greygirlbeast: (talks to wolves)
This morning, Spooky made a fantastic ham omelette (LJ can only spell the word as omelet, which figures), which I ate with pepperoncini (which LJ can't spell at all) and buttered toast, using the leftovers from Friday morning. As I ate, the thought occurred to me, reflecting on all the asshole shoppers and drivers that seem to have slithered out of the cracks the last week or five, I thought, and asked aloud, "If they're this bad at Xmas, what must they be like the rest of the year?" Or maybe it's just that Xmas makes people extra thoughtless, selfish, and whatnot. Maybe it's Consumer Jesus rebound. Regardless, Spooky makes a damned good omelette.

Yesterday? Very, very little with which to regale you lot, kittens. I didn't drink. How's that? I read stories by Sarah Monette and Paul McAuley. The only thing I really wanted to do was board the train last night and ride as far north as Boston or as far south as Manhattan. Just to see the lights, and the long stretches of mostly darkness, and to feel the wheels beneath me. That's what we didn't do, as it was impractical. I'll never understand all this time spent dodging the impractical. If life is an inflated inner tube, then practicality and caution are twin nails waiting to puncture the rubber and release all the air. Practicality and caution are twin nails, and they conspire to thwart the wild heart.

Instead, we nested. We hid. We watched Badder Santa, ate junk food, had Mexican Coke, and played a lot of SW:toR (and no, we haven't forsaken Rift, but I am mostly steering clear until the "Fae Yule" shit has passed). My Sith has yellow eyes now, which I suppose is meant to signify her descent into the Dark Side. Her eyes were the palest blue, almost white. She's a terribly vain woman, who once was a slave in the mines of Korriban. Unmentionable things were done to her there, and those crimes against her mind and body left her shattered, and seeing her eyes turn yellow only drove Varla that much farther into the shadows. But, on the other hand, Darth Zash gave her a shiny new Fury-Class starship...so, all's well that ends well.

Also, yesterday – here on Earth – I listened to lots of old music, mostly Athens-period stuff. I stewed and hated at Xmas, like the Grinch atop Mount Crumpit. But the rage has subsided to indifference today. An odd indifference. Today, I am not so much bitter as I am baffled at the shallowness of it all. This day doesn't even feel like that wicked holiday. It just feels like any other cold Sunday in Providence, which is a consolation, so maybe that's my Fury-Class starship.

Wishing For Summer,
Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (river2)
Cold and sunny here in Providence. Tonight, we are promised it will be colder, but still mostly clear, for the Steel Yard annual iron pour. Meanwhile, we have a winter storm watch set to begin tomorrow at five p.m. and run until early Sunday morning. The first nor'easter of the year, and early. Looks like most of New England's going to get hit, but it also looks like we're in a narrow band that will escape the worst of the weather. Yay, us. I'd really like to have another six weeks or so until I have to worry about the blizzards. Anyway, as long as weather predictions are being made, I predict this is going to be a long and bad, bad winter.

Yesterday, we made it through the last two chapters of Blood Oranges. What a weird book. But, also, what a funny book. How did I do that? It's pretty much Buffy the Vampire Slayer directed by Quentin Tarantino. I think maybe the more interesting question is why did I do that? Was I trying to purge the deleterious effect that writing The Drowning Girl: A Memoir had upon me? That seems to be the popular opinion, but I can't say for sure. But it does hold up, and that's a great relief. I shall think of it as a belated tonic against the waning ParaRom market. I won't even dignify "ParaRom" with the sobriquet "genre." Not even "subgenre." It's just a market. You know, like varieties of porn. No, wait. I like porn. Porn is useful, and has dignity. Especially the creepy stuff from South Korea.

Oh, and I'm thinking of calling the obligatory sequel Fay Grimmer. No one will get the Hal Hartley reference who isn't meant to get it.

Today, it's back to work on Project Arrowhead for the MiBs at No Such Agency. As I said to Spooky, it's going to be the first long day of a long weekend at the beginning of a long winter.

Last night, in the rain, sleet, and snow, we went forth into the darkness to run errands. I got two new (and badly needed) pairs of shoes for the winter. I went all last winter in my Cros, coupled with New Zealand bedsocks. Which is really no fit state of affairs. Anyway, and the cat food/litter place, we had to go there, too, and also get dinner, and it must have been nine p.m. by the time we got home.

After dinner, there was RIFT. Mostly, dailies and world-event stuff, and then we watched Michael Tolkin's The Rapture (1991). I'd not seen it since the video release in 1992 or whenever, but after seeing Red State, and discovering that Spooky had never seen The Rapture, I very much needed to see it again. Well, I could have done without David Duchovny's mullet. But the rest of the film has aged very well. There are few better examples of the "Christian horror film." It's sort of Red State turned inside out, and the horror isn't so much what people are willing to believe (though that's bad enough). The horror lies in the objective existence of a sadistic "god" who demands it be loved, like a spoiled child demanding attention. It will be loved, or you will be damned. It will be loved, and you will destroy yourself for it's love, or you'll spend forever alone. Even if you are a "good" person, it will still damn you, unless you love it. In the final moments of the film, the film's protagonist redeems herself by finding her own salvation simply by telling the Bully in the Sky that no, she won't love it. "Who forgives God?", a question asked moments before the climax, is especially apt. So, yes, this is a keeper. A film which doesn't so much question the cartoonish Biblical eschatology, as it questions the ethics of a omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent being who would subject its creations to a living hell, just to get its ya-yas off. You know, just because. Like any shitty parent or schoolyard bully. See it, if you've not already. And if it sounds like the sort of film that would piss you off because you're a good Christian, then you especially need to see it. If you're that sort of person, this film was made for you. It won't change your mind. But, nonetheless.

We read more of Wildwood.

And now, I see the black van has pulled up outside.

Off to the Airbase,
Codename: Aunt Beast
greygirlbeast: (starbuck4)
The snow and ice are here to stay. What little melting takes places during the day freezes solid as soon as the sun sets. I'm not kidding about glaciers. I may have to do a driveway glacier photo essay. The low last night was something like 9˚F.

Today, your comments would be most appreciated. Fridays are always slow.

I tried, yesterday, to take a day off, and failed. At this point, there's not been a day without work since Monday the 17th, and there have been seventeen days of work since. Today will make eighteen. Starting to feel thin, but the work is piled on top of the other work. I've got to get through chapters 7 and 8 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir this month, and finish up the editing and layout (and other stuff) for Two Worlds and In Between, and get Sirenia Digest #62 out to subscribers (the latter should happen tomorrow).

Yesterday, I tried very, very hard not to work. We made it through chapters 33-35 of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which seemed a good way to begin a day off. Only, then there was some sort of anxiety storm, that ended with me working on the layout and editing for Two Worlds and In Between, and realizing I hate the introduction I wrote, and that I have to write a new one today. And answering email. Oh, and the page proofs for "Hydrarguros" arrived in the mail yesterday. The story's being reprinted in Subterranean 2: Tales of Dark Fantasy.

Day before yesterday was spent trying to talk myself over the wall that has suddenly appeared between chapters 6 and 7 of The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. Like magick. As soon as I realized the novel would take a different shape, and that Chapter 5 was actually chapters 5 and 6...boom...the first real wall I've encountered since the novel started gathering momentum back in November. I have to find my way over the wall by Sunday morning, at the latest. Anyway, yeah, work is presently a higgledy-piggledy twilight sort of place, too many things happening all at once and no time to stop and take a breath without worrying I'll drown. The weather isn't helping.

I was pleased to see that The Ammonite Violin & Others made the 2010 Locus Recommended Reading List.

--

Last night, we finished reading Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, which was quite good, and I recommend it to anyone who's ever wondered at the direction European history might have taken if all the kings and queens (except in Switzerland) had been half-mermaid. There's a passage I want to quote from pp. 321-322, a "deepsman's" thoughts on Jesus, the Second Coming, and death, just because I love it:

A man might come back after three days hiding; it was not impossible. But the landsmen seemed to think he'd come back again, some day when the world ended— a thought that, in itself, was inconceivable. Creatures died; the world was what creatures died in. A broken back or a gouged throat created not a shiver of notice in the world, in anything except the dying creature. The world was what happened before you were born and kept happening after you died; there was no need for some dead landsman to come back and have everything living die at the same time and tear up the world while he was at it. Everyone would die anyway if they waited. It seemed to Henry that the landsmen were confused, that they hadn't seen enough dead things to know how easily the water kept flowing after a death, that however much you dreaded the end nothing stopped the tides. And no landsman could destroy the world, anyway, however clever he was at dodging in and out of seeming dead.

Also, we began Grace Krilanovich's The Orange Eats Creeps last night, and I'm already amazed. Also also, it has one of the few truly good and artful book trailers I've ever seen.

---

Two good movies over the last couple of nights. Wednesday night, we finally got to see Gareth Edwards' Monsters. And wow. I'm fairly certain that, after Inception, this is the second best science-fiction film of 2010. I'm appalled it got such a limited release. For an alien-invasion film, Monsters is superbly soft spoken, a symphony of whispers rising, at last, to a distant rumble of thunder. The climactic encounter between the protagonists and two of the aliens invokes not terror, but awe, arriving at that moment of transcendence when eyes are opened and "monsters" become something else entirely. Highly recommended. This is a must see, now that it's finally on DVD and the vagaries of film distribution are no longer holding this masterpiece hostage.

Last night, we watched Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon (based on Cressida Cowell's book), and I was pleasantly surprised. I'd not been particularly enthusiastic about seeing it, perhaps because of all the 3D nonsense. But it's sort of marvelous. Sweet without going saccharine. Beautiful animation. And it all ends with a song by Jónsi. Very, very nice.

---

At this point, the Tale of the Ravens project is 160% funded (!!!), but it'll be open to donations, however large or small, for another 49 days. Please have a look. Spooky and I are both excited about this, our first collaboration and the beginning of Goat Girl Press. Please have a look. Oh, wait. I said that already.

And speaking of big black birds, here's the cover (behind the cut) for Ellen Datlow's forthcoming Supernatural Noir (due out from Dark Horse on June 22nd), which includes my story, "The Maltese Unicorn":

Supernatural Noir )
greygirlbeast: (Kraken)
Gods, I did not sleep enough, and I don't even know why. I could have slept late. Latish, at least. No writing today, because there's an appointment to have my hair colored smack in the middle of the afternoon, but I got up anyway. As Spooky would say (no, really; I have heard her say this), "The bags under my eyes have carry-on luggage."

And speaking of eyes, last night I rubbed Tobasco sauce in my left (blind) eye. That was some fun. Boy, howdy.

Ever wondered what it would be like to see a Jack Chick pamphlet written by Lovecraft? Okay, truth be told, atheist or not, HPL never would have done this. He was far too couth. But it's still so true, and funny as hell. I have to print it out, then staple it together, so I can have an actual hard copy.

Er...writing. Yesterday, I only wrote 701 words on "The Sea Troll's Daughter," but that brought me to the end of Part One (there are two halves to this story), and I had to stop and ponder. Plus, I was very excited about The Ammonite Violin & Others, and that kind of slowed me down. Plus, I had a headache. And a note from Spooky.

Um...auctions. eBay. Books you need, even if you already own them. Here. You guys know the drill.

The jury's still out on Twitter (where I am, of course, greygirlbeast). I am enjoying twats from William Gibson and Moby. And I've made it to 441 followers, which means I only have 559 more to go before July 31st. Anyway, I'll post the 7th micro=excerpt from The Red Tree as soon as I finish this rather meandersome entry. Anyway, I'm sticking with Twitter for the time being, and I abandon MySpace in a few days.

Gotta get some more coffee. And find out why the platypus is wearing a lampshade on hisitsher head.

Hey...who the hell let the sun out?

And that post on Spooky's birthday left me needing more Concrete Blonde:

greygirlbeast: (chi4)
Franklin Harris has written a very good review of To Charles Fort, With Love for the December issue of Rue Morgue. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] tagplazen for bringing it to my attention:

Caitlin R. Kiernan's greatest power lies in her gift for chilling understatement, and on the strength of novels like Silk and Threshold, she has become one of America's most accomplished writers of dark contemporary fantasy. The qualities that make Kiernan's work so effective are most clearly on display in her short stories, particularly those in her latest collection, To Charles Fort, WIth Love.

In Kiernan's tales something as ordinary as a mud puddle can lead to other realities where madness reigns. As one of the book's characters puts it, "portals are built on purpose, to be used. These things are accidents, at best, casualites of happenstance, tears in space when one world passes much too near another."

The settings in
To Charles Fort, With Love range from Northern California and New Orleans to Rhode Island and Kiernan's native Ireland. Just as varied are the characters, who include academics, disaffected teens and young ghouls-in-training. Only their brushes with things that ought not to be and the fevered elegance with which Kiernan tells their stories connect them.

Of the thirteen tales in
To Charles Fort, With Love, the standout is "Onion," a dark reflection of The Chronicles of Narnia revolving around a young couple and their glimpses into a strange and sinister world that they feel compelled to visit. On a more epic scale, the collection's final three stories evoke H. P. Lovecraft - primarily "Dagon" and "The Shadow over Innsmouth" - referencing undersea leviathans that threaten to topple the works of man.

Still, despite the Lovecraftian trappings, Kiernan's voice remains her own. It blends a Victorian grace with a modern brutality and an immediacy of sight and smell that drags the reader into whatever dark corners the author dares to brave - and she dares quite a bit. Best described as "haunting," in every sense of the term, her fiction will not only stay with you but will leave you with an oddly satisfying unease.


Nothing there to grumble about. I hadn't ever thought about the parallels between Narnia and "Onion" before. Oz yes, but not Narnia, so that was kind of neat to see. There's quite a bit of Narnia in Daughter of Hounds, by the by, especially The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

There seems to be a bit of debate over whether or not Objective: Ministries and Project Pterosaur are for real. Personally, I can't quite seem to decide one way or another. On the one hand, I've seen a lot of stupendously tinked dren from fundamentalist Xtians, so simply pointing out how very absurd all this is won't solve the question. One person has noted that Fellowship University (FU), with which OM claims affiliation, does not appear to exist. Hmmm. And then there's Hopsiah the Kanga-Jew, Mr. Gruff (The Atheist Goat Who Loves Coffee Instead of God), and my personal favourite — the "Laughing Jesus" thong. I was entirely prepared to accept the authenticity of this whole thing until I came across the "Laughing Jesus" thong. The product information reads as follows: Panty-minimalists love our casual thong that covers sweet spots without covering your assets – putting an end to panty-lines. This under-goodie is “outta sight” in low-rise pants. Toss these message panties onstage at your favorite rock star or share a surprise message with someone special ... later. Ouch. Okay, so maybe Objective: Ministries is a hoax, another Landover Baptist Church (Landover, it should be noted, was offering Jesus panties first). But then what are we to make of something like RaptureReady.com? The problem, I think, is that some things are so laughable to start with that one commits parody at the risk of being mistaken for the real McCoy. Oh, and the interactive Baby Jesus head is totally frelling creepy.

Thanks to Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo for sending me a partial translation of the Tähtivaeltaja article.

Argh. I really need to get to work. I was going to write something about 2005 being the tenth anniversary of my being a gen-u-wine published author, a fact which had completely escaped me until just a couple of days ago. But I think that will have to wait until tomorrow. I began the second vignette for Sirenia Digest #1 yesterday and wrote 759 words of a charming but perfectly peculiar little scene in an alien whorehouse. I'm very curious to see where it's going. One never knows. Please have a look at the latest eBay auctions. Thanks! Oh, and there's a wonderful new specimen of Archaeopteryx lithographica!

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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