My latest Stephen King Revisited essay went live today. It’s called “Only Death Can Keep You from the Finish Line,” and it’s about the history of The Long Walk.
I went down to Murder By the Book in Houston last night to meet Dan Simmons (photo) on the first leg of his The Fifth Heart tour. I’ve been corresponding with Dan for at least 15 years, but this is the first time we’ve ever met. I wrote the tribute to him for the souvenir book when he was Grand Master of the World Horror Convention in New Orleans, but alas he was not able to make that meeting. He talked for a while, then read a section from the novel and then answered questions. He’s currently working on a book called Omega Canyon that deals with the Manhattan Project and espionage and Richard Feynman.
Our local community has a lunchtime talk every month related to law enforcement and safety. I’ve gone a few times in the past. Today, the speaker was a local CSI, who explained the reality of the job versus what we see on TV. Most of it was common sense, but a few things surprised me. Luminol, used to detect the presence of blood, something CSIs squirt around on TV like air freshener, is a carcinogen, so they use it sparingly. (The luminol glow also fades within 30 seconds, so they have to act quickly when something is detected or else spray again.) Fingerprints sent to AFIS (or related services) generate a batch of hits that are then returned to the CSI for visual comparison. It’s not done automatically by the computer. Our sheriff’s department has the only dedicated crime scene reconstruction room in the country. The clay in the ground around here is so heavy that most people attempting to bury bodies give up after 6-12″ and just cover the corpse over with debris.