Dec 31, 2009

DD Noir T-Shirt

Hey, here's something cool to spend your gift card on: A Daredevil Noir T-shirt at, featuring Tomm Coker's cover from #1. Sweet.

Also you could buy the book!

Dec 23, 2009

Your Year in Cryptozoology

Courtesy of Portland's own Loren Coleman via his Cryptomundo blog, the Top 10 Cryptzoology Stories and Top 10 Cryptzoology-Related Deaths of 2009.

And! Check out the bikini-loving Polish Bigfoot:

Dec 21, 2009

We Have a Different Office for Petty Homicides

From a Portland Press Herald article about the apparent murder of a guy on Saturday night: "A lawyer with the Attorney General’s Office, which prosecutes serious homicides, is working with police."

O Journalism!

Dec 19, 2009

Another ToC: Best SF and Fantasy of the Year vol. 4

From editor (and all-around cool guy) Jonathan Strahan:

Introduction, Jonathan Strahan
1. It Takes Two, Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three)
2. Three Twilight Tales, Jo Walton (Firebirds Soaring)
4. The Island, Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2)
5. Ferryman, Margo Lanagan (Firebirds Soaring)
6. A Wild and Wicked Youth, Ellen Kushner (F&SF)
7. The Pelican Bar, Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
8. Spar, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld)
9. Going Deep, James Patrick Kelly (Asimov’s)
10. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black (The Eternal Kiss)
11. Zeppelin City, Michael Swanwick & Eileen Gunn (
12. Dragon’s Teeth, Alex Irvine (F&SF)
13. This Wind Blowing, and This Tide, Damien Broderick (Asimov’s)
14. By Moonlight, Peter S. Beagle (We Never Talk About My Brother)
15. Black Swan, Bruce Sterling (F&SF)
16. As Women Fight, Sara Genge (Asimov’s)
17. The Cinderella Game, Kelly Link (Troll’s Eye View)
18. Formidable Caress, Stephen Baxter (Analog)
19. Blocked, Geoff Ryman (F&SF)
20. Truth and Bone, Pat Cadigan (Poe)
21. Eros, Philia, Agape, Rachel Swirsky (
22. The Motorman’s Coat, John Kessel (F&SF)
23. Mongoose, Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear (Lovecraft Unbound)
24. Echoes of Aurora, Ellen Klages (What Remains)
25. Before My Last Breath, Robert Reed (Asimov’s)
26. Jo Boy, Diana Wynne Jones (The Dragon Book)
27. Utriusque Cosmi, Robert Charles Wilson (The New Space Opera 2)
28. A Delicate Architecture, Catherynne Valente (Troll’s Eye View)
29. The Cat That Walked a Thousand Miles, Kij Johnson (
Recommended Reading

Wonder what's in slot #3...Jonathan has a note about it in the original post.

Watch Flippy Day Now!

Congrats to the gang at Big Appetite Films. There's also a Flippy Day blog...

ToC: Year's Best SF and Fantasy 2010

Here's the ToC of the Prime Books year's best antho, edited by Rich Horton:

“A Story, with Beans” by Steven Gould, Analog, May
“Child-Empress of Mars” by Theodora Goss, Interfictions 2
“The Island” by Peter Watts, The New Space Opera 2
“Events Preceding the Helvetican Renaissance” by John Kessel, The New Space Opera 2
“The Logic of the World” by Robert Kelly, Conjunctions 52
“The Endangered Camp” by Ann Leckie, Clockwork Phoenix
“Sylgarmo's Proclamation” by Lucius Shepard, Songs of the Dying Earth
“Three Twilight Tales” by Jo Walton, Firebirds Soaring
“Necroflux Day” by John Meaney, The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction 3
“This Peaceable Land; or, The Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beecher Stowe” by Robert Charles Wilson, Other Earths
“Technicolor” by John Langan, Poe
“Eros, Philia, Agape” by Rachel Swirksy,
“A Painter, a Sheep, and a Boa Constrictor” by Nir Yaniv, Shimmer 10
“Catalog” by Eugene Mirabelli, F&SF, February
“Glister” by Dominic Green, Interzone, August
“On the Human Plan” by Jay Lake, Lone Star Stories, February
“Dragon's Teeth” by Alex Irvine, F&SF, December
“The Radiant Car Thy Sparrows Drew” by Catherynne M. Valente, Clarkesworld, August
“The Qualia Engine” by Damien Broderick, Asimov's, April-May
“The Long Cold Goodbye” by Holly Phillips, Asimov's, March
“Wife-Stealing Time” by R. Garcia y Robertson, Asimov's, November
“As Women Fight” by Sara Genge, Asimov's, October-November
“Images of Anna” by Nancy Kress, Fantasy, September 14
“Mongoose” by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear, Lovecraft Unbound
“Crimes and Glory” by Paul McAuley, Subterranean, Spring “Living Curiousities” by Margo Lanagan, Sideshow
“The Death of Sugar Daddy” by Toiya Kristen Finlay, Electric Velocipede, Spring
“Bespoke” by Genevieve Valentine, Strange Horizons, July 27
“The Persistence of Memory; or, This Space for Sale” by Paul Park, Postscripts 20/21

Original posting, with inside links to the stories that are online, is at Sean Wallace's LiveJournal.

Dec 18, 2009

Titles...and an Anthology

Me and a whole bunch of other folks talk about titles--good and bad, lost and found, imposed and abandoned--with Shawn Speakman over on Suvudu.

On his blog, Marty Halpern has some interesting stuff about the Fermi Paradox and his and Nick Gevers' Fermi-themed anthology Is Anybody Out There?, in which I am very pleased to be included. My story is called "The Word He Was Looking for Was Hello." The book will be out from DAW in June; a complete TOC with story notes is part of the abovementioned blog post.

Dec 15, 2009

Filipino Comic Artists Take Care of Their Own

Nice USA Today article here, with this group of images:

Apart from the fact that this is a most laudable project, one of those guys is drawing my next Marvel project...wish I could say who, but not yet.

DaMarcus Beasley Rises from the Dead

What a goal.

Maybe he's going to remember how to play soccer in time to make the final 23 for South Africa...

Dec 9, 2009

Your Day in Genre Taxonomy and Premature Elegy

N.K. Jemisin, guest-blogging over at VanderMeer's Ecstatic Days, suggests a binary division within urban fantasy. (My .02, given in short form in the comments, is that both of her suggested subspecies de-emphasize the essential nature of the mode, which is the re-creation of the experience of the urban as something fantastical in nature. I wrote an article about this that will show up in a Cambridge UP book Farah Mendlesohn edited, maybe sometime next year.)

Also, the most recent prediction that SF is dying comes from Mark Charan Newton. Hasn't SF been dying (because of women's predominance in the book-buying marketplace/accelerating technological change/the rise of fantasy/the usurpation of central SF tropes by literary writers/whatever else) for decades now? Like, since the 50s? I remember once having a conversation with a professor of mine at the University of Denver. I mentioned doing some writing about SF and he said, "Huh. Science fiction. Is that still a going thing?" Not in a dismissive way--we talked afterward about some SF that he liked--but in the way of someone convinced that SF had once been interesting and now wasn't any more.

It was ever thus...SF has been dying since the moment it was born. Newton follows up here... some interesting stuff in the comments.

Dec 8, 2009

Mighty Cool Dash Shaw Web Series

Episode 1 of The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD:

Maybe the Dumbest Thing an Agent Said This Week

From Galleycat: "In Virginia Woolf's day, you just sent in your manuscript and it was published, no questions asked."

Riiiiiight. This insight coming to you from the literary historian who gave us Alec Baldwin's A Promise to Ourselves.

Free Story

Good people of the internet, you can read my story (novelette, if you want to get technical) "Wizard's Six" at the F&SF web site. Its younger sibling "Dragon's Teeth" appeared in the December 2009 issue of that illustrious magazine and is shortly to reappear in a couple of best-of-2009 anthologies...

At the bottom of each of the story's three pages you will note subscription buttons. Use them. It's the holidays!

Dec 3, 2009

Space beer!


Video at Huffington Post, allegedly...but I can't get it to play.

Also in the Telegraph, a woman who has had plastic surgery to look like Jessica Rabbit.

Dec 1, 2009

The Evidence Is Six Years Old...

...but it proves fairly conclusively that Terry Goodkind thinks you are an idiot. What amazing condescension toward the people who have made him rich (not to mention the other writers of whose work his novels are so transparently derivative).

(via Ansible)

Nov 26, 2009

Clint Dempsey Scores Two

Happy Thanksgiving, Clint--the first one's a tap-in but man, the turn on the second was something else. Watch this:

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

Nov 24, 2009

The One Word That Checkmates Intelligent Design


Before I get to that (you probably already know what it is), some random notes of literary and/or scientific interest:

Flannery O'Connor's Complete Stories wins the National Book Award of National Book Awards (sort of the way Rushdie's Midnight's Children won the Booker of Bookers a few years back).

In a development whose irony he himself would have appreciated, profanity filters screen out the surname of a certain Philip K.

Evidence mounts for the existence of a large ocean in Mars' past.

Scrotum. That's the word...or is it? Maybe not, suggests an article in Scientific American. Does this mean we have to take ID seriously, now that the scrotum makes sense?


Nov 23, 2009

Untold Adventures!

io9 has a cool rundown of the history of the tie-in novel, marred only by the fact that it doesn't mention me.

Nov 22, 2009

Daredevil Noir Premiere Hardcover

Amazon still says it's not out yet, but well-informed sources indicate otherwise.

That Dennis Calero cover is purty, isn't it? And Tomm Coker's interior art (of which you can see samples here, among other places) is beautiful. Hie ye to your Local Comic Shop and check it out.

Nov 18, 2009

If France Plays Algeria in the World Cup...

Because of this abominable series of actions (on Thierry Henry's part) and inactions (on the part of the officiating crew who missed two handballs and a clear offsides), France is in the World Cup.

Because of their gutty playoff win against Egypt in Egypt's favored neutral site in the Sudan, Algeria is in the World Cup too.

What if they play each other? Wars, massacres, the legacy of colonialism, repression, current racial tensions in France's larger cities, the ghosts of Algerian-born French players from Zidane all the way back to Villaplane...all of it adds up to what would be maybe the most politically fraught World Cup matchup in the history of the tournament. Other contenders would be West Germany's 1-0 loss to East Germany in 1974, Argentina-England in '86...I'm sure there are plenty of others from the Cold War era that I'm not coming up with off the top of my head. For homerish reasons I should probably also mention US-Iran in 1998, but the memories of that one still rankle. So pretend I didn't mention it.

Part of me hopes that FIFA, which is commonly assumed to rig its World Cup group assignments, makes this match happen. Mostly because I want France to go down in flaming humiliation after the way they got to the Cup.

2010: Anno Iron Man (For Me, Anyway)

In this upcoming World Cup year, I have (in addition to a bunch of other stuff including D&D and Transformers novels, as well as original stories) three Iron Man projects coming out. First comes Iron Man: Virus, coming at the end of January:

In the clear blue skies above Long Island, two airplanes collide. Tony Stark watches the scene in horror and wishes he had the technology that is almost within his reach—a new hyperintelligent instant control system that could have given the aircraft advance warning. But Stark, an obsessive, increasingly troubled recluse, doesn’t know that his invention has been compromised.

In fact, the collision was a carefully crafted hit on Madame Hydra, the final stage in Arnim Zola’s plan to seize control of HYDRA and get rid of Iron Man once and for all. The cunning adversary has already infiltrated Stark Industries security to develop a version of the instant control mechanism that will take over the armored suit and turn it against Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. While Tony races to track down the source of the intrusion, Zola unleashes direly ingenious computer viruses and the ultimate secret weapon: a murderous clone army based on Stark’s most trusted friend. A puppet master of self-replicating terror, Zola is plunging a city into a war that threatens to consume all in its wake.

After that, there's the novelization of Iron Man 2, which will appear around the time the movie comes out (which is supposed to be May 7; it's going to be cool, and you can see various clips and trailers here). I'm just putting the finishing touches on that now.

Also, beginning (I think) in the fall, comes a third project--this one a comic that I'm not supposed to say much about yet. But it's going to be sweet. I just started seeing some art. More as I can tell it...

Nov 17, 2009

Soccer Players and Totalitarianism

For a while I was convinced that the story of Joe Gaetjens, who scored the only goal in the US' famous 1-0 victory over England at the 1950 World Cup and then later died at the hands of Papa Doc Duvalier and/or the Tonton Macoutes, was just about the most interesting soccer biography around.

But this Guardian remembrance of Algerian (pied noir?) French soccer pioneer-turned-savage Nazi collaborator is really something else. Meet Alex Villaplane.

Batman: Inferno Audiobook

I haven't listened to the whole thing yet, but this audio version of Batman: Inferno is a blast so far. Makes the commute fly by; if you don't believe me, listen to a sample. (Also kind of makes me want to write other Batman stuff, especially if I get to play with the Joker again...)

Nov 16, 2009

Cormac McCarthy's Understanding of Short Fiction Is Kind of Different Than Mine

In this conversation with the Wall Street Journal (mostly about the upcoming movie based on his novel The Road*), Cormac McCarthy says, "I'm not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing."

I don't know about you, but I read that part and immediately thought about all of the short stories I've worked on over years of my life, and by which I have been driven to (if not suicide) maddened distraction. And then I thought, Yeesh. McCarthy, you don't know nothing about short stories.

The Road is a fine, fine book, though. I'm not sure I want to see the movie because I fear that all of the greatness of the book might be invisible to film as a medium.

*But he also talks about being the 76-year-old-father of an 11-year-old son, which made me think that he should be reading Marilynne Robinson's Gilead, if he hasn't already.

Nov 13, 2009

Tie-In Fiction, Orphaned Books, Sick Prisoners, Etc.

Over at Jeff VanderMeer's Ecstatic Days, there was an interesting conversation about genre and tie-in fiction. As someone who has written quite a bit of both, I found the points raised both familiar and interesting all over again. Here's one, about the number of prominent writers of original stuff who have also worked in tie-ins:
I guess what a lot of readers don’t know is that high-profile authors of original fiction have written tie-in work in the past. Christopher Priest (of The Prestige fame) wrote a tie-in novel to accompany the David Cronenberg movie eXistenZ. World Fantasy Award winner Robert Holdstock has written tie-in fiction. James Blish novelised Star Trek. Jack Yeovil was a pseudonym of Kim Newman, who wrote many well-received Warhammer books. The list goes on...

I would add Liz Hand, Brian Evenson, Tod Goldberg (and VanderMeer himself)... And, of course, me. Evenson and Goldberg are of particular interest, perhaps, since they come from a more literary background. Could tie-in fiction be achieving a sort of respectability, at least as a valid place for respectable writers to go play? Developing...

More publishing self-reflection from Jeff Rivera at GalleyCat in this post about orphaned books. My first novel, A Scattering of Jades, was orphaned twice at Tor. Looking back on it, I think this had quite an effect on the next several years of my career as a novelist.

In other news, "Prison health care costs rise as inmates get older and sicker." This, you will perhaps recall, is one of the cost pressures that got people thinking about life-term buyouts in a recent Stan Robinson said the other day in the Guardian (and others have said before him), we're living science fiction right now. It'll be interesting to see how that affects the genre itself. (Although it could be argued that any culture that survives into a future imagined by an earlier generation of that culture is, in a sense, living science fiction. So from that perspective the idea of "living science fiction" is kind of obvious and meaningless insofar as it basically means "existing for more than a couple of generations beyond the invention of a literature interested in technological progress and influence." That's an argument for another time.)

Speaking of Stan Robinson, I'm dying to read Galileo's Dream.

Nov 10, 2009

Thus I Thwart the Gods of Irony

I walk to the computer store intending to buy new headphones. I pause outside the door of the computer store, certain that if I buy new headphones I will immediately find my old headphones. I walk away from the computer store, putting my hand in my coat pocket. In my coat pocket I discover my headphones. True story.

Nov 9, 2009

Big Fire from Small Meteor

Apparently the meteor that caused this bolide was only the size of a tricycle. Kind of amazing that five cameras just happened to be pointing at that part of the sky...

Nov 4, 2009

My Public School Gay Sex Indoctrination

One of the primary reasons given for their opposition to marriage equality by the 53% of the Maine electorate who voted yes on Question 1 yesterday was the boogeyman of gay marriage being taught in school as part of a larger effort on the part of those conniving 'mos to indoctrinate our innocent offspring. This is of course despicable fearmongering, but it also got me thinking about an event that took place waaayyy back in the misty fall of 1981, when even Liberace was still pretending to be straight.

I was in my 8th-grade algebra class at West Middle School in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where between intense Rubik's Cube competitions with Calin Pintilie I was reading a book called Bored of the Rings, a deliciously vulgar little spoof on Tolkien's masterpiece done by the editors and cronies of the Harvard Lampoon (whose magazine we all used to covet for its inevitable topless shot somewhere toward the back).

The main character of the early part of Bored of the Rings is none other than Dildo Bugger. One day after lunch (algebra happened after lunch) I was reading a funny bit from the book to my algebra teacher, a witty but mercurial Vietnam vet we'll call Mr. G. Another student was in the room, I forget who, and he laughed at one point when I said Dildo's name. I stopped because I didn't get the joke. Mr. G looked at me and said, "Do you know what his name means?"

I said no.

Mr. G explained what a dildo was, first noting women's uses for them and then adding, "and gay men like to stick them in their boodie holes." (This was how we spelled 'booty' in Ypsi then.)

Huh, I thought. People do that?

And then I forgot all about it, because Bored of the Rings was funny as hell to my nerdy 12-year-old self and that was far from the best joke in it. (My favorite, I think, is either the footnote in which it is asserted that a great historical deed was done by "either King Arglebargle IV or somebody else" or the character of Tim Benzedrine.)

I see now, of course, that not only the National Lampoon, but Harvard University itself--and of course Mr. G and the entire teaching profession--were trying to indoctrinate me, nay bamboozle me, nay seduce me on the spot!

It's a miracle I survived.

Or did I? Twenty-eight years later, I have become that thing most devoutly to be feared...a teacher.

Nov 3, 2009

Txtmsgsp33k and 50s Poetry

See, what I'm wondering is how come people are reinventing the language for the channels of SMS and Twitter when all you need to do is look at the correspondence between, say, Olson and Creeley to note that a perfect shorthand was already there? I will always prefer 'yr' to 'ur.' Just saying.

Oct 15, 2009

This and That, with Extra Ultraman

These are some interesting things I saw today between teaching and working on final revisions on the novelization of Iron Man 2.

In the LA Times' Hero Complex blog, Tim Powers talks about the optioning of On Stranger Tides for use in the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

A biologist has found a way to put small animals in a sort of suspended animation by poisoning them.

If you're in New York City tomorrow, you can go see naked girls reading banned books.

And Japan's recently ex-premier Koizumi has reaped the most excellent benefit a former officeholder could imagine: a prime voiceover role in the next Ultraman movie.

Oct 2, 2009

New Archive for Old Sci Fiction

I saw someone tweeting about this and now cannot remember who, but the upshot is that Sci Fiction, the most excellent online original (and classic reprint) fiction venue edited by the most excellent Ellen Datlow from 2000-2005, is now archived here. This means that you can again find all kinds of outstanding short fiction that has been sadly absent for a while. (Or at least I had a hard time tracking it down.)

Among those stories are two of my own, "Volunteers" and "Jimmy Guang's House of Gladmech."

And if that doesn't satisfy your appetite for free online Irvine short fiction, you can find more listed here (although they include neither this story nor this one, perhaps because neither are SF).

Tough Choice

The National Book Foundation wants you to vote on the best work of National Book Award-winning fiction. Quite a slate, with the following authors having made the final ballot:

Only two of the finalists are novels, interestingly, so you're either voting for a career or a single work depending on which author you choose. This would cause a problem for me if I was under any illusion that my vote would make a difference...although I'm still going to vote on the off chance that I win some tix to the NBA banquet.

Sep 24, 2009

At Last, Cryptozoology Enthusiasts Have a Place to Go

Noted cryptozoologist Loren Coleman happens to live in Portland, Maine, and with the help of various partners and volunteers it appears that he is opening the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland on November 1. The logo:

The space is on Congress Street right near Coast City Comics, the Fun Box Monster Emporium, and Strange Maine. It'll fit right in. I, for one, am planning to be there on opening day.

Sep 23, 2009

Time Inc. Discovers Detroit

A recent series of stories in Time, CNNMoney, and Sports Illustrated focuses on the city that built the American middle class. Check out The Detroit Blog and SI's Assignment Detroit--which has articles from the other two magazines as well.

Kind of nice to see someone treat Detroit like it's a real place.

Sep 21, 2009

Tigers, Tigers...

...are free of the Metrodome! Hosanna. I hated that place. Hated everything about it (including the way those conniving Twins would turn up the blowers at the outfield fences during the away teams' at-bats in the late innings of close games. Don't deny it, Twins. You know you did it).

When they dynamite the Metrodome, it will exorcise any number of horrible memories. I'm sort of glad the Tigers' last game there was a win. It's a small refutation of the occult influence that monstrosity had over Detroit baseball for the last 40 years.

Speaking of demolitions: on a sadder note, the last bits of Tiger Stadium are apparently gone, or about to be. Here's a neat video taken from an RC plane last summer, when the demolition was in process:

Jedi Discrimination

So this guy, see, who has founded an international Jedi religion, see...he claims Tesco discriminated against him when they wouldn't let him wear his hood out in public. He also claims that Jedi have to wear their hoods in public, and has made noises about suing them. But! The best part of this story is Tesco's utterly deadpan takedown in response. You have to read through to the end to get it.

Sep 16, 2009

A Primo Takedown of Derek Jeter-olatry the guys who once did Fire Joe Morgan, one of the funniest sports blogs there ever was. Now they've (briefly) reunited to run some stuff out there for Deadspin (which is also funny but not as funny as FJM was). You must read this. I've got nothing against Jeter, who is a terrific player, but the way people write about him...I'll say it again. You must read this.

Also, fire up your alternate-history scenarios: JRR Tolkien trained to be a codebreaker before WWII.

Also also: Mark Helprin writes really good books but is kind of a dick.

Now back to writing.

Is There a Snake with *Two* Feet Somewhere?

Pictures like this one, and the accompanying Telegraph article, get you thinking...

Sep 14, 2009

Bilious Comment of the Day

Dear People Who Constantly Moan and Groan About How Full Your Inboxes Are:

You know we can all tell that this is your passive-aggressive way of letting us know how important you are, right?

Protests Bring Out the Best in Americans

Sep 12, 2009

Roundup of New and Forthcoming Stuff, Plus Links of Interest

Looks like I'll have not one, but two Iron Man novels coming out next year. One, Iron Man: Virus, is due out in January; the other will be the novelization of the Iron Man 2 movie. I'm guessing it will show up sometime near the movie's May 7 release date. This is my first novelization (other than a killed-at-the-last-minute novelization of The Beast that Sean Stewart and I wrote back in 2001); it's a blast so far. (And no, I can't tell you anything about the script.)

On the short story front, "Dragon's Teeth"--a sort-of prequel to "Wizard's Six"--is due out soon in F&SF, where I've also got another story, "Remotest Mansions of the Blood," waiting in the wings. "The Dream Curator" will lead off Postscripts 20/21, which will also include stories by...well, looking at the PS Publishing website, I see the lineup isn't announced yet, so I'll keep my mouth shut. But it's going to be a treat.

And reviews of Buyout continue to appear. Fantasy Magazine:
What matters in Buyout is the increasingly frantic collision of morals and beliefs into one another, until a crescendo of an ending the simultaneously denigrates and exalts the notion of an absolute credo.

And Green Man Review had this to say:
I was at a loss on how to place this book -- everything needs some kind of context -- but I eventually remembered one of the classics of science fiction's Golden Age, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, two of the period's great satirists. Buyout is the same order of beast, bitter, Swiftian satire, loaded and pointed right at us.

Aug 11, 2009

Thought of the Day and Bad Astronomy

From David Mitchell, in the Guardian: "The media like nothing more than to be contrarian about their own manufactured consensus on which the paint is still not dry..." The best part is that he's talking about a survey in which women are alleged to have professed a preference for guys who are a little bit overweight and smell like beer. Casual brilliance, in the way that a newspaper column allows you to be casually brilliant if you are capable of it in the first place.

Also, if you're not stopping by the Bad Astronomy blog at, you really should be.

Aug 7, 2009

Pynchon Sells Out

Not really. At least, Inherent Vice isn't any kind of sellout. I refer, of course, to the question of whether the great man himself broke his self-imposed silence by narrating this book trailer. I kind of hope he did.

The book is pretty good, I think. It traces a lot of the same trajectories as Vineland and Lot 49, but in a much less thinky way. It's almost as if Pynchon, in his seventies, has decided to leave the coming generations of readers with a book that will serve as a zippy, fun gateway drug leading to the rest of his oeuvre.

Aug 4, 2009

Comic Book Club

I regret and apologize for the lengthy hiatus. To get everyone back up to speed and encourage them to healthful activities tomorrow night, I will note that I am going to be the August 4 guest at the Comic Book Club at the Peoples Improv Theater in NYC, hosted by Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage. I'm not sure what I'm in for, but whatever it is will happen tomorrow, August 4th, in the evening, on 29th Street between 6th and 7th. Hope to see you there in the live audience that has the chance to pepper me with unanswerable questions in between the gibes and sallies of the show's hosts. Topics sure to arise include Daredevil Noir, Buyout, the writing of comic books, and an enrapturing blend of pop-cultural and comic-book-related conversational moments. If you've listened to the show's podcast, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, stop by tomorrow night or catch the podcast. See you there...

Jul 22, 2009

From Paris to San Diego...

I'll have to post some pictures from Paris one of these days. Because I am a formidable genius, I forgot my camera's USB cable so will have 17 days' and 9 time zones' worth of photos on it by the time I get home on the 31st.

My Comic-Con schedule:

Thursday 12:30 Crime, Usual and Unusual panel (Room 3) -- signing to follow (AA1)
Saturday 10:00 Signing at the Marvel booth, wherever that is

I'm assuming other stuff will come up as well. It usually does.

A couple of other things:

The Daredevil Noir: Liar's Poker TPB is now available for preorder at Amazon and elsewhere.

The NYT Magazine had a terrific article on Jack Vance last week.

Looking down on Greenland is one of the best things that can happen on an airplane.

Jul 13, 2009

Thursday SDCC Panel

This is what I'll be up to on Thursday at Comic-Con:

12:30-1:30 Crime: Usual and Unusual— The heart of crime fiction is a crime committed against people or institutions—but the range of subgenres is diverse and fascinating. Panelists: Max Allan Collins (The Goliath Bone), Jeffrey J. Mariotte (Cold Black Hearts), Alexander Irvine (Buyout), Gregg Hurwitz (Trust No One), Thomas Greanias (The Atlantis Revelation), and Kat Richardson (Vanished) cover traditional mysteries, espionage, paranormal mystery, and more. Moderator: Maryelizabeth Hart, Mysterious Galaxy. Room 3

Signing to follow. The rest of the schedule is still shaping up. See you there.

Jul 10, 2009

New Story Up at Subterranean

My story "Eagleburger's Lawn," a comic meditation on weddings and our obsession with manicured grass, is now up at Subterranean. The issue also offers an interview by Joe Lansdale with two of his most famous fictional creations, Hap and Leonard. Check it out.

Jul 2, 2009

Free Sample of Mystery Hill from PS

Over at PS Publishing, there are a host of free samples, including one from Mystery Hill (which is expanded from the version that appeared in F&SF last year). SF Signal has the list of the other available samples. I'm off to check them out.

And by the way, I've got another novella coming from PS sometime next year (I think). It's called Mare Ultima, and is a substantial expansion of two stories from F&SF--"Wizard's Six" and "Dragon's Teeth" (the latter forthcoming).

New Initiatives at F&SF

Recently F&SF editor Gordon Van Gelder announced that the magazine is going to create an online workshop, run by Gardner Dozois, with the aim of nurturing new writers.

For the record, I think Gordon has taken a lot of undeserved heat about the number of new writers breaking into the magazine. (I would say that, though; my first sale, "Rossetti Song," was to F&SF, in 2000.) Even so, this workshop initiative might pay some interesting dividends. There's been some controversy over the fact that the workshop will charge to join, but do people think that everyone at the magazine (plus Gardner) is just going to donate time to run the whole thing?

Gordon also notes the magazine's new website address, -- if you go to the old one, apparently you'll find a fishing magazine.

Jul 1, 2009

Happy New Comics Day

Daredevil Noir #4 is out, concluding my dalliance with The Man Without Fear. These are the issue's two covers, by Tomm Coker and Dennis Calero. (Update: forgot to include this early (p)review by Comics Bulletin's Dave Wallace.)

Jun 30, 2009

Dear Olympia Snowe

You are my favorite of my adopted state's two senators. This makes me bang my head on the desk when you say something like this:

In an Associated Press interview in Portland, Snowe said it would be unfair to include a government-run health insurance option that would take effect immediately.

"If you establish a public option at the forefront that goes head-to-head and competes with the private health insurance market ... the public option will have significant price advantages," she said.

See, an industry which has doubled its premiums over the last 10 years...

... while increasing profits by 428 percent and creating monopoly conditions for 94 percent of consumers maybe needs competition with a "price advantage" to keep it from ripping us off more than it already has.

Sincerely yours,

A constituent

(image from the WSJ online; quote clipped from the Baltimore Sun)

Jun 29, 2009

Dear Alice Hoffman


Well, that is...

Nevermind. Ron Hogan said it better than I could have. So did Beau Dure.

You ought to be ashamed of yourself.


A fellow writer

Jun 28, 2009

1-800-AUTOPSY: Notes Toward a Michael Jackson Essay I'll Never Write

This line from the morning's main Michael Jackson story on CNN caught my attention: "Vidal Herrera, founder of 1-800-AUTOPSY..."

In addition to being probably the best thing that happened to that CNN stringer all day, this sentence provoked in me a strange reaction, which was: Of course Jackson's family got in touch with a place called 1-800-AUTOPSY. How could it be any other way?

That reaction told me something, I think, about the place that Michael Jackson had come to occupy in a certain part of our cultural collective unconscious. By the time of his death he had become the one celebrity who could virtually be counted on for headline-grabbing weirdness so outrageous that Jackson himself became a byword for headline-grabbing weirdness. Each weirdness--the surgeries, Neverland, the costumes, the children--topped the last in such a way that tempts the observer to suggest that Jackson got stranger and stranger because he was never going to top Thriller and had too many years to live in the shadow of his greatest creation.

He had become not just a parody of himself--plenty of celebrities become that--and not just a parodic exemplar of the child star who could never grow up, but the parodic exemplar of everything that can go wrong with wealth, fame, stardom, and enormous talent that manifests too soon. He was the racial-barrier-destroying performer (who ever would have thought MTV needed to be integrated?) who could never get comfortable in his own skin, and the steelworker's child who died with hundreds of millions of dollars in both debts and assets.

He was Peter Pan, Horatio Alger, Elvis, and Howard Hughes all wrapped in one.

Plus he was black, at least at the beginning. ("I thought black was supposed to be beautiful," scoffed my grandmother in about 1992, when Jackson's hair had become straighter, his face more angular, his skin paler.)

Plus his sexuality was questionable. (Q: What did they find in Boy George's closet? A: Michael Jackson's other glove. This was one of the most common jokes heard in my 9th-grade lunchroom. Then it became a kind of meme, where you could suggest that someone was gay by implying that he knew the location of Michael Jackson's other glove. But we all learned how to moonwalk, too.)

If there was ever a perfect focal point for all of America's stories about itself, and the people it likes, and the people it doesn't like, and its obsession with figuring out why it likes and doesn't like those people, and its obsession with diagnosing and anatomizing its obsession with figuring...that was Michael Jackson. He was a field onto which America's post-Vietnam/Woodstock/MLK/RFK/Malcolm/bra-burning/Apollo 11/Stonewall cultural psyche could project all of its tensions, and because he was such an obliging performer (his father taught him that, if nothing else), he played them out for us. If he had not existed, we would have had to invent him--and in a sense, we did.

It was always going to be too much for one man to handle.

Jun 26, 2009

Lettered Preview of Daredevil Noir #4 at CBR

Morning Media Menu Podcast

Just now on Mediabistro's Morning Media Menu podcast, Galleycat's Jason Boog, FishbowlNY's Amanda Ernst, and I had a fun conversation. Topics included but were not limited to: the possible (now certain) effect of Michael Jackson's death on a certain scene in Bruno; what kind of Michael Jackson Michael Jackson is going to be now that he's dead; Amanda's scoop about (possibly inadvertent) plagiarism in Wired editor Chris Anderson's new book; the changing ecology of book reviewing; and Buyout.

Tunguska Mystery Solved?

Maybe so, according to this article about new work that fingers a small comet as the culprit. Another article from Cornell with a link to the original paper is here.

Jun 25, 2009

Sky Sports Report on US-Spain, with Highlights

In case you missed the game and the highlights everywhere else...

The King is Dead

Analog Reviews Buyout

This is a bit of a surprise (a pleasant one). Analog, that venerable bastion of the genre, reviews Buyout in this month's Reference Library column. There are also interesting thoughts about new books from Rudy Rucker (with whom I apparently share a birthday) and Alan Dean Foster.

And in case you missed it because my blog feed was screwed up earlier this week, here's the Strange Horizons review that appeared on Monday.

Greetings, Watery Brethren of Enceladus

Today's Independent has an article about the intriguing possibilities for organic chemistry beneath the icy surface of Saturn's moon Enceladus.

Jun 20, 2009

The Smartest Thing Anyone Will Have Already Said Tomorrow

David Mitchell, in the Guardian:
But any self-sacrifice feels to us westerners like tyranny. We're not ready for it. Our evolution into apex individualists has superbly attuned us to injustices against us while atrophying our awareness of the vastly greater number that work in our favour.

Read the rest.

A Salute to Our 'First Nerd'

Hodgman to Obama:

Jun 18, 2009

Buyout, Capital Punishment, and 'Prison Porn'

A couple of days ago I had an excellent conversation with the excellent Matt Staggs of Enter the Octopus (and other literary endeavors too numerous to count).

To the Moon!

Time has a piece today on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and future plans for the moon. Test flights of manned lunar spacecraft by 2015? Sweet. I look forward to celebrating my retirement with a vacation on the Sea of Nectars.

Jun 17, 2009

Thoughts About Book Reviews Provoked by GalleyCat

In the video that follows, Flashlight Worthy co-founder Eric Mueller talks to GalleyCat's Jason Boog and has some interesting things to say about the emerging dynamics of book reviews. The old dynamic is certainly moribund, as I have noticed in the weeks since Buyout came out; fewer and fewer of the old standby review outlets are still in the game, and my experience has been that the existing book-publicity infrastructure (which is very good at doing things the way they know how to do them) has not yet adapted to this brave new world. The result? A surprising paucity of reviews. (A couple of notable exceptions being io9 and Bookgasm.) People are reading the book and telling me about it, which is great; I'm still not sure how to get them telling everyone else except to say, "Glad you enjoyed it. Now tell all your friends and everyone you know." This is not always efficient.

Anyway, the aforementioned interesting video follows:

Watch This Movie

Jun 15, 2009

A Couple of Literary Tidbits

Katherine Dunn, author of the most excellent Geek Love, talks to Guernica about boxing and her new book, One Ring Circus.

Over at Omnivoracious, China Mieville unexpectedly declares his admiration for Tolkien.

Farewell, Shaman Drum

Sad news that the Shaman Drum bookstore in Ann Arbor is going to close on June 30. I used to skulk around the store when it was upstairs from the (also now-vanished) Continental Diner, which was next to the original location of Borders. Wish I was going to get back to Ann Arbor before it closes. Good luck to Karl Pohrt with the Great Lakes Literary Arts Center.

And now I'm thinking of all the other places gone from the halcyon A2 of my youth: Schoolkids Records, Drake's, Mickey Rat's...the list goes on and on.

Jun 14, 2009

If You're Patient, Someone Will Say It for You

I was trying to figure out what to think about Bruce Sterling's recent "Eighteen Challenges in Contemporary Literature," and then Mark Sarvas came along with this:
Wired's Bruce Sterling offers a list of Eighteen Challenges in Contemporary Literature, some of which are sensible, others of which - like this one - are, well ... Step away from the computer, Bruce.

By "this one," Sarvas means:
Algorithms and social media replacing work of editors and publishing houses ...


Two Videos of Unexpected Virtuosity

A young Japanese girl displays her talents on the organ, playing "YYZ" and "Carry On, My Wayward Son." This is genuinely amazing.

Jun 3, 2009

Han Solo P.I.

This from EW's PopWatch blog is transcendently awesome.

If your memories of Magnum P.I.'s opening credits are fuzzy, you can go to the PopWatch entry to see a side-by-side video of both the original and the outstanding Daily What mashup.

A Long Sentence About Arson

I'm just waiting for whoever torched the topless coffee shop in Vassalboro, Maine (yes, there was one), putting seven lives at risk and forcing eight people to put their shirts back on so they can stand in the unemployment line, to reveal that he was inspired by the recent revisiting of abortion-clinic vandalism in the news.

Jun 2, 2009


Oh no! Sports Illustrated has the Wings on their cover this week. Why couldn't you wait another week, SI? Why?

Daredevil Noir #3 Preview

Seven pages, plus both covers. From CBR:

Jun 1, 2009

In Which Alain de Botton Informs Me That Nobody Is Doing the Thing That I've Been Doing for the Last 10 Years

In Sunday's Boston Globe, Alain de Botton says that "It's Time for an Ambitions New Literature of the Workplace," and laments that today's writers have stayed away from the office and thereby betrayed the legacy of the 19th-century greats:

It used to be a central ambition of novelists to capture the experience of working life. From Balzac to Zola, Dickens to Kafka, they evoked the dynamism and the beauty, the horror and the tedium of the workplace. Their books covered the same territory as is today featured at copious length in the financial pages of newspapers or in the breathless commentaries of the 24-hour newscasters, but their interest was not primarily financial. The goal was to convey the human side of commerce, where money is only one actor in a complex drama about our ambitions and reversals.

Yet today's writers seem to be losing their nerve. There has been an unfortunate inward turn. Attention, brilliant though it might be, too often falls merely on the domestic and the natural.

He goes on to suggest (I'm paraphrasing broadly) that one reason for this is writers' lack of job experience. Blame the workshops, sez I. And I also say: Mr. de Botton, there are a great many of us writers out here in the world who have had many and varied jobs and devote much of our creative energy to writing about work and how it interacts with other aspects of intellectual and emotional life.

However, I don't think it's entirely off the mark to suggest that the creme de la literary establishment isn't writing about work, but I would suggest that...well, this is where I would embark on a screed about literary backscratching and the pernicious influence of MFA-workshop mafias. Since lots of other people have already done that, I'll stick to a point of de Botton's that seems to me most germane: writers often don't work, and many of them never have. It's not that they couldn't write about work, it's that work isn't part of their experience (or, often, part of the experience of the people who taught them in their MFA workshops), so a kind of Brahmin literary culture has emerged in which the occasional appearance of an honest portrayal of working life draws surprised accolades. de Botton notes this:

When a new writer like Joshua Ferris does finally devote a novel to tracking the antics inside a corporation, the critical reaction is peculiar and telling: he attracts renown and praise for his courage in tackling the fresh and entirely unexpected subject matter of going to the office.

Here's where I want to point out again that there is a rich and varied literature of contemporary work. (The abovementioned Joshua Ferris, in fact, writes interestingly on the topic in this Guardian article.) I'm going to use myself as an example, since this is a blog and therefore my forum for self-aggrandizement. I quit counting a while back, but at one point I totaled up all of the places that had ever cut me a paycheck (for something other than writing) and it was about three dozen. I have:

flipped burgers
stocked shelves
waited tables (once, for a few months, on roller skates)
made pizzas
baked doughnuts
sold shoes, suits, electronics, books, bulk foods
driven a truck
worked as a courier
loaded trucks
acted in touring children's theater
clerked in liquor stores
taught high school
researched markets for a software company
processed mortgage applications
temped in a variety of cubicles

And some other things that I'm forgetting (or suppressing). So I write about work all the time. Often I can't really get a piece started until I've figured out what the characters do for a living. Of the forty-odd short stories I've published, I'm going to guess that at least half are about work in some way; same goes for Buyout, The Narrows, Mystery Hill...

So Alain de Botton, it is still "a central ambition of novelists to capture the experience of working life"--just not the novelists who are winning the Booker or getting on your reading lists. Maybe instead of an ambitious new literary movement, what we really need is an ambitious broadening of horizons on the part of literary taste-makers.


So let me get this straight. Environmentalists who set fires (and don't hurt anybody) as part of monkeywrenching campaigns get longer prison sentences than your average murderer,* and are called terrorists. But when an anti-abortion wingnut kills a doctor in his church in an avowed effort to scare other people who provide abortions, he's...

Right. He's a terrorist. As are all of the other "pro-life" wingnuts who have bombed clinics and shot doctors before. So why isn't he being referred to as such? Why isn't all of Operation Rescue on a terrorist watch list, the way nuns who protest nuclear arms are? (The answers to that question, I hope, are obvious. I just couldn't help pointing it out because the whole thing is so disgustingly indicative of the chokehold which evangelical kooks** and their pet issues still have on the mainstream media in this country.)

*Per the Hoover Institute (not a liberal outfit), the average sentence for murder in 2004 was slightly less than 20 years. Marie Mason got 22 for a crime in which nobody was hurt.

**And no, I don't think all evangelicals are kooks. But these particular kooks are evangelicals and there's no use dancing around that fact.

In happier news, go Wings!

May 29, 2009

The Future Disappoints When It Becomes the Present

Today CNN discovers that the future ain't what it used to be. What they don't seem to have noticed is that no future is what it was used to be, because it was never supposed to be that future in any real, predictive sense. Ask any science fiction writer. The key word in the phrase "science fiction future" is fiction. (Futurists are a different breed of cat, but would still, I think, admit they're doing thought experiments rather than concrete predictions.) But I still want a jetpack, and I want teleportation of things more substantial than photons. Stupid future.

In other news, there have been strange melty circles on the ice of Lake Baikal:

(via io9 and xenophilia)

Bach in FAO Schwartz

I love this much more than I ought to.

May 28, 2009

And Wow He Died As Wow He Lived

Over at the Poetry Foundation, GalleyCat's Jason Boog (with whom I gabbed at NYCC earlier this year) has written a fine article, "And Wow He Died As Wow He Lived," about one of American poetry's most undervalued figures, Kenneth Fearing. Check it out. (Also, check out the Complete Poems, published by the University of Maine's own National Poetry Foundation.)

I'm going to go read some Fearing now. I believe I will start with "1-2-3 was the number he played but today the number came 3-2-1," from which the title of Boog's article was taken.

Bookgasm on Buyout

Bookgasm today has a review of Buyout that begins with the sentence "Alexander Irvine is an absolutely unique voice in speculative fiction." I'd hate to spoil the rest.

In other news, go Wings!

May 27, 2009

In Which I Provide a Good Example for My Son


So, it turns out that maybe we've been exterminating exactly the evidence of life that we've sent all those probes to Mars to find. From the New Scientist:
Even if Mars has never had life, comets and asteroids that have struck the planet should have scattered at least some organic molecules - though not produced by life - over its surface.

Some have suggested that organics were cleansed from the surface by naturally occurring, highly reactive chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide. Then last year, NASA's Phoenix lander, which also failed to detect organics on Mars, stumbled on something in the Martian soil that may have, in effect, been hiding the organics: a class of chemicals called perchlorates.

At low temperatures, perchlorates are relatively harmless. But when heated to hundreds of degrees Celsius they release a lot of oxygen, which tends to cause any nearby combustible material to burn. For that very reason, perchlorates are used in rocket propulsion.

The Phoenix and Viking landers looked for organic molecules by heating soil samples to similarly high temperatures to evaporate them and analyse them in gas form. When Douglas Ming of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and colleagues tried heating organics and perchlorates like this on Earth, the resulting combustion left no trace of organics behind.

Never underestimate the human ability to miss the glaringly obvious. One of the most interesting things about the history of science is the number of discoveries and breakthroughs that arrive decades or centuries later than they might have because the best and brightest couldn't see a solution that (in retrospect, once the problem has been solved) was right in front of them. Why do we figure some things out and not others?

(Note: I'm not saying I would have figured this out any faster than anyone else. But from my armchair perspective, it's fascinating that for 30+ years, it never occurred to anyone that such a reaction among compounds in the Martian soil might be skewing the results...)

Your Daily Irony

Environmental activists charged with littering at a protest over a toxic coal-sludge impoundment in West Virginia.

May 26, 2009

Ooh Ah Cantona

I cannot wait to see this movie "Looking for Eric":

And as a reminder of why a movie with Eric Cantona in it might be so cool, here is a video compilation of some of his greatest goals:

Google Books Buyout Preview

I'm still not sure how I feel about the emergence and current procedures of Google Books, but if you'd like to get a look at an extended chunk of Buyout before you plunk down your hard-earned money, here's the preview. It's almost two-thirds of the book, which initially annoyed me; as I looked through it, though, it seemed that whoever made the decisions about what not to include was fairly respectful about not giving away critical moments. So have a look.

Imaginarium Clip

I want this to be great, but am afeared that it isn't.

May 22, 2009

What My Students Get Up to, Part the Next

In Spring 2008 my Advanced Fiction class did readings of some flash stories and put them online. Why it's taken me a year to link to this, I don't know, but here are those stories. I'm going to do this again this year, I think.

The roster:

Andrew Maxcy - Neck Romantic
Jesse Priest - Asymmetry
Isaac Forbes - Untitled
Kara Cox - To Leap
Mariah Cunningham - Go
Sarah Doucette - Untitled
Ryan Woodward - Untitled
Amanda Johnston - The Reluctance to Sleep
Rachel Holden - Saturday Night
Alyssa Franzosa - Saving the World From Johnnies
Patrick Stanton - Untitled
Paul Goodman - Untitled
Elizabeth Burleson - Walk the Line
Tim Lounder - We Are The Last To Die For Our Mistakes
Ben Goodridge - The Man
Brian Chick - Brain Dead
Eric Carlsen - Untitled
Rick Gower - Untitled

SiDEBAR Interview with Tomm Coker

You've seen his art in Daredevil Noir. Now listen to this cool podcast in which Tomm talks about all kinds of other stuff he's done.

May 20, 2009

io9 on Buyout, Plus Bonus Conjunctions and Harper's

Gawker World Domination Media's SF outpost, the always-interesting io9, takes a look at Buyout and likes what it sees:
For all the drama and high-concept, Buyout is a remarkably understated and thoughtful novel. The story is rife with dark humor but Irvine reserves the sharpest of his satiric barbs for the voice of "Walt Dangerfield", self-appointed Gonzo Journalist/Greek Chorus, whose daily podcasts introduce each chapter and serve as exposition for the world of 2040 at large. At first glance, the cover art reminded me of Richard K. Morgan's very cool Market Forces (I know, I know, don't judge a book...) But you won't find cartoony evil corporations or blockbuster action here. Nor is the technology portrayed much flashier than what we see around us now. Martin wrestles with ethical dilemmas and social issues, not gun-festooned cyborgs. Buyout lacks many of the obvious trappings of a genre novel, but it does what any well-written Science Fiction book should. It makes you think; about life and death, ethics and society, justice and loyalty — and about the cynic and the idealist, and how sometimes they can be the same person. (read the rest)

A couple of other interesting things. The new Conjunctions is called "Betwixt the Between," and follows up on that august journal's "New Wave Fabulists" issue from a few years back. It's advertised as "[p]ostfantasy fictions that begin with the premise that the unfamiliar or liminal really constitutes a solid ground on which to walk." The lineup looks terrific. I can't wait to read it. Plus it ought to give Hal Duncan something else to think about during his extended cogitations about the differences between various genres and modes of narrative.

The current Harper's also dips into literate genre work, with a feature called "My Great Depression: Ten Dispatches from the Near Future." The (eleven) writers of these ten dispatches are Kevin Baker, Thomas de Zengotita, Ruben Bolling, Jamaica Kincaid, Colson Whitehead, Simon Critchley and Tom McCarthy, David Rees, Sherman Alexie, Ben Marcus, and Ben Katchor.

The Guardian on Mystery Hill

Eric Brown thinks you should read it: "Everything about this novella is delightful: its breezy telling, the touching relationship between Ken and Fara, the deadpan humour, the casually fatalistic denouement. Wonderful."

You can check out a sample (and, of course, order the book) at the PS Publishing web site.


This NYT piece reminded me of a takeout place called Jerusalem in Denver, right by DU. We used to eat there all the time, and once a fellow grad student who shall remain nameless bet another grad student (a poet named Gautam Verma) that he couldn't coat his tongue in Sriracha. Gautam did, about a quarter of an inch deep, laughing the whole time...and then this other student who shall remain nameless welshed on the bet. Anyway, go eat at Jerusalem and slather whatever you have with Sriracha.

My favorite bit in the whole article is this: "With the purchase of a nearby warehouse, the company has begun storing its peppers where Wham-O once manufactured those icons of pop culture, Frisbees and Hula-Hoops."

And Gautam, hey, if you're out there drop me a line.

(Yesterday the NYT had this cool piece on eclipse chasers.)