Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Had Alien Babies

I just threw up, so I'm feeling a bit chipper. I thought I'd post a little update about my illness.

My first doctor completely misdiagnosed me. By the time their slow test results came back and they realized, I had to go to the emergency room.

I gave birth to two alien babies. I named them Gilgamesh and Superman. They took over the CT Scan room for about three hours before a security guard chased them into the ductwork where they, I presume are roaming North Atlanta right now.

In the meantime, the results to me are a very serious bacterial infection in a major internal organ zone. I'm getting better with proper medicine, now, and I'll be seeing a specialist this week.

How sick was I? The triage nurse saw me immediately, and within moments on a Saturday night, I had a room and a bed and an IV.

Here's a photo:

My girlfriend was with me all weekend, and I'm about to buy her the largest bouqet of roses I can find. Angie was a miracle worker. She drove me in, and stayed with me all weekend nursing me back from the brink. Angie did an amazing job. I don't know what I would have done without her.

My mom's here, now. My mom is a very experienced medical professional with over twenty-five years experience in everything practical. She'll be here all week.

I mention this just to let you know I'm going to be gone a while. I've gotta heal, yo.

If you're the flower sending type, well, I don't really have any room here for flowers.

I do know I have good insurance, so I didn't break the back. Not every writer is so lucky. The SFWA Emergency Medical Fund could always use your donations.

I'm getting better. I just need some time. My mom is just about the best person you could possibly have around in times like these (and Angie was, too, this weekend).

I'll let you know when I'm walking again.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Only slightly better

Someone, turn me well...?

Monday, September 21, 2009


I'm sick. For real. Awaiting tests.

I've been sick on and off for a while, and just never seemed to quite "get over" whatever this is.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's all tied into the Lion on the Lizards Back

The Slow Loris. Falling Asleep in your own Water Bowl.

And Parkour:

Ain't quite coming together, yet, though, and I've got homework to do, now.

I'll get you there, boys. Jiri and Simsa got a ways to go before they ride the back of the lizard.

Just read Alejo Carpentier's "The Kingdom of This World", and I have say I'm a bit indifferent to it. I can see how it fueled what came next, and why it was revolutionary in it's time, but I also felt disconnected to it in a way I've never felt in, for example, Garcia-Marquez. May have more coherent thoughts on that later.

Friday, September 18, 2009

There Is A Deficiency of Cute

My blog is just not cute enough.

There. We will now return to regularly scheduled whinging and curmudgeonry.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

This is What I Feel Like Right Now.

Except the water bowl is actually giant mugs of coffee, or soup.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Walking to a Mexican restaurant with guys from work there was a fire. On the sidewalk a bit of newspaper burned before a nail salon. A pregnant Asian American woman raised her arms to heaven in a black and white striped dress, and cleansed the air with her own hope. Bad luck be gone. Bad thoughts fade. An American dreamer in a stripmall with a president close to her heart, a doctor, a fireman.

We walked past her into the restaurant. We ordered tea and spared not a thought for her.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Wall Street Journal Wishes...

The Wall Street Journal wishes Hal Duncan was a columnist about genre. Hal's really, really smart, extremely well-read, and extremely good at explicating his thesis.

That birth and naming begins with the pulps, with Gernsback’s scientifiction. In those early decades before the SF CafĂ© was even built there was not one Genre but a whole host of them, where the protomodern adventure story was gradually being transformed into the modern mass-market pulp narrative. One Nick Carter dime novel in 1886 begets Nick Carter Weekly which becomes Detective Story Magazine in 1915; that same magazine publishes Arthur Conan Doyle but it does so alongside the Shadow. The publisher, Street & Smith Publications (who bought Astounding in 1933, funny enough) also gave us comics like Doc Savage and Air Ace, Western magazines like Buffalo Bill Stories and True Western Stories. Edgar Rice Burroughs gives us Tarzan of the Apes in 1912 and John Carter in 1917, both via All-Story Magazine, which was to merge eventually with Argosy. Amazing Stories gives us Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon only being created derivatively as a rival.

This is our lineage. This is the history of the ghetto of Genre, into which Science Fiction was born, not in a flash of lightning but in the clatter of a printing press, a bastard of the pulps.


Also, his novels are fantastic.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Been a lot of "debunking" of this latest foofaraw in the blog-o-sphere...

Lev Grossman's article seemed to spawn the latest to-do in the blog-o-sphere. Lots of others have debunked his original article already.

As fun as it is to debunk the article as editorial fluff, I must take a defensive stance.

Nobody, in books, has all the knowledge. What we do have is the combined narrative matter of all our remembered favorites, and all our remembered discussions of books with others.

What Lev Grossman seems to be describing, to me, is not necessarily some grand sweeping pronouncement against all books. Instead, it seems like he's describing a grand sweeping pronouncement about his own reading history and discoveries and beliefs.

It's actually very easy for any well-read individual to make grand, sweeping statements based on their own experience, becasue it's easy to believe we have achieved some level of mastery after all our time spent reading.

If this were on his personal blog, I wouldn't bat an eye. I might roll one. I know I've caused a few eye rolls in my day.

It's the fact that this article passed muster at the Wall Street Journal, of all places, that makes me bat an eye. I know my grand sweeping statements on my blog have no place in Locus, The Sacramento Bee, or anything like it. That's why they're on my blog.

Nothing makes one feel like one is scribbling in a ghetto than to watch The New Torker, the Wall Street Journal, and other lions of mainstream media report so poorly on what's happening out here on the edge of the imagination. They're all such smart, erudite, well-meaning folks, too.

I hope the Wall Street Journal contacts someone like Ellen Datlow, Cheryl Morgan, Cory Doctorow, Jeff VanderMeer, John Scalzi, or any one of our many eloquent, knowledgable representatives that can actually write meaningfully about what's happening over here, and what that means to the rest of the world, the next time they want to publish something celebrating our little corner of the bookstore.

Anybody know where I can find one of these in person, in Georgia area?

I want to meet one of these beasts. Any kicking it around Georgia?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Outer Alliance Pride Day

I don't believe I'm a member of the Outer Alliance, as I didn't even know until I checked Hal Duncan's blog about this particular day. I do think there is a severe shortage of gayness in popular culture, including speculative fiction*.

I've noticed it's harder to sell short stories with gay leads than with straight leads, and though I don't know specifically why, I can't help but suspect the reason some stories get rejected is the gayness of the lead character in an otherwise excellent story. It's only actually explicitly been explained to me that way a couple times by the editors (I'll never name names, so don't ask!**).

Anyway, it's Outer Alliance Pride Day, and it's certainly where I'll be travelling amongst the blog-o-sphere stars today:

Here's their masthead:

[quote] As a member of the Outer Alliance, I advocate for queer speculative fiction and those who create, publish and support it, whatever their sexual orientation and gender identity. I make sure this is reflected in my actions and my work. [/quote]

(*Gay guys and gals deserve a decent action hero. Seriously. Do you have any idea how many real life action heroes - cops, fireman, paramedics, etc - are gay and lesbian? Some of these folks could kick Rambo's ass, then take him to a hospital to save his kicked ass.)

(*Just to be certain there's no misunderstanding, the two wouldn't surprise you if you heard, and neither one is a SFWA Qualifying Market)

I'm thinking of converting a couple of the little papers I had to write for school into actual "book reviews". From my school reading list.

Bottom line:
"Generation Loss" by Elizabeth Hand: highly recommended. You will "see" things in this novel that you will not soon forget.
"Cyberabad Days" by Ian MacDonald: like any short story collection, some are stronger than others, but the strong ones really make this collection worthwhile, and I recommend it.
"Hyperion" by Dan Simmons: highly recommended. This is a classic. It really, really is.
"This Is Not a Game" by Walter Jon Williams: Readable, and enjoyable, but disjointed. It's like reading a short story followed by a novella with only the tenuous threads of the ARG'ing to connect them, with some other structural oddities. Still, a fun book, a fast read, and suitable for airplanes and beaches.

I might convert these essays to actual reviews. Maybe. But, not right now. I've got to finish some other assignment stuff, and finish a story about a tiger that lives on the head of Samarkand, the lizard of the waste...