greygirlbeast: (imapact1)
Today, I have to number:

1. Two Worlds and In Between has been chosen by Publisher's Weekly as one of 2011's one hundred best books, and also as one of the six best fantasy and science-fiction books of 2011. Spooky gave me the news yesterday. I'm still sort of stunned. So, to review:

a) The book has SOLD OUT.
b) It was a Publisher's Weekly "pick of the week" (appearing on the ToC page).
c) The book got a great write up in The New York Times.
d) Gary Wolfe at Locus loved it.
e) And PW has named it one of the six best spec-fic titles of 2011.

Can I please get a "That'll do, Beast. That'll do."?

2. Tomorrow, the BIG DARK HORSE TEASE will become the BIG DARK HORSE REVEAL. I will be occupied with preparations for this a good bit of today.

3. If you have not yet already voted, please go the poll. Another 26* votes (I asked for 100 "yes" votes), and you just might get another studio project from me, the first since 1999. And yeah, the idea is that the songs would be available via as many services as possible, but definitely iTunes and Bandcamp. This would NOT be a Kickstarter project. All songs WOULD be covers, no originals.

4. Yesterday, I stared down the iMac screen, and the words finally began to flow. I wrote 1,127 words on a new short story, or novelette, or short novella called "Ex Libris." This is for the chapbook to accompany the limited edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I hope to be finished on or near the 16th of the month. Then there's the next Dark Horse script to begin.

5. Last night, Kathryn and I began watching Series Four of Torchwood, and...wow. I, for one, am very pleased.

6. Subterrean Press says to me, "We've been down to only one full-time shipper in the warehouse for the past month -- our usual complement is three -- so copies of TWO WORLDS are still shipping. Please advise folks not to despair. Our second full-timer started yesterday, and should be able to quicken the shipping on the BEST OF YOU. (We also have a third shipper on board in December, thank goodness.)" So, sit tight, those who do not yet have their copies.

I think that's all for now. I have email, phone calls, an annoying Siamese cat, and a story to deal with. When do I get a full-time "oh shit!" girl?

Rather pleased,
Aunt Beast

Update: *8 votes
greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
Well, first the good news. Peter Straub has selected "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" for Fantastic Tales: American Stories of Terror and the Uncanny, which he's editing for the Library of America. The volume is due out in October 2009. I count this, with the reprint of "In the Water Works (1889)" in S. T. Joshi's American Supernatural Tales (Penguin Classics, 2007), as among my most notable accomplishments thus far. "The Long Hall on the Top Floor" first appeared in an issue of the now-defunct Carpe Noctem magazine, in 1999, and was thereafter collected in Tales of Pain and Wonder.

But, the bad news is that it looks like my plans for a March "vacation" are going to have to be scrapped, as I owe [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow a story, and somehow the deadline, and, indeed, the whole book, had slipped my mind, until she emailed me about it last night. So...I have until March 23rd to get that done, and when you figure in Sirenia Digest #40, the month is pretty much shot. I might be able to squeeze in a week between the story and the digest, maybe.

I spent all this morning figuring out fair-use and public-domain questions concerning three quotes used in The Red Tree. Specifically, a quote from Seneca the Younger's Epistulae morales ad Lucilium, one from Hesiod's Theogony, and another from The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe. All these were, of course, translations, and what is at question is when the copyright on the translations I used expired, or if they have not yet expired. Turns out, we're clear on Hesiod (Evelyn-White translation) and Goethe (Saunders translation), but not on Seneca (Gummere translation). Fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] sovay is very kindly providing me with a new translation of the Seneca passage in question, so I won't have to cut it from the book. That was my extra-tedious morning.

Here in Providence, the day is cold, and the sun blindingly bright off all the snow that isn't melting. Right now, it 29F, but 19F with wind chill factored in.

I'm still looking back over comments I've made regarding sf, and my science fiction, in particular, and there's this interesting bit from March 5th, 2006:

[livejournal.com profile] matociquala (Elizabeth Bear) and [livejournal.com profile] cpolk (Chelsea Polk) have coined a literary neologism for a certain sort of sf, a term which I'm finding extremely useful: eco-gothic*. I quote: "We look around at the world and we're fucking scared. There's this underlying idea of the implacability of the universe and the smallness of humanity. We know that there is no guiding, caring force. That life is amazing in its tenacity and persistence, but that ultimately, it's completely pitiless. And if you take it too far, if you unbalance it enough, it will crush you. This idea of the tenacity of life in a pitiless universe. And nobody else seems to fucking GET IT. Because life is tenacious, but humanity is disposable. It's not a tragedy that the passenger pigeon perished. And it won't be a tragedy when we go either...God doesn't care if we persist. We're not special. We're not essential. The universe doesn't love us bestest of all. Because you know, there's this critique that a Black Novel is not Relevant because it's about Blackness, not Humanity. Which upon I call bullshit. Because a human novel isn't relevant. Because it's about humanity. Six point five billion ugly bags of mostly water on a second-class planet in an arm of a barred spiral galaxy. Pretending like Hell that we signify." Click here for the transcript from which this quote was cobbled together.

Certainly, all of my sf would fall into this category of "eco-gothic." The Dry Salvages, "Riding the White Bull," "Faces in Revolving Souls," "The Pearl Diver," "Persephone," "Hoar Isis," "Between the Flatirons and the Deep Green Sea"...all of it. And I think one thing I found particularly intriguing was the suggestion that writers of "eco-gothic" sf may, perhaps, do so because "we were the second-class geeks who took life sciences instead of physics with the hard-line geeks." That's one of my dirty little secrets. Sure, I took chemistry and physics and mathematics in college, but I had no real aptitude for it. It was in the life and earth sciences that I excelled, particularly in paleontology, which is often disparagingly labeled by the math and physics types as a "soft science." Anyway, it's just something I wanted to note, because of the things I said about sf on Friday, and because it's something I want to think about. I have no problem with a neologism or a literary category so long as it is useful and needed and I suspect this one may be both. It is, of course, inherently Lovecraftian, and minor caveats and questions do arise. Perhaps I will come back to those later. Not only does this remind me why I shall never appeal to those sf readers who dislike "dystopian" sf, but also why I shall likely always find myself in a rather minuscule fraction of Wiccans. The gods do not care because, after all, they're only hopeful metaphors for needful humans. Anyway, thank you Bear and Chelsea.


So, it's not surprising that Elizabeth Bear ended up writing an afterword for A is for Alien, an afterword which, in part, explores the idea of the eco-gothic.

Also, it has been one year to the day that I announced in the journal that Spooky and I would be moving from Atlanta to Providence. What an eventful year it has been.

Yes, the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky has duly noted the Earth's recent near-miss by a Tunguska-sized asteroid. Hope springs eternal.

Last night, I stumbled across some bloody frakking idiot, somewhere on the web, who'd referred to Echo (from The Dreaming) as a "Mary Sue" character, and I'm still laughing...

* [livejournal.com profile] matociquala later found a use of "eco-gothic" dating back to 1996, in a description of Stephen Palmer's novel, Memory Seed.
greygirlbeast: (chi (intimate distance))
As a high priestess of the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky, my thanks to [livejournal.com profile] seph_ski for passing along this link: Earth avoids disaster as asteroid comes as close as moon. It's a shame about 2004 XP14. She could have gotten the party started with a proper bang. Still, our psychokinetic tractor beam is being perfected for April 13, 2029 (I'll be -25, presumably) and Apophis. All hail the Neozoic. We will be ready. Anything twixt now and then is icing on the cake.

Meanwhile...

Lately, [livejournal.com profile] mevennen seems to have all the best memes (behind the cut):

The 39 Questions Meme )
greygirlbeast: (imapact1)
I think that eBay Blogs must be the very sincerest definition of lame.

I mean, really.

eBay Blogs.

Okay...

In the chaos of the last couple of weeks, the last month, I never commented on the discovery of evidence of a gigantic bolide impact in Antarctica. Perhaps a crater, 500 kilometers (300 miles) across, and perhaps another clue to the causes of the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event (which made the end Cretaceous extinctions look like no more than a bad head cold). If the Wilkes Land mascon is the result of an impact, the meteor may have been 50 kilometers wide (30 miles). Just the sort of space rock the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky has in mind, of course. No mere Tunguska firecracker, this one. What a fireworks show there must have been, 251 million years ago.

Spooky's become smitten with [livejournal.com profile] ditl, or "A Day in the Life." It is a rather oddly addictive phenomenon (though, in truth, I'm much more the exhibitionist than the voyeur). You can see her latest ditl entry here. I'm even in there somewhere.

I think it's time to brush my teeth and crawl away to bed. Perhaps I'll dream of fire from the sky and the glories of the humanless Neozoic Era...

Overture.

Jun. 12th, 2006 03:02 am
greygirlbeast: (imapact1)
I've been so preoccupied, with one thing and another, that this rather spectacular news item entirely slipped by me, unnoticed:

OSLO, Norway, June 9 (UPI) — A large meteorite struck in northern Norway this week, landing with an impact an astronomer compared to the atomic bomb used at Hiroshima.

Of course, it would be rather premature to allow the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky to take credit for any of this. Our telekinetic "magnet" is still little more than a thought experiment. Still...

Here'a story at physorg.com: Large meteorite hits northern Norway. There's not much detail just yet.
greygirlbeast: (chi (intimate distance))
Yesterday, we read chapters Nine ("The Bailiff") and Ten ("The Yellow House") and the epilogue, which means we essentially finished the read-through on the Daughter of Hounds ms. Today, the Zokutou thingamabob looks like this:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
621 / 691
(89.9%)


Not yet 100%, because that number excludes the appendices, but we have managed to make it all the way through the novel proper in a mere six days. Originally, I'd figured we'd need ten days, which means I'm four days ahead of schedule. Which is good, because whatever I have left to do on this ms., I have only eleven days remaining in which to get it done. This afternoon, I'm going to deal with simple line edits, and tomorrow I'll get started on the hard stuff. As for the appendices, we're not reading over them for now, not until I've made the decision whether or not to push for their inclusion. My thanks to everyone who's voted in yesterday's appendices poll thus far, all 107 of you. Right now, 93.5% (100) say keep them in, and 6.5% (7) say take them out. Me, I'm still undecided. Lots of folks have suggested that if the two stories aren't included as appendices, that I release them as a subpress chapbook or something of the sort, and a few have even suggested this would be preferable. Thing is, on the one hand, the chapbook hand, we're dealing with a situation where only a few hundred, maybe only a couple hundred copies, would be printed. But on the other hand, the inclusion-in-the-novel hand, we're talking about tens of thousands of people having access to the two stories. It's not exactly apples and oranges, but still. Anyway, we shall see.

Also yesterday, I got an e-mail from Chad Michael Ward, the cover artist for the forthcoming Threshold paperback, asking how I'd suggest he dress the model who'll be standing in for Dancy. I very much appreciate being consulted in such matters. When the original trade paperback of Threshold was being laid out back in 2000, my editor consulted me on which trilobite would be most appropriate for the cover, and so I e-mailed her several jpgs. of Dicranurus monstrosus, one of which was incorporated into the cover image, which pleased me greatly.

The show last night was truly fantastic. Even if They Might Be Giants didn't play "Ana Ng." They did play all of "Fingertips," which I never, ever would have expected. Back when, Apollo 18 was one of my SimEarth CDs, and I'm likely one of the only people alive who knows all the lyrics to all the bits of "Fingertips." There was also a guest appearance by Strongbad, and really, who could ask for more? The show was opened by Michael Leviton, who plays the baritone ukulele and was accompanied by a glockenspiel. I love going to a show and discovering someone wonderful I'd never heard before. Michael Leviton writes wry, anachronistic, genuinely witty, and very, very sweet songs with nautical themes. Think Magnetic Fields meets The Dresden Dolls meets The Decemberists meets Future Bible Heroes, with just a dash of Tiny Tim. We bought his CD after the show, and you should, too. Spooky took a few blurry photos, which I'll post later on. But yes, a marvelous time was had by all.

Even if TMBG didn't play "Ana Ng."

I forgive them.

My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sclerotic_rings for putting me wise to asteroid 2006 HZ51, which will have 165 chances of impacting Earth. The first is June 21, 2008. Of course, as a high priestess of the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky, I've marked the date. HZ51 isn't very big, a mere 800 meters across, but, still, drop it in just the right place at just the right time, and it might get things rolling.

Okay. That's it for now. Spooky's getting the eBay auctions going once again. Every little bit helps.

Postscript: I'm really loving the new Mac ads...
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
So, yesterday was an amazingly productive day. We did a read-through on "Highway 97," and then I wrote an afterword for the chapbook (1,206 words). I talked to my agent and caught up on e-mail. We read the prologue of Daughter of Hounds, and I discovered it takes about nine hours on my cranky old Epson inkjet jalopy to print a 691 pp. ms. (continuously, no breaks). This morning, the Zokutou page meter looks like this:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
68 / 691
(9.8%)


Which is an improvement. Today, it's Chapter One ("Emmie"). Tomorrow, we may try to do two chapters, as the earlier chapters are shorter than the later ones, and it would be nice to have the safety net of an extra day. Today, I also need to do the last little bit of tweaking on "Highway 97" and its chapbook. But, mostly, the day will go to proofing Daughter of Hounds. This evening, we may see a movie with Byron.

When we got home from Birmingham on Wednesday, the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology was waiting for me (somewhat mutilated somewhere between the Sheridan Press in Hanover, Pennsylvania and my mailbox, but still...). I've been eagerly awaiting this issue, as it includes a description of a juvenile Triceratops skull from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana. However, I was distracted almost at once by an article on plesiosaur remains from freshwater deposits in Australia. The deposits in question are not only non-marine, they're high latitude, 60-80 degrees S., dating back to a time when Australia and Antarctica were beginning to drift apart. Indeed, the fossils were found in rocks deposited in the old rift valley. I love the idea of plesiosaurs swimming about in icy sub-polar waters. There's an echo of Lock Ness here, which got me to thinking about "paleo-cryptids," how it's often not so much that the beasts the cryptozoologists and monster hunters seek so fervently have never existed, just that they no longer exist. Gigantopithecus blacki, for example, makes a marvelous yeti/sasquatch, but all the evidence points to its having become extinct at least 100,000 years ago. Anyway, I should also note that the cold-loving, freshwater plesiosaurs all appear to have been short-necked pliosaurs, not the long-necked sort of plesiosaurs popularly fancied to persist in lakes like Loch Ness. Still, it's a marvelous image.

I wanted to link to Cliff Bostock's column in this week's Creative Loafing, sensibly titled "To Ruth Malhotra: Kiss my ass, I'm a fag." So follow the link. Ruth Malhotra, a student at Georgia Tech, has filed a lawsuit seeking to revoke GT's "'tolerance policy', which forbids harassment of gays, including the use of intolerant speech." Ms. Lahorta is a repeat offender. She's played the hate card before. Anyway, read the article. How do you convince someone whose religion fosters and encourages prejudicial attitudes that the consitutional protection of religious liberties does not also protect her "right" to treat fellow students like shit? The child has a website, of sorts, including her e-mail addy, though looking at it will only give her the attention she craves. Velour. That figures.

Meanwhile, the bad news is that NASA has officially declared that Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann-3 won't be raining fiery death upon the Earth anytime soon, and therefore isn't the one the IOFS is waiting for. The good news is, a) they've been wrong lots of times, and b) the sky is filled to bursting with earth-crossing comets and asteroids. Personally, I think NASA's just spreading around a little anti-IOFS propaganda, hoping to avoid a panic. Oh, and I found this bit yesterday from The Book of the Damned:

That there was never a moment when there is not some comet in the sky. Virtually there is no year in which several new comets are not discovered, so plentiful are they. Luminous fleas on a vast black dog—in popular impressions, there is no realization of the extent to which this solar system is flea-bitten.

So buck up, kiddos. Hope springs more or less eternal.


Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann-3 and all her forty fragments.

Home.

Apr. 26th, 2006 11:28 pm
greygirlbeast: (chi6)
And not a moment too frelling soon, I might add. There's no point in going into all the gory details, all the 923 ways that a trip to Birmingham can suck, even when it's barely more than 24-hours long. But between my mother trying to turn me on to Jesus and the free-floating hostility that permeates the very aether in Birmingham, I am very, very, very glad to be back in Atlanta. Maybe this isn't where I want to be, in that oft-dreamt of ideal world, but it's better than where I was.

We drove back through a torrential downpour, and it was ten p.m. or so before we retrieved Sophie from Pets-Are-People-Too. We dropped her by home, fed her, listened patiently while she told us all about losing her catnip bat in a game of poker with a chihuahua named Lopez, and then Spooky and I grabbed a late dinner at The Vortex at L5P. The Ani DiFranco show at the Variety had just let out, and the place was marvelously awash in dykes. After all the Jesus nonsense, such wanton public displays of sin and sexual perversion are nothing if not sublime. Anyway, yes, I'm home.

And no sooner do I admit to my divine revelations and the founding of the Immacutale Order of the Falling Sky, than Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann-3 comes barreling around again. Sure, I was hoping for an asteroid, but a fragmented comet would certainly get the show started. And, yeah, it presently looks as though its closest to Earth will be 7.3 million miles on the morning of May 12th, but this is the twelfth closest approach of a comet to Earth in recorded history (I assume we're not counting Tunguska). What a windfall! Now we only need to martial the requisite psychokinetic energy to nudge those 40 or so fragments a little more earthward. And, even if we fail this time, as all faithful members of the Immaculate Order will tell you (if you ask), a near miss is the next best thing to doomsday. Just keep watching the skies, kiddos, and keep your fingers crossed...
greygirlbeast: (Default)
Perhaps even we atheistic pagans are subject to divine revelation. I'm more than willing to entertain the possibility. For example, it has occurred to me that, perhaps, mankind has a higher purpose after all. Perhaps all this seemingly senseless destruction and slaughter and torture so often referred to as "human history" truly is progressive in nature. Maybe the goddess occasionally grows weary of the way things are going down here on Earth. Heck. It happens to me with SimEarth all the frelling time. Out of nowhere, some species or another rises suddenly to dominance, develops technology, and inevitably ages of dullness follow. So. Maybe sometime back in the Miocene, the Cosmos grew finally weary of all the damned silly mammals. All the nipples and placenta and fur and endothermic metabolisms, surely it has to get tiresome sooner or later. And so forces beyond our comprehension set in motion a grand solution. An eloquent solution. A reliable solution — mass extinction. The evolution of a species so virulent it would, in only a few million year's time, wipe the board clean again, and the Cosmos could begin anew with Earth. Maybe cephalopods or crustaceans deserve an era or two of global domination. So along comes the australopithicines and the various species of Homo and, finally, H. sapiens sapiens.

Bingo!

Patience yields bountiful harvest, indeed. The perfect killing machine. Man. Indiscriminate, thoughtless, short-sighted, selfish, and more or less immune to reason. In no time at all (in a geological sense), the world has been raped and pillaged and a choice of poisons has been offered up by the clever apes: nuclear, biological, chemical, global warming, and etc. Take you pick. Mix and match. Just sit back and wait for the dying to begin.

But, alas, the fickle, impatient Cosmos grows tired of waiting. Humanity, it realizes somewhat belatedly, was too inefficient a solution to the problem at hand. In the past, asteroids and comets have proven a perfectly effective reset button, especially when combined with widespread vulcanism. It worked at the end of the Permian. It worked on the non-avian dinosaurs. If you want results, stick with the tried and true. Sure, the human race was an interesting new twist, destroy the biosphere with the biosphere! But it's taking too damn long. The end of the world is centuries overdue. Instead of performing the task it was placed here to perform, incapable of just getting it the hell over with, humanity struggles on, destroying far too slowly, failing, ultimately, to satisfy the cosmic desire for carnage and cleansing fire and the new and less monotonous beginning.

Moral: The simplest solutions are usually the best.

Anyway...here's where the revelation part comes in. Maybe my destiny was never meant to be palaeontology or writing. Maybe, all along, I was only meant to found a new quasi-religious sect — the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky (IOFS). Maybe it's time to be done with this gradualist travesty and start looking for that great space rock with our name on it. Maybe it's been time for decades. The Cosmos (call her what ever you please) has a fine sense of irony, possibly, and having decided to end the slow scourge of the human race with a quick and fiery impact, she desires that her failed executioners ask for it. Sure, by my own admission I'm not exactly human, but I'll do. The message is simple, simple enough it can be trusted even to a lowly freak like me.

Yo! Mankind! The jig is up. The show's over. You're taking too damn long. Sure, you'll get there sooner or later, but the Cosmos, she grows weary of the game. She's ready for the sentient octopods. Enough with war and genocide, pollution and overpopulation. Forget greenhouse gases and holes in the ozone layer. They were good ideas in their turn, true. They merely failed to take things far enough. Time's a'wasting. You guys have to keep in mind, this damn star's set to go nova in only a few billion more years. You were created to murder a world and then finish the job by murdering yourselves, and you've had your moments, I'm not denying that, some delicious moments of waste and cruelty and massacre, but there's also no denying that you're taking too goddamn long to get the job done. Your minds wander. You get distracted. You get greedy. You fool yourselves with irrelevent ideas and half-hearted endeavors like goodwill and salvation and peace. Enough is enough. You had your chance. It's pink-slip time.

Here's where the Immaculate Order of the Falling Sky comes in. There should be a bit a theatre here at the conclusion. And, to that singular end, it's time to aim the collective wills of 6.5 billion hairless apes heavenward. Oh, I know you've never been very good at the whole telekinesis thing, but trust me, this will work. It's only show, anyway. The Cosmos is perfectly capable of hurling an asteroid where ever she chooses. But she wants a cheering section, see, or so I've been led to believe. Nothing too fancy, mind you. Let's say something in the ten-kilometre range. Iron and nickel composition should do nicely. It worked just fine 65 million years ago. And it's best if we place it in the ocean somewhere, for maximum effect. The Pacific Basin should do nicely. It won't be hard to find what we're looking for. There are thousands of giant space rocks out there in the solar system from which to choose. It will be the primary duty of the IOFS to choose the earth-crossing asteroid best suited for the task, then focus our collective thought-waves in such a way as to give the Cenozoic Era the desired coup de grâce.

There's work to be done.

Of course, there will be a Cafe Press shop. No doomsday religion is ever complete without T-shirts, mugs, and bumper-stickers to help get the word out, and, since this will be the last doomsday religion, we need to do it up right.

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greygirlbeast: (Default)
Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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