greygirlbeast: (Default)
Spooky says, [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy has tweeted "Rhode Island. It's not an island. Not even close. I have discovered this." He is a wise man. Oh, and he also just tweeted, "They really should change the name of that to A-Squid-Neck Island*. In honor of Lovecraft. Obviously. Fo shizzle." I think he's high.

Today, Hubero's name is Bill Murray. Just until midnight. This began when Spooky posted the following to Facebook: It's that kind of morning... discussing how funny it would be to change Hubero's name to Bill Murray. "Get down off that counter Bill Murary!" "Dust bunnies will kill you, Bill Murray!" Yeah, that one was for the Jim Jarmusch aficionados. Shit. Hold on. Bill Murray is eating coffee grounds out of the garbage.

Um...back now.

Yesterday, I worked. On, you know, The Secret.

And then I went to the Apple Store and bought an iPad. Yes, this may well mean the end of Western Civilization, and I am ashamed to the core of my being, and I apologize. But I'm going to need it for work soon, and it's tax deductible. Now, time was, writers didn't need Star Trek gadgetry to...write. They needed fingers and ink and paper and a quill. Later shit got fancy with pens and typewriters. Luxuries? Those were whiskey and cigarettes. This was the life of the writer, and they roamed the plains in vast and wordy herds. But now, writers must have gadgets. Yes, they must! Or the other writers make fun of them. Gonna have to get an iPhone soon, too...but that's gonna wait a few more months. Meanwhile, I will endure the peer pressure and limp along with my sad little 2009 cellphone. Anyway, yes. An iPad. And man, you wanna know how Sirenia Digest was meant to be seen? Look at #70 on an iPad. I had no bloody idea! Anyway, lest anyone gets too worried, no. I WILL NOT READ EBOOKS ON MY iPAD. Except magazines and newspapers and comics, because that's different. Why? Because I say so. Also, my basement is filled with cardboard boxes of National Geographic that a) weigh a ton, b) will never again be opened in my lifetime, and c) I can't bear to throw out.

My iPad's name is Kermit. First time I have ever given a computer a male name.

My thanks to Josh Cruz ([livejournal.com profile] subtlesttrap) for sending me the new Ladytron album, Gravity the Seducer. And to Melissa, for reminding me that I've fallen in love with St. Vincent. Sometimes, I forget my nouveaux amoureux (and that I don't actually speak French).

Anything else? Bill Murray, you are not helping.

Oh! I know. Since when did publishing start thinking that anyone who has a blog, seems to be able to read, and can write halfway coherent sentences qualifies as an actual "book reviewer"? You know, those people who write "book reviews." Once, we had real book reviewers, who wrote actual book reviews for newspapers and magazines. In fact, we still do. Not as many as we used to, and, sure, few of the reviewers can match the Golden Days of Reviewers, the likes of Dorothy Parker's "Constant Reader" in the pages of The Atlantic. But, every goofball with a WordPress or TypePad account? Really? Fine, call me arrogant. I don't care. Call me meritocratic. I can live with that just fine. I can't live with BookVoreLady's "review" of The Red Tree being quoted by my publisher (I made up "BookVoreLady," but you get the idea), and I diligently have those "reviews" removed when they turn up in the opening, promotional pages of my books. Maybe this is the wave of the future, an age when merely being able to read and write automatically grants one the status of being a bona-fide book reviewer. But I don't have to like it or go along with it. Reviews have always been a questionable affair, but at least when the reviewer has a name and a face and you know their educational and professional pedigree, intelligent decisions based upon their opinions can be made. I may disagree vociferously with reviewers, but I do at least tend to respect the opinions of the learn'd and experienced.**

But what do I know? I bought an iPad and named it Kermit.

So, without further ado, eight more "making of" photos (chosen at random!) from the past weekend's shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir book trailer. These were taken by Ryan Anas, who was Kyle's PA for those three days. Ryan rocks the casbah, by the way. I'm not labeling any of these photos. You can all make a grand parlour game of guessing their provenance. Or not. Your call. Speaking of calls, Ryan took these with his phone, which sort of looked like an elephant had stepped on it, so he gets extra points for moxie. And speaking of moxie...

Hey! Bill Murray! Get away from the microwave! (This is why we can't have nice things.)

Ryan's Behind the Scenes, Part One )


*Aquidneck Island

** No, this is not–most emphatically not–any sort of condemnation of those of us (as I am included) who write about books, perhaps in great detail, in our blogs or what have you. But I've never yet written anything in my blog I'd dare have the hubris to call an actual review. The world, I think, needs a hubris extractor.
greygirlbeast: (stab)
Spooky just read me a review of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir, which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn." Actually, no. She didn't read me a review, or even a "review." It was just some dipshit's blog entry. He took issue with the fact that Gregory Frost's "The Dingus" and my story both use the word dingus in different ways, and this confused the blogger. Because, you know, he doesn't own a dictionary or know how to use Google (never mind an obvious unfamiliarity with the works of Daishell Hammett). Honestly, how much longer do I have to endure unabashed human stupidity? It's as if people are PROUD to be morons. Anyway, I just timed myself. I needed only five seconds, using Google, to learn that dingus is:

Used to refer to something whose name the speaker cannot remember, is unsure of, or is humorously or euphemistically omitting - here's a doohickey—and there's the dingus. – and – Dingus –noun, plural -us·es. Informal: a gadget, device, or object whose name is unknown or forgotten.

Five measly seconds! The internet! Use it, motherfuckers! Maybe Google has become like libraries; cool people don't use it.

Meanwhile, in the Great State of Alabama, where so much of my life was squandered, I have the story of Republican state Senator Scott "Top of His Class" Beason, who is unsure why he called blacks "aborigines." Yes, you read that correctly. A brief quote from the article:

In one transcript, Beason and two other Republican legislators were talking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and the customers at one of the county's largest employers, the Greenetrack casino in Eutaw.

"That's y'all's Indians," one Republican said.

"They're aborigines, but they're not Indians," Beason replied.


As kids these days are wont to say, o.0. Actually, the comment "That's y'all's Indians" might be the worst of it.

---

Kittens, there's no such thing as salvation. But if there were, it would be anger.

---

Anyway, yesterday I wrote something, but I can't yet tell you what I wrote, because it's related directly to that NEWS THAT IS SO GOOD, SO COOL, but that I can't yet announce. I emailed the first half of Blood Oranges to my agent. And then I spent a couple more hours editing the ms. of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. And that was work yesterday.

Oh, and, as it happens, my contributor's copies of Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir arrived, and this is an awesome book, which you must own. The beady eyes of the platypus, they compel you! Also, all modesty aside, "The Maltese Unicorn" is one of the best short stories I've written in years. Dingus!!!!!

---


Late last night, we watched a movie. Now, here's the problem with Hal Hartley. On the one hand, he can make a brilliant film like No Such Thing (2001), and on the other hand he makes turds like The Girl from Monday (2005) and (the film we saw last night) The Book of Life (1998). Imagine a film devoid of acting, a script, art direction, cinematography, direction, sets, all production values...well, most that stuff you find in movies. Instead, it's just a garbled story about Jesus deciding the end of the world is a really bad idea, and you have The Book of Life. Now, the good news is threefold: 1) Polly Jean Harvey plays Mary Magdalene, and she at last tries to act in one scene, and is cool to look at the rest of the time; 2) William S. Burroughs adds a voice-over as a hellfire-and-brimstone radio preacher; and 3) the film is, mercifully, only 63 minutes long. Honestly, kittens. Not worth your time or the cost of a rental. Watch Henry Fool or No Such Thing again if you need a Hartley fix.

Fuck. I have to work today. Throw comments at me. Maybe something will stick.

Angrified,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
I've not left the house in eight days. Presently, it's sunny and 23˚F, though it feels like 10˚F with windchill. Things I only know because of the internet. The last few days, the sun and rain have made a small dent in the mountain of snow. The streets of Providence have begun their annual disintegration, as potholes open up all over. Not that it matters to someone who seems never to leave the house.

I'm feeling much, much better. This has been an odd cold, for Spooky and I both. I've dubbed it the "Long Island Express." Fast and hard. It was sort of like a week and a half of sick, all in three days. Still, I'd rather it be that way, than lower-grade misery for ten days.

I suppose yesterday was a half a day off. I didn't actively write, but I did work. Email, and looked over copy editor's marks on "Tidal Forces" (soon to appear in Johnathan Strahan's Eclipse Four). I lay in bed while Spooky read back over all of the seventh chapter of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and made line edits. I see now that the seventh chapter is done, and I'll begin 8 today. And I see that this novel may only have nine chapters, so...the ending is nearing sooner than expected. Which feels very, very strange, considering I actually only was finally able to begin it in earnest in November (after, I think, three false starts over the preceding eight months).

---

Thanks for all the potential "if I were" questions posted yesterday as comments. There were some excellent ones, and all have been cut an pasted into a file I keep for such things. But, as it happens, I thought of a very good question last night, which I'll probably post tomorrow. I think it's just the right balance of disturbing and erotic.

---

The thing I was going to get into yesterday and didn't, another highly questionable Amazon.com "review" and the issue of Sarah Crowe's sexuality. I quote:

Over all, I liked the book. I did get a bit irritated with the author constantly telling the reader that Sarah is a lesbian.

Now, I should note up front that the reader did, indeed, like the book, and she gave it four out of five stars. And, originally, I wasn't going to carp about this. But it's been eating at me. I will try to be succinct, because it's actually a very simple problem. To begin with, "the author" wasn't "constantly telling the reader that Sarah is a lesbian." It was Sarah who did the talking. The interauthor whose journal makes up most of The Red Tree. There are plenty who would say that's an absurd distinction, but I disagree. However, that's not the meat of the problem here.

To put it as simply as possible, most gays and lesbians spend a lot more time thinking of themselves as gays and lesbians than most heterosexual men and women spend thinking about the fact of their heterosexuality. This is simply true, and it follows from the repression and discrimination and hatred visited upon queers. When you aren't "the norm," when, all your life, the validity of your desires and loves has been condemned and questioned and, at times, attempts have been made to beat it out of you, it changes how you see yourself. It's unfortunate, but it's true. Maybe someday a time will come when this isn't true, and no one will give a second thought to being a lesbian. But, for now, we live in a society that rarely misses an opportunity to remind us how we deviate from a heterocentric expectation. We spend a lot more time thinking of our sexual identity (which is not the same as thinking about sex) than do straight men and women, because it has become a label. A tag with which to distinguish us from everyone who isn't a lesbian. And if you're straight, and you still don't get this after hearing an explanation, I'm sorry, but you're just not trying. Sarah grew up in the Deep South, one of those parts of the country where it's very hard to be queer, and has, no doubt, spent much of her life taking crap, and yes, she'd quite frequently think of herself as a lesbian. Ergo, she'd write about it. The Red Tree is her book, her voice, her story.

I grow weary of the "I have nothing against lesbians, but why do I have to read about them?" crowd. It's hard not to see this as closeted or thinly-veiled homophobia. Hets are not entitled to live in ignorance of lesbianism, any more than lesbians are entitled to live in ignorance of heterosexuality. This is the world you made, now butch up and live with it.

---

The rest of yesterday. Dinner was the third day of quadrupedal chicken stew. Because I was too bored to stay in bed, and too sick to do much of anything else, there was a lot of WoW. We're finishing up the Twilight Highlands with Shah and Suraa, which means finishing up the meat of the Cataclysm expansion. The Twilight Highlands has been, by far, the best of the expansion. The scene where Alexstrasza attempts to destroy Deathwing was very nicely done. Most of the Twilight Highlands quest chains are good. While Uldum is pretty to look at, it shoots itself in the foot with all the "Harrison Jones" silliness. At least the Twilight Highlands quests mostly take themselves seriously.

Mostly. But...I would be lying if I tried to pretend that my love affair with WoW isn't coming to an end. Blizzard continues to dumb down the game (and it wasn't exactly a bright child to begin with). And they continue to inexplicably whittle away at warlock abilities (and, I assume, abilities for other classes). Yesterday's big patch took away the "drain mana" spell, which I rely on quite a bit in PvE. It's beginning to look like I'll be able to get a laptop this spring, exclusively for gaming, and I suspect that when I do I'll be dropping WoW for LoTRO and Rift (Spooky's doing the Rift Beta, and it's an amazing game). I need a lot less funny and far more coherent, consistent storylines. I need a world that isn't afraid to take itself seriously, and game designers who are a little more considerate of players. Blizzard, you've lost me.

And now...I make the doughtnuts. Comments!
greygirlbeast: (new newest chi)
1) I slept eight hours, and I'm still not exactly what passes for awake.

2) We've laid in supplies. The snow is coming. It should arrive around midnight tonight. Heavy, heavy snow. If I were still in Birmingham or Atlanta, this sort of snow would spell the beginning of a week or two of havoc. Here, we may be unable to leave the house for one day, maybe. By "leave the house," I only mean get the car out of the driveway.

3) Yesterday, I wrote 1,142 words on Chapter 4 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. I'm starting to suspect I'll finish the chapter on Thursday. I'm on manuscript page 162. But, even as I begin this seemingly marvelous progress, the insecurity mounts. The fear that I'm not even half smart enough to write this book, and that there's no audience who wants to read a novel of this sort. I have begun heavily second guessing the reader.

Fuck the so-called wisdom of writing workshops, of instructors, and fuck all that shit about reader/writer contracts. This sort of anxiety is poisonous to good fiction. One does not write for an audience, unless one only wishes to pander. One writes. The worth of a novel is not determined by the opinions of those who read it, collected and averaged to yield an objective rating that may be expressed in stars given and stars withehld. It's all a lonely mess. The book's "worth" lies in the mind of the author, and in the mind of each reader. Each is alone with the book, and everyone who reads it is subject to their own unique experience. Nothing is generally true. That said, I sit and try to just let Imp speak and tell her story, but I begin to hear the complaints to come. The shitty Amazon and blog "reviews" it may receive in 2012. These things shouldn't occur to me, and certainly they shouldn't give me a moment's pause, but they do. "It takes forever before anything actually happens." "It's slow." "It rambles." And so on and on and on and so forth.

4) Yesterday, after the writing, we had to go to our storage unit in Pawtucket. Outside, the world was bitter cold, scabby, too sharp around the edges. Anyway, we needed to drop off those files I mentioned having boxed up back on the 7th. That was the easy part. I also needed to find the missing files for The Dry Salvages, which I'm revising a bit before it's reprinted in Two Worlds and In Between. The files weren't in my cabinet, or anywhere in my office, or in the house. So, it stood to reason, we'd find them in the storage unit, where most of my old manuscripts and notes are kept. Nope. They may be there, but we didn't find them. Which is going to make revising The Dry Salvages much more difficult. I'll say more on this later.

It was depressing, seeing all my paleo' stuff, my Lane cabinet and all the rest. Things that have been in storage since August 2001, when I only thought I was briefly putting my paleo' work on hold.

5) Few things are so capable of filling me with despair as the paperback rack at the market. Who actually reads this crap? I mean, clearly lots and lots and lots of people do, because every one of those books has some bestselling pedigree slapped across its foil embossed cover. These are the forgettable books that everyone reads. Maybe not me, or you, or you, but everyone else. They all seem to amount to little but a combination of fourth-grade reading-level prose and woozy melodrama with bland, idealized characters. They are not meant to be good books. They are meant to be easy reads. Good reads (a phrase I loathe, a dismissive, backhanded slap of a compliment). They are meant to be consumed and then disposed of, like all the best products of this society. I know the money would be heavenly, but I don't think I could sleep at night. Okay, touché. I already have trouble sleeping.

6) I'm starting to think I'm sitting in a great empty room, talking to myself, listening to my hollow voice echoing off the silver walls.

7) Last night we watched Michael Winterbottom's excellent The Killer Inside Me (2010; based on Jim Thompson's 1952 novel). A few lapses in logic aside, I liked it quite a lot (and the lapses are only problematic if we assume the characters are especially bright people, and mostly they don't appear to be). Western noir set in the 1950s. It felt a lot like what you might get if the Coen Bros. and David Lynch made a film together. As usual, Winterbottom doesn't pull his punches, and so the brutality and loss rings true. Casey Affleck delivers a chilling performance as a small-town sociopath who also happens to be a deputy sheriff. Highly recommended.

8) I ordered my new iPod Classic yesterday. My thanks to Steven Lubold, who made it possible for me to get a new iPod. I've been trying to decide what I'll name it. My first iPod (the one from 2005 that recently died) was Moya. This one may be Inara. I always name my computers. Anyway, right now I see it's in Shanghai, because, you know, that makes sense. My iPod and the ramen I had for breakfast have traveled more than I ever will.

9) Last night, Shaharrazad reached Level 83.

And that's more than enough for now.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
A very good writing day yesterday. I began Chapter Two of The Drowning Girl, and wrote 1,709 words. The greater part of getting this book written seems to involve not second guessing the needs and expectations of the Reader (monolithic, abstracted, hypothetical, yet an unknown quantity, and therefore capitalized). The narrative is the jumble of a disordered mind. Not so bad as, say, Benjy Compson in The Sound and the Fury, but disordered, all the same. This is a schizophrenic's narrative. She's a medicated schizophrenic, and she's making some effort to write a coherent narrative. But, at the same time, she's not writing it to be read, but only for her own private purposes. And my loyalty is to her, to Imp, and not to any potential audience.

Sirenia Digest #60 will go out to subscribers this evening. And again, I apologize for the lateness. And, again, #61 will be sent out on January 5th.

The Dancy Box/Alabaster letter X auction is almost over. Whoever wins, I thank you ahead of time.

---

Spooky and I are listening, together, to Madeline L'Engle read A Wrinkle in Time. And it's wonderful, hearing the story in the author's own voice, because she knew it in a way, with an intimacy, that no one else ever will. Hearing her read the novel is a privilege. And yet...the book's page at Audible.com is littered with comments written by people who were so annoyed at her narration they couldn't enjoy the book. For example, this two-star "review":

If I were rating this on story alone it would definitely be a 5 star rating. Unfortunately the fact that the author is narrating the book is in this case not a plus.

I feel awful saying this, but Madeline L'Engle often speaks as though she has a mouthful of marbles and has a tendency to run through a paragraph without stopping for a breath. I end up having to repeat everything in my head at a more conversational speed in order to understand what was said. It's hard to keep track of which character is speaking and she sometimes has a very sing-song way of reading which I think would annoy even my 2 year old niece over a five hour period. Like I said at the beginning— I love this book —I'm 32 years old, have read it myself many times in earlier years and thought, "I'd love to hear this one again and in the authors intended tone." But in this case I'm wishing I'd just bought the paperback. Sorry, Madeline.


How can this not piss me off? How can people be so petty, so shallow? Sure, it's true— L'Engle sounds like her dentures don't fit. So what? For fuck's sake, this is the author reading the story to you, the story she wrote, between 1959 and 1960. How can that not be so amazing that all else falls by the wayside? These are her inflections, the way she heard the characters in her head, and so on. This is magic. How is it even possible that someone can't set aside their need to be coddled just long enough to appreciate how amazing this is?

Whatever. Fuck them. I would be a much healthier, happier person if only I could allow myself to say that with more regularity. Whatever. Fuck them.

---

Let's see, the last couple of days, there's been reading, mostly [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's very wonderful stories in The Poison Eaters. Saturday and Sunday nights, we read "The Land of Heart's Desire," "The Night Market," and "The Dog King." I especially loved the latter.

And there have been movies. Saturday night, we watched Neil Marshall's Centurion, which is one of his best film's to date (not quite as good as The Descent [2005] or Doomsday [2008], but very close). Last night, we watched Anne Fontaine's Coco before Chanel (Coco avant Chanel; 2009), with Audrey Tautou. An amazing and beautiful film.

And now...time to make the doughnuts.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Despite the pills, I somehow managed not to sleep enough last night, and this morning I feel like ass. On top of that, it's hot again, and there's plastering being done in the House, so there is noise, which is like the cherry on the hot-fudge sundae of this morning's fresh hell.

That said...

Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,785 words on the new story, the one based on Vince's illustration, and also found a title for it, "Fairy Tale of the Maritime." I did not, however, find THE END. I hope that will happen today (if the noise relents).

There's a very insightful review of The Red Tree by Audrey Homan at Strange Horizons. I found one very minor error, conflating Dr. Charles L. Harvey and Sarah's chagrined agent, Dorry. Other than that, this is what I mean when I talk about genuine reviews vs. "reviews."

---

So, back to the subject of my science fiction, which I raised a few days ago. Specifically, why my science fiction doesn't seem to be as popular as my dark fantasy, even among my more dedicated readers. The subject came up when Sonya was visiting a while back, when I pointed out that only one of my Subterranean Press books has ever failed to sell out quickly, and that the one book is A is for Alien. True, the limited sold out fairly quickly, but the trade edition is still available from the publisher, more than a year and a half after publication, a situation unprecedented with my subpress editions. By comparison, The Ammonite Violin & Others was released less than two months ago and has already sold out. So, I began asking myself, what gives? And I really don't have an answer.

Assuming that my sf is as well written as my fantasy (which I do assume), the only tentative explanation I have been able to arrive at is that my sf is, admittedly, out of step with contemporary sf. And, both thematically and stylistically, it's something of a peculiar fusion. I don't write "mundane science fiction." Even though I don't really have a problem with that school's basic precepts, I find most of the stories produced by its adherents to be dull as dishwater. I don't write about the Singularity, both because I find the idea highly untenable and because I have no particular interest in the subject. Also, I'm not even remotely interested in the idea of sf as a "progressive" or predictive medium. My sf is somewhat retro. It's not "in step" with the current vogue (which will change in a few weeks).

What I do write is, I think, essentially a latter-day "New Wave" sf, heavily influenced by my love of cyberpunk and, to a lesser degree, the immediate precursors of New Wave sf (Bradbury and Fritz Leiber, for instance). The stories are usually about the characters, more than they are about the science and technology. They are dystopian. They are grim, because I cannot imagine a future that isn't grim, given the data at hand. The science in my sf isn't rock solid, but it's pretty hard, better than average, I think. There is a distinctly cosmicist flavor to my sf, due to the influence of Lovecraft and Ligotti (and a host of philosphers). And I find the human mind pretty much as alien as anything we're likely to ever find. In the end, if it has anything so direct and simple as a message, my sf is saying that man is not special, and the universe is uncaring, and technology will not save us. We are our own worst enemy. And the future will look a lot like the present, only with more clutter, more people, and a world grown more inhospitable to humanity because of humanity's unrelenting and shortsighted exploitation of it. My sf looks inward, even when it's looking outward. In short, it's a bummer.

And this might account for some of the lack of attention that A is for Alien received (very few reviews, relative to most of my books, for example), but I find it hard to believe it accounts for the fact that the collection still hasn't sold out at the publisher. So, really, I don't know what's going on here. But it troubles me, and frustrates me, because I intend to continue writing sf, and expect to do another sf collection someday, and I'd like to think it will be better recieved than A is for Alien. Publishers continue to encourage me to write sf. My sf story "Galápagos" was recently honored by the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. I have three sf stories commission for the next year. So it will keep coming. But it baffles me, this thing with A is for Alien. And I just thought I'd talk about it here. Hopefully, I have not been incoherent.

---

Not much else to say about yesterday. Spooky made a peach cobbler. We watched the new episode of Project Runway. I did some nice rp in Insilico (thanks, Blair). I got to bed at a decent hour, and still didn't get enough sleep.

And now I have a story to finish.
greygirlbeast: (CatvonD vamp)
The current eBay auctions are ending today. Please have a look, if you are so inclined. That seems to be our last copy of the sold-out trade hardback edition of To Charles Fort, With Love.

---

Woke to a rainy morning here in Providence. It is impossible, of course, not the check into the NOAA website to keep an eye on the progress of Gustav, and for that matter, Hanna. I know too many people in the paths of each storm not to worry.

A week or so ago I mentioned being somewhat pleasantly baffled that Trisha Telep chose "Untitled 12" and "Ode to Edvard Munch" for her anthology, The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance. From Amazon, the following quotes illustrate my point. A reader reviewed the book story-by-story, giving each story a star rating (X out of 5). Of my two, she wrote, "My least favorite were both of Kiernan's entries...the vague poetic style of these stories left me unconnected to their characters." I am amused:

"Ode to Evdard [sic] Munch" - Caitlin Kiernan - A man shares his blood with a mysterious vamp for a piece of her dreams. (3 stars - no romance and the connection between the leads was odd)"

—— and especially ——

"Untitled 12" - Cailtlin R. Kiernan - A sick woman searches until a vampire finds her. (1 star - I detested this one. More on the horror side, the vampire and the turning were truly icky, though I debated giving an extra star to the author for inspiring such strong negative feelings with so few words.)"

There's no place here where I can say that the reader seems to have misunderstood anything, unless, perhaps, it was the fundamental principles of fiction and that low-brow bit about "vague poetic style." I am rather pleased that "Untitled 12" inspired such loathing, as it was written, in part, as a response to the glut of "romantic" vampire prOn, and "Ode to Edvard Munch," being, in part, a dream cycle, it is undeniably "odd" (though I am left to wonder how a mortal and a vampire would have a non-odd connection). I think this gets back to what I have said before about the expectation of genre readers defeating texts, and writers who cater to such readers. And the "supernatural romance" crowd is at least as bad as the hard sf crowd. For my part, I'm pleased that Telep wanted these two stories in her book, and that pleasure arises specifically from the knowledge that they were so completely opposite of what the readers would be expecting. You know, blood, instead of red cotton candy. In the end, I blame Anne Rice (who once knew better), and her idiot step-daughter, Laurell K. Hamilton, for the the sad state of affairs with vampires in genre fiction, as well as this whole absurd "paranormal romance" subgenre thing.

---

Yesterday. It throws me off making entries late in the day. But, yesterday there was...stuff. Last night, Spooky and I watched Martin McDonagh's genuinely brilliant and thoroughly delightful In Bruges (2008), which I recommend most highly. Great cast. Great script. And Bruges. I read another paper from the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology —— "Mahajangasuchus insignis [Crocodyliformes; Mesoeucrocodylia] cranial anatomy and new data on the origin of the eusuchian-style palate." Mahajangasuchus is one of those grand bull-dog crocs, and the observations on the evolution of the "hard" palate in crocodyliforms was especially interesting, that the structure might have arisen both as a response to the need to decouple the oral cavity from respiration (an advantage only to aquatic forms, and pretty much the leading idea since Huxley proposed it in 1875) and also as a response to torsional feeding stresses. I even have a picture:


Cast of the skull of Mahajangasuchus from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar


---

Last night, more EVE, which I do enjoy, despite the breakneck learning curve and despite the emphasis on PvP action. The latter is especially problematic, and I'm disappointed the game places so much stress on conformity and cooperation and makes no real provision for loner malcontents like me (and most of the characters I create). Then, too, there is the game's manic devotion to corporate commerce as a driving force for its story, when there could have been so much more of substance to motivate its players (religion, race, politics, etc.). Economics has always bored me to tears, and much of EVE revolves around buying and selling and stock and shares and blah, blah, blah. I just want to zip around the universe fighting space pirates (or, better yet, being a space pirate), shagging hot aliens, and gawking at new star systems. So, EVE gets two thumbs up for realizing such an amazingly complex gaming universe, and for making it beautiful, and two thumbs down for turning it into a dreadful capitalist bore that expects me to constantly interact with PvP-obsessed teenagers who name their starships after their penises and wouldn't know "suspension of disbelief" if it cut off their allowances. Regardless, tonight I have to get back to work on Howards End. It's time to attend to a lot of the details of the necropolis/warren/train tunnel complex, and soon we'll be laying the streets. My thanks to everyone who's sent me information on potential characters. If I have not already been in touch, I will soon. I just badly needed a break from SL.

Postscript (4:32 p.m.): from NOAA: 000
WTNT62 KNHC 301718
TCUAT2
HURRICANE GUSTAV TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008
120 PM EDT SAT AUG 30 2008

DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT GUSTAV HAS CONTINUED TO STRENGTHEN AND NOW HAS MAXIMUM WIND NEAR 145 MPH...230 KM/HR WITH HIGHER GUSTS. THIS MAKES GUSTAV AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE. A SPECIAL ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED AT ABOUT 200 PM EDT TO MODIFY THE INITIAL AND FORECAST INTENSITIES. THE SPECIAL PUBLIC ADVISORY WILL TAKE THE PLACE OF THE INTERMEDIATE PUBLIC ADVISORY PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED FOR THAT TIME.
greygirlbeast: (Sweeny1)
I have tried, the last year or so, to ignore "reviews" on Amazon.com, as well as those posted to blogs and suchlike. I am aware that in the eyes of some, it appears unseemly when an author replies to her critics (and I'm being rather generous here with the word "critic"). However, myself, I have always felt that it is only reasonable that the author be permitted an equal opportunity to reply, especially when the criticism in question is demonstrably wrong or wrong-headed and may, in theory, adversely affect book sales. Anyway. Yes. I have been good. But this morning I saw a "review" of Low Red Moon on Amazon.com, posted maybe a month back, and it annoyed me, and then I had a hard day, and so I am allowing myself to fall off the wagon (for one day only). The "review," posted by Kathryn Daugherty ("tropo9"), reads as follows:

In this sequel to Threshold, Deacon and Chance are married and Chance is pregnant. Sadie is Deacon's friend, but neither remember their affair after Chance left Deacon. Even Chance doesn't remember turning back time in the water tunnel to save Elisa, but instead is again freaked out by her psychic premonitions of raining blood.

This story is really about Narcissa Snow, a part goblin child raised by an insane father on the coast of Rhode Island. She is convinced that if she gives the goblins a changeling child, then she will finally be accepted into the goblin community. The child she wishes to give them is Chance's. She travels to Birmingham, committing mutilations and murders along the way. Deacon is caught up in her schemes when Narcissa kills one of Deacon's old friends and the police ask Deacon for his psychic assistance.

The best part of the novel is that the author has cleaned up her language. The narrative is strong and sure. The worst part of the novel is that not for one second can you believe that Deacon loves Chance or that Chance loves Deacon. Why did they get married? Why is Deacon sober? Chance seems to hate Deacon and is always convinced that he is about to fall off the wagon. Deacon feels weak and useless. If you have no sympathy for the main characters and no understanding of their situation, then the author has done a very poor job. It is rather depressing that such a good writer has no understanding of human motivations.


Now...to start with, I must assume that Miss Daugherty means "ghoul" when she says "goblin," as the word "goblin" appears only twice in the novel, and only once, jokingly, as a reference to the ghouls. Secondly, who the hell of "Elisa"? I will assume, from context, that she means Elise. Third, Narcissa was raised in the North Shore region of Massachusetts, north of Cape Ann, not "on the coast of Rhode Island." Okay. So that three factual errors in the first paragraph, when, I assume, Miss Daugherty must have written this review fairly soon after having read the novel. Do I question reading comprehension here or retention of what has been read?

Regardless, what really stuns me is that final paragraph, where we are told that "not for one second can you believe that Deacon loves Chance or that Chance loves Deacon," and her calling into question the possibility that they would have married. This is so idiotic that I'm not even going into all the instances by which I could prove that, while Chance and Deacon are hardly one of those mythic ideal couples you see beaming from Match.com commercials, there is ample evidence in this book that they do love each other quite a lot. And never mind the fact that the "reviewer" seems to be labouring under the assumption that all marriages are successful, or that all married people love each other, or that all married people appear to love each other, and so forth. She's joking, right? Please note, I am not objecting to the fact that she didn't like the book, but to the fact that she cannot be bothered to write an informed review. And as for the line, "The best part of the novel is that the author has cleaned up her language," well, I'm not even going to presume to know what she means by that.

Idiot. Anyway, yeah, you can read (and rate) the "review" here.
greygirlbeast: (hammy)
These days I am trying so, so hard to be good and not berate "reviewers" who clearly cannot be bothered not to be idiots. But this evening I find that I am in need of some small bit of spleen venting, and so I would like to direct your attention to the following excerpt from a recent "Book Fetish" "review" of Daughter of Hounds:

The use of vulgarities throughout the chapters convey a lack of language skills from Kiernan however in times, I did find myself having to look up one or two words from the sheer unusual ways that they were being used as in the text. I found the cursing overdone because by knowing mere body language, a person would be able to be conveyed as a foul being.

Firstly, this excerpt, like most of the "review," is only marginally literate ("however in times", "the sheer unusual ways", and "used as in", for example, or that whole last sentence). Secondly, the author is an antonym ("evilpoet," Angela), significantly diminishing my opinion of himherit from the outset. Thirdly, didn't I just address this whole profanity thing a week or so ago?

Here's the deal. In large part, Daughter of Hounds is about people who make Mafia hit men look like choirboys, changelings who would just as soon shoot you in the face as give you the time of day. Stolen children raised by inhuman corpse-eating ghouls to be sociopathic killers. And I cannot even for a moment believe that Soldier and Odd Willie, Saben White and the Bailiff, would not be some of the most foul-mouthed motherfuckers imaginable. Period. To have written them any other way would have never rung true to me. Which is to say that my "use of vulgarities throughout the chapters" most certainly does not indicate a "lack of language skills," obviously, but, rather, decisions about characterisation. Otherwise, Emmie and Pearl and Madam Terpsichore, Miss Josephine and Esmeribetheda and Sadie Jasper would all have been just as foul-mouthed as the changelings. Capice? If you don't like the book, fine. Say that you don't like the book. But keep your moral outrage over my characters' colourful and indelicate vocabulary to yourself and, also, keep it from making you look foolish by drawing absurd conclusions as to my general "language skills," especially when you yourself are only just barely capable of writing coherent sentences.

There are other inane charges in the "review" which I will not bother to address. The profanity thing just really drives me to distraction. Also, I'm not linking to the "review." If you want to read the whole thing, I've given you enough information here to find it on your own.

Gods...there are days when the idiots just make me want to stick a very sharp No. 2 pencil (Ticonderoga, since 1913, of course) through my goddamn good eye and be done with it. There's a lot about writing I have to put up with, crap that just comes with the territory, but nowhere have I ever agreed to suffer fools gladly. And I shall not be entering into any such agreement anytime soon.
greygirlbeast: (mirror2)
The rain came, finally. I am very glad to see it. The world was drying out and threatening to combust. We've had two good wet days now, which should help. I awoke to thunder this morning, fell back to sleep, and awoke again to rain.

My sinuses, however, have been giving me fits. So it goes.

This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath
— Regina Spektor

There ought to be some accounting of the last two days, as I've slacked off so terribly on my pen-and-paper journal of late. And my memory comes and goes. Let's see...

We did part of the Dyke March on Saturday, which was the only Pride event I made it out to. And speaking of queers, thanks to Morgan for letting me know that Murder of Angels makes a cameo appearance in an episode of TransGeneration. Maybe that even sold a few copies of the book. Actually, Saturday's a bit of a blur. There was some bad news, belated backwash from the evils and treachery of last year. But we abide. We persevere. We fight back. We had slices from Fellini's for dinner. I had a long nap, and then Spooky discovered that Alien Nation (1988) was on FMC, and we watched it. Farscape's Rockne O'Bannon wrote the screenplay, and I have always maintained it's an underrated film. Besides, there's Mandy Patinkin. Afterwards, we watched Suddenly, Last Summer (1959), which had come in from Netflix. Another of my favourite films. And a great piece of Lovecraftian "horror," the weird tale sifted through the Southern Gothic and Arthur Machen, a strange concoction, indeed. For them what cares, this film (and Williams' play) were an important formative influence on my own work. Also, I can't resist bringing to your attention one of the very worst Amazon.com "reviews" I've ever seen (signed only "a reader"), which I discovered this morning:

Loved the movie [Suddenly, Last Summer] and wanted to read the book version. Was disappointed when I received the book and it was the "play" version. Buyer beware.

If only Stupidity were a virtue...

Yesterday, I spent some time at Emory, in the Matheson Reading Room, trying, in vain, to find calm. Spooky read part of an article in Historical Anthropology regarding the excavations of a trash heap having once belonged to a theosophical society in California. For dinner, we had the vilest "Mexican" food I've ever put in my mouth. No more Moe's, ever, ever, ever. We knew better, but these things happen. Last night, of course, we watched Deadwood. These scripts leave me breathless, with their dialogue that never ceases to amaze. Characterization and acting that seems effortless. I could just sit and listen, no pictures needed (though then I'd miss the joy of those images). There was little else to yesterday that bears mentioning. There was a lot of conversation. There was leftover birthday cake. I made a half-hearted stab at cleaning my office. A Red Bull saved my life. & etc.

I'd like to write today. We'll see.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the most recent eBay auctions. Your generosity is very, very much appreciated. We'll be starting another round of auctions today, I think.

How was that for "rambling"?

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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