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J.H.McMullen last won the day on April 13 2012

J.H.McMullen had the most liked content!

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About J.H.McMullen

  • Birthday 08/05/1961

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    Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Reading (mostly fantasy & SF), writing, RPGs, comics, biking, karate

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  1. Clearly we are unlikely to meet: I rarely get out to visit those friends and relatives. Anyway, Hartwell noticed that SF books by Canadian authors did exactly the same in the US market as books by American authors--but they sold roughly ten times better in Canada than those by American authors. So he buys from Canadian authors if all other things are equal. I assume (I don't know) that normal Canadian sales are roughly one tenth of those in the US, that being the ratio of population sizes. So a book from an American author sells X in the US and X/10 in Canada, making a total of 1.1X. But a book from a Canadian author sells roughly X in the US and X in Canada, making a total of 2X. (And the X value isn't consistent from one author to another, of course.) Certainly I see a number of authors who are Canadian and who are willing to state it, as opposed to the old days, when authors like Gordon Dickson or A. E. Van Vogt or later Judith Merrill (to name 3) had a Canadian connection but didn't really talk about it.
  2. Duh. I should have realized; I certainly have read Mistborn and it's a Brandon Sanderson fansite, but I just didn't put them together. I was just thinking it was a local term for some administrative practice. Thank you.
  3. Hi, Kerry! Good to have you around. (I keep hearing the admins like to spike people, but I don't actually know what that means.)
  4. Hi

    Some people might say that, but they are obviously not True Believers in waffleurgy. There's a ritual! And a set of exercises! And a DVD! Also, I hold true to Clarke's Third Law in this case! (I get a nickel for each exclamation point I use!!! Forty cents! Woohoo!)
  5. Yes! We are as fond of fantasy and the fantastic as anyone else in North America. (You know Tor editor David Hartwell's stated position on Canadian authors, right? ---At least I think it was Hartwell; it might have been PNH.) Someday I'll PM you and we'll compare birth defects. I'm in Ontario, between Toronto and London. Do you mind giving a rough location? (Young women have to be careful handing out that kind of info.)
  6. Fantasies without magic are rare, but they do exist. (Because they're rare, they seem to be a hard sell commercially, but that doesn't make them any less valid.) Published ones, sticking in the last say, twenty-five years. (Swordspoint might be older, but I don't think the sequel is.) Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner. Joel Shepherd's Trial of Blood and Steel series. I think the first is Sasha. I haven't read them, but my daughter has. Perhaps Mary Gentle's Ash. Mostly Ranger's Apprentice by John Flannagan, a YA. (It's a series, and in one book they deal with a magician of sorts, but mostly it's without magic, I think.) Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rasan; I think one of his others is, too. I don't recall magic in Mervyn Peak's Ghormenghast books. Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold, is close: gods and demons are real, but there's no magic, per se. Her Majesty's Dragon has, well, dragons, but no magic. First of a series by Naomi Novik. Jennifer Fallon's Second Sons trilogy.
  7. Hi

    Well, there are two: First, there is a specialized school within general batter augury, which assigns meaning to each square and quadrant of the waffle, and involves a ritual and the type of syrup (corn syrup for matters of war, beech for matters of the heart, maple for matters of money, and so on). But that's an augury magic rather than a generalized magic system, and we'll say no moe about it. Second, magical waffles and pancakes are used by the ninjas of the Ihop clan, usually as an assassination tool but they can be used to alter the mental state of the victim. (This is sometimes countered by the rather difficult school of caffeinomancy; those who practice caffeinomancy will sometimes order coffee with their waffles in order to protect themselves against waffleurgy.) One use is the waffle-to-stone method, where the waffle recombines in the stomach and blocks the entrance to the intestine, creating the victim who starves to death while stuffing himself to the point of his stomach exploding. (How often have we heard someone say, "It's like lead in my gut," when someone has consumed one of these lethal waffle.) In one of the more difficult uses, the waffles expand when the victim drinks water and then takes over the body, creating the dreaded waffle golem. Magical waffles are also as throwing stars by the Ihops; they have been known to sever steel cables. In a nonlethal use, the shamans of the Ihop clan will enchant the waffles and use them for prophetic visions.
  8. Let's see... I don't know if you can find any of my published work. I have a rather short bibliography. For non-fiction, it's all UNIX books. I think two of them are still in print but I didn't get a royalty cheque for them last December so I'm not sure... (Which makes me think: did I let the publisher know I moved? Hmmm. Better check.) For fiction, two stories have been published under a pseudonym because they're erotica (yes, I had a fling--so to speak--at writing erotica, about fifteen years ago). If genre fiction goes out of print fast, erotica goes out of print faster: I think I have the only copies extant. I was a semifinalist in Writers of the Future the year that I entered. And last September, Dark Moon Digest released an anthology of zombie stories which includes one of mine ("Thicker Than Law"), under my name and everything. (It was, in fact, the last thing I wrote before the tumour was discovered.) But for stuff written post-tumour operation, no, there isn't any of it in print.
  9. Hi

    I sense... a great disturbance in the Allomantic Force, as if two licensed IPs had collided... Welcome from another newbie!
  10. The two obvious ones to me are to do it from Brooke's perspective--she's essentially saddled to someone who doesn't work right, and her knowledge (possibly outdated because she probably carries the image of him from the end of Mr. Monster, not what he becomes by the end of the third book) informs her actions, or from an agency person who is assigned to work with them. The sympathetic demon one I wouldn't have come up with, but it's a nice twist: we already know that demons can become more human-like, more emotional, as they spend time on earth. (What if being sent to eart is actually meant for them as a time of rehabilitation, meant to make them more human-like? Store that: I don't think it works here, but there's something interesting about being sent as a demon but the intent is that you grow out of it.) I think that body-snatchers are more likely to be caught -- they have to commit murders -- but they might not make the majority of demons.
  11. Okay, we can rule out the priest. Also the demons. Since it's not obvious, we'll also rule out John Cleaver and his family (though I need to do a reread to check on his sister's boyfriend). Hmmm. Maybe I need to do a reread anyway. For some reason I have a bit in my brain that says the clue is in Mr. Monster, but I don't know where that idea comes from, and I wouldn't trust it.
  12. If I could add a couple of things? I know it's presumptuous of me, but I think these have been given only glancingly and they deserve more attention: Critique the story, not the author. Respect the author, regardless of writing skill. We all start somewhere. Recognize that a work can be good even if it isn't how you'd do it. (I have in mind a story I once saw in a group where everyone but me criticized it for not being realistic enough, but I thought that the author was trying for a fable--and she succeeded--though perhaps it needed a better announcement of the type of story it was.) Consider the intended audience. A middle school novel is judged by different standards than a tragic confessional. Consider the genre. Writing is writing, yes, but I haul out different tools for a user guide than I do for a piece of flash fiction about the end of the world. Different genres carry different assumptions. If you don't have the whole piece of fiction in front of you, you might mention things that worry you, but they aren't necessarily bad: the payoff might come. For instance, I dislike prologues intensely (they are often used unnecessarily), but there are reasons to have them, and I recognize that. So a prologue is (for me) a red flag, but I can't know if it's worthwhile until I read THE END. And even then, the author and I might disagree. I know; I've repeated some of the advice we've already had. But I think it's important. John
  13. Hi, all. Silk kindly added me to the list, so I guess I can say hi, now. My name is John. I tried to think of something clever--like Sigmund Void--but decided I'd keep my real identity: might as well make myself identifiable, for good or ill. (If you see a jhmcmullen, it's probably me. Though there are a host of other, more famous John McMullens out there.) Male, middle-aged, Canadian. Technical writer by day, person with issues by night...actually, I'm in that space between the kids being old enough to have lots of external interests and not yet licensed, so nights are busy, but still trying to write.) Trained as a biologist, don't do that. Studied karate for a while, don't do that right now (trying to get back in shape for it, though). Had a brain tumour and discovered that after the operation and recovery, I am not as good at anything as I used to be (and still think I am, hence the .sig). So it's time to relearn it all. I hope it will be swift, but it might not be. Don't know. I write because there is no other choice. I can avoid writing by doing acting or improv or directing or running a roleplaying campaign, and all are good, but none are writing. I have had fallow periods--we have a drama-of-the-quarter lifestyle--and I will again, but there will also be productive periods. Writers I like: I like Sanderson (I'm here) but I like Dan Wells more. I adore Theodore Sturgeon. I like the Heinlein juveniles, most Asimov fiction, early Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clarke, very early Spider Robinson, Carrie Vaughn, Seanan McGuire's work as Mira Grant, Joe R. Lansdale, some Samuel R. Delaney, John D. MacDonald, Donald Westlake (under all his various pseudonyms), James Alan Gardner, Brian Keene (hit or miss)....and the list goes on. I'm not clever in a literary sense; Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell or the Aegypt series are at about my limit. But I want more depth than a Mack Pendleton novel. And this is too long to be just a bit of backstory...so I'll stop.
  14. Glad to be here. And it's mostly in the past now, so it makes for good conversation. And, of course, I now have lots of squicky stories to tell.
  15. And hi from another newbie!