Feb 24, 2011

Influences Bubble Up: The Silver Chair and Karga Kul

So last year when I was writing The Seal of Karga Kul, I came up with this swell scene involving a collapsed bridge -- Iban Ja's Bridge -- magically held together, spanning a gorge thousands of feet deep and ending in a highland road that cut through a forest and quickly up into broken territory and then mountains. The scenes around that bridge and right after the characters cross it were some of my favorites in the book.

Then a couple of days ago I was reading C. S. Lewis' fourth Narnia book, The Silver Chair, to the kids, and we got to the part where Eustace and Jill, with Puddleglum, see the giants' bridge...which is ancient and partially collapsed...and spans a gorge thousands of feet deep...and leads into broken highlands...

The descriptions in The Silver Chair even sounded oddly like my recollection of how I narrated the Iban Ja bits, or imagined them while I was writing. It's striking, how persistent some submerged influences can be.

It's also striking to have your 9-year-old son read a book you wrote and be mad at you because you killed his favorite character--as it happens, at Iban Ja's Bridge. When I had read the giants' bridge part in The Silver Chair, I looked at him and said, "Man, that's Iban Ja's bridge, isn't it?" and he said, "Yup." Then he yelled at me for killing his favorite character again.

Even the stuff you think you made up, you probably didn't make up.

Feb 21, 2011

When Nixon Went After PBS...

...Mr. Rogers was there to make the case for public broadcasting.

Who will be Mr. Rogers for us now? (I mean that seriously.)

Feb 19, 2011


Haven't been in at least five or six years, but I'm going to zoom down to Boston tomorrow and catch up with some old friends at Boskone. See you there...

'Supposed' Being the Key Word

Some interesting words from Albert Einstein, encountered in the course of research:

“In our time the military mentality . . . leads, by necessity, to preventive war. The general insecurity that goes hand in hand with this results in the sacrifice of the citizen’s civil rights to the supposed welfare of the state.”

That's from a 1947 essay in The American Scholar called "The Military Mentality." You read stuff like this and think: man, we were warned, weren't we?

Feb 17, 2011

A Funny Comment on an Idiotic Comment

Brian Keene reports:

What isn’t being reported is the real reason why Borders (and others) are in such bad shape. For example: “I wrote much of my first novel at Border’s in Roseville, CA. Then it closed. So I went to the other Border’s across town. Then I moved to L.A. and began going to the Border’s in El Segundo. But their ridiculously loud music and arctic temperatures drove me out. So now I go to Starbucks. Why don’t retailers make their stores more user-friendly? For example, it’s a friggin lottery trying to find an electrical outlet so as to plug in one’s laptop… Panera bread offers free Wi-Fi and an electrical outlet at every booth. And free coffee refills. Border’s charges for the refill, which is stupid because I’ve already paid for the cup and the surcharge to cover the labor for filling it. If you can’t give people what they want, you don’t deserve to be in business.”

You’ll note that not once does the commenter say he went there to buy a book. Instead, he went there to write a novel, demand free coffee refills, and complain about the lack of electrical outlets and overall ambiance. Perhaps if he had PURCHASED A FUCKING BOOK UPON OCCASION, the situation wouldn’t be so dire.

I'm not sure I have anything to add, although Brian's commenters certainly do.

The Way Life Should Be...Even After Peak Oil

If you saw Flippy Day (or even if you didn't), you should know about another project by some of the same people. What would happen if the US government, strapped and desperate, consolidated population, resettling people out of the least populated states and letting those territories go? That's the premise of Vacationlanders, a webisode series intended to premiere on Earth Day this year (that's April 22 if you're marking your calendar). This link is to the Kickstarter page, where you can check out a trailer and also make the project go!

And if you haven't seen Flippy Day, here it is.

Feb 16, 2011

Mind Meld and Supernatural in Brazil

Here's a link to the latest Mind Meld from SF Signal, in which I and a number of my literary colleagues talk about the books we reread.

And for Supernatural fans who happen to speak Portuguese or have an interest in things Brazilian, Gryphus is putting out the monster book and John's journal in Brazil, just in time for there to be a Brazilian Supernatural convention.

Feb 15, 2011

Win Signed Copies of The Seal of Karga Kul

That Transformers: Exodus giveaway was cool. So here's another one. This time I'm giving away inscribed copies of my Dungeons and Dragons novel The Seal of Karga Kul.

Here's how you enter: Follow me on Twitter using either that link or the widget in the sidebar here. If you already follow me, tweet about this giveaway so I know you're interested. Ask me questions on Twitter or Formspring if you want. I'll give one copy away every day from tomorrow through Monday--five copies in all, signed and delivered to five lucky winners by a surly tiefling specifically conscripted for that purpose.

Iron Man: Rapture, the Big Finish

After some trifling delays, the fourth and final issue of Iron Man: Rapture is out tomorrow. Here are some preview pages.

Feb 11, 2011

Buddy Holly Is Alive and Well and Living on Ganymede

Someone is making a movie of this excellent novel by Bradley Denton. Outstanding. (Although my favorite Denton is Lunatics, which was much on my mind while I wrote Chickenbus, my one and only unpublished novel...someday.)

Before you see the movie, sometime next year, you should read the book!

Feb 8, 2011

Nostalgia for the Out-of-Print

I saw the other day that a Goodreads group, Endicott Mythic Fiction, is doing my first novel, A Scattering of Jades, for their February read. They are of course all buying the book for a nickel because it's been out of print for a while. I got a little maudlin about this and then started thinking about favorite out-of-print books...remember when (for example) lots of Phil Dick's books were out of print? My favorite out-of-print book as of right this minute is probably Michael Kandel's Captain Jack Zodiac. Yours?

Feb 7, 2011

You've Already Seen This, But...

...watch it again.

Talking Transformers

If you care to, you can read this interview with Kevin Lukis of Unicron.com, wherein we talk Michigan football (back when I still thought Les Miles would return to Ann Arbor) and various Transformers-related things, including some little tidbits about the next book.

Speaking of Michigan football, rough night for Wolverines last night, what with Chuck Woodson breaking his collarbone and all the other Michigan guys in the game playing for the wrong team...

Feb 4, 2011

Dark Sun #2 Cover and Preview

From IDW via Wizards of the Coast, this cover (by Andy Brase; interior art by Peter Bergting, colors by Ronda Pattison). Spiffy, no? Click for preview. And look for the book itself next Wednesday...

Any One of Us Could Be a Mimic Octopus

I am awestruck by this. Especially the last transformation. (Not sure how I feel about the simile used to describe it, though.)

Feb 1, 2011


In other news, looks like Daniele Serra and I are going to be doing an illustrated...well, narrative art book? Not sure how to describe it...with PS Publishing. It's mighty cool.