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Archive for September, 2010

Picked this up from a long Facebook thread on what an overhyped hack Jonathan Franzen is.  Don’t get me started.  I haven’t read Freedom (and won’t unless I make a dent in all that yardwork I’d much rather do), but I was more than a little puzzled at all the fuss over The Corrections, not to mention nauseated at all the Great American Novel(ist) hype.  I mean, really?  Really?  A competently written self-indulgent soap opera that fell apart int he middle because it couldn’t bear up under its own weight?  Really? His freaking publicist is a better fiction writer than he is.

Anyway, this link fell out of that thread:  Jerry Oltion’s 50 Strategies for Making Yourself Work. Good stuff.

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SEGO: Short and serious.

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Clifford D. Simak was right

In Simak’s City, humans are a fading memory and intelligent raccoons share the post-apocalypse Earth with mutant dogs and ants.   It’s starting in my driveway.  Last night, they knocked over my  trash can and, in spite of the lid being secured with a Bungee cord, managed to pry it open just enough to crawl inside, drag out the garbage bags, and scatter the contents everywhere.   In spite o f the lid being secured with a Bungee cord. This required one of the fat, furry, little bastards to pry the lid open just enough and hold it open while the other one squeezed his greasy bulk through the small gap.

Intelligent, goal-oriented cooperation.  Use of hands.  Love of anarchy and chaos.  Wry sense of humor. They’re more human than most humans I know.

The cat seems to have secured some kind of deal with them — they pretty much leave each other alone.  I need to talk to him …

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I’ve been procrastinating on combing through the proofs of  A Crack in Everything for typos, droppped words, bad page turns, and othe typesetting bugs.  It’s getting downright embarrassing, and my publisher is waiting.  Then I thought, “Wait!  I have friends!”  At least for the time being.   If I can get 4 people to sign on for 75 pages each (or thereabouts), my work is done.  Your reward will be a free copy, hot off the press, when the book is released.  And of course my undying gratitude.  And your satisfaction in knowing that you have freed up my time so I can cook pad thai for my family, find a new day job, catch up on my South Park backlog, and endgame Eater, my current WIP.  What do you say?  First 4 respondents are the lucky winners.

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I’m deep in revision of Eater, my current WIP.  I have a complete draft, but it needs some serious work.  I don’t wan to just mark it up online, printing out some 300 pages of manuscript and lugging it around is unwieldly, and making copies is expensive.  Enter Lulu.  This is primarily a self-publishing platfrom, which I am not particularly interested in, but I set “distribution” to “private” and it took me about 5 minutes to format a perfect bound trade paperback sized instance of my shitty draft.   And copies are cheap!  A single  copy costs less than a Xerox of the manuscript.  Easy to carry around, and I can mark it up to my heart’s content.

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My thirst for smart, well-written deep-genre sf rivals Dick Cheney’s love of speculative geography.  Angry Robot Books, a new British shop, seems dedicated to answering the oft-repeated question:  “WTF?  This crap could have been written by a blind, epileptic sea otter.  Where is the new, good stuff?”  Their list spans subgenres, with more or less equal emphasis given to sf, fantasy, and horror.  If Winter Song is any indication, it’s all new, good stuff.

Winter Song takes place on a barely habitable planet, a marginal colony left to rot after the advent of hyperspace travel, like an American small town in the wake of the Interstate buildout.  Our hero crash-lands there after losing a space battle and he encounters the local survivors. His struggle with their rigidified culture and the planet’s hostile environment frame his efforts to return home.

The pacing is crisp and the characters are worthy of our interest.  The writing is muscular and cinematic.  Harvey’s use of a familiar collection of tropes is smart and fun.  It’s like watching a sax player I’ve never heard before spin an old standard like Autumn Leaves in a new direction.

Winter Song is a great read.  Looking forward to more from Harvey and more from Angry Robot.

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Issue #10 of Rudy Rucker‘s semi-annual webzine, Flurb, as 17 — count ’em, 17! — new stories from a seriously impressive author lineup:  Armstrong, Ashby, Byrne, Callaway, Goonan, Hendrix, Hogan, Kek, Laidlaw, Metzger, Newitz, Rucker, Saknussemm, Scholz, Shirley, Sterling, Watson

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