The Element of Fire

You wouldn’t be hitting EoB if you didn’t appreciate smart, witty writing by smart, witty people.

That’s why, if you’ve inexplicably missed it so far, you’ll appreciate the fiction of Martha Wells. She writes with grace and concision, creating worlds unlike others you’ve read. Her characters are flashing quick, with ironic wit that will pierce your eyes. If words ever failed me, they would do so now. She’s good at what she does.

She’s generously posted on-line the entire text of her first novel:

The Element of Fire

I’d be neglecting your welfare if I didn’t mention that you can also command to be printed a paper copy of the book from Lulu. Paper is really what books are all about, us Net-heads to the contrary. And it’ll be easier for you to re-read it in a few years when all that remains is the memory of how much you enjoyed it.

The Element of Fire is justly considered a classic in the field. I will not risk over-selling it to you. You’re big, you know what turns you on. You can go to her site and try it out for free. When you’re done, then you can see about buying her other books.

You may want to consider perusing the rest of her site, as it’s packed with more chewy nuggets. She also actively maintains an open LiveJournal, and discusses the writing process in detail, as well as responding to specific questions.

I feel a need to make something pellucidly clear here. Martha is my friend, has been for several decades.

I’m not doing her a favor by mentioning her work today.

I’m doing you a favor.


As an added bonus, we have the stream of the song:

The Element of Fire

It was written by Scott McCullar, and performed by him and, on flute, an old friend named Russell, at a Los Blues Guys rehearsal in Jon-Tim and Cathy Cowden’s garage. This song has haunted me since I first heard it, and is one of my two most favorite Scott songs. The other one is ‘Elvis is Alive’, and if I can find a restorable recording of it, you’ll be hearing it soon enough.

EDIT: Urk… Unexpectedly, the EOB site won’t let me host the song here. There’s a surprising file size restriction on uploads. I’ll fix this as soon as possible and post a live link. Dammit, if I ever find Murphy, I’m gonna take a machete to him.

EDIT #2 — The stream link is now alive! My nice friend Bradley is hosting it for the good of humanity. Any feedback from people about the mastering on this thing will be appreciated, especially as I have some high-tech monitors that I mix on, and haven’t had time to check on how the mix might translate to other rigs.

15 thoughts on “The Element of Fire

  1. Ohmigod, yes! Read The Element Of Fire!! Let’s just say, before we moved 2,400 miles, there was a RUTHLESS purge of our books. There was never any question that Martha’s output was coming with us. Plus, she’s just about the sweetest person I’ve ever met. PLUS, Troyce married me’n’Ed mumblty years ago.

  2. Yep, to all of your comments…

    For what it’s worth, Martha and Troyce’s wedding was the first one I officiated at. I still have extremely fond memories of it…

  3. Rory, use the bluehost info I gave you. You’ll be able to ftp into and drop it into where ever you want. I suggest we create a subdir under the main html directory called “songs” or “music”.

    We can also put “Texas Flood” in there.

    (We’ve got 50 gigs.  We’ll be okay.)

  4. Stevie — Rats. I remember our chat about how we had space and bandwidth. Didn’t remember the part about having to FTP in — EVEN THOUGH THERE IS AN UPLOAD SECTION ON THE POST CREATION PAGE, THAT WORKS JUST FINE WITH OTHER FILES.


    Thank you. We now return you to your regular programming.

  5. Damn. Went over to where she’s put the text to see what kind of licensing she did (not specified) and got sucked in. Read a chapter before I pulled myself out again. And I’ve read that book over a dozen times already.

  6. Wow, thanks for posting the mp3 of that song. I agree, it’s one of Scott’s best. I can add it to the iPod now.

    Yes, Ed and Casey’s was my first wedding to ever officiate (I’ve done two others afterwards), and Rory did a super job with ours. He also performed Scott’s, of Los Blues Guy’s fame. Martha’s aunts wanted to know what church Rory pastored, since they liked his performance to much LOL.

  7. Hey, Troyce!

    Rory, besides ftp, you should be able to use the wordpress upload file thingy, now. There is a file called php.ini where the upload limit was set at 2M. Is now 30M, in case we want to host videos, thought that would kinda silly with things like youTube around.

    (There is a chance that the Bluehost people have an upper limit on php file transfer, so the 30M thing is not for sure.)

  8. Thanks, Steve – Yeah, the PHP errror was what I got when I tried to upload late last night. I’m still gonna get my own site up this week, just to have control of that issue. I’ll try loading the next one I do at EoB and see if it takes. The max song size I’m likely to want to run is under 10 MB.

    Troyce — Yeah, you guys and Scott both had some of the finest weddings I’ve done. I’ve got about a dozen under my belt (or robe, as the case may be…) Only two of them that I know of didn’t take. I gave Peter’s my best shot, but….

  9. Well, I’ve made the changes to the PHP then tried to upload a 5.3M file. If failed with the same error.

    Could be that something needs to be done to make it reread the .ini file. In the meanwhile, ftp will definitely work.

  10. I think you should crash the server so that it will be forced to reboot.

    …Uh, kidding, just really kidding, BlueHost nice people. Don’t cancel our account…

  11. All fixed. Turns out you need to put it the php.ini file in the directory that has the php script that is calling for the upload. Since I didn’t know which one that was, I put it in all five php dirs.

    Then uploaded a 5.3 Mb file.

    (Still prefer the ftp–gives you a progress bar after all.  And I think it’s faster.)

  12. I’d be remiss in my duties if I didn’t point out that RevolutionSF is also serializing The Element of Fire. Good stuff!

    And I have to admit that I still have a copy (somewhere) of Martha’s first Thomas Boniface story that was workshopped at that first A&M writers, um, workshop thingy.

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