On Traveling

This was my comment/response to Athena Scalzi on John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever.

It’s about traveling and I thought it would be appropriate to add it here.


Flying? I’m over it. I know that if I want to go certain places, flying is the only option. But there are other options for those of us who enjoy the journey as much (or more) than the destination.

You sound like a “destination” person – if a teleporter existed, you’d do that. The actual traveling is an inconvenience and never over fast enough. (I wonder if you drive fast, not because of the thrill, but because you’re impatient to get where you’re going.)

In recent years, I’ve slowed down. I’ve taken buses and trains so I could look out the window and see what lay BETWEEN the destinations. I’ve driven nearly a thousand miles to visit family rather than fly, because there were things along the way I wanted to see, and for the enjoyment of the drive. My bucket-list trip is a trip around the world on the surface of the planet: by train and by ship.

Did you know container ships often have cabins for passengers? That you can travel across the ocean ON the ocean? A week at sea with nothing to do except chat with other passengers (if there are any), play games with the crew in the off hours, or read, or watch videos saved on a laptop. And look out the window at the sea.

For some of us, THAT is traveling.

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Reading: Magic and London

Jane Lindskold does these every Friday and I often reply with my own, but I figure I can put these in my own blog as well. As with hers, these are not recommendations, just quick reactions to what I’m reading.

Recently finished:

“A Darker Shade of Magic” by VE Schwab – interesting, creative ideas but not my preferred storytelling style (too many jump cuts to minor characters); I loved the alternate-Earth-but-there’s-always-a-London ideas – there aren’t enough traveling-to-alternate-Earth stories out there. It’s always one Earth or the other. This time, the alternate-Earths matter.

“The House with a Clock in Its Walls” by John Bellairs – fascinating ideas but, again, it just didn’t click for me. Written in 1973, the post-WW2 Michigan setting works for the story but not for my sensibilities. I wonder how this story would have worked today, or if it could have worked in the modern era.

In progress:

“Fated” by Benedict Jacka – I like that idea for a mage: can sense the future and change/avoid it, but not so good at the flashy combat magic. And it’s yet another London novel. I swear I’m not looking for these, but they keep showing up. We’ll see how it ends and whether I want to read the next 9 in the series.

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Last Knight – a “Librarians” fan fic

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Last Knight – a fan fic of “The Librarians”

Author: James Mendur

Spoilers/References: “The Librarian: Quest for the Spear”, “The Librarians – And the Fatal Separation”.

Disclaimers: “The Librarian: Quest for the Spear” and its characters, etc., are copyright 2004, the property of a group of people and corporations, including TNT, Electric Entertainment Production, and ApolloProScreen. “The Librarians” and its characters, etc., are copyright 2014, the property of a group of people and corporations, including TNT and Electric Entertainment Production. This story contains small portions of the script of “The Librarian: Quest for the Spear” as a framing device for my story. This is a derivative work which borrows the characters, etc. No copyright infringement is intended and I will honor any cease-and-desist or takedown notices from the copyright holders. I am making no money from this.

Copyright: Original story, characters, settings and/or situations are Copyright 2018 by James Mendur.

Rating: PG

Author’s Note: Created for the 2018 “The Librarians” Shipathon. This one features a flashback of Jenkins and Charlene.

by James Mendur

“What makes you think you’re the Librarian?”

“I know other stuff?”


“…”Flynn Carsen”…”

“…stop wasting my time. Tell me something you know that nobody else who has walked in here could tell me.”

“You have mononucleosis. Your marriage broke up two months ago, you broke your nose when you were four … and you live with three cats. Is that what you had in mind?”

Charlene stared at the awkward young man, taken aback at his perceptiveness, and at the memory he had stirred. Taking this as a challenge, the would-be Librarian went on.

“Swollen parajugular lymph nodes and distended eyelids are clearly mono. It takes three months for an indentation on the ring finger to completely disappear. Yours is approximately two-thirds gone. Your surgeon gave you a terminus paralateral scar, which is given to children under the age of six. And I can clearly see three distinct types of cat hair. A white Himalayan, a tortoiseshell and an orange-striped tabby.”

Lost in her own memory, Charlene managed to say, “I didn’t break my nose til I was five.”

Then she let the memory take her back.

* * *

Two months earlier

* * *

Their lovemaking was tender, as always, passionate, as always, but with a touch of urgency, a touch of desperation, a touch of … something lost. They collapsed back into her bed, their sweat cooling in the too chilly apartment. Whatever they were fighting to hold on to, it was gone.

“It’s over,” Charlene said.

“Never for me,” Jenkins replied. “My heart is yours. Forever.”

“We’re immortal, Galahad,” Charlene said, her voice becoming sharp with him, a sharpness it had not held since the earliest days of their courtship. “Forever is a lot to ask of two hearts.”

“I know,” Jenkins said. “I know I could not ask it of two hearts, only of mine. My heart is pledged. To you.”

Charlene rose from the bed, pulling her robe around her and perching her glasses on her nose.

“I’m a Guardian,” she said. “I’m HIS Guardian. I’m tethered to The Library with him.”

“I know,” Jenkins said softly, his voice containing just the smallest quiver, the tiniest of breaks. He couldn’t help it. His emotions threatened to overwhelm his control, a control perfected over a thousand years. “I’d hoped….” He stopped himself. “No. Forgive me. I will say it once more and then never again unless you permit it. I love you, Charlene.”

Charlene removed the ring Jenkins had given her, the ring she wore on her left hand in lieu of the more traditional sort of ring, the ring Galahad had carried with him since his childhood. “This was your mother’s,” she said, holding it out to him.

He held up his hand in denial. “It’s yours,” he said. To forestall her protestations, he added, “A favor,” loading the word with both its modern and ancient meanings.

Charlene was about to protest anyway, then closed her hand around the ring. “It’s getting late,” she said, looking out the window at the cold New York sunrise. “The sun’s coming up.”

“The sun rises and sets in your eyes,” Jenkins said.

Charlene almost wavered. “I need to get going. Mr. Wilde is beginning to worry me, and I’m not sure young Ms. Noone is really up to the task of being his Guardian. She never saves her receipts.”

Jenkins took a deep breath, let it out slowly and said, “Of course. I’ll be gone when you return.” A chorus of meows came from outside the bedroom door. Jenkins gave a small smile despite his breaking heart. “I’ll feed little Bedivere, Gawaine, and Percival before I go.”

Charlene turned her back and went to the bathroom to get ready. She heard him in the kitchen with the three cats as she left, so she slipped out without saying goodbye.

She wouldn’t see Galahad again for almost a dozen years, but Judson was waiting.

* * *

Two months later

* * *

She touched the place where she had worn Galahad’s ring. Then Judson’s voice broke the spell her memories had cast.

“What’s more important than knowledge?” It came from everywhere and nowhere in the room. Charlene kept her composure but her heart still fluttered a little when she heard his voice.

“Where did that come from?” Flynn asked, searching the empty room.

“Just answer the question,” Charlene snapped.

“More important than…” Flynn paused, then remembered his mother’s words. “The things that make life worth living can’t be thought here…” he said, touching his head, “they must be felt here” he finished, touching his heart, but the rising inflection of his voice turned his statement into a question.

Charlene frowned, knowing that it was the kind of answer Judson was looking for. They’d found a new Librarian. He couldn’t hold a candle to Judson, of course, but he might just do. As for Galahad … Jenkins … she locked that memory away again and never mentioned him to Flynn.

– – –

The End

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