Barzak

Tue 28 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

chris barzak catches me catching himBarzakian Secrets of the Barzakian Plan for Barzakian Galactic Domination:

1. Wear great shirts.

P1030381.JPG2. Get on the Colbert Report.

3. If (2) does not work: Dance them to death. However. There has to be dance practice. And perhaps karaoke. But no mp3s of the performance, please!

Higgins, Lanke, Martocci, Barzak4. Get old before everyone else and get photographed at a party or a wedding to prove it. Pick him out if you can!

Blow Em Out!5. Then surprise and horrify everyone by becoming younger and younger every year.

6. Favor sloth but practice the opposite.

7. Design (but have someone else host) A Mad Tea Party.

8. Live on the edge of a verb. A noun. Or an adjective.

9. Get your international freak on.

10. Have local pop star write a song about you. (Wait, he already did that.)

11. Write a novel.

12. Publish novel today.

13. Take over blogosphere for 24 hours. Have the print and TV media in your town pick it up. Become a star. Shine, baby, shine.



Sat 25 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

We are in Tokyo! Arrived via Northwest. Flight ok—tiny seats but at least they serve up all the bad movies you want on your tiny screen (Namastey London isn’t bad: it had the proper amount of cheesy pop and fun dancing).

マジック・フォー・ビギナーズWe were met at the airport by Kelly’s editor at Hayakawa, Naoki Shimizu, who very kindly accompanied us all the way to our hotel (the amazing Hotel Grand Palace). He also gave Kelly a copy of the new hardcover Japanese edition of Magic for Beginners—which has a lovely painting of a telephone box on the cover, a review in the Nikkei paper, and her schedule (Tues/Wed: busy!)

How sensible it seemed that there are regularly scheduled buses from the airport to all the big hotels. We picked up a rental cell phone at the airport, maybe we ate something, but mostly what we did was wonder why we were awake until, happily, we were not.

Now it is Saturday evening. We started out the day with the fabby Japanese breakfast at the hotel (rice/rice porridge, miso soup, poached eggs, pot of green tea, some fishy and meaty bits for those that like that sort of thing) then made a quick trip out doors. It is melty: hot and humid. So it was a slow trip around a few blocks then to Lawson to see how the onigiri had progressed in the last 10 years. (Still tasty!) Lucky we got those snacks, because Mari Kotani had arranged for us to see the Takarazuka Revue. We were originally meant to go on Tuesday with Eileen Gunn and others but Kelly has interviews all day so we were thinking we would miss it. However, Mari not only arranged for us to go today, but also bought our tickets. Mari is traveling with Eileen, John Berry, and Ellen D., so we have not seen her yet. Instead her assistant, Yasuko Nakaegawa came to the hotel and took us (in a taxi with those groovy self-closing doors) to the Takaruzaka Theater (Thanks Yasuko!). We got there just on time and loved our seats: by themselves on the end of a row so that we could both stretch our feet out each way. (Still cramped up from the flight!)

The Revue was fantastic and shouldn’t be missed (even if you somehow managed to miss it in its home city of Osaka while teaching there for a year, cough). It’s an all-women cast, something still unusual today. (The audience was also something like 90% women.) There were two shows, Valencia, 90 minutes of something about Napoleon and Spain, then a mind-blowing 30-minute show, Space Fantasista. Which is really something to write home about. Not so much the plot (um, the origins of the universe?) but the lights, songs, dances, and the way way way out costumes. Feathers. Lots and lots of feathers. There was a shop where you could buy a special edition $600 DVD of one of their shows. We bought four, of course. Be ready for them at Xmas!

After that it was hard to be impressed by anything. Except we were in Ginza and went to goggle over the new toys at the Sony store (shiny! small! like Apple, but Sony!), eat pizza (hee hee! Italian food is great in Japan), go to HMV (hello Mayumi Kojima! Super Butter Dog!—nothing new but listened to a lot. Any recommendations welcome!), wander round lovely stores (all the lovelier with a/c—we were told it is an extra hot summer this year, yay…!), and take the subway back. Yay public transport. Now to avoid sleeping too early so that we will not zoink awake at 5 AM. Again.

We have some email access but will be mostly off it until Sept. 14 when we will be back in the office in Easthampton (and to the Brooklyn Book Fest on the 16th, eek!). There may be some more We Did This and That from Japan. It Depends. We are going to the WorldCon (schedule below) and then will travel about some. Most of that will probably be off the grid. Yay!

Kelly’s schedule:

Fri 1400 What Do You Read Passionately Besides SF Is cross-genre reading all that popular? Can an author of one genre rightly expect his/her readers to follow when the author switches genres? What, as a fan, do you like to read? Do you read outside that genre? As an author, do you write outside that genre? Grant CARRINGTON, Kelly LINK, Kirsten (KJ) BISHOP, Marianne PLUMRIDGE-EGGLETON, Susan DE GUARDIOLA, Carolina GOMEZ LAGERLOF
Fri 1700 Introducing the Triptree Award and the Sense of Gender Award   Reona KASHIWAZAKI, Yutaka EBIHARA, Hisayo OGUSHI, Tomoyo KASUYA, Megumi KOBAYASHI, Yasuhiko NISHIZAWA, Natsuko MORI, Mari KOTANI, Kelly LINK, Candas Jane DORSEY, Eileen GUNN
Sat 1600 Is It Really Strange?: New Slipstream Bruce Stterling coined the term Slipstream nearly twenty years ago. Since then a bunch of new writers has written a lot of that kind of unclassifiable strange fiction. But is it a type, or subgenre? One thing is clear now. Many writers in their thirties now prefer to write bizarre and surrealistic stories within our genre. And it happens in Japan, too. Kelly LINK, Patrick NIELSEN HAYDEN, Mark L. VAN NAME, Takashi OGAWA
Sun 1000 Small Press Publishing in the United States, Japan, Europe … Some of the most exciting work in science fiction, fantasy and horror is produced by small presses. What makes a book good? Can small presses save us from degeneration? What challenges in design, production, and marketing do small presses face? Can labors of love make money? Daniel SPECTOR, Bob EGGLETON, Charles ARDAI, John D. BERRY, Kelly LINK

Gavin’s schedule:

Fri 1000 Sprawl Fiction
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Lou ANDERS, Yoshio KOBAYASHI
“Sprawl fiction” was coined to show how new writers, most in their thirties, are trying to expand our genre yet still loving its very core, straight SF. Terms like “new Weird”, “interstitial”, “strange fiction” or “new fabulist” don’t cover the trend fully. It is a natural reflection of our urban society and probably heralds the new stage of our evolution; to the stars. We talk about why the new generation slipstream is not the fusion of literary fiction and SF/F.

Fri 1200 How Healthy is the Short Story
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Joe HALDEMAN, Larry NIVEN
For decades, there has been talk of the death of short fiction in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Are markets shrinking? Is the quality less than it was thirty years ago?

Fri 1700 Kaffeeklatsche
Participants: Gavin J. GRANT

Sun 1400 The Short Story’s Role in Fantastic Fiction
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Larry NIVEN, Pat CADIGAN
Short fiction rarely gets the attention that novels do by reviewers. It is harder to sell collections and anthologies than novels. The panelists, writers and editors of short fiction discuss their thoughts about the shorter forms (short story, novelette, novella) of fantastic fiction.

Sun 1600 Lost Tribes of Cult Novels
Participants: Elizabeth Anne HULL, Gavin J. GRANT, Yoshio KOBAYASHI
Where have the cult novels gone? They were once legion; “Stranger in a Stranger Land”, “Cat’s Cradle”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “Illuminatus!”, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”, “Neuromancer” and “The Wasp Factory” . But what about “Snow Crash” and “Harry Potter”? Why aren’t they cult novels?



Sat 25 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We are in Tokyo! Arrived via Northwest. Flight ok—tiny seats but at least they serve up all the bad movies you want on your tiny screen (Namastey London isn’t bad: it had the proper amount of cheesy pop and fun dancing).

マジック・フォー・ビギナーズWe were met at the airport by Kelly’s editor at Hayakawa, Naoki Shimizu, who very kindly accompanied us all the way to our hotel (the amazing Hotel Grand Palace). He also gave Kelly a copy of the new hardcover Japanese edition of Magic for Beginners—which has a lovely painting of a telephone box on the cover, a review in the Nikkei paper, and her schedule (Tues/Wed: busy!)

How sensible it seemed that there are regularly scheduled buses from the airport to all the big hotels. We picked up a rental cell phone at the airport, maybe we ate something, but mostly what we did was wonder why we were awake until, happily, we were not.

Now it is Saturday evening. We started out the day with the fabby Japanese breakfast at the hotel (rice/rice porridge, miso soup, poached eggs, pot of green tea, some fishy and meaty bits for those that like that sort of thing) then made a quick trip out doors. It is melty: hot and humid. So it was a slow trip around a few blocks then to Lawson to see how the onigiri had progressed in the last 10 years. (Still tasty!) Lucky we got those snacks, because Mari Kotani had arranged for us to see the Takarazuka Revue. We were originally meant to go on Tuesday with Eileen Gunn and others but Kelly has interviews all day so we were thinking we would miss it. However, Mari not only arranged for us to go today, but also bought our tickets. Mari is traveling with Eileen, John Berry, and Ellen D., so we have not seen her yet. Instead her assistant, Yasuko Nakaegawa came to the hotel and took us (in a taxi with those groovy self-closing doors) to the Takaruzaka Theater (Thanks Yasuko!). We got there just on time and loved our seats: by themselves on the end of a row so that we could both stretch our feet out each way. (Still cramped up from the flight!)

The Revue was fantastic and shouldn’t be missed (even if you somehow managed to miss it in its home city of Osaka while teaching there for a year, cough). It’s an all-women cast, something still unusual today. (The audience was also something like 90% women.) There were two shows, Valencia, 90 minutes of something about Napoleon and Spain, then a mind-blowing 30-minute show, Space Fantasista. Which is really something to write home about. Not so much the plot (um, the origins of the universe?) but the lights, songs, dances, and the way way way out costumes. Feathers. Lots and lots of feathers. There was a shop where you could buy a special edition $600 DVD of one of their shows. We bought four, of course. Be ready for them at Xmas!

After that it was hard to be impressed by anything. Except we were in Ginza and went to goggle over the new toys at the Sony store (shiny! small! like Apple, but Sony!), eat pizza (hee hee! Italian food is great in Japan), go to HMV (hello Mayumi Kojima! Super Butter Dog!—nothing new but listened to a lot. Any recommendations welcome!), wander round lovely stores (all the lovelier with a/c—we were told it is an extra hot summer this year, yay…!), and take the subway back. Yay public transport. Now to avoid sleeping too early so that we will not zoink awake at 5 AM. Again.

We have some email access but will be mostly off it until Sept. 14 when we will be back in the office in Easthampton (and to the Brooklyn Book Fest on the 16th, eek!). There may be some more We Did This and That from Japan. It Depends. We are going to the WorldCon (schedule below) and then will travel about some. Most of that will probably be off the grid. Yay!

Kelly’s schedule:

Fri 1400 What Do You Read Passionately Besides SF Is cross-genre reading all that popular? Can an author of one genre rightly expect his/her readers to follow when the author switches genres? What, as a fan, do you like to read? Do you read outside that genre? As an author, do you write outside that genre? Grant CARRINGTON, Kelly LINK, Kirsten (KJ) BISHOP, Marianne PLUMRIDGE-EGGLETON, Susan DE GUARDIOLA, Carolina GOMEZ LAGERLOF
Fri 1700 Introducing the Triptree Award and the Sense of Gender Award   Reona KASHIWAZAKI, Yutaka EBIHARA, Hisayo OGUSHI, Tomoyo KASUYA, Megumi KOBAYASHI, Yasuhiko NISHIZAWA, Natsuko MORI, Mari KOTANI, Kelly LINK, Candas Jane DORSEY, Eileen GUNN
Sat 1600 Is It Really Strange?: New Slipstream Bruce Stterling coined the term Slipstream nearly twenty years ago. Since then a bunch of new writers has written a lot of that kind of unclassifiable strange fiction. But is it a type, or subgenre? One thing is clear now. Many writers in their thirties now prefer to write bizarre and surrealistic stories within our genre. And it happens in Japan, too. Kelly LINK, Patrick NIELSEN HAYDEN, Mark L. VAN NAME, Takashi OGAWA
Sun 1000 Small Press Publishing in the United States, Japan, Europe … Some of the most exciting work in science fiction, fantasy and horror is produced by small presses. What makes a book good? Can small presses save us from degeneration? What challenges in design, production, and marketing do small presses face? Can labors of love make money? Daniel SPECTOR, Bob EGGLETON, Charles ARDAI, John D. BERRY, Kelly LINK

Gavin’s schedule:

Fri 1000 Sprawl Fiction
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Lou ANDERS, Yoshio KOBAYASHI
“Sprawl fiction” was coined to show how new writers, most in their thirties, are trying to expand our genre yet still loving its very core, straight SF. Terms like “new Weird”, “interstitial”, “strange fiction” or “new fabulist” don’t cover the trend fully. It is a natural reflection of our urban society and probably heralds the new stage of our evolution; to the stars. We talk about why the new generation slipstream is not the fusion of literary fiction and SF/F.

Fri 1200 How Healthy is the Short Story
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Joe HALDEMAN, Larry NIVEN
For decades, there has been talk of the death of short fiction in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Are markets shrinking? Is the quality less than it was thirty years ago?

Fri 1700 Kaffeeklatsche
Participants: Gavin J. GRANT

Sun 1400 The Short Story’s Role in Fantastic Fiction
Participants: Ellen DATLOW, Gavin J. GRANT, Larry NIVEN, Pat CADIGAN
Short fiction rarely gets the attention that novels do by reviewers. It is harder to sell collections and anthologies than novels. The panelists, writers and editors of short fiction discuss their thoughts about the shorter forms (short story, novelette, novella) of fantastic fiction.

Sun 1600 Lost Tribes of Cult Novels
Participants: Elizabeth Anne HULL, Gavin J. GRANT, Yoshio KOBAYASHI
Where have the cult novels gone? They were once legion; “Stranger in a Stranger Land”, “Cat’s Cradle”, “The Lord of the Rings”, “Illuminatus!”, “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”, “Neuromancer” and “The Wasp Factory” . But what about “Snow Crash” and “Harry Potter”? Why aren’t they cult novels?



Blog Like Me: 4. Research You’ll Never Need

Tue 21 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Howard Waldrop

Skeptical HowardI was walking with Tim Powers at some long-ago lost Armadillocon, and we got around to research.

“I love it!” he said. “You’re in some bookstore on Charing Cross Road or somewhere, and you come across a map of the sewer system of Florence Italy in 1517 and you say ‘I NEED that! I’m going to set a story right there and then.’ And you buy it.” Then he said, “And you really do believe you’re going to write the story you bought the map for.”

I’ve had moments like those; also the other way. I walked into a new used bookstore in Austin 15 years ago, and in the first ten feet were two books I’d been looking for for 25 years…Also I was fishing the Chama River in downtown (all two blocks of it) Chama, NM and there was a sign on the front of a house on the highway that said “Bookstore.” I walked in and found a book I was looking for right then: Wehrner von Braun’s The Exploration of Mars (Viking, 1955) with full color paintings by Chesley Bonestell. For $4.00. I had been looking for it right then, because I was going to give it to George R.R. Martin, who needed references to the Old Mars of our youth to write a story or do a screenplay or something. I gave it to him when I came back through Santa Fe on my way back to Texas. “Where’d you get this??” he asked, knowing I hadn’t been anywhere near a city for ten days. “In a house in Chama,” I said.

* * *

Then there’s the other kind of research—the kind that comes from the reading you did growing up. I was raised to young manhood being serially-fascinated with different writers. I read everything in the late 1950s and early 60s, by and about: Dylan Thomas; Eugene O’Neill; Thomas Wolfe and James Agee (“names totally unknown to most SF fans,” as Steven Utley would say). I tried being the next Eugene O’Neill in drama classes in college. Earlier I’d tried to be the next Dylan Thomas (til I realized I wasn’t a poet, didn’t like drinking all that much, and wasn’t Welsh.) I tried being James Agee, (especially the James Agee of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men) and used to write 11-page stream-of-consciousness letters to my then-New Jesrey friend G.R.R. Martin (“letters so long it took to mail them!” in George’s words) at least twice a week.

I wrote an article on Agee that was published in a fanzine. Off the top of my head I wrote a story about Dylan Thomas as a famous distance runner (he was a grammar-school miler at one time). I used O’Neill in a few places. When it came time to write “You Could Go Home Again,” the novelette about Thomas Wolfe and Fats Waller coming back to an alternate America after the 1940 Tokyo Olympics, I only had to read a few biographies published since the early 60s to get the job done.

I’d also followed (if that’s the word) the career of J.D. Salinger a long time. Holden has a cameo in “Why Did?” and Zooey Glass gets a mention in “Major Spacer in the 21st Century!”; he was after all, an early Fifties TV actor. Salinger himself—“Jerry”—shows up in “You Could Go Home Again” as the social director on the airship Ticonderoga. “What? you say, the most reclusive writer of the 20th Century a social director?” you cry? Well, in 1938, Salinger’s dad, a meat importer, sent Jerry to Europe to check on operations there. He got his passage over and back by working as an assistant social director (“Ping-Pong, anyone?”) on the Bremerhaven, or one of those fancy-schmansy liners that used to run back and forth to Europe every week between the Wars… Trust me.* You know these things if you read enough growing up; you don’t have to do much research to write a story, if you’ve been around the subject that long

* Salinger could have ended up being Eugene O’Neill’s son-in-law, instead of Charlie Chaplin. Salinger squired Oona O’Neil around the Stork Club and other swank NYC watering holes before she moved west and met Chaplin. But that, as they say in Irma la Douce, is another story for another time…

Howard Waldrop



Tue 21 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 5 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Something for New Yorkers from Keith Snyder:

The NYC premiere of I LOVE YOU, I’M SORRY, AND I’LL NEVER DO IT AGAIN will be Saturday, August 25 at the ACE Film Festival in Manhattan.

This is the short crime musical I wrote and directed that I’ve been working on for the last two years. Admission is $12, and that gets you into all the films at the ACE Film Festival that day, not just this one. The only place that price is available is at my website: http://www.woollymammoth.com/iloveyou. I bought a big block of these day passes so I could offer them at a price that made sense. (If you just show up that day, they’re $40 at the door.)

August 25
3:00 PM
Broad Street Ballroom
41 Broad Street (across from the New York Stock Exchange)
New York City
Cast/crew/friends hang afterwards: Ulysses, 95 Pearl Street

You’ll receive an email after the purchase with all the will-call details, etc.



Tue 21 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Something for New Yorkers from Keith Snyder:

The NYC premiere of I LOVE YOU, I’M SORRY, AND I’LL NEVER DO IT AGAIN will be Saturday, August 25 at the ACE Film Festival in Manhattan.

This is the short crime musical I wrote and directed that I’ve been working on for the last two years. Admission is $12, and that gets you into all the films at the ACE Film Festival that day, not just this one. The only place that price is available is at my website: http://www.woollymammoth.com/iloveyou. I bought a big block of these day passes so I could offer them at a price that made sense. (If you just show up that day, they’re $40 at the door.)

August 25
3:00 PM
Broad Street Ballroom
41 Broad Street (across from the New York Stock Exchange)
New York City
Cast/crew/friends hang afterwards: Ulysses, 95 Pearl Street

You’ll receive an email after the purchase with all the will-call details, etc.



Mon 20 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

We’re on the road (ah, the wind in one’s hair, the wine in one’s glass, the red and blue lights in one’s mirror) and yesterday, while sipping iced tea with Karen Joy Fowler, we talked to the lovely Rick Kleffel about LCRW, Karen’s movie (The Jane Austen Book Club) and new novel (Ice City), writing, and much more. Some of which can be heard here.



Mon 20 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We’re on the road (ah, the wind in one’s hair, the wine in one’s glass, the red and blue lights in one’s mirror) and yesterday, while sipping iced tea with Karen Joy Fowler, we talked to the lovely Rick Kleffel about LCRW, Karen’s movie (The Jane Austen Book Club) and new novel (Ice City), writing, and much more. Some of which can be heard here.



Liz time again

Mon 20 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Liz Hand recently had the #1 article on Salon, “In meth we trust“: “Meth has cut across class lines as both “mother’s little helper” and a frighteningly powerful libido enhancer adopted by the gay club scene in the 1990s.” Read the comments for more fun.

Generation Loss gets local approval in a review in Working Waterfront for “look[ing] at the dark side of life in Maine, where the present is haunted by the past.”

Bella Online likes it, too: “Cass is a gritty and complex character (who often gets off some darkly funny lines). Photography buffs will love this book: unlike some authors who skim the surface of a profession, Hand grounds us in the fascinating details of this fine art – while never slowing down the action.”



He’s killing them at home too

Sat 18 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Bush’s lethal legacy: more executions

The US already kills more of its prisoners than almost any other country. Now the White House plans to cut the right of appeal of death row inmates…

By Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
Published: 15 August 2007

The Bush administration is preparing to speed up the executions of criminals who are on death row across the United States, in effect, cutting out several layers of appeals in the federal courts so that prisoners can be “fast-tracked” to their deaths.



Blog Like Me: 3. My Writing Really Pulls the Plough

Tue 14 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Howard Waldrop

Skeptical HowardI just moved, starting in February, and it took 6 weeks and the PO still hasn’t grasped the forwarding concept (some mail has been forwarded; most hasn’t and it’s a 34-mile round trip to pick it up at the old place. The mail that has been forwarded took 16 days from the postmark to get to the new place). The irony is, for two weeks, I’m housesitting at the old place….

Anyway, before the move, two things happened. I decided to paint my desk/table to lively myself up. I went to Home Depot to get two premixed (I didn’t want to wait for them to mix up custom colors from the samples, and I only needed two pints anyway) contrasting colors—I found some, and brought them home and began to paint.

Halfway through, I realized I was painting my desk in John Deere green and yellow. Not just sorta. The John Deere colors, exactly. I didn’t plan it, really.

So I can say, my writing pulls the plow.*

Or would have, had not Doug Potter called me one morning. In Austin, we have what is known as Big Trash Day, twice a year (I hear they have them once-a-month in Tokyo). Anything you can haul to the kerb they have to take away; special crews and trucks come around whenever it’s your neighborhood’s B.T. Day. (Back during the Black Mold scare of the mid-90s I saw a whole housefull of furniture out on the kerb, 50’ long piled 10’ high…). South Austin is full of salvagers and scavengers anyway (the old joke was that, when the Revolution came, in South Austin it would be a soft one: everybody would just move to the slightly-better house next door…) Anyway Doug called and said “You gotta come look at this stuff someone’s throwing out—I think maybe the stand you want is there.” He knew I was looking for a stand: I’d had a 13” TV: my friend Bud had gone up to a 54” HDTV and gave me his 12-yr-old 32”er (which took up 1/3 of the room I was living in…)

I went to look at the stuff: it was neat, but not quite right. But, next door to that pile was another; in the middle of it was a wonder: a formica-topped corner desk that used to be part of a custom built-in run of cabinets. I could tell because a) it didn’t have legs, having been supported by the ends of the cabinets and b) the formica had been put on after the table had been nailed to the cabinets. It looked like a big slice of gooseberry pie. It had two shallow drawers. I fell in love. I took it home; I liked it so much, like an idiot I put legs on it and reaaranged my room for it, then had to move everything to the new place. (Bud and Brad Denton brought their pickups; as I said once, “if you have a pickup in Austin, you have friends for life…”) It would have been much better to leave it alone until I got to the new place.

Then: problems. The corner desk, when legged, tended to buck up like a bronco when you rested your elbows on the front. I doubled the single (point of pie) leg. That didn’t help. The desk still tried to move (the new place had shag carpet in the room). I built a 1×4 extension from the front leg toward the center and put a fuckin’ cinderblock on it. The desk still moved slightly.

I also needed a headboard for the studio bed. It was backed onto the John Deere desk which is where the copier and paper racks sit, and all the file drawers and crates are stacked underneath it.

But the pillows kept slipping into the 4” gap between the top of the bed and the bottom of the table apron…

So here’s what I did. I took the 4 2×4 legs off the corner desk and built a new small regular desk, making a frame from the 1×4 cedar pickets I’d replaced on the fence at the new place. I used a piece of 26”x34” hardboard for the top. I moved the John Deere table over to the wall and put the files under it. I moved the new desk behind the bed, where the larger one had been. I took the old, custom built corner desk apart, crying all the time, and took the triangular top and bolted and nailed it to the bed as a headboard and a frame for a pinboard in front of the new desk. (People: do not buy a prebuilt pinboard for $15.00; buy a 2’x2’ piece of foamcore and cut it in the shape and nail it like you want—in this case, a pinboard in the shape of the back of the triangular headboard, above the desk—and save yourself @ $13.00…)

And I painted the desktop and the headboard Navy Blue, and I just realized while writing this, I can paint the headboard bright yellow, like a half-moon, and get some grey paint and put in craters and maria and make it a Half-Moon…

* * *

(for those who haven’t gotten the word: new address: Harold Waldrop, 12608 Wittmer, Austin TX 78729-7787, USA, no phone yet.)

* a line from a review, or blurb, by Harlan Ellison of someone’s work, much parodied by certain types of Internet clown. I never really knew what it meant til I looked at my finished desk.

Howard Waldrop



Mon 13 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

World Fantasy Awards Nominations

Nominations for this year’s World Fantasy Awards, for works published in 2006, have been released. Winners will be announced at this year’s World Fantasy Convention, to be held 1-4 November 2007 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

NOVEL
# Lisey’s Story, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton)
# The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra; Small Beer Press)
# The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch (Gollancz; Bantam Spectra)
# The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
# Soldier of Sidon, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

NOVELLA
# “Botch Town”, Jeffrey Ford (The Empire of Ice Cream, Golden Gryphon)
# “The Man Who Got Off the Ghost Train”, Kim Newman (The Man from the Diogenes Club, MonkeyBrain)
# Dark Harvest, Norman Partridge (Cemetery Dance)
# “Map of Dreams”, M. Rickert (Map of Dreams, Golden Gryphon)
# “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire”, Ysabeau S. Wilce (F&SF Jul 2006)

SHORT FICTION
# “The Way He Does It”, Jeffrey Ford (Electric Velocipede #10, Spr 2006)
# “Journey Into the Kingdom”, M. Rickert (F&SF May 2006)
# “A Siege of Cranes”, Benjamin Rosenbaum (Twenty Epics, All-Star Stories)
# “Another Word for Map is Faith”, Christopher Rowe (F&SF Aug 2006)
# “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter (Fantasy)”, Geoff Ryman (F&SF Oct/Nov 2006)

ANTHOLOGY
# Cross Plains Universe: Texans Celebrate Robert E. Howard, Scott A. Cupp & Joe R. Lansdale, eds. (MonkeyBrain and the Fandom Association of Central Texas)
# Salon Fantastique, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (Thunder’s Mouth)
# Retro Pulp Tales, Joe R. Lansdale, ed. (Subterranean)
# Twenty Epics, David Moles & Susan Marie Groppi, eds. (All-Star Stories)
# Firebirds Rising, Sharyn November, ed. (Firebird)

COLLECTION
# The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
# The Empire of Ice Cream, Jeffrey Ford (Golden Gryphon)
# American Morons, Glen Hirshberg (Earthling)
# Red Spikes, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin Australia; Knopf)
# Map of Dreams, M. Rickert (Golden Gryphon)

ARTIST
# Jon Foster
# Edward Miller
# John Picacio
# Shaun Tan
# Jill Thompson

SPECIAL AWARD, PROFESSIONAL
# Ellen Asher (For work at SFBC)
# Mark Finn (for Blood & Thunder: The Life of Robert E. Howard, MonkeyBrain)
# Deanna Hoak for copyediting
# Greg Ketter for Dreamhaven
# Leonard S. Marcus, ed. (for The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy, Candlewick)

SPECIAL AWARD, NON-PROFESSIONAL
# Leslie Howle (for her work at Clarion West)
# Leo Grin (for The Cimmerian)
# Susan Marie Groppi (for Strange Horizons)
# John Klima (for Electric Velocipede)
# Gary K. Wolfe (for reviews and criticism in Locus and elsewhere)

Judges for this year’s awards are Gavin Grant, Ed Greenwood, Jeremy Lassen, Jeff Mariotte, and Carsten Polzin. Final ballot nominations are determined through a combination of convention member votes (two items in each category) and judges’ selections. Winners will be determined by the judges.



Mon 13 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

World Fantasy Awards Nominations

Nominations for this year’s World Fantasy Awards, for works published in 2006, have been released. Winners will be announced at this year’s World Fantasy Convention, to be held 1-4 November 2007 in Saratoga Springs, New York.

NOVEL
# Lisey’s Story, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton)
# The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra; Small Beer Press)
# The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch (Gollancz; Bantam Spectra)
# The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden, Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam Spectra)
# Soldier of Sidon, Gene Wolfe (Tor)

NOVELLA
# “Botch Town”, Jeffrey Ford (The Empire of Ice Cream, Golden Gryphon)
# “The Man Who Got Off the Ghost Train”, Kim Newman (The Man from the Diogenes Club, MonkeyBrain)
# Dark Harvest, Norman Partridge (Cemetery Dance)
# “Map of Dreams”, M. Rickert (Map of Dreams, Golden Gryphon)
# “The Lineaments of Gratified Desire”, Ysabeau S. Wilce (F&SF Jul 2006)

SHORT FICTION
# “The Way He Does It”, Jeffrey Ford (Electric Velocipede #10, Spr 2006)
# “Journey Into the Kingdom”, M. Rickert (F&SF May 2006)
# “A Siege of Cranes”, Benjamin Rosenbaum (Twenty Epics, All-Star Stories)
# “Another Word for Map is Faith”, Christopher Rowe (F&SF Aug 2006)
# “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter (Fantasy)”, Geoff Ryman (F&SF Oct/Nov 2006)

ANTHOLOGY
# Cross Plains Universe: Texans Celebrate Robert E. Howard, Scott A. Cupp & Joe R. Lansdale, eds. (MonkeyBrain and the Fandom Association of Central Texas)
# Salon Fantastique, Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling, eds. (Thunder’s Mouth)
# Retro Pulp Tales, Joe R. Lansdale, ed. (Subterranean)
# Twenty Epics, David Moles & Susan Marie Groppi, eds. (All-Star Stories)
# Firebirds Rising, Sharyn November, ed. (Firebird)

COLLECTION
# The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories, Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
# The Empire of Ice Cream, Jeffrey Ford (Golden Gryphon)
# American Morons, Glen Hirshberg (Earthling)
# Red Spikes, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin Australia; Knopf)
# Map of Dreams, M. Rickert (Golden Gryphon)

ARTIST
# Jon Foster
# Edward Miller
# John Picacio
# Shaun Tan
# Jill Thompson

SPECIAL AWARD, PROFESSIONAL
# Ellen Asher (For work at SFBC)
# Mark Finn (for Blood & Thunder: The Life of Robert E. Howard, MonkeyBrain)
# Deanna Hoak for copyediting
# Greg Ketter for Dreamhaven
# Leonard S. Marcus, ed. (for The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy, Candlewick)

SPECIAL AWARD, NON-PROFESSIONAL
# Leslie Howle (for her work at Clarion West)
# Leo Grin (for The Cimmerian)
# Susan Marie Groppi (for Strange Horizons)
# John Klima (for Electric Velocipede)
# Gary K. Wolfe (for reviews and criticism in Locus and elsewhere)

Judges for this year’s awards are Gavin Grant, Ed Greenwood, Jeremy Lassen, Jeff Mariotte, and Carsten Polzin. Final ballot nominations are determined through a combination of convention member votes (two items in each category) and judges’ selections. Winners will be determined by the judges.



Fri 10 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Needed from the UK for taste testing: Hobsons choice as Britain’s best beer Hobsons Mild, made in Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, was chosen as the winner from more than 50 finalists at the Campaign for Real Ale’s Great British Beer Festival in London.

Cases, pints (don’t spill it!), barrels, etc., to the usual address, thank you.



Fri 10 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Needed from the UK for taste testing: Hobsons choice as Britain’s best beer Hobsons Mild, made in Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire, was chosen as the winner from more than 50 finalists at the Campaign for Real Ale’s Great British Beer Festival in London.

Cases, pints (don’t spill it!), barrels, etc., to the usual address, thank you.



Wed 8 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We are traveling soon thus service on this site and by paper mail will be slow, irresolute, perhaps a little inconvenient, out of time, and general discombobulated. How does this differ from usual? Not sure.



Wed 8 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We are traveling soon thus service on this site and by paper mail will be slow, irresolute, perhaps a little inconvenient, out of time, and general discombobulated. How does this differ from usual? Not sure.



Tue 7 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 5 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Updated: a review in Library Journal just popped up online. Yay! Now watch the ellipsis in action!

 “This curio-cabinet of literary works is … a bit like an otherworldly Farmer’s Almanac…. Its charming and eclectic sensibility should appeal to readers of fantasy or literary fiction.”

Ahem.

Hold still, I'm reading.

The Best of LCRW has arrived! To our new office! We are overcome! New York Times list: here we come!

Please do remember to buy your contracted-for 40 copies on Aug. 29th or just after. You don’t remember signing that contract? Please ignore the note below.

The quote you can’t read on the front cover is either (where are my glasses?) either from Oprah or Matt Derby. Those two are so hard to keep straight.

By reading this note you agree you will purchase (either from a New York Times reporting store or an indie bookshop or at least Amazon) 40 (forty) copies of The Best of LCRW on or about August 30, 2007.



Tue 7 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Updated: a review in Library Journal just popped up online. Yay! Now watch the ellipsis in action!

 “This curio-cabinet of literary works is … a bit like an otherworldly Farmer’s Almanac…. Its charming and eclectic sensibility should appeal to readers of fantasy or literary fiction.”

Ahem.

Hold still, I'm reading.

The Best of LCRW has arrived! To our new office! We are overcome! New York Times list: here we come!

Please do remember to buy your contracted-for 40 copies on Aug. 29th or just after. You don’t remember signing that contract? Please ignore the note below.

The quote you can’t read on the front cover is either (where are my glasses?) either from Oprah or Matt Derby. Those two are so hard to keep straight.

By reading this note you agree you will purchase (either from a New York Times reporting store or an indie bookshop or at least Amazon) 40 (forty) copies of The Best of LCRW on or about August 30, 2007.



ebookery

Tue 7 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Last week Jed was busy tearing lots of our books apart, taking very careful pictures of each of the pages (just as he did with that Harry Potter book*), and mailing the photos to Fictionwise. Over there they have carefully assembled the photos into facsimiles of the books (complicated!) which can be ordered in up to eight formats (none of which are technically edible). Hereaways are the books you can now get:

Endless Things by John Crowley

Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand

Water Logic by Laurie J. Marks

Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead by Alan DeNiro

Also these (more to come soon):

Trash Sex Magic by Jennifer Stevenson

Carmen Dog by Carol Emshwiller

Mothers & Other Monsters by Maureen F. McHugh

Storyteller by Kate Wilhelm—this ebook is only available from our web site.

* No. He didn’t.



Blog Like Me: 2. Girl Stuff

Tue 7 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Howard Waldrop

Skeptical HowardEven in these enlightened, politically-correct times we live in, there’s still stuff (gender secrets) girls keep from guys. Not out of spite or meanness, or a secret closed cabal or coven, but because guys have always been too dumb to ask.

The classic case is Midol. During the 50s and 60s Midol was used as a pain-reliever for menstrual cramps. A guy usually only discovered it when he got a headache at his girlfriend’s place and she was out of Aspirin. “Here,” she’d say, “take one of these.” And the guy’s headache went away. “What the hell was that?” he’d ask. “That little pill? The pain was gone quicker than a mongoose can get on a cobra!”

“It was Midol,” she’d say.

Today we know it in its generic form as ibuprofen.

* * *

All those years, all those headaches and pains, and relief was just down the supermarket aisle with the Kotex and tampons . . .

Some other things are down there, too, guys . . .

I don’t know about you, but when I start screaming when I pee, and I’m urinating blood from a bladder or kidney infection (and those seem to be the discomforts of choice my decrepit old body is taking lately), the way I always deal with it is to drown my insides with cranberry juice. Three or four gallons in two days, and it clears right up and the urethral burn goes away and I start peeing clear again instead of, in Doug Potter’s words, “a fine root beer color.”

The cranberry juice raises the pH balance in the bladder and kidneys and kills whatever is making you scream. (The burn is because your urine has gone basal, rather than neutral, and if you remember your high-school chemistry, base + acid = some kind of salt, which, whatever else it does, doesn’t burn when it comes out.)

I remember 30 years ago a girlfriend got a raging urinary tract infection; c-juice wasn’t working, and she went to the doctor. He wrote her a prescription but forgot to tell her about the side-effects. She was in too big a hurry and too much pain to look at the label except for the dosage. About 45 minutes after she got home she went into the bathroom.

I heard a scream.

She was standing at the wall opposite the toilet, aghast, pointing.

“Look!” she said.

I looked. In the toilet bowl was a circular rainbow. She called the doc, thinking she was dying.

Sorry,” he said. “I should have warned you. That’s a normal side-effect. You’ll do that for a day or so . . .”

She still wasn’t convinced.

* * *

Guys, if you have a urinary tract infection, wander down the Kotex aisle (“feminine hygiene” it’s usually called) and find something called Azo Standard (there are other Azos for other things). It’s the stuff my old girlfriend got by prescription only now it’s OTC. It’s essentially essence of the stuff in the acid of cranberries. Take it like the directions tell you: your symptoms will begin to ease in a couple of hours (like at the 1-gal., cranberry juice point, wherever that is for you). But, like my old girlfriend, you will pee rainbows—I have yet to produce a perfect multi-hued spectrum like she did, but have peed orange (most common), a bluish shade, and once, fluorescent green, in the couple of years I’ve been using it.

* * *

Women get yeast infections; female plumbing is an inexact thing, and for many reasons, yeast takes to it like a duck to a June bug. There are many products to fight it—the most common being Clotrimazole.

Guys if you have an irritation in your privates, as we say—and especially if you’re uncircumcised (if, like me, you were born in the Christian South before 1950, your parents had to ask for the procedure to be done; after 1950, they had to say they didn’t want one done)—and experience some swelling, irritation, etc., don’t go putting some greasy ointment all over Mr. Happy-head. Once again, wander down the Kotex aidle and get a Clotrimazole 3-Day Yeast Infection Treatment (generic ones are about $7.00 a box). There are all these plastic applicator things in there—you can throw them away or give them to nieces and nephews for finger-puppets. What you want is that little white 21gm (0.74 oz.) tube that’s in there. It’s greaseless and water-soluble and works wonders.

(I’m house-sitting this week and couldn’t find anything in this place to put on a really nasty sawcut on the back of my left hand: I used the tube of Clotrimazole I always keep in my toiletry bag, and it worked wonders on that, too.)

Gender knowledge is power.

Howard Waldrop



’08 books

Mon 6 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We’ve lined up two collections for next year. (Earlybirds order here.) Simultaneous HC/PB for each which make it interesting.

The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories
John Kessel

April 8, 2008
9781931520515 · Trade cloth · 5.5 x 8.5 · 300 pp · $24
9781931520508 · Trade paper· 5.5 x 8.5 · 300 pp · $16

John Kessel’s first collection since 1997 is a literary collection of astonishing stories from an award-winning science-fiction writer and satirist whose stories intersect imaginatively with the worlds and characters of Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, and Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Includes Kessel’s modern classic four story sequence about life on the moon.

Kessel’s stories have won the Nebula, Sturgeon, Locus, and Tiptree Awards. His books include Good News from Outer Space, Corrupting Dr. Nice, and collections The Pure Product and Meeting in Infinity (a New York Times Notable Book). Kessel and his family live in Raleigh, NC, where he co-directs the creative writing program at North Carolina State University.

John Kessel on WUNC talking about “A Clean Escape,” writing, and more. (Thanks Richard)

The Ant King and Other Stories
Benjamin Rosenbaum

August 5, 2008
9781931520522 · Trade cloth · 5.5 x 8.5 · 272 pp · $24
9781931520539 · Trade paper· 5.5 x 8.5 · 272 pp · $16

Benjamin Rosenbaum’s is one of science fiction’s brightest stars. His debut collection spans the weirdest corners of literature and science fiction, exploring family, loyalty, and memory. A dazzling, post-modern collection of pulp and surreal fictions: a writer of alternate histories defends his patron’s zeppelin against assassins and pirates, a man’s wife becomes hundreds of gumballs, an emancipated collective of children go house hunting. Benjamin Rosenbaum grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and received degrees in computer science and religious studies from Brown University. His work has been published in Harper’s, Nature, McSweeney’s, F&SF, Asimov’s, Interzone, All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, and Strange Horizons. Small Beer Press published his chapbook Other Cities. He lives in Basle, Switzerland, with his family.

  • “Orphans,” originally published in McSweeney’s, Issue 15, was honorably mentioned in The Best American Short Stories 2006.
  • Rosenbaum has a story on the current Hugo Award ballot.
  • Part of the collection is free online licensed under the Creative Commons license.
  • Selections from Other Cities were reprinted in the debut issue of the Michigan Avenue Review.
  • Rosenbaum is the author of an art book, Anthroptic, with Ethan Ham (The Present Group, 2007).
  • Rosenbaum’s stories have been translated into Swedish, Italian, Finnish, Bulgarian, Romanian, French, Croatian, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, and Czech.
  • Rosenbaum’s stories have been podcast on Escape Pod and Beam Me Up.
  • Rosenbaum’s stories have been reprinted in Harper’s, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Science Fiction: The Best of the Year, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year.
  • Early galleys at NEIBA.
  • Rosenbaum has stories coming out in the next six months in Interzone, Realms of Fantasy, and F&SF.
  • Benjamin Rosenbaum on Strange Horizons talking about writing, regender.com, and more.



    Bartleby’s Revenge

    Thu 2 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: jedediah

    scrivener icon
    If your writing process is anything like mine, each of your projects may consist of a dozen or more documents thrown together in a folder somewhere on your computer. You have old versions of the work-in-progress you’ve abandoned but can’t bear to delete, as well as one or two files serving as scrap heaps, a few for research, some for outlines, notes, and character sketches, and scattered everywhere are images, songs, maps, deeds, ships’ manifestos, cease and desist orders, and maybe editorial advice from friends and colleagues. Mixed up in all this mess is the book itself, trying to claw its way out.

    Or maybe you’re a writer with one pristine file, and everything you put into it is perfect, and you never go back or second-guess yourself, or have to refer to anything beyond the world of your own perfect brain. You may leave now.

    The rest of us ought to consider using Scrivener. Gwenda recently asked for a yea or nay on this piece of software, and having used it for several months now—both to revise one novel and to start work on another—I can heartily recommend it.

    First, Scrivener collects all the files related to the project into one browsable, searchable, cross-referencable master document. You can divide the text proper into chapters or smaller sections, and all your research and outlines are never far off. Drop images into your research folder and view them as you’re writing. Want to see only the documents with a certain character’s name in it? Type the name into the search bar and Scrivener immediately picks them out for you.

    You can also change the way you look at your material. Arrange it as a series of interchangeable index cards, view only the synopses in outline form, track word counts, sort by keyword tags, or color code according to your own organizational style. If that sounds like too much clutter, there’s also a full screen option, which recreates the glory days of WordPerfect.

    There are dozens of other smart features worth exploring, including a screenplay mode, internal and external links, and snapshots (second-guessing made easy).

    Scrivener’s been an invaluable revision tool, as I’m able to see more of the book at once while tracking all the changes I’ve made and all the changes I still have to make. It’s great for collecting research as well, and should serve those who are working on dissertations, novels, comic books, and fortune cookie fortunes.

    Keith Blount is a writer who wanted to design a piece of software for writers, and he’s done a fantastic job with Scrivener. Check out the demo here.



    Thu 2 Aug 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

    Not sure if I believe him, but this laugh out loud lines these are one of the reasons to read Will’s Hang Fire blog:

    Speaking of pulp fiction If you haven’t seen Black Snake Moan drop everything and rent it now! Christina Ricci play the greatest Jailbait Trailertrash Nympho ever captured on film…and I would know.



    Earlier Entries in »