42,2 km

The first part was super-easy! my best time ever for a half! The weather was perfesct and the rain abated. But my legs rebelled after the 26th kilometer, and the part near the lake Ontario was a freezing, damp, runninghell!

To be continued…

A marathon is like two half-marathons, one after the other, right?

Well, my legs did not agree with this optimist assessment!

 

Signing under a hanging block

95 DamoclesBlock

 

Are you nervous signing with a heavy block hanging over your table? I am!

But the worst situation was witnessed here, at the 2008 Paris bookfair. (Yes, it’s me under the triangular sign!)

Running Up an Historic Trail

UpSlope

 

And to think the British brought their cannons up in pieces!

I ran up the Wolfe Trail,  1,5 km of slope, to train for my upcoming marathon, along with my cousin who is an experienced marathoner. It concluded a 16-km run…

We ran from Anse au Foulon, and went through lots of little signs that explain in detail the operation of passing by this trail to attack Quebec defended by Montcalm. Obviously the trail was not paved …

Nevertheless, I thought about the soldiers wearing those heavy loads and equipment, and about the defenders of Quebec who risked (and lost) their lives.

It’s always easy to say in retrospect, long after the lost battle: “Montcalm should have done this or that, he should wait for reinforcements to Bougainville and Levis instead of an exit …”

But without cell phone, while the besieged Quebec residents lacked everything (Wolfe had burned the fields and razed villages up to 100 km downstream of the city), the Marquis de Montcalm could not actually * know * if his allies and volunteers had not themselves been decimated, or whether the British allies Iroquois warriors would not come later join them to form an unassailable mass.

So he ordered a sortie against an enemy superior in number.

(The two leaders were killed in this battle, which was rather short as columnists reported it: about 15 minutes, for the French engagement.)

*

I am really feeling the exhaustion of the training for the upcoming marathon, hence this shortened comic!

 

 

The Perils of Running in Spring

94AngryBird

Training and Drawing

93SeriousRunning

It seems that my marathon training is getting in the way of drawing!

The event is in three weeks…

A Cousin Named Entropy

The latest issue of Galaxies includes my SF short-story, La Cousine Entropie (A Cousin named Entropy).

This is my third publication in this French SF magazine, occurring shortly after my publication in Géante Rouge 23. La cousine Entropie  is a long-winded, galaxy-spanning hard SF story, with some bits of humor. And there is more than one cousin…

IMG_0420 Galaxies40EnveloppeW

The text was commissioned by Jean-Pierre Laigle, who sent me an extensive article on the topic of cosmanthropy (that you’ll find in this issue).

Cosmanthropy?

Imagine humans colonizing the entire volume of space, not only planet surfaces, without environmental suits. That trope is less often exploited in science fiction, because of the challenges. Three authors who addressed this topic are interviewed: Jorge Luiz Caliph (Contact diagrams), Laurent Genefort (Thick-skins) and Linda Nagata (The tides of Saturn, which is published in French in this issue).

I remember reading with pleasure Les Peaux Epaisses (Thick Skins) by Laurent Genefort, featuring gen-modified workers in order to survive in the vacuum (and shamefully exploited). I am reading Memory by Linda Nagata, a planet-opera.

Spider and Jeanne Robinson had created Star Dance, a title also mentioned in the article by Jean-Pierre. Star Dance chronicle the birth of Homo caelestis. Jeanne was an accomplished dancer and very Zen. She left us, regretfully in 2010, but the Star Dance project page is still there to make us dream.

What Tears Us Down

 

92WhatTearsUsDown

 

Reactions to the Brussels attacks on social media have devolved into an ugly blame game that solves nothing.  And a fierce joy explodes when some assumptions reinforces our established prejudices!

Unfortunately, Facebook is an easy outlet. Compared to what one can express safely in the lounge with friends, the audience is the entire planet.

During my meeting in Oregon with pros writers, an important directive (given along with  the earthquake and tsunami warnings) was “Do not talk about politics!” Many of my professional colleagues chose not to intervene on heated Internet debates  (and in the USA, they are in elections!) as they have lost too many friends .

I could talk in length about the origins of the scourge, and the mental conditioning that is now called “radicalization”. Mental cages grow everywhere, sects or radicals recruit even the young educated or the rich (Patty Hearst, anyone?)

It only takes a small seed of frustration, fueled by the fertilizer of prejudice. Over time, the mental cage produces its evil flowers, sweet fruits of hatred providing a “hit” of pleasure, inflating the ego with the steroids of a “good” cause.

I could also talk about polluters of sources, spreading seeds of anger in the medias. Those professionnals emits a thinly veiled call to the lynching of a religious community or ethnic group, deemed guilty  by association because some of the assassins may have been recruited among them.

I could talk about heavy weapons manufacturers who make fruitful business with the States that need to protect themselves, and covert business with shady groups.

I heard the worst insults this week; several of my Facebook friends have left their reserve to the locker room. Those issues that tear us down concern all authors.

We, the creators of comics, magicians of words, regardless of the size of our audience, have a responsibility not to inflame the debate with simplistic hate calls.

To write is to weave a dream, to offer a glimpse into a future different from a brand of capitalism focused on fear. As a science fiction writer, I want to feed the imagination to build, through education and respect, a more convivial world.

 

Street Apples

StreetApples

 

This apple tree was there long before the neighbourhood was built, a remnant of the farmstead that once occupied this strip of land.

It was a small wonder to have trees like this, belonging to no one, and giving away its fruits. It was a small, gnarled tree that had been ill for some years, and his fruits spotted, acid, imperfect. I knew the city would remove it eventually, but never forgot to offer my thanks.

The poem did rhyme in its French form, but I endeavoured to keep the rythm alive.

 

Running Hills, Writing Series

 

91SharpHill

When I began my first science fiction series, the first novel of the space-opera was a self-contained story, quite straightforward to write. The second felt more difficult, and I thought the third would be the last, but the story arc spilled out and I wrote a fourth (and last!) of the Jules-Verne saga series.

It felt like my training running hills. The first time is easy, but by the fourth time, my legs were almost quitting under me! That fourth and last novel of the series was the most difficult to write, since I had to wrap up the leads to complete the neat story arc.

Books as Boats

 

90BooksBoats

 

Books are like boats.

Readers swim from one reading to the next, and some boats are more easy to access than others.

(I hear it often: How come my  genius novel cannot find any readers? ) For my science fiction novels, I often add lexicons! But there are other ways to lower the bar for your readers, by shorter chapters, for instance, or not crowding too many characters in a scene, etc.

Your writer’s task is paradoxically to help your readers to get on board!