« September 2005 | Main | November 2005 »

October 30, 2005

I Love Their Meatballs

I am amused to announce that my poem, "The Wizard Gets A Haircut," is going to be translated into Swedish, for an e-anthology of speculative poetry. No kroner, but that's cool. First Rights in Swedish probably not a big money maker for a single poem. Details later, when I have 'em.

Inquiring folk may notice I'm not at WFC this year. I apologize. Can't be helped. Just try and enjoy yourselves without me as best you can.

October 28, 2005

Pods, Please

Pleased to announce that Escape Pod, the SF podcaster, has accepted my short-short/flash fiction/story grenade "Jacob and the Voice," to be performed on their venue, most likely early next year. Whee! Most pleased. In slightly less pleasing news, got an eleven day pass from GVG of F&SF. S'alright.

October 27, 2005

Two For One

Got a 210 day email rejection this morning from Andy Cox, editor of TTA & Interzone, telling me he's passing on my tale for both those markets. Ah, efficiency. I'm not counting that twice, however.

Greg is suggesting that instead of calling it flash fiction, we call the form "story grenades." Catchy.

October 25, 2005

Cold, The Sequel

While the cold I'd had a couple weeks ago hung around in the background long enough to knock me on my ass again. Lazy immune system. Now, it seems to have finally left the building. At least, my congestion suddenly went away all on its own this afternoon, poof.

My wellness now allows me to report that my poem, "The Wizard Gets A Haircut," is now up with the new ish of Abyss & Apex. Take a look, if you're so inclined. They're good people. Also, by an interesting coincidence, I got my own hairs trimmed just a few days ago. My directions weren't as complicated, I must say.

October 19, 2005

In My Head

A swift three day rejection from Lenox Avenue. Remember kids, just because they bought from you once, that doesn't mean they'll take everything you send them (although they will usually explain why, as they did in this case).

Today Jenn points out a forthcoming illustrated edition of the Strunk & White classic Elements of Style. Illustrated? I immediately have visions of, say, Rule #6: Do Not Break Sentences in Two shown by a muscular Ahnold doing just that, as horrified grammarians watch, helpless. Oh, let it be so.

"Deadly Hypnotic Powers"

I'm rereading a book I loved as a boy called "The Runaway Robot," ostensibly by Lester Del Ray (but actually ghostwritten by Paul W. Fairman, for some reason unknown to me). I got hold of a copy of it through the library, and it holds up reasonably well. The basic plot is, yes, about a robot that runs away. The robot belongs to a lad who lives on a colony on Ganymede. The boy's family gets transferred back to Earth, but the robot can't go with him. Apparently it would cost too much to ship. So the robot gets sold to a farm, and then it runs away to try and find the boy.

The book holds up reasonably well, considering it was a juvenile written in 1965. The robots in this universe appear to be somewhere between a pet and a slave, an awareness I didn't have when I was ten. However, in there was one section:

"They say you kidnapped me off the Solar Queen. That means they think you've gone mad."

A mad robot. It happened sometimes, and there were very strict laws as to how to proceed in such cases. I stared silently at Paul and finally he said it.

"That means you're to be destroyed on sight -- no questions asked."

I'd seen that happen once. A quick blast from a ray gun with all inquiries made afterward. Paul's protests could not help me because strange powers sometimes develop in the reactors and coils of a mad robot -- deadly hypnotic powers.

That made me laugh. Colonies on Jupiter's moons, sure. Robot companions for teenagers, fine. But a malfunctioning robot able to hypnotize someone? That's like my Dell at work mentally enslaving me when it locks up a program . Oh, how I laughed. But then I saw this little video of iBots in action, and now I'm not so sure. They are awfully hypnotic, aren't they?

October 18, 2005

Nerdcore JV

Only Junior Varsity? Sigh. Now I'll never get a date to the prom.

Interested Reader
You have a Geek Lore rating of 67%
Your knowledge of the speculative fiction field, while far from encyclopedic, is still solidly above average. You probably have a healthy interest in the field rather than a driving obsession; either that, or your memory's just not what it's cracked up to be...
My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 75% on Geek Lore
Link: The SF/F Opening Lines Test written by winternight2 on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

October 16, 2005

Ah, What A Time To Be Alive

Rapid one-day rejection for a pair o' flash tales to Lone Star Stories. Ah, the wonders of technology, allowing you to be rejected even on days when the US Post Office isn't delivering.

It's not been a thrilling weekend, but that's just fine with us. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to find someplace to send a couple of flash stories.

October 15, 2005

For The Alternate Historian You Know

His or her very own "Lincoln Shot First" t-shirt.

(David, I'm looking at you.)

October 14, 2005

Robin Hooding It Up

"Elbereth Gilthoniel!" sighed Legolas as he looked up. Even as he did so, a dark shape, like a cloud and yet not a cloud, for it moved far more swiftly, came out of the blackness in the South, and sped towards the Company, blotting out all light as it approached. Soon it appeared as a great winged creature, blacker than the pits in the night. Fierce voices rose up to greet it from across the water...

Suddenly the great bow of Lórien sang. Shrill went the arrow from the elven-string. Frodo looked up. Almost above him the winged shape swerved. There was a harsh croaking scream, as it fell out of the air, vanishing into the gloom of the eastern shore. The sky was clean again.

There's a local archery club that offers the occasional class for beginners. Costs roughly the price of a paperback, and they provide the bows & arrows as well. Such a deal. I signed up for the November class a couple days ago, and just got my enrollment confirmed.

As sports go, archery has always struck me as the equivalent of a deadly form of bowling. Doesn't require outstanding physical shape, but to do it well, you have to develop a certain amount of skill. Mighty forearms couldn't hurt, I suppose. Don't know if Geena Davis had such arms, but maybe. She's tough, as befits the leader of the Free World.

Oh, I'm looking forward to this. Should be fun, in addition to providing some useful writing fodder.

"Praised be the bow of Galadriel, and the hand and eye of Legolas!" said Gimli, as he munched a wafer of lembas. "That was a mighty shot in the dark, my friend!"

"But who can say what it hit?" said Legolas.

Of course, I expect that to be my level of accuracy.

October 13, 2005

Decadence Defeated By Domesticity

A coworker of mine just gave me a small gift (she bought it online and thought I'd also like one). Which is nice, but I'm not sure what this says she thinks of me:

It's an La Fée Parisian Absinthe Spoon.

Would it be terribly, terribly wrong of me to use it as an ordinary slotted spoon? Say, for peas or corn?

October 12, 2005

Pillaging Gen-X Nostalgia

In the footsteps of Lucius Shepard's cranky old man movie reviews, the intarweb brings us "From the Balcony," with cranky old muppets Statler & Waldorf.

Their names were Statler and Waldorf? Learn something new every day.

Reading: Time and Again, by Jack Finney.

Science!

Better today. At least, I'm well enough to go to work, a bit of a mixed blessing. So in lieu of an actual post, some amusing scientific type links:

* Secret Worlds, The Universe Within: Or, from 10+23 meters to 10-16 meters. Fascinating, but where are the Micronauts?

* "The Physics of Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations," by Michio Kaku, author of Hyperspace: Short, but interesting.

* Future Maps of the World, 1998-2012, from futurist Gordon-Michael Scallion. Call me crazy, but is that actually R'lyeh on the world map, just to the west of South America?

* Celestia, a free outer space simulation program. Runs on Windows, OS X, and Linux. Very cool, especially when you move outside the Milky Way and then tell it to return to, Earth, say.

October 10, 2005

Mmm, Unconsciousness

Home sick today. Sore throat, slight congestion, and very very very tired.

Go away. Nothing to see here.

October 09, 2005

Confusion In The Ranks

So, yesterday I got my contributor's copy of the Sept/Oct Star*line, which contained a poem of mine. I read it, looked good...except it wasn't the poem I thought they'd accepted. Cue shot of me scratching head.

After a bit of investigation, it turned out they had accepted "They All Know," not "Eleven Answers," as I'd been led to believe. All well and good, but I sent "They All Know" to a couple other markets after Star*line. Good thing it'd been passed on, as that might've been awkward.

Here's a use I hadn't expected to see Google Maps put towards: UFO sightings.

October 07, 2005

First Lines Meme

It's a meme that has come and gone, mostly. One problem I have is that, I tend to work on something until I finish a draft or set aside. And stuff set aside often doesn't get picked back up again, it just lingers in the "In Progress" folder like a carton of eggs six weeks past its expiration date. Some opening lines from some works in progress.

From "The Spirit of Liberty," a short story:

I remember it all. I was there, sitting on the curb with Cheryl Lopez and Hector O'Malley, eating a chocolate ice cream cone while Cheryl held my sparkler, all three of us cheering along with everyone else in Jeffersonville as the Spirit of Liberty strode down Main Street in front of the Jeffersonville High School Marching Band. Overhead the Spirit's cherub assistants hovered, throwing out laurel wreaths to the crowd. A wreath landed on the asphalt right in front of Cheryl and Hector. They both looked down to grab it, but I kept my eyes on the Spirit the whole time. She was so beautiful. And as I watched, someone shot her.
From "Superman and Supermind," a short story:
I could see the superman easily enough in my Eye. The very image of the part: tall, blond, square jawed. He wore black slacks and a tie, giving him a retro-Madison Avenue kind of style. Only the choice of a bright red sportscoat ruined the look. Style points aside, what really got my attention was the crutch nestled under his left shoulder. What happened there?

I shook my head, ending the connection. No time for wondering. He'd be here any moment. I considered breaking my routine to act, before finally deciding against it. Supermen be damned, I wanted my tea.

From "What the Crow Saw," a short story:
Trees, tall pines waving in the wind. Carving in between them a long winding red line, a waving snake of infinite length. Moving along it, a cloud of dust.

Shift in the currents. Lower. Lower. Circling under the sun.

The red snake turns into a red river, the cloud of dust following a great blue turtle jostling down it. Beyond it, on the distant shore of green, lying in the center, half hidden in the weeds, something large, something delicious, something dead.

The blue turtle slows, crawls, stops. Gives birth.

Wind shifting again. Lower still. Wings come up, breaking speed, reversing motion. The branch comes up under the feet, grasped by orange claws.

From "Doodling" (not really a title, but not a codename either), a short story:
Nancy wasn't even watching her pen, Peter noticed, wasn't watching as her long fingers danced and whirled it across the memo pad, leaving in its wake shapes and figures, amorphous abstractions which came suddenly together like puzzle pieces to reveal a face of startling accuracy, faces of the people sitting in the meeting. Alonzo. Tricia. Boone. Even Peter, in profile. But no, Nancy wasn't watching what she was drawing. Like everyone else in the room, she was watching the red-faced Mr. Sunday rant.
A no-name short story:
There is no love lost between pirates and mermaids. Oh, to be sure, mermaids admire pirates for their bad-boy attitudes, not to mention finding their parrots adorable, wings a concept not widely known under the sea. And of course, pirates are irresistably drawn to the beautiful faces and full, cold bosoms of the mermaids that so remind them of the sea. While their lower portions are covered with scales, the pirates find the mermaids' sweet lips do very well instead, not being adverse to a little oral.

But then the pirates never call once the deed is done, earning the annoyance of the mermaids, and the pirates resent the way the mermaids snigger and point at what the pirates call their "mighty cutlasses," thinking them more like floppy worms. So while they come together from time to time, it never works out. Until one bright summer's day, when Red Pete of the pirate ship The Deep's Bride met the fair mermaid Tulala.

Of course, in the case of all these beginnings, I have no real idea where the story is going. Which can make it a bit hard later on to figure out if it actually got somewhere. Ah well.

Anudder Spooky Piece Of Paper

And now that it's October, here's something to get you in the Halloween mood: Haunted Paper Toys! Spooky things you can print out and assemble yourself, just to get yourself in a creepy mood. I've made myself a few of the Necronomicon Notebooks, because it's always good to have something to write in. For example, my "To Do" list:

  1. Stare into the Abyss and tremble.

  2. Crouch before the Unnameable in despair.

  3. Pick up hotdogs for dinner.
See? Very handy.

Reading: Angry Candy, by Harlan Ellison.

October 05, 2005

Happily, This Car Does Meet Our Eco-Concerns

Lisa's new chariot Behold! Lisa's new chariot, a shiny new Prius. Here it sits in the driveway, where it can inspire the neighbors with envy, for fairly obvious reasons. It's a sweet little ride. All it needs is a name. Any suggestions?

Update: The car has been named. Egon (Lisa explains in the comments).


October 03, 2005

Fancypants Latin

Ah, we're finally getting into Fall (or Autumn, if you prefer the fancypants Latin word), one of my favorite times of the year. Leaves forming huge drifts, bit of a chill in the air, and rampant pumpkin displays everywhere you turn. Of course, I live in Georgia, where the average temperatures are much more reminescent of, say, late August elsewhere. Fall here is more of an abstract concept, something to be admired as a guiding principle rather than experienced directly. It ain't right, I tell you.

Reading: The last of the Sedaris we have on hand. In this case, Barrel Fever and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.