Apr 29, 2008


The guy who made and then lost an excellent robotic head of Phil Dick has had his lawsuit dismissed. The judge's dismissal is excerpted at Total Dick-Head, and it is marvelous.

Wonder where the head has gotten to by now...

Apr 26, 2008


Guillermo del Toro, in 2006:

I was never into heroic fantasy. At all. I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits -- I've never been into that at all. I don't like sword and sorcery, I hate all that stuff."

Guillermo del Toro, in 2008:

"Contributing to the 'Lord of the Rings' legacy is an absolute dream come true."

Oh, man, I hope this isn't a disaster. Especially the 'sequel.'

Apr 23, 2008

Baseball and Technical Difficulties

It may already be apparent to some of you that alexirvine.net is undergoing a time of travail. I'm not sure why, but with any luck it will all be sorted out soon. One of the downsides of the online merchant-customer dynamic is the difficulty of actually finding a human being who will admit to being authorized and equipped to deal with a problem. So there is a moment of Luddism here. If you've been looking for alexirvine.net and found it vanished, my apologies. Things will be restored to their normal hiatus soon.

If, on the other hand, you have arrived at this space looking for random bits of possibly literary news, oh boy. It seems that Nabokov the Younger has decided to contravene his father's wishes and publish the scanty relics of the Elder's final work, despite express wishes to the contrary. And it all came about as the result of a vision, which, well, of course. And in completely unrelated news, Massive Attack doing Blade Runner? Man, I wish I was going to be in England sometime soon.

The Tigers, since an 0-7 start, are 9-6. And Curtis Granderson is back. I try to envision a summerlong brutalizing of any and all opposition, but with their starting pitching in its current desperate situation, optimism is hard to come by. Can they win every game 10-7? Here's hoping.

Apr 18, 2008

To the Barricades!

Elements of the French intelligentsia are agitating for the abolition of the semicolon. Barbarians.

And speaking of barricades, on Sunday we (by which I mean L and myself) went to the Public Theater's Public Lab for a play called Paris Commune. Improbably, it was a musical. Even more improbably, it was a pretty good show.

Apr 16, 2008

Man, I Hope This Is True

Although their work from adapted sources sometimes doesn't measure up to their inspired best, the Coen brothers are still among my favorite filmmakers, and who better to take on Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union?

The Tigers have won three in a row! The last a 13-2 annihilation of the Cleveland Indians. It's hard to complain about anything after a game like that, but how would you like to be Pudge Rodriguez, who (while his teammates were racking up 17 hits and wearing themselves out running around the bases) went 0 for 6 hitting leadoff, and left 10 guys on base? Eek.

Surprising baseball stat of the day: Tonight's grand slam by Edgar Renteria was the fifth of his career.

Belated Notice

Last week I had the privilege of hearing Julia Elliott read at the University of Maine's New Writing Series. Her story, from the Georgia Review, knocked my socks off. It's reprinted in Best American Fantasy despite being devoid of fantastic content; perhaps it is a bit associational, but whatever. A terrific story. Worth buying the book all by itself (and as a bonus, the rest of the stories are swell, too).

Here's a story of hers at the Mississippi Review: "Jaws"

And while we're on the topic of good online fiction...if you're looking for a place to start finding stories, this list from StorySouth (also this one and this one...) would be a good place to start.

Apr 15, 2008

Great Moments in Science Journalism

The New York Times this morning takes up the question of whether CERN's new Large Hadron Collider will destroy the Earth. There are some interesting bits about how scientists calculate risk (or fail to consider it), but the real highlight of the piece is this:

Besides, the random nature of quantum physics means that there is always a minuscule, but nonzero, chance of anything occurring, including that the new collider could spit out man-eating dragons.

Now that would be worth the $8 billion it cost to build the thing. Imagine the spike in public interest in science!

In other news, the Tigers staged a dramatic late-inning rally to beat the Twins 11-9. But they still gave up nine runs.

In other other news, Guardian blogger Peter Wright thinks SF fans are okay.

Apr 12, 2008

Puzzled and in Need of Clarity

If anyone can tell me what the connection is between the previous post and the weird string of Youtube videos that appeared in the comments, I'll send an inscribed copy of Unintended Consequences, as well as my eternal thanks. Cleverly invented scenarios are every bit as welcome as factual connections.

Can things get any weirder for the Tigers? At least they won last night, but Dontrelle Willis fell off the mound and hurt himself without recording an out, so the bullpen--which has, not to put too fine a point on it, stunk so far--came out and got 27 outs. They're 2-8, which is lousy but which also, somebody pointed out, was the same record the Phillies had last year before winning their division. To which I might be inclined to respond that the Tigers can't count on their rivals collapsing as spectacularly as the Mets did last year. In other Tigers-related news, Denny McLain has been arrested again.

We recorded our first visitor from Afghanistan yesterday.

Apr 10, 2008

Who Knew Pseudo-Science Was So Dangerous?

Rupert Sheldrake has been stabbed, nonfatally, at a lecture in Santa Fe, New Mexico. According to his own theories, this just might mean that he is more likely to be stabbed again now, so he'd better watch out. Morphic resonance is a harsh mistress.

In completely unrelated news, the Tigers won a game! Never has a team that started 0-7 made baseball's postseason, so now the next five and a half months are going to be agony. Either they will make history as the first 0-7 team to get to the playoffs, or as the greatest team ever to start 0-7 and therefore miss the playoffs.

Apr 7, 2008

April, Cruelest Month, Etc.

The Tigers are 0-6, and people are already saying their season is doomed. Me, I'm an eternal optimist. So what if they hit into five double plays last night, or have left a thousand guys on base already? There's always tomorrow.

For your reading enjoyment, I direct you to this fascinating discussion of my shortcomings as a writer in these comments to a previous post.

Reading: Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Apr 3, 2008

It Is My Pleasure to Announce...

...the impending (well, in August) publication of The Vertigo Encyclopedia, a detailed and visually rich compendium of the various titles issued by that groundbreaking imprint, from the early days of Swamp Thing and Animal Man to the most recent series such as Northlanders, The Un-Men and Madame X. The book is listed now at Amazon etc., but the details are still forthcoming. There's a terrific Dave McKean cover, and all sorts of goodies for the discriminating reader.

Apr 2, 2008

Although It Is Too Early to Be Suicidal...

...the fact that the Tigers are 0-2 and have managed to strike out 19 times in those two losses--to the Royals!--galls me.

In happier news, here's the ToC for The Best SF and Fantasy of the Year v.2, edited by the excellent Jonathan Strahan, and available from Night Shade books any second now:

Introduction - Jonathan Strahan
"The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate" - Ted Chiang
"The Last and Only, or Mr. Moskowitz Becomes French" - Peter S. Beagle
"Trunk and Disorderly" - Charles Stross
"Glory" - Greg Egan
"Dead Horse Point" - Daryl Gregory
"The Dreaming Wind" - Jeffrey Ford
"The Coat of Stars" - Holly Black
"The Prophet of Flores" - Ted Kosmatka
"Wizard's Six" - Alex Irvine
"The Cambist and Lord Iron: A Fairy Tale of Economics" - Daniel Abraham
"By Fools Like Me" - Nancy Kress
"Kiosk" - Bruce Sterling
"Singing of Mount Abora" - Theodora Goss
"The Witch's Headstone" - Neil Gaiman
"Last Contact" - Stephen Baxter
"Jesus Christ, Reanimator" - Ken MacLeod
"Sorrel's Heart" - Susan Palwick
"Urdumheim" - Michael Swanwick
"Holiday" - M. Rickert
"The Valley of the Gardens" - Tony Daniel
"Winter's Wife" - Elizabeth Hand
"The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small" - Chris Roberson
"Orm the Beautiful" - Elizabeth Bear
"The Constable of Abal" - Kelly Link

I wouldn't miss it, if I were you.