« June 2006 | Main | August 2006 »

July 28, 2006

Cue Elton John

105 day rejection from an Cthulhoid anthology yesterday. Not a lot of markets that seem to want that sort of thing, so back in the box it'll goes. Ah, the tragic circle of life. Er, publishing.

July 26, 2006

When Ian Met June

Two rejections: a 57 day one from that new Fantasy Book Spot E-Zine, and another from a market that prefers to remain anonymous. What can I say? It's shy.

* * *

"So, that's a mighty cute baby you've got there," say folks (and well they should!), "but how's he getting along with the cats? Or rather, how are the cats getting along with him?"

An excellent question! For the most part, there's been a great deal of indifference on both sides. Ian has been ignoring them because he's been unable to focus on much farther than a foot away from him, and the cats have been ignoring him, well, because he's loud, not particularly delicious, and is unable to pet them and tell they're good kitties and give them treats. When he finally graduates to solid food and starts flinging it about, I expect they'll be right there, helping clean up.

But it hasn't been all a Cold War standoff. We dressed Ian up as a cat (note the logo on his shirt, indicating his allegiance to Andy) and plopped him down in a chair. Then June came along, and, well, here you go:

Reading: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. No, really. I've never read it. Seen the BBC miniseries a few times, tho'.

July 24, 2006

Fancy Plans. With Pants To Match

From time to time, Lisa likes looking around on job listings. Nothing serious; she's just seeing what's out there. I don't usually do that sort of thing, but this, a job in this place would be just the thing for me.

(Sighs wistfully)

Not that I'm too inclined to move across the country just for a job (I'd prefer to save that for something important, like fleeing creditors), but hey, a guy can dream.

Reading: A Handbook of America Prayer, by Lucius Shepard. Also, not reading, but after we get Ian down for the night, we are watching NewsRadio, season 4. Ah, Jimmy.

July 20, 2006

A Belated Mentioning

I am startled (startled, I say!) to report that the new ish of Abyss & Apex is up, and in it lurks my flash piece "Goddess". I really am surprised; wasn't expecting this out until Septembrish, but no. Furthermore, it seems it's been up long enough for Tangent Online to read and review it already. Oh.

So, er, enjoy!

Reading: Viator, by Lucius Shepard.

July 19, 2006

Another Milestone

Got an email this morning that literary/slipstream/plain ol' funky zine Electric Velocipede is accepting my poem, "Under the Garden in Dreams." If you glop prose and poetry in together (as I do), it's my fiftieth sale! Woo, fifty! 5-0! 5-0!

This is not the rewrite request, by the way. A different thing altogether.

I celebrate by continuing to intake mass quantities of caffeine. Diluted in flavored beverages, of course. Undiluted caffeine is actually a poison. A wonderful, beautiful, heavenly poison.

* * *

Also, something I hadn't heard before, due to my less copious free time: lost Beatles recordings found. That should be interesting to listen to, when they get around to releasing them. Because you know they're going to. It's like found pirate treasure, an oil well in your front yard, aliens trading a working FTL drive for a Bic pen. Well, maybe not that last. But it'll still make their various estates a ton o'cash, and I think McCartney might be in need of more money these days.

July 18, 2006

The Dream Police

Got a request for a rewrite on a sub to a market I don't wish to name as yet. Don't want to jinx things. Also got my very own copy of Twenty Epics in the mail today. Yay! It's a most handsome volume, I must say.

* * *

Took Ian out today solo: to vote against Ralph Reed, to the drugstore, to the grocery. Felt like quite the responsible & competent parent. Of course, he still sleeps through it all. That always helps.

Reading: Valentine, by Lucius Shepard. Also, Goodnight Moon a few times.

July 17, 2006

This Pretty Much Says It All

July 15, 2006

A Line I'd Forgotten

I always say science fiction is different from other genres because it is not a form. Other genres have a form that they will reproduce, or cut slices off, or play variants on. Science fiction is an approach, which you can use with any form. That's why there are science fiction detective stories, science fiction cowboy stories, science fiction historicals, science fiction pornography. You change one thing in the world, as H.G. Wells and John Wyndham did; or you change everything you can get at, as Cordwainer Smith or Philip K. Dick did; and then you tell whatever kind of story you fancy.
-- Colin Greenland, interviewing Michael Moorcock in "From Portobello to the End of Time," in Death Is No Obstacle, Savoy: 1992

Upon rereading this, I find myself thinking that fantasy is a variant of the same animal. But perhaps not.

This would also make our beloved genre actually our beloved form-stealing approach.

* * *

78 day rejection from Asimov's yesterday. Short, personal, signed by Ms. Williams. More traction than I ever got with Dozois.

July 13, 2006

On "The Book of Ant"

Today is the launch party for Twenty Epics, the latest anthology from All Star Stories. As part of the festivities, David has asked the authors to talk a little about their stories, so I thought I'd share a bit about mine, "The Book of Ant."

Eight or ten years ago I read an old interview of Michael Moorcock by Colin Greenland ("Six Days to Save the World," in Death is No Obstacle, Savoy: 1992). Moorcock, for the three of you still unaware, is the creator of Elric, an epic fantasy hero if there ever was one. In the interview, Moorcock mentioned that a lot of fantasy epics are written in a pseudo-King James style, leading off sentences with "And" and "But" to create a sense of urgency to carry the reader along. You know the sort:

And Shamus raised up his mighty blade Kidneysmiter, and the army of night crouched in fear. But the demon general Blacktusk snarled his snarliest snarl, and sprang, claws extended. And long did the two tussle.
Or something like that. In order to minimize the cringing that might occur, I wondered what might be an appropriate use of the style. A Biblical epic naturally came to mind.

Now epics, before fantasy writers got hold of the term, were often considered to be the story of a people. In some cases, the literal story, but more often than not it was a story that told something about a people. Once you read the epic, you knew a bit about what the people were like. Take the various Norse sagas, or the Thousand And One Nights. The best epics, to my mind, also had the gods or their minions involved in the action, as well as things like enchanted swords and magic carpets and other such items of power to aid the hero. So, with these things in mind, I set about creating a Biblical style epic on a small scale. Hopefully that should explain why I wrote it about ants.

Twenty Epics is now available through Amazon in paperback. Buy your copy today!

July 12, 2006

Third Time's The Meme

I participate in the Interview Meme once more, answering questions by Tim the astounding:

1. What's the stupidest question you've ever been asked by a library patron? ("There are no stupid questions" is not a valid answer.")

Heh. I actually use that line in library instruction sessions, then follow it with "but there are lots of funny questions." The students all laugh, but then they start to look worried, as there's not much more bruising to the young ego than being laughed at.

I suspect you're looking for a question like, "I'm looking for this book I saw in the bookstore last night. I don't remember what it's about, but it's got a red cover." Happily, I don't have any questions like that. The closest I have was a student who came in, said his professor had told him he could find plenty of articles on his topic online, and was having trouble. After searching for a good twenty minutes (his professor was clearly wrong), I found him an article that looked perfect. It was in an issue of a journal we had in the bound collection, all he had to do was go upstairs and get it. He said, "No, my professor said I could find it online." I said, "Excuse me a moment," left him and never came back. It was either that, or put his head through the monitor.

2. Holy shit, dude! You had a kid! How awesome is that?

It is awesome, in the original sense of the word. I'm still a little stunned, frankly. I can't believe Lisa went through the whole nine months to birth thing, and can't imagine what it was like for her (ok, I can imagine, but you know what I mean). Respect is an insufficient word for how I feel towards her now.

As for Ian, he changes every day, and it's simply fascinating to watch. You pick up the basic skills pretty quick (diapering, feeding, burping, and so forth), but they'll only take you so far. It really feels like an adventure, in the best sense.

I would like to be able to sleep more than three hours at a stretch, however. Please?

3. You suffer a head injury, which opens a lesion in your brain, and you develop alexia and agraphia, which means you can no longer read or write. How does that change your life in the short term?

I once visited a large bookstore in Poland, and when it became painfully clear to me that they had pretty much no titles in English, I became extremely depressed. So, I'm guessing I'd battle depression, go on disability from the library and take care of Ian fulltime, sell my book collection, subscribe to a lot of movie channels, and invest in DVDs. Oh, and switch this journal to a podcast.

4. You're digging a hole in your back yard, and you find a battered old metal box full of money. Say, $1,000,000. Do you report the money on your income tax? If not, how do you launder it?

In order to set a good example for the sprout, I would probably report it to the IRS. Gotta be a role model, after all. Having said that, assuming I actually needed that kind of money (say, I developed alexia and agraphia but was denied disability) and that this large bundle of cash didn't have, say, sequential serial numbers, I'd take Chili Palmer's advice, get myself a safe deposit box and put the money there. Safer than stuffing a mattress, and I can get to it when I need it. Sure, I miss out on earning interest, but most banks pay a quarter of a percent these days, at best.

Now then: why are you asking? Something we need to know?

5. Are short stories more like novels, or more like poems?

I've only been peripherally following this discussion, as sleep-deprived as I am. But honestly? I think a short story is like an hour, a novel is like a week, and a poem is what you remember about an event (i.e., when your brother punched you in the nose when you were eight, the summer you spent at camp, or the year you spent digging wells in Guam). Make of that what you will.

And now the standard conditionals, yadda yadda:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your journal with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

July 11, 2006

Tenacious

I'm getting an amazing amount of spam comments showing up on the site, wanting to sell the virtues of trading currencies. They aren't appearing on the site, because they're such blatant, blatant spam that MT never let them see the light of day. Not stopping them, tho'. They are amazingly persistent, in a Wile E. Coyote kind of way. Stupid spammers.

Reading: Polyphony 4.

July 10, 2006

Cheap

Still moving around in two to three hours blocks, which roughly charts how long the lad sleeps between feedings. He's not always sleeping in between, however. Sometimes he's awake, looking around and soaking up knowledge like the little sponge he is. Yesterday morning, after his second breakfast, I had a frank and earnest discussion with him about the nature of reincarnation. He looked interested all the way through, until I got to the end, whereupon he started crying. What this means, I'm not sure. Except maybe to leave the cheap philosophy for when he gets to college.

* * *

33 day rejection yesterday from new UK mag Forgotten Worlds.

* * *

My animated world: Dutch stop-motion animation film. Not as good as Tim's find, An Ode to George Washington, but does have many nods to '80s video games!

July 06, 2006

In Which The Reader Is Filled With Doubt

We've set up an online gallery of Ian pics, in order to satisfy the ravenous demands of grandparents and other miscellaneous relatives. However, it's password protected, in order to keep out intarweb villains. If you're interested in obtaining access, drop me a line, but I'll be honest: I'm unlikely to hand it out to random folks to whom I've never met, or at least known online for years. Lousy downfall of society, raising my paranoia like that.

There will still be pics of the lad here from time to time. So don't worry, Jenn. :)

* * *

Lisa's sister Lisa J has agreed to babysit Ian tomorrow, so my Lisa and I will be able to go see Johnny Depp's latest Keith Richards imitation. Arrr!

* * *

29 day rejection from Flash Me magazine the other day. Also, I was informed at some point not too long ago that the anthology Twenty Epics, containing my story "The Book of Ant" is now available for purchase. Of course, you may also want to buy it so you can read new stories by Tim Pratt, Ben Rosenberg, Meghan McCarron, Christopher Rowe, David Schwartz, Christopher Barzak, etc. Clearly that should seal the deal. Also, anyone at ReaderCon, I've been led to believe they'll have copies for sale at the Small Beer Press table. Check it out, yo.

Recent Reading: The Colorado Kid, by Stephen King. Good, but I also agree with Greg's reaction to the packaging. Also, I found myself mildly jarred by assertions that Starbucks Coffee houses, Blockbuster Video, and Diet Coke existed in 1980. I've read that King is claiming that the Starbucks' reference ties back to the Dark Tower sequence as "some sort of clue". Possibly (I haven't read the whole thing, I'll admit), but all of them added together makes sloppy research seem much more likely to me.

July 03, 2006

Inevitable


Oh, don't look so shocked.