the bookmarks, &c.) during a spate of puppy-proofing my bed sitting room. At least I could replace the poetry book. I really need new copies of Anne Lesley Groell’s Cloak & Dagger books. Think I’ll check Barnes and Noble’s site, again.


Sickbed, reading

I was fortunate to find the third book in a series (Elemental Blessings) by Sharon Shinn, Jeweled Fire. I love her world building. The first two books, which I also read, are Troubled Waters and Royal Airs. I have read all of her longer works, as far as I know, and also a book of four stories from four of the worlds in which she’s written.

I’ve also pulled out some old favorites to reread: The Complete Arrows Trilogy and The Last Herald Mage Trilogy (Mercedes Lackey), The Goblin Emperor (Sarah Monette, publishing as Katherine Addison) and The Peshawar Lancers (S. M. Stirling) all stand out.

Today I have spent more time sleeping than reading, and I still am not up to writing much, but I am feeling much better than I have in a month or more.

“Hallowe’en Awakening”

In 2006, Karen Romanko initiated SFPA’s annual Halloween Poetry Reading and invited members to submit audio files of their spooky poetry for the public to enjoy. At that time, I was the Website Coder, and so I came up with a design for the page and served as editor/curator for the audio files and seasonal graphics/photographs. With the exception of 2014, I continued to serve as editor; eventually, the webmaster took over the online portion of the page.

I wrote and recorded “Halloween Awakening” for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2015 Online Halloween Poetry Reading.

Please visit the SFPA 2015 Online Halloween Poetry Reading page to listen to others written and recorded by members of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. In September or October 2016, the link will lead to the 2016 announcements, and there should be a link to take you to the archived 2015 edition.

“Halloween Awakening”
by Lizl Bennefeld

I awake to chill and silence,
feeling faint, my eyesight dim,
feet light upon the boards as I arise.

What is it that’s dissolving?
Is it just the shoreline under fog?
My feet obscured by mist?
Has the solid stone vanished under ocean waves,
The sand melted away beneath my feet?

Has the universe disintegrated? Or
have I died, unraveled into wisps of cloud…
and blown away…

Copyright © 2015-10-18, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld. Originally written for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s 2015 Online Halloween Poetry Reading, co-editors Lizl Bennefeld and Shannon Connor Winward, and published in audio format on 19 October 2015 at (Links to previous Halloween Reading pages can be found at the bottom of that web page.)

Not around . . .

The “cold” turned into a multi-week ordeal, and I have been off routine since finding myself with a gigantic carbuncle over the weekend that landed me in the reception area of the walk-in clinic on the 19th. Not fun!

I’ve read a lot of books, these past three weeks, and read just parts of almost as many. Trouble concentrating, or trouble picking out series romances and cozy mysteries. I did another search on Sharon Shinn on Thursday and discovered that she’s got a new-to-me book (Nov. 2015) out in Nook format: Jeweled Fire. I enjoyed the first two books in the series and look forward to starting this one. I do quite love her books, my favorites being mostly from the Samaria series.

On Thursday, I read two science fiction books that I enjoyed. Triad  and Infinity’s Web, both by Sheila Finch. Off the beaten path, as far as my recent reading, and intriguing. I was especially taken by Infinity’s Web.

As far as replacing paperbacks that I want to reread, I’ve gotten both The Complete Arrows Trilogy and The Last Herald-Mage Trilogy.

Rereads: Volume #2 of Fukuyama’s Political Order books, Sadder than Water (heady poetry), and William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth: A Deep Map.

I should have tried to get back to sleep, when I woke up at 2:10 a.m. Instead I have put Aloe Vera gel on my calluses. Brushed my teeth. And determined that I can no longer see clearly enough to write anything.

“Not Right Now”

No, I cannot come with you.
A poem is writing itself on my heart,
and I must wait to learn if it ever ends.

Copyright © 2015.04.13, by Elizabeth W,  “Lizl” Bennefeld. All rights reserved.



Friday Night/Saturday Morning

Sadder than Water arrived by USPS on Thursday morning, and I started in a new spot: the title poem. It expresses familiar feelings, but with an uncomfortable finality, in that it feels like the writer does not really expect a reunion with the creator upon the end of Time. That is sad in itself. As though one can become so beaten down by time, sheer living above and beyond “content”, that the thought of the ‘next life’ becomes threat instead of promise. This is sad.

I have, yes, once more begun to read The Goblin Emperor, and it still is quite satisfying. However, tonight I rewatched Bottle Shock, a movie staring Alan Rickman, about The Judgement of Paris in 1976. Mention was made of a book published in 2005 by George Taber, which I have bought in Nook format.  I now am on page 42 of 381. It’s quite lovely, so far, giving background on Steven Spurrier, the history of wine making in western Europe, and mention of the competition itself.

I also have The Barchester Chronicles DVDs, thanks to my mother, who thought I might like them. As with Bottle Shock, Alan Rickman has a lead in this series.  I was not impressed by the book by Trollope that I read. Although I thought Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw, was marvelous! I should put that book on my re-read list.


Digital libraries

It used to be that I had to search through a thousand books to find one that I was looking for. Now, I only have to run a search on an external HD if I can’t find the book in my Nook library.

That may provide me with an extra year or so of free time over the next decade.


How does one know?

I “misplaced” a stack of poetry books in the process of sorting through and straightening out some others, yesterday or the day before. This does happen periodically.

This time, among the poetry books that went walkies was Sadder than Water: New and Selected Poems, by Samīḥ Qāsim. When I did not find it within the first five minutes, I logged onto B&N and ordered a replacement copy.

When I find the first copy, I think I’ll take it to the bank and add it to the safe deposit box. I would not ever want to be without a copy.

I think this means that I like his poetry. A lot.

This also remind me that I must at some point, again, make a book of my poetry, so that not all of it disappears forever, totally, at my death.


Reading 2016 : 1-9

Relatively Dead, by Sheila Connolly
The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison
In Progress: The Peshawar Lancers, by S.M. Stirling
In Progress: Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy, by Francis Fukuyama

Silver Bells, by Debbi Macomber
‘Twas the Night After Christmas, by Sabrina Feffries
Kitchen Table book: The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar (in progress)


New Year, Rubbing Off The New

I am not inclined toward New Year Resolutions. In college, I could not even adhere to my class–study schedule.  Retirement is much better, in that I usually have adequate time to do what I want, so long as I can push back the necessary tasks to a more convenient time.

I went through five different themes, I think, before settling on one for this new (decapitated and rebirthed) blog. It might even be the theme I chose for The Art of Disorder.  There is an inconvenience to versatility. Mostly, one just wants to slap up a blog and start writing. Doesn’t one?

Rereading life like worn, familiar books, I find retreaded disasters and rescues to be more welcome than a true unknown. There is lamenting abroad about all sorts of things.

All things in the hands of the one who created the universe. The end is sure, and everything between then and now is not immovable fate, good or ill fortune. In its broad sweep of actions,  while major patterns predominate, there are almost always smaller circles of action, stages rather than scenic movie sites, in which our limited actions have perhaps immediate consequences, reactions, reactions and comforts, is not reassurance.

We feel a need for everything to come out right, forgetting that the here and now, over which we have some care and options, we can take actions with positive responses and actual, existing improvement in conditions. There is no reason to panic about terrorism, nuclear threats, droughts or massive movements of people from certain soon or lingering death to unanticipated shores. We have before us each day that with which we make positive choices, decisions and outcomes in the world. Not always world shattering, but making our allotted sphere of influence a better place to live. With the positive, the feeling of progress and a victory of sorts among the small things of life, an encouragement for all to give also what they can without the fear that everything will be ripped from them, as a result, and their own lives and loved ones with it.

Rereading The Peshawar Lancers (S.L. Stirling) and reflecting on the differences in reactions and coping mechanisms of various populations in reaction to world cataclysm. We do what we should and what we can, and then we are done, at life’s end. What counts is what we were called to and able to do, not what other deeds or how much responsibility we were not assigned by God. We live until we die, and we cannot judge others because we are not them.