greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Because, you see, Ceiling Cat doesn't actually live in the ceiling. "Ceiling" is merely a metaphor meant to impress upon us his constant nearness and watchfulness. Ceiling Cat actually lives in the upper troposphere, which is a bit lower than one usually finds, say, the Flying Spaghetti Monster noodling about (deities must segregate, elsewise – a word LJ can't spell – we get Kaiju Big Battel and shit like that. Airplanes get eaten. Bad cellphone reception. Blood falls from the sky.). Hubero told me to explain all of this to you, so blame his bald pink ass, not mine.

I think the problem here is that I got less than six hours of sleep this morning. Thank you, Monsieur Insomnia.

It's snowing. A lot. The whole world is white, which makes it all vastly easier on my winter-shy eyes and nerves. Smooth away the bleak, ugly, sharp edges.

Not entirely sure where all of yesterday went. There was work, though no writing. Mostly answering email, questions about proofreading and copy-edited manuscripts, and stuff like that. A burning desire to clean my office (which might be constructive, only there's no longer room to move in here). I'm pretty sure there was nothing exciting. Today, among other things, I need to proofread "Tidal Forces," which is about to be reprinted in...you know, that information is probably not fit for public consumption yet. I will say, whatever editors out there might think to the contrary, "The Maltese Unicorn" (from Ellen Datlow's Supernatural Noir) was lightyears (yes, LJ; lightyear is one word) better than anything else I wrote last year, or the year before that...and that it hasn't received more attention baffles me. I think it must be that dildos embarrass people. I don't get that at all.

Also, this diet sucks. Sugar-free, low-fat instant cocoa. Sugar-free Red Bull. Shoot me now. (Also, please, no dieting advice.)

As it happens, Alabaster #1 will be published with two covers. That is, the official cover is by Greg Ruth, and that's the one everybody has seen. But there's also an alternate cover that will be harder to find, painted by Michael Oeming. Here it is:



If you want this cover, you'll probably need to put an order in now with your Local Comic Shop. Or wait for eBay.

---

Okay, so...I had it in my head I was going to write some long and insightful, Pulitzer fucking Prize-winning essay explaining my take on the SOPA/PIPA mess and the problem of internet piracy. And then I decided, fuck that. I don't have time. I'm not so disposed. Whatever. So, instead, I'll put it plainly, and make it brief. It's not like other people haven't already said everything I'm about to say. And said it better.

No, you may not have my books for free. No, I do not believe – based on anecdotal evidence – that if I let you have five books for free, you'll buy the sixth. Bring me some very hard empirical evidence that can be reproduced, and I might think about the ramifications. Me, I want to see BitTorrent and the like die a quick, messy death. I do not appreciate being stolen from. And no, information "doesn't want to be free." That's cock-eyed bullshit. How about, my rent and healthcare and utilities want to be free? I say these things because, people need to know, whether you believe it or not, the mounting theft of ebooks is leading – on my end – to lower and lower advances from publishers. Another couple of years at this rate, it will no longer be feasible for me to continue writing novels. No, really. That's not hyperbole. Want a book for free? Go to the motherfucking library. Or download the ebook free from a library (yeah, you can do that). Stop being so goddamn lazy and unimaginative and divest yourself of that bullsit privileged, entitled I-deserve-to-get-it-free-RIGHT-NOW attitude. Who put that stuff in your heads? Well, learn this: There are options that do not ass-rape the authors. I did the work, and I deserve to be fairly paid, and not to have my copyright violated by douchebags.

But SOPA/PIPA are not the solution. As I said before, you do not burn down a house to kill a termite. You don't risk wrecking the entire internet to stop internet crime. You move slowly and with great care. You address the actual problems. You don't allow the megacorps to crush "fair use" and the like and pervert copyright law (the US was doing this well before the internet). You create the least inclusive legislation possible, not the most. Even having said what I said above, to paraphrase Elizabeth Bear, my books are being pirated on the net every single day, and that's endangering the future of my career, but I'm more comfortable with the devil I know than with SOPA/PIPA. I'm willing to wait for a better solution.

So there. I think that gets the point across.

Oh, hey! Heidi Klum and Seal are getting a divorce! Cool! Who's gonna get custody of the litter?

Cheap, But Not For Free,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (twilek1)
Skimp on one journal entry, everything piles up. Outside it's very cold. Well, very cold if you're me. 43˚F, and the low tonight will be 22˚F (-5.5 C). This might come out all higgledy piggledy (double dactyl!), but at least it will be a higgledy-piggledy list.

[One-hour pause to install iTunes 10.5.1, which should have been easy, but wasn't.]

1. Yesterday we saw Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Marvelous. If Ritchie's making Holmes purists uncomfortable, more power to him. A Game of Shadows was at least as smart, and funny, and as fine a box of eye candy as Sherlock Holmes (2009). Oh, and lots of deftly inserted (cough, cough) gay innuendo, so booya. Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law, I love you. Great chess, too. Eight tentacles up.

2. Last night, late, I finished with Stephen Jones' A Book of Horrors. All I had left to go was Robert Shearman's very good Machenesque "A Child's Problem," Dennis Etchinson's pleasantly odd and wistful piece "Tell Me I'll See You Again," and Richard Christian Mathenson's somewhat delightfully sadistic "Last Words." The latter might have served as a fitting bit for Sirenia Digest. I don't read much contemporary horror, but A Book of Horrors is a solid volume (plus, you get my piece, "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint").

3. Thursday evening was cold, windy, and the sky spat rain. That would have been the first day of the vacation, yes? This day is the third. But I sort of did some work during the day, unless I misremember...which is always a possibility. Later, we visited the RISD Art Gallery (and got our nephew, Miles, a very bow-tie book for Solstice), then went out to get supplies (for both Spooky and me) at Jerry's Artarama*, then stopped near Brown and got delicious food from Mama Kim's Korean BBQ for dinner. It was worth huddling under my umbrella for.

4. Yesterday, UPS brought my copy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, and I recreated my Twi'lek Sith inquisitor Herazade and began leveling again. Made it to nine. I really am loving this game. Utterly bow tie, despite my initial predictions and impressions. However, a caveat: Why can game designers not rid us of the ubiquitous MMORPG silly hop? Have they never noted how humanoids jump? Generally, pushing off and up with the ball/toe of one foot, then landing with their opposite/s. Simple anatomy. Hopping up and down with bowed legs looks idiotic, and it's everywhere, except in console games, where a better knowledge of functional anatomy seems to prevail. The standing jump, of course, would be an exception, but, in most situations, standing jumps are rare, and may not serve here as an explanation or excuse.

5. Tonight, we see Brown Bird play at the Met in Pawtucket, and our Honourary Gentleman Caller, [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark, will be joining us for the musical shenanigans. Gonna rock.

6. Since we'd let our Audible.com credits back up, I downloaded three books the other day: first, Harlan reading his own Edgeworks Volume 1 – which is a delight – William Gibson's Neuromancer; and Paolo Bacigalupi The Wind-Up Girl. The last is the only I've not read, but I have great hopes. Of course, I'm not reading here, but listening, which is a distinctly different experience. Since I was a very, very small child I have savoured having stories and novels read to me. Unlike ebooks, audiobooks are bow tie.

7. Right now, plans are that the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir will go live at 12 ayem EST (1 ayem CaST) on January 1st, New Year's Day. It will appear at that moment on my LiveJournal, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, etc. I will ask people to repost and embed it and link to it and spread it far and wide. I need the front page of my website redesigned for this book, but presently have no options. If anyone is willing to offer their web-fu for a FREE signed and inscribed copy of the book, email me at greygirlbeast(at)gmail(dot)com and we'll work something out.

And that is all! No more words! Vakayshun!

Leisurely,
Aunt Beast

* In The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, Imp works at Jerry's.
greygirlbeast: (river3)
Very cold in Providence today; my feet are spun glass.

Most of yesterday was a good day. I only managed about 500 words on "The Lost Language of Littoral Mollusca and Crustacea," because I realized it was a lot longer and a lot more complicated than I expected. Not the sort of thing you can do in a day, but maybe over the course of a week. Maybe. But it was still a good day. Spooky came back from the p. o. box with a letter from Harlan, the Coolest T-Shirt Ever® (see the photos behind the cut), and Solstice gifts from my mother. I saw Brian's final cut for the "teaser" trailer for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. It's truly gorgeous, light-fucking-years beyond what I expect from book trailers, and I wish I could show it to you now. There was a spaghetti for supper, a favorite, because, when it comes to food, I'm pretty easy to please.

And then, early last night, it all went to hell, and it did so violently, a shitstorm to lay any good day low. I'm I'm still not on an even keel. I think it was very after six ayem before I got to sleep. Like maybe six-thirty, but I honestly have no fucking idea, and it probably doesn't matter. I read stuff, like a Peter Crowther short story, "Ghosts With Teeth." Mostly, I sat in the smoking crater that was the night, and tried not to think, and the harder I tried not to, the more I did. So, five and a half hours sleep? Possibly six? I can't even call it insomnia.

So, Two Worlds and In Between keeps making these "best of" lists. Seriously, it seems like it makes a new one each day. Yesterday, it was an article at io9, "Recent Science Fiction and Fantasy Books that Make Perfect Gifts" (at least io9 knows how to capitalize a headline). The ironic thing, though, is that the book is, essentially, out of print, and will likely remain so for a while to come. Subterranean Press is sold out. Amazon.com claims to have a few copies (and I stress a few), but I wouldn't trust them as a source for this book, not after they fucked so many people over on the preorder. Better you try AbeBooks or Powell's, both of whom have it in stock, I believe. Point is, it's not like you can't get the book, just that it's quickly getting very hard and expensive to get the book. Which seems ironic. Or maybe I ought take that as a compliment. And yeah, my agent's working in selling another edition (and foreign language rights), but that's something far down the road, if it ever happens at all.

Also, while I very much appreciate receiving gifts, please don't send me ebooks. I didn't even know you could do that, give someone an ebook, until someone did try to give me one, and I got this download coupon thingy from Amazon. For a Kindle. Of course, anyone who reads this journal knows I loathe ebooks on principle, and I do not now (nor ever shall I) own a Kindle. So, while I also know that ebooks are almost as cheap as the air they're printed on, it's probably best not to waste your money on something I'll never see. Or even want to ever see.

As we approach the release of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir and the first issue of Alabaster, which is to say March and April, respectively, I'm planning public appearances. Yeah, I haven't made a habit of that, but now I have to. There are a lot of plans, but here are the only two "for sure" dates (times TBA, and more to come, mostly nestled between March 6th and sometime in June):

April 4: North Kingstown Free Public Library, Rhode Island Voices series (reading/talk)
April 18: KGB Bar (Manhattan), Fantastic Fiction series (reading)

And here are the T-shirt photos, which I'm going to trying to believe are all that there was to yesterday (I love my expression of innocence, displaying my ignorance of what was soon to come). Well, it and the finished book trailer:

Versus )


By the way, if there are typos in the entry, all I can say is you're lucky there's any entry at all.
greygirlbeast: (Eli2)
0. Comments, please. Prove to me LJ is not dead (again). I'm sick to death of self-fulfilling prophecies. You comment, I'll reply. Cause and effect.

1. Never, ever tell people on Facebook that "A release date has been set for the release on my first studio CD since 1999, which is called LOVEAMOEBA (band of the same name). TBA." Because, while this looks, to me, like a very obvious practical joke, many other people will appear to take it seriously. C'mon, guys. Loveameoba? No. Anyway, apologies. This whole humor thing, this beast has yet to master it in any way as to please anyone but herself.

2. I dozed off sometime after four, and woke at nine. Ayem, that is. If there's a part of me that doesn't hurt, please write my brain a letter to that effect. Er...wait. No, if there's a bit of my anatomy that is not in agony, it needs to send a telegram to my brain. Oh, wait. I mean, it needs to phone home. Oh...shit. I mean, it needs to twat at my brain. Yeah, that's what I mean. Hold on. What year is this?

3. A long phone call with my agent yesterday, at 2 CaST (1 EST), regarding Blood Oranges, ebooks, The Drowning Girl, etc. & etc. The usual. It seemed like we talked for an hour, though I suspect it was more like twenty minutes. Still feels like an hour. Afterwards, I discovered I was still so disgusted with the travesty that is "Sexing the Weird" that I couldn't even think about writing. I went with Spooky while she ran errands, instead. Sometimes, even the bland light of late autumn in Providence is better than the light of this monitor.

4. So, yeah. A Question @ Hand will be posted here tomorrow. All replies will be screened and will be confidential. The ten responses that please me the most will appear in Sirenia Digest #72. Anyone with any last moment ideas should post them here today. You know, like "If a circle of Dante's hell were to be designed especially for me, what would it be like?" Or "If you were to choose me as the test subject for an experiment involving the effects of a genetically designed parasite, what would the organism be, and what effect would it have upon me?" See. That sort of thing.

5. If I cannot put it on my shelf, it's not book. And no, placing a Kindle or a Nook or a whatever on the shelf doesn't count. Call it a data-storage or media delivery device. I have no problem with that. But it's not a book.***

6. Later this week Kathryn will be beginning a new round of eBay auctions (the first in a long time), and we'll be including ONE signed copy of The Drowning Girl ARC. Be the first on your block and all that.

7. Last night we played too much Rift again, but this time with a new guild member, [livejournal.com profile] opalblack. I dusted off my Eth warrior, Indus, and it was pretty fucking cool tanking for a change. Watchers of the Unseen (Defiant side, Faeblight shard) is always looking for new members, especially those interested in RP.

8. I'm ending the Aunt Beast Book of the Month Club. Results were, at best, mixed. And I think I never recovered from that Carrie Ryan fiasco.

9. The postman just brought Nos. 1 and 2 (Fall 2010 and 2011) of Centipede Press' The Weird Fiction Review. No. 2 includes the first print appearance of my story, "Fish Bride." And, honestly, the Review is a gorgeous thing, more in the fashion of an academic literary journal than a pulp magazine. I'm very impressed. Oh, also, I've sold a poem I wrote last year, "Atlantis," to Strange Horizons. This is the first time I have ever actually sold a poem. Sure, I included "Zelda Fitzgerald" in Tales of Pain and Wonder, but that's different.

Epilogue:

Would you leave me if I told you what I've done?
And would you leave me if I told you what I've become?


~ and ~

You can't choose what stays and what fades away. ~ Florence + the Machine

Anger's Little Petri Dish,
Aunt Beast

*** Please comment on things besides ebooks. Thank you.
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: (white2)
So, I'm about two hours late beginning this journal entry, because freelancing means enduring bullshit from all directions when you least expect it. Though, a smart freelancer expects it every fucking second of every fucking day. Still, I might yet get some work done before midnight.

Seems I caused a recent kerfuffle over my opinions on ebooks. And here's what I don't understand: The proponents of ebooks have won, so why are they so defensive? Can you not allow the loser to be sore? Can a winner be so insecure he or she must wage an evangelical battle to convert all us lovers of actual books? The battle, if ever there were one, is long over. Think of it as the Battle of Serenity Valley. Think of me as a Browncoat. Think of ebooks and their industry and consumer proponents as the Alliance. Dumb analogy, I know. Fannish to the bone and all. But still apt. I've lost the war. I didn't even win a single battle in the war. Regardless, I will not go quietly into that good night (thank you, Mr. Thomas). So, allow me to hold my unpopular and irrelevant opinions, and to express them in what is my own bloody LiveJournal without running off to whine when you broke the First Rule of CRK's LJ: Do not poke the angry beast with a point stick. Or, stated another way, don't make contentious comments guaranteed to piss me off. In the old days, this was called trolling.

Speaking of this subject, here's a very much appreciated bit of information posted here by [livejournal.com profile] aliceoddcabinet:

Let me tell you a little story about the Domesday Book.

Completed in 1086, it held a record of many of the daily doings of everyday life and people in Great Britain at the time. It was like a proto-census. Sort of. Around 1999, the BBC thought it would be great idea to do another
Domesday Book for the New Millennium. So they got all this great information, including voice recordings, and digital video and all sorts of cool cool coolness. So they completed it.

On some random kind of Videodisk. And now, with very few players that can access the material on these Random Video disks, the million dollar project is now...well, rendered moot (mute, as well). The original
Domesday Book? From 1086? Written in Latin, written on paper is still available to be viewed at the British National Archives. And can be read by anyone who knows Latin. Hell, by anyone with a Latin Dictionary.

So there's my little Parable.


And, ebook evangelists, you really think you'll be able to go back read those Kindle ebooks you're buying in a decade? Really? Ha, ha, and ha (good name for a law firm). That was the sound of the Last laugh, which is to come.

Anyway.

Yesterday, we saw a matinée of Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.'s The Thing, a prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982, a remake of Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks' 1951 The Thing from Another World, a film version of John W. Campbell Jr.'s short story "Who Goes There?", first published in Amazing Stories in 1938). I liked it quite a lot. There a lot I want to say about it, but I don't have time at the moment. Maybe tomorrow.

A little reading. I read (in analog, thank you) Gary Braunbeck's pretty decent novella "Tessellations," and also "A selachian freshwater fauna from the Triassic of Kyrgyzstan and its implications for Mesozoic shark nurseries." Very, very amazing stuff. Just think: fossilized mermaids' purses. Also, "A new species of Laccognathus (Sarcopterygii, Porolepiformfes) from the Late Devonian of Ellesmere Island, Nunavut, Canada."

The new Brown Bird album, Salt for Salt, is incredible. Just had to say that.

Here are some "behind the scenes" from our weekend filming of the trailer for The Drowning Girl and Stills From a Film That Never Was (by the way, Kyle and I are talking about a mix-media/book mini-tour in galleries this spring in Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Providence, and Boston):

14 October 2011 )
greygirlbeast: (fight dinosaurs)
Last weekend, beautiful fucking weather. Sunny and bright. Highs in the low eighties Fahrenheit. You almost could have imagined it was summer. Well, for Rhode Island, I mean. This weekend? Cold, rainy, foggy, and windy. That is to say, normal Rhode Island weather (unless it's snowing). But, apparently, We are possessed of some species of determination and purpose. and the show must wobble on.

Most everyone will be arriving via the train station about noon, and Spooky's headed that way very soon. Me, I'm sitting here in my pajamas, thinking about going back to bed. I was dreaming of Boulder. Of school in Boulder. I was dreaming of a calculus class in Boulder, and even that hurt less than this.

Yesterday, someone saw fit to vent their spleen in this blog. Apparently, they were moved to do this because I fucking hate ebooks, because I hate the very idea of ebooks, and because I said so (again). My hatred of ebooks has been a matter of public record since the fucking Kindle was only a gleam in some profiteering shitheel's eye. But yesterday it seems I hit a nerve. Good for me. See, I'm fighting a losing battle against ebooks (that's a given), so I can take my meaningless little victories free of guilt. Ebooks will soon rule publishing, at least until that post-peak oil crash, when plastic will be worth its weight in paper. However, it became one of those very rare instances when I was forced to delete posts (including two of my own), and yes, forced. By decorum. I'm going to repeat what I said in yesterday's second post, in a condensed and abbreviated form, regarding what I expect from those who kindly take time to comment here:

Over the many years that this LiveJournal has existed (since 2004), I have said repeatedly that I do not allow contentious comments. Comments, yes. You may even feel free to disagree, briefly, so long as it is evident (to me) you're not, clearly, aiming to start an argument. In short, we do not debate. Ever. This blog is NOT a public forum, regardless of my inviting comments. Think of it like visiting a friend. This LJ is my house. And I expect people to behave in a civil fashion while in my house. This is, I know, asking a lot, as we do not live in a civil age, but I'm asking it, anyway.

If I find a comment argumentative or offensive, as has always been the case, I will delete it. I don't often delete anything. And I almost never ban anyone (maybe five, ever). Furthermore, if it is obvious that I feel especially strongly on a subject, take that as a cue not to poke me with a pointy stick. It's common sense, guys. So, when I make angry, damning comments about ebooks, for example, that's my opinion. Disagree? You have the whole internet, except this blog, in which to express your dissatisfaction with my comments. That seems fair.


This is non-negotiable, and like everything else, not up for debate.

Oh, and yesterday—before the blog fiasco—we took a mountain of boxes to the storage unit and Spooky backed the van into a concrete wall at about twenty miles an hour. Very little damage was done. And there were publishing nuisances. And we cleaned house.

And I guess that's all for now. People will begin arriving at the Providence train station very soon, and they probably don't want to see me in my pajamas. So, dress I must. Looks like we'll be shooting at Moonstone Beach in a few hours. In the book, the scene's on a bright summer morning. So, a dreary, freezing autumn afternoon is a perfect stand-in.

Here's a question. In the Golden Age of the Ukulele Revival, why is Tiny Tim not more revered? The man was a fucking genius, and, seemingly, well ahead of his time..

Ta,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (Default)
The Book has landed. Late yesterday afternoon, early yesterday evening, on my backdoor steps. It's a beautiful book, and I'm very happy with it, and can say that, in terms of "booksmithing" alone, it's of the most beautiful editions I've ever produced with Subterranean Press. And yet, it's sort of terrifyingly daunting to be 47 years old and looking at Volume 1 of the "Best of" your life's work. So, this book makes me want to hug it, but it also makes me want to run screaming, both at the same time. The second reaction, however, is of no concern to anyone but me, and if you've not bought a copy, it's still not too late (well except for the limited edition, and fuck, the art section looks good). I assume your copies should be arriving (unless you didn't order, in which case they won't).

I hope that as the mass-media & publishing industries, along with various associated symbiotes and parasites and whores, continue to play circle jerk with ebooks and reader thingies and whatnot, and pat themselves on the back for embracing the cold, soulless, plastic Brave New (& Ever So Much More Practical) World of the Insubstantial, that it makes way for a "booksmithing" renaissance. The disease could be the cure. I'll suffer Kindles and Nooks and Schnooks and whatever, as long as real books (which are more than pixel words on a screen, in sixteen shades of grey) survive and thrive, even if only in a marginalized niche. I embrace marginalization. It's all I've ever really known, anyway. Also, fuck the world's bullshit desire for convenience. Art is not meant to be convenient, any more than it is meant to be easy to create or interpret.

Anyway, yes. I am happy with Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Me. In fact, I went to bed snuggling it, as you can see in this photo (Spooky says it looks like I'm eating it):


Photographs Copyright © 2011 by Kathryn A. Pollnac
Cover art Copyright © 2011 by Lee Moyer.


Work yesterday. But I can't tell you what. I cannot even hint. There was a long teleconference, but that's all I can say. Next.

In fact, all of yesterday pales in comparison to the arrival of The Book, so...there's not much else to say.

Tomorrow, noonish, Spooky and I will be picking up a gaggle of folks at the train station in Providence, and the next three days will be spent filming (and right after that, I'm supposed to be in Northampton, Massachusetts...Tuesday, maybe) and photographing and such, from one end of Rhode Island to the other, getting material for [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's series of still photos based on The Drowning Girl and material for the book trailer, which is being shot by Brian Siano. There will be reports all weekend, in theory, behind the scenes nonsense, if I have the time. I know Kyle will be tweeting and whatnot, using all that newfangled gadgetry the kiddos are so proud of these days. It's going to be an intensely weird three days, and we'll be having thunderstorms on at least the first of those days...which sucks. But there you go.

Sucking As She Goes,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (white)
Nobody knew what to do with Buckaroo Banzai. There was no simple way to tell anyone what it was about — I'm not sure anybody knew.

Yesterday was. Sometimes, isn't it enough to say no more or less than that about any given day? After all, this is what most days of any given life are. That day....was. A life is a compilation of days that mostly just are. So, yes. One of the pitfalls of a blog that's being written for other people to read is that there's the feeling you have to make each and every day, in some way, interesting. Though most of them truly aren't. Most days just are.

That said, I spent yesterday tweaking Phase One. The oscillation overthruster was running a little fast, too many RPMs and all that. Someone could have gotten hurt. Oh, and speaking of secret and cool things, I am told that sometime in late November or early December, the cat will likely be allowed to leave the bag. So, we only have to wait that long.

---

The last couple of days, I've been engaged (along with several other authors and agents) in what [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow described to me as an endless game of "whack-a-mole," trying to stop various pirate sites from illegally selling copies of our ebooks. Or, as I would prefer to say, electronic copies of our books. Yes, not giving them away, but selling them. And every time we whack one, another pops up. But, like Mr. Jefferson said, eternal vigilance is the price.

No, it's not like buying an analog book and then, when you've read it, selling it back to a used bookstore (or anywhere else). Not unless it's a magical book that endlessly produces identical copies of itself, or unless you have some sort of magical book-pooping device that performs the same function. If you are selling copies of my books, which you have made, you are in violation of US Copyright Law (which, I admit, I am often not fond of, but it still applies) and, more importantly, you are stealing from me. You're not taking a quote. Or a few lines. Not even a preview chapter. But a whole goddamn book, which likely took me a year or two to write and edit.

And that's money my publisher loses, and when my publisher loses money on my books, they lose interest in publishing additional books by me. And if I can't make a living off my writing, the novels and short stories will, I assure you, cease to be created. Oh, there might be one or two very short stories a year, maybe. But I'd be too busy trying to get by with some other shitty job to write. And that, kittens, is why, if you actually enjoy what I write, you should never, ever steal one of my books.

Oh, and if you steal my books, I'll cut out your motherfucking heart and feed it to you, still warm and beating, if I ever get my hands on you. I will not even use a knife. But that's just a trifle, compared with all the other possible consequences. So, pretty please. Don't do this shit. People who pirate books waste the time and money of people who write those books.

And don't even get me started on Amazon and Google again.

Actually...to answer a question posed in yesterday's comments (and thank you, thank you, thank you for all those comments, even if I wasn't able to respond to all of them): [livejournal.com profile] lilith_333 asks, "I try to consume ethically when I can and I want to make sure authors get their fair due when I buy their books; what do you suggest?"

There is no easy answer. Like most authors, I live off advances, not royalties. I have seen only a tiny handful of royalty checks (one, to be specific) from the novels Penguin has published, beginning with Silk. This is over a period of time spanning most of two decades. One check. But set that aside a moment, because that's not the question being asked. The question is one of ethics, and there is nothing ethical about Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Penguin or any of those corporations, not when the bottom line is involved, the bottom line being profit margins. They fuck us all over. No, really. These are evil empires, even the ones which, like Penguin, are struggling to stay afloat. Still, the most ethical thing you can do (if I skip a lot of caveats) is buy the books from a legit online bookseller (Amazon, B&N, Powell's, etc.). Here, I mean the novels. As for the subpress books, I'd say buy them directly from Subterranean Press. And, by the way, Subterranean Press does a pretty damn fine job of actually behaving ethically towards authors, and, in this day and age, that's a rare and precious oddity.

I am, occasionally, called "greedy" for worrying about being stolen from. But, consider, is an author, a writer, who feels guilty for buying books, is that a greedy person? If so, fine. I'm greedy. I expect to be paid for work, as do you.

But now! I must away! There are...things to be done.

Hardly Ethical,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna at The Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to You By Amazon.com

So let me get this straight.


Amazon would like to offer a Netflix-like subscription to unlimited ebooks for its Prime members. Business sites are all over the publishing companies to comply–after all, what’s a little monopoly between friends?


But as an author this stinks to high heaven. You know, that place where Borders is chilling on a cloud and crying into its celestial beer.


See, there’s no mention of author benefit–everyone is talking about the publishers and how they need to get with the times. But how, exactly, would we be compensated for this? Since it’s for their Prime members, who as Netflix has seen, would howl over a price hike, it’s possible this will just be lumped in, wrecking ebook sales and contributing further to the idea that the ideal cost for a book is $0.00. Not to mention the number this does on libraries.


Now, I get that ebooks are happening whether anyone likes it or not. And I get that subscriptions have worked for other media–I use my Netflix like anyone. But there’s a reason Netflix has a quite limited streaming selection, and it’s losing, not gaining, content. This is not because Netflix hates you and wants you to suffer. It’s very hard to get those licenses because it’s not a very good deal for the content creators and distributors. And it costs a lot of money to manufacture the level of quality content people expect. Now, it’s axiomatic that the middleman sucks and should be shot (except The Middleman, who is awesome) but to be quite frank, they serve a purpose, and while I’d like to see their tactics changed, I would not like to see them vanish entirely. They are also human, and in publishing they do the great good work of sifting wheat from chaff, editing and packaging the wheat and making sure the wheat can spell, while getting shit on from every side. (I would also like to see real competition for Netflix, who is a middleman, too, don’t be fooled. They’re just a very hands-off middleman. But until you can write a check to Matt Weiner for Mad Men, you are still using a middleman. However, as I’m going to say a lot, no one company should be the single portal for information of any type.)


So, let’s hear how this is anything but a grab for more rights for less money? Will Amazon be paying lump sums for licenses? Will authors see even one cent of that? Will we be paid per download? If they aren’t charging much more than Prime services already cost, who will be paying us? Anyone? Bueller? What about books already in print? Will we be paid for joining the service or just told our major problem is obscurity and we should be grateful?


But the business rags don’t care about that stuff. They’re too busy bizarrely cheerleading Amazon’s attempt to become an almost total media monopoly. And in a stroke of PR genius, Amazon has indie authors on their side, convinced Amazon is their friend, a champion of the little people, and a stand-up guy, willing to stick it to the mean old publishers. (Who sinned in not publishing literally everyone and deserve to be skewered, I guess?)


Hoggle is Hoggle’s friend. Amazon is no one’s friend. They want to control the ebook market. They’re pissed they don’t control the music and movie market to the extent they’d like to. They are nearly there with books, and having destroyed bookstores, they’re now after libraries and quite possibly just really interested in becoming the only publisher there is. Don’t think no one over there has thought of simply replacing the whole publishing apparatus with Amazon.com. And a lot of people would wave their pom-poms for that.


The fact that a company that tried to punish Macmillan simply for not kowtowing to them immediately is considered worthy of trust is laughable. These guys are thugs. It’s an awfully nice industry you got there. Shame if anything should happen to it.


I don’t actually feel like helping them to my own detriment, and don’t see why I or anyone else should be jumping at what looks like a shitty, shitty deal for content creators, libraries (I do not want libraries to die, you guys. And they let you borrow unlimited books FOR FREE. And pay for their copies. In fact, library sales are a huge part of a book’s life, particularly in the YA and children’s market. Oh and BY THE WAY. Poor people can use libraries. Not just us geekelites who can afford ereaders and subscriptions.) If I see people actually discussing what authors get out of this beyond that age-old gold standard EXPOSURE ZOMG! I’ll listen. For awhile. But here’s the rub.


To some extent this is already a thing. Libraries, yes, but also Baen Webscriptions and other services. Why not let Amazon in on that game?


It’s different because it’s Amazon. This is a company that has shown itself to be unscrupulous in its dealings with publishers time and time again. It’s being friendly to authors now, but it was friendly to publishers and bookstores for awhile too. Amazon is way more than an 800 pound gorilla. They want to be the only way you access books. That is good for no one. No one source should have that much power, or else you end up in a situation where if, say, Amazon doesn’t like queers, they can kill all their books and no one can say anything. They don’t think erotica should get ranked with “normal” books? They don’t. Amazon wants to remotely delete something you paid for? It’s deleted. This has already happened. More power to those people? I don’t think so. No single company should have the influence they want. You think it’s bad that there’s so few publishing companies? At least there are six.


Amazon knows they have the market share and presence to make competition basically a grassroots joke. They do not care. They do not care about you and they do not care about your (or my) indie cred and to be quite frank they could give a shit about books. That’s your dream. They’re happy to sell anything, it doesn’t matter what it is. (Clearly. I just bought a chicken nesting box from them. They just want to be where you shop, and by and large they are succeeding. Awesome?) This is about control of information and money. And I may have to knuckle under when my contracts come due but I do not have to be their cheerleader in the meantime.


I’m not saying they’re evil–well, maybe a little, but no more than any company. They simply want to grow. You know, like any organism. Without heed for the survival of any other organism. They will probably get this because no one, not least our rusty-ass anti-trust laws, stands up to them with any conviction. But to be honest, I am puzzled at people’s desire to be fish flakes for the Sarlaac. I am continually horrified at the rush to love and defend Amazon because of their current stance on self-publishing. Emphasis on the current. Yay! My book is on Amazon and I get 70%! Fuck everyone else! No, literally fuck them. Let us take to our blogs and cheer, just squeal with delight, for every job lost in a library or publishing company, large or small, every janitor at Random House and editor at Harper Collins, every librarian who gets kids to read, because Amazon loves us with its big fuzzy heart and will always, always treat us with dignity and fairness. Just show me where to sign that exclusive contract. And if I need an agent, why, Amazon can be my agent! They’re sure to give themselves a good deal. (Again, already happened.)


And the publishers had better just sign where they’re told to. After all, those dinosaurs had better get with the times. And the times, it seems, are called by Amazon. It’s the Year of the Unlimited Free Ebooks Brought to you by Amazon.com, as our late great David Foster Wallace would say. Enjoy it.


And as far as self-publishing, which can be and is laudable and valuable, well, give it time. It’s early yet on that beachhead, kids. If the last 15 years of the internet taught you anything, it should be that nothing open and good lasts forever, and corporations trend ugly over time. (I’m looking at you, Google.)  It has not been enough to consume bookstores, libraries, publishing companies, and any author not selling direct to Amazon are next. Amazon was a friend to all of these once. Trust me, you don’t want to live in the world Amazon wants to build.


Mirrored from cmv.com. Also appearing on @LJ and @DW. Read anywhere, comment anywhere.

greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caveat: No one is going to read this, and no one is going to comment. (This is an expectation, not a command).

Bright outside, and warm. I'd be on my way to Moonstone for a day of swimming, if the passing of Katia (the hurricane that's taking a Norwegian vacation) hadn't left the whole Eastern Seaboard with dangerous rip currents. So, instead, I will sit and work. Weekends are for...people who aren't writers. Just like vacations (I'm looking at you, Katia), retirement, and health insurance.

And I had dreams that are nagging at me, even though I can't remember them. And I have a headache I've had since last night. But other than that, hey man, as far as I know, the motherfucker's tiptop.

I don't get a lot of headaches, and they make me extra not right. Sorry.

Yesterday, I worked. Let's be safe and leave it at that. Oh, I will add that I needed Spooky to help me, and she displayed magnificent restraint and didn't kill me.

No matter how much time I spend on the internet (and it's a shameful LOT of time), I have a fairly low opinion of it. But every now and then someone has a good idea, and that good idea actually works. This is the case with Kickstarter, which has made crowdsourcing a practical option for many of us who often cannot find a traditional, conventional source for funding this or that project. The success of mine and Spooky's Tales of the Ravens/Goat Girl Press Kickstarter astounded me. I never thought it would work. But we not only met our goal, we received 212% of what we'd hoped for. And now, with mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed, as I write this we are in the Kickstarter's final hour, and its funded at 298%. So, not only will Spooky and I be producing this wonderful little book based on her raven paintings, but Kyle and I will be creating a set of photographs and a short film based on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. A couple of years ago, none of these things would have happened. So, thank you, Kickstarter, and thank you donors. We will not let you down (though we may be slow as fuck).

---

Last night, rather impulsively, we decided to drive over to the Providence Place Mall (we avoid this place like all bad things that are to be avoided), because there's a Borders there. I sort of felt an obligation to see the end of Borders firsthand. And...it was sort of horrifying and sad and, yet, peculiarly gratifying. Looking at what seemed like, in some parallax trick, to be miles upon miles of empty shelving, it became clearer than it has yet been that we stand at the end of an old age of publishing. I don't want to admit it, and I have no idea what the next age will look like, but there's no denying this is a transitional event. The horror and sadness, that came from seeing books that had, essentially, been reduced to worthless chunks of paper, devalued, stripped of their supposed, inherent merit, 70%-90% off. The peculiar gratification (and I know this is petty), that came from seeing the fall of one of the monoliths that took out so many small and extremely valuable bookstores over the last two decades. What goes around...

But there was, of course, this other thing. This other thing, that was fear. I am a writer, and here is my livelihood, in part, here in the store, and it's dying. No, it's dead, and we were just hanging with the last round of vultures (the lions, hyenas, and jackals left days ago), as the maggot-riddled carcass was picked clean. Oh, I know my career will survive, however the presentation of the art I create might eventually be altered, whatever form it might take. But I'm 47, and bookstores, that sell actual fucking books, that's what I've known all my life. I didn't grow up wanting to write data, ones and zeros, for Kindles or what-the-fuck-ever ugly hunks of plastic. I wanted to make books. And, no matter how much of my income eventually is derived from ebooks, I will, always hate that format, and always cling to the past, which is my present. The book: which is an object with covers and binding and pages, something tactile, something with a wonderful odor, born of ink. This will all likely be swept away in a few more decades or less, excepting small specialty publishers catering to the antiquarian tastes of people like me. But I'll keep writing, and people will keep reading.

And Borders had it coming, just as Barnes and Nobles has it coming. Just as Amazon has it coming. In time, they all fall, because everything does. Because greed is an absolute with a single inevitable outcome.

Anyway, eulogies and nostalgia aside, there really wasn't much left to buy, which made it easy to be good kids. Oh, there were veritable fucking mountains of celebrity bios, especially books about Sarah and Bristol Palin. It was satisfying seeing how many of those were left. There were sci-fi and fantasy paperbacks that had no business having been published in the first place, and tons of YA vampire dreck. "Literature" was gutted, as was "Science," except for theoretical mathematics. We must have been there about an hour (it was very hot, and the fluorescent lights were making me woozy), and we spent about $45, picking those bones, and came away with:

The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars (2009), Christopher Cokinos
The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must (1996, 2011) by Robert Zubrin
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks (2011) by Juliet Eilperin
The Mystery of Lewis Carroll: Discovering the Whimsical, Thoughtful, and Sometimes Lonely Man Who Created Alice in Wonderland* (2010) by Jenny Woolf*
Katharine Hepburn: A Life in Pictures (2009) Edited by Pierre-Henri Verlhac**

...and one DVD, the only one left worth a cent, the two-disc special edition of Tony Scott's True Romance (1993).

---

I'm oddly homesick.

---

Later, I had some decent RP in Insilico. I read Joe R. Lansdale's "The Crawling Sky" from The Book of Cthulhu. Now, understand – Joe is brilliant, 99 times out of every 100. I once had dinner with him on the Thames, a Chinese restaurant on a huge boat, restaurant with some fucking absurd name like the Floating Lotus. Anyway, that's a story for another time. But "The Crawling Sky" is one of those rare cases where a funny Lovecraftian story works. First off, understand that this is like Cormac McCarthy writing a Lovecraft story, filmed by the Cohen Bros., starring Jeff Bridges as Rooster Cogburn. Now, understand that, no matter how fucking funny the story may be, the "mythos" elements weren't being spoofed, but were taken pretty seriously. Anyway, yes. One of the anthology's gems. This line, I must quote: "He had the kind of features that could make you wince; one thing God could do was he could sure make ugly." Lansdale is, among other things, to be lauded for keeping the "weird western" alive.

Gods, what a fucking long blog entry! Gotta work!

* Winner of the Most Absurd Subtitle Award.
** A beautiful "coffee-table" book. How will Kindle fill that gap? How will we have beautiful coffee-table books on iPads? Maybe we'll stop having coffee tables. They seem a holdover from some more civilized age, anyway.
greygirlbeast: (Mars from Earth)
I've been sitting here for half an hour trying to wake up enough to write a blog entry. I had my breakfast of goat food and milk, and I'm still working on the morning Red Bull (coffee truly is for pussies). My body visited eight hours of sleep upon me last night, rather unexpectedly. I suppose it was needed. I am becoming hypnophobic, I think. That is, sleep frightens me. It took me a bit to puzzle out the why. Sleep has been intensely unpleasant for a long time – because of the dreams that are too vivid – but now I have pills that dim the dreams from three-color Technicolor to the older, kinder two-color process. But, I digress. Maybe. Anyway, no. It's not the dreams. It's the amount of time that sleep deducts from my conscious life, from what I have remaining of it. This is, of course, a Land of Unknown Variables. Life remaining to CRK might = N, let's say, and time deducted by sleep during N might = n, but...never mind. I'm too sleepy for algebra, I think you'll get the picture; time is always running out.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,829 words in the Mars story that is now known as "The House of Glass Coffins." It began as an idea for a vignette, and grew into a full-fledged short story, though...I think it wanted to be a novella. Today is assembly day for Sirenia Digest #69, which may, if we're all lucky, go out to subscribers before midnight EDT.

Oh, look. Now LJ's preview feature isn't working. Surprise! I've got to find some place to move this blog before the Russians, or whoever-they-ares, destroy LJ completely. I don't want to leave, but once the rats have all gone (and, mostly, they have), you gotta start making contingency plans. I'm considering both WordPress and TypePad. Equally stupid titles, but no worse, I suppose, than LiveJournal (though LJ is at least accurately descriptive). And before you suggest it, Dreamwidth is no longer an option, as I've learned much too much about the fascists who run it.

Where was I before I tried to preview this entry?

Oh, yes. This month's book of the month. After completely making an utter mess of things last month with Carrie Ryan's (so I quickly learned) laughably lousy The Forest of Hands and Teeth, this month I'm staying on firmer, more familiar ground. I kept meaning to create a graphic and post it, the cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth with a red circle and slash around it. Anyway, this month's selection is Shirley Jackson's The Sundial (1958). It's one of Jackson's less well-known works, and I hope you'll join me in reading it. The novel has become hard to find, and if you can't find a copy to purchase (new or used), try the library (remember those?), or an ebook (I'm going to the Special Hell for that last suggestion, that anyone dare read a Shirley Jackson novel as *shudder* an ebook)*:



And that brings us to the Kickstarter for mine and [livejournal.com profile] kylecassidy's The Drowning Girl: Stills From a Movie That Never Existed. The Kickstarter has only four days to go, and we're at $2,846 pledged (or 237% funded), which is rather impressive, considering we were only aiming for $1,200. However, wouldn't it be a shame if we came this close to $3,000 and missed that nice round number by a mere $154? And it's not like we won't put the money to good use. So, consider a donation, if you haven't already. I wish I had more signed copies of the book to offer as rewards. Wow. Now I know that, if necessary, I can sound like a televangelist begging for money in the name of Jay-zus.

And now, kittens, it's time for you to comment, and for me to make a virtual digest out of its constituent pixels. Come on, platypus.

Hypnophobically,
Aunt Beast

* I am relieved to see that The Sundial is not available on Kindle.
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: (white2)
Here we are, snowed in. Like autumn sunlight, and late afternoon sunlight, snow is kind to Providence. The city is rendered more majestic, and a lot of the ugliness of urban modernity is smoothed away. Until the melting begins, and then it's worse than it was to start with. A wild night last night, but peaceful this morning.

I got to sleep sometime after 4:30 ayem, I believe. Hard to be sure. The facts in the case at hand are fluid. There is more fluidity to the past than most suppose.

It wasn't my intention to have that little blogging hiatus. Sonya and Geoffrey visited on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then, on Thursday and Friday, I got very, very bogged down editing Two Worlds and In Between. And then, on Friday, Xmas Eve, I fell into a sort of funk over the holiday. The last few years, I've done quite a good job of ignoring Xmas, for the most part, but this year it somehow jabbed me in the face with a pointy stick. I did my best to preserve our tradition of anti-Xmas, and I made a huge lasagna, and we watched Badder Santa, and brought out LSD Penguin, and...well, the usual...but Xmas bugged me, anyway. Then the weather went to fuck. We were up and out yesterday morning, far too early, to lay in supplies for the snowy siege.

I should have spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday working on Sirenia Digest #61. It was idiotic of me to do otherwise.

---

A couple of quick announcements regarding Subterranean Press:

1) Bill Schafer at subpress wrote "...your backlist will be available in all the major e-reader formats, not just for the Kindle." So, correction. All those books I announced as coming to only Kindle in 2011, will actually be coming to pretty much all e-readers. And, since all my novels except Silk are already available for Kindle, I suppose I've entered the Age of Ebooks (even if I came kicking and screaming).

2) I should note that many of the stories being reprinted in Two Worlds and In Between will never again be reprinted anywhere else. At least, not in my lifetime. Mostly, the stories written from 1992 though 2001, probably 14 of the 23 (the majority, actually). So, think of that as an added incentive to pick up a copy of the collection. Also, I have thoughts on how my stories function as comprehensive snapshots of who I was at the time I wrote them, but I'll save those for another entry. Much too much work to do today.

Also also, slow death to anyone who steals electronic copies of anything I write via BitTorrent, etc. Need it free? Use the goddamn library. And interlibrary loan actually does work.

---

During the storm, Spooky and I read [livejournal.com profile] blackholly's Tithe (2002), and enjoyed it quite a lot. We've begun Valiant (2005), which is even better. It's always good to see a writer's growth from one book to the next. Mostly, I can't believe I waited so long to start reading Holly's stuff. She does Fairie right. She gives good fay.

Behind the cut, photos of the snow. Two Spooky snapped last night, and one from this morning. We haven't yet ventured out post-blizzard. Maybe later. Maybe Spooky and not me.

I wish I were at the sea.

Yours in White,
Aunt Beast

The Blizzard of 2010, Part 1 )
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
This is the special pain of having taken too many sedatives to try and sleep, and then having barely slept at all, and being exhausted and still drugged. Waiting for the pills to wear off. Trying to think, to type, to make decisions. So, gonna number items in this entry, and hope I don't forget anything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. And now, it's time to make the doughnuts. Today will be editing (despite my zombie-like state), so that I can get to Sirenia Digest #61, so that I can get back to work on The Drowning Girl: A Memoir ASAP.
greygirlbeast: (newest chi)
And here it is Friday, and only seven days until we leave for Portland (and that's counting today). So things are getting weird and hectic. I've never been to Portland, but Spooky lived there for three years, 1996-1999, and has tremendous trepidation about returning. So, we're coping with that, too. But I am not a traveling writer. There seem to be so many traveling writers these days. By "traveling writer," I mean writers who spend a lot of time on business-related trips (i.e., workshops, conventions and conferences, expos, and book tours). I love to travel, if it's purely for the sake of traveling, but I'm really not one for writing-related travel (except in the sense that any given trip may inspire stories). So, this sort of thing is rare for me. And it makes me very anxious.

I also don't know how writers who spend so much time engaged in writer-travel get anything written. I wouldn't be able to get anything written.

I was wondering, the other night, why people seem resistant to the idea of writers having public personae. It's perfectly normal (and common) for actors and musicians. But with writers it seems to piss people off (including other writers), or at least annoy them. I sort of have a public persona. The person you see at a con isn't precisely the person I am in private. I found it necessary a long time ago, both to alleviate my anxiety about public appearances and because the person I am in private is terribly anti-social. So, for cons and signings and readings I have this other Caitlín persona I put on. I wear her (though she's changed over the years). Trust me, she's much nicer to be around.

---

Yesterday, I decided, we needed one last day off before the mad rush to the trip. One last day just for me and Spooky to be calm. So, about three p.m. we headed to Conanicut Island (the right way round), out to West Cove, our favorite beach for sea glass. When we arrived, there was a large group of scuba divers. It's a popular spot for scuba, but I'd never seen so many at once before. Most left shortly after we arrived, but some lingered in the cove, occasionally rising to the surface like strange aquatic hominids. The weather was good, warm and only a few clouds. We found some good glass, but some really spectacular bones. West Cove is also a good bone beach, mostly bird bones. Yesterday, I we found an assortment of wings bones and vertebrae from cormorants, gulls, and other birds, and I also found a spectacular gull jaw, complete with yellow-orange keratin sheath. Really gorgeous. I also found three bones I'm fairly certain belong to a seal, which is a first.

I've often imagined, while at West Cove, carrying out a weird sort of "future paleontology" study there. I mean, imagining what the sandy, pebbly deposits there would be like ten or fifteen million years from now. And trying to reconstruct the local fauna, assuming the bones I'm finding would be preserved as fossils. A diverse avifauna would dominate the assemblage, with lots of fish and very rare mammals.

Yeah, I'm a science nerd.

Anyway, we stayed until it was almost dark, and the tide was coming in. We watched two mallards, and a sad sort of sea gull that seemed to be following them around. We tried to decided if a cross between a gull and a mallard would be called a "gulk" or a "dull." We finally, reluctantly, headed back to the van about six-thirty p.m. I wanted to stay all night, listening to the lapping waves and watching the sky and hearing the birds. There are photos, at the end of this entry, behind the cut.

Oh, I read Richard Bowes' short story, "Knickerbocker Holiday" (from Haunted Legends), on the way down to the island.

---

I think I have to do an interview for Weird Tales before we leave.

---

In all this discussion of eReaders, one thing in particular strikes me as absurd. And I'm honestly not trying to pick on anyone, I'm just being honest. What strikes me as especially absurd are the people who tell me they absolutely could not live without their Kindle or Nook or whatever. They are fervent in this claim, and I assume they truly believe what they're saying. I'm just not sure they've thought very much about what they're saying. I mean, they got along just fine without these devices a year or two or three ago, right? And now they can't live without them? I kind of have to assume this is hyperbole, that they're very enthusiastic and overstating their case. Because, otherwise, it's absurd, and I like to think people aren't absurd (though clearly most are).

I think about recently acquired tech that is very dear to me. Say, my iPod (I'm still using a sturdy old fossil of an iPod from early 2005). Or my very low-tech mechanical pencils. Or the PlayStation 3. Our digital cameras. Or certain programmes, like Second Life and World of Warcraft. These things are dear to me, to varying degrees, and I use them a lot. But can I live without them? Sure. I did just fine before they came along. So, it's hard for me to imagine these eReader users keeling over from shock or wasting away if they were ever suddenly deprived of their Nooks. Or Kindles. Or whatever.

When they say, "I can't live without my eReader," they must surely mean, "I don't want to live without my eReader," or even "I can't imagine living without my eReader."

Rarely does it help an argument to overstate your case.

---

At Eastside Market, I saw a book with the excruciatingly embarrassing title Wuthering Bites, and a cover that was clearly meant to look like one of the Twlight covers. And the book's exactly what it sounds like, Emily Bronte's novel rewritten with vampires. Can we please stop doing this? It was never very funny, and at this point these parodies seem like parodies of parodies. Which is to say the gimmick is on beyond tired. Stop milking it. Please.

---

I almost forgot, there's a very nice review of The Ammonite Violin and Others at The San Francisco Book Review (review by Ariel Berg). I love this bit: "Those whose imaginations flourish best in the dark will find a great deal to love in The Ammonite Violin."

Okay. Here are the photos. I need to get to work, and Spooky has to go to the post office.

23 September 2010 )
greygirlbeast: (fight dinosaurs)
Hold on for Round Three of higgledy piggledy.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,413 words on "John Four," and found THE END. It's a strange story, maybe even strange for me. Maybe even grim for me, right down to the irony in the Biblical allusion of its title. I wrote yesterday's pages to the Swans' My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky. It was the perfect soundtrack to the story. The last couple of hours of writing yesterday were pell-mell, a dizzy rush through black words. I almost felt as though my brain was tripping over itself. If this story has a moral, it must be that the end of the world is only merciful if it really is the end of the world, and not the beginning of another. Anyway, the vignette will be included in Sirenia Digest #58, along with reprints of most of my Lovecraft Mythos fiction. I felt I should do a Lovecraft issue, since I'll be heading off to the HPLFF next week, so that's what I'm doing.

---

I woke this morning from the most remarkable dreams, though sadly only random shreds remain. But the shreds are dazzling. I was living out a fourth book in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, and somehow Saruman's industrial revolution had occurred after all. The landscape was at first Stalin's Russia, then New York City in the Great Depression. I only saw hobbits and humans. The elves would be gone, of course, but there should have been orcs and dwarves. There were refugees in boxcars in a barren snowy place. At one point, there was a frantic climb through the freezing waters of an enormous dam's spillway. There was a climactic showdown in what seemed to me a bank, and it was very Miller's Crossing somehow, only with swords instead of guns. And I woke from this dream wanting so badly to write a fantasy novel set against the backdrop of the first three decades of the 20th Century.

--- (These divisions, in my mind, make an entry less higgledy piggledy.)

Thanks for all the comments yesterday, mostly as regards ebooks and eReaders. Truth is, on the one hand, I don't care if people are using eReaders. If that's how you want to read, it's sure as hell not my business. I can't do it, because for me a book consists of two parts: 1) the experience of reading it (which includes tactile sensation) and 2) the physical object itself. These things are, for me, indivisible. I'm not looking for a "good read," because the process of reading a book cannot be reduced to mere action. But that's me. I think the only thing that scares me about all this is that I feel fairly certain that if the trend continues, we'll reach a point where what remains of New York publishing will ditch most hardcopy books, especially the midlist. It will be far cheaper to rely on ebooks, as they have so much less overhead (especially since the publishers aren't manufacturing the eReaders). The two greatest expenses in publishing would be eliminated: warehousing and distribution. Sure, there will still be hardbacks for best sellers, and also from specialty houses like Subterranean Press, but most authors won't have access to such luxuries. The midlist author will be consigned to ebooks. And if that happens, I'll stop writing. I'll just stop. Because half of my reward for having written is that tangible object, which to me is a work of art— the book —which can never be reduced to zeroes and ones.

Also, books don't usually break when you drop 'em.

I'm not going to get started on the horror that introducing social networking to the act of reading represents for me. No, I never belonged to book clubs, and I hated literature classes. For me, reading is inherently solitary.

---

Last night we saw Neil Jordan's Ondine (2009). I am a long-time admirer (that's probably putting it too mildly) of Jordan's films, and this one was everything I'd expect. Brilliant, beautiful, and sublime. Fairy tale and mythology are always there, even when they aren't. Fantasy (truth) is inseparable from reality (fact). It's probably the best film about a selkie ever made, regardless of whether or not there's actually a selkie in it. Yes, even better than The Secret of Roan Inish (1994). Filmed in Cork County, Ireland, the landscape is shades of green and grey and blue that are, at once, perfectly solid and yet too exquisite to have ever existed outside cinematography. Great performances from Colin Farrell (Syracuse), Alicja Bachleda (Ondine), and Alison Barry (Annie). Oh, and how can I not love a film about selkies in which Sigur Rós are integral to the plot! If you ask me, this is a must see.

(We also saw the new episode of Glee, which still rocks.)

---

I sat down yesterday and started reading through "As Red as Red" (in Haunted Legends; I don't know why I've started reading my stories in print; I never used to do this). I reached page 80, where the protagonist travels from Providence to Aquidneck Island and Newport. Only, this is what it says:

I made the commute from Providence to Newport, crossing the East Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island and then the West Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport.

This is, of course, backwards. It's akin to being in Manhattan and saying you're going to travel east to New Jersey. It's that wrong. It should read, "I made the commute from Providence to Newport, crossing the West Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island and then the East Passage to Aquidneck Island and Newport." But somehow I wrote it down backwards, and, somehow, despite all the times I read it during editing, the mistake was never corrected. I've made this "commute" more times now than I can recall, and this is just a dumb mistake, one that made it into print. Odds are most readers will never catch it, not unless they're familiar with Rhode Island geography. But I had to point it out, if only in the hopes that the embarrassment will make me more attentive in the future. It was a depressing thing to find.

Okay. That's it for now. How can it already be Thursday? Yeah, I know. Because yesterday was Wednesday....

Mabon 2010

Sep. 22nd, 2010 12:46 pm
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
Yesterday imploded. Or exploded. Doesn't really matter, because when the colloid of airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases had cleared, well, there was little left of the day to salvage. Nothing was written. Which makes yesterday a Lost Day. With only eight days remaining until we leave for the HPLFF, there's no time for days like that.

I forgot to mention that, night before last, I heard a coyote very near the house. I heard it several times, an oddly eerie sound. I'm still trying to get used to the idea of urban coyotes.

Today is Mabon.

The brightest spot to yesterday, the most silver lining (there were few of either) was the arrival of my author's copies of Haunted Legends, edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas. It contains my story "As Red As Red," which I wrote in March and April of 2009. The anthology was released simultaneously in three formats: trade paperback, hardback, and a Kindle edition (though how anyone can read anything on a Kindle is beyond me*). This is a story I'm very happy with— sort of a footnote to The Red Tree —and I hope you'll pick up the collection, which includes a bevy of fine authors.

Please have a look at the current eBay auctions. They end today and tonight. Still no bid on The Wrong Things (2001), my collaborative collection with [livejournal.com profile] docbrite. These have become very rare, and I have only a handful of copies.

The rumours are true. The 2010 H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival is the last HPLFF, at least for the foreseeable future, as the director, Andrew Migliore, is retiring. You can't blame him; he's been doing this for fifteen years. Aaron Vanek has started a satellite festival in LA, so there will be that. So, yeah. Alas. The end is, indeed, nigh.

Last night, I watched the moon and Jupiter again.

To try to scrape something good from yesterday, late in the afternoon we drove to Warwick and got the new Swans CD, My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky, at Newbury Comics. This is the Swans minus Jarboe, but still. And we went to the market. And coming back home the sun was starting to set, and the clouds were on fire, and I wished I'd brought the camera.

The day ended when I took a Seroquel, that tiny reddish drab of numb, and fell asleep watching Avatar. It's becoming one of my comfort films, because it's beautiful, and it's heart is always in the right place— even when it stumbles —and in the end the humans lose and have to go back to their dying world. A bedtime story for panenatheists (I think I just made that word up).

---

The whole money thing is wearing me ragged again. Of course, at this point, I imagine it's wearing almost everyone ragged. The lifeboat is overcrowded, and we have the teabaggers wanting to punch a hole in the hull. Day before yesterday, I found this animated map— "The Decline: The Geography of a Recession" —based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (and other local unemployment statistics). It chronicles unemployment in the US from January 2007 (4.6%) to June 2010 (9.7%). It's sort of horrifying.

Anyway, yeah. I've reached the point where I'm considering asking my agent if she can get me another novelization deal. Frankly, I'd rather eat dog shit than go through that special hell again, but the money was good. Of course, there's no guarantee the money would be good again, and it would derail my actual, for-real, trying-not-to-suck writing.

Now, I need to make an end to this entry, then go find THE END to "John Four."

* Nothing personal, Kindle. I hate all "eReaders" and "ebooks" equally on principle.
greygirlbeast: (Neytiri)
I go to bed angry, and I wake up angry. Last night, I was near tears when I got to sleep about four ayem. Which leads, inevitably, to certain dreams. I go to bed angry about BP and whaling and a thousand other human crimes against the world. I wake up with the same anger. Angers that can never be resolved.

I dream of towering waves, crashing down on cities. I dream of fire. I dream of a world cleansed of the filth of mankind by fire and water. I dream of a world that, in time, is allowed to begin over again.

---

No actual writing yesterday, but a metric shit-ton of email. I spoke with Vince about #55. I spoke with editors. All this speaking is via email, of course. I rarely employ my physical voice when speaking to anyone Outside. I looked through my preliminary schedule for Readercon 21 (I'll post it here as soon as I have the final schedule). When I'd made it through all the email, Spooky read "Tidal Forces" aloud to me. She'd not read the ending. I was relieved to find that the story works. The heat in the House was not nearly so bad yesterday, and is better still today.

My thanks to Ron St. Pierre, for letting me know that my novels are once again available in Japan for the Kindle. Which is good in terms of sales, but I still loathe the Kindle and, on some level, am utterly indifferent to the whole matter of ebooks. I'd much prefer people to read my novels as books.

---

Last night, we watched Avatar (second viewing; first since the theater). I love this film so much. Truly. My complaints remain few and far between. Sure, it's a pretty obvious reworking of Frank Herbert's Dune. If you're gonna steal, steal from the best. This time through, I couldn't help but think about how much better Will Smith would have been than Sam Worthington in the role of Jake Sully (and this might have silenced a few of the "race fail" naysayers). My only other significant quibble is a biological one.

There seems to be an evolutionary disconnect between the Na'vi and the rest of Pandora's wildlife (which is especially annoying, since the Na'vi are so much a part of their world). We see so many wonderfully realized species, thanators and dire horses and viperwolfs and hexapedes, and they form a convincing extraterrestrial ecosystem. All these animals are, in effect, hexapods. Now, here on earth, all land vertebrates are tetrapods. What this really means is that they all share a common ancestor (something like Tiktaalik roseae), and one of the major features of this common ancestor is that it had four limbs. That's why humans have four limbs, and why most terrestrial vertebrates have four limbs (biologists call these shared "primitive" characters symplesiomorphies). There are exceptions, where one set of limbs has been lost (whales, manatees, some squamates, etc.), or where a pair of limbs has been highly modified (as with birds and bats, whose arms function as wings), or where all limbs have been lost (snakes, for example). Now, assuming that natural selection and genetic mutation (these two things equal evolution) works the same way on other planets, I look at Pandora and I see a world where "vertebrates" have evolved not from a four-limbed tetrapod ancestor, but from a six-limbed hexapod ancestor. So...thanators and whatnot have six limbs. This is all well and good. Might have happened here on Earth. By chance, it didn't.

But...the Na'vi have only two sets of limbs, not the three they ought to have. In the film, we see one other "primate" species (this is, of course, only a species analogous to a terran primate, not an actual primate, as it shares no common ancestor with earthly primates). It's the six-limbed "lemurs" that Grace points out to Jake. Maybe the Na'vi are meant to have evolved from an ancestor like these "lemurs." Maybe not. We're never told. But...somewhere along they way, the Na'vi inexplicably lost a pair of limbs. This isn't impossible (see the examples of lost limbs above), but given the ecology of the Na'vi, it's very unlikely. An extra set of arms would come in very handy for an arboreal species, and would not have been selected against. Also, most Pandora species seem to posses "nostrils" in their throat, instead of at the front of their skull. But not the Na'vi.

My guess: Cameron knew that six-limbed, throat-breathing Na'vi would be too inhuman for humans to identify with, and so they have four limbs and breath through nostrils. Also, animating an extra set of limbs on all those characters would have made the production of the film more expensive and time consuming. So, Na'vi have four limbs, even though it makes no sense from a biological perspective.

Now, this hardly detracts from the film. It's only gonna bug zoology geeks like me...and it only bugs me a little. How many people even noticed that most Pandoran animals breathe through three sets of nostrils in their throats? It's very easy to become unreasonably pedantic about "getting the science right." My favorite example, someone who complained about a tiny detail in Danny Boyle's superb Sunshine (2007). I'll quote this bit from IMDb:

In the scene where four crewmen are forced to go into outer space, with no protection, Corazon states that the temperature outside is -273 degrees Celsius. This is not exactly true, because though outer space is near absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius) it is in fact about 3 degrees above absolute zero. She should have said -270 degrees Celsius, or 3 degrees Kelvin.

This is correct, of course. But who the hell cares? Not me, and I actually care about science. We're quibbling about three degrees, three degrees that would not have changed the story. My rule of thumb, get it right when getting it right doesn't interfere with telling a good story. The story comes first. Hence I put zeppelins on Mars in "Bradbury Weather," even though there was absolutely no way I could make the aerodynamics work (I tried for days, and even enlisted the aid of physicists). Zeppelins on Mars "look" damn cool, so I used them.

Anyway...didn't mean to go on for so long. But the mothmen and the platypus do love a good rant.
greygirlbeast: (walter3)
1. Sooner of later, I will stop numbering the items within my entries. Any day now, my mind will cease to be so disorganized.

2. My thanks to everyone who reported "Blue Tyson's" Amazon.com "review" of The Red Tree. Hopefully, it'll come down soon. Near as I can tell, this guy's Australian, and he got his knickers in a twist because of Kindle limitations ("georestrictions"). So, he did the rational thing, and took it out on the one person who has absolutely no say in whether or not her book is available in Australia. The person who wrote the book. Mostly, I want to say to him, dude, buy a fucking copy of the book. An actual hard copy. If you really want to read it, I mean. Stop expecting the world to be what you think you need it to be. Stop being a whining fanboy. Lately, my tolerance for whiners has fallen near zero.

3. Last night, Richard Kirk sent me the artwork for the endpapers for The Ammonite Violin & Others. It's based on "Bridle" (Sirenia Digest #3, February 2006), which a few of you might remember, the kelpie story. Anyway, the art's beautiful. I'll post it here later on, in a few days.

4. Nothing was written yesterday, and, at this point, I am near to a full-on crisis, as far as The Wolf Who Cried Girl is concerned. I should be at least a couple of chapters in by now. I have a prologue. And a deadline. The time has come to find some way to stop fucking around and write the book. I have maybe a week, at best, before I have to set it aside and pull Sirenia Digest #50 together.

5. Last night, we watched Christine Jeffs' Sunshine Cleaners, which was really very good. I'm starting to think of Amy Adams as the new Nicole Kidman. We also watched the first episode of Primeval, which was goofy, but sort of fun. The paleontology was better than average, and I only cringed and rolled my eyes a few times. It was neat that they used creatures from the Permian Period (a gorgonopsid, a pareiasaur, and what appeared to be an oversized coelurosauravid named "Rex). And speaking of movies, I was very pleased to learn that Avatar won best picture at the Golden Globes, and James Cameron best director. Oh, and that Robert Downey, Jr. got best actor for Sherlock Holmes.

6. No Montauk Club photos today. Sorry, there wasn't time this morning to edit and upload them. Tomorrow, perhaps.

I can't accept and won't concede,
In aftermath we find redemption.
The causes that are seized
And disguised as revolution.

Quell the rage that deeply seethes,
The extremes of these devotions.
Dismantle the machine,
The device of their creation.

I can't accept and won't concede
That this is who we are....
(VNV Nation, "Sentinel")

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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