Archive for April, 2008
I’ve fallen behind on posting these, but the mail has been light the last couple of days.
Little Brother comes out tomorrow. It’s definitely YA in the sense that I think it will appeal to that age more than adults, but it’s also a subversive how-to guide for teens in addition to being an exciting read. In this sense, it’s Doctorow’s most important novel.
So, now, when you read a bad book, I suggest you load this song onto any device that will amplify the volume exponentially, seek out the author, knock on their door, and when they answer: blast this song until, well, they explain…
(There may be an eff word in this video. As in every Cave video.)
StorySouth’s list of the best online fiction of 2007 includes both “The Third Bear” and my collaboration with Cat Rambo, “The Surgeon’s Tale”. Judges will now pick a top ten and readers will then pick a winner. Some really cool stories on that list, including “Bufo Rex” from Weird Tales.
John Picacio has the full transcript of his speech honoring Moorcock in Austin at the Nebulas. He was kind enough to include me and others by asking us to give him a few words about Mike. Here’s what I said.
“Mike Moorcock is quite simply the most creative and most generous person I’ve ever met. It’s Mike I think of whenever I’m approached by a new writer for help with something, because he embodies the idea of ‘paying it forward’. He has also been an enormous influence in both the variety and the quality of his fiction, and his various editing projects. I admire his restless curiosity, his sense of humor, and his sense of perspective. It’s been one of the great pleasures and honors of my life to know him. If only he could break his addiction to squid…”
Ian Sales, following on the Nabokov shelves I showed off earlier, has some great photos of his Lawrence Durrell collection.
Steve Erickson’s Black Clock literary magazine is doing a special political issue since it is, after all, the year for it, and he’s taken a story from me for it. I’m really thrilled beyond belief, considering who they’ve published in the past and, more importantly, because Erickson is one of my favorite writers. It’s called “Goat Variations Redux” and riffs of of an element of my story “The Goat Variations” in the Other Earths DAW antho coming out in August.
And in terms of motivation (a), where such a spurious assumption is made, why should we not turn it around and question the antagonistic purposes of the questioner, whether the accusation is driven by objective evaluation or subjective prejudice? From an opposing perspective any accusation of pretentiousness can be seen as an entirely baseless slur on a writer, and one which seeks to turn the level of artistic ambition of a work into a marker of its inverse — a lack of artistic ambition. When an allegation treats the very ambitiousness of the work itself as evidence not of a writer’s ambition for that work but rather as evidence of their personal ambitions — their shallow desire for attention — that allegation can be disregarded as conspiracy theory rather than valid critique.
I’m finishing up work on my Dying Earth story, “The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod,” and I have a research question for eye and amphibian experts: if there were a salamander as big as Rhode Island, could people build a city in one of its eyes? How moist would it be? Would there be a kind of mist? Would there be the stratification or layers we find in the atmosphere of Earth (stratosphere, etc.) and different conditions in each? Where in the eye would it be safest to build a city? Could you grow crops there?
The answers to these questions do not affect the writing of this particular scene–I am writing it regardless and will justify it however I need to–but I am interested anyway. In the story, enormous fire salamanders move monolithically through their super-hot underground world. The only place that is moist and protected enough from the heat is inside of or on the surface of the salamanders’ eyes. Thus the poor people condemned to this level must build their cities inside the eye of the salamander.