And the trees are getting green.
But the insomnia always wins in the end.
When Neil Clarke was planning his anthology Upgraded (Wyrm Publishing; September 23, 2014), he invited me to contribute, because, Neil said, he wanted to see what I'd do with AI. And though my schedule didn't permit me to write a story for Upgraded, I can now answer Neil's question, simply by pointing to Alex Garland's beautiful and intelligent Ex Machina. The film is sheer poetry, and it's the sort of film that makes me wish I had the mind necessary to write cogently about movies. The performances of Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and, in the title role, Alicia Vikander, never sound a false note. Vikander, in her depiction of an alien sentience, manages to be disarming, enchanting, eerie, and entirely convincing. And the SFX behind "Eva" left me grateful that movie androids have progressed beyond the age of rubbery CGI (see, for example, Alex Proyas' unfortunate 2004 adaptation of I, Robot). I couldn't help but compare it to Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007), a marvelous SF film scripted by Garland, but a film that, unlike Ex Machina, fumbles in the third act, introducing an unnecessary and unbelievable antagonist that serves only to – almost – reduce a smart film about interplanetary travel into a cheap monster flick. Whether that flaw was introduced by Garland, Boyle, or the two together, it's an error that Garland doesn't repeat in Ex Machina. And no, the film is manifestly not sexist. See this film. Please see this film. Especially if you're curious what I'd do with AI.
Though, I might also point you to "An Ode to Katan Amano" and "Zero Summer." If you'd like to see what I've done with AI, I mean.
Speaking of my SF, the forthcoming PS Publishing edition of A is for Alien will include not only the four Vince Locke illustrations that appeared in the Subterranean Press edition of the book, but the four that were not used by SubPress, along with a new illustration for "Hydrarguros," for a total of twelve illustrations (for twelve stories).
Please have a look at the current eBay auctions.
On Tuesday, we drove to our storage units in Pawtucket, and I retrieved two boxes containing prose and poetry I wrote during high school and college. Most of it's truly awful.* Some of it shows promise. I'm having to try and organize this material before it goes to Brown University's John Hay Library, and it's a daunting, disorienting, and undeniably bittersweet task. I'll likely post photos of some of these pages later. And some of this stuff will likely wind up in future chapbooks, collections, and issues of Sirenia Digest. Well, maybe. It's a miracle these pieces have survived. Some of the stories – and all of the poetry – are represented by a single typescript. A few have multiple drafts (I did that, back then). These are boxes that I've carted around since the eighties, that have been hauled from Birmingham to Boulder to Birmingham to Athens to Birmingham to Atlanta to Providence. Like I said, a miracle. But also a triumph of paper and ink. There are pages here from as far back as 1977, thirty-eight years old, and all I have to do is pick them up and read them.
* Especially the poetry, which is some of the most treacly shit I've ever read.