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04 July 2015 @ 04:42 pm
Here is my schedule of commitments for Readercon 26, which will be July 9-12 in Burlington, MA:


3:00 PM    The Genre-Sized Chip on the Shoulder.
Nicola Griffith, Sandra Kasturi, Eugene Mirabelli, Kenneth Schneyer (moderator), Peter Straub.
Discrimination against speculative literature still exists, but it appears to be fading quickly. Literary awards and critics are recognizing speculative works, and major publishers are publishing them. The nerd/jock distinction still exists among teens, but the line has blurred considerably. Is there value to continuing to see the genre as belittled and beleaguered, and genre fans as an oppressed minority? Or do we have a sort of community PTSD, where we're reacting to memories of mistreatment more than to actual recent events? If the literary world is ready to accept us, are we ready to be accepted?

5:00 PM    I Put Books in Your Books So You Can Read While You Read.
John Clute, Samuel Delany, Amal El-Mohtar, Francesca Forrest, Greer Gilman, Kenneth Schneyer (leader).
Nested stories consist of at least one outer story and at least one inner story. Usually the characters in the outer story are cast as the audience of the inner story, as in Hamlet or the Orphan's Tales books. But inner stories have another audience: the reader. How do we read inner stories? When our attention is brought to its story-ness, are we more conscious of being the audience than when we immerse ourselves in outer stories? Do we see ourselves as separate from the audience characters—thinking of them as the "real" audience even though they're fictional—or do we connect with them through the mutual experience of observation? And when do inner stories take on lives of their own, separate from their frames?


10:30 AM    Reading: Kenneth Schneyer. Kenneth Schneyer. Kenneth Schneyer reads his short story "You in the United States!"

2:00 PM    The Definition of Reality.
Anil Menon, Kit Reed, Kenneth Schneyer, Sarah Smith, Romie Stott (leader).
Many forms of entertainment conflate fiction and nonfiction. It's well documented that so-called reality TV is highly staged, directed, and manipulated to highlight conflict and manufacture happy (or tragic) endings. A number of memoirs have been revealed to be fiction. Some still want to believe professional wrestling is real. Fiction provides plenty of conflict, coherent narrative arcs, and satisfying endings, so why do we also demand those things from our nonfiction? Does believing something is "real" make it more entertaining? Or is this an expression of our dissatisfaction with the loose ends, bewildering occurrences, and interrupted stories of our own lives?

I hope to see many of you there!
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: Hopeful
Current Music: Tybalt purring on my lap
04 July 2015 @ 12:26 am

About a week ago, I finished watching the first season of Sense8, Netflix's new science fiction series. Comments below include mild spoilers, not so much for plot points as for individual scenes and situations that arise.








The series posits eight individuals, four men and four women in their late 20s, who begin to be able to share one another's senses, thoughts, and abilities -- sporadically and inexplicably at first, then more consistently and volitionally as they come to know each other. Will is a Chicago police officer; Nomi (nee Michael) is a San Francisco hacker; Lito is a Mexico City film star; Sun is a Seoul business executive and  martial artist; Kala is a Mumbai pharmacy student about to be married; Wolfgang is the safecracker son of a Berlin criminal family; Capheus is a Nairobi bus driver/entrepreneur; Riley is an Icelandic DJ living in London. As the series progresses, they become more and more deeply involved in one another's lives, and frequently aid each other in moments of crisis, culminating in a sequence in which all of them are working in concert for the same goal.

Here are my thoughts, in more-or-less random order:

1.     The season as a whole kept my attention and got my heart racing, and increasingly I couldn't keep away. At one point, I was stealing a few minutes at a time in the only hallway where I could find wireless to find out what happened in the last episode.

2.     The narrative style is disjointed and delicious, especially in the first half of the season where there is so much left unexplained. I also adore the many substitutions and juxtapositions where the sensates take one another's places, be it on the job, in fights, during lovemaking.

3.     I think the opening credits are meant to convey both the rich, precious variety of the human race, on the one hand, and the accelerating pace at which we are hurtling to our own destruction, on the other.

4.     I was initially annoyed by the portrayal of other languages by actors speaking English with foreign accents -- until I got to the scene where two characters who spoke two different languages (Hindi and German in one case, Korean and Swahili in another) spoke to each other in those actual tongues with English subtitles, and you finally get what they've been trying to do. Very clever.

5.     This is a fantasy made for the age of social media. The premise is that people who have never met, separated by thousands of miles, can be dear friends, allies, even lovers, and come to one another's rescue in moments of crisis. It is perhaps the perfect metaphorical attempt to fill rift between our decreasing physical contact and increasing ethereal contact with one another. As wish fulfilment it works very well.

6.     The show reminds me of two other series I remember from my remote past: The Champions from the late 1960s, in which three intelligence agents (a pilot, a doctor, a codebreaker) maximize their physical and intellectual capacities while learning to communicate with each other telepathically. Also Search from the early 1970s, in which three (other) intelligence agents are fitted with video cameras, microphones, and implanted receivers which allow them to receive instantaneous advice from their home base.

7.     Sense8 has not yet decided which side of the intimacy/fusion border it is on. (For the uninitiated: some psychologists say that "emotional fusion," the wish to erase all boundaries and become one with another, is an infantile desire to deny our own separate personhood (i.e., to reunite with the mother). Intimacy, by contrast, is described as the deliberate and scary revelation of the secret self to another; it requires an acknowledgment of boundaries so that they can be lifted, and is one of the most difficult things adults do.) In this series, the characters on the one hand seem to experience emotional fusion, but there are other moments where it is clear that they do not all know one another's thoughts and must be actually told (hence, moments of actual intimacy). It feels like the writers want to approach something like fusion, but don't want to rob the characters of the choice and risk of deliberate intimacy.  I am curious to see where this will all wind up.

8.    The series runs a risk of becoming sentimental and maudlin very quickly. All television series run this risk if they go on long enough (just look at Season Seven of pretty much any series you loved, and watch the number of times characters (mirroring the feelings of the viewers) say "Oh, X, you mustn't do that because we love you and it will break my heart" or similar), but because this first season has been so heavily character oriented, the audience already knows these eight people well and has shared in their personal sorrows and fears. We are already, at the end of episode 12, prone to have a don't-hurt-my-babies feeling about them. I fear that future seasons may feature long, "deep" shots of one of the sensates' faces, as we emote right along with him/her for the entire episode.

9.     It is a superhero series. The sensates' ability to adopt each other's abilities at will means that each of them, at any moment, is a financial wizard hacker cop gangster actor martial artist daredevil driver biochemist who speaks seven languages. Like all stories about superpowers, its problem is finding credible obstacles to make the drama believable. The few "enemy" sensates we have met (much like Magneto's mutants in the X-Men stories) may serve this function.

10. It runs the risk of becoming Mission: Impossible. Each of the characters may, if the writers aren't careful, fall in to a stock role where they're essentially doing the same thing over and over. One can see Lito as the Master of Disguise (Martin Landau / Leonard Nimoy), Sun as the "muscle" (Peter Lupus), Nomi as the technojock (Greg Morris), Riley as the "babe" (Barbara Bain / Linda Day George), etc. Of course we've seen this same tendency with many other "team mission" series such as Criminal Minds, The A-Team, Leverage, etc.). The sequence in which all eight of them work together very much had that flavor to it; I couldn't help loving it, but it worried me. It's not necessarily a bad trope, unless it begins to be used thoughtlessly.

11. I am fascinated with the gradually unfolding backstory revelation of each character. Particularly I'm interested in how pointedly the series has shown us the sensates' relationships with their parents, which in some cases are very strongly negative, even abusive (Nomi, Wolfgang), in others exceptionally loving and supportive (Riley, Capheus, Kala), and others who seem to have both at the same time (Sun, Will). Only Lito's parents are still unknown to us. Childhood trauma and/or loss is very strongly indicated as a prime motivator for Will, Wolfgang, Nomi, Riley, Sun, Capheus.

12. Even more interesting is the complimentary relationship of their personalities. In particular, Sun and Capheus, who have the greatest level of physical and moral courage, and Nomi, who firmly grasps her hard-won personal integrity, are materially helpful to Lito, who begins the series with neither courage nor integrity.

13. I like the assertion articulated by Jonas that the sort of enforced empathy that the sensates have for each other is a species-level survival trait. They are destined to save the world, he believes, because they are much less likely to kill than ordinary humans, because "It's easy to kill when you can't feel." In this sense, the sensates' connection is a metaphor for the urgent needs of our current human condition. BUT:

14. This assertion is not particularly borne out by the actions of the sensates thus far. Capheus (with Sun's and Will's help) and Wolfgang have, between them, killed about 30 people by the end of episode 12. It is presented as mostly, but not entirely, self-defense, but I wonder whether the sensates are going to be so lethal, with so little reflection, in the future. I have been shocked, actually, that the more sensitive souls among them (Lito, Riley, Kala) have let these deaths go by with so little comment or criticism. Kala even helps Wolfgang kill some people -- something she might do in an emergency no matter who she is, but where is her remorse? Wolfgang has none, but we don't expect him to.  We are told that Will is emotionally unable to murder, but his solution is simply to invoke Wolfgang, whose ruthlessness proves useful.

15. The few times when all eight of them appear to be in synchrony with each other -- each involving a piece of music, I think -- are transcendent.

16. While their similar age is explained in the series, it's noteworthy and disappointing that they're nearly all middle class (at least) as well.   Arguably Capheus is not, although owning his own bus potentially puts him in more control of his economic future than many.

17.  There's a moment in one of the last few episodes where the visual impact of a scene is much higher if you happen to understand Icelandic patrinomial nomenclature.

Anyway, despite all the reservations and worries and analyses I express above, I am captivated and will undoubtedly be counting the days until Season Two is released.

Current Location: The 13th state
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Window air conditioner
John Joseph Adams at Lightspeed Magazine just bought my story "The Plausibility of Dragons."  This is my first sale ever to John, and I couldn't be happier!
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
Current Music: Soundrack to "The Hours"
08 May 2015 @ 04:37 pm
This year I'm an (invited!) panelist at Albacon, May 8-10, in Albany, NY.  Here's my schedule:

Saturday, May 9:

Reading, Kenneth Schneyer, 11:00 a.m. (I'm going to read my new not-yet-published story, "The Plausibility of Dragons.")

"Borders (if any) Between Fan & 'Original' Fiction", Mur Lafferty, Andre Lievin, Kenneth Schneyer (moderator), Anatoly Bililovsky, noon.

Autographing, Barbara Chepaitis & Kenneth Schneyer.  (I'll have copies of The Law & the Heart for sale, just in case you didn't bring your own. :) ) 1:30 p.m.

"SF vs. Fantasy -- is there a difference?", Mercurio Rivera, Paul Park, Catherine Stine, James L. Cambias, Kenneth Schneyer, Chuck Rothman (moderator), 4:00 p.m.

"Flash Fiction", Electra Hammond (moderator), Kate Laity, Kenneth Schneyer, Alex Shvartsman, Chuck Rothman.

Sunday, May 10:

"The Future of Copyright", Mur Lafferty, Kenneth Schneyer 1:00 p.m.

So yeah, Saturday's gonna be pretty busy.  If you happen to be in Albany this weekend, come say hello!
Current Mood: Chipper
Current Music: Hammond Song (The Roches)
04 April 2015 @ 10:32 am
A happy birthday to my friend madderbrad, always supportive, and enthusiastic.  Many happy returns!

Here's my father's third extant bridge column.  It's one of my favorites, as he loved to quote the first paragraph over and over.  I'd forgotten about takeout doubles and overcalls, but it all begins to come back to me now...

Mathematical Genius, or, Points Are Points

By Jerome J. Schneyer, M.D.

Southfield News

June 1, 1967

A group of research scientists have recently announced that they have discovered a certain type of animal of measurable, but limited, intelligence. It is able to count to thirteen and twenty-six, but is completely unable to count as high as forty. What I would like to know is how that animal so frequently gets situated across the bridge table from me. Let the scientists answer that one.


  7 5 4

  10 8 3 2

  5 4 2

  A Q J


  K Q J 9

  K J 6 4

  K 7 6

  8 2


  6 3 2

  9 7

  J 10 9 8 3

  9 6 4


  A 10 8

  A Q 5

  A Q

  K 10 7 5 3

Rubber bridge                         S          W        N         E

Vulnerable: none                    1       dbl       pass     1

South deals                            2 NT    pass     3 NT    pass

                                              Pass pass

Opening lead: K

First, as to the bidding: whether or not North should bid 2 over the takeout double is a matter of debate; with a hand as square as North has, it is usually better to pass and await developments.

South hesitated a few seconds after the dummy went down; North, being slightly theatrical, had put down the beautiful club suit last of all and South was trying to reswallow his heart after thinking the dummy was trickless. Having done this, he began to think, in this case a very fortunate circumstance for the opponents, of how to play the hand. Eight tricks were cold and finesses were possible in both red suits for a ninth, he pondered. Furthermore, there would be no point in holding off in spades, since both finesses must be taken into West; finally, he thought, diamonds must be the suit to try, since West is likely to have both majors, and East bid diamonds.

The cogitation over, South scooped in the first trick with the A♠, crossed over to the dummy J♣, and led a small diamond, finessing the queen. West gobbled up this trick, ran his three good spaces, and got out with a club. South then expended a considerable amount of time and energy in worry, but to no avail; West was certain to get a heart trick and the contract was doomed.

As the cards were being dealt for the next hand, South, in an effort to placate North, whose wattles were flushed a delightful shade of crimson with rage, commented to the effect that "they can't all be on-side" or some other such trivia. That did it. North proceeded to comment acidly on South's ancestry, place of origin, legitimacy, intelligence, and other assorted attributes and, in the course of his Phillipic, happened to mention the correct way to play the hand, briefly thus:

West made a takeout double, a bid requiring 14 points. Inasmuch as south is looking at 26 points between his own hand and the dummy, and there are only 40 points total in the cards, it is obvious that both finesses are bound to lose, since East cannot possibly hold a king (unless someone has slipped in a funny deck). This being the case, South should merely run his five club tricks and then lead the spade ten, allowing West to run his three tricks (West doesn't likely have a five-card spade suit, else he would have overcalled rather than making a takeout double). West must then lead away from one of his red kings and the contract rolls home.

So please try to remember to learn to count to forty; surely you don't want the scientists investigating you.

* * * * * * *

And here's the column in its original printed form:

Mathematical Genius or Points Are Points 1 June 1967
Current Location: Ahead of the storm
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Downton Abbey theme music
I'm unforgivably late in posting this; my apologies.

This year I'm going to start by mentioning stories I've read that I think would be good award candidates this year.  I haven't done nearly as much reading this year as I'd like (especially at longer lengths), so I'm sure there are lots of wonderful things missing.  But here goes:


  • E. C. Ambrose, Elisha Magus

  • James Cambias, A Darkling Sea

  • Grady Hendrix, Horrorstör


  • Nancy Kress, Yesterday's Kin

  • Ken Liu, "The Regular" (Upgraded)


  • N. K. Jemisin, "Stone Hunger" (Clarkesworld)

  • Sam J. Miller, "We Are the Cloud" (Lightspeed)

Short Story:

  • Helena Bell, "Married" (Upgraded)

  • Adam-Troy Castro, "The Thing About Shapes to Come" (Lightspeed)

  • Lara Elena Donnelly, "Chopin's Eyes" by Lara Elena Donnelly (Strange Horizons)

  • Amal El-Mohtar, "The Lonely Sea in the Sky" (Lightspeed)

  • Matthew Kressel, "The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye" (Clarkesworld)

  • Carmen Maria Machado, "Observations about Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa" (Lightspeed)

  • Shira Lipkin, "The Final Girl" (Strange Horizons)

  • Ken Liu, "The Clockwork Soldier" (Clarkesworld)

  • Usman Malik, "Resurrection Points" (Strange Horizons)

  • Sarah Pinsker, "No Lonely Seafarer" (Lightspeed)

  • Sofia Samatar, "How to Get Back to the Forest" (Lightspeed)

  • Damien Angelica Walters, "The Serial Killer's Astronaut Daughter" (Strange Horizons)

  • Alyssa Wong, "Santos de Sampaguitas" (Strange Horizons)

Dramatic Work:

  • I Remember the Future, (Klayton Stainer, dir, based on the story by Michael A. Burstein)

YA/Middlegrade (Andre Norton Award):

  • Matt London,The 8th Continent.

Now for the sake of completeness, here are my own award-eligible stories from 2014:
I've put mine at the end because I'm not actually suggesting any of them as a candidate this year.  I like them all, but only "Levels of Observation" breaks any new ground, and "The Orpheus Fountain" has the most heart.  In all honesty, I'd rather see one of the stories on my favorites list win than one of my own (this year, that is. :) ).
Current Location: Winter Storm Juno
Current Mood: Sleepy
Current Music: Wind
Here's "On Advice from Mothers", my father's bridge column from May 25, 1967.  I'm able to follow most of this, although the nuances of doubles and duplicate bridge are a little beyond me.  (NB, the crack about North Dakota is heartfelt; we spent two years in Minot when Dad was in the Air Force, ending less than four years before this column came out.)

* * * * *

On Advice from Mothers

By Jerome J. Schneyer, M.D.

Southfield News

(May 25, 1967)

Once upon a time, there was a poor but honest boy named Jack, who, having demonstrated his bridge supremacy in his home town of Flouridation, North Dakota, set out to make his mark in the big wide world of bridge players. Jack had a kindly (aren't they all?) mother, who gave him this parting advice: "Jack, always trust people; the best in human nature will shine through." Very sweet. She can play bridge against me anytime.


K 6

A 10 9 8 5

K Q 6 2

4 2


  Q J 10 5


  8 7 3

  A Q J 8 5

East (Jack)

  A 9 7 4 2

  K 3

  A 9 4

  K 9 3


  8 3

  Q J 7 4 2

  J 10 5

  10 7 6

Duplicate bridge                                 N         E         S          W

Both vulnerable                                 1        dbl       2        dbl

North deals                                        pass     pass     3        pass    

                                                         pass     dbl       pass     pass


Opening lead: A

Jack hated to overcall on such a shaky space suit in the East seat and, besides, he had a textbook takeout double. South, the deceptive wretch, realized that, unless his partner's opening bid were very strong, and possible even then, East-West must have a cinch game in spades. Holding such wonderful heart support and no defensive values at all, he could afford to jazz up the bidding a bit; so he made a jump bid to 2♠ on a holding of 8-3 doubleton, just like he had it.

West naturally doubled this bid and, when the bidding came around to south again, he "rescued" himself to 3. Now West hated to bid clubs at the four level, so he passed the 3bid around to his partner, feeling that good old Jack would not forget his previous double.

The decision was in good hands: sure enough, Jack remembered that West had doubled 2♠ but, on looking at his own spade length, Jack figured that the double had been based on generally distributed strength. He remembered his mother's advice and trusted South's bidding implicitly, figuring South for something like K-Q-x-x-x of spades and Q-x-x of hearts. In any event, it was obvious that East-West had a misfit and that the opponents were never going to make 3. Decision made. . . "Double!" from Jack.

He was right, too. Three hearts went down one for 200 points to East-West and Jack was preening himself for heeding his mother when West drily pointed out that this penalty was hardly compensation for a vulnerable game, to say nothing of the ice-cold slam that East-West had missed. Poor Jack! To this day, he doesn't trust anyone, including his mother.

Shed a tear for Jack. Better bridge players than he have been talked out of contracts before this. Jack's trouble was that he placed too much faith in the opponents' bidding. Always remember that those guys are going to be giving you very little; they're out for themselves, drat 'em. In a situation like this, believe your partner; if he doubles the opponents' bid when logic tells you that he can't possibly have their suit, somebody is trying to pull a fast one and it's probably NOT your partner; he's on your side (it says here).


Here's the column in its original published form:

On Advice from Mothers 25 May 1967 (cropped)
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: reminiscent
Current Music: More Tom Lehrer
25 January 2015 @ 03:02 pm
Here's my schedule for Boskone 52, February 13-15 at the Westin Boston Waterfront.  Hmmm, they have me moderating three (!) panels, and doing three (!) readings.  I'd better get to work.

* * * * *

Reading: Kenneth Schneyer

Friday 21:30 - 21:55, Griffin

Kenneth Schneyer

Dune — 50 Years later

Saturday 13:00 - 13:50, Harbor I

Frank Herbert's Dune, published in 1955, was an epic science fiction saga that won the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award in 1966. Now, 50 years after its publication, we look back at the legacy left by Frank Herbert and his unique vision of a feudal interstellar society that was rocked by political machinations, contentious religious orders, and a very lucrative spice trade — and giant worms! How has this seminal work held up over time? What place might it take in the science fiction hall of fame? Panelists also discuss the impact that Dune has had on their own work as well as on the development of science and science fiction.

Kenneth Schneyer (Moderator) , Scott Lynch , Beth Meacham , Joan Slonczewski, Walter Jon Williams , Karl Schroeder

Constructive Criticism for Revising Novel-Length Work

Saturday 15:00 - 15:50, Burroughs

Both getting and giving constructive criticism can be a challenge when going through the revision process, particularly for longer works. As a writer: how do you know what to ask of a potential critic, and how do you provide feedback on the success of the critique? As a critic: how do you identify and communicate issues or problems to the author? How do you keep track of plot threads, identify themes, and figure out what questions need to be asked? Also, how should writer and critic approach a series?

Kenneth Schneyer (Moderator) , Gregory Feeley, Ken Liu, John P. Murphy , Margaret Ronald

Cambridge SF Workshop Group Reading

Saturday 18:00 - 18:50, Griffin

A rapid-fire reading by the members of the Cambridge Science Fiction Writers Workshop, featuring Heather Albano, James Cambias, Brett Cox, James Patrick Kelly, Alex Jablokov, Steven Popkes (M), Kenneth Schneyer, and Sarah Smith.

Flash Fiction Slam

Sunday 09:30 - 11:00, Marina 4

Join Boskone's second Flash Fiction Slam. Be one of eleven (11) writers to compete for the title of The Flash, reading your own original fiction — which must tell a complete tale within a 3-minute period. Our expert panel of judges will score your work, and you automatically lose 10 percent for going over your 3-minute time. You may only read your own work. The reader with the top score wins! Sign up before the con for one of eight (8) reading slots on a first-come, first-served basis by e-mailing erin.m.underwood@gmail.com. Or sign up onsite at Program Ops in the Galleria for one of three (3) at-con openings. A waiting list will also be available.

Carrie Cuinn (M), James Patrick Kelly , Kenneth Schneyer, Fran Wilde, F. Brett Cox

Writing Workshops: What's Right for You as a New Writer?

Sunday 11:00 - 11:50, Marina 3

Thinking about attending a writing workshop or an MFA program? Wondering how to pick which one is right for you? Once you do, then what? There is no magic formula to elicit an acceptance letter, but a solid application is a good place to start. Join representatives from various writing programs and learn how to present the best of what you have to offer as a student.

Kenneth Schneyer (Moderator), Debra Doyle, Theodora Goss , Shahid Mahmud, Jill Shultz

Autographing: Mur Lafferty, Kenneth Schneyer, Alison Sinclair, Charles Stross

Sunday 13:00 - 13:50, Galleria-Autographing

Current Location: Barrington
Current Mood: Nervous
Current Music: Tom Lehrer, "We Will All Go Together When We Go"
This is the earliest of my dad's bridge columns of which I have a copy.  First my trancribed (and slightly edited) version, then the original, scanned.

Orange Sauce Duck

by Jerome J. Schneyer, M.D.

Southfield News

May 18, 1967

Most bridge players are plagued with maxims that do more toward adding to their confusion about the game than they ever help: "never lead away from a king," "second hand low," "when in doubt lead trump." One of the oldest chestnuts that trickles down to us from the early days of whist is: "always cover an honor with an honor . . . kings were made to capture queens." In knightly days perhaps, but not always at the bridge table.


  7 6 2

8 5 4

  A Q J 10 7

  K 3


  A 10 8 5 4

  K J 7 3

  5 3

  8 2


  Q 3

  9 6 2

  K 8 6 4

  10 9 7 4


  K J 9

  A Q 10

  9 2

  A Q J 6 5

Rubber bridge                         E         S          W        N

Vulnerable: N/S                      pass     1       1♠        2       

East deals                                pass     2 NT    pass     3 NT   

                                               All pass

Opening lead: ♠5

There is a magnificent dish served in fine restaurants and enjoyed by gourmets the world over: duck with orange sauce. Bridge players, too are familiar with duck, of another sort. The common situation is x-x of a suit on the board and A-x-x in declarer's hand in a no-trump contract. The suit is led and the declarer waits until the third round to take his ace, hoping that by so "ducking" he will exhaust the opening leader's partner of the suit so that he cannot return it if he wins the lead. There are, however, many other ducking situations, a little more esoteric, but profitable to know.

The Queen of Spades

The South of our example was no gourmet, indeed he was something of a hog; he was familiar with the common, garden-variety of duck but, beyond this, he relied on the aforementioned maxims. He didn't see, when the queen of spades popped up out of the East hand at trick one, how he could get better value for his king. "Kings are made to capture queens," he was heard to mutter, as he scooped in the first trick; besides, if the diamond king were onside, he might as well make twelve tricks.

East Returned

Too bad! South had forgotten that his side had only contracted for nine tricks; when his nine of diamonds lost to the king at trick two, East returned a spade right through J-9 and West gleefully rattled off four spade tricks to sink the contract.

Was Not Enough

South should have realized that a gourmet-flavored duck was in order. Had he waited until the second or third trick to take his spade trick, West would have been unable to return the suit and South would have made at least nine tricks to wrap up the rubber. And what if East had three spades to start with and West allowed South to hold the second spade trick? Why then, West could take at most three tricks in spades altogether and that, added to the king of diamonds, would not have been enough to beat three no trump.

Humdrum Diet

So remember poor South and even if you do not frequently partake of gourmet foods, keep the duck with orange sauce in mind; it may sparkle an otherwise humdrum diet and earn you a good many compliments from your gourmet partners.


Here's the original (note that they mispelled his name, another reason I think this may be the first column he published):

Orange Sauce Duck 18 May 1967 (cropped)
Current Location: Home
Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: None