Weird Tales One-Minute Video: Rochita Loenen-Ruiz’s “Catching an Angel”

I really like Rochita Loenen-Ruiz‘s fiction, and Weird Tales has just posted a new one-minute video micro-fiction of hers (video by Gregory Bossert). So I’m heading off to no-internet land this afternoon but thought I should post this one before I go.

The new Weird Tales issue will be out soon, Ann tells me, and you can find a lot more cool stuff on their website.

The Periodic Table of Women in SF–Awesome!

Diana Comet and Sandra McDonald put together this totally awesome short video of a periodic table of women in SF–and I’m not just saying that because my wife Ann is on it. It’s got lovely pacing, it embeds a lot of information, and made me smile more than a few times.

There’s also a PDF version, but there should really be a poster version, too!

Unleash the Grossbarts

S.J. Chambers is an articles editor for Strange Horizons.  Not only has her work appeared in that fine forum, but also, Fantasy, Bookslut, and The Baltimore Sun’s Read Street Blog.  She is also currently working with Jeff as his Master Archivist for The Steampunk Bible. You can find out more about S.J. at

Mark this day, kind Ecstatic Days readers, for it is no longer merely November 16, but Grossbarts’ day.


I had planned to mark this occassion with a video outtake from my interview with Jesse at World Fantasy, which is up over at Strange Horizons. Alas, my technological prowess and budget would not allow me to edit the monster stream, so I offer up instead choice and celebratory links.

First, interested parties can procure a copy here.  Then there is, of course, the home of Grandpa Grossbart himself, which carries links of its own to all the reviews and interviews, his blog, and a gallery of Grossbart related art.   The Grossbarts’ fine home can be found at Orbit, where Jesse has been posting a nice series of Grossbart scholarship articles. Then there is a funny video interview with Jesse by the very technologicaly savvy Molly Tanzer over at Fantasy magazine. Last, but not least, Jesse waxes poetic about why it is he gives birth to such horrible, horrible men and creatures at Powell’s. And last, but not least, just got linkage (this is p.m., as opposed to the a.m. of when this was orginally written) to the funny book trailer: Grossbarts on YouTube.

Well, I know that isn’t 5 glorious minutes of hearing Jesse discuss parallels between Bush’s War on Terror and the Grossbarts, a part of my interview that was excised from the final text-cut at Strange Horizons, and will be, until I figure out how to edit for free, locked up in the vault for another 50 years.

Here’s to….

S.J. Chambers is an articles editor for Strange Horizons.  Not only has her work appeared in that fine forum, but also, Fantasy, Bookslut, and The Baltimore Sun’s Read Street Blog.  She is also currently working with Jeff as his Master Archivist for The Steampunk Bible. You can find out more about S.J. at

Weird (and awesome) link! Green porno.

So, to start with, I am almost totally alienated from pop culture. Ironically, I’m much more tapped in now (at 27) than I ever was as a teenager. Pop music, movies, what? I can name like three Madonna songs and that’s primarily because I went to Sarah Lawrence College (where the stereos flip wildly from “Vogue” to Wagner’s The Ring Cycle to Sondheim in Concert).

The one form of popular media that I do intake regularly (and much more than is good for me, no doubt) is television. For a while, I was puzzled by my obsession with shows like Dexter and Project Runway, until I finally figured out that I’ve become super-saturated with prose what with writing all day, and reading for the magazine I edit, and having recently acquired my fiction MFA. Television gives me a chance to salve my narrative addiction without tapping into job- and school-related stressors.

And via the miracle of television, I’ve become able to pretend I know things about movies, too. How? Because of wikipedia.

Oh, wikipedia. Your choice of subjects is sometimes amusing. You have articles on the careers of every minor character from Are You Being Served. I love you for that; I really do.

All this brings me ’round to the beginning of my story, which happens while I’m rewatching season two of 30 rock. Jack’s ex-wife, played by Isabella Rosselini, romps around acting beautiful and ridiculous. I pursue my stealth activity of looking her up on wiki so that I can pretend I have a clue about the movie industry — and lo and behold, wikipedia presents to me (via Isabella Rosselini and the Sundance Channel) the most wonderful of all possible gifts. Green porno.

I gape. Isabella Rosselini is vamping it up in a beige body suit with painted nipples, pretending to be a snail.

As a fly, wearing enormous compound-eye glasses, she scoffs at a falling newspaper and then mounts a cardboard model of another fly. “Flies have sex multiple times a day,” she says, flashing the camera an enormous grin as she continues her pelvic thrusts.

These videos, most of which last under two minutes, star Isabella Rosselini as a host of animals. She employs papier mache, cardboard, and puppetry, to explain the sex lives of these creatures. She strikes a brilliant balance between didacticism and actual pornography: these videos aren’t going to arouse most humans, but you can imagine them being titillating to anthropomorphic flies and snails.

It’s not a big surprise that undersea angler fish — who live in the depths of the ocean, fishing for their prey with a luminous lure — have bizarre sex lives. But while the story of their extreme sexual dimorphism is fascinating and even somewhat shocking, I think green porno is most interesting when it portrays animals that are closer to home. Earthworms live in everyone’s backyard; they are as ordinary as muck. But despite their at-hand mundanity, their sex lives are still alien.

The real lesson of green porno is: thank god you’re not an insect, especially if you’re male.

No, wait, the real lesson of green porno is: life is strange. And also, thank god you’re not an insect, especially if you’re male.

Green porno has been out for a while, but for some reason, it hasn’t seemed to catch fire in my part of the blogosphere. Consequently, I intend to plug them for all they’re worth until they become ubiquitous and everyone knows how spiders mate.

You can watch all of the green porno videos — including some that haven’t made it onto youtube — on the sundance channel’s website.

Self-promoting like a self-promoter.

Hello. My name is Rachel Swirsky, and for better or worse, I’m a short fiction writer. This is relevant to today’s post — and indeed, to my entire last week — because for me, fantasy and science fiction has turned out not to be just a fun occupation, but also a disease vector.

Last week, my husband and I headed over to San Jose for the World Fantasy Convention, where — among many other entertaining things — I was able to meet our fair hosts, the VanderMeers. Unfortunately, my husband and I came home with more than just our free tote bags full of books (and by the way, wow, World Fantasy really piles on the free books. I think someone was being paid by the pound).

Now, a mere seven days after contracting the swine flu, husband and I are doing much better. I’m even able to start thinking about things like blogs again.

Which brings me to today’s shameful, shameless purpose.

I had hoped to ease into guest blogging with a few reviews, some weird links, and maybe a political rant or two. Instead, having lost a week to cough and fever, I’m going to leap into the breach with some self-promotion.

Last week, upon my return from the World Fantasy convention, I discovered not only that I was contaminated with swine flu, but also that my novellette, “A Memory of Wind,” had just gone up at

“A Memory of Wind” tells the story of the sacrifice at Aulis from Iphigenia’s perspective. Traditionally, her voice has been ignored; the original Greek tragedy, Iphigenia at Aulis, concentrates on the pain of her father, Agamemnon, as he decides whether or not to have his daughter killed so that he can go to war. I began writing “A Memory of Wind” several years ago, after seeing a feminist reinterpretation of the tale in which Clytemnestra (Iphigenia’s mother) was given her turn as protagonist. I wondered whether Iphigenia would ever get her chance to speak.

I worked on this piece at the University of Iowa, where a very famous author informed me that anger was never an appropriate inspiration for writing.

I ignored him.

Here’s an exerpt from the beginning of the piece:

I began turning into wind the moment that you promised me to Artemis.

Before I woke, I lost the flavor of rancid oil and the shade of green that flushes new leaves. They slipped from me, and became gentle breezes that would later weave themselves into the strength of my gale. Between the first and second beats of my lashes, I also lost the grunt of goats being led to slaughter, and the roughness of wool against calloused fingertips, and the scent of figs simmering in honey wine.

Around me, the other palace girls slept fitfully, tossing and grumbling through the dry summer heat. I stumbled to my feet and fled down the corridor, my footsteps falling smooth against the cool, painted clay. As I walked, the sensation of the floor blew away from me, too. It was as if I stood on nothing…

And now, I shall provide a unicorn chaser to follow my own self-promotion. Behold, greeting cards for after the zombie apocalypse:

(Check out David Ellis Dickerson’s entire entertaining Greeting Card Emergency series, and possibly also his book, House of Cards: Love, Faith, and Other Social Expressions.)

I’ll be back later this week with reviews, weird links, and politics.

Barkin’, Geiger-Counter Hundred-Pound Rodent Fer Yer Wednesday

Right, so, Caplin Rous posted some new videos on Facebook, and they’re really cute. So I must obey my capybara masters and post them here for your enjoyment…

Sunday Videos: Civilization and Buffy Kicks Twilight

Civilization by Marco Brambilla from CRUSH on Vimeo.

Via Hal Duncan who got it from SF Signal. Pretty darn wild.Heh. I thought Twilight was a big ole heaping plate of gross and the unintentionally funny. A friend sent me the link to this remix of Buffy with Twilight that shows just how creepy Edward is…

Connect the Connect, Link the Link, Debate the Dragon


BUT NOW IT IS AS YOUR LATE-NIGHT LINKSMONGER (morning/mid-afternoon for peoples in other places) MORNING LINKS-MONGER (evening/mid-afternoon for peoples in other places). GOT NO PLACE TO GO? TRAPPED UNTIL MORNING? HANG OUT WITH ME AND THE LINKS…

First off, the debate over the existence of dragons continues unabated over at Omnivoracious, with kids still posting comments on my piece from March 2008 on How to Raise and Keep a Dragon, including:
“does anybody know blake baker?????? i’m toatly in love with him. he reminds me of a dragon but i can’t pcture what kind. post back if you know him.” And: “Me and my friend olivia sent a letter to the seller of the mushussu dragon about the price on them!! olivia’s mom might let her buy one!!!!!! how much were the dragons you bought? Me and olivia are dieing to get a letter back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (Believe it or not, I left off some exclamation marks.)

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The Chamblin Bookmine: A Bibliophile’s Fevre Dream…

What do I do to relax after a refreshing car crash? I make a little video with meta-narration about my favorite used bookstore in the world: Chamblin Bookmine. At the very least, it should show you just how ridiculous the place is, in the best sense of the word.

Ann and I have traveled the world and visited many a great bookstore, but none, not even the Strand, can compare to Chamblin’s, in Jacksonville, Florida. “Bookmine” is an apt title because it’s the only bookstore I’ve ever gotten lost in–it’s that big. You could literally fit anywhere from four to eight other used bookstores inside of it. (David Moles, can I get a “Hallelujah!”?)

If you don’t want to view the video, here’s the link to the photos in a flickr set, although perhaps not in the right sequential order.

The thing about Chamblin Bookmine is that they take everything–I mean, everything–of any possible value. With the result that you can even find, in addition to truly precious first editions and limiteds, you get such specificity of subject it’s insane. Like, a whole couple of shelves devoted to:

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Atomic Pistol’s Got Yer MonkeyDoo–fer iPhone!

My good friend Charles Goran and his Atomic Pistol crew of interstellar design monkeys have just put out a new game for the iphone. I love Charles’ work, and this is really cool. Give it a try–check it out on itunes.

Jeff: Do you like it?

Evil Monkey: Hell yeah! It’s gots monkeys in it! And doo!