The Paracosm and Conlangs of Thaddeus Troi-Riker (2381-2396)

BACKGROUND TO ARDANI

The imaginary world that came to be known as Ardani began as a language, Kelu, invented by Thaddeus Worf Riker-Troi circa 2384, when he was about three and a half. From a very early age, Thad became interested in the different native languages spoken by non-human personnel on board the USS Titan, a starship under the command of his father, William T. Riker. Born on Titan, taught Federation Standard, Thad was fascinated by the idea of a “native language” and how it was intimately associated with the idea of “home.” Home —…


SOME NOTES ON FREECLOUD

Freec Out in a Moonage Daydream

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Introduction

Freecloud is a planet in the Alpha Doradus system, Iconia sector, Beta Quadrant. Initially settled in 2180 by a schismatic group of Earth-descended Anarcho-Existentialists from the planet Silentum. Until the Federation drawdown of 2385, Freecloud was one of a handful of Federation-affiliated star systems in the so-called Thread, a narrow “isthmus” connecting two larger areas of Federation-controlled space, surrounded on all sides by the Klingon and Romulan empires. Freecloud’s proximity to three major star-civilizations and several important outer-Beta Quadrant trade routes, and its location just beyond the negotiated terminus of the Neutral Zone, along…


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On the 45th Anniversary of a Classic

In 1976, my mother, recently divorced, broke up painfully and protractedly with her first real boyfriend since the collapse of her marriage to my father. I turned thirteen that May, and her birthday present to me was Desire. It was my first Dylan album. I had been talking for a while about this song I’d heard, only once, playing over the speakers in a Washington, D.C., bookstore sometime during the preceding winter. I stood there in the aisle, with a science fiction novel in my hand, trying to catch the lyrics, to guess the singer, to figure out what the…


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“Tower of Babel,” Josh Dorman, 2016

And all the people were one people, and spoke one tongue. They were subject to one king, and one law. Their manner of dress was uniform, and the food of their tables, in its stuff and style of preparation, was the same in every home. They sang one body of songs, followed one calendar of feast days, and told one cycle of tales and legends, into which variation crept only through carelessness or lapse of memory, because experience was everywhere uniformly expressed, and the people’s power to interpret that experience was limited by the patterns and coloration of the solitary…


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Robert Chabon, MD, JD, MPH

Died on March 22, 2019. Born in Brooklyn, NY, on December 2, 1938, he spent his formative years there, a passionate fan of Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider and the other Dodger greats of that era. Precocious, whip-smart, and the darling only child of his parents, Irene and Irving, he never afterward lost his accent or his working-class Flatbush-born drive to make something of himself in the world. On graduating from Walt Whitman Junior High, he moved with his parents to Washington, DC, where he attended Anacostia High School before going on to George Washington University…


Thanksgiving

It was an old hunting lodge, built in the early 1900s to shelter men who journeyed north from San Francisco to kill birds and large mammals in the fog. At its heart stood the lodge proper, steep-roofed, deep-eaved, and the color of a pinecone. It housed the reception lounge and restaurant, with a few guest rooms upstairs. In the woods that surrounded the main building, according to no discernible plan, stood a bunch of cabins and outbuildings submerged in perpetual deep-green shade. Manka’s had not been built so much as accumulated, like boots on a porch. After the presumed…


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To our fellow Jews, in the United States, in Israel, and around the world:

We know that, up to now, some of you have made an effort to reserve judgment on the question of whether or not President Donald Trump is an anti-Semite, and to give him the benefit of the doubt. Some of you voted for him last November. Some of you have found employment in his service, or have involved yourself with him in private business deals, or in diplomatic ties.

You have counted carefully as each appointment to his administration of a white supremacist, anti-Semite, neo-Nazi or…


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1.

When I was nine years old, I fell in love with a superheroine whose unlikely name — a name that still brings a wince of lust and embarrassment to my face when I say it — was Barda. Big Barda. I have never recovered, thank God, from my first sight of her, in Mister Miracle #8 (September 1972).

2.

The intricate pop-Zoroastrian theology of the comic books that Jack Kirby drew at DC Comics in the early seventies (in which Mister Miracle, “Super Escape Artist,” figured prominently) is wonderful, nutty, and hard to summarize. For now I’ll just say that Big…

Michael Chabon

Berkeley, California

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