New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

A tail of two fishes…

We had told ourselves that we were going to get two of the ‘higher-bred’ fishes from our new pond supply place—we’d gotten our first koi, expecting that we’d lose some to infant mortality, by buying a random batch from a feed store—and only lost one; the others are quite a mixed bag of really nice and, well, then there’s Kenpachi, who’s kind of untidy. So we were anxious for what wonderful fish might turn up when the pond place opened up to sell the fish it’s had in quarantine, koi with recognizable type in their patterns. I wanted a red-and-black, particularly; but found out an interesting thing. In koi, in America, the red pigment turns up orange, because of water quality and diet; and the very same bloodline in Japan will be red where the American cousin is orange—but the Japanese koi have trouble achieving an inky black (it usually appears as brown-black) while American koi have no trouble with black.

So I had the owner scoop up 2 ‘red’-and-blacks to look at, one of which had a perfect PF on his side—it will probably slowly change. I suppose it stands for Perfect Fish. But I liked his colors; and then there was one with the most wonderful tiger stripes; and I somehow didn’t put that one back. Then there was a beautiful black and white, which was one of the colors we wanted. She was destined to go with us. And Jane, who has a taste for butterfly finned koi, spotted a black one, and we took a closer look at that one.

Be advised: this is a trap. Once you have them caught and up close—how are you going to dump one back? You can’t. You’d be sure you were giving up the better one, right?

So we ended up with 4 new koi, gorgeous little guys. And we found that our pond place has a deal with a kid’s exploratorium pond and with a nursing home with a little lake, that they will take in koi that have grown too big, or that have proven otherwise problematic, and either re-sell them, and donate the money to the kids’ place; or donate the fish to either of those two places, which means that the koi get a big, big pond where they can grow and make people happy. We don’t WANT to give up any of our guys, but it makes us feel better that if we should misjudge our pond capacity, we would have a place for them.

We found out an unhappy bit of news, though: our favorite fish store, for our marine tank, is out of business. We are now stuck with a large rabbit fish we’d wanted to trade in, and the world’s largest and fastest-growing hammer coral, which is now the size of half a medicine ball. We’re sorry for the store owners, who are nice people; and we are sorry we’re not going to be able to deal locally, either. Wah!

18 comments to A tail of two fishes…

  • ryanrick

    I’m very sorry about the set back for the marine tank, but well, LOL on the koi. I can certainly sympathize — we have to queens age 8 and 10, but lost our tom 2 years ago when he was 16; I dearly want to get another kitten, but rather dread going over to the local humane society for just the same reason.

    Please, pretty please, can we have pictures of the koi? The new ones sound lovely, but I can’t remember diddly about the original ones you both got last summer.

  • CJ

    Jane has pix of the original koi on her blog/Flicker slideshow, but Ari (koi) has grown so you’d hardly know her since last year. New pix are in order! Correction: Jane doesn’t have the koi pix up! She has them, but she’d had Flicker issues, so I’ll have to ask her where the koi pix are!

  • Been following your algae woes on and off. Ever consider a plecostomus, the goat of the tropical fish world. You would have to bring it in during colder weather, but other than that they should be able to coexist with koi. And they get pretty big.

    • CJ

      Oh, I know plecos. The problem is the koi might try to eat him—I once had a goldfish take down a regular Oklahoma catfish nearly its own size. Started with the head, got the backward-facing spine stuck in its upper lip, so it could only go forward from there—so to my disgust it digested that unfortunate catfish for days with the whole tail sticking out of its mouth—days before it stopped wiggling, and it slowly ate it that way. Koi are carnivores of opportunity—and I’d really hate to have a repeat.

      • I have a solution for that one too. get a small mesh laundry or storage basket of the appropriate size. turn upside down and put a brick on it. The plecostomus can clean the area on the pond floor until you move it to the next spot. Once the little guy, or guys, gets big enough they can be released into general population. Plecostomi are hard, horny, hearty and taste bad, so once they can’t readily fit in a mouth that shouldn’t be a problem.

  • I can attest to the size of plectosomus. Spence’s was something like 13 inches long, my mom’s was around 12 or so. They get BIG!!!!

  • Yeah, I had to sell that pleco as he was too large for my tank. My current one is only 6 inches long, but my new tank is a 50 gal.

  • chondrite

    Vote #3 for plecostomus — we kept one for 5 years in a 50 gallon library tank. By the time we had to get rid of him (back to the fish store for you, bucko!) he was about 10″ long. The tank never had an algae problem, though.

  • We had him in a 25 gal tank; it was way too crowded there.

  • Walt

    Boop boop dit-tem dat-tem what-tem Chu!

  • smartcat

    Read here about fish that grow, have 2″ of rain over night and you *will* dream about three ft. long ‘koi’ swimming around in the grass.

    They were beautiful, even if I did wake up saying, “Huh?”.

  • I’ve been meaning to ask you, will the Foreigner books ever be available in digital editions? I’ve read all of them except the most recent. I wanted to reread the set before starting the newest one but neither the latest nor the previous volumes are available digitally.

    I don’t buy paper books anymore. It was a question of my book collection or room for me and I won.

    I love your books and want to buy the entire Foreigner series for my Kindle. Is there any hope?

    • CJ

      Oh, the length of this story, which goes back to the stone age of digital publishing. Suffice it to say,Penguin insists, as the distributor of DAW Books, to do all the digital stuff, but hasn’t gotten around to it. Complicating matters, several online publishers including Amazon and Fictionwise incorrectly assumed they could publish my books online, and didn’t have the rights. They never paid up. I assume lawyers either were or are involved. So this tangle is what it is, and may go on til doomsday in the nature of things, or at least until some other oil company buys into the publishing industry and really screws things up beyond what they already have. Massive money without a clue what you’re doing is a real problem…and while I think Penguin is now sure it has the legal rights, who knows? not me. Plus I myself have the e-rights on a few (but not the latest (my mistake!) Foreigner books…it’s all a crazy quilt.

  • Sorry to hear it. Penguin is fast becoming my least favorite publisher. As digital versions come available I will buy them. Those books are on my must have list even though I already bought the paper versions. I have really enjoyed the Foreigner books.

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