Saturday December 3, 2016
Book 16: Big, Dumb Objects — Part IV

Shopping Schlock Mercenary for the Holidays

From time to time people ask us: “what’s the best way to support Schlock Mercenary?” Here are some answers!

Shop at Amazon with the Schlock Link

Just click on this link before beginning your shopping trip, and we’ll get a small portion of what you spend.

Shop With Us Directly

We’ve got plenty of merchandise for your consideration:

70momem-adv-pristine-onwetproofs2Pre-Order Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries and/or the Planet Mercenary RPG

This link will take you to Backerkit, where you can pre-order Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries in defaced and/or pristine versions², as well as the Planet Mercenary tabletop role-playing game.

Share the comic with a friend

Do you know people who might enjoy reading Schlock Mercenary? The archives are oppressively deep, but there are good starting points³ at the beginning of books 10, 11, and 12. You might even start them at book 15. If they decide they want to go back to the beginning, they totally can.

¹Sandra wrote two children’s books, which were illustrated by Angela Call. They’re beautiful, and make great gifts.

²The pristine version has scholarly annotations under the maxims, and lots of white space. The non-pristine version has handwritten notes from both Tagons, Murtaugh, and Schlock in the margins. The pristine version is pictured atop the wet proofs for pages from the non-pristine version.

³Seriously, don’t start people at the beginning. Just don’t.


Revisiting the Threaded Thanks

We’re all connected, and I’m thankful for that.

Last year I wrote this piece on the subject, and this year I think the idea is worth revisiting because we’re much less likely to spew hatred and vitriol when we recognize our connections.

Consider today’s feast, if you’re an American participating in the feasting, or if you’re a human who happens to be eating: farmers from around the world contributed to the things on the table. If you’re enjoying poultry it may be local, but the spices applied to it were likely grown much further afield—Hungary for your paprika and Vietnam for the black pepper, to name two likely contenders.

Did anything sit in your refrigerator? Components for that miraculous bit of technology were built by engineers from many nations, using materials that include petroleum products and rare earth metals. When you open the refrigerator you’re operating equipment with bits from China, Thailand, Malaysia, Russia, the United States, Australia, and Saudi Arabia, and that’s the short list.

The “threaded thanks” exercise works in this way: Pick a thing for which you are thankful, and then read up on that thing. Where did it come from? Before it came from there, where did its parts come from? Who hauled it from all those places to the place where you got it? How were they able to make the trip? Find the thread and keep pulling, and identify as many connections as you’re able to. Then express your gratitude for each of those connections.

It might take a while. Probably don’t do this while others are waiting to eat.

There is no room for jingoism or any other dehumanizing belief system in this exercise. There were no “lesser” people involved in bringing you the things that made today’s meal possible. You depend on them, and when they sit down to eat, they depend on you. If you’re reading this, it’s likely that I depend upon you in some way for the meal I’m enjoying. My own living is earned in a massive web of transactions that include the streams of data moving to and from the device upon which you’re reading this text.

Last year at this time I described myself as a thankful person. To me, being thankful means acknowledging the countless hands that bear me up, and expressing my love and appreciation for them. It means being grateful, and learning to whom I owe the debt of gratitude. It means embracing the idea that when I pay for a thing and bring it home, the financial transaction is just one small part of the established connection.

We are all connected, and I am thankful for that. You’re part of those connections in more than just one way. I’m thankful for you, and the work you do to make our world a better one.



arrivalArrival is brilliant, beautiful, touching, and quite thought-provoking. It clears my Threshold of Awesome, and invites me to say very little about it lest I rob my readers of the voyage of discovery the film offers.

The film is adapted from Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life,” which can be found in the collection “Stories of Your Life and Others,” which Publisher’s Weekly called “… the first must-read SF book of the year” back in 2002.