greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
1) Bright outside, a clear blue sky, but the temperature is only 44˚Fahrenheit, which drops to 37˚Fahrenheit when you factor in windchill. At the shore, I expect the windchill has it feeling a good ten degrees cooler than that. Last night, the sky spat rain and slushy snow.

2) Last night, Kathryn's grandmother died. I can't recall the precise time. It was after midnight (CaST). I feel I should say very little on this. Whatever is to be said, you can read at [livejournal.com profile] humglum. But a lot of those posts will be friends locked, for obvious reasons.

3) For reasons that should be fairly obvious, editors should go to lengths to avoid taking liberties with an author's text, if an agreement has not been reached beforehand regarding edits, especially when reprints are involved.

4) There was no actual writing yesterday. The day was a tumult of phone calls, email, and mostly wrestling with the final stage of proofing the (mysteriously altered) galleys for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. These were the pages Spooky had questions about that I had to answer, and there were about fifty of these pages. It could have been worse, but it could have been much, much better. Today, they go to FedEx and back to Manhattan. Other than promotion, the book will be well and truly out of my hands, finally. One the one hand, this feels sad and strange. On the other hand, it's a huge relief. Vince's two illustrations look great in the novel.

There was also a somewhat complex call with my agent. Complex because we had to cover so many subjects (Dark Horse, Blood Oranges, audiobooks, film rights, checks, the mind-bending legal-speak of contracts, the problems raised by ebooks, and...I've lost track). There was the usual barrage of email. I had to get colorist notes for Alabaster #1 out to my editor at Dark Horse. So, yeah. I did not get back to "Sexing the Weird." I doubt that I will today.

5) I forgot to mention that when we went out on Wednesday, we checked the mail and the World Fantasy Award folks had sent me the little HPL pin that all nominees get. You can see the one I got last year here. I am very proud of it. Now I've earned HPL pins for both The Red Tree and The Ammonite Violin and Others.

6) Spooky just came up with the day's mail, which includes three copies of the ARCs (advance reading copies) of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. And they look pretty damn good. A few blemishes here and there, and of course the weird changes are in there, and there wasn't time to get the NYT quote on the cover. But still, nice ARCs, including Vince's illustrations. So, bona fide reviewers should be receiving these soonish (or sooner). I have to get a list together for my publicist. Maybe I'll include a photo of one of the ARCs tomorrow.

7) There was a LOT of Rift last night, including some rp with [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus. A good and very open-ended scene. We've been talking about beginning rp with the guild again (Defiant side, "Watchers of the Unseen"), and if anyone's interested, just let me know, new members or old or prospective. Anyway, since the 1.6 update to the game, day before yesterday, which adds a new region – the Ember Isle, from which the Kelari originated – the idiots have returned to the game. The idiots only seem to show up when there's something new, and they play the new stuff as quickly as possible, then vanish again. The idiots are easy to spot, as most of them sport idiot "names." Last night, for example, the dozens of idiot "not-names" I spotted last night included Kowboy and Killswytch. I think what disturbs me the most is if there's a Kowboy, that means Cowboy was already taken.

Okay. So that's it for today. Play nice, kittens.

Hating My Way,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Listening to the new Tom Waits, and so a big thank you to Steven Lubold ([livejournal.com profile] oldfossil59) 'Cause this one rocks, even for Mr. Waits, and the 40-page book that comes with the deluxe edition is sublime.

But I slept eight hours, and I am not awake. Six hours, that's not enough, but I come awake fast, then feel like shit. Seven hours is perfect. Eight hours, a good lot of sleep, but then I can't wake the hell up. And I wish I could recall last night's (this morning's dreams) as they were odd and seem dimly important. Probably just the end of the world again.

I get ahead of myself. Or behind myself. Whichever. Yesterday, we read chapters Three and Four of Blood Oranges, so we're more than halfway through the ms. Kermit continues to prove useful in text editing, so maybe I haven't made a bad decision, keeping the iPad. I gotta post a photo of me and the Dubious Kermit Tech. But not today. Anyway, unless the MiBs call me to attention today and there's alien retroengineering to be done, we'll be reading chapters Five and Six. There are only Eight chapters to Blood Ornages. Only 70,000 words (my novels are usually well over 100k). So, we'll be done editing (id est, correcting typos and continuity errors) by Sunday evening, and my agent will have the ms. on Monday, when she gets home from the World Fantasy Convention in misbegotten and woebegone San Diego. No, as I keep telling people, I won't be there. If The Ammonite Violin & Others should win a WFA, Elizabeth Bear ([livejournal.com profile] matociquala) will be accepting on my behalf. I do not spend a thousand or so dollars to fly to southern California and risk getting felt up and fisted by the motherfucking TSA for any con.

Speaking of short story collections, I have the cover art by Lee Moyer for Confessions of Five-Chambered Heart (Subterranean Press, 2012). And here it is, behind the cut, based somewhat on "Dancing with the Eight of Swords" (Sirenia Digest #36, November 2008):

Guard Your Heart, No Matter the Chambers Therein )


And if you ordered directly from subpress, but you've not yet received your copy of Two Worlds and In Between, hang in there. Be patient. It's coming. To quote Arcade Fire, "We used to wait." I haven't even received all my comp copies yet.

Oh, but the weather has gone to shit and looks like it's gonna stay there a spell. We were so lucky with the shoot for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and Stills from a Movie That Never Existed. We're in wet Rhode Island October now. Cold and wet, just in time for Samhain and Hallowe'en. If we'd have had to wait one more week, the weather would definitely have been too shitty for our needs. Cutting it close and all.

By the way, the cover art for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir is now up at Amazon.com (follow that link). But the text on the cover isn't final. Not sure why they put it up before we finalized that, but there you go. There's no fathoming the minds of Big New York Publishers. And yes, Penguin did a cover THAT I ACTUALLY LIKE, a lot. There's even a nod to The Red Tree in there. I'm taking that lone oak leaf as a belated apology for the gods-awful mess they made of The Red Tree's cover (which featured a poplar tree, by the way). Anyway, I'll post the cover here when they get the text corrected.

Last night, some good RP in Insilico, then a tad of RIFT before bed. I read more of "About Ed Ricketts" to Spooky.

Only Somewhat Disappointed Today,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
I think I have decided. Yes, I think I have. I shall not miss making an entry – at least one (1) LJ entry per day – between February 13, 2011 and February 13, 2012. Hell, that's only five and a half months.

---

A couple of quick links. First, in case you've not heard, the Lambda Literary Awards have gone fascist bullshit on us. Me, I've always been suspect of Lambda. I mean, come on. I've only been nominated once in almost twenty years! Anyway, no, seriously. Here's Rose Fox's response ([livejournal.com profile] rosefox) , which is very good, and I'll try to add my own comments on this situation later. I will say that until/unless this is rectified, if by some freak chance I were to be to be nominated, I would decline the nomination, and would urge all other authors to do likewise.

Greer Gilman ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) has insightful and interesting things to say on ebooks and ebook readers. I've yet to progress beyond audiobooks, though many of my books are available in various ebook formats (including illegal p2p files, but hey, we writers roll in the dough, don't we?). Still, I found Greer's comments enlightening and amusing. Maybe, when I get an iPad (it's become inevitable), I'll give iBooks a try.

---

Oh, I should note that [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus is a frakking genius, and has cracked the problem of the identity of X project. Alas, I should have known the secret could not stay secret forever. Last night he asked "Is the X-project related to the SGSC news...[?]" Wow. Dude. You figured it out. Yes, I am now working for the SGSC, better known as the Swine Genome Sequencing Consortium.

---

Yesterday, I spent many hours on X, which isn't a very satisfying report I know. I will say, it required that I write 1,690 words. That doesn't really make it any more interesting does it?

I also spoke with Subterranean Press some about Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. The story that was originally "Untitled 31" will appear in the collection as "Subterraneus," and the story originally titled "Untitled 33" will appear as “Fecunditatum.” Yeah, I was in a Latin sort of mood. However, "Untitled Grostesquerie" will appeared as "Untitled Grostesquerie." Also, I'm told that Two Worlds and In Between is at the printer, and should be out sometime next month.

Today, I begin work on a new Mars story for Sirenia Digest #69.

Oh, and I have discovered I am the oldest emo teenager on earth. Go me! Meanwhile, there was some very good Insilico RP last night, but, turns out, Grendel's more fucked over than she ever had been before. Also, though I love Joseph Campbell, do NOT follow your bliss, not if it leads you to attempt something you suck at; follow your actual abilities, and fuck your bliss, if it leads you to create dreck. And, with that, I must away. And remember, don't make me have to get all honey badger on your ass.

Wistful,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
Yesterday, I wrote 1,689 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges. The chapter is now about halfway finished, but I'm clearly going to have to set it aside and attend to Sirenia Digest until #68 goes out to subscribers.

Yesterday's pages were...different. Grimmer (or at least gorier) than most of this book has been. But as Spooky pointed out, still funny. It's a strange, strange trick – for me – that this book is being used to turn. Anyway, when I say funny I do not necessarily mean guffaw funny. Maybe sometimes I do. Maybe. More often than not, I mean the sort of funny that brings a knowing smile. I'm not a comedian. Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction (1994) when Vince accidentally blows Marvin's head off? The scene is funny as hell. I'd like to think that when this book will make you "laugh out loud," it'll be because a scene or a line of dialogue worked like Marvin's unfortunate head. The way that scene worked. Or, better still, the funnier stuff that followed immediately afterwards. Or Vince and Jules trying to wash Marvin's blood off their hands in Jimmie Dimmick's sparkling suburban bathroom:

The actual scene I'm referring to here is behind the cut:

Pulp Fiction 74 )

Now...it's trickier than this. Much so, actually. Because Quentin Tarantino, he had your eyes on his side. He had Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta and the film's camera crew and editors. Tarantino had delivery, inflection, subtle and not so subtle facial expressions, a whole bag chocked full of visual aids (the bloody towel is, for example, hilarious). But if you are one of the three people on Earth who have never seen the film (well, shame the fuck on you), odds are this scene might read rather flatly. Even though (I shit you not, as Siobahn Quinn would say), "I watched you get 'em wet," is one of the funniest lines ever uttered in any film.

Coming to Blood Oranges, I was well aware of my handicap. No visual aids. No actors bringing their talents to bear on the problem at hand. Just me, and me, and me, and a whole lot of words. If I can't make you see it the way I need you to see it, make you hear it as I intend it to be heard, and so forth...all attempts at humor will fall flat.

There's a reason I've never tried this trick before. Well, hardly ever have I tried it. Anyway, thing is, Pulp Fiction, though very funny throughout, isn't actually a comedy (and if you throw out that "dramedy" shit, I'll punch you in the face; sorry, that's what Quinn would have said...or Jules Winfield...or Vince Vega). And see, Blood Oranges isn't actually a comedy....

Comedy and horror live right next door. Hell, most times, they share a bunk.

***

Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] stsisyphus commented, regarding the WFA nomination for The Ammonite Violin & Others, "Who would have thought that an online poll to start up a few monthly vignettes would have led to all this?" And I realized that, in effect, Sirenia Digest has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Which left me completely stunned and delighted.

Oh, and you sorry-ass Russian hacker scum, I can only hope that every time you close your goddamn eyes, you see this staring back at you:



Stunned,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Narcissa)
So, first off, yes, The Ammonite Violin & Others has been nominated for a World Fantasy Award in the category of Best Collection. And yes, I am surprised and very pleased. Richard A. Kirk (who did the cover and endpapers for The Ammonite Violin & Others) is also nominated for a WFA this year, in the category of Best Artist. And! He's the Artist Guest of Honor at the 2012 World Fantasy Convention in Toronto. So, don't we fucking rock? My thanks to everyone who sent congratulations yesterday, including the 200+ who did so via Facebook. Soon, we will be listing copies of the sold-out collection on eBay to commemorate the nomination.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,749 words on Chapter Five of Blood Oranges, and the wolfulous aspects of Siobahn Quinn's nature made their first appearance. May I write as well today.

We had dinner from the farmer's market. Spooky brought back a huge tomato, four ears of corn, peaches, and a length of kielbasa (from pigs born, raised, and slaughtered out on Connanicut Island). A locavore's feast, it was.

And now, from the Ministry of the Truly Fucking Embarrassing, the van finally came back from the shop on Tuesday, as you know, and yesterday afternoon Spooky discovered a cache of unmailed eBay packages in back, mostly hidden by a beach towel. And our eBay customers must be bloody saints, because no one has said, "Hey, my book's a month late!" Thank you for that. Anyway, amongst said packages were the signed signature sheets for Two Worlds & In Between. Now, I signed all 600 of the damned things way back on May 19th (and if you look at this entry, you'll see a photo of me doing it). And then...well...shit happens. I lost track. I'd feel worse about this if anyone at Subterranean Press had noticed the pages hadn't arrived. They'll go into the mail today, along with the tardy eBay packages, and all the more recent eBay packages.

Here's a new and very brief interview with me, on the occasion of the reprinting of "Charcloth, Firesteel, and Flint" in the forthcoming A Book of Horrors (even though I am not a horror writer), edited by Stephen Jones. Yeah, I go for the danishes every time. Especially if they're cherry and cream cheese.

I should also mention another anthology, Halloween (Prime Books, edited by Paula Guran), which will be reprinting "On the Reef."

Okay...that's a lot of announcements. Enough for one day. The platypus is looking askance, the lowly fucker. But I will say Rift RP is going very well. We had a great scene last night, and my thanks to everyone in our guild, Watchers of the Unseen, who took part. Despite a sort of rocky beginning, the scene quickly became what was probably the best large-scale group RP (as opposed to one-on-one) I've done since my days in the late, lamented Dune sim on Second Life (ca. February 2008). Sure, last night was all mages and warriors, but what the hell. Oh, and one very troublesome rogue.

Yeah, platypus. Keep your panties on. Comment, kittens!

Undefeated,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (sol)
Because I really didn't want to title this Readercon 22 (III), and I've just awakened from a nap of cataclysmic proportions, despite having slept in the broiling car on the way back from Burlington to Providence. If title must be explained, that's why. I am home, with another Shirley Jackson Award stone to sit upon my shelf. But what matters is I am home.

Shirley Jackson understood the importance of coming home. Eleanor and Merricat, they knew how precious is home.

Still, it was good to see so many people I so rarely get to see, those other authors, those editors and publishers, those others who are dear to me and whom I so very rarely ever get to see. You know who you are. That said, I am no person for crowds. Likely as not, I could go many more months and never find myself in another crowd of human beings and be pleased. I am exhausted, and I need to be alone, just me and Spooky, and, occasionally, the visitation of a friend or two.

I was good this year, and bought only three books: two used hardbacks – Herbert's God Emperor of Dune and LeGuin's The Compass Rose: Short Stories – along with a copy of Kelly Link's Magic for Beginners. Even so, and even though we were frugal, the cost of the con (I kept a careful tally), came to $606.49. My thanks to Stephen Lubold and Cliff Miller, without whose generosity we couldn't have attended.

Though I did three panels this year, I'm fairly certain the first and the third (this afternoon) were precisely the same panel. Certainly, we said most of the same things this afternoon that were said on Friday.

Regardless, I am home, where there is no AC, and only two bearable rooms (and I am not writing this from either of them). I am facing a mountain of work that should have been done two weeks ago, and which must be done despite the heat. The weathermen say this coming week will be the hottest of the summer for us. But, even so, I'm glad to be home.

Here again,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
On Monday, I learned that "As Red As Red" has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, as has the anthology in which it was published, Ellen Datlow's Haunted Legends (Tor).

---

No work yesterday, aside from email. No good excuse. The words were in my head, and the deadlines are pressing in about me. Still, I fucked off to nowhere in particular. Spooky got back from the mechanic (the bill was bad, but less than expected, and we're pretending that faulty crankshaft will last forever), and I realized that I'd not left the house since Sunday. So, I tagged along while Spooky ran assorted errands. For a while, the sun was warm on my face, and there were the first hints of green, and, here and there, blooming things. All traces of motivation and enthusiasm, enthusiasm for anything at all, faded from me. I dozed in the van. I looked through the windows at the shadows along Benefit Street. I ate a handful of jelly beans. On the way home, we stopped at Acme Video (but I'm coming to that).

---

Last night, we watched Let Me In, Matt Reeves' remake of Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in, which, of course, was adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel of the same title. I avoided Reeves' film in the theater, which seemed like the best course of action. I couldn't see the point of it. Even if Reeves' film turned out good, he was still remaking a very new and very excellent film. An endeavor which would be, at best, pointless. And then I learned that the issue of Eli's gender was being removed from the script, which goes a long way towards gutting the story. Eli becomes Abby, and Abby's just a "girl," and all ambiguity is removed. To make things worse, I happened across an interview with Reeves (which I tried to find again, and have been unable to*) in which he was very open about his beliefs that these changes were necessary for the story to be appreciated by an American audience. So, no. I didn't go see it.

I also swore I wouldn't see the DVD.

Regardless, last night, we watched Matt Reeves' film. I tried very hard to judge this film only on its own merits, not relative to Alfredson's. And I failed. But then so does Matt Reeves. Spooky and I often happen upon interesting indie horror films that we'd never heard of, and which turn out to be quite good. Had it not been for the masterful Låt den rätte komma in, Reeves' film might have struck us that way. A pretty good little coming-of-age vampire story. I might even have applauded its grittiness and willingness to take child characters places lots of filmmakers wouldn't have. Instead, Let Me In came across as rushed and disjointed. Even dull. We both actually almost fell asleep.

There are places where the film is a shot-by-shot remake of Låt den rätte komma in, which, again, makes judging it on its own merits difficult. And what was all that business with "Owen's" mother being a religious maniac? I thought, oh...okay...she'll be the one "Abby" bites, the one who lives, then dies in the hospital-room conflagration, having learned she's become the thing she professes to hate, and hey, okay, that might be kind of interesting. But no. Nothing of the sort. Chloe Moretz, who entirely won me over in Kick Ass, radiated nothing of the quiet, innocent threat we saw from Lina Leandersson. And that kid who played "Owen" is about as interesting to watch as a bowl of Cream of Wheat. Is this actually the same actor who appeared in The Road? It's hard to fucking believe. Also, sure, there are more special effects in Reeves' film. Because that's what Americans do. So what?

Verdict: Let Me In is a very mediocre little horror film, if you've never seen Låt den rätte komma in, and if you can set aside the homophobic/transphobic politics that turned Eli into "Abby." But if you passionately love the Swedish film, as did I, and if you expect anything like its depth and Alfredson's marvelous study of mood and atmosphere and character, you're up shit creek. A very shallow shit creek. My advice would be to watch Låt den rätte komma in. It's actually a good film and worthy of your time and attention. To call Matt Reeves' remake unnecessary is a gross understatement.

I never go into a film with the intention of hating it. You know, watching (or reading) something just to earn the rights to kvetch. And I should have kept my promise and avoided this remake.

---

I've ended the keyboard auction. I realize now that I made the incredibly dumb mistake of putting it up just as taxes are due. Maybe I'll list it again in a month or two. My thanks to everyone who looked in, though, and everyone who spread the word.

---

Aside from the film, not much to last night but Rift. Selwyn made Level 26. I genuinely wish that MMORPGs would offer you the opportunity to tell whining, cowering townspeople to butch up and take care of their own problems or shut the fuck up. It could add a whole new set of stats. Another sort of reputation rating or something. I often have that reaction, and I was having it a lot last night, as the people of Granite Falls (Telara's answer to Deadwood, I think) asked me to do this and then that menial task. For example, the nurse who was too squeamish to take blood. Um...okay. The Ascendant are these super beings, essentially demigods, and we spend a significant amount of our time searching out lost lockets for mourning widows and putting meat in the tables of people apparently too lazy or incompetent to do it for themselves. Yeah, that makes sense.

---

And now...well...we'll see.

* I intend to continue looking for it, though.

Postscript: My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark who appears to have found the interview I'm remembering: "Hammer Film's Simon Oakes Promises Scary, Accessible 'Let Me In'". But I may also have read this, which [livejournal.com profile] sovay tracked down: "Matt Reeves Interview LMI DVD,Talks About Abby's Gender." Both contain equally offensive and idiotic comments.
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Um. Yeah. Slept until the ass crack of noon, which means I got eight full hours of sleep for the first time in ages. I've been sleeping better in general, which I tend to do when I'm writing a lot. Plus, we were out yesterday and I soaked up a lot of sun, and the Vitamin D never hurts. Those gummy things are good, but they can't match getting it straight from the source.

My grateful thanks to everyone who donated a little or a lot yesterday. You guys really are wonderful. I've paid my SVP dues, dues for my twenty-eighth year in the Society, and I have a small sum left over to put towards the unexpected doctor's appointment on Friday.

Yesterday, I realized the next scene in the ninth chapter couldn't be written unless I visited a cemetery out on Aquidneck Island. I mean, sure, I could have faked it. But I fucking hate doing that. I can never write a real-world place well unless I've actually been there. So, about 2 p.m., Spooky and I left the house, and left Providence, crossing the Jamestown Bridge and then the Newport Bridge to Aquidneck. The sun was bold and brilliant (as Colin Meloy might say), and the bay shimmered like chrome. Still a lot of snow, and Green End Pond, along 138, was frozen almost solid. The graveyard in question— Four Corners Cemetery —is located in Middletown, a little north of Newport proper. It's not one of the state's most photogenic cemeteries, not by a long shot, but it plays a pivotal role in the The Drowning Girl. There was a huge crow perched on a headstone when we entered, and Spooky tried to get his photo, but he wouldn't be still. We didn't stay long, as there was a funeral service beginning, a military funeral with a bugler and uniforms and everything, and it would have been poor form to hang about doing ghoulish writing stuff.

After Middletown, we drove down to Spooky's parents' place, though her mom was out running errands and her dad's in Ecuador. We still got to visit Spider Cat and the chickens. There are photos behind the cut:

22 February 2011 )


Back home, we proofed "Andromeda Among the Stones" (for Two Worlds and In Between), which I wrote in 2002, nine years ago, but it's still a personal favorite. Last night, well...there was leftover meatloaf, and then there was a WoW marathon, during which I had Shaharrazad finish off the quests in Un'Goro Crater and then moved along and did all of Dustwallow Marsh, and got Loremaster of Kalimdor. Of course, now I have to do all of Outland to get the Loremaster title (I already have Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, Cataclysm, and Northrend). Nerd, nerd, geek. Later, we read more of White Cat (which we've almost finished).

Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] blackholly and to Uncle Harlan on the occasion of their Nebula Award nominations!

"Comment!" says Herr Platypus!
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: (Default)
Hard rain last night, rainy today.

Yesterday is the day I've feared. After three fantastic writing days, yesterday The Drowning Girl sputtered and hit a speed bump. I did only 595 words. Even emptying the Word Bank, I was still 234 words short for yesterday. Today, I have to do much better and get back on track. I'm giving myself until the 7th (instead of until the 6th) to finish Chapter One (which, in the book, is just 1).

Spooky had to go out to get her new glasses (which look great), and when she got back home I was pretty panicked and flustered. But there was much good mail, which rather helped my spirits. Best of the lot was a Lovecraft pin, sent to me by my editor, Anne Sowards. The administrators of the World Fantasy Awards present each nominee with one of these pins, which are miniatures of the actual award (designed by Gahan Wilson). It made me very happy, and helps me feel better about The Red Tree, and now I shall always wear it on my lapel, whenever I have a lapel on which to wear it. There's is a photo behind the cut (yeah, my nail polish is looking rough):

Because I Done Good )


My thanks to everyone who bid on Study #2 for Yelllow, and to the winner of the auction. Likely, as mentioned already, it'll be at least a couple of months before I offer another painting. There's a large canvas I want to do next, and I don't intend to sell it.

Other good mail yesterday included my Shaharrazad mousepad. I've used the same mousepad since...forever. It's an Emily Strange mousepad I got when I was still living in Athens, round about 1996 or '97. And finally it had worn smooth and needed replacing. But getting thirteen or fourteen years out of a mousepad is surely to be counted as a good deal. Also, thanks to Steven Lubold, who sent us a copy of Current 93's Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain, which I'm listening to at this very minute. The mail also included my contributor's copy of Steampunk Reloaded (edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer), which reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)."

Last night, after dinner, we began the annual November reading of House of Leaves. This will be reading #5 or #6, I suppose. We also read Kelly Link's hilarious and charming "The Fairy Handbag" and her absolutely brilliant "Pretty Monsters." I cannot stress how much I adore "Pretty Monsters." The structure of the narrative is a trick I wish I'd thought of first, and the characters are so perfectly executed (make of that verb, executed, what you will). And these lines, from near the end, are wonderful:

Except you can't judge a book by its cover. Whether or not this story has a happy ending depends, of course, on who is reading it. Whether you are a wolf or a girl. A girl or a monster or both. Not everyone in a story gets a happy ending. Not everyone who reads a story feels the same way about how it ends. And if you go back to the beginning and read it again, you may discover it isn't the same story you thought you'd read. Stories shift their shape.

I also got some very, very good rp in CoX (thank you Sekhmet and Enth'lye). I've just about decided to cut all the Lovecraftian out of Erzébetta's backstory, and just avoid bastardized HPL whenever it crops up in the game. This is not the sort of thing about which I can compromise. I'm not even willing to try. Do it right, or do not bother, because doing it wrong is an insult to the source material. Oh, also, [livejournal.com profile] darkarmadillo managed, in yesterday's comments, in only three words, to perfectly summarize the essence of Lovecraft's cosmicism:

Nobody saves nothing.

Damn straight.
greygirlbeast: (death&themaiden)
No, The Red Tree didn't win the World Fantasy Award, but that in no way diminishes my pride and my joy at having been nominated. And my congratulations to all the winners. And my thanks to Peter, who would have accepted for me, had I won.

Here is it, Día de los Muertos*, and me without calaveras de azucar. Truthfully, I've never had a sugar skull, but would love to someday.

Sirenia Digest #59 should be going out the subscribers this evening. There were a few problems with the first PDF that are being corrected, and we'll get it out to you as soon as everything is just so. Yesterday was spent on the issue's layout. Today, I have to go back to actually writing, and, truthfully, it's a sort of relief.

---

I really dislike getting angry first thing in the goddamn morning. Or, well, early afternoon. For that reason, I try to avoid reader comments about my books on Amazon.com. This morning, I slipped up, and found this, posted anonymously two days ago by "R.M.B." (I've not bothered correcting R.M.B.'s misspellings):

I was very intrigued with the reviews of this book. It sounded great and I couldn't wait to read it. I was very dissappointed and quit after about five chapters. As is mentioned by other reviewers, the main character is very foul-mouthed and difficult to like. Also, and forgive me if this is a spoiler, in all the reviews and the synopsis I saw on this book nowhere is it mentioned that there is a very heavy gay/lesbian story-line. It's certainly not the first (nor I'm sure the last) book I've read that contains this element, but as that is not my taste and certainly not what I thougt I was getting here, I felt like that little detail was hidden. Frankly I feel a little mislead and wish I could get my money back. I can overlook some of these issues in some books, but this one was'nt one of them.

So, yeah, here's some angrifying shit (thank you for that word, Kristin Hersh). And suddenly I'm having flashbacks to that last (and horrible) Readercon 21 panel this past July, during which I had to listen to people complain that books ought to come with warning labels. Is it wrong for writers to respond to critics? No, not in the least, and I don't know who thought up that tiresome old chestnut. Regardless, I want to be clear that what I am responding to here is not the fact that the reader disliked the novel, as a novel, but to the reader's homophobia and sense of entitlement.

To start with, had she or he actually read "reviews of this book," he or she would have known that Sarah and Constance were lesbians. Few reviews fail to mention Sarah's sexuality, or the fact that she becomes involved with Constance. Ergo, the "reviewer" is either lying and didn't read reviews, or means cover blurbs when he or she says "reviews." Secondly, it is no one's responsibility— not mine and not my editor's and not my publisher's and not Amazon.com's —to inform anyone "that there is a very heavy gay/lesbian story-line." Does R.M.B. think books should notify their readers when there are very heavy straight plots? Of course not, because, remember, heterosexuality is normal and to be expected. It's a given that straight characters will suit the "tastes" of most readers, so this sort of warning would be silly. Obviously. So, never mind the disgust that betrays this reader's homophobia, there's the entitlement issue, that she or he has a right to be informed of queer characters, so such characters can be safely avoided. Same old shit, different goddamn day.

Is this worth me getting upset over? Yes. Maybe it wouldn't be, if gay men and women were accorded the same legal rights as straight men and women. But we are not. We are targeted as deviant. We are shat upon. We are relegated. We are shunned. We are threatened and murdered for loving those we love, and, ironically, told we cannot die in war. We are told we are sick and need to be cured. Even were all this not true, I would find the expectation that a book about us ought to come with a warning utterly abhorrent. So, yes. Sarah Crowe is a lesbian, and she's also "foul-mouthed," and if that gripes your ass, don't read my goddamned novel. If your sensibilities are so easily assaulted, do some research before you buy a book. Don't publicly whine after the fact, because the world can't be bothered to hold your little hand and cover your little eyes and keep you safe from all you find distasteful. And if you are going to publicly speak your opinion about a book, criticize the actual book, instead of using it as a platform for your loathing of queers. Want to review a book? Then review the fucking book, asshole.

There were other things I was going to write about in this entry, but I'm too angry. The whole goddamn world is falling into ruin, and people have time to be offended at queers. This shit has to stop somewhere. To quote Malcolm Reynolds, my favorite space cowboy, "So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don't push me, and I won't push you."

* My mistake. Día de los Muertos is November 2nd. Surely, I knew that.
greygirlbeast: (Lucy)
A nippy morning here in Providence (though it's almost a nippy afternoon). 62F at the moment. We're thinking we have to do our tour of the autumn leaves this weekend or we're going to miss out on the peak altogether. Before I forget, congratulations to Peter for being awarded the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. Booya!

No actual writing-type writing yesterday. I had a half-assed idea of cleaning house while Spooky worked on the taxes, because [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark is supposed to visit this evening. But that didn't happen. Instead, I tried to work. I did an interview for Jeff VanderMeer's Booklifenow website, about writing "As Red As Red" (in Haunted Legends). And I sent my HPLFF keynote speech to S.T. Joshi, as he wants to print it in the Lovecraft Annual. I also sent him "Houndwife," which will be reprinted in Black Wings II (PS Publishing), and "Fish Bride," which will be reprinted in The Weird Fiction Review. And then, getting back around to "There Will Be Kisses For Us All," I reread Stoker's "Dracula's Guest."

Over on Facebook, James Jeffrey Paul made mention of the fact that at least one Dracula scholar has suggested that Countess Dolingen of Graz, the vampire who menaces the unnamed Englishman (?Johnathan Harker) in "Dracula's Guest," might be one of the three "brides" in Dracula— the "fair" woman. Stoker writes: "The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where."

I'm not sure I'm convinced that the two are, in fact, intended to the same character, but it is an interesting possibility, and I may use it.

Other reading yesterday included beginning Chapter Two of Volume One of Joshi's I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft, and also beginning a paper in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, "Osteology of a new giant bony-toothed bird from the Miocene of Chile, with a revision of the taxonomy of Neogene Pelagornithidae." Indeed, Pelagornis chilensis is a marvel, a bird with a wingspan of 5.2 meters! By comparison, the wingspan of the Great albatross (Diomedea) is a mere 3 meters.

---

Regarding various auctions: The auction for the one and only CRK "napoval" ends tomorrow. And there are, of course, the other eBay auctions. Also, check out the raffle to benefit the KGB Reading series (which I have taken part in twice, now). I've made two contributions to the raffle this year: A signed copy of the trade paperback of The Red Tree (I'll also draw a tree on the title page), and a chance to be "Tuckerized" in a forthcoming story. Raffle tickets are only one buck apiece, for a very good cause.

Also, a reminder that I will be reading and signing at the Brown University Bookstore on the evening of October 30th, 2010. Also, it will be a costumed event (optional, of course).

---

My great thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yukio20 for bringing a bit of news from Blizzard to my attention (I don't usually follow the forums, so I'd missed it):

Since the release of 4.0.1, more than a few warlocks have noticed that their pets are in fact no longer their familiar demonic servants, and instead appear to be new entities with different names. We’ve been able to pinpoint the cause of the issue, which should be resolved by tomorrow for any warlocks that log in for the first time from then on. We’ve also been able to determine that we will be able to restore any renamed warlock pets to their original pre-4.0.1 names during next week’s scheduled maintenance. For those of you who like your new pet names, we’re working on a feature for a future patch that will allow you to refresh your summons and essentially generate a random pet name without having to level a new warlock.

So...Greezun, Volyal, and Drusneth will be coming home. It appears they only took a vacation to Booty Bay without telling me, and hired these impostors from some infernal temp agency. Speaking of WoW, Spooky and I restructured our talent trees last night, and began trying to make sense of the havoc that Blizzard has wrought to various spells and abilities. Truly, someone needs to tell Blizzard that there's a huge difference between fixing/improving things and simply changing things. Most of Patch 4.0.1 is a sad, confusing case of the latter. I would stop just (barely) short of saying the game is currently broken.

Oh, and we also watched the new episodes of Glee and Caprica last night. I am very pleased that Glee appears to have redeemed itself for last week's god-bothering episode, and I think it's only a matter of time before Brittany comes out. Also, how cool is it that the new kid, Sam, speaks Na'vi? Great, great episode of Caprica.

---

And here's the next set of photos from the HPLFF. The festival put us up in a grand bed and breakfast, the White House (built in 1911). We had the balcony room. The house is watched over by an elderly albino Scottish Terrier named Prescott. We couldn't help but take a ton of photos of the place:

H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, Part 7 )
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Congratulations to all the Hugo Award winners. I just saw the list. I am especially pleased to see the novel tie between Miéville and Bacigalupi, and also the wins by Peter Watts, Ellen Datlow, Clarkesworld, the screenplay for Moon, and Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars. Well done.

I wish I'd have known that updating my OS to 10.6.3 renders Photoshop 7 useless. But I didn't, and there's no use crying over spilled pig intestines. So, I just have to root out a cheap replacement for Photoshop, and quickly. Spooky's pointing me to several possibilities.

A huge thanks to Joah for sweeping in and getting the PDF for Sirenia Digest #57 done yesterday afternoon. Sorry the issue was delayed. This morning, everyone who's a subscriber ought to have it in hisherits inbox. If I do say so myself, I think #57 is an especially strong issue. Comments welcome.

---

Yesterday was just shy of a perfect day. About 3 p.m., we left Providence and drove to Conanicut Island, where we spent the late afternoon. We bypassed Beavertail, figuring there would be too many people, and went instead to Fort Wetherill at the southeast corner of the island. We hiked out to the great granite bluff that affords a spectacular view of the lower bay, and to the west Beavertail, and to the east Aquidneck Island and Newport.

The sun was a white ball of fire, and the sky was the bluest blue imaginable. The sky would have shut me down, so carnivorous was it, had the sea not been there to keep me grounded. The wind up there was a fury, buffeting us, blowing so hard that the gulls could make precious little headway against it. Below those granite bluffs, not far from the ruins of the old fort, the sea hammers at the rock as it has hammered for tens of thousands of years. It roils and shatters itself. It's the color of green-white milk glass. The drop's about seventy feet down to the water. If those bluffs have a name, I cannot find it on any map, so I've named them, and the tumbling sea below, the Crucible. I watched an enormous tanker pass the bluffs on its way out to the open Atlantic.

The rocks here are a porphyritic granite of uncertain Late Proterozoic age. This granite was formed by an intrusion of magma, which cooled very slowly, allowing some crystals— the phenocrysts —to grow larger than the groundmass. The granite is shot through with veins of white calcite, some five or six inches wide, and here and there are layers of the older native shale that the magma pushed aside and partially melted. The granite is razor sharp in places, and you must pick your way across it with great caution. The cliffs are clothed in scruffy green, great thickets of bayberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and too many others to name.

Later, we headed farther east, to the beach at West Cove where we usually collect glass. But the tide was so high in the wake of Hurricane Earl that the beach was entirely submerged. From there we went further east still, to the area once known as Dumpling Rock. In 1798, a fort was constructed here, which was occupied during the Revolutionary War, in turn, by the American, British-Hessian, and French forces. The fort sat abandoned until 1899, when it was renamed Fort Wetherill and fitted with long-range. breach-loading rifled artillery. Sadly, Fort Dumpling's earthworks were entirely obliterated in the first few years of the 20th Century, during the construction of a more modern fortress. Fort Wetherill was active during both the First and Second World Wars, then abandoned by the US military in 1946. Since then, it has sat empty, cement bunkers tagged by graffiti, overgrown, crumbling, concrete burrows for raccoons and foxes, skunks and coyotes. The northern edge of the fort houses a marine research station and a marina, and a couple of the old buildings are still intact. We sat there a while, watching anglers as the sun began to sink. We saw a man land an enormous flounder.

During the drive down and back, I read a great deal of Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, mostly the chapter about August Derleth's "...heroic task of literary misconstrual...." I think we made it back home about 7 p.m. We didn't get to sleep until after four a.m., after reading much of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Too much sun, but it was a fine day, all the same. There are a few photos:

4 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Terrible, terrible insomnia last night. The sun was up before I finally lay down, covered up my head, and fell asleep.

Spooky woke me at about 11:30 a.m. to tell me that The Red Tree has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award. Which left me speechless, and happy, and confused, and lots of other things. My thanks to everyone who emailed me the news this morning, and to all the people who have bought and read and loved the book. This genuinely does mean a lot to me. Does this mean I'm doing something right?

Yesterday, I wrote 853 words, for Y and Z, and finished "The Yellow Alphabet" for Sirenia Digest #57. The whole work, divided between #56 and #57 comes to 10,348 words.

I read a National Geographic article about eels.

Anyway, stuff to do. A long day ahead. Again, my thanks to everyone who's shown their support for The Red Tree.
greygirlbeast: (moons books)
I meant to post this about a week ago, but things have been so hectic and hot around here, I'm only just now getting around to it:

Cool Stuff I Brought Home From Readercon 21 )
greygirlbeast: (Bowie3)
Yesterday, I wrote a very respectable 1,414 words on the Frazetta-inspired "Tempest Witch," and found THE END. I have some concern that the story may be a bit rough about the edges, but, all in all, I'm pleased with it. Today will be a day off, and then, tomorrow I'll be getting back to work on "The Maltese Unicorn." Likely, there will be several days of reading and research before I can begin the actual writing part of writing the story.

If you've not yet pre-ordered The Ammonite Violin & Others, there are still copies of the trade hardback edition left (though the limited edition is sold out).

The 2010 Nebula award winners have been announced, and while I do not usually take note of who does and doesn't win the Nebulas, I was pleased to see Catherynne M. Valente ([livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna) received the Andre Norton Award for The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Congratulations, Cat.

Aside from the writing, there was noting especially remarkable about yesterday. When I'd finished the story, and read it all back to Spooky, I was too tired to do much of anything. Spooky had discovered an odd concoction at Eastside Market's deli, baked macaroni and cheese with pulled pork, and that's what we had for dinner, along with Brussels sprouts and baked beans. And now I know that macaroni and cheese with pulled pork BBQ cooked into it is actually absurdly delicious. After dinner, there was WoW, and Gnomenclature is now most of the way through Level 10, and Shaharrazad is not a happy camper. Later, I read a chunk of Charles Burns' Black Hole (a gift from [livejournal.com profile] corucia) before bed. Oh, I also made it through two articles in the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology yesterday, "Generic reassignment of an ichthyosaur from the Queen Elizabeth Islands, Northwest Territories, Canada" and "A remarkable case of a shark-bitten elasmosaurid plesiosaur." The reading makes me feel a little less guilty about squandering so much time leveling a gnome.
greygirlbeast: (The Red Tree)
Cloudy and cold this morning in Providence. The temperature is hovering somewhere in the '40sF. The same is forecast for tomorrow.

And now I can announce (drum roll) that The Red Tree has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. The nominees were announced yesterday. The older I get, the less interest I seem to have in awards, especially awards that are decided by popular vote (as opposed to juried awards). The Jackson Awards are one of the exceptions to my disinterest, as I have said before. I am greatly honoured to be nominated. In a way, I have that "my work here is done" feeling, a feeling I do not often experience. So, yeah. Pretty goddamn awesome. I don't even care much whether I actually win or not. I've been nominated. The Red Tree has been noted. I will be at the awards ceremony, which will take place during this summer's Readercon.

Ellen Datlow ([livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow) has posted her honourable mentions list from Best Horror of the Year (Vol. 2). I received four mentions, two from Sirenia Digest:

"The Thousand-and-Third Tale of Scheherazade," Sirenia Digest #38, January '09
"At the Gate of Deeper Slumber," Sirenia Digest #41, April '09
"The Belated Burial," Subterranean, Fall '09
"Galápagos," Eclipse Three

Finally, "The Bone's Prayer" (Sirenia Digest #39, February '09) has been selected for The Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2010 (edited by Paula Guran, Prime Books).

---

Matt Stags asked my opinion on Batwoman (who's been a dyke since at least 2006) getting her own monthly title, and what I think his may mean for the acceptance of GLBT characters in mainstream pop culture. This was for Random House's sf blog, Suvudu.com. My reply was not particularly optimistic. You may read it here
greygirlbeast: (Shah1)
And here is the first day of spring, the Vernal Equinox. Spooky and I will be observing Ostara on March 22nd, partly because at least one Wiccan website places it on the 22nd this year, and partly out of convenience. Regardless, today is the beginning of Spring. Fuck you, winter. The sun's out, it's warm, and the office window's open.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,068 words on a new story, "Houndwife," for Sirenia Digest #52. It's sort of shaping up to be a very peculiar "sequel" to Lovecraft's "The Hound" (1922). I like it.

Late last night, I learned that The Red Tree has made the "longlist" for the British Fantasy Award, which pleases me. My great thanks to everyone who voted for it. And I do hope to see it make the shortlist. There's an online voting form here. All members of FantasyCon '09 and '10 are eligible to vote.

Also, I've been meaning to mention that Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have asked to reprint "A Redress for Andromeda" (written in June 2000) in a forthcoming weird fiction anthology (title TBA), which pleases me a great deal. "A Redress for Andromeda," you may recall, is the first story in the "Dandridge Cycle."

Yesterday, Spooky had to go to her dentist in Wakefield. On the way home, she stopped by Pow! Science! (at Wakefield Mall) and found the new Carnegie Museum Tylosaurus. Finally, someone has made an accurate mosasaur figure! I should make a post about all the not-so-good mosasaur figurines that have come and gone over the years. Anyway, as it happens, the new Carnegie Tylosaurus was sculpted by a Rhode Island artist, Forest Rogers, who does truly beautiful things. You should have a look. If I were a wealthy beast, I would be buying original pieces of her artwork. Hell, if I were a truly wealthy bear, I'd be hiring her to do a Dancy Flammarion sculpture.

Oh, and Spooky has lowered the price of her latest doll, Cassandra, which you may see here, at Dreaming Squid Dollworks. You know you want to give her a good home.

My head is full of random things today. For example, on Tuesday, just after I'd "fired my therapist" (long story, do not ask), I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Annoy a Liberal: Work Hard and Be Happy." Shit like that just fucking baffles me. I am baffled at the sheer temerity of stupid, sometimes. Also, we filled out the Census Form and sent it back. Is it just me, or has the census been simplified nigh unto utter nonsense? I mean, they're collecting so little data this time. It seems like it was once far more complex. I think it took me about four minutes to answer the questions.

This is getting long, and I should wrap it up. Last night, Shaharrazad, my blood elf warlock, made Level 80. I created Shah on September 27th, 2008, and I only had to give up 37 days, 2 hours, 40 minutes, and 6 seconds of my life (890+ hours) to get her to Level 80. Which is the cap until the next expansion is released, which is not to say there's not still tons of "Wrath of the Lich King" left to play (though I am dubious of the people who claim the game "really only begins at Level 80," because they're the same ones who used to say, the game doesn't begin until Level 70. And does this mean that when the next WoW expansion is released, later this year, the game will suddenly stop and resume only when you reach Level 85? Anyway...Shah leveled sometime just after midnight, fighting Scourge-struck trolls in Zul'Drak.

And now...work!
greygirlbeast: (white2)
A sunny day in Providence, and the winds are calm, so it actually feels like 60F. The windows are open and we're airing out the house. Of the few things I acutally miss about the South, the climate is at the very top of the list. I never thought I would be so glad for a sunny day when the temperature is only 60F...but after the dreary, wet, freezing greyness of a Providence winter, this almost seems like summer.

I learned last night that my sf story "Galápagos" (from Eclipse 3, edited by Johnathan Strahan) is one of six works to make the honor list for the James Tiptree Award for 2010. The Tiptree press release says of the story, "...a mysterious space disaster, a terrifying alien reproductivity, a story reminiscent of the work of Octavia Butler. There can be no higher praise." And I say, indeed, and thank you. I'm flattered to be so honored. I am far more pleased, though, to see that one of the two winners of this year's Tiptree Award is Greer Gilman ([livejournal.com profile] nineweaving) for Cloud and Ashes. I don't care what anyone else might say, Cloud and Ashes is far and away the most brilliant work of fantasy from 2009, and it's deserving of much more recognition than its received. By the way, the Tiptree Award is presented to works of of science fiction or fantasy that expand or explore our understanding of gender. To quote the award's website:

The award is named for Alice B. Sheldon, who wrote under the pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr. By her impulsive choice of a masculine pen name, Sheldon helped break down the imaginary barrier between "women’s writing" and "men’s writing." Her fine stories were eagerly accepted by publishers and won many awards in the field. Many years later, after she had written some other work under the female pen name of Raccoona Sheldon, it was discovered that she was female. The discovery led to a great deal of discussion of what aspects of writing, if any, are essentially gendered. The name "Tiptree" was selected to illustrate the complex role of gender in writing and reading.

And that was yesterday's bright spot. Otherwise, the day was a slick black sheen of shit and broken glass, placed just so to punctuate the middle of the month. I'd considered cataloging all the day's foulness, at length and with lots of exposition, but, honestly, I find I just don't care anymore. The good news is that all lives come with an expiration date.

I do very much want to thank [livejournal.com profile] aliceoddcabinet, having learned that she is the clerk at the Providence Athenaeum who is responsible for getting that copy of The Red Tree onto the shelves. Which is the only other thing, besides the Tiptree nod, that I've really had to smile about in the last couple of weeks.

Well, sure, Shaharrazad made Level 79 last night, but seeking solace and/or any sense of achievement in WoW (or Second Life, et al.), I'm aware that's pretty fucking pathetic.
greygirlbeast: (mars)
Sure, it's probably not as permanent as a stone tablet, or even the printed page, but here I go again, anyway.

Yesterday, I was a bad, bad nixar. Which is to say, while I was making my blog entry, I became inexplicably angry, and knew the day was blown, so far as the words were concerned. There was a time I would have fought against that certainty. But now I am older, and I know a lot more about myself, and about futility. So, I cast responsibility to the four winds and we fucked off and went to the movies. Two of them, in fact, which I haven't done in ages, gone to two movies in a single afternoon. I'll get to the movies in a moment.

I'm pleased to announce that Penguin has submitted The Red Tree to the nominating committee for the Publishing Triangle Awards. Which is cool, and I hope they'll do the same for the Shirley Jackson Awards.

We were awakened about 8:30 this morning by the most amazing thunderclap. The windows all rattled.

Distance fades to stormy grey,
Washed out from the deep of the ocean.
Here I will stand to face your wrath,
While all the others are praying.


Sorry, that Wolfsheim song keeps coming back to me, the last few days.

---

So, yes. Two movies yesterday. The first was Christian Alvart's Pandorum. I did very much want this to be a very good film. And I'm not sure it's precisely a bad film, but it is a terrible, convoluted mess, so far as plot and cinematography are concerned. And maybe that does make it a bad film. Mostly, I think I need to see it again on DVD. It might actually work better on a small screen. The camerawork and art direction are so murky, especially the first hour or so, that it was often almost impossible to figure out what I was seeing. Mainly, the film suffers from having monsters when monsters aren't needed. Indeed, it has this in common with a far superior film, Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007). I love Sunshine, but something always bugged me about it, something about the "third act" that was just off. And one night I was talking with Sonya ([livejournal.com profile] sovay), and she put her finger on it. Everything's fine, until the crew of Icaraus II board Icaraus I, and a superfluous monster is introduced, in the form of the mad man Pinbacker. In Sunshine, Pinbacker is a completely unnecessary antagonist. Boyle has already provided us with a number of far more terrible forces that the protagonists have to overcome to succeed at their mission: the isolation and hostility of deep space, human psychology and fallibility, and, primarily, the sun. No monster was needed, but we got one anyway, for whatever reason, and it's a wonder the film worked in spite of it. Pandorum suffers from the exact same problem, in that its mutants are unnecessary. We have the hypersleep-induced psychosis of the title, a bunch of amnesiac characters lost in the bowels of an ancient and enormous spaceship, trying to figure out how they got there, where they're going, and how they're going to survive. The ship's nuclear reactor is shutting down. And we need the mutants...why? They're not even very interesting monsters. Stan Winston Studios pretty much recycled the subterranean mutants from Neil Marshall's The Descent (2005) for a few fight scenes that add nothing much interesting to the film. There are is some good stuff in Pandorum, and it's certainly worth seeing on DVD. But it could have been a far, far better (and smarter) film, if only a few things had been done differently. Mostly, lose the monsters.

Our second feature was Ruben Fleischer's absolutely hilarious Zombieland. It was impossible for me not to love this big, silly slobbering dog of a movie. It does what it came to do, and leaves you wanting Twinkies. Not surprisingly, Woody Harrelson steals the show. However, I will note that, as with Boyle's 28 Days Later (2002), there are not actually any zombies to be found anywhere within Zombieland. We are told, straight out, these are living people suffering from a virus that causes them to become enraged cannibals. Not the living dead; the infected living. I'm beginning to think that the definition of "zombie" is quickly changing (again), and soon no one will remember that a very necessary part of being a zombie is being, you know, dead.

---

Back home, we ate leftover chili and watched the new episode of Heroes (rather flat), then played WoW for a bit. My Draenei paladin, Kalií, made Level 46. And that was yesterday.

And here are six more photos from our trip to Stonington, CT on Sunday:

4 October 2009 )

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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