October 12th, 2004


progress or the illusion thereof

Yesterday, I wrote 524 words on the prologue of Daughter of Hounds, became moderately convinced that it's finally on the right track, read to Spooky what I've written so far, and then I made myself step away from it. I wanted to be sure that I'm sure. Sometimes I have to do that, even when I can still hear words in my head, even when I know I could write more immediately. So, today I will finish the first third or first quarter of the prologue, I think. Slowly, we creep forwards.

Some of you have asked about the cough. It's better, thank you. It comes and goes. I had to resort to an antihistamine again late last night, so I'm a bit groggy today. I really wanted to stay in bed.

I should take a second to plug a couple of things. The premiere issue of Subterranean Magazine will be available soon. Created by Subterranean Press as a showcase for short fiction, it has the potential to breathe a little life into the long-moribund dark fantasy/horror short-story market. The line-up for the first issue is superb, and I strongly encourage you to give it a chance. It'll include new fiction by Harlan Ellison, Joe R. Lansdale, Norman Partridge, and Peter Crowther, along with a George R. R. Martin Twilight Zone screenplay and an interview with Thomas Ligotti. If you spring for the hardcover edition, you'll get an exclusive, not-for-sale chapbook of additional fiction by Thomas Ligotti. I'll be featured in the second issue, which will include a new story, "Bradbury Weather," and reprint "Andromeda Among the Stones." I'm also giving Bill an interview for the second issue of Subterranean Magazine, one of my first since I decided to take a vacation from interviews in 2002. So, what are you waiting for?

Also, I've received a review copy of Nancy Kilpatrick's The Gothic Bible. If you read Poppy's blog, you'll have already heard about this book and the trouble it's having with gothphobic US book distributors. It's a great volume, a somewhat more light-hearted and comprehensive look at goth than that offered by some previous books on the subculture. There's even a sort of quasi-interview type thing with Storm Constantine, Freda Warrington, and me in the section on contemporary gothic novels.

And while I'm pushing other people's babies, here's an interesting fact: more than 83 million US households, about half of all those with televisions, now have the Sci-Fi Channel. That means that an awful lot of people reading this blog should either have access to Sunday night's premiere of Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars or know someone else who does.

I think it's safe to say that my devotion to Farscape has garnered me more than a few odd glances from readers and fellow authors, so maybe I should again explain something I explained a long time ago. After I wrote Threshold, my desire to continue writing was hovering near zero. In short, I'd lost the passion for storytelling and without the passion all the pretty words in the world won't make a novel. I seriously considered giving up writing and going back to paleontology. I went through a period of not-writing, and during this time I found myself drawn deeper and deeper into Farscape. And then, quite unexpectedly, I found that my love for the story the show was telling had somehow reawakened my own passion for storytelling. So, if not for Farscape, I'd have probably never written Low Red Moon, Murder of Angels, The Dry Salvages, and all the short fiction I've done in the last couple of years. I almost certainly wouldn't be writing Daughter of Hounds now. I'm not exaggerating, and I don't care if you think this sounds silly or far-fetched. Watching Farscape unfold, I rediscovered the passion, and without it, I might never have done so. Something about the series' own passion for its story and characters, its scope and grandeur, reawoke in me the need to tell my stories. So, if you've enjoyed my last two novels, you have the cast, crew, and creators of Farscape to thank as much as me. How do you show your gratitude? It's easy. Watch the frelling mini-series.

By the way, later today I'll post when exactly you can see "A Constellation of Doubt" (the Farscape ep I talked about yesterday) on the Sci-Fi Channel, if I can figure out exactly when it's set to air. And my thanks to Teri Goulding for sending me the links to the Chicago Tribune stories ("The Farscape Factor: Will programmers, viewers become one and the same?", etc.), which I'd post here if it wasn't necessary to register with the Tribune to read the articles. Suffice it to say, the unprecedented role that Farscape fans have played in rescuing the show from cancellation is having far-flung repercussions, demonstrating that we've reached a point where a union of fans, financiers, and creators can tap niche demand and circumvent and subvert the networks' out-dated, Nielsen-driven machinations.

Now, if only novelists and their readers could figure out how to do the same thing with hit-obsessed publishers.
  • Current Music
    The Smithereens, "Blood and Roses"

behemoth amuck

Addendum: Today I received the following e-mail (Thank you, Deathbird), regarding The Goth Bible, Barnes and Noble, and Those In Charge:

My experience with Barnes and Noble has been a very interesting one. For years, I sold legal study aids to the law school bookstore market. Barnes and Noble runs a line of college bookstores, so I was in frequent (read "daily") contact with bookstore managers. This is what I have learned about that company.

It has it's head so far up its own ass it has come to believe that it has no head. It is neurotic. It is amorphous.

Occasionally, in the course of my dealings with its component bookstores, it became necessary to speak with "someone in charge" of the company. There was no way to contact a central personage. There may be no central personage. There is no one "at the top" that one may speak with. Even when it would have been in the best interest of someone "in the know" at B and N to talk to me (I could have saved them tens of thousands of dollars in shipping charges.) there was no one to talk to. Even if I did get a phone number for some mysterious "being", there was always only voice mail, and never a returned call. Same result for emails.

So, the ongoing problem with this company (including the most recent one with this
Goth Bible) may well be that there is no one in charge of this behemoth. The motherfucker just runs itself. Boat adrift. Crew overboard.

All hands. Abandon ship.

If this is true (and I'm not in a position to say that it is), I am not even the least bit surprised. And I'm tired of being appalled.
  • Current Music
    Spooky running me a hot bath