Published in Cadaverous Magazine

 

 


My nanofic story “Garden Time” can be read in this issue of Cadaverous Magazine. At six words it will take you all of one second to read it.

(Nanofic is what I call a story under 10 words, as opposed to microfic, which is under 50, and flash fiction, under 500)

Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/27/17: Angels

Be careful who you trust; the devil was once an angel.
Old proverb

I viewed my fellow man not as a fallen angel, but as a risen ape.
Desmond Morris

We cannot pass our guardian angel’s bounds; resigned or sullen, he will hear our sighs.
Saint Augustine

Angels have a long history in Western culture. The word itself came from the Green angelos, a translation of the Hebrew mal’ahk, meaning messenger. As such they acted as intermediaries between gods and man. The ancient Sumerians were the first to depict them with wings; the halos were an idea copied from Roman non-angel art. In the Bible, they are manlike enough to wrestle and awe onlookers with their might and power. But other particulars were not recorded. Later theologians posited them as beings made of light, or genderless, or being “without desire.” If any of you are like me, you know them from Christmas cards, fine art, and Catholic churches: girly-looking blonde-haired men in nightgowns.

Modern depictions show a more sinister and sexual side. Storm Constantine’s novels about the Grigori, fallen angels who bred with human women, depict them as amoral, brutal beings prone to anal rape. In the movie 2010 Legion, angels act as God’s army to destroy the mortal world and cleanse it. The Twilight knockoff YA novel Hush, Hush depicts a hunky male angel falling in love with a teenage girl and stalking, humiliating, and abusing her. These depictions are a far cry from the dimply guardian angel of Facebook gifs.

Hebrew tradition lists about two dozen different kinds of angels and a like number of individual beings. From these, it wasn’t too hard to random gen my own.

Imaginary Angels

Betelach

Tinerzriel

Amphalra

Uxrah

Irulael

Marach

Zamyel

Phaaneth

Eluseel

Chanbhayel

Taphone

Yseth

Zeunmaral

Chabiel

Urys

Seltramineth

Perusiel

Elfmral

Lukach

Telekanzel

Peranus

Tanon

Aragiah

Gazeth

Dhilah

Ranach

Linanon

Ankheth

Patrimal

Alraeth

Uidellus

Yungael

Saldut

Saanah

Baranael

Elfrial

Lyraniuel

Saphach

Tzeniel

Karial

Shumal

Karlbaranach

Gediael

Hardfariah

Thimyael

Minyel

Jorkaha

Chabut

Denah

Symbolas

Sataut

Myrus

Nemzaryel

Lukudraeth

Geribuel

Tassosut

Chantsael

Anulturuseth

Asmaael

Abeth

Marsuel

Dhilut

Selenasma

Geribus

Kentiah

Sapharaiz

Yaschmel

Torazel

Thysial

Shispersiel

Ectraphone

Anthmal

Hallabha

Gyruel

Bhaateth

Ketiah

Shaujmid

Aresius

Ehleth

Pilger

Nebyel

Villuel

Chardeth

Marsah

Saddeth

Sybhaatuel

Zaasfael

Yvach

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens [Reading Challenge 2017]

The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: How the Daughters of Genghis Khan Rescued his Empire

by Jack Weatherford
Broadway Paperbacks, New York, 2010

[Challenge # 9: A book about a person you know little about.]

Winding up my book challenges for 2017. Am looking forward to next years’ reading. Who knows where it will lead me?

On to the Challenge. I hadn’t read any Asian history before this book (or anything about Genghis Khan, really) so I came in totally blind, and it took me a while to get into because I had no reference points. But I was glad I did, because, what an inspiration! It read like an outline for some fantasy series yet to be written.

The author had written a previous history of Genghis Khan and I am guessing this book was to serve as a companion to that one rather than an afterthought. Though the author focuses on the roles of women in this one — wives, daughters, daughters-in-law, mothers — among the ruling  Mongolians, I felt it gave me a good, basic grasp of Mongolian history, which was something I might not have tackled in a more conventional text. At the end of it, I was eager to read more.

The only thing I can fault the book for was that the maps were inadequate for a newcomer to Asian history like myself. I would have preferred a macro view, that called out into smaller views as the chapters progressed.

 

 

 

Krampus

Krampus

The little children couldn’t wait for Krampus to arrive spreading joy and fear.

 

Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/20/17: Beers

dwarf drinking beer

Who doesn’t like a strong draft of beer?

Beer brewing is one of the most ancient of arts. Evidence exists for it in writing dating far back to 5000 BCE in Egypt and Mesopotamia. It went into eclipse during the days of the Roman Empire with its taste for wine; but came back in strong during the Medieval era, where it diversified and began to be sold in specialty taverns, the forerunners of today’s pubs and hop shops.

Chuck's Hop Shop

When you’re in Seattle,
visit Chuck.

Those very shops offer a dazzling variety to choose from in large urban areas. A perusal of the offerings of my favorite, the titular Chuck’s Hop Shop in Seattle, came up with these evocative names:

Ill Tempered Gnome Winter Ale

Melon Session Pale

Brewdocky

Fat Monk

Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout

From similar parameters, it wasn’t too hard to random gen my own, with all the colorfulness weary adventurers deserve after a hard day of sacking and looting or overthrowing the dark lord.

Beers

Virgin’s Hammer

Mossborne Cream

Stormdraft

Knebflan

Saltguts

Flambech

King’s Nectar

Birdbone’s Salty Whistle

Shortwhack Sweet

Horndinger

Shingobble

Scullysmack Orange

Dogberry Delicious

Tunksalt Bitter

Tierson’s Grim Catdraft

Buckshort

Shillnoddy

Gorgon’s Tit

Goodwive’s Cross

Chestnut Envy

Savorskin White

Sunbury Zest

Gillygobble Nine

Savorfern

Wormguts

Aldinger Pale

Gladlouse Ginger Stout

Hamwhistle

Penslim Amber

Prophet’s Moon

Shunknack Sour

Grindyshalling

Poorlbech

Rundyline Round Red

The Plague Doctor’s #9 Brew

Yardbird Yellow

Eyespeak

Eye will always speak the truth to you.

 

 

Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/13/17: Star Names II

Distinctive stars have distinctive names. Polaris, for example, is also known as the Pole Star, and at various places in its past Angel Stern, Cynosura, the Lodestar, and The Star of Arcady. Arcturus was known as Guardian of the Bear to the ancient Greeks. Constellation descriptions in old astronomical catalogs give descriptions such as “Regulus, the heart of the lion” and science fiction writers often reference stars created in their works by location, color, and brightness, e.g. “A yellow G2 star slightly smaller than Sol.”

Here’s some random gen names for your own work.

 

Star Names and Descriptions

Torsnilam, a dim star in the constellation of the Peacock

Delphwad, the Physician’s Wrist

Churalrai, the Star of Betrayal

Taungiethi, the Star of Malice

Quesraph, a brilliant white star in the constellation of the Badger

Torrara, a dim yellow star in the constellation of the Viper, also called The Corpse Star

Schiralpha, the Bloodlust Star. Its reddish color foretold battles and strife.

Olchab, a blue-white star in the constellation of the Goblin

Hamtut, the barbels of the Catfish

Thysaris, the star of Inner Transformation

Tasgenubi, the Goldsmith’s Friend

Translurops, the Star of Good Swordsmanship

Oudgenubi, the Winter Star

Yungedi, the Star of Glory

Mulrak and Mornax, the Dawn Stars

Pellanan, a bright orange star in the constellation of the Badger

Dhamgenubi, the Bright Heart of the Toad

Jalectra, a bright star in the constellation of the Boar, also known as the Giver of Forbearance

Grantaka, the Centipede Crown

Yeshchard, Heart of the Ibis

Khangeuse, a bright reddish-orange star also known as the Goblin’s Liver in the constellation of the same name.

Kivkha, the Hippogriff’s eye

Kyhaut, Eye of the Phoenix

Dengete, the Vulture’s beak

Shauntaka, the Tanner’s thumb

Qugieba, the Sage’s star

Umwaad, the Maiden’s head

Kallinan, the Warrior’s finger

Tamhaut the Unlucky. To see it at dawn invited misfortune.

Tiny Funerals

Coffinmakers showcased their wares with miniature creations like these.

 

Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/6/17: Star Names I

Not only did ancient peoples look to the night sky’s constellations as cultural touchstones, they also looked to individual stars. The star Thuban helped the Egyptians align their pyramids, and Sirius, when it rose at dawn, let them know the flooding of the Nile was soon to come. The stars of the Pleiades star cluster signaled the start of the sailing season to the ancient Greeks.

The stars of the modern world have official names of the Latin possessive of the constellation they belong to, preceded a letter of the Greek alphabet (e.g. Zeta Reticuli). When the Greek alphabet runs out, Latin letters are used, and then numbers. Prominent stars also keep their ancient names, Anglicized, easier-to-pronounce versions of the Arab ones. A few are more ancient, and a few more modern. Stars containing a system of planets were recently named through an internet vote sponsored by the International Astronomical Union in 2015, for example. There are also stars named for people, like Barnard’s star and Tabby’s star.

Through the magic of random generation, here are some Arabic-sounding starry names you can use for your own fictional skies.

 

Star Names

Ghilchardi

Tamsules

Nashrius

Taunoros

Halyat

Delmeisa

Vanyoros

Fornabi

Vyrnah

Merara

Trintzam

Felnavi

Ulregel

Tasbhaat

Lokwaid

Olnscha

Elfsata

Saanzed

Sedshira

Jalgete

Ladkar

Ardnax

Menzipheda

Mirlnax

Khanramin

Hanrab

Ghanineb

Pholectra

Churud

Morlzar

Jolraph

Amphectra

Karalrai

Ulchab

Kahrudra

Gerphoros

Torsudra

Irulzinda

Grisus

Ranthamar

Zinstard

Grannavi

Mirlgeuse

Halijidma

Prosersim

Shenbah

Ranthellus

Eliskab

Betelthim

Purmalopus

Psunroperus

Wesulnubi

Aralfrash

Zamtanscha

Arakakhra

Phoraani

Duneira

Kabrius

Baliales

Zedani

Zarules

Alphaules

Phadian

Ashtut

Rudashira

Zistuben

Charcyon

Barkzim

Psalturus

Polkephora

Zimchard

Irulatna

Murahbens

Zenropar

Ulzamard

Pamopus

Werosma

Tristaurus

Brandy

Brandy’s eyes could steal a sailor from the sea.