- Never draw to an inside straight.
- Never fight a land war in Asia.
- Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line.
- **Keep the candlestick away from Col. Mustard when you're in the library.
- Never march on Moscow.
- A Smith & Wesson beats four aces.
- Never bring a knife to a gun fight.
- Strategy creates a situation in which not one path but all paths lead to victory.
One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you're going to wind up with an ear full of cider.**
And--most important of all--never, never, never, never try to wage a war of lurk-and-pounce against a race of alien spiders.
Over at tor.com Jo Walton--author of the Best Dragon Novel of All Time and of the Damnedest Version of the Tale of Sir Launcelot du Lac I Have Ever Read and company--are talking about Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky--which may be the Greatest Science Fiction Novel of All Time.
Among other things, they are talking about the clues that Vinge drops as to [spoiler], and whether anybody un-Focused could possibly figure out in advance that [spoiler], [spoiler], and [spoiler]. They have come up with only two clues: "steganography" and "I'm not a machine?"
There is a third, at the start of the kidnapping sequence:
He reached out to Smith, the tremor in his head and arms more pronounced than ever. "There has to be a way to find them. There has to be. I have computers, and the microwave link to Lands Command." All the resources that had served him so well in the past. "I can get them back safely. I know I can."
Smith was very still for a moment. Then she moved close to him, laid on arm across Sherk's shoulders, caressing his fur. her voice was soft and stern, almost like a soldier bracing another about lost comrades. "No, dear. You can only do so much"...
UPDATE: And a fourth: when Sherkaner is talking to Hrunkner about cavorite: "You've found something genuinely new. Why, not even the..."