I went to the hospital to see Dan today. He's been a friend of mine for some years now, primarily because of our shared interest in science fiction. He's one of those guys who are often made fun of as a typical SF fan. He's overweight, middle aged and has an encyclopedic knowledge of film and television. But he's also very nice, well read and thoughtful and has a practical mind. Dan has lots of friends. And he is organized, motivated and polite. A few years ago my favorite convention. Context was dying when Dan took it over and rebuilt it.

None of that really matters right now because Dan is dying. Despite a college degree, he hasn't been able to find work for years and hasn't been visiting doctors for years at least in part because he has no health insurance. Doctors want lots of money up front if you're uninsured, and Dan has little. Well, this time he had to go. And on Valentine's Day, the took a tumor the size of a tennis ball out of his brain.

Well, they tried to anyway. It was too entwined with good tissue so they got a little more then 70 percent out. That's not good. Dan has gliobastoma multiforme (GBM), a very aggressive form of brain cancer. Normal treatment is surgery, radiation and chemo and life expectancy is about fourteen months. That's with 99% surgical removal, which the doctors got nowhere near. The fat lady may not have sung yet for Dan, but her sheet music has arrived. There other problems, but cancer is what will do it for him.

People talk about making your own luck but sometimes luck makes you. Here is a really kind, intelligent, principled human being who drew the Ace of Cancer. I've known him for sixteen years, and in all that time I've never known him to date anyone in part because he is not handsome, and in part because he's too shy to ask for a date. But if his wallet is poor, he is rich in friends, and people have been there every day for his hospitalization. His friends took him to get groceries when his sight got too bad to drive. His friends found him and took him to the hospital when the tumor made him collapse.

Dan's never been to a Worldcon. I think maybe his friends ought to see that he gets to one before he leaves the building.

13 nodes were added to the 'gel on Sun 19-Feb-2012
Highest-rated w/u: It's quiet... too quiet (idea) by Tem42 at +24 Rep

A good day for fiction on E2! The Custodian posted a new chapter of Override: Stand and unfold yourself. Override is a sci-fi serial about a human agent of a machine-intelligence empire, and his partner-- a sentient AI pistol called “the Tzun”. It has kind of a Jason Bourne meets Traveller vibe, and is my fave ongoing thing on the site right now.

"'We have no record,' he said, 'of you passing through immigration control on High Port or at either shuttle facility onworld. How did you gain entry?'

I smiled apologetically at him. The woman was still watching me carefully. I decided she was the actual investigator; the man may have thought he was, but he was fairly obviously a Security agent who didn't know everything about the situation. He apparently had no idea that I might have arrived in-system on the Interrupt; if he'd known that, he wouldn't be going on with silly questions about immigration control. I'd made sure my drop pod had disassembled itself before entering Landfall the first time, so I was fairly confident he had no idea where I'd come from. The woman, however... ..."

If you haven't been following it, the jumping on point for the current arc is Losing friends and winning enemies.

There was also an original story by Zephronias about ordinary people desperately trying not to become stock characters while caught up in a storm of unoriginality: a Cliche Storm. It's metalicious! And hella charming.

"The TV was on now, and on the screen a reporter was going on about the storm.

'. . . And the NRD would like to assure everyone that they are doing their best to prevent any narrative casualties, and would like to remind everyone that the narrative dampeners have been placed in strategic locations around the city, including hospitals, orphanages, police stations, cemeteries and other possible contamination areas.'

Bernard grinned. 'Can't have any chosen ones or antichrists being born willy nilly, eh?' ..."

Afterward, Tem42 posted a short node on the stock phrase "It's quiet... too quiet" that included, as a literary reference, a quote from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze, justifiably earning it a teetering pile of upvotes and high-fives all around.

Rounding out the rest: lizardinlaw and Glowing Fish both posted personal essays under Entertain Evil Thoughts, there were more nodes about US politics from Glowing Fish and Pandeism Fish, a zombie story from BranRainey (that I think suffers from an overly cliche setup, coming as it does right after Zeph's story), a short personal node from moeyz, poems from Intentions and winston_farsoul, and a review of Gears of War 3 by dochollidae that I skipped due to some irritating stylistic choices by the writer.

I think that's everything.

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