The Digital Parchment Services Celebration Of Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Jody Scott

Censorable Ideas 5 Minute Book Reviews: Immortality & a Small Angry Planet

The Long Way to  a Small, Angry Planet
by Becky Chambers 

    Ashby Santoso is the owner and captain of a space-boring ship, he's the contractor folks call when they need a wormhole drilled.
    Ashby is a human, a minor race recently admitted to the Galactic Commons (GC). His crew is a melange of species that make up the GC. Their latest, very lucrative contract: a long normal-space haul to the distant Toremi territory to bore a wormhole back. But not all the Toremi are in favor of this new alliance and space, particularly out in the sticks, can sometimes be deadly.
    Angry Planet is a character-driven story about an ordinary, likable crew doing an ordinary, yet kind of thrilling spacer job. The depictions of different species, their viewpoints, and how they manage to get along and function together is very well drawn; Chambers is an excellent writer, delightful to read. The story is quite human-centric, and so we get a skewed view of this Galactic Commons, in which the human species is but a minor player, but this is a small quibble.
    Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended! 4 out of 5 stars.
-Mary Whealen

The Diary of an Immortal
​by David J. Costello

   A medic involved in the liberation of Dachau concentration camp discovers a cache of pills with the astonishing claim that, taken daily, they will confer immortality.
    Steven begins taking pills as a panacea to the brutal reality of war and the camps.
    From Germany to New York to to China and Tibet, Diary of an Immortal  takes us on a greatest-hits tour of many of the major historical happening post WW2, as the protagonist seeks first the truth behind the immortality formula and its origin, and then to stop the forces that seek to use it to unleash another evil messiah unto the world.
    Early on the novel asks "How does it change one's perspective and reality to become immortal?" and a connection between music and extra-sensory states of awareness is postulated, but these fertile novelistic questions are soon abandoned for what is essentially a cops-n-robbers tale with an overlay of eastern mysticism.
   The author is a talented writer and the storytelling compelling enough, but I was disappointed by the theme tease: 3 out of 5 stars.
-Mary Whealen

Why I Married Don Scott

  •   January, 1940.  I had just graduated from high school.  I wanted to go to Northwestern but didn’t know where it was or how to get there and, more importantly, we had no money and girls didn’t go to college.  There was one freebie, Wright College, that I considered but didn’t know where it was or how to get there.
     (Suggestion to the past: take a pocketful of nickels and a map and spend a day riding streetcars OR be rewarded with a talented, inspiring tutor.  Not a Lutheran, not your typical 1940’s square.  None available, it would seem.)
      Hung around house writing short stories, all bad.  Mom knew a salesman (a pig but she didn’t know that) at Kemper Insurance.  Got a job there.  Had no idea what to expect.  There were eight floors to Kemper Insurance with a dumbwaiter running up through them and on each floor, crouched around the dumbwaiter and waiting for mail, was one boy and one girl.  The girl was supposed to sort incoming mail, the boy to deliver it in a handcart but we switched around and had a fabulously FUN time sending shoes up and down the d’waiter and like that..
     But on the day the job started: I walked in (in my HS clothes, plaid skirt, sweater, bobby sox, saddle shoes) and here was this handsome & fabulous creature, gorgeously dressed like a boy model of 18 years old, even the gold watch would knock your eyes out.  This was Don, far too sophisticated to play the baby games the rest of us played, and we got to be good friends, long phone talks mostly about politics and my favorite subject “How can suicidal humanity be helped out of the pit it wallows in?”; in another couple of years we’d be running around with a Chicago Ultra Sophisticated Crowd, going to the ballet and like that—um, let’s see, one of them was Edward Gorey, and snobbish Joan Mitchell who stayed home and painted. And so on.  Anyway, 1940 morphed into 1941 and September came and Dad died.  I remember that night, the midnight phone call, the horror, the silence.  (Frank would love it.)
     Mom went insane.  I have no other word for it.  She played “Gloomy Sunday” night and day.  It was awful.  I had no skills to handle this at the time—then it was January, 1942, Don and I were hatching a scheme: we wanted to hitchhike on Route 66 all the way from Chi to L.A.!  Wow!  What an adventure, so we got ready to take off and Mom said, “You can’t do it unless you get married.”
     Married?  What the f—k for?  But her mantra was, “What will the neighbors say?”  This was all-important in my mother’s mind and she couldn’t be talked out of it so I figured, what the hay, if it makes her happy.  So we went downtown to the Justice of the Peace’s office and paid $2 to “get married,” and Mom and the neighbors lived happily ever after, until they died.  And later I got “divorced” and married fabulous but crazy O.T. Wood which is a whole other story which I can’t tell yet because it may hurt the innocent.    (Suggestion to the past: forget about “married,” it’s nothing but Police State Suppression.  Up the Revolution!  Whatever that means.)
     Next: to L.A. on Route 66 with hardly any money, ending in getting arrested in Texas. (Which is also another story. Stay tuned!)
​-Jody Scott

Publisher's Weekly review of Passing for Human

This satire was first published in 1977, but its biting commentary still registers strongly today. Aliens trained in Western pop culture disguise themselves as well-known figures and embark on two intersecting tasks: judging humankind’s readiness to join the interstellar community, and searching for a ruthless criminal. Scott carries on the tradition of Mark Twain, using outside observers to remark on society. While the treatment of women is the primary focus, other targets include consumer culture and the general human willingness to be led by the nose by a charismatic figure. The narrative drags at times, but the speculative elements are well written and give a good sense of physical and cultural differences. A light touch keeps the moralizing from getting too ham-fisted, and this cautionary tale calling for a better world is a message needed now more than ever.


Star Trek Beyond, Worth Your $10?

directed by Justin Lin, a screenplay by Simon Pegg & Doug Jung.

Nine hundred and sixty six days into its five year mission, the USS Enterprise arrives at Starbase Yorktown, a massive snowglobe-like station with its own internal atmosphere and cityscape, to replenish dwindling supplies while the crew takes shore leave.
An escape pod drifts out of a nearby nebula and the Enterprise is dispatched on a rescue mission.
The rescue turns into an ambush when the Enterprise is overwhelmed by a massive swarm of ships. The swarm's commander, Krall, boards the ship searching for the Abronath, an alien artifact that Kirk had obtained on a recent mission.
The swarm rips apart the Enterprise, and the saucer section crashes to the planet as the crew abandons ship in escape pods.

The action is excellent, Hollywood at its best!, and the menace of the swarming enemy ambush as it rips apart The Enterprise is frightening..... read the rest of the review at 

Stephen King’s Welsh Corgi a best-selling author

Stephen King’s Welsh Corgi, Arfy, has done it again.
​ His short story Bite ‘Em in the Butt, first published in The New Yorker, won the coveted Peeker Award; now his novel Bowwow Up the Yingyang is topping New York Times bestseller lists on its way to Hollywood and major money.
“It’s no big deal,” Arfy told this reporter modestly .... read the rest at

Does Ghostbusters 2016 Suck or Not?

Some films achieve a magical movie alchemy wherein the whole is greater than the sums of its parts. Ghostbusters 2016 is not one of those movies..... read full review 


This week's Censorable Ideas (written by Jody in 2006)
THERE are now six billion humans on this planet, soon to be twelve billion. Won’t that be nice? Won’t we all be twice as happy?
Oh, clap-clap-clap & Goody for us.

While you let that sink in for a minute, let me change the subject a bit, O.K.?
We all heard all this stuff about Scientology last year, and how bad it is, like, Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch to proclaim his love for a girl or maybe a woman or something—showing, according to the great audience, far too much enthusiasm, right?.....
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