Category Archives: Tex Thompson

Remembering Ed Dravecky

Hey guys. Pauline’s taking a break this month, so you have to deal with me.

I in turn have to deal with Dallas-area fandom blowing up my Facebook feed, because they’re dealing with the thing we all have to deal with, at least until magic tribble serum gets FDA approval.

From a distance, to Google News and the rest of the world, it looks like this:

WhoFest Co-Founder Dies During Festival in Irving

File 770 keeps it straight and to the point: Ed Dravecky III (1968-2016)

But the people in my neck of the woods are sharing this:

And this:

And everywhere you look, it’s love by the numbers:

Ed Dravecky Remembrance Fund - 223% funded in 1 day

I’m sorry to say that I didn’t know Ed. I’m really sorry to say that I’ll never get the chance. But in the midst of the tempests perennially roiling the teacups of fandom, I think it’s worth taking the time to remember the people who spend their lives quietly making the world a better, happier, more inviting place for others. Good people doing good things rarely make headlines on their own – but they’re out there, and they’ll get exactly as much publicity as we give them. And until we lock down the formula for magic tribble serum, that’s probably the best, most important thing any of us can do.

#ThisOnesForEd

Perilous Pauline: Romancing the Stone Age

Perilous PaulineWelcome back, fiction-friends, to another episode of The Armchair Adventures of Perilous Pauline! Hard-pressed heroes have written in, and Novelocity’s veteran ‘protagony aunt’ Pauline is here to dispense her own brand of silver-age wisdom. Add your own advice in the comments below!

-Ed.

Groom of the Tyrannosaur Queen - Daniel BensenDear Pauline,

Okay. Here’s the thing. I’m a soldier from the mid-twenty-first century. Yes, I know that means I’m out of a job. No, I don’t want to talk about it. What’s important is that my current job, body-guarding scientists on trips back in time, has taken a turn for the fucked up.

I’m not going to explain the part about how time travel works. Let’s just say we arrived back in the time of the dinosaurs and we met the natives. They weren’t friendly. Now I’ve been neutralized and kidnapped by a loin-clothing-wearing rage-fueled beefcake named Trals.

Now, Trals dragged me back to his tribe and I’m pretty sure that that ritual he performed was a marriage. But it’s not for the reason you think. He’s not interested in sex. He just wants to use me and my weapons to kill his enemies. I can’t understand his language, but there’s a definite “the rivers will run red with their blood” vibe, you know?

So here’s the problem. Waging war in some crazy bronze-age dinosaur timeline is not what I signed up for. I need to secure those scientists and the time machine and get the hell out of here. But here’s the bigger problem: I don’t want to. All I want to do is to get with Trals. And by “with” I mean “into the loin-cloth of.” Yes, I know there are a thousand reasons not to fall in lust with this guy. But I guess what I’m asking for is a reason why I should? Because I already have.

Signed,

About to do Something Stupid in the Mesozoic

Wait, wait. Let’s review. You’ve been sent back in time, taken prisoner and forcibly married to a homicidal Neanderthal, and your biggest problem is that he’s gay?

Or maybe straight. (Throw me a bone here – Stupid doesn’t have a gender, but presumably you do.)

Well, far be it from me to act the prude – you know I’ve never been averse to a little primitive behavior – but how much do you actually know about this guy? Like, what’s going on behind that alluringly sloped brow of his? Is he a career warlord? Does he want a family? Where does he see himself in five million years?

Look, I’m not saying a Flintstones/Jetsons relationship can’t work. But before you sweet-talk Captain Caveman into a night of prehistoric passion, you need to figure out who he’s going to be in the morning. Get to know him. Learn his language. Find out what you have in common. And who knows? Crushing his enemies with raptor-mounted laser cannons could make for a great couples’ activity!

 

Alex Livingston - Glitch RainDear Pauline,

It’s not too late to write, is it? I’m on a self-driving rickshaw in a neighborhood built from shipping containers and the BoozeNGo drone hasn’t buzzed by with another bottle yet so I’ve got a minute. You see, I owe a LOT of kiz to this guy I used to know who just happens to have made a name for himself as an international crimelord, and all I’ve got going for me is my hacking skills and my irresistible charm.  Rich folks pay me to keep their seedier activities from showing up on the social feeds, which means I need to fit in at the best parties in the city. Which means looking damn good. Which means money. Which I’m supposed to be sending to the guy I owe so he doesn’t kill me. I could really use some advice here. Or some more top-shelf liquor. Prolly both.

Badass But Broke

All right. Listen, kid. I don’t have to know what social feedings and hack-skills and booze-drones you’re on about to know an excuse when I hear one. You screwed up. You spent somebody else’s money, and now you’re on the hook, right?

Well, I’ll tell you something: parties aren’t a real job unless you’re serving hors d’oeuvres or jumping out of a cake. So if you don’t want to end up in a pair of concrete future-boots, go take a cold shower and a hot cup of coffee, pull on a clean shirt, and get yourself a job. And I mean an honest trade for an honest wage – no more of this fiddling with cyber-widgets, you hear?

And good lord – auto-rickshaw your way to an AA meeting, will you? Life’s too short to spend it swilling Courvoisier in a shipping container, even if you are God’s gift to happy hour.

 

Pilgrim of the Storm - Russ LintonThank you for seeing me, Mistress Pauline. I hope to not take too much of your time so I will get straight to the reason for my visit.

My Master, Cloud Born Izhar, has chosen this Deep Night Festival to begin our pilgrimage, a ritual of which I am sure you are probably deep in preparations for. It marks my chance to walk in the footsteps of the Savior of Humanity, ascend to the rank of Cloud Born, and complete my training under my most illustrious mentor.
I only pray I am equal to the task.

I have many concerns regarding this but I would inquire to you about one of a more personal nature. My peers have seemed distant since the announcement I would be accompanying them. Truthfully, there have always been barriers with the other acolytes which I cannot clearly understand.

Like family, I assist them in their chores, help them to memorize the twelve thousand, one hundred and sixty-two mantras. And like a family, we work together toward a common goal. No fields to tend, no trade to perfect, but a Temple to grace and venerate and a Mighty Dragon of Storm and Fire to appease. And though I pursue these tasks tirelessly, I sense my efforts are not often respected.

I am starting to think it may be because I am different. As you can see, I am an Ek’kiru, or bugman.

But I have kept my wings mostly to myself. My hands, the extras, have found their way into the lower sleeves Master Izhar sewed for me, but this has only been for efficiency’s sake. I realize my eyes, quite large in comparison, and my antennae, can be a distraction for my peers (and myself), so I do my best to keep these tucked beneath my hood.
Despite this, my fellow acolytes’ indifference taunts me.

I am being silly, I know. We are all brothers under the Undying Storm as the Attarah’s wisdom says. However, I would like to hear your advice. Commoner’s tales, the riddles of trolls, and all the murkiness of thought outside the Temple notwithstanding, I hear you are most wise and as my Master reminds me (over and over) Wisdom shall chose the house in which it dwells. May it grace yours until the Timeless Age has begun.

 

My goodness. That is a whole lot of words to say “I’m a lonely bug-monk without any friends.” Are you sure they’re not just cold-shouldering you because you never stop talking?

Well, listen. Relationships are hard, and coworkers can be damned annoying. Here’s a funny thing about people, though: we don’t respect someone who isn’t genuine – no matter how many mantras they’ve memorized. Yes, it’s hard to be the diversity hire. But if you want to be taken seriously, you can’t go around sweeping yourself under the rug. Own your bugness, man! Put those extra arms to some use. Be the giant click-beetle everyone at work can agree on!

And while we’re at it, let’s see what we can do to work on your banter. I know you have a Temple to grace and a Mighty Dragon to appease, but visiting a Party of Cocktails would do you a world of good.

 

Do you have a SFF book out in the world? Does your hero need a little help? Have them write to Perilous Pauline, c/o tex at thetexfiles.com!

Perilous Pauline: Escape From Shawshank Five

Perilous PaulineWelcome back, fiction-friends, to another episode of The Armchair Adventures of Perilous Pauline! Hard-pressed heroes have written in, and Novelocity’s veteran ‘protagony aunt’ Pauline is here to dispense her own brand of silver-age wisdom. This week, we have time-travelling GIs, prison-planet refugees, and one stressed-out portal-hopping preteen. Add your own advice in the comments below!

-Ed.

The Invisible City - Brian K LoweDear Pauline,

There I was, just another officer minding my own business in the trenches, and suddenly I’m not in 1915 any more–I’m about a million years in the future! This place is crazy; they’ve recreated the dinosaurs, the mutants are out of hand, and a bunch of guys from outer space are running the place now. I hear there might be a time machine out there to help me get back, and I did sort of volunteer for the war back home, but honestly, they could really use me here, too. I mean, my old mates are all dead now anyway, right? What difference does it make now who won the Great War? And see, I’ve met this girl… What am I supposed to do–go back and fight for my country, or stay here and fight for humanity (and the girl)?

Out of Time and Out of Time

 

You see? You see, Willard? I told you this would happen. Total anarchy, I said. Cats and dogs living in sin together. Democrats in the White House. Well, I hope you’re laughing in hell, you rotten old pinko: the god-damned Bolsheviks have gotten clean out of hand, and now the future’s nothing but dinosaurs and mutants and chlamydia. Forty-nine years we had, Willard! Forty-nine years – and now the great-great-great grandchildren are going to be shacking up with little green men. This never would have happened under Harding’s watch.

Where were we? Oh, right. Stay where you are, OT/OT, and go get the girl. It sounds like we’ll need a few good men to repopulate the human race, and lord knows we’re not going to find any around here.

 

Petra - Matthew S RotundoDear Pauline,

Look, this was supposed to be just a fact-finding mission.  It’s not like I wanted to go to a brutal prison planet.  Sure, it can be pretty here on Petra, but seriously—it’s a prison planet.  Now some of the inmates have staged an uprising, claiming they have knowledge of a shattering secret.  And Rolf Ankledge, Petra’s ruthless warden, will stop at nothing to keep it from reaching Ported Space.  So through no fault of my own, I’m trapped in a hostage situation.  And if that’s not bad enough, the prisoners want me to help them escape.  If I involve myself, I risk losing everything I have. If I do nothing, I betray the last shreds of my ideals.  And all I really want is to get home to my family.  Is that too much to ask?

So what am I supposed to do now?

Imperiled on Petra

P.S. Communications are restricted, so I’m not even sure if this message will reach you, but I have to try.  If anyone can help me, surely you can.  Oh, wait, I think I hear someone com—

 

You know, IOP, that sounds like a sticky situation. Let me tell you a little secret about ideals: they sound pretty on paper, but they don’t pay the rent. You know who doesn’t need to worry about paying rent? Dead people. Catch my drift?

Now repeat after me: “not my space-circus, not my prison-monkeys.” As of right now, your job is to lie, connive, and fornicate your way out of there by any means necessary – ideals be damned. After you get home, you can embellish the good parts, cover up the sordid ones, and sell the whole story for a sweet book deal and Oscar-bait movie. (And let me tell you, IOP: option money buys a whole lot of therapy.)

Now get out there and get at it! I’ll look forward to receiving my autographed copy of “Escape From Shawshank Five.”

 

The Sword of Six Worlds - Matt MikalatosDear Perilous Pauline,

My name is Validus Smith (problem number one, thanks mom and dad!) and my substitute teacher is trying to murder me. Turns out a nearby world thinks I’m the only one who can save them from a creeping darkness called the Blight, and my sub works for said creepy darkness. Apparently this whole world thinks a middle schooler saving the world is normal. Any advice for how I might the able to save the world, get home, and finish my science homework before it’s due on Friday? 

Signed,

The Portal World Ate My Homework

 

You know, Validus, I’m not sure you understand this whole anonymous sign-off conceit. Usually it works better if you don’t also use your real name. But let’s go ahead and run with it – if nothing else, the publicity means your sub will have to work that much harder to make it look like an accident.

So here’s the thing about portal worlds: time is notoriously widgety on the other side of the wardrobe. If you’re feeling the crunch, I would work on that whole saving-the-world thing first. It could be that you have a grand adventure, discover your own hidden strengths, save the day, and pop back into your bedroom two seconds after you left it – in which case you’re not even late for dinner. Or it could be that you come back to find that a hundred years has passed and everyone you know and love is dead, in which case you’re definitely off the hook for building that potato clock. It’s a win either way!

Oh, try not to judge your sub too harshly. Moonlighting for evil looks awfully attractive when you’re taking home $10 an hour.

 

Do you have a SFF book out in the world? Does your hero need a little help? Have them write to Perilous Pauline, c/o tex at thetexfiles.com!

Perilous PaulineWelcome back, fiction-friends! You’re just in time: hard-pressed heroes have written in, and veteran ‘protagony aunt’ Perilous Pauline is here to dispense her own brand of silver-age wisdom. Add your own advice in the comments below!

-Ed.
 

Rachel A. Marks - Darkness BrutalDear Pauline,

I guess I’ll just come right out and say it; I’m a homeless kid who can see demons. It sucks. Like, huge suck. It’s also super vital, since the demons are after my little sister. I have to focus on keeping her safe from these creatures that only I can see. The thing is . . . I met this girl—yeah I know, I sound like a lame-ass—but there’s just something about her. This crazy way my whole being reacts to her, to her soul. She’s not my type, not at all. She’s so clean, and good. And she actually seems to be normal, despite a possible demon problem of her own. Maybe I should help her. Because what are these weird gifts any good for if I can’t use them to help others, right? Plus, I could use a little normal in my life. Of course, in my life I’d likely turn her “normal” into horror—I’m probably a jerk to even contemplate all this.

So, yeah, this is my problem. It’s fucking ridiculous to think about girls when I’ve got demons chasing me, but I’m seventeen and what can I say? Hormones.

Lost in Los Angeles

Okay, LiLA – let me get this straight. You’re living rough, the walls are bleeding, and the only thing harder to come by than a good night’s sleep is a shower. But despite all that, there’s a nice girl interested in you, and the feeling is mutual. And that’s a problem?

Well, I suppose I can understand it. It can feel selfish to fantasize about hand-holding and hair-smelling when you’re trying to keep your kid sister from disappearing into the television. But here’s the thing, champ, and you might want to sit down for this. This girl of yours? Is a rational human being who can decide for herself how deep down your hellspawned rabbit-hole she wants to go – and she’s also an extra pair of eyes and hands and a brain that’s probably working better than yours. It’s good that you’re concerned about helping her, but let’s take a big self-interested step back and think about what she can do for you – because frankly, you sound like you need all the help you can get.

R.L. King - Stone and a Hard PlaceDear Pauline,

On the surface, things are going fairly well for me: I’ve got a good job, people tell me I’m decently attractive and charming (albeit a bit too sarcastic for my own good), and American women go mad for my British accent (honestly, I think it’s a superpower). Convincing them to go out with me isn’t the difficult part. Invariably, we have a lovely time—she’s happy, I’m happy. But then it starts: the extradimensional horrors popping out at inconvenient times. The evil mages seeking revenge who simply can’t wait until I’m alone. The Things Man Was Not Meant to Know who turn up and cause trouble when I’m trying to make a good impression. Next thing I know, she’s giving me those sideways looks and refusing to return my calls. What can I do to convince potential love interests to look past the oddness and see the real me?

A Bit More Love, A Bit Less Craft

Here’s a thought exercise for you, BML/BLC: why do offices always have those rules against employees dating each other? Well, I’ll tell you: because the employees will do it every chance they get. Right now, I guarantee you that somewhere on the outskirts of Pensacola, a desperately boring pair of insurance underwriters are going at it like lust-addled rabbits in the mailroom. A romance born of beauty, charm, and the Queen’s English? Hardly. All they needed was a shared love of actuarial tables and two cups of bad coffee.

So rather than wooing these delicate daisies of yours and then trying to break the supernatural news gently, why not look for someone who’s already working in your department, so to speak? You sound like quite the catch, but I’m sure you’re not the only one keeping the world from collapsing into chaos and horror. Next time you’re on the clock, take the time to introduce yourself to a fellow exorcist, or maybe a nice young levelheaded survivor – right after you save her from the abyssal fiend, of course. You know what I always say: there’s no better aphrodisiac than a pair of train-tracks and a dashingly punctual gentleman!


R.D. Ferguson - Mistress of VisionDear Pauline,

 
Hi, I’m a twelve-years-old girl. My younger brother and I were escaping from off-world aliens when we got separated; he was doing stupid stuff as usual or we would have gotten away clean. Then a volcano erupted and bonded an alien shape-shifter’s personality to mine. It’s tough enough for me to understand myself without having thirty-thousand years of alien memories thumb-tacked to the back of my brain. I can’t go to my folks because they will be mad that I misplaced my brother. I can’t talk to my old friends because I don’t think they will like the new me. I’m really confused, or as the Vanhem Pi say, “Croset-eh-jurain.” Oops, when did I learn to speak Vanhem Pi? Who are the Vanhem Pi? What should I do?
 
Signed,
Living at Cross-Purposes

What should you do? I’ll tell you what you should do – you march back to that volcano right this minute and get your brother back! And what were you doing playing with aliens anyway? No, don’t tell me – this is more of that Mr. Spock parenting, I’m sure. Well, you listen to me: nice young ladies don’t speak in tongues, and they don’t let their little brother get eaten by Venusian tentacloids, either. Now you have a good head on your shoulders, so I expect you to use it (and whatever’s living in it) to go do the right thing. And when you get home, tell your parents that you need an old priest, a young priest, and some responsible supervision. There’s a good girl!

 

Do you have a SFF book out in the world? Does your hero need a little help? Have them write to Perilous Pauline, c/o tex at thetexfiles.com!