Archive for May, 2009

The February 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science continues, with a fairly short story called “Into Space”, one of two in this issue by Captain Sterner St. Paul Meek (under two different pseudonyms).

Science having progressed, you probably don’t want to use this story to help you with your physics homework. But everything is related to Irregular Webcomic.

“Into Space” by Sterner St. Paul


Btw, this story includes a short bit of racist but relatively non-malicious dialogue. I tried to turn it on itself in my reading, so that the stereotyped character was making a joke at the expense of stereotype. One of the hazards of reading stories from the past is encountering bad attitudes from the past, though, and I want you to know that I’m not ignorant of that, agreeing with the author’s attitude, or trying to pretend it’s not there. I’m just trying to get over rough ground as lightly as possible. That’s one of the legitimate uses of a reader’s powers of interpretation.


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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, as we find out there’s no excuse not to try and be devoted, but that you also have a perfect right to live a devoted life in the way most appropriate for you. So there.

You’re having some technical terminology thrown at you, and concepts are being expressed in ways not usually used today. Don’t panic. Charity is “caritas”, love of God and neighbor. “Perfect” does not mean you never ever make any mistakes; it’s the biblical “perfect”, which is more like “totally equipped for the job” or “complete and well-rounded”. A lot of this stuff will be defined for you later in the text. Don’t panic.

Book 1, Chapter 3: Devotion is suitable to all kinds of professions and vocations.


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An Introduction to the Devout Life continues, as we learn more about devotion to God and why it’s so great.

Book 1, Chapter 2: The Properties and Excellence of Devotion.


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An Introduction to the Devout Life starts with an important question — What is being devout, anyway? (And what just looks like it?)

Book 1, Chapter 1: Description of True Devotion.


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As requested a long time back, I’m beginning to read An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. This is a very interesting advice book on how to live a life of more devoted love of God, no matter what you do for a living and no matter how much time you have available. Popular with Protestants as well as Catholics, this is a real classic and has been translated into tons of languages over the last few centuries.

St. Francis de Sales was one of the lucky guys picked to go into Calvin Country and evangelize people back to Catholicism, while trying not to get killed. What fun! Well, if you were St. Francis de Sales, it was. He was one of those people who are almost ludicrously perky and happy in their work (after a miraculous conversion from despair and becoming a lawyer, so don’t hate him). He’s also a heck of a writer, and was made a patron saint of writers and journalists.

I know I usually advise people to read the introductions and forewords and prefaces last, because they’re usually boring or contain spoilers. But this preface is actually interesting and useful, and was written by the author — so it’s the exception.



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The February 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science continues, and so does “Creatures of the Light”. It’s time for a thrilling conclusion, and there’s nothing science fiction loves better than building a world and then taking it apart….

You can find more stories by Sophie Wenzel Ellis at ISFDB and FictionMags.

“Creatures of the Light”, Part 4.


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The February 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science continues, and so does “Creatures of the Light”. Time to visit the Baby Lab, and bring new meaning to “growing up too fast”.

“Creatures of the Light”, Part 3.


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The February 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science continues, and so does “Creatures of the Light”, as Northwood learns the danger lurking in Dr. Mundson’s ship.

“Creatures of the Light”, Part 2


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The February 1930 issue of Astounding Stories of Super-Science continues, with “Creatures of the Light” by Sophie Wenzel Ellis.

(Yes, that’s a woman, writing under her own name. It did happen, you know. The mystery pulps were chock full of women writers. Why the SF pulps got so weird about women writers’ names, I don’t know. Possibly a lot of boy stalkers-by-mail out there.)

“Creatures of the Light” is an odd story: part lost world romance, part protest against eugenics, part apparent belief in some of the odder scientific opinions of the time, and part insistence of the consistency of human nature. You’d think pretty badly of this story if this segment were all you heard of it; but in the next few parts, Ellis takes apart most of the objectionable bits. Odd how it was topical at the time, and now parts of it are topical again. Odd all around.

“Creatures of the Light”, Part 1


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The Maria Lectrix podcast has been nominated for “Most Spiritual Podcast” in the 2009 Catholic New Media Awards.

Thank you to whoever nominated it!

Catholic New Media Awards

Voting starts June 1 and runs through June 30.

This is probably the only time anyone will ever mention my podcast in the same breath with the Christophers, Father Z, and the Daily Breakfast. 😉

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On Christian Doctrine continues as St. Augustine advances the old “spoils of the Egyptians” argument, and tells us what attitude to use in studying Scripture.

Next week, we’ll start Book 3!

Book 2, Chapters 39-42.


UPDATE: Link fixed. Sigh. This is why I don’t do webpages anymore.

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On Christian Doctrine continues, and so does St. Augustine’s list of useful studies for Bible study or for Christians. Now he spends time justifying logic and rhetoric.

Book 2, Chapters 31-38.


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On Christian Doctrine continues, as St. Augustine divvies up purely human institutions and learning into what he thinks useful for Christians, or for Bible study, and what is not. (Kinda Plato’s Republic-y, when you think about it.)

Seeing as all that Dan Brown stuff is sure that Christianity hates science, it’s rather amusing to point out that St. Augustine, like most of the early Fathers, takes it for granted that the study of the natural sciences is the easiest part of worldly knowledge to justify to Christians — much easier than philosophy or rhetoric. Even though he can’t find strict utility for most of astronomy and even though it has so many pagan and divinatory associations, it’s not long before he’s using astronomy as an example again. The tie between close study of Creation and appreciative love of the Creator is obvious to him, and he expects it to be obvious to anyone who puts any effort at all into thinking.

Book 2, Chapters 25-30


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Astounding Stories of Super-Science, February 1930, continues, with the conclusion of “The Corpse on the Grating” by Hugh B. Cave.

Hugh Cave was both prolific and long-lived. Generous of his time and energy to younger writers and to pulp fans, he is much missed. I am proud to present this small part of his enormous output. I would also like to encourage you to read one of his greatest and gentlest stories, “The Mission”.

“The Corpse on the Grating”, Part 2


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Astounding Stories of Super-Science continues, with “The Corpse on the Grating” by Hugh B. Cave. It’s a very Sherlockian story of science fiction, horror, and adventure on the streets of London. (I’m starting to wonder whether “science fiction, horror, and adventure” were on the sheets soliciting stories for the new magazine.)

“The Corpse on the Grating”, Part 1.


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