March 15th, 2007


Howard Hughes and the Twelve Enchanted Letter Openers

Despite a bit of panic here and there — because I always go and wait until the last possible handful of minutes on these sorts of things, and then there's always panic — I wrote my piece for Locus yesterday. My gracious thanks to the three folks who kindly read the article for me. Today, I will send it away to the magazine and move along to the next thing (mostly, lots and lots of proofreading).

There has been a good deal of feedback regarding "A Season of Broken Dolls" (Sirenia Digest #15), which pleases me. It also pleases me to announce that the story will be appearing in an upcoming issue of the free online version of Subterranean Magazine. I do not yet know just when, but quite soon, I think. I shall keep you posted.

I am also very, very happy to announce that Bob Eggleton will be the cover artist for The Dinosaurs of Mars, with interior art by J. K. Potter.

My thanks to Samantha Collett of Shropshire, England for sending me the complete set of UK marine life stamps, along with a fabulous page of sea creature stickers, four of which now adorn the "lid" of my iBook (the Giant squid, Architeuthis dux; a viper fish, Chauliodus sloani; a dragonfish, Grammatostomias flagellibarba; and an angler fish Lophuius priscatorius). Also, congratulations to the industrious tjcrowley on landing the new job! Also also, the four new Sirenia Digest subscribers to whom I owe copies of the Silk tpb — you guys need to email your snail-mail addys to Spooky at crk_books (at) yahoo (dot) com. Thanks!

Yesterday evening, when all the writing and writing-related work was finally done, Spooky and I had a late walk from Candler Park east down McClendon Avenue NE, turning north onto Clifton Road NE, then west again onto Marlbrook Drive NE, which we followed back to the park. A nice sunset walk. After dinner, there was Scrabble, then I sat up later than I should have and watched Nancy Drew — Detective (1938) and Nancy Drew - Reporter (1939) on TCM, neither of which I'd seen before. It was sometime after four before I finally got to sleep. "What a dorky evening," says Spooky.

Anyway, I must now go polish the Locus article one last time and attend to other authorial tasks.

Addendum: Howard Hughes and the Temple of the Red Bull

Just a couple of reader e-mails I've meaning to get to...

Brett J. writes:

Hi, I've been a fan of yours since Silk and I've been reading your journal for a while. I have a question that I don't think I've seen you cover before, but I could be wrong. What would you think of people writing fan fiction or roleplaying as characters from your stories? I don't read or write any fanfic myself, but some of my friends do and I heard that George R. R. Martin doesn't allow it. I've never read anything by him, but it did get me wondering what some of my favorite authors had to say about it.

I also want to mention that my favorite part of
Daughter of Hounds was when Emmie opened the box under Deacon's bed and found the "Calvin and Hobbes" comics all having something to do with dinosaurs. It was such a seemingly throw-away line, but it made me picture Deacon reading the paper over the years and being reminded of Chance and her work every time he saw the dinosaurs, so he'd clip it out and save it. I don't know if that's what you intended, but I thought it was a really genuine and touching way to say he still thought about her without putting flashing lights all around it.

I do read your livejournal, so if you'd want to address the fanfic question there there instead of a personal response, I wouldn't mind.

1) Fan fiction — Well, having written a little fan fiction myself, and fairly recently, at that (see, I can hardly say that I am opposed to fan fiction. Still, it's odd and somewhat disconcerting to think about someone else writing my characters and taking them places that I never meant for them to go. I've seen a little bit of fic based on my work. Not a lot. Anyway, generally, my stance is this: as long as the author of any fic based upon my writing understands that I am the sole owner of the copyrights in question, that he or she is, undeniably, violating the copyright while I look the other way, and so long as hesheit never, ever attempts to profit financially from that fan fic without my express written permission, then no, I really have no problem with it. Also, if someone writes a piece of fan fic based upon my work which I find in some way offensive and I see it, I will request that it be removed from circulation, and I will expect that request to be promptly honoured. That's the stance I took when writing Farscape fic. I stated openly that if I were ever asked, for any reason, to take the Nar'eth fic down, I would do so immediately and without any argument. As for role-playing, same rules apply.

2) the Calvin and Hobbes strips — Actually, the strips that Emmie finds in the box beneath Deacon's bed were meant to be the strips referred to in Low Red Moon (Roc tpb, pp. 86 & 89). I imagined they were something Deacon had kept from her university office in Birmingham. But I do also like your take on this, so maybe the strips in the box are a mix of the two, strips Chance clipped herself and a few Deacon added later on. However, on the other hand, since the 3,160th and final Calvin and Hobbes strip ran on Sunday, December 31, 1995, and since LRM is set in the autumn of 2001, with most of Daughter of Hounds taking place in February 2010, it's not likely there would have been strips for Deacon to have clipped from newspapers. Indeed, the one Chance clipped and posted in her office must have been clipped while she was still in school, prior even to the events in Threshold. At any rate, thank you Brett, and I am always very pleased when a reader is moved by the little things.

Also, thanks to Lyn Dunagan for this link to a recipe for cute trilobite cookies. Sadly, that's cookies shaped liked trilobites, not made from trilobites. I used to have a link to this same recipe page from the old website, and it's good to see it's still out there.

One last thing for now. Of all the shitty/stupid Amazon "reviews" I have had heaped upon me over the last nine-plus years, the following, of Threshold, would win hands down in any competition to find that Amazon "review" which is both the shittiest and the stupidest*. Someone named Jerry Franklin in House, New Mexico, writes:

The basic story is interesting and I certainly dont dispute that Caitlan Kiernan is a talented writer and author....but the constant use of foul language(it seems like every other sentence)and the subtle anti-christian bigotry absolutely ruins the story.There are plenty of talented authors who dont resort to the juvenile use of foul,crude,and explicit sexual language in order to produce an exciting,("realistic")entertaining storyline.But hey, if you like to hear every character in the book curse Gods Name every ten words or so and also if you dont mind a constant barrage of foul expletives with an underlying anti-christian bigotry pervading and infecting the entire book,then by all means go for it.

For one, he can't even be bothered to spell my name correctly. For another, the "review" is replete with typos and grammatical errors. For yet another, while I never really thought of Threshold as being explicitly anti-Xtian — it's easier to make a case for LRM being explicitly anti-Xtain — I also have no problem with it being interpreted that way, as I have admittedly become fairly anti-Xtian over the years**. Also, I'm pretty goddamned sure that Dancy never once cursed "Gods Name" [sic], though I suppose I might be mistaken. Also also, I honestly don't think Mr. Franklin quite understands the meaning of "goddamn." Basically, I fear that Mr. Franklin needs to stay far away from my books in the future. The profanity only gets worse as the years go by, and I doubt his "God" approves of me or much of anything I write. In fact, Mr. Franklin would probably be better off just staying away from books, in general.


* Upon reflection, this probably isn't true. I'm sure there have been worse. There must have been worse Those that included personal attacks (usually sexist, heterosexist, or cisgenderist), for example. The one's Amazon was kind enough to delete. But still. This one's high on the list.

** Before someone e-mails to say I've hurt hisherits feelings by saying that I take a dim view of most of Xtianity (though I'd think by now it was clear), I should at least be a little more perspicuous. This is not so much a specific dislike for Xtians, as it is for all patrifocal, monotheistic religions, especially those which engage in evangelism or apocalypticism, promote superstition and ignorance, and foster nationalist, racist, sexist, homophobic, cisgenderist, or anthropocentric worldviews. For that matter, I'd say the same of any pagan, polytheistic religions which do the same. In fact, it's easiest to say I'm generally anti-religion and be done with it.