September 20th, 2004


Fuck the bozos!

I do not think this will be so eloquent a post as yesterday's, though it might well be as angry. I dreamed angry dreams and woke up angry. The nanobot is working overtime, lodged deep in my amygdala (yes, Nebari have those, too), whispering to my forebrain, reminding it how I ought to be angry, how, in fact, I ought to be furious.

For example, this morning, half-asleep, I picked up this week's issue of Creative Loafing, Atlanta's "alternative" paper (hardly perfect, but a far sight better than the good-ol'-boy neofascism of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), and with my squinty, unawake eyes beheld (on p. 50, left-hand side) a top-to-bottom ad for the Southeastern Literary Journal and Small Press Fair. Oh, yeah. Try talking to most of these people about fantasy and weird fiction, and see how long it takes them to get that why-must-I-endure-such-riff-raff, annoyed cat expression on their faces. But, hey, you can attend workshops for "aspiring writers," fiction and poetry workshops (Americans feel a lot better about writing if they use good, solid Proletariat words like "work" and "shop" when doing so). "Well," I said to Spooky, who was making her coffee. "I shouldn't be so judgmental. They're better than me, aren't they? I mean, it's not like they have to write for their supper. I'm a whore. They're just sluts."

So, the next thing I encounter in Creative Loafing, turning to page 61, is a snotty, half-assed review of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. I knew, when I saw it, that it was the sort of film that would drive the art film/film snob/film geek bozos bugfrell. That it was the sort of film they'd see, knowing they'd hate it, just so they could complain. And I was right. And the best this asshole, this Heather Kuldell, could come up with was criticism on the order of "Capt. Franky [sic] Cook (Angelina Jolie) sports a form-fitting uniform and an eye patch, disproving the long-held belief that pilots need two eyes for proper depth perception." Flippant crap like this, masquerading as criticism, drives me nuts. It's like the people who complained that, in Batman Returns, Michelle Pfeiffer never could have made Catwoman's outfit from the stuff in her closet. Or they complain that Star Wars was a bad film because there's no sound in space, and X-wing fighters wouldn't bank, and Han Solo doesn't understand that a parsec is a measure of distance not of time, and, while we're at it, the dialogue is simplistic, hokey, and the plot is unoriginal. The sort of people who complained because automobiles in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence had three wheels, or because the crow in The Crow is actually a raven. In short, the people who just don't get it. "It," in this case, being that sometimes, in art, aesthetics and symbolism outweigh inconvenient, irrelevant fact. Sometimes things happen that way because it's just fucking cool, or pretty, or meaningful on a completely unscientific, unconscious level. A good story, which Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is most assuredly, is not to be bound by the tyranny of fact, unless that is the author's reasoned choice and intent. I was, however, quite pleased to see that Sky Captain... did well at the box office this weekend and that Ebert gave it four stars.

My gods, the cryosphere has been activated. There's no denying it. I can't feel my feet.

I need a drink. It's only 12:54 p.m., but I need a drink.

Yesterday, Spooky and I read all the way through "Bradbury Weather." I was relieved to find that I still like it, two weeks after I last wrote on the story. Bill Schafer (at subpress), whom I let read the first seven thousand words yesterday, thinks I should stop having my first-person narrators draw attention to the weaknesses of first-person narration, but I'm not yet ready to do that. Stop, I mean. I want to write today, and I will try. The next scene is very clear in my head. Actually, the next two scenes are very clear to me. That's a good thing. I also updated the news page on my website for the first time since frelling March. I desperately need a webmaster, someone who could stay on top of things and maybe even do something about my butt-ugly, mid-nineties design. Right now, there's a gap between March and September that I shall fill in later. Gaps piss me off, and, obviously, we need no more of that. Also, yesterday, I began talking with the guy who's doing the Bookslut interview, prequestion questions. I think this is going to be a very good interview. I haven't done many, hardly any, since Spring 2002. I'd done so many, and it was always the same lame questions, that I finally just stopped giving them. I just couldn't stand to answer the same silly questions for the umpteenth time, because interviewers couldn't be bothered to do a little research and see that everyone else had already asked that question, and the answers were archived on my website.

Last night, in an attempt to curb Spooky's rather alarming addiction to Morrowind, we got old school and played Scrabble until after three a.m.

Okay, this has gone on way too long. I spend far too much time on this journal. I have more to say today, but it'll have to wait for a second entry, later on. Someone please get this thing out of my head...
  • Current Music
    The Flaming Lips, "Flight Test"


Addendum: This week's Publisher's Weekly includes the following review of The Dry Salvages (the reviewer's name was not given, or I'd include it here):

(Caitlín R. Kiernan. Subterranean Press, $25 (128 p)
ISBN 1-59606-006-9
An interplanetary expedition pays an unexpected visit to the dark side of science fiction in this gripping genre-jump by horror specialist Kiernan (
Murder of Angels). In the 23rd century, Earth has just discovered signs of the first nonhuman civilization on Piros, a moon in a star system some 15 light years away. Extrasolar exopaleontologist Audrey Cather and three other crew members of the starship Montelius are dispatched to rendezvous with Gilgamesh, the exploratory ship that made the discovery, but when they make port they find that half the Gilgamesh crew has vanished on Piros while those on board are struggling with madness. Something has frightened the scientists to irrationality and driven at least one to spouting portentous passages from Blake's Book of Urizen. Suspense mounts excruciatingly as the crew of the Montelius hastens to Piros to confront the horror themselves. Echoes of other first-contact stories-from the transcendent 2001 to the paranoid gothic Alien cycle-reverberate through the narrative, setting the mood for an eerily unpredictable close encounter. Kiernan also draws on her training as a paleontologist for her rigorously plotted extraterrestrial environments. But this tale's focus is squarely on the human, and it asserts an authority that will convince readers of all tastes that "the alien" is a fundamental fear that can conjure primal horror out of a sophisticated SF setting. Agent, Merrilee Heifetz. (Oct. 30)

Very nice. But am I really a "horror specialist"? That sounds so sordid.
  • Current Music
    Peter Murphy, "I've Got a Secret Miniature Camera"