Welcome to the Stone Soup Weekly Digest! This is where I share what I'm up to and some of my favorite things from around the internet. Subscribe to Stone Soup to get this in your inbox every week.
On Monday, I played a TTRPG called MASKS for Bag of Giving! Bag of Giving is a project bringing together cool people to stream games and raise money for worthy causes. MASKS is a roleplaying game about teen superheroes. I played with DongWon Song, Kate Dollarhyde, and Alyssa Wong, three of my favorite people on this planet. We had a great time! If you want to support charities via Bag of Giving, you can find out how here. You can watch the video of our game, which was both fun and harrowing, here.
During that game I played a character named RIPTYDE. RIPTYDE (always styled in all-caps) was a shapeshifter who could turn into anything that was present on a specific beach! It was the beach where his entire family (and everyone who worked at their toxic waste factory) died in a catastrophic sandcastle-building accident. RIPTYDE is fine. Don’t worry about him. He’s processing in very healthy ways.
Also this week, a few people started reading my upcoming novel, Just Like Home! I can’t tell you how energizing it is to hear positive reader feedback at this stage in the publishing process. If you haven’t already read the first chapter of the book, you can find it here.
That’s enough about me! Let’s talk about cooler people.
Boquila Trifoliolata, the Coolest Plant
This week I became aware of Boquila Trifoliolata. This plant is a climbing vine that mimics the leaf shape of whatever plant it’s climbing. That’s deeply cool by itself — any plant that varies its characteristics like that has my attention. But then comes the twist: Boquila Trifoliolata mimics the leaf shape of whatever plant it’s climbing, even if that plant is made of plastic. This strongly indicates that pheromones and genetic exchange aren’t how BT decides what shape to take on. The best explanation? Some form of what can only be described as sight. Fucking rad.
Nibedita Sen’s First Times
Nibedita Sen has created a piece of interactive fiction that’s funny, tender, and extremely steamy. The structure is nothing short of genius. Click through for a spectactular, explicit story of sex, anxiety, and time travel.
Art by Jocelin Carms
Carms’ art is beautiful and haunting. It makes me feel both lonely and grateful to be alive.
I haven’t stopped thinking about this since a friend sent it to me. In a place where nothing should be able to live, a giant colony of huge sponges is subsisting on the remains of an ancient civilization of volcano-worms. The sponges are the foundation of an entire ecosystem. None of that is even the slightest exaggeration.
Last summer a friend of mine got married and learned to make holographic chocolate for her wedding favors (which were distributed by mail for us all to share at Zoom receptions). I wasn’t able to capture the incredible effect before those chocolates disappeared. This week, Janelle Shane accomplished the culinary feat and found a way to share how cool this looks with the world. Hell yeah, Janelle.
I made holographic chocolate!— Janelle Shane (@JanelleCShane) February 9, 2022
Way easier than I thought - and it’s 100% pure bittersweet, no coatings. When you catch the light at the right angle, it’s mesmerizing. pic.twitter.com/HFi0K5IGSG
I’m Reading: Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis (noble dragon for those who don't understand italics) has appeared in Discworld's greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all...). How did it get there? How is the Unique and Supreme Lodge of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night involved? Can the Ankh-Morpork City Watch restore order - and the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork to power?
Magic, mayhem, and a marauding dragon...who could ask for anything more?
Featured New Release: DEAD SILENCE by S. A. Barnes
Claire Kovalik is days away from being unemployed--made obsolete--when her beacon repair crew picks up a strange distress signal. With nothing to lose and no desire to return to Earth, Claire and her team decide to investigate. What they find is shocking: the Aurora, a famous luxury spaceliner that vanished on its maiden tour of the solar system more than twenty years ago. A salvage claim like this could set Claire and her crew up for life. But a quick search of the ship reveals something isn't right.
Whispers in the dark. Flickers of movement. Messages scrawled in blood. Claire must fight to hold on to her sanity and find out what really happened on the Aurora before she and her crew meet the same ghastly fate.
Add DEAD SILENCE to your tbr here. Order it from your local independent bookseller, or order it via Bookshop.org to support independent booksellers throughout the US and the UK. For international shipping, you can try Barnes & Noble. If you prefer audiobooks, here’s a Libro.fm link. You can also request DEAD SILENCE from your local library — here’s how to get in touch with them. And if you need to order from the Bad River Website, here’s a link that will leverage your order for good.
This week, we discovered that our giant bookshelf, which was previously just an earthquake hazard, was slowly collapsing. I think that makes it an ultra-quake-hazard? Either way, we have to break it down for lumber, it's beyond repair. The process of moving all our books and rearranging them on different bookshelves turns out to be excellent enrichment for these increasingly-huge cats. I guess hunting your sibling for sport is way more fun when there are little caverns for them to hide in. Who knew!
If you’re a paying subscriber, come by the Stone Soup Supper Club for our weekly chat! I can’t wait to find out how you’re doing.
If you’re not a paying subscriber yet, consider signing up! We share recipes and books, and we have a co-working date next weekend. The subscriber chat is a supportive, kind place to hang out. Paid subscriptions cover my medical expenses, (which have just increased by an alarming amount thanks to some arcane mystery of insurance) so every sign-up means a lot to me!
Either way, have a swell weekend.