Nantes, Here I Come

Still have a bit of packing and other things to do before my flight, so, well, bye. If I get stuck in an airport I might log on and kvetch; otherwise I’ll catch up with the lot of you tomorrow, when I’ll be here. In the meantime, consider this an open thread. Try to keep the place spiffy until I get back, okay? Thanks.

11 Comments on “Nantes, Here I Come”

  1. Hey John,
    Enjoy your trip to France. Try and find the time to get out and see some things! The history here (in Europe) runs long and deep and it has been my greatest pleasure these past few years to explore it!

  2. Gee, nice clean and empty open thread topic. (wanders around) I suppose the riff-raff will come in with their muddy boots and all — but at least on the Whatever it’s nice riff-raff.

    Just did an interesting exercise for a colleague at a community college — how would I write up “chapter” titles for a two-semester course in Physics, with just five chapters each (ten in all). He wanted chapter titles, I gave him titles plus synopses of what would be in each.

    Eduthink: “Less is more.”

    Teachers: “Less is also less.”

    Realists: “More costs.”

    Cynics: “Less costs more.”

    Dr. Phil

  3. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, liberated!

    There is a very dirty joke buried there in Ray’s comment with all that history.

    Have a great time there en France. I hope you can take the family because it’d be great for them to see a bit o’ Europe with you.

  4. John,

    Greetings from a French reader! I’ve been enjoying your blog and you books for quite some time.
    Too bad I can’t come to Nantes this weekend, it’s too far from where where I live, it would have been nice to chat with you face to face.

    Don’ forget to pack a good rain coat. At this time of the year there’s a good probability that the weather in Nates might be slightly wet.
    Think bottom-the-Atlantic wet.
    I hope you’ll enjoy your stay and the French food.

    Kévin

  5. I haven’t been to Nantes per se, but I skirted it when driving from St Nazaire to Angers, where there’s a rather interesting medieval tapestry (click my link). If you’re happy to get a car and experience some autumnal countryside, then a little further west of Angers one can visit Fontevraud Abbey and a few Loire chateaux.

  6. Hey John,

    While you’re there, pick up one of those fancy “e” with a thingy over it that Kévin has. They’re pretty cool. (Yes, I had to copy/paste…)

    Oh, and I’m jealous of the French food.

  7. John, don’t go!

    I read French- the title of the conference: “To Serve American Science Fiction Writers.” It’s a cook book! “

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