A Drifting Life

My latest Graphic Novel Friday feature on Omnivoracious:

“In simple but unsparing panels, Tatsumi describes not only the setbacks to his career but his fundamental loneliness–a loneliness that seems ameliorated by his immersion in the comics world. Encounters with women are few and far between, and often end in embarrassment or sadness. Woven into the narrative are portraits of his envious brother, his father’s financial problems, and a Japan recovering from defeat to forge a new identity still rooted in the past.”

Mord’s Facebook Reign: 9:53am April 8 to 4:33am April 10

Mord’s reign on Facebook has come to an end, but here are the highlights from yesterday, following up on my last post. (Mord is a [nonspeaking] character in a short novel I’m working on, fragment from which can be found here.)

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Mord Says Penguin Blog Is Wrong Re 60 in 60: I Am Not Mad

UPDATE 4/10: Great. Now the National Post thinks I’m mad.

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Colin Brush on the Penguin Blog has the cojones to suggest I’ve gone insane from doing the 60 in 60:

It is a sad thing to watch a writer go off the rails. But in these Twittered, My-Faced, Spacebooked, blog-rolled times, any meltdown is bound to be tragically public…[long garble about my insanity]…Then on Tuesday, this post appeared on his blog (see the not-at-all-disturbing screen-grab above). Who knows what possessed him when he wrote it? Guilt perhaps. Shame maybe. Alcohol certainly. But also there is a kind of insane defiance at work here. The 60 days have long passed. The war is over, the battle lost. Yet he’s soldiering on nevertheless.

It’s true the news that a fourth army of 20 titles is forthcoming put a momentary icicle through the part of my brain not yet numbed by my reading thus far, but I am not in any way insane.

To prove, it, I am posting selections from my Facebook status messages for the last day or so (along with related comments), since these should provide a valid snapshot of my state of mind. Proving, of course, that I’m just fine.

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The Allure of Machinic Life, But Not Until the Red Fog Rises

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“In the early era of cybernetics and information theory following the Second World War, two distinctly new types of machine appeared. The first, the computer, was initially associated with war and death–breaking secret codes and calculating artillery trajectories and the forces required to trigger atomic bombs. But the second type, a new kind of liminal machine, was associated with life, inasmuch as it exhibited many of the behaviors that characterize living entities–homeostasis, self-directed action, adaptability, and reproduction. Neither fully alive nor at all inanimate, these liminal machines exhibited what I call machinic life, mirroring in purposeful action the behavior associated with organic life while also suggesting an altogether different form of ‘life,’ an ‘artificial’ alternative, or parallel, not fully answerable to the ontological priority and sovereign preprogatives of the organic.”

“The streaks running down the stucco front of the Palmyra were black, but that wasn’t surprising because it was bang in the middle of the rough end of Earls Court, and everything was black round there. Once, like the others in the street, it must have been a family house, but as far back as people could remember it had always been known as a hotel called the Palmy, the last two letters of its name having tired and dropped out of the game. Weeds sprouted out of the cracks in its roof and raddled Victorian portico, and it looked what it was, a fifth-rate rooming-house with a heavy turnover in transients much frequented by the bailifffs, plain-clothes filth, and debt collectors. It was the kind of place where the week’s rent always fell due the day the rain came down, when depression drifted into the room like smoke under a door and the money ran out.”

60 in 60: 23 Books in 3 Lines in 1 Post

As the above photo shows, I’ve been preoccupied with shooting down deadlines. The 60 in 60 on the Penguin Great Ideas series should resume next week–who knew I meant 60 books in 60 years–but in the meantime, I’ve been prepping by reading the back covers and first page of each one (cheating? who knows). To give you a preview based on my gleanings, here are my three-line non-trad haikus on each. Prepare to be horrified.

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FML: Good, Bad, Ugly?

My stepdaughter Erin clued me in to this site, which includes, for example, this anonymous post:

Today, I went on a date with a guy for the first time. We went to Starbucks and got coffee. We talked for awhile, and we weere joking and having a good time. Suddenly, he put his hand on my stomach and said, “soon, this will be plump with my seed.”

I am laughing at a lot of this even as I’m thinking, “I’ve begun to see Facebook status messages that approximate some of this.” Are we all getting a little too relaxed?

Twitterface

Well, I give up. I’m going to be on Facebook through my mobile phone, so I’ve synched up Facebook and my Twitter. If you want to follow me on Twitter, my Facebook status will post there, along with links to blog posts. I’m not a huge Twitter fan, but that means I’ll have a presence there until that daft micro-fragmentation platform withers away (right about the time that the nano-dinosaurs decide to re-upload into their former mighty sizes and do away with electricity and the intertubes entirely). I should also soon synch up my blog to Facebook. Fact is, Facebook is getting very crowded, and it’s definitely headed in the direction of becoming a robust networking tool. I’m not sure I really like that, but I’m also not willing to fight it.

So:

Me on Twitter

Me on Facebook

Me on Crackbook. (I meant this as a joke, but when I Googled it…it actually existed!)

Me on Fartbook.

If anyone cares. Frankly, we’ll see if I’m on either in a month, but I do find that when I’m out and about, it’s not much of a distraction to post from my phone. I tend to agree with Charlie Stross that in a sense these social media platforms are just glorified public versions of email. On the other hand, a couple of creative projects have been started because of connections made through Facebook, so…

Secret Lives on Brit Fantasy Award Longlist? (Want One?)

Wow, the collection that fell into a black hole of doom and garnered hardly any reviews (despite being close to selling out) made the British Fantasy Awards longlist, and the looooong list in this case, for story collections, ain’t really that long. (How many votes put it on there? One? Two? Three? Doesn’t matter to me.)

I care less and less about awards these days having been too often privy to the garbage that goes on behind the scenes, but it perked up my day a bit to see that just because of the extreme radio silence regarding a book I thought was pretty unique and a lot of fun. (One exception, on Dark Roasted Blend: “This book takes my pick as the most intriguing and under-appreciated publishing event of the year. It even has a strange, unaccounted story on the other side of the cover.”)

Speaking of which, Prime owing me big time for, er, lots of things allowed me to purchase a case of Secret Lives at a significant discount. Signed, numbered, limited to 1,000 copies. Drop me an email at vanderworld at hotmail.com if you want one for $20 ($15 off the cover price) plus $3.50 shipping in the US, $10 shipping anywhere else. Or just paypal me the amount at the same email addy, including the address to ship to. And let me know if you want it personalized even though it’s already signed. ($10 shipping will also cover overseas orders of two copies, oddly enough; anything higher, query. $5 shipping will cover US shipping for two copies; again, query for bigger orders.)