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Rodent Surgery and Other Costs, Fiction and Gaming, Software and Management
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The aging but spritely Prankster rat has been in the wars. Last week she had to go undergo surgery to remove a very large tumour. A short clip of the surgery is available for those who have an interest in such things. Unfortunately she ended up with an infected abscess following the operation, and had to go under again. She has recovered but is spending a several days with her stomach thoroughly bandaged. This is of course not an inexpensive venture; having recently visited a tax agent to submit several years of returns a review of our financial statements made it fairly clear of the costs of keeping our extensive menagerie. On a contrary country-wide scale, it seems that the Agriculture Minister has decided that the suffering of animals is something that is worth sacrificing for profit, as live sheep and cattle exports will resume to countries previously noted for cruelty.

Apropos, have recently taken up readings in animal-based fiction, starting with the classics of course; The Call of the Wild, White Fang, The Jungle Book, and The Island of Doctor Moreau. Fishing for other suggestions that are particularly good at taking an animal's perspective on the world. Part of this interest is planning for running an upcoming Werewolf: The Apocalypse story, set during the Yugoslav Wars (too soon, perhaps?), where the player-characters will start as Bosnian werewolves; one can guess where I'm going with this.

Very pleased to hear that the latest version of OpenMPI is MPI3 compliant; I have written some installation instructions, which also touches upon the importance of this change. On the management side of IT, have written a sample quality assurance document for software development, which is sufficiently generic to be useful for others. A further document on project management is in the works, which I should know something about. Out-of-hours, I have taken a recent interest in Inform7, a natural language declarative programming language which produces code for Z-machines, rather like the old text-based adventure games (e.g., Zork). Finally, it helps if you check your code before publishing - and if you're giving a C++ example, perhaps some classes and methods too.

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You can't beat Black Beauty for social commentary from a horse's perspective. For an Australian flavour try the Silver Brumby books by Elyne Mitchell.

Oh, excellent recommendations.

Also reminds me I must get into Kotzwinkle's Doctor Rat which oddly, for a winner of the World Fantasy Award in 1975, doesn't have it's own Wikipedia page.

Edited at 2014-03-22 02:39 am (UTC)

Oh no, poor Prankster. Having an abscess on top of a lump is the worst luck. So far Coconut seems fine but I continue to watch her closely. Also her best mate Finn, three times her size, who after a year still has not got the idea that she's not interested and periodically jumps on her.

I wish I could play in your Werewolf game. Just off the top of my head, a short book called Wolf of Shadows by Whitley Strieber is very good for showing a wolf's view of the nuclear apocalypse! It does not contain any Strieber alien weirdness. Jean Craigshead George's Julie of the Wolves and its sequels also good for animal perspective, but they're very hard to find. I know, having only got mine from a massive secondhand store in Colorado. :-) Actually, being small and light, I'd be willing to lend them.


Good luck with Coconut (delightful name). Prankster's doing well, although she's currently in our single rat ward and I suspect she's missing her cagemates.

Wolf of Shadows is not a book I know, but it looks like it has several good reviews so I'll track it down. Whilst I'm not planning a nuclear exchange, the degree of destruction will have some similarities on occasion. Many copies of it and Julie of the Wolves currently available on Ebay - although I must check with first - she is more of an expert in this genre and of the 20 plus bookcases in our house, we may even have copies!

It's one of the two Julie sequels I had in mind: this titled Julie's Wolf Pack, which is from the POV of the wolves and their view of events and humans, though any of the three books is very good for getting into the minds of the wolves.

I can't belive nobody has said Watership Down! Also Duncton Wood. I could also recommend a few comics, starting with Beasts of Burden. I presume you're wanting works with mostly realistic animals, as the list gets massively longer if you include works with more strongly anthropomorphic animals.

Edited at 2014-03-24 12:58 pm (UTC)

Watership Down is, of course, a classic and people would be right in perhaps assuming that I have some familiarity with the story; after all, as the servant of several rabbits in my time and an annual game of Bunnies & Burrows. Duncton Wood is another that I am familiar with, but Beasts of Burden I am not. I'll will certainly make an effort to track that down.

Looks like there's a 2010 collected volume, so with luck that will still be in stock at the better comic shops: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beasts_of_Burden


One animal based book i quite like is The Wolves of Time by William Horwood.

You're the second person who has recommended Horwood, so I suppose I'd better check him out!

I hope your ratty girl comes through everything okay. I'm a mouse mommy myself, but had an ASF rat for a time who was quite dear. Love rodents.

Animal story-based reading in prep for a werewolf game? What a cool idea. My brain is niggling that I should know some titles to add (former librarian here) but alas, the neural network is not cooperating at the moment. Will add later if those thoughts congeal. Happy reading, and I look forward to seeing other reading suggestions in your comments here. Sounds like a fun theme to do, I might borrow your list and do the same.

Thanks for the kind words for Prankster. She's doing well, albeit with yet another vet visit.

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