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bear by san

March 2017



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writing new amsterdam

roscoe tried to miss him but he didn't, quite.

How you can tell it's a work in progress:

"But after the [Name of Imperial Russian Government Sorcerer's Organization Here] united with democratic revolutionaries to overthrow Ivana III in 1726, it was disbanded, and since then the Imperial family of Mother Russia has... formally discouraged professional organizations for sorcerers."

My contrafactual history with its pants down. Let me show you it.


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I would assume Baba Yaga would be in the name, but that's probably too obvious.

I once had a character gaze into another character's "CHECK COLOR eyes."

They were not, in fact, tartan.
I'd totally read a story featuring tartan eyes.
It could be worse, the published copy could have "back in my days aboard the [name of the ship]" [sic]. Oops. (Real example.)
The first poster presentation I ever presented at a major scientific conference had '(check algorithm)' in the display copy. I didn't notice until I actually hung it up.
Red Wands
Czar's Czenior Czorceror Czociety, of course!
You should have been in Czima commercials!

Science fiction reads you!

Ooo! Ooo! Ok, yes, recommending Soviet-era sci-fi to go and read is probably not helpful advice when you're trying to get work done. However, if you aren't familiar with it, I would suggest checking out Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's "Monday Begins on Saturday" (Понедельник начинается в субботу), which is about a young computer programmer who gets caught up in life at the Soviet Institute for Sorcery and Wizardry. Wackiness and bureaucracy ensue.

Text available for free (with helpful annotations about the Russian folktale and magic-specific elements and characters who pop up) at:


Re: Science fiction reads you!

Is it floating anywhere in original Russian? It's one of the favorite books of my childhood.
I am very glad to see I'm not the only one who does this. Here's mine:

Jonathan thought it was ridiculous, embarrassingly macho stuff, preferring his (insert stereotypical teenage aftershave here).
Those brackets look so tidy. I've used **ASTERISKS AND ALL CAPS** for stuff like "I had been attending **??? ACADEMY** for two years when..." so it doesn't get forgotten. There needs to be an "Embed Dancing Hamster" button, in my case.
That's what the highlight is for.

Eventually, I just search on highlights, and fix them all.
Well, it wouldn't be very secret, now, if everyone just knew the name? Makes perfect sense to me.
Those things are very hard to name! Imperial Russian sorceror's organizations, that is. I have to name one myself, though mine has been renamed by the Soviets, which complicates it further.

I love contrafactual history, so much.
Hah! Mine look very similar, except I use [Bold]
Thanks for the show and tell. I have no ambitions to be a writer, but I love seeing these bit of how it all gets put on the page.
Woah, I'm not the only one who does that, with the brackets and the highlighting? Cool.
Formally discouraged? Knout or the stake?
This makes me feel so much better.
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