Some interesting stuff here, much of which would not usually cross my path.  Among those that I have read and can also highly recommend are Liz Moore’s The Unseen World,  Rainbow Rowell’s Landline, and Ocean Vuong’s Night Sky With Exit Wounds.

And additionally, here are four recommendations from James Wood, none of which I have read, but he is such a smart and interesting writer that I will snag at least a couple of them.


This is dark, scrappy headlong Western Weird, Cormac McCarthy meets Jack Ketchum, with the most awesome heroine since Temple in Alden Bell’s “The Reapers Are The Angels.”   Beautifully written and impossible to put down.

Man, the dude can write. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given decades of rock and roll poetry blazed onto the zeitgeist, but … the dude can write.  The riff on Elvis’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show alone is worth the price of admission.  I’m still pretty early in the book, still in the origin stories, but he made me feel all over again what it was like to be a young teenager in America when rock and roll blew everything wide open.  He’s a little older, and was across the Hudson in Jersey while I was in Manhattan, but I felt it, I was there too, and he nails that sense of sweet disruption and limitless possibility that so many of us of a certain age shared, and some still do.

I’m not even much of a Springsteen junkie.  I like a lot of his work but much of his catalog just doesn’t do much for me.  This book reaches well beyond that.  His writing is generous and wistful, funny, sad, and accurate, cultural archaeology as well as personal memoir.  Whether you’re a Boss fan or not, you should check it out.

Architecture is a challenge built on techno trends
And many tough decision upon which a system bends.
So when I’m asked for my advice by strangers and by friends,
I look them squarely in the eye and answer, “It depends!”

Depends on what app server’s hot,
What the last SVP bought,
The foresnics of this system’s rot,
And other stuff that I forgot.

This project’s benediction —
Is it real or is it fiction?
I can take no firm position.
I am not a geek magician
Blessed with techno-precognition.
So I have no ammunition
For your big Enterprise mission.
I am just a politician
Who, waffling, contends:
“It’s architecture – it depends!”

Depends on who’s been talking smack,
Who has lots and lots of cash,
On who’s been drinking sour mash
Or maybe even smoking crack.

You want to know if you should build a data access bus
Or buy a turnkey product to ameliorate your fuss
But if you ask me what a systems guru recommends,
I’ll look you squarely in the eye and answer, “It depends!”

Depends on what’s your IDE,
Your build procedures currently
And what the process wonks defend.
Let’s just say it all depends.

Those Accenture guys will never leave!  Their project never ends!
That code they wrote!  I’d like to kill them!  Them and all their friends!
You want me to clean up their mess, your disbelief suspends,
I’ll look you squarely in the eye and answer, “It depends!”

Will this pig scale?
It all depends!
This framework hale?
Dot NET the Holy Grail?
Executives in jail?

It just depends!
Production ready?
Well, I’ll tell you

That in my best projection
Based on thorough and professional
Analysis and code dissection,
Testing that’s regressional,

Interviews confessional,
Demos very sleek,
With ducky-horsey Visio,
And Power Point technique,
And thirty six page writeup
Which to reputation lends
I’ll look you boldly in the eye
And tell you, “It depends!”

Dan Marcus (with apologies to John Vorhaus and his excellent book “Killer Poker”)

(reposted from the sad ashes of Posterous)

I will be lurking about most of the weekend, but will be reading from new work at 4:30 PM on Friday in the Santa Rosa room.  See you there.

Checking out the ACC award longlist and shortlist (as well as the award itself, of course) is a great way to get yourself provisioned with interesting reading material.

From Award Director, Tom Hunter:

“It’s important to remember that prizes like the Clarke Award are first and foremost celebrations. We celebrate new books and new writers, but most of all we celebrate alongside all the readers and lovers of stories who are given a unique invitation to encounter something new, something strange and something wonderful whenever a new shortlist is announced. The love of books and the sharing of stories is the true legacy we should aim to create.”

2015 Winner  Station Eleven, also a National Book Award Finalist.  This was a great read, and I’m delighted to see it getting the recognition it deserves.

2015 Shortlist. Man, The Girl With All The Gifts made it onto the shortlist.  If you haven’t read this yet, check it out. Possibly my favorite SF book of 2014.

2015 Longlist. No guarantee that everything on this list will kick ass, but there are some really fine titles and authors represented here.


As of this year, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy has been added to the Houghton Mifflin annual roster of “Best Of” titles (Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, etc.  My story, Albion Upon The Rock (Fantasy and Science Fiction, Mar/Apr 2014) made the short list for this inaugural anthology and is listed in the “Other Notable Stories of 2014” section in the back.  Although I didn’t make the final cut, I am still pleased as all get-out.