Sci Fi Magazines

Recently I was looking up information on new science fiction movies and t.v. shows. My go to place is the Internet, of course, but it always leaves me missing the hey day of science fiction magazines of the 1970’s – 1990’s.

Starlog. Anyone remember Starlog? I subscribed to that one and have nearly every issue. The past issues are free on-line now. It quit publishing right when the first Wolverine movie came out. I was looking forward to that one too.

Starlog kept me up-to-date with all the new movies and shows. I knew the directors, the special effects artists, the writers. Now? I sigh that I know so few of the modern names in science fiction. Even though I look on line, it’s just not the same. There are little boxes with pictures and text to click on and read about this and that, but no interviews and it seems so random.

Starlog wasn’t the only magazine I subscribed to, only I forgot the name of the other magazine and since it’s in storage somewhere can’t look it up. It started out different, not pandering to the movies, talking them up. If a movie wasn’t to par, it said that. And I appreciated it because some movies are not all that great.

Other magazines I got at second hand book stores. Star Burst, Cineflex, SciFi Now, Empire, Space Wars, etc. But no Fangoria, I don’t care for horror. If you do, this is a good one.

I suppose I’ll get rid of these magazines one day, but not in the near future. Even if they are old, I’m going to read them over and over again and wish they were still published.

Twelve-year-old Rachel is all about soccer. She can’t believe she’s made it on the team, in a offensive position. Everything is going great especially after her spectacular assist on a goal. Then she’s told she need to wear a brace for her scoliosis. She’ll be encased in a full torso plastic shell for twenty-three hours a day. Twenty-three hours. From under her arms to the top of her thighs.

How is she going to play soccer in this? No way does she want to quit. Can she cheat a bit? Not with her mother around who keeps telling her she’s lucky. It could be spinal fusion like she has. That’s only two of the challenges that Rachel faces as she struggles to keep going, through the pain, the blisters, and the beginnings of romance.

The characters in the book are well though of and come alive. Rachel and her friends are quite believable as they deal with Rachel’s dilemma. There were supporters. There were the snarky bullies. It was a positive book.

Alyson Gerber wore a brace in her youth leading credence to her debut novel. She made one feel the pain and struggles for someone who has to endure it. It’s surprising how many do. Even my mother had to wear a brace. She also had to hang upside down with weights. This was during World War II when things were hard to get. She was lucky because one of the doctors was a border in her parent’s house.

I liked that she included her struggle in the author’s notes in the back as well as some web sites.


After a bit on the news about mosquitoes, an ad came on for Advantage for dogs. It got me wondering. If they make something for pets so they don’t get bitten by mosquitoes and ticks, why can’t they do that for people? The talk about an explosion of tick numbers this year has got me anxious about walking in the wild. No  way do I want to lyme disease and there’s an even worse thing you can get from ticks. I don’t want to be scared from going out hiking.

Mosquitoes are bad too. About a year ago, I went to a county park. They  have a walkway in the trees and it’s really cool. Afterwards I walked along the river. I’d put bug spray on, but, by the time I was half-way through, I was nearly running to get away from the mosquitoes. Forget about taking a picture, which I did. The moment I stopped I had almost a visible wall of mosquitoes around me.

Aiken State Park, which is a really neat place, was bad as well. The Edisto River runs through it. It’s the longest black-water river in the U.S. The ‘black’ refers to the color leeched into by the cypress trees. My face got all bitten. Guess I forgot that spot.

Anyway, wouldn’t it be nice if there was an Advantage for people? We could all flock outside again and frolic in the wild, roll in the meadows, and visit the swampiest place on Earth with no fear.

People keep telling me sprains take a long time to heal. It’s been over a month now and I want it back to normal. Nope, got to wait a bit longer. Two months or more depending on the severity. I’ve got to clomp around in a cloth brace. That’s better than a moon-boot I suppose, but in summer SC, any added bit of clothing article is too much. Even on your foot. Every day I think, okay, tomorrow I can ditch the thing and then my ankle hurts a bit so it’s on for another day.

I’ve taken to wearing one of my shoes and one of my Dad’s. He wasn’t a large man so his shoe fits me and the brace almost perfectly. I’m sure I get some weird looks, but who cares? It works. I can walk. Now if only I can do my daily walking exercises. I miss  them. And I don’t miss them. The time I used for walking is now re-appropriated to drawing lessons from a book and to my writing. What’s not bad about that? I’ve been able to write more. I’ve finished a story and written two (very) short stories and am working on a Christmas one. I’ve not written a new one in the while and I’m excited about this one.

Back to the ankle. According to the x-ray, a ligament tore a bit of bone off and that’s causing some of the trouble. It’s better than having the ligament torn and needing surgery. I’ll have to take what I can get. As long as it gets better soon so I can continue my photo trips. Since I’m walking better, with no limping and no pain, that should be soon.

Staffa is a new student in Jane’s class, and, boy, is she ever strange. With her old-fashioned clothes, and her old lady way of speaking, Staffa isn’t the kind of person, eleven-year-old Jane wants to hang out with during or after school. And why is Staffa always looking at her? Ew. Worse, Staffa follows Jane home. There, Jane finds Staffa is not so bad afterall. Even her many brothers like her.

Jane is invited to meet Staffa’s mother, who’s also a bit odd what with her sweet tooth and strange stories she tells as if they’re true. And what’s with that weird box she carries everywhere? And the strange chauffeur who’s face Jane never sees?

When Jane is invited to Staffa’s home, she’s excited to go, but what she finds there, in the Kingdom of Eck, is beyond her wildest imagination. Worse, she may be trapped there forever.

This is a fun, magical fantasy with bees one can ride and cute, mouse-like people. It contains twists and turns that left me wondering who is the good and who’s bad? The first part of the story is set in Britain and, at first, you might think a regular school with two different types of girls becoming friends. After meeting the mother that changes and you catch glimpses of  another world, but what I thought wasn’t anywhere near what I got. A nice surprise.

If you like Roald Dahl, chances are you’re going to like this book too.


I’m reading through my old books, deciding which to keep and which to sell or give away. A number of books are Star Trek novels. I’ve already given a lot away, sold them. I didn’t get much. There’s a glut of used Star Trek books on the market.

On the technology side, Star Trek books are usually up there. Even if our twenty-first century tech trumps it, it didn’t matter. You can accept the difference. This one, however, not so much. It was about a huge bomb exploding on the planet Centari. In it, Chekov washed dishes, Kirk called the front desk for room service, and citizens drove gasoline powered cars.


Even if it was written in the 1980’s, it’s out of date. People were even smoking cigarettes.

I thought first I’d keep the book because the premise wasn’t bad, but the technology kept getting in the way. It almost read like a book that had been written for the seventies in the seventies, but revamped for the future. I’ve read plenty of older books where modern technology surpassed what was in the book, but it could be forgiven. The science fiction books from the fifties are so from the times, you take it in stride. In those, the main characters are male oriented and they use flying cars and head off to Mars in rocket ships. That’s excusable. This Star Trek book was not.

Jury Duty

Mom got a letter on Friday directing her to a magistrate court for jury duty. It’s the second letter for jury duty in the last six months. A picture of my mother sitting in the jury box in her LayZ Boy recliner popped in my head. Sweater. A blanket over her lap. Another blanket over her feet. She’d sit there, chin down, asleep. With a start she’d wake up and say:Don’t forget to tighten the lid so the water doesn’t come out. With her, when she wakes, dreams slide into the real world for a few moments. It takes getting used to.On Monday, I’ll call the office and get her excused from jury duty. She figures she’s too old and she’s done her duty.

It wasn’t that long ago I got three summons for jury duty in a six month span. Each was for a different court.  Before then I didn’t even pay attention what was what. My first letter was for a grand jury. You stayed on that for a year, but didn’t meet until there was a case or several. They did not excuse those who worked in school, but I was fine with it even if the school administration wasn’t. Once the officials of the court excused everyone who had excuses, they turned to a lottery. I knew right then and there I wouldn’t be picked, and I wasn’t.

The next time, I had to drive to Charleston, seventy miles away, for Federal Court. It was summer time so I didn’t have to get out of school. I brought my camera to take pictures. They weren’t going to pick me, I just knew it. I wouldn’t have minded because they’d put me in a hotel and I could wander Charleston and take all the pictures I wanted once court closed. I kind of looked forward to it. I sat through three calls for prospective jurors. I didn’t get picked.

The last time I was called was also in the summer. This was the local, county court, a small room, one smaller than the school library. I didn’t get picked either and it wasn’t like there were a lot of people to choose from.