It’s beginning to look like Halloween will be a “dark and stormy night” for much of the East Coast this year, with a paucity of mini-ghouls and goblins knocking at the door. In fact, some of our BVC authors and many BVC friends may be reading by candlelight that night.
For them, and for anyone who would like a lights-out reading thrill, I highly recommend getting acquainted (or re-acquainted) with William Hope Hodgson, who’s unlikely to come knocking at your door, seeing that his career as a writer of supernatural horror—and his life—ended in the mundane horror of the Great War. In the preceding eleven years he had produced an oeuvre about which H. P. Lovecraft commented, in his essay Supernatural Horror in Literature :
“Of rather uneven stylistic quality, but vast occasional power in its suggestion of lurking worlds and beings behind the ordinary surface of life, is the work of William Hope Hodgson, known today far less than it deserves to be. Despite a tendency toward conventionally sentimental conceptions of the universe, and of man’s relation to it and to his fellows, Mr. Hodgson is perhaps second only to Algernon Blackwood in his serious treatment of unreality. Few can equal him in adumbrating the nearness of nameless forces and monstrous besieging entities through casual hints and insignificant details, or in conveying feelings of the spectral and the abnormal in connection with regions or buildings.”
There, quite concisely, is a clue to what you’ll encounter if you dip into Hodgson’s books—although it’s best to be careful what you start with, especially if you’re not enamored of Edwardian prose. I recommend Carnacki, the Ghost Finder, a collection originally serialized in The Idler. You could also call it “Ripping Ghost Stories” for the enthusiasm and purple-tinged prose. It’s a quick read. But I guarantee that, with Carnacki, you will encounter things that you will never forget. When Hodgson is good, he’s unbeatable.
The world in which Carnacki plies his trade as a ghost hunter and debunker (for some of the hauntings are hoaxes, for profit or revenge) shares with Lovecraft’s the “suggestion of lurking worlds and beings behind the ordinary surface of life.” But Lovecraft’s horror is that of the completely other, so alien that it is virtually impossible for matter to mediate it in any way a human being can comprehend. Hodgson’s other, alien as it is, manifests in more comprehensible ways; in the case of The Whistling Room, as a kind of “spiritual fungus” rotting a human soul, of which nothing remains but the desire for revenge. Or, in The Hog, another story in the collection, as the grunting of pigs, which Hodgson transforms into an unforgettable evocation of bestial malevolence that recalls, in its mindlessness, the horrid emptiness of the possessed physicist Weston in C.S. Lewis’s Out of the Silent Planet.
For me, at least, that the horror is less alien in no way diminishes its power. More problematic for many readers, I suspect, is the cumulative nature of the narrative. The horror manifests itself less in a pounding pulse than in the persistent and growing strength of the images after you lay the story down. In this sense, Hodgson brings to mind the gourmet Brillat-Savarin’s distinction between eating and enjoying one’s dinner. I first read Carnacki in my thirties, and didn’t return to it for another 20 years, yet enjoyed it again and again during that period when something would evoke a vivid image from one of the stories.
As I said, his prose may not be to your taste. Here’s a sample, from The Whistling Room. Carnacki is investigating a haunting that manifests as a whistling, and is relating to his friend what happened when he first entered the room that is the focus of the manifestation.
“When I reached the door, and put my hand into my pocket for the key, I had a sudden feeling of sickening funk. But I was not going to back out, if I could help it. I unlocked the door and turned the handle. Then I gave the door a sharp push with my foot, as Tassoc had done, and drew my revolver, though I did not expect to have any use for it, really.
“I shone the searchlight all round the room, and then stepped inside, with a disgustingly horrible feeling of walking slap into a waiting Danger. I stood a few seconds, waiting, and nothing happened, and the empty room showed bare from corner to corner. And then, you know, I realised that the room was full of an abominable silence; can you understand that? A sort of purposeful silence, just as sickening as any of the filthy noises the Things have power to make. Do you remember what I told you about that ‘SilentGarden’ business? Well, this room had just that same malevolent silence—the beastly quietness of a thing that is looking at you and not seeable itself, and thinks that it has got you. Oh, I recognised it instantly, and I whipped the top off my lantern, so as to have light over the whole room.
“Then I set-to, working like fury, and keeping my glance all about me. I sealed the two windows with lengths of human hair, right across, and sealed them at every frame. As I worked, a queer, scarcely perceptible tenseness stole into the air of the place, and the silence seemed, if you can understand me, to grow more solid. I knew then that I had no business there without ‘full protection’; for I was practically certain that this was no mere Aeiirii development; but one of the worst forms, as the Saiitii; like that ‘Grunting Man’ case—you know.
“I finished the window, and hurried over to the great fireplace. This is a huge affair, and has a queer gallows-iron, I think they are called, projecting from the back of the arch. I sealed the opening with seven human hairs—the seventh crossing the six others.
“Then, just as I was making an end, a low, mocking whistle grew in the room. A cold, nervous pricking went up my spine, and round my forehead from the back. The hideous sound filled all the room with an extraordinary, grotesque parody of human whistling, too gigantic to be human—as if something gargantuan and monstrous made the sounds softly. As I stood there a last moment, pressing down the final seal, I had no doubt but that I had come across one of those rare and horrible cases of the Inanimate reproducing the functions of the Animate. I made a grab for my lamp, and went quickly to the door, looking over my shoulder, and listening for the thing that I expected. It came, just as I got my hand upon the handle—a squeal of incredible, malevolent anger, piercing through the low hooning of the whistling. I dashed out, slamming the door and locking it. I leant a little against the opposite wall of the corridor, feeling rather funny; for it had been a narrow squeak. . . .”
If you give Carnacki the Ghost Finder a try and like it, you may be ready for The House on the Borderland, or even the very difficult The Night Land. Of the former, Lovecraft commented:
“…perhaps the greatest of all Mr. Hodgson’s works – [it] tells of a lonely and evilly regarded house in Ireland which forms a focus for hideous otherworld forces and sustains a siege by blasphemous hybrid anomalies from a hidden abyss below. The wanderings of the Narrator’s spirit through limitless light-years of cosmic space and Kalpas of eternity, and its witnessing of the solar system’s final destruction, constitute something almost unique in standard literature. And everywhere there is manifest the author’s power to suggest vague, ambushed horrors in natural scenery. But for a few touches of commonplace sentimentality this book would be a classic of the first water.”
And of The Night Land, which he regarded as seriously flawed (as it is, and in ways that make it almost unreadable today), Lovecraft had this to say.
“Allowing for all its faults, it is yet one of the most potent pieces of macabre imagination ever written. The picture of a night-black, dead planet, with the remains of the human race concentrated in a stupendously vast metal pyramid and besieged by monstrous, hybrid, and altogether unknown forces of the darkness, is something that no reader can ever forget: Shapes and entities of an altogether non-human and inconceivable sort—the prowlers of the black, man-forsaken, and unexplored world outside the pyramid—are suggested and partly described with ineffable potency; while the night-land landscape with its chasms and slopes and dying volcanism takes on an almost sentient terror beneath the author’s touch. Midway in the book the central figure ventures outside the pyramid on a quest through death-haunted realms untrod by man for millions of years—and in his slow, minutely described, day-by-day progress over unthinkable leagues of immemorial blackness there is a sense of cosmic alienage, breathless mystery, and terrified expectancy unrivalled in the whole range of literature.”
But in any case, give Carnacki a chance. Turn out all the lights but the one you’ll read by—assuming you have power—and let the shadows creep in on you—I’ll guarantee you a quality frisson.
(Cover image from the 1947 edition.)
The full quotation behind the famous excerpt on the Liberty Bell goes like this:
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Lev 25:10)
In the jubilee year, all debts were to be cancelled, alienated property returned to its original owners, and slaves freed. As Ched Myers says, “God’s people are instructed to dismantle, on a regular basis, the fundamental patterns and structures of stratified wealth and power, so that there is ‘enough for everyone.’”
That’s not the understanding of liberty that most people are celebrating today. It’s not anything our rulers—nor the Domination System in which they move, and live, and have their being—are willing to allow. So instead of jubilee, year by year we get a increasingly shallow, idolatrous celebration of nationalism and militarism on Independence Day, lest we hear and see and turn.
I think the prophets—of whom Frederick Buechner said none ever received a second invitation to dinner, let alone a BBQ and fireworks display—have much to say to us on this day. Here are three excerpts that especially resonate for me. Reading them in context makes even more vivid their applicability to our present state.
This one is for “malefactors of great wealth” who no longer understand the meaning of a commonwealth:
Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land. The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing: “Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. (Isaiah 5:8-9)
This one is for militarists, who no more than Isaiah’s audience understand “blowback:”
Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have an agreement; when the overwhelming scourge passes through it will not come to us; for we have made lies our refuge, and in falsehood we have taken shelter”; therefore thus says the Lord GOD… I will make justice the line, and righteousness the plummet; and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and waters will overwhelm the shelter.” (Isaiah 28:15-20)
Then your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand; when the overwhelming scourge passes through you will be beaten down by it. As often as it passes through it will take you; for morning by morning it will pass through, by day and by night; and it will be sheer terror to understand the message. For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.
And this is for all those among our rulers—the politicians, the pundits, the plutocrats, and the whole apanage of the Powers—who take this day in vain, prating of liberty while forging ever stronger chains for us:
“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings, I will not accept them, and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:21-24)
We’ve officially launched our new bookstore over at Book View Café, and we’re giving away books to celebrate.
It’s been quite a process getting to this milestone, as vividly described a couple of weeks ago by Linda Nagata, whose WordPress-fu was indispensable to the effort. We’ve been running the bookstore in “stealth” mode since then, and aside from a few mysterious rumblings and hissings from the basement (which could as easily be a dragon or Dr. Ovamilla’s steam-powered nostriscope acting up again), nothing has blown up. So it’s entirely safe for you, dear reader, to drop in and browse. No hard hats required.
To make you welcome, we’re giving you a chance–no, multiple chances–to win the book of your choice. Just drop in any time between June 1 and June 7 and choose the book you want. Eligible books are marked with a gold star–that’s just about everything except omnibus editions and the Breaking Waves anthology.
Then come back here and leave a comment with the name and author of the book and why you want it (we may use that comment for publicity purposes). When the promotion ends, the comment posted closest to a date and time I’ve already chosen is the winner, and if you’re the winner, I’ll send you a coupon for the book of your choice. You can also enter to win at the bookstore itself, and on the other member sites listed in the Grand Opening Celebration post.
In May of 2003 I had a rather delightful problem on my hands. Deborah and I had been “serious” for five years, and we had been looking forward to marriage for some time, but I hadn’t felt easy about proposing to her before her divorce was finalized. But now it was, and I could.
The problem? How could I make the proposal a surprise? I couldn’t ask her out to a nice restaurant or a romantic getaway spot—even if we hadn’t been together for half a decade, she’s as close to a mind reader as you’d want to meet when it comes to emotional matters, and would have known immediately what was up. But I didn’t want it to be a casual affair, either.
So I ambushed her in church.
At the time we were regularly attending St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Ben Lomond, California. I was a long-time Episcopalian, and Deborah, who is Jewish, had become what I jokingly referred to as a “flying buttress” of the church, supporting it from the outside. She would listen to—and sometimes read—the Old Testament lesson and join in the recital of the Psalm, and then read the Talmud the rest of the time. I sang in the choir.
So Deborah had no warning at all on the first of June, 2003 when, in the middle of the service, between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, after the announcements and blessings, I stepped out of the choir and asked her to join me at the front of the church. (The rector and parish secretary were delighted co-conspirators.) After a brief extemporaneous introduction, I delivered my proposal in the form of a sonnet, giving her my maternal grandmother’s wedding ring at the ultimate couplet:
We bless God for this grace: that He once said,
“It is not good for you to be alone;”
That, two-by-two, he weaves a tale whose threads
Are intertwined as close as bone to bone.
As Christ ‘twas this he chose to bless with His
First miracle, as water became wine;
‘Twas this He meant that evening we first kissed:
A first knot in our tapestry divine.
For then, as if in echo to that greater
Story that Abraham and Sarah heard;
Passing, much like them, through tears and laughter
We found a destiny we’d judged absurd.
And so, to tie the next knot in our life
I ask you, Deborah, will you be my wife?
Great poetry it is not, but it had the desired effect—although, being speechless, she could only nod at first. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a picture of my compliance when Deborah found her voice and asked “Aren’t you supposed to be kneeling?”
Almost as memorable were the reactions of the congregation, which were almost entirely gender-dependent. The women all said it was one of the most romantic things they’d ever seen, and the men, with a couple of exceptions, said they thought it was one of the bravest things they’d ever seen.
But I say that necessity makes heroes of us all—there was no way I was going to let her get away!
(Cross-posted at Book View Cafe.)
December 28: Sherwood and I talk about how ebook publishing let us dive into rewriting a 20-year-old space opera at Scalzi’s Big Idea.
December 28: Sherwood Smith talks about Star Wars, Dave Trowbridge, and the Zing! of inspiration.
December 27: Deborah J. Ross talks about The Lesbian Chocolate Sex Scene, or Life With Exordium.
December 27: The The Phoenix in Flight is on sale for $0.99 through January 27th to help new readers get started on the series.
In the sequel to The Phoenix in Flight, Brandon vlith-Arkad, who fled the Mandalic Palace and his old life only hours ahead of assassination, is now heir to the Panarchy. He only wants to rescue his father, the Panarch. But everyone wants of piece of him. The Dol’jharians, who smashed the Panarchy and took his father prisoner. A Rifter pirate and her crew, who helped him escape a doomed planet—twice—and now wonder what to do about a royal prisoner with the price of ten planets on his head. And the remnants of the government of the Thousand Suns, for whom he’d at best be an inconvenience.
And that’s before things go seriously pear-shaped. Racing ahead of the light-speed news of their attack with FTL comms and weapons looted from a fortress built millions of years ago, the Dol’jharians and those Rifters allied with them are consolidating their victories. Elements of the Panarchist Navy struggle to understand what’s happening, find surviving units, and strike back. And Eusabian of Dol’jhar, now master of the Mandala from which his defeated enemy once ruled the Thousand Suns, awaits news of the Heart of Kronos, the missing key to ultimate power.
Which lies in the hands of Brandon’s captor. The chase is on, and unexpected detours await.
Sherwood and I are fortunate to have the services of the talented Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein as cover artist for the revised edition of our space opera, Exordium. Book Two, Ruler of Naught, comes out December 27th from Book View Cafe, and Rhi has captured perfectly the feeling of the book. It carries forward the theme of the new cover she did for The Phoenix in Flight, which will continue with the next three books.
In the acknowledgements for the 10th anniversary edition of American Gods, Neil Gaiman mentions “the inimitable Harlan Ellison, whose collective Deathbird Stories burned itself into the back of my head when I was still of an age where a book could change me forever” (my emphasis).
At Loscon this year, Sherwood Smith, Deborah, and I will be doing an “unpanel” inviting participants to share their experience of such a book or story with others. This won’t be your usual “we talk, you listen” format, but a structured “deep listening” exercise designed to let everyone be heard. We’ll start with an introduction by Deborah, then Sherwood will talk about deep reading and how it relates to deep listening, and then I’ll introduce the format.
Here’s the handout we’ll have for people who show up late, which explains the process.
Deep Reading, Deep Listening
Deborah J. Ross, Sherwood Smith, Dave Trowbridge
Do you remember the book or story in which you first encountered the sense of wonder? When, as Neil Gaiman puts it, you were at that age where a book can change you forever? What did it feel like? How did it change you? Join us in a structured, “deep-listening” exercise where participants (both fans and pros) share their experiences—in an atmosphere of respectful listening—about a work of SF&F that made a difference to them.
Welcome! If you’re joining our “listening panel” late, here’s how it works.
Each of us gets to briefly share their encounter with a life-changing book or story, hopefully in genre fiction.
The facilitators will respectfully keep things moving—or slow things down if they start moving too fast.
We’re sitting as close to a circle as we can get. We’ve left space open for you; one of the three facilitators will show you where to sit.
Participants are speaking in order of their position in the circle, going widdershins. (The process started with the facilitators.) You may pass if you wish, and speak in order after the circle has completed once.
Be “tender” about how long you speak. It’s important that everyone get chance to be listened to.
The point of the exercise is not what you will say but what you will hear. Truly listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give one another, being truly heard is regrettably rare.
Try not to think about what you will say when your turn comes, or even about what you’re hearing. Just listen to what each speaker says. Believe it or not, if you do this, you’ll know what to say when your turn comes.
Please don’t speak or comment while another is sharing. Please don’t use your speaking opportunity to comment on or argue with what someone else has said. We want to hear your story.
We’re leaving a space between shares to let each participant’s experience echo among us. We suggest counting silently up to ten before your turn, but take longer if you wish or sense that it’s needed. You may find the silence in-between the richest part of the panel.
So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned, both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake, and said, My Father,
Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
And builded parapets the trenches there,
And stretched forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,
A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.
Wilfred Owen was killed in action one week before the Armistice. His mother received the news of his death a week later as the church bells were ringing out in celebration.
We got our the first red potatoes of the season yesterday. They started life as about 50 potatoes that neighbors gave us two years ago because they’d sprouted. I didn’t harvest last year because the plants didn’t do well. This year they came back up more vigorously.
Red potatoes from alley plot
There are about six more rows that should yield this many or more, so we’re looking at 30-40 pounds of potatoes. That’s actually not a very high yield, but the soil in that part of the garden is very poor. It was once a road, which was “metaled” (oiled) in the 5os, creating an impermeable hardpan that’s now about eight inches down, locking the soil away from the nutrients contributed by the oak leaves and acorns that fall everywhere. Two years ago, when we got the potatoes, I broke up the hardpan in seven rows with a pickaxe, but it will take several seasons to bring up the fertility sufficiently.
Here’s the row after I dug up the potatoes. I took the opportunity to widen it by digging up more hardpan on each side. The black strip down the middle is the T-tape irrigation, which had been buried.
A potato trench after harvest
Once I’ve finished the harvest, I’ll fill the trenches in with an aged horse manure and sawdust mixture and some oak mulch, layer some dirt over it, and plant fava beans for the winter. That will get things ready for corn and curcurbits next year.
Friday evening we pressure-cooked the potatoes and had them with butter and a bit of salt and pepper. Creamy and delicious–potatoes, too, are better fresh from the garden!
I maintain a semi-feral garden to encourage a lively ecology of beneficial insects and predators, which tends to minimize the need for intervention to control pests.
To attract bees, small wasps and other useful insects I let catnip, feverfew, foxglove, white clover, lemon balm, borage, bee balm, marigolds, Love-Lies-Bleeding Amaranth, German chamomile, and a variety of flowering weeds come up anywhere there aren’t vegetables. Yarrow, fennel, a huge drift of self-sowing parsnips (very attractive to ladybugs and finches) in the back alley plot, and a blackberry patch do their bit as well. There are plenty of random edibles too: purslane (great Turkish-style in yogurt thinned with olive oil along with diced tomatoes and mint) and arugula are everywhere, garlic is starting to establish itself, and the asparagus patch is spreading west.
The foundations of the garden sheds are unscreened, so we generally have one skunk family a year for rodent control: no gophers for four years now. (The dog is not allowed in the garden, nor outside after dusk.) Wood piles here and there shelter garden snakes, so we have little trouble with pillbugs and earwigs, and the rodent population is only occasionally a problem. We live in a small oak grove, so prolific with acorns that squirrels don’t do much more than steal an occasional apple. In fact, up until this week, the only troublesome animal has been raccoons: I have to put an electric stock fence up each year when the Syrah grapevines reach veraison to have any grapes at all.
But a couple of days ago I saw a brush rabbit in my garden, perhaps attracted by the white clover throughout the garden, one of a rabbit’s favorite foods. Up with that I will not put, for we’re getting a lot of produce out of our garden now–all of tonight’s dinner except the salmon: cucumber salad, German butterball potatoes pan-fried with red onion, and Sunburst squash. And I’m not willing to share more than a few nibbles, which is not the kind of behavior one can expect from lepine invaders.
So we’re introducing a new predator to the garden:I spent a few hours outside with our two young cats, who’ve lived indoors since we got them from the animal shelter. The garden is securely fenced against dogs and coyotes (we haven’t heard any of the latter for five years; bobcats have been more common), and I’m introducing the cats to the outdoors a couple of hours at a time. They won’t be out at night.
Our little pirate cat, Gayatri, although quite vocal, and determined to follow me everywhere for the first hour or so, loved it. Pretty soon she was dashing across the garden and up the fruit trees (there are going to be some very surprised squirrels), or crawling under the garden shed (where the rabbit vanished to when I came upon it). Didn’t find anything. Yet. The fact that she has only one eye didn’t slow her down at all; she’s long since learned to move her head to give herself depth perception.
By contrast, our large black cat, Shakir, did not enjoy the experience. He hid in the orchard (semi-dwarf apple and pears trees) and ventured out into the former vineyard only a couple of times. He’ll adapt, I think. He seemed reassured by Gayatri’s relative insouciance, and even started to stalk her a couple of times until paranoia reasserted itself.
I’m hoping that the cats’ presence, their scent, and their scat here and there will discourage the bunnies, and other small furry pests. I’ll be monitoring their predation, and controlling it as much as I can (for instance, they won’t be allowed out if I hear quail moving through the neighborhood). I suppose we’ll be receiving gifts on the doorstep too as Gayatri and Shakir do their part for the household economy.
Our German Shepherd Dog Oka had a vet adventure today, and his good behavior saved his owners several hundred dollars.
Oka is almost eleven, although he still moves like a much younger dog, with that uncanny floating trot that only the GSD has. But for several years he has suffered from pannus (chronic superficial keratitis), an immune-mediated inflammatory condition of the cornea that is most often seen in GSDs. Untreated, it leads to blindness, but it is easily controlled by corticosteroid eye drops.
However, being steroids, these drops result in an immune-compromised tear film, which raises the risk of infection. About a month ago, Oka developed an indolent ulcer on the cornea of his left eye. Our vet tried stopping the steroids and putting him on a course of topical antibiotics plus Metacam (an NSAID), but it still didn’t heal. So today I took him to Ann Gratzek, the local animal ophthalmologist.
The usual treatment for an indolent ulcer is a superficial keratotomy: basically playing tic-tac-toe on the dog’s cornea with a needle to promote the migration of surrounding epithelial cells. This is done with a topical anesthetic. But after beginning the procedure, Dr. Gratzek decided that Oka’s ulcer was too deep and a superficial keratectomy was called for, which usually requires general anesthesia, or at least heavy sedation.
Here’s the amazing part: she just switched to the proper knife and kept going, and Oka sat there and let her slice away the surface of his cornea until all of the degenerative tissue was gone. I was straddling his back and gently holding his muzzle while the vet tech assisted in stabilizing his head, but apart from a bit of a grumble during the prep (before the actual surgery), Oka was pretty much relaxed, and didn’t try to move. He got lots of cookies, and lots of praise, and walked out with a brand-new contact lens in his eye to protect the cornea while it heals.
Right now he’s chilling out in the living room on Tramadol, a narcotic painkiller, which has so far spared him the Cone of Indignity, but I’m watching him carefully to make sure he doesn’t start rubbing his eye. With any luck, his recheck in a week will reveal a healed cornea, and the inevitable granulation will fade over time, leaving only a minor impairment of his vision (and I suspect, that like 30% of GSDs, he’s rather nearsighted, so that probably won’t make any difference).