scifantasy: Me. With an owl. (Default)
scifantasy ([personal profile] scifantasy) wrote on September 5th, 2009 at 05:50 pm
Tomato Surprise, or Tornado of Change
I almost feel too embarrassed to post this. (Almost) It's literally been over four months since the corresponding [ profile] mina_de_malfois story went live. All I can say is, the end of April wasn't a great time for me for obvious reasons, and then I was caught up in other things. But with Mina returning this week, it's only appropriate I try to play catch-up.

So, this story and one more are due (this one corresponding to 3.10, and the next to 3.11), and then I'll try to get something going for when Mina finishes 3.12.

Amusingly, the first line of this was the same one I'd thought up back when I first read 3.10, freshly thought up this time around.

"You're going to do what?" I signaled for another drink.

"It's actually not as difficult as it sounds," Jamie said, sounding altogether
too earnest and not a little naive.

"Hold that thought," I said, as the whisky arrived. One shot later, I
gestured. "OK. Give me the details."

"Well, after the success we had in restoring the archive--"


He backpedaled. "No, no. Warr1or isn't involved in this at all. But this started
when he and I were working on the archive."

"Fine. So you want to springboard that success into running a small press?"

"Well, yes. I mean, look at the tools available these days, for free. I'm sure I
don't have to tell you that typesetting a book isn't exactly the Herculean
effort it once was."

"I think I misstepped in telling you about Eric Raymond and the TeX manual."

He waved that off. "And then, it's not as if you need to sell to
brick-and-mortar bookstores anymore. I mean, we could do the whole thing POD--or
we could do small runs in advance and just long-tail it." He started to go into
more detail, but I stopped him.

"You've obviously spent more time than I'd expected thinking about this before
committing to it." He looked pleased for a second, then he processed the "I'd
expected" part and looked put out. I ignored both of them. "Where are you
getting the startup capital?"

He looked embarrassed for a second, which was enough time for me to know what
was coming. "Mom. But I'm going to pay her back, as soon as I can."

"Yeah, I can't say I'm too surprised. Well, I've heard worse ideas. Just as long
as you don't turn into another PublishAmerica. If you do, believe me, I will
personally put you out of business."

He nodded, taking the threat seriously. Good. "But the reason I brought this up
to you was--can I borrow a financial expert?"

Ah-hah. So that was the game, was it? "You want Zee to help you with the
financial wrangling?"

He nodded again. "I figure he might be more willing to do it than some
professional I hired, and he'd work for shares and swallow the risk better than
someone who didn't know fanac very well."

That's when it clicked. "When I gave you _A Civil Campaign_ to read, I expected
you to pay more attention to Aral and Miles than to Mark and Enrique, you know."
He laughed. I told him I'd talk to Zee on his behalf, but I couldn't make promises.

Lunch wound down, and with it, some of my dark thoughts from earlier. I began to
realize that I'd been thinking about this all wrong. It was generational. Of
course. Things would change, and things would stay the same. I'd been looking
too close up. Zooming out, things were substantially saner.

Well, no. Zooming out, things were just as insane, which was the point. Fandom
is repeating. No, better: fandom is fractal.

Jamie took his leave, and I headed back to my place. I'd no sooner booted up and
launched programs than I got virtually the same IM from both Judy and Nancy. I
couldn't help but laugh when they relayed me the latest Mina de Malfois news,
especially in light of my thoughts of the day.

A little later, though, Judy was more frantic, but managed to sort herself out
completely. I didn't really pay attention, but she managed to work the whole
thing out by sending IMs to me. She opened with "We have a problem," described
it, outlined the situation, described the best countermeasures, chose one, and
implemented it, ending with a "Thanks." That's when I bothered to point out I
hadn't said word one, and had in fact been reading the whole time.

"Someone new?" she asked.

"New to me, anyway. But old enough that the first book's in reprints but the
second one isn't, and the third one's about a year old. I had to go used to get
the second one."

"Don't you just hate that," she sympathized. "At any rate, thanks anyway--I
needed a functional wall to bounce off of."

"Always," I said, and I meant it. She could tell.

"Out of your funk, then?"

"Was it that obvious?"

"Only to me and maybe Nancy, I think," she said. Probably true, at that. "What
was that about, anyway?"

"Just a moment of future shock, I guess--looking ahead and seeing things all

"What broke you out of it?"

"Everything is circular. New things are building up too. My perspective was

"Rare, for you," she said.

"I'm entitled."

"So what's next, anyway?"

I thought about it. Finally I replied, "I don't know, but I'm eager to find out."
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