Recent Amazon Posts on Jia and Archaia, Etc.

My post on an interesting mainstream literary novel, Jia.

More info on Best American Fantasy and the Shriek movie.

(Two of AP’s main guys, at ALA.)

A short post on graphic novels publisher Archaia Press–one of my favorites.


Music Review: The Clientele

Maybe I’m just the world’s biggest jerk, but after one listen I kind of liked God Save the Clientele by The Clientele. After two listens I found it too shimmery-wishy-washy. By the third and fourth listens, I was just bored. By the fifth listen, I kept visualizing a very long, floppy piece of tofu and a bamboo stick. I kept seeing the tofu being laid over the stick and flopping down limp on both sides of the stick. Neither the bamboo nor the stick interested me that much.

I’m not quite sure I can quantify what it is I dislike about The Clientele, but it might have something to do with the way in which they take echoes of The Kinks and then weave a kind of diaphanous meditation mat out of it all. I kept wanting a little more in terms of differentiation, a little more variety…and not getting it.

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The Grotto: Alabamy Outsider Art…with Lizard Condo

(Was this lizard condo blasphemously added after the monk’s death?)

Besides the Mall of Unclaimed Luggage in Boaz, which is now, sadly, closed down, one of the coolest things in Alabama is The Grotto. Created by Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk,The Grotto consists of replicas of famous buildings and cities along with intensely insane and whimsical original creations.

Recently, Ann and I visited The Grotto and took some photos. You can see some of them under the cut and also see the whole set on our Flickr account.

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“The Goat Variations”

Beginning of the rough draft…


It would have been hot, humid in Florida that September, and the secret service would have gone in first, even though it was just a middle school in a county he’d won in the election. He would have emerged from the third black armored vehicle blinking and looking bewildered as he got his bearings in the sudden sunlight.

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Giant Squid Hoodie

A giant squid hoodie. (Thanks Brian L for the link.)

I think I might need one of these. Or sew myself one. On a freelancer’s salary, not sure it’s a wise investment.

Music: Graham Parker

Graham Parker at the height of his powers, with Squeezing Out Sparks, Alive Alone in America, and The Mona Lisa’s Smile, among others, created incisive, sharp, melodic rock ‘n’ roll with heartfelt, mature lyrics.

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The Case For and Against Dick

No, this isn’t going to be as exciting as it sounds, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m talking about Philip K. Dick, and most notably the essay about him in the New Yorker by Adam Gopnik that seems to have provoked a firestorm in some quarters, most recently on Ed Champion’s blog.

And I’m still trying to figure out why. Gopnik says a lot of nice things about Dick’s ideas, about the “haunting” quality of some of his novels. Yes, he does consign Dick’s prose at the sentence and paragraph level to the garbage heap, but, frankly, I’d have to agree with him. At the same time, Gopnik is saying that doesn’t matter, really, as much as it might in some other writer. (Oddly, to me “Gopnik” sounds like a name right out of a Dick novel.)

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A Bit O’ Linkage

Just a few links.

I agree with this fascinating post by Jay Lake, although for me it’s not so much about always thinking about the “next level” in terms of hobnobbing and whatnot at cons (I know this isn’t exactly what Jay’s saying, but…). It’s more manifested in a “I’ve-achieved-that-goal-and-now-it’s-boring.” I also hang out with the same people I’ve always hung out, with the most part. I like interesting people. I don’t like boring people. Doesn’t matter how published or not published they are.

Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee have created a SF Awards Watch website–go check it out!

Frank Dudley points out to me the endless uses of fungi.

Juha Lindroos gets profiled.

NPR: A Shill for UPS

I love NPR, but hearing this poem called “Why I Have A Crush on You, UPS Man,” I’m also reminded of why I sometimes think of them as a dorky sixth grader with no friends.

Not to hit a mosquito with a baseball bat, but hearing this read by a crusty-voiced man does the poem no good whatsoever. (Especially since it was followed by some rambling nonfiction piece about some kind of dysfunction that sounded like it was written by some extremely anal person who insisted on cataloguing each part of their lives in minute and tedious detail.)

However, this is also a good example of what I call “one man’s sanity is another’s insanity”. Because, you see, dear readers, for the narrator of the poem it’s a light whimsy. For the UPS delivery guy…this is his worst fucking nightmare–the customer who obsesses over him. The idiot who answers the door who wants to run off with him, and all he wants to do is his job, followed by a nice night at home with his wife and kids.

You see this in fiction quite a bit. Where the writer thinks they’ve written a story from the point of view of a narrator who is quite sane. But, if you look at the actions in the story from anyone’s point of view but the narrator’s…that person is clearly unwell.

I’m reminded of some readers (mostly men) who think Dradin in “Dradin, In love” is actually a normal person…


Email Woes

Just so you know–I’ve been having some email problems, mostly with my earthlink account. I’ve sent several emails out that haven’t gotten to their destination. So, if you haven’t heard from me in response to something, that might be why. You might cc vanderworld at if you query me about something.