October 8th, 2015


Axolotol Special #1 / The Jennifer Morgue

The Axolotl Special is a slim volume of three short stories by different authors, prefaced by introduction by three different authors.

I'm pretty sure I've read Lucius Shepard's "Aymara" before, but it's still a great time travel story, and the star of this collection. John Kessel provides the most cogent intro. Michael Shea's "Fill it with Regular" takes on an interesting end of the world scenario, but the humorous take doesn't quite work for me. Bruce Sterling provides the intro. Jessica Amanda Salmonson's "The Revelations and Pursuits of Timith, Son of Timith" has some nice Dunsanian touches here and there, but wears out its welcome a bit. Tom Ligotti has interesting things to say about the hero in fantasy literature, but little to say about JAS' story. It's pretty sweet to have it signed by all participants.

The Jennifer Morgue is one of Charlie Stross' Laundry Files books, the series about spies that deal with Lovecraft-ish-oid things that got started with the Atrocity Archives. Jennifer Morgue is Stross' nod toward the James Bond franchise, and there are amusing details throughout for lovers of Bond. But the story stands pretty well on its own.

Thanks to my trip to the HPLFF, this one is also signed.

My oath binds me to observe the Constitution as it is, not as I would have it

I got an auction catalog of autographs, and was struck by the content of this letter from Jefferson Davis.

Unlike the US Constitution, the Confederate constitution mentions "Almighty God" in the preamble. Otherwise, it hews close to the US constitution in many places, including the 'no religious test' clause and essentially the First Amendment.

Anyway, to provide the rest of the background, some were giving Davis some grief for not referring specifically to Jesus in certain proclamations. And there was some widespread sentiment that this was because Confederate Secretary of State Judah Benjamin was a Jew. Two of these angry letters are also part of the lot: "Alas! that Jefferson Davis should fear a Jew more than he honors Jesus! . . . Sir you are . . . doing a gross wrong to a Christian people: above all insulting God by the Judaising [sic] of your very proclamation . . . to please a Godless & prayerless Sect'y of State!"

Anyway, Jeff's response:

"Many well-disposed persons do not understand the constitutional restriction upon my conduct... It might have been well that our Constitution should not only have recognized a God, as it does, but the Saviour of mankind also; that it should have had not merely a religious but a Christian basis. But such is not its character, and my oath binds me to observe the Constitution as it is, not as I would have it, if in any respect I should wish it changed."

A weak leader and rebel scum, but clear on constitutional principles.