greygirlbeast: (Default)
Very, very busy today, including a doctor's appointment, but I wanted to get this wonderful (and rather astounding) bit of news out there. The Publisher's Weekly review of Two Worlds and in Between has come in. Not only is it starred, it was chosen as the "Pick of the Week," out of all books reviewed this week. PW has never before been so kind to me (and no, this is not the NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL I received last week. Anyway, here's the review:

Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlin R. Kiernan, Vol. 1
Caitlin R. Kiernan. Subterranean (www.subterraneanpress.com), $38 (576p) ISBN 978-1-59606-391-4

"I wasn't always a storyteller," Kiernan (The Red Tree) claims in her introduction, but you wouldn't know it by the tremendous talent displayed in these 26 stories of life, death, undeath, horror, sorrow, and a peculiar sort of beauty. This retrospective volume, the first of two, contains works published between 1993 and 2004 that show Kiernan's rapid ascent from a journeyman writer bringing a fresh perspective to classic horror themes ("Emptiness Spoke Eloquent," a Dracula "sequel," and the title tale, an exercise in punk nihilism with zombies) to one of the most innovative and imaginative stylists in contemporary dark fantasy. Particularly noteworthy are two award-winning stories: "La Peau Verte," an otherworldly absinthe fantasy, and the horror tour de force "Onion," about a couple haunted by encounters with the supernatural that represent both the most horrifying and the most transcendent moments of their depressingly common lives. All of the selections are distinguished by Kiernan's poetic prose, which conjures a rich, enveloping atmosphere of dread and imparts a surreality to the narratives that supports their weird events. Every story in the book deserves its "best" designation. (Oct.)

So. Yeah. Wow.

Also, the 600-copy limited edition of of the collection is now completely sold out at the publisher. However, the trade edition can still be ordered directly from Subterranean Press.

Pleased,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Last night, Spooky and I canceled our WoW accounts and uninstalled the game from our computers (my iMac, her laptop). So, as I said last night on Twitter, the end of an error, September 2008 to May 2011. Shaharrazad and Suraa, disgusted with Garrosh Hellscream and despairing that Azeroth and the Horde will ever get its shit together and stomp the fuck out of the Alliance, retired to the relative peace of Vengeance Landing in Northrend. Suraa plans to fish. Shahrrazad plans to torture small animals, then raise them from the dead to do her bidding. Oh, and I got back almost twenty gigs of memory on the iMac. I still have my beloved WoW actions figures, and my Shaharrazad mousepad. I'll always have the memories of those times before Blizzard dumbed down the game and pretty much ruined the player classes. And here's The Last Screencap (Suraa left, Shaharrazad right):



That said, yesterday was spent polishing "The Carnival is Dead and Gone," writing the prologomenon for Sirenia Digest #65, and doing the line edits for the "Crimson Alphabet" chapbook. The latter was emailed to subpress late yesterday. And remember, the chapbook comes free with the limited edition of Two World and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Volume One, which is also the edition with a bonus section of 16 pages of illustrations.

Gods, kittens. Polly Jean Harvey is hot. Her voice could bring me to orgasm. It probably has, in fact. Anyway, just thought I'd throw that out there.

Back to yesterday, the postperson brought my contributor's copies of Johnathan Strahan's Eclipse Four, which includes my story "Tidal Forces." One thing I love about the Eclipse series is that it harks back to the days of muti-genre anthologies: fantasy, sf, and dark fantasy, all in one book. This is a good thing.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions! Because the world insists money is necessary. Thanks!

Oh, this month looks terrifying. Which probably means I ought not look farther ahead than a day or two. I have to outline a book for Roc (resurrecting the title Blood Oranges for the "werepire" novel/s), and do mountains of research for Blue Canary, deal with the page proofs for Two Worlds and In Between, be in NYC on the 17th, and pray to fuck the editorial letter for The Drowning Girl doesn't show up until June. Oh, and get Sirenia Digest #66 written. Gonna be fun, and then some. Yes, I am being sarcastic.

Filled with the Glory of Polly Jean,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
Hubero was entirely unimpressed, just now, when I told him I was away to a hard day at the Office, and to have an extra-dry martini waiting for me when I got home.

Great comments yesterday. Thank you. If you want to keep it up, I won't mind.

Grey and drizzly out there, and, in here, yeah, I'm still exhausted. But I may have turned a corner. I no longer feel quite so much as though something is riding about on my shoulders. I think, last night, it crawled off me and slithered down a drain. We'll be symbiotes again at some later time. For now, I'm not so heavy.

It helps that today is the last day I'm allowing myself to edit the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between, that tonight it ALL goes away to Bill at subpress. And since Bill has previewed the cover, here's two versions of the entire wondrous cover (behind the cut). We're still a ways from actual layout, of course. But, gods do I love this painting. Thank you, Lee! Oh, I almost forgot. Lee and I will be selling very limited-edition, signed prints of the cover; more on this later:

Changesonekiernan )


All day yesterday was spent editing the collection, right up to the time that Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark) arrived. It was good to have company again, so soon after Sonya. There must be more people in my life. How's that for a fucking heresy? We got Lebanese takeout and sat up much too late, talking about magick, books, writers, movies, childhood, drugs, tattoos, gaming, and...tons of other stuff. We watched Antti-Jussi Annila's brilliant Sauna (2008) again, because Spooky had not yet sent it back to Netflix, and I knew how much Geoffrey would love it. I caught so much on the second viewing I missed the first time. It's a film that would hold up under many viewings.

Geoffrey is one of the few people on earth who already has a complete copy of The Drowning Girl, but he hasn't yet had time to read it. Only thirteen people have copies, at this point.

Meanwhile...

There are only THREE days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. One of the last two $500 spots was claimed this morning, and we're still hoping the last one will be, too. The greater the margin by which we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. Spooky and I are already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." And look at all the cool stuff that comes with the $500 donation. So, yes. Donate!

And now, kittens, I go down to slay this rough, unruly Other Beast, who is also me. Or, perhaps, merely to fuck it into submission.

A Skosh Less Weighted,
Aunt Beast

P.S. – STILL NOT A HORROR WRITER.
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Already St. Patrick's Day again. I hung the flag last night, and tonight I cook corned beef, cabbage, and cál ceannann, and we have Guinness and soda bread. So, we're set, and there will probably be enough food to last us three days. And here's my favorite St. Patrick's Day article: "Why Ireland Has No Snakes" (No Xtian magick is invoked.).

It's bright out there, and the weather is warmer.

Yesterday, Sonya and I finished editing The Dry Salvages, after she typed in all the edits on "Giants in the Earth." I think we were done by 3 p.m. or so, and since her train wasn't until 5:30, we went ahead and edited "The Worm in My Mind's Eye" (a chapbook that accompanied The Dry Salvages, and which will appear in Two Worlds and In Between as a footnote to the short novel). Then she and Kathryn typed in those edits. So, yeah, [livejournal.com profile] sovay came and saved me from editing hell...and yeah, it still sucked, but at least I've survived.

Today, I'll be sending The Drowning Girl: A Memoir to my editor at Penguin, and I hope I'll be sending the ms. for Two Worlds and In Between to Bill Schafer at subpress. And then, tomorrow, I begin a three day vacation. After today, I'll have worked twenty-eight days without a single day off, and I mean to have a rest. I'll be setting my email to the auto-response vacation settings, and mostly unplugging.

Last night, I think I was literally too tired to see straight. After dinner, I lay down in front of the fireplace and dozed off for half an hour. When I woke, it was still far too early for bed, so I had a cup of coffee, which I really didn't feel at all. I played about three hours of Rift, though I wasn't actually, technically, awake. I leveled my Kelari cleric, Nilleshna, to 11. Spooky camped out in front of the TV, watched a Nova episode, "Dogs Decoded," then played Bayonetta on the PS3. Then we went to bed and read Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay until almost 4 ayem. I'm pretty sure Mockingjay is the book I wanted Catching Fire to be. Katniss has come into her own, at last. The book actually had me cheering (blearily) last night. So, yeah, saggy middle, but the third book is great so far. And yep, I've heard that Jennifer Lawrence has been cast as Katniss. I have no idea who Jennifer Lawrence is...but that's okay.

And that was yesterday. And there are photos from the past two days:

15-16 March 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
This is the morning after Utter Exhaustion. The sky is grey, and there's rain. It looks like spring out there, whether or not it actually is spring. We can work that part out later.

There are only nine days remaining in "Tale of the Ravens" Kickstarter project. We'd really like to see those last two $500 spots claimed. Look at the truly cool stuff you get! And, of course, the more we exceed our goal, the firmer footing Goat Girl Press will set out upon. We're already thinking about projects we'll do after "Tale of the Ravens." Spooky's studying all sorts of cool handmade bookbinding techniques. So, yes. Donate!

Yesterday, I started off by adding another 550+ words to the end of The Drowning Girl, the "Back Pages" section that's sort of like an afterword. Almost. The manuscript, which is now essentially finished, presently stands at 105,711 words. That's about 5,000 words longer than The Red Tree. Anyway, while I was working on the novel, Spooky and Sonya were already busy with line edits on Two Worlds and In Between.

By late afternoon, early evening, Sonya and Spooky had made it through the edits on "Postcards from the King of Tides," "Rats Live on No Evil Star," "Estate," and "Breakfast in the House of the Rising Sun," while I'd done only "To This Water (Johnstown, Pennsylvania 1889)" — I discovered long ago that having only one good eye makes me a very slow editor. But...that meant we were almost done. Sonya and I then read through "Giants in the Earth," which is, indeed, far better than the odious "By Turns," and I swapped the latter for the former.

That left only The Dry Salvages to edit. I was going to leave it for Spooky and I to tackle, but stalwart Sonya suggested she and I go ahead and start it, then finish it today (We hates the young people, Precious, so full of energies.) But first we went to East Side Market, lest we starve of having run out of food. At the p.o., there were two CARE packages from Steven Lubold, including new PJ Harvey and Arcade Fire, Peter's American Fantastic Tales (vols. 1 and 2; Vol. 2 includes my story, "The Long Hall on the Top Floor") and two volumes of bookbinding for Spooky.

Back home, after cold roast beef sandwiches and such, Sonya and I read the first 17,292 words on The Dry Salvages. We'll finish it early this afternoon, before she heads back to Boston at 5:30 this evening. And that means the collection will be about 98% ready to go to subpress. It's absolutely true to say that without having Sonya here the past four days (she arrived Saturday evening), I'd have been utterly screwed. She saved my butt. Anyway, after about eight hours of editing yesterday, Spooky played Rift, and Sonya and I watched John Carpenter's The Thing, because she'd never before seen it. There was laundry drama, too, because someone had left an immense load of wet laundry (I'm talking a metric assload) in the washing machine. Spooky and I got to bed about two ayem.

Tomorrow, I'll send The Drowning Girl to my editor at Penguin. And within a day or two, Two Worlds and In Between will be delivered to subpress. Also, Lee and I are talking about offering a very limited edition (50-100 copies) of frameable signed and numbered prints of the collection's cover (which you'll see very soon).

And on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I'm taking a much needed and well earned break, before I start work on Sirenia Digest #64 on the 21st. Oh, also, I'm adding "The Worm in My Mind's Eye" to Two Worlds and In Between, which has never appeared anywhere but as a short chapbook only available to those who ordered the limited of The Dry Salvages. Also also, yesterday I took lots of photos, and will do so again today, so tomorrow I'll post a sort of photo essay of the end of this editing marathon.

But now...I go forth with platypus in hand to finish up. After I extract Mr. Bastard (alias Hubero) from my lap.

Chat at 'cha later, kittens.

Blinded by the Light at the End of the Tunnel,
Aunt Beast

P.S.: Not to put too fine a point on it, but I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
Sonya and I are reading through The Dry Salvages (Subterranean Press, 2004). It's the last real hurdle in finishing up editing Two Worlds and In Between.

There's a lot of ancient history here.

The Dry Salvages (for those who do not know) is a very short sf novel about the ill-fated exploration of an extrasolar moon — Piros, which orbits a planet named Cecrops. It's dystopian, dark, tense, a bit Lovecraftian, heavily influenced by the cyberpunks and New Wave writers, with a big Stanislaw Lem influence, and pretty much devoid of optimism. I did an enormous amount of work on it, and went to great lengths to get all the science as right as I could get it. The physics, paleontology, robotics, astronomy, geology, biology, engineering, mathematics...everything. I enlisted the aid of people knowledgeable in areas where my own expertise was lacking.

The book meant a lot to me. I was weary of writing dark fantasy and wanted to make a switch to sf. So, I had a lot riding on critical and reader reaction to the book. I likely had somewhat unrealistic expectations. Subterranean Press did wonderful things to promote the novel. It got a grand cover from Ryan Oberymeyer:


The Dry Salvages, Copyright © 2004 by Ryan Obermeyer


The review that meant the most to me, the one I awaited with bated breath, was the Locus review. It finally arrived. And it wasn't exactly glowing. Moreover, it had been written by a reviewer for whom I had (and still have) a good deal of respect. Whether or not I should have been, I was...I still don't know the right word for the way I felt. Confused, mostly. I'd never gotten a bad Locus review. Even The Five of Cups had received a good review. But Locus is, first and foremost, a magazine devoted to sf, and this was sf, and now I was playing in the Big Leagues. And I think the way I felt was that I'd been told to stay in my place. Indeed, the review included a line which I shall paraphrase, as I don't have the actual text on hand (those files are in storage): "This is what happens when horror writers try to write science fiction." I'm sure that's not an exact quote, but I think it's the exact sentiment. To be fair, the reviewer did not think the book was entirely without merit, just not up to the standards of contemporary literary sf.

Though I am absolutely certain it was not the reviewer's intent, the review had an immediate and chilling effect on me. I believed he knew what he was talking about, and so obviously I'd blown it. I resolved to stick to dark fantasy (my agent hadn't wanted me writing sf, anyway, but that's another story).

The Dry Salvages sold well, and there was even a weird bit of business with a Very Big Hollywood Production Company of which nothing ever came. I still wrote sf short stories, many of which appeared in my 2009 sf collection, A is for Alien (which I don't think Locus even reviewed). But I haven't tried to write another piece of sf even half as ambitious as The Dry Salvages. (And no, I do not believe that was the reviewer's desired effect; not at all.)

And now, more than six years after that review, I'm reading The Dry Salvages for the first time since I sent the final manuscript to subpress (I didn't read it after it appeared in print). And I'm reading it with fresh eyes, almost as if it were written by another author. We're halfway through, and I'm delighted with it. Anyone who knows me, or who's read this journal for a while, knows I'm one of my own harshest critics, and that I usually grow unhappy with a story or novel after only a few years. But...I'm enjoying The Dry Salvages.

And this is the perfectly fucking obvious thing that I am concluding: Reviewers whom you respect, whom you very often — but not always — agree with, can be very wrongheaded. For years I believed what that review said about this book, but reading it now, I see that I was mistaken, as was the reviewer. Is it "hard" sf? Well, sort of, but not exactly. It's not space opera, but there's far more emphasis on wonder and awe and the perils of space travel to the human mind than there is on tech. It's also not the recently fashionable "mundane" sf, which eschewed space travel and alien contact. But the science is good, and the writing's some of my best from that period.

And the review was wrongheaded. This doesn't mean the reviewer doesn't often offer valuable insight about books. It just means that, in this instance, a book failed to measure up in their eyes (and, in part, I think that's because there was a strong and mistaken preconception that I was a "horror writer"). But, the only real fault here was my reaction. No review should ever make you waver the way I did in the wake of that review.

And now, reading The Dry Salvages again after all these years, I'm reclaiming it. I did a good job. And maybe someday I'll write another sf story like it, of that length and scope.

Regardless, very soon the story will be in print again, and as I read it tonight, I'm glad of that.

No hard feelings.

P.S.: With all due respect, I AM NOT A HORROR WRITER!
greygirlbeast: (white)
The cold hangs onto Providence with a death grip. At least the snow is gone, and there's sun.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,223 words on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And realized that I'm much nearer THE END than I'd guessed. It could be finished today and tomorrow. Maybe three days at the most. And the realization is disorienting, to say the least. Also, it occurred to me this morning that one important thing that sets this book apart from my previous novels is that place has never been so unimportant. There is a sense of place, of Providence (and mostly the Armory district), of the RISD Museum on Benefit Street, and the Athenaeum, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, and, most especially, of the Blackstone Gorge and Rolling Dam at Millville, Massachusetts. The book also weaves in Boston, Manhattan, and LA, and other places. But almost all of it takes place in Imp's apartment in the Armory. The Drowning Girl: A Memoir could almost be adapted as a stage play with two, maybe three, sets: Imp's apartment, the RISD Gallery, a seashore. Curiously, I didn't include the Blackstone River, the novel's most important locale, outside Imp's home, on that list of potential sets.

I'll write on it today, and tomorrow, and maybe on Monday...and then I'll probably have found THE END.

Also, yesterday we proofed "Hydraguros," which is being reprinted in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2. I wrote this story a year ago, and I'm still in love with it. It's my best sf since I wrote "In View of Nothing" and "A Season of Broken Dolls" in early 2007. And after the proofreading, I printed out exactly 25 copies of "Atlantis," the poem I wrote in August for everyone who donated to Spooky's birthday fund. Each copy is printed in Garamond on Crane's Crest Executive paper, 100% cotton, premium weight (28 lb.). Each is signed and numbered. There will be no more. These will go in the mail on Monday.

I printed and signed a new set of contracts for Two Worlds and In Between. Because one of Bill's cats barfed on the originals. Sorry, Bill, but I had to tell that story. It's just too funny (and I, too, live in constant fear of the wages of cat barf).

I got Vince's illustration for Sirenia Digest #63, and, honstly, it's one of the best he's ever done. It'll appear as the cover. Today, I'll assemble the issue, and subscribers should have it tonight or tomorrow.

So, that was yesterday.

---

After dinner last night, we began reading Suzanne Collins' Catching Fire, the next book after The Hunger Games. Though it was no small feat, Shaharrazad found the last few quests needed to complete the "Into the Nether" achievement. Seriously, I needed almost an hour to find the last four quests I needed. They were hiding in "Area 52," with this Consortium ethereal fuck who looked like he only had dailies (big blue question mark floating above his head), even with low-level quests turned on. In truth, he has a whole string of quests! Thank you, Spooky and WoWhead. I never would have found those on my own. So, now I go back to Shadowmoon Valley and Nagrand, try to finish up Outland, and get the Loremaster title.

I played a couple of hours of Rift. I'm sure everyone's getting tired of me gushing over the game. I'll just say I got Selwyn to Level 17. Oh, and I'll say this, too. It's hard to ignore that in advertising for the game Trion is relying almost exclusively on the "human" Ethian and Mathosian races. In ads, in the quick-start guide, on the cover of the box, almost everywhere...we see Ethians and/or Mathosian (physically, they're pretty much interchangeable). And I call this a pernicious sort of speciesism/racism. There are six player races in Telara, and many of us are not Ethian and Mathosian. Never mind that I see more people playing Bahmi and Kelari than anything else (I have no idea how things look on the Guardian side). And I just heard that the two RP/PVP shards must be filling up fast, as Trion opened a third today, Estrael.

Oh, while I gamed, Spooky streamed The Secret of Kells and the Mythbusters episode about duct tape (I'm sort of sorry I missed the latter).

---

Whatever I'm forgetting can wait until later.
greygirlbeast: (sleeps with wolves)
1) I'm not getting to bed until almost dawn, but I'm actually sleeping, these last few nights. It's sort of amazing. I think taking a new sort of fuck-all attitude about my future is paying off.

2) Many dreams this ayem, but one stands out the sharpest. I was deep below Birmingham, Alabama, in a vast subterranean space, an immense artificial cavern created by coal mining in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The black was tangible, palpable, it was of such a quality, it was so very black. Far above, there were the faintest, disorienting hints of light entering cracks in the roof, hundreds of feet over head. I was not alone, but I have no idea who or what was with me there. We didn't talk. I walked a landscape of spoil heaps, mountains of coal, jagged shale pits, crumbling brick buildings, and rusted mining equipment. There were deep, still lakes. All of it sealed below ground for at least half a hundred years. The dream went on and on, like that cavern, leading nowhere in particular. It was as though I were walking through the realm of the Svartálfar, as interpreted by Piranesi. Spooky eventually woke me from it, and just before I did wake, I glimpsed my reflection in a mirror. My face was pale and smudged with coal dust, and my irises were a blue so pale they were almost white.

3) Yesterday, I stopped writing and we began reading back through everything I've written thus far on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. The Lamictal has made such a mess of my short-term memory, I can't hold it all in my head as easily as before, so we have to read back through, and I have to make cheat sheets, and remember everything I've written. We made it through the first chapter with only minor line edits. In the second chapter, the line edits were fairly heavy. They will be more so in the third chapter today. We hope to read chapters three through five, though that might be too ambitious, these are such long chapters. But I have to get through it quickly, as I still have to finish the novel and all the editing on Two Worlds and In Between (Bill Schafer has given me a two week extension on the deadline for the collection, which gives me about a month).

Also, you will be getting the second chapter of The Drowning Girl in Sirenia Digest #63. More on this tomorrow.

4) The latest StarShipSofa podcast includes my James Tiptree, Jr. Award-honored story, "Galápagos." I've only had time to listen to the first few minutes, but it sounds good so far.

5) Still no explanation from my editor at Penguin regarding the recycled cover fiasco.

6) And while we're on the subject of how far WoW has fallen, did anyone else notice that, about three months back, with patch 4.0.3, all the female toons were subjected to breast augmentation? Yes, they were. Bigger hooters, all round. I blame the Royal Apothecary Society.

7) The last couple of days have seen some very good answers to the Question @ Hand. So, I guess the squeaky wheel gets the grease again. Anyway, I'd love to see a few more. The best will appear— anonymously —in Sirenia Digest #63.

8) Too much WoW last night, racing towards Loremaster in my final six weeks of play. I finished the Southern Barrens, made it through all seventy Northern Barrens quests, then finished up Ashenvale. Next! Felwood and Winterspring!

9) Have a look at the current eBay auctions! Spooky put new stuff up this morning, while I was still in that cavern below Birmingham.
greygirlbeast: (hatter2)
Ah, the weather. I should be taking photographs. I seem to post many fewer photos than I used to. I think it's because loading OS 10.6.3 meant losing Photoshop 7, and now Spooky has to edit all my photos, because Gimp is a piece of shit. Anyway, the high today will only be 23˚F, with a low tonight of 8˚F. Of course, if you look at tomorrow night's forecast low of -5˚F (with a -20˚F windchill), that doesn't look so bad. Everywhere out there is white, and the sun is so bright I keep the curtains pulled shut.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,896 words on Chapter 5 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, but still didn't find the end of a long conversation. Hopefully, I will today.

I had a very, very encouraging conversation with my agent yesterday. Which was sorely needed, the way things have been the last few weeks, or months, or whatever. Perhaps things are looking up. I think I was most pleased to hear her say "Silk was way ahead of its time." At some point, I'll get this time travel thing right, and my books will appear in the optimum years.

I'm thinking that Sirenia Digest #62 will consist of an advance (very advance) look at The Drowning Girl: A Memoir— all of Chapter 1 —along with a couple of extras. There will be an illustration by Vince for the chapter. Does that work for everyone? I was going to hold off and include the excerpt in #63, but my schedule will suffer less disruption if I move it forward to the January issue. The novel's eating time like mad. In the last month, I've had to bow out of three anthologies, and turn down a number of others. Turning down paychecks, even small ones, drives me nuts. Oh, and if you're not a subscriber you can get an idea (for free) of what subscribers get each month by reading "The Melusine (1898)," which first appeared in Sirenia Digst #31 and is now reprinted in the Winter '11 issue of Subterranean Magazine.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. We've listed a copy of the original On the Road to Jefferson chapbook (2002), my very first chapbook with Subterranean Press. It's also the first time I did the cover art for one of my own chapbooks. We have only five or so remaining, and haven't offered a copy in years. Speaking of eBay, during the last round, a bidder in Tasmania won a copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder. This will be one of the farthest south book shipments we've ever made (rivaled only by a shipment to the south island of New Zealand).

Also, tomorrow I'll be announcing a collaborative project between Spooky and I that's been so very secret this is the first you're hearing of it, even though its been in the works for about two or three months. You'll see.

Last night, lots and lots of WoW. Shah and Suraa finished Deepholm and moved along to Uldum. Which, by the way, is one of my favorite Azeroth regions ever. And we read. And, eventually, we slept.

Now. Doughnuts.

Yours in Providence, Bitterly Cold,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
This is the special pain of having taken too many sedatives to try and sleep, and then having barely slept at all, and being exhausted and still drugged. Waiting for the pills to wear off. Trying to think, to type, to make decisions. So, gonna number items in this entry, and hope I don't forget anything.

1. My thanks to Steven Lubold and Gordon Duke for marvelous Solstice gifts. And a huge thanks to Kim, who gifted me and Spooky with a household membership to the Providence Athenaeum; this will be of enormous help with my writing. You are all too kind, truly.

2. An amazing number of copies of Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) have sold in the last two days (375+). Indeed, almost the entire planned printing of the limited edition. In response to demand, Subterranean Press has decided to increase the limited edition's printing from 400 copies to 600 copies. I'm used to my subpress books— especially the limiteds —selling out prior to publication, but I'm told this book "is pre-selling better than anything of yours we've ever announced." So, thank you all. The sale prices are still good, the limited for $40 (regularly $60), though I think the sale ends soon. Someone asked about the print-run for the trade edition, and I think it's somewhere around 2,000 copies (but don't hold me to that). Also, I can now announce that the book's cover will be done by Lee Moyer, an artist I met at the Lovecraft Film Festival and immediately wanted to work with.

3. More subpress news: My sf story, "Hydrarguros" is being reprinted in the forthcoming anthology Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy 2, and "The Melusine (1898)" will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Subterranean Magazine. But it's probably bigger news that several of my out-of-print subpress anthologies will soon be available in ebook editions for the Kindle (but no, not other readers/formats). From Weird and Distant Shores, Tales of Pain and Wonder, To Charles Fort, with Love, Alabaster, and A is for Alien will all be available for the Kindle in 2011.

4. I wish I were presently coherent enough to be articulate about Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, but I'm too drugged and sleep deprived. I say again, this may well be my favorite film of the year, and it's certainly one of Aronofsky's best (which is saying a lot). I hesitated to use the word lycanthropy in connection with the film, as there are no wolves in sight, but then I see the director has said "I liked this idea that we were kind of making a werewolf movie, except it was a were-swan movie." But, that said, the film transcends all genre tropes and conventions. This is, first and foremost, a film about seeking perfection in one's art, about the limits of the mind and flesh, about escaping repression and one's own mental and physical limitations. It's a film about insanity, and also a film about going sane. It might be the most emotionally devastating film I've seen since John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The imagery is breathtaking, as in, I truly found myself not breathing as the images passed before my eyes. Natalie Portman's acting is a revelation, and Clint Mansell's score is, not unexpectedly, brilliant.

5. A good visit from Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay) and Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark). We read chapters One and Two of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir on Tuesday night, then Chapter Three on Wednesday afternoon. I am relieved to see that it works. So, thank you Sonya and Geoffrey, and huge thanks to Spooky, who read all 135 pages of the manuscript aloud.

6. On Tuesday, the I received my comp copy of John Joseph Adams new anthology of dystopian fiction, Brave New Worlds, which reprints my sf story "The Pearl Diver," along with stories by the likes of Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Neil Gaiman, Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula K. LeGuin, J. G. Ballard, and, truly, many others.

7. And now, it's time to make the doughnuts. Today will be editing (despite my zombie-like state), so that I can get to Sirenia Digest #61, so that I can get back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ASAP.
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It's easier if I quote my blog entry from Solstice '08:

And now it is Solstice, and the days will grow longer. And that is a great relief. The rebirth of the "Great God," if only metaphorically. Though, truthfully, a metaphorical Cernunnos or Pan is as useful to me as would be one whose reality were less subjective. Here it is truth that applies, not fact. The wheel turns, and the Horned God wakes again. The long night of winter will end soon enough. A happy and/or blessed Solstice/Yule/Midwinter to all those who wish to be wished such.

And, of course, today is Cephalopodmas. Be grateful for the tentacles in you life.

[livejournal.com profile] readingthedark just awoke, so I'll make this short.

Yesterday we saw Aronofsky's Black Swan, a glorious examination of repression, freeing oneself from repression at all costs, and the drive for perfection in one's art. Possibly my favorite film of the year. See it. Now.

Two Worlds and in Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One) preorders contine to go extremely well. More than half the print run for the limited edition has sold out in two days. Subterranean Press has decided to increase the limited from 400 copies to 500 copies, given the demand. And the limited's still on sale for $40 (regular $60).

Later!
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I would have announced yesterday that Subterranean Press has begun taking preorders for Two Worlds and Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume One), but I didn't know until late yesterday afternoon. So, I'm announcing it now. Bill tells me orders went very well yesterday, and that almost half of the limiteds have already sold (!!!!), so you might want to— as the hucksters say —act now. I am very pleased with the news that it's selling well.

Also, subpress is currently offering the book for a discounted sale price of $40 for the limited (regular price, $60), and $30 for the trade (regular price $38). Not sure how long the sale will last.

I spent all of yesterday working on editing the book, as it happens.

Making this quick and dirty, as we're going to a matinée of Aronofsky's Black Swan, and tonight [livejournal.com profile] sovay and [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark are coming down for a read-through of the first three chapters of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. So, later kiddos.
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On the eleventh, only three days from now, it will have been seventeen years since the day I sat down and began writing Silk. I want to commemorate the day by giving away a signed (and probably scribbled in) copy of the novel (fourth edition mmp), but I can't think of a contest-type thing. Suggestions are welcome. And that reminds me, I owe everyone who chipped in on Spooky's birthday present a poem. Well, it's been written, and now we have the paper and envelopes, so those will go out very soon. You have not been forgotten; I'm just slow as slug juice.

Yesterday was spent on email, and cleaning the sad wreck I'd let my office become, and shelving books, and stacking books along the walls, and, finally, beginning to assemble the manuscript for Two Worlds and In Between for Subterranean Press. This is how today will be spent, on the manuscript, as I need to get it away to Bill Schafer ASAP. And that means I also need to write the introduction. It will be a short introduction, but it's still intimidating as all get out (I think that's an idiomatic phrase confined to the Deep South, but I might be wrong). A summing up. A taking of stock. Anyway, that's what I'll be doing today, and maybe taking a phone call or two related to the SECRET.

Last night, we watched the first episode of Season One of Caprica. I love this show, and was relieved that it wasn't canceled. However, I did not appreciate having to sit through some gods awful commercial for a pair of paranormal romance novels, Covet and Crave (shudder), by someone named J.R. Ward. Have you noticed how so many of the women cranking out this PR shit a) have oddly masculine sounding names, usually involving initials, and b) present themselves as Beverley Hills glam, but only manage to look like tarted-up nerds whose clothes are wearing them? Anyway, good episode. Later, I played City of Heroes and Villains, which is my new vice. I did the free trial awhile back, and some kind soul recently gifted me with a copy of the game (and a month of free play). So, yeah. Imagine Countess Elizabeth Báthory as a super villain (cough, cough), and you'll get the picture. It's big goofy fun. J.R. Ward could probably squeeze a series of novels out of it, except that Erzsebétta is a lesbian, in love with her ancient Egyptian blood mother, Sekhmet, and PR is generally a'feared of the lesbyterians (except for the pretend ones who really just do it because men like to watch). So, yes. Super villains. And later I read the first bit of Tom Griffiths' book on Antarctica.

I'm also reading Luis Chiappe's Glorifed Dinosaurs: The Origin and Early Evolution of Birds, and, as I mentioned, China Miéville's The Kraken, because one book at a time is apparently never enough.

Oh, and I joined Cat Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) on Twitter yesterday, for an impromptu dialogue on how Only Men Are Allowed To Write Hard SF. Because, you know, men say so. But that's okay, because us girls, we are allowed to write fantasy. We get all the sparkly unicorns and double rainbows. Because the men say so.

---

The last couple of nights, I'll think of a bunch of neat stuff from the HPLFF that I want to write down, but then, in the morning, when I sit down to make an entry, I've forgotten it all again. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow. There are some photos at the end of this entry, though, from the reception on Friday for Lovecraft Unbound that Dark Horse hosted at Hollywood Wine and Espresso, which is located catty-corner from the Hollywood theatre (and this sentence is far too long and I should really make it stop now). They're all in sepia, because Spooky was on some sort of mad sepia kick that afternoon.

---

I'm not sure, but I think maybe the trade hardback of The Ammonite Violin & Others is pretty close to being sold out again. If you mean to order a copy, best do it now (unless it's already too late).

The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 3 )
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Something like eight and a half hours of sleep last night, the antidote to my recent insomnia, and now I'm groggy and not awake. At least the weather's turned cooler again.

I'm glad to see "The New Weird in Music Videos" entry was a hit last night. I'd not expected it to be. I'll keep it up. Thanks to people who made suggestions. Most were already on my list, but one or two were things I'd forgotten over the years.

Yesterday was spent (again) hammering away at the table of contents for the "best of" volume. Finally, late yesterday, I emailed the whole thing away to Bill Schafer at subpress. Right now, we're looking at twenty-eight pieces (including The Dry Salvages). The final tally will likely be shorter, twenty-six pieces or so. Many stories are more than 10,000-words long; five have never before been collected. I'll post the ToC here as soon as I can. Now, I have to start contacting six artists who've illustrated my writing at various times and whose art I'd like to see in the bonus section of the lettered/numbered state of the book.

Any day now, I'll be getting started on the second half of "The Yellow Alphabet." And another story for Sirenia Digest #57. By the way, thanks to Karina Melendez, the new website for the digest should be fully functional within a few more days, and we're going to be slowly making it possible to purchase back issues from the site, beginning with #s 56-50.

The platypus, dodo, and the mothmen (such a retinue upon my desk) say it's time to wrap this up and get to work. I ignore them at unspeakable peril.
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Yesterday was a loss, so far as work goes. Yesterday earns an L, so far as work goes. I was too hot, and hadn't left the House in over a week. So, about three p.m., we departed for the beaches along South County. Yesterday was not a loss, so far as just being alive goes.

I'd never been to East Beach, which lies along the narrow string of barrier dunes between Block Island Sound and Ninigret Pond. This is about six miles southeast of Moonstone Beach. Ninigret Pond, like many along the southern cost of Rhode Island, was formed during the retreat of glaciers at the end of the last "ice age," some ten to eleven thousand years ago. Past the dunes, studded with conifers and dog roses, poison ivy and various grasses, the beach is wide. When we arrived, the sun was still high and hot, but it felt good on my skin. I've wasted far too much of this summer indoors.

Mostly, I sat on the blanket and made notes, watched the waves and listened to the surf, while Spooky looked for bits of this and that in the sand. There were a few people fishing. A man near us hooked a sea robin (Family Triglidae), and promptly got stabbed by one of the spines as he tried to get it off his line. He bled, and wrapped his hand in a towel. We saw gulls, cormorants, piping plovers, and what we're pretty sure was a female Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). Small fish (four or five inches long) jumped from the waves, and those that weren't eaten by the gulls we scooped up and returned to the water.

A little after seven, we headed back to the car, but walked through the trees to the edge of Ninigret Pond before leaving. It's wide and flat, that water, and warm. There were countless small jellyfish washed up along the edge. I assume the species was not espcially toxic, as a small, naked child playing in the water nearby was picking them up. "Say goodbye to the jellyfish," her mother told her, and she did, and dropped it back into the pond.

On the way home, Spooky got a call from Best Buy, that her laptop was back from repairs. It had been the motherboard again. HP has acknowledged that this model has a flawed motherboard, but will only replace them with the same motherboards. At least it was still under warranty. We got home late, and had tuna sandwiches for dinner. It was in the high 80sF in the House. We hid in my office with Dr. Muñoz. I created a new avatar for Insilico rp, and Spooky played WoW (her night-elf driud, Syllhar). My insomnia's come back, and I didn't get to sleep until about five a.m.

That was yesterday.

Today, I have to try to finish up with the preliminary table of contents for the "Best of" volume. I've ironed out some details with Bill Schafer at subpress, which will make doing this much easier. Also, the lettered state of the book will include a special section with illustrations by various artists I've worked with over the years, which I think is very, very cool. The book will be subtitled Volume One, as I felt very weird doing a "Best of" at age -6. I'll do Volume Two -46 years from now...or maybe I'll do it sixteen years from now. The latter seems more prudent.

Okay...time to make the doughnuts. Here are photos from yesterday:

10 August 2010 )
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A wonderful morning here in Providence. Only 81F outside, and there's a cool breeze getting in through the open window by my desk. The humidity has dropped from 94% last night to a mere 48%.

As I said last night, I did 1,060 words on Chapter One of the Next New Novel yesterday. Unsure how much I'll get written today, or if I'll manage to get anything written today, as I have dinner with S.T. Joshi and friends at six p.m. I am desperately trying to find the end of Chapter One before Monday (July 26th), when I have to set the book aside and get to work on "The Yellow Alphabet" for Sirenia Digest #56.

Speaking of the digest, I am pleased to announce that it now has its own website, thanks to my new web guru (or web goblin, if you prefer), Karina Melendez. She designed and maintains the Lambda Literary website, and she's also manages the Wizard's Tower Press website. Oh, here's a link to the new Sirenia Digest site, though it's not yet even close to finished. So please don't try to order anything. You will also note that the site is in English and Spanish. Karina's native language is Spanish, and I'm currently working with her on a rather ambitious plan to translate all the back issues. Ultimately, we hope to use the new website to offer each back issue in both languages. Details TBA, and thank you Karina.

More on the Best of volume from Subterranean Press that I announced last night. I have begun trying to compile a preliminary table of contents, and I'm realizing this is going to be quite a bit more difficult than I'd first realized. As in "Argh." Even though I have 200k words to work with, which means a book somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 pages.
I have decided that, for the most part, I'll not be including work from Sirenia Digest, since a lot of those stories are destined to appear in followup volumes to The Ammonite Violin & Others (and, obviously, none of the stories collected in The Ammonite Violin & Others will be included). So, with a few exceptions, we're talking about 1994-2005. But eleven years of publishing is only a little easier to navigate than sixteen years of publishing.

Last night, I finally saw Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island, and wow. It's almost as grand a mindfuck as Inception. A beautifully made and deeply disturbing film. It is haunting in the truest sense of the word. And I think Leonardo DiCaprio is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. He's come a long, long way from Critters 3 (1991).

And now...I need to try to get some work done.
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A thunderstorm is moving in, and the sky has gone marvelously dark above Federal Hill here in Providence.

I have what I think is quite a momentous announcement. This morning William Schafer at Subterranean Press emailed to ask if I'd "be interested in a 200k word The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, that, in addition to 5-6 uncollected stories, drew from all of your published collections..."

And, of course, I said yes. I said yes immediately.

So...over the next month or so I'll be compiling the table of contents, which, frankly, seems like an almost impossible task, even with a two-hundred-thousand word limit. I have to go back over all the short fiction I've written the last seventeen years, almost two hundred stories, and figure out which pieces I consider my best (as well as which pieces have received the most attention, and so might be said to represent my "best" work). The book will be released sometime in the spring of 2011, and the limited edition will be accompanied by The Crimson Alphabet as a free chapbook. I will post more details as they become available. By the way, feel free to post suggestions here, or email them to me, your personal favorites you might like to see included. I'll consider those, too, when making my choices. I hope to deliver the manuscript to subpress by the end of the summer.

So, yeah. Big News. Also, I'll be getting back to work on The Dinosaurs of Mars next year, after having set it aside in the summer of 2007. If all goes well, subpress will release it in the fall of 2011. Which means I'm doing two books with them next year.

Meanwhile, my copies of The Ammonite Violin & Others arrived late yesterday, along with the "Sanderlings" chapbook. I am beyond pleased with how the collection turned out. It's definitely one of the best-looking books I've ever done with subpress. And if you preordered and do not yet have your copy, it should be along shortly.

---

Today, I did 1,060 words on Chapter One of the Next New Novel, and it's the first writing I've gotten done since Sunday. The less said about the first half of yesterday the better. Most of it was spent at the Peace Dale Public Library, reading Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Sunday evening, we returned to the Blackstone River Gorge area in southern Massachusetts, the towns of Blackstone and Millville, and almost to Uxbridge. I found more locations important to the Next New Novel, and fell more in love with the region. Many photos were taken, and I'll try to post some soon.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. Also, there's the cool stuff at Spooky's Dreaming Squid Dollworks & Sundries shop at Etsy (she says, "Tell them to please buy this stuff, because I'm tired of looking at it."). Yes, she really said that. So, thanks. Buy or bid if you are able.

Okay. That's all for now. I have a table of contents to ponder....
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
The heat seems to have come to stay, at least until September. In this house, in this heat, it is no right season to be trying to write. I can hardly think. We had a few comfortable hours early this morning, say two a.m. until dawn. The thermostat even dropped all the way to 80F.

Yesterday was, so far as writing goes, just short of a complete loss. Mostly, the lack of sleep the night before is to blame. Rarely does insomnia make me sick, but it did yesterday. So, I sat here, dissatisfied with everything I'd written on Thursday and Friday, but full in the knowledge that my dissatisfaction was at least partly irrational. Maybe if I'd known it was completely irrational, things might have been easier. I rewrote. I bemoaned. I wrote paragraphs and threw them out. This is not the route to getting The New Novel written. This is not the way I write.

I finally gave up about five, and crawled off to the sweltering bedroom. It was too hot to be in there, much less sleep. Spooky came in and put a wet washcloth on the back of my neck and I dozed for half an hour.

Today has to be better.

---

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions, especially the Salammbô T-shirt. Also, Spooky's selling off a couple of pairs of shoes she never wears anymore (because they make her feet hurt), shoes she's hardly worn. They are lovely shoes. You can see them in her LJ, [livejournal.com profile] squid_soup.

My thanks to Bill at subpress for sending me a copy of Peter Straub's Skylark, the expanded text of A Dark Matter. It arrived yesterday, and is a beautiful, beautiful book.

---

What else was there to yesterday? A cold dinner that I barely had the appetite to eat. The new National Geographic came in the mail. I realized there wasn't a Wikipedia article for the archaeocete whale genus Pontogeneus, so, after dinner, I wrote one. It had been a year or so since the last time I wrote a paleo' entry for Wikipedia. It was too hot to read, so we watched John Maybury's Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998), with Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig (and Tilda Swinton!). We watched more episodes from Season Two of 24. Just before sleep, I finished Chapter Two of The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos.

And that was yesterday.
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Update from Subterranean Press:

"We received the first copies of Caitlín R. Kiernan’s excellent new collection, The Ammonite Violin & Others, last week, and noticed a glaring error on the dust jacket, one big enough that we decided to have the djs reprinted rather than let the books out in the world with the error.

We’re expecting the books to be ready to pick up on July 13 or so, and will be shipping copies immediately after they land in our warehouse. Our apologies for the delay to everyone who preordered a copy, but we’d rather have things take a week or two longer than anticipated in order to get everything right."

Posted on Thursday, July 8th, 2010 at 7:14 am.
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My last entry before Readercon 21.

The past two days have been hell here in Providence. The temperature hit 101F on Tuesday (a record for the date), and wasn't much better yesterday. We've had to stay out of the House as much as possible, trying to stay cool. It is an old house, this House, and it is made to hold in heat in cold winters. It also holds it in during summers. Which is usually okay, unless we get these heatwaves. Dr. Muñoz could not even begin to keep up. Yesterday, it was 93F in the cool part of the House for much of the day. But last night the fever broke, and we have a reprieve until sometime next week, when the heat is supposed to return. At least we get three nights of AC at the hotel.

Here's an update regarding The Ammonite Violin & Others: The book came back from the printer, but there was a problem with the dust jackets, so subpress had to send the books back to the printer to have the dust jackets redone. This has created a delay in shipment of the books to those who've preordered them. This part is fairly straightforward and has not caused me to gnash my teeth. However, Amazon.com, in it's infinite lack of wisdom, sent out email to those who preordered via Amazon, stating that the book was "out of stock," and asking people if they wished to cancel their orders. Apparently, from what I've been told (and my information may be in error), Amazon will cancel the preorder unless you reply to this email, telling them not to do so. None of it makes much sense to me. The books have not shipped from the publisher, so there's no way they can be "out of stock" at Amazon, given they've not yet been in stock at Amazon. Also, I heard a rumor the book was sold out, and that's not true, either. Only the limited edition is sold out (and it has been for months). As to when you can expect to get your copy, Bill at subpress says, "Ammonite should be done next Monday or Tuesday, when they've been rejacketed."

So. Apologies for the delay, but the books should go out in another couple of weeks, I'd think (regardless of what Amazon might say to the contrary). This is one reason it's always a good thing to order directly from subpress.

---

The heat has been so bad I didn't even make the hair appointment on Tuesday, so everyone who makes Readercon will be blessed with the sight of my shaggy greying mop. Maybe this will spur me to just let it grow out, and accept the grey. Which is something I should have done years ago.

My thanks to Geoffrey ([livejournal.com profile] readingthedark), who made the drive down from Framingham on Monday evening. It was good to have company and conversation.

Tuesday, trying to escape the heat, we headed for the theater. We took in two matinées. First, M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender and then Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3. The latter is probably one of the best films of the summer. The former, alas, is not. But it also wasn't even half as awful as most of the critics are making it out to be. The plot was not "incomprehensible," for example. The plot was very simple and straightforward. The Last Airbender is a painfully mediocre movie, that's true, and I do not expect painfully mediocre movies from Shyamalan. I know this cuts against the grain, how it's been cool to hate Shyamalan since...I don't know...since at least Signals, but I have adored all of his films except the also painfully mediocre The Happening (2008). As for The Last Airbender, I thought it was a gorgeous film, and, as a children's film, it worked in a sloppy sort of way. I even enjoyed the last third quite a bit. But yeah, the acting was consistently stiff and heavy-handed (even with people like Cliff Curtis, who I know can act), which likely means the direction was off. The screenplay was flat and unremarkable. As for the charges that the casting is racist, again, I don't see a problem of the magnitude reviewers have indicated. I noticed only three white actors cast in roles that seemed to require non-white actors (admittedly, two of these were main characters): Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone (Sokka), and Katharine Houghton (Katara's grandmother). How you get three Caucasians in a village full of people who seem to be Inuit, I don't know. Yes, the roles were inexplicably miscast, but when almost everyone else in the film isn't white, I hardly see how this qualifies as a massive "racefail" (gods, I hate that silly compounderation). The Last Airbender isn't a particularly good film, and it's a strange move for Shyamalan, who I would think would be trying to get back on track with the sorts of film's he does best. But it's also not nearly as bad as I'd expected it to be. Then again, I never cared for the animated series. Maybe my reaction would have been different if I were a fan.

Also, can we all please stop with the idiotic 3-D soon?

I'd say more, but it's beginning to get hot in the office, so I'm going to wrap this up. Perhaps I'll see you this weekend at Readercon. Perhaps I won't. No, I won't be twatting from the con. I will be unplugged. Next entry, Monday morning.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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