Nov 22, 2010
* Introduction — John Joseph Adams
* The Lottery — Shirley Jackson
* Red Card — S. L. Gilbow
* Ten With a Flag — Joseph Paul Haines
* The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas — Ursula K. Le Guin
* Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment — M. Rickert
* The Funeral — Kate Wilhelm
* O Happy Day! — Geoff Ryman
* Pervert — Charles Coleman Finlay
* From Homogenous to Honey — Neil Gaiman & Bryan Talbot
* Billennium — J. G. Ballard
* Amaryllis — Carrie Vaughn
* Pop Squad — Paolo Bacigalupi
* Auspicious Eggs — James Morrow
* Peter Skilling — Alex Irvine
* The Pedestrian — Ray Bradbury
* The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away — Cory Doctorow
* The Pearl Diver — Caitlín R. Kiernan
* Dead Space for the Unexpected — Geoff Ryman
* “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman — Harlan Ellison®
* Is This Your Day to Join the Revolution? — Genevieve Valentine
* Independence Day — Sarah Langan
* The Lunatics — Kim Stanley Robinson
* Sacrament — Matt Williamson
* The Minority Report — Philip K. Dick
* Just Do It — Heather Lindsley
* Harrison Bergeron — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
* Caught in the Organ Draft — Robert Silverberg
* Geriatric Ward — Orson Scott Card
* Arties Aren’t Stupid — Jeremiah Tolbert
* Jordan’s Waterhammer — Joe Mastroianni
* Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs — Adam-Troy Castro
* Resistance — Tobias S. Buckell
* Civilization — Vylar Kaftan
* For Further Reading — Ross E. Lockhart
Nov 19, 2010
Nov 1, 2010
As for the Republicans—how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and ...provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.
- Letter to C.L. Moore, August 1936 quoted in “H.P. Lovecraft, a Life” by S.T. Joshi, p. 574
(from Mark Tiedemann)
Oct 29, 2010
Now come these pieces in Salon (“Private prison industry helped draft Arizona immigration law”) and on NPR (“Prison Economics Help Drive Ariz. Immigration Law”) about a private corrections company that essentially created new laws in Arizona...to make sure they would have a steady flow of inmates.
Sometimes people expect SF to predict the future. I don’t, and I certainly didn’t predict this. Buyout began as a thought experiment and expanded into what I think is a pretty good novel, but it’s no effort at prediction. To me, it's a story about a guy who thinks he has a chance to do the right thing and get wealthy in the process...and, of course, nothing is ever that simple. It's a story about the rationalizations we live by, and their consequences. (Plus kind of a homage to some of the things I love about Philip K. Dick.) Even so, by the time I finished writing the book, the scenario seemed more real to me than it had when I started. Now, thanks to this Arizona story (and this one about Pennsylvania judges taking kickbacks to funnel youth prisoners to their private-prison cronies), it’s a little more real yet.
Oct 28, 2010
Here's my take.
Here’s the way this plays out. The Reaper comes in low…
…oh, wait. That’s the only way it can com in against Megatron, who’s four times its height.
Um. The Reaper’s claws slash at…
…oh, wait. The Reaper is a prisoner of the Forbidding, sprung so it can kill a bunch of elves on its way to meeting its maker at the hands of Will Ohmsford. Its claws are great against flesh and bone—and even steel—but it’s never come up against alloys that are powerful enough to endure millions of years.
The Reaper shows Megatron its face, which only those about to die ever see…
…oh, wait. Megatron doesn’t have a soul for the Reaper to take. He’s got a Spark instead, which is part of the AllSpark, which is nothing like a soul, really, and what would the Reaper do with it if it got it?
So here’s how it breaks down.
Magic won’t work on Megatron. Fear won’t work on Megatron. The Reaper’s claws would be like the toenails of a gerbil against Megatron’s armored hide.
Killing is what the Reaper was made for…but the Reaper’s creator never imagined it coming up against a thirty-foot-tall sentient mechanical life form whose body is capable of walking away from the impact of a Sidewinder missile. With all due respect to demonic bringers of death and psychopomps everywhere, the Reaper’s bringing claws to a battle where the opponent has a fusion cannon. The Reaper has claws and powerful magic. Megatron has a weapon that essentially fires pieces of stars.
The Reaper’s never seen anything like that in the Forbidding, or even in the hands of Will Ohmsford. I mean, let’s face it. The Blue Elfstones are pretty badass, but they don’t really match up to a portable fusion cannon, now, do they? Megatron can fly. Megatron can turn himself into a tank. The Reaper's got no answer for that.
So where were we? The Reaper come after Megatron, all claws and terror and impending doom, and Megatron vaporizes it where it stands. Then, because he’s Megatron, he looks down at the shreds of the Reaper’s cloak and says…
…you know what he says.
“I STILL FUNCTION!”
Oct 1, 2010
Fri 3-4 Signing at IDW booth #2115
Sat 11-12 Signing at DK booth #2415
Sat 4-5 Signing at Del Rey booth #2122
Sun TBD Signing at DC booth #2243
Could be other things going on too, but if you have stuff you want me to deface, I'll definitely be at the above locations at the above times. (Also, there might be free books at the Del Rey signing...)
See you there!
Sep 7, 2010
Apologies if I've given a different impression...
Sep 3, 2010
September 9: The Murder of King Tut #4
October 13: The Murder of King Tut #5
November 3: Iron Man: The Rapture #1
November 17: Iron Man: The Rapture #2
November: Murder of King Tut collected (I think)
December 7: The Seal of Karga Kul
December: Iron Man: The Rapture #3
January: Iron Man: The Rapture #4
January: Dark Sun: Ianto's Tomb #1 of 5
The Star Wars novel, tentatively titled Mandorla, is now scheduled for December 2011...and there's a lot more in the hopper, dates TBD.
Jul 26, 2010
Jul 17, 2010
10-11 Signing at Del Rey table. Free copies of BUYOUT and IRON MAN: VIRUS!
11-12 Signing with fellow MURDER OF KING TUT folks Chris Mitten and Ron Randall at IDW booth
12-1 Hasbro/Wizards panel, wherein we will talk about D&D, Transformers, GI Joe, etc. etc.
11-12 Signing TRANSFORMERS: EXODUS at the Hasbro booth
2:30-3:30 From Words to Pictures Panel, wherein a bunch of novelists will talk about writing comics
More details to come...and something will probably change.
Jun 28, 2010
Transformers: Exodus is precisely the origin story that the franchise needed. It’s entertaining, filled with the sort of epic battles Transformers lend themselves to, and keeps the reader breathless with anticipation even though we already know how it ends. Megatronus was a gladiator, until he got his name and started thinking about the way Cybertron’s caste system diminished the “bots’” potential. Orion Pax was a data-worker—-a librarian, really—-under the master archivist. The Archivist is more than he seems, and provides a great deal of context for the history of Cybertron, and a few key deus-ex-machina twists. Orion Pax, now known as Optimus Prime, is an honest character, who never asks for the greatness that is forced upon him; Megatron, on the other hand, is an egomaniacal tyrant. But in the framework of a political revolution and the civil war that overthrows a system that had practically calcified, there are terrible fights, friendships made and broken, and the beginnings of a genuine epic; above all, it’s fun to read.
Jun 27, 2010
Number of players: 22.
Number of guys with whistles: 7.
Formations: Players largely concentrated in one part of field.
Probability of something illegal happening: high.
Official eyeballs per player: 0.636
Official eyeballs per acre: 14/(48000/43560)=14/1.102=12.705
Official Eyeball Coverage Quotient; 0.636*12.705=8.080
Avg. size of FIFA regulation field: 81000 square feet.
Number of players: 22.
Number of guys with whistles: 1.*
Formations: None. Players all over the field at all times.
Probability of something illegal happening: high.
Official eyeballs per player: 0.273
Official eyeballs per acre: 2/(81000/43560)=2/1.859=1.076
Official Eyeball Coverage Quotient: 0.273*1.067=0.294
So it's 27.5 times as likely that a ref will see a foul on a football field as on a soccer field. If you were a player, you'd try to get that ref's attention too. Then there's the question of how widely spread the players are...difficult to quantify, but another factor that would increase the differential.
*3 if you count linesmen, who occasionally call fouls but are mostly there to flag offsides and out of bounds; when and if they wave their flags to make calls, the ref can wave them off and allow play to continue. But even if we grant 3 "refs" in soccer, the difference is still nearly a factor of 10.
May 13, 2010
Apr 28, 2010
Apr 27, 2010
Apr 16, 2010
In a pan or skillet, melt a stick of butter.
Whisk in 1cup flour and 1cup sugar.
Add 1cup milk. Let it get hot again.
Add 1 egg if custardy pie-like texture is desired, 1tsp baking powder (or more if a cakey texture is what you're after), and whatever fruit you have lying around.
Bake at 350 (or whatever) until done.
It's different every time. Pake!
Mar 17, 2010
Hi tooth fairy
This is my third tooth.
I love losing teeth.
Sinserly toothless Emma
Ian, 10 days ago:
Dear tooth fairy I just pulled my tooth out It hurt a lot but I did it It feels realy weird to not have a tooth there but this only the second tooth I've lost here. Sincerely, IAN
In other news:
Ladeeeeez and Gentlemen,
BSCreview's annual Tournament of Books is underway, with a mighty field of contestants. A key first-round matchup: In this corner, CS Friedman's Wings of Wrath. And in this corner, Buyout (out, out, out) by Alexander C. Irvine (ine, ine, ine)...
Mar 14, 2010
Mar 3, 2010
Please take a moment and do this. Then tell everyone you know!
We need your help! We've applied for a grant to help connect 10 libraries in Kenya, and the top 10 finalists are chosen through an open vote! You can learn more about our work by visiting our website: www.mariaslibraries.org.
Vote for Maria's Libraries! Just register, click on the link below, register and go to "Digital Inclusion" and look up Ariel Schwartz's project among top ideas: "Reducing space through digital inclusion": Each vote counts for ten points, so we're not that far behind! Please vote for us!
Feb 26, 2010
Who are yours?
Feb 24, 2010
Also, how come I don't get a free one?
Feb 22, 2010
Read them both and ask yourself: are litmags dying not because people don't read, but because litmags are clinging to literary models that are historically transient but assumed by the literary-academic establishment to be permanent? (I ask this question from a perspective within said establishment. I'm not hostile to it. But I do think that it, like any other respected and powerful institution, is very slow to react to cultural changes, and has a set of blinders that it tends not to notice until they are pointed out...like, say, by the death of literary magazines.)
I think it's no coincidence that the strongest literary magazines right now are the ones least beholden to an editorial vision centered on psychological realism and the standard kind of beautifully arid atmosphere pieces that seem to be the primary product of intense MFA-program workshopping.
And, putting on my genre-nerd hat, let me say that I love the Gioia piece because it avoids the cheerleading instinct so common to genre apologia. It is possible, indeed desirable, to talk about what genre fiction does well without falling prey to zero-sum thinking and arguing that because genre fiction does some things well, literary or realist fiction does not, cannot, must forever be considered the wan and lonely spinster of the family of literatures. Everything can be good. Most things aren't.
Feb 16, 2010
Feb 9, 2010
Feb 6, 2010
Feb 5, 2010
Feb 3, 2010
As one of those mid-list novelists (I think), I feel threatened by this image but consider it appropriate.
Feb 2, 2010
Jan 30, 2010
Jan 29, 2010
This conversation with writer/director John Alan Simon has me real real interested in this movie version of Radio Free Albemuth, which occupies a strange place in the PKD canon. Odd to see it being the first of his books to get a serious and faithful* film treatment.
*(Blade Runner being serious but not ultimately faithful due to the absence of Mercerism and Joe, and...well, lots of things, among them electric sheep. Read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? if you don't believe me.)
Jan 28, 2010
I think almost all of the big respectable science fiction and fantasy magazines have the same exact problem which is that they're eclectic. And, eclectic products have a much harder time finding an audience who will follow them.Part of me wants to work out a reasoned and thoughtful response to this. Part of me wants to kind of despair because I think Paolo is (mostly, more often than not) right, and my output is nothing if not eclectic. But if I had to write the same kind of story over and over for the rest of my career, I'd quit writing. Apparently eclecticism will doom me one way or another.
Jan 25, 2010
This got me thinking. Which is America’s most science-fictional city?
After trying out a number of candidates, I realized I couldn’t decide because there were so many cities that seemed SFnal in different way. From this realization I formulated a theory that goes something like this: All American cities are in some way science-fictional, but that each city in America has a kinship with a particular subgenre of SF.
So here’s an experiment. Below is a list of the thirteen largest urban agglomerations in the United States, per the Census Bureau. Next to it is a list of thirteen SF subgenres. Match ‘em up!
Jan 22, 2010
I do not care about your cat.
Your baby is cute. Your impulse to tweet about it constantly is not, and smacks of desperation. And just so you know, everyone hates the following things: waiting in line, stupid people (especially at work), work, not having any work, dating, not having anyone to date, bad food, things that are too expensive, politicians you disagree with, government inefficiency, bad behavior, corporate corruption, human misery, lack of courage on the part of those we want to admire, people who don't do what they said they would do, the Yankees. It’s not just you. We don’t need to hear about it.
Internet, not only do I have no interest in the function of your gastrointestinal system, your commitment to making sure I am informed as to the function of your gastrointestinal system makes me think you have problems with narcissism. I can also tell when you’re complaining about something just so everyone will know that you are So Cool you have this particular Cool Kid problem. This is also narcissistic. Not to mention masturbatory.
Dear Internet, sometimes I think you do not have my best interests at heart.
I have all kinds of awesome Bejeweled secrets, but I’m not going to tell you what they are. I have to have something to keep to myself.
Dear Internet, I want to put all of the lost baby unicorns and Hot Teens in My Area and ambitious mobsters and shiny jewels and imprisoned Nigerian princes and iHearts and magic weight-loss pills and cretinous citizens of Zoo World together in a burlap bag big enough to contain all the disappointments and resentments of everyone I care about. I want to set that bag on fire. I want to tweet about setting that bag on fire. I want my new profile picture to be a picture of that bag on fire. I want to turn that burning bag into its own YouTube channel and eventually into a book deal.
Here are some truths, Internet. Your idiot status memes do not fool anyone into thinking you care. Well, except for I guess they do. Internet, someday you will reach China and even Myanmar in your full pornographic and limitless glory. This will be a great day because then many more people will become citizens of Yoville and Ashton Kutcher will have many more followers on Twitter.
Internet, the stupider you get the smarter you make me feel. But before I can feel smart I must deal with the fact that because of you I want to rescue all of the following: the baby emperor penguin, the lost Nigerian princeling, Firefly, the books Borders is about to throw away (but not the people Borders is about to throw away), the victims of today’s natural disaster in Unluckyplacetobebornistan.
Internet, I really feel like sometimes you’re not very concerned about truth, and the only good thing about that is that the more time I spend around you, the less concerned I am about truth.
Internet, I sort of feel like you needed to know that. You're kind of clingy.
But mostly what I wanted to say is that I do not care about your cat.
Jan 21, 2010
If you have ideas about the kind of thing that a guy like me should blog about at a site like Barrelhouse, let me know. Comics? SF/Fantasy? Books in general? Soccer? Baseball? What's interesting?
And if I were any kind of real writer, I would tell everyone that Iron Man: Virus started to show up in bookstores today.
Jan 20, 2010
Jan 16, 2010
Out of the typical 2 hours and 54 minutes of the average NFL broadcast, a whole 11 minutes actually feature live game action. So next time you want to call out soccer or baseball fans for following a sport where nothing happens, you might want to tend to your own garden.
I have been arguing exactly this point in bars (well, not just bars) across America for years. I fear decades, even.
(As the Deadspin article notes, Wired's Dave Banks did a couch-potato version of this analysis for his Geek Dad blog in 2008.)
Jan 15, 2010
Jan 12, 2010
Jan 11, 2010
Iron Man does battle with a hyper-intelligent space probe bent on terraforming the planet! And Tony battles Titanium Man while fielding calls for Stark International! All this and more in this all-new, all-action, all-black-and-white one-shot in the spirit of the Mighty Marvel Magazines of yore, but ALL-NOW in style! The Iron Mania never lets up for a moment over these four stories by some of Marvel’s hottest writers! One-Shot/Parental Advisory…$3.99
(The title of this post could also refer to 2010, from my perspective. I just got author copies of Iron Man: Virus in the mail. It's out at the end of the month. Then there's the movie novelization, out in April or May, and something else later this year...)
But there is interesting Poe-related news today, as the Baltimore Sun reports that Poe's descendants are set to declare which of the many contenders they feel has the most claim to be the City of Poe (and perhaps his final resting place, since everyone's always talking about exhuming him). One wonders if Ladbroke's has odds on this strange little competition (which many of the alleged contestants appear only dimly aware of). I'm guessing the whole thing will be settled about when I get my lakeside house on Mars.
And just because, here's a video clip of Clint Dempsey's golazo against Stoke last weekend:
Jan 5, 2010
Who would have thought that any American soccer player--let alone Landon Donovan, whom the Mexican soccer fan has always loved to hate--would have enough of a profile south of the border to be in a commercial? Strange times we live in...