Jan 30, 2010

Indomitable Iron Man B&W #1 Preview

A couple of pages--cover and title--snatched in the dark of night (actually on a brilliant and frigid seaside morning) from Comic Related.

Jan 29, 2010

Alanis Morissette is the Dark-Haired Girl

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

The Perils of Eclecticism

Quoth Paolo Bacigalupi in a recent Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast:
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.

[from io9]

Jan 25, 2010

Every City Its Own Genre!

The most excellent supernatural/noir novelist Charlie Huston tells the Austin American-Statesman that LA is a more SFnal city than NYC, which is one reason why his most recent book, Sleepless, is SF. He moved to LA, it seems, and the SFness of the place overcame him.

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!

New York





Bay Area








Space opera

New Wave









Alternate history

Dying Earth


(Another way to play this would be to look around you and create your own genre for the city where you live. But that’s another post, and probably one you should write…)

Jan 22, 2010

A Toothache-Fueled Rant

Dear Internet:

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

Blogging at Barrelhouse

The sadly misguided souls over at Barrelhouse, that most excellent magazine of literature and pop culture, have enlisted me to blog for them on a regular basis from now until whenever they figure out what an awful mistake they've made. This may result in decreased frequency of posting over here, but who knows? Maybe my capacity for yammering will expand, following Boyle's Law, to fill whatever yammering space is made available.

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 16, 2010

The Wall Street Journal Understands Me

According to that august, um, journal (paraphrase courtesy of Deadspin):

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

How Artists of Loose Morals Might Exploit the Super Snake

Saw this article this morning, and it got me thinking. (What especially got me thinking was the hyperbolic headline.) All over Hollywood, hack screenwriters must be trying to figure out how they can surreptitiously adapt Anaconda to the Miami-Dade hinterlands. Cue Jon Voight: "The Everglades can keel you in a thousand ways..." Would that be awesome or what? I want Super Snakes rampaging through Fort Lauderdale (Broward County, I know, but imagine the Spring Break scenes!) or South Beach. And I want Jon Voight in it as a crusty airboat tour guide who stumbles upon the mother of all Super Snakes. Maybe he could even bring Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube along for the ride, as ecological dreamers out to stop the poaching of alligators (although he has a secret past, since when he was in college he and a bunch of drunken fraternity brothers set an African rock python loose, which started the whole mess; he'll have to die at some point to expiate this Original Plot-Generating Sin...). The Super Bowl should be involved, too, and probably a hurricane. That's what I want.

Jan 12, 2010

US World Cup Draw Looks Better and Better

Look at this performance by Algeria--against that powerhouse Malawi--in the African Cup of Nations. If we can't beat these guys...

Jan 11, 2010

It's Raining Tonys

That's the title of a little prose story I wrote for Indomitable Iron Man Black and White #1, out on Feb. 3. There are also three or four short comics by the likes of Howard Chaykin and Paul Cornell. It'll be fun. Check it out. Cover and copy:

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...)

Edgar Allan Poe and Clint Dempsey

Have nothing to do with each other and nothing in common beyond Southern origin. Just to get that out of the way.

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

Gringo Donovan Conquers Mexico

From Soccer By Ives:

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...