23 July 2011


So, in the present, my poem "Spinning the Seabed Dry" is featured on page 61 of the most recent issue of Bull Spec magazine and you should click on this link right now (i.e. in the present) and order yourself a copy.

In the future, a short story of mine (which is based on the badass myth of Margaret of Bamburgh) will be featured in the October issue of the Lorelei Signal. However, while you're waiting for my work to be there, you should check out the excellent short story "Norn" by Jeremiah Job Levine, which features knitting and other cool stuff, as well as the other great stories featured in that fine publication.

In other news:  (Future) I will be going to London next week; (present) I am reading A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin, and aching with desire for A Dance With Dragons, upon which I have not yet laid my greasy paws; (past) I have recently completed an outline for a prose reworking of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which would feature giant mecha, and some general steampunkery; (present) I am making a corset -- pics to follow.

Otherwise, not much happening. Bonne nuit!

20 July 2011

More Review-ku (and some news).

This must be one of the silliest things I've ever gotten up to, but I've been reading and listening to and watching a lot of stuff lately, so it should be fun.

The Women (2008)
Silliness, Eva
Mendes, beaches cannot replace
Wit and honesty.

Hold Your Color -- Pendulum
Mario music?
Perhaps -- fond memory of
Moonish night ensues.

Black Death (2010)
Sean Bean is always
The same character. Message?
Everyone/thing sucks.

Inkheart (2008)
Italian hills
Were ne'er so bleak. Dustfinger
Makes my life better.

Heroes (Seasons 1-2)
Loads of characters
With tight plots and handsome men?

XO / Either/Or -- Elliott Smith
Sad songs, happy tunes:
Dichotomy is greatness.
Birdlike, my soul lifts.

Did I mention that during a recent stage (kind of a cross between a summer camp and, in the case of the school where I work, an intensive language course) I taught haiku to little French boys? We had fun.

Also, you should definitely be reading The Lorelei Signal. Not only will they be publishing one of my stories(!!!), they already have great stuff (so if anything, I'll be lowering the tone of their whole operation). Norn by Jeremiah Job Levine has knitting in it, and is therefore automatically awesome.

You should also be reading this excellent review in The Fortnightly Review of Robert Wilson's new piece. The review itself is good reading, and provides a succinct and thoughtful commentary on what it actually means to be modern. 

...And as if this blog weren't erratic enough as it is, I'm going to London in the gap between July and August. EPIC WINTIMES.

17 July 2011


So, there are zillions (yes, that's a scientific figure, right there) of books out right now -- literally, zillions. The ones you don't feel like paying for can be had for free online; the ones you want to pay for, you can read as paper or plastic, depending on your desires (and the kind of book it is -- thrillers and sex manuals seem to do well when no one can see what the cover looks like).

I mention this because the case in Fritz Lieber's less-than-well-known outing, The Silver Eggheads, is very similar. The book, which features a cover worthy of Good Show, Sir, is set in a world in which all fiction is produced by machines called "wordmills"; authors, such as they are, exist merely to tend the wordmills and look cool. And, as now, there are zillions of books:  Thousands on a single newsstand, everything from porn to hard science fiction (though all of them seem to have appalling covers, too). The main character, Gaspard de la Nuit, is a journeyman writer (condemned to wear a velvet smoking jacket until he levels up to, essentially, beatnik status) who loved the "milled product" he puts out -- most writers don't read much at all, and seem to be selected on the basis of casting calls.

And then the authors decide to rebel. They burn the wordmills and seem all set to destroy the publishing world.

Of course, then they realize that they have nothing to say. (This is, incidentally, imparted to us in a hilarious textual montage of desperate gangs of foppish people either holding hands in circles or drinking a lot and waiting for the muse. Most of them can get out a word or three, and that's it.)

The "eggheads" of the title come in at this point:  They are, it transpires, brains that were jarred up by a crackpot scientist a hundred years before the story starts. Gaspard, visiting his publishers, becomes embroiled in the plot to use the eggheads to create more fiction to satiate the hungry masses, made up of "book-a-day housewives" and other hopeless addicts of "smooth, milled product."

The plot, such as it is, would seem almost picaresque if it weren't so smooth in its segues; as it is, while it's nobody's model for best structure, it certainly pulls the reader along. However, Lieber's world-building is, as always, highly amusing in its detail. (He sure did put a lot of thought into robot sex, though. Seriously, Fritz, take a cold shower!)

But the timeliness of the book is truly striking. What with J.K. Rowling, for Guinness' sake, self-publishing the e-book versions of the Harry Potter books, and random (but awesome) guys outselling Stephen King in the online world, the profusion of books and writers certainly seems comparable to Lieber's science-fantasy of a world of militarized publishing. (No, I'm not kidding.)
Excuse the brevity of this post; the last few weeks have been mad here, and I actually finished reading this about three weeks ago. However, I do have some excellent news:  Bull Spec will be publishing its sixth issue on 30 July. And guess whose poem will be taking up some of their precious space? That's right, mine. Look out for it, and give them money.