September 19th, 2007


Catching up (again)

The last couple of days have been solid frustration. Sunday was good, and I did another 1,201 words on "Untitled Grotesque." But then the words wouldn't come on Monday, and yesterday was consumed with all sorts of the "busyness" that comes with writing, but is not actually writing. I hope to finish "Untitled Grotesque" today, if the words will come, and if I can shut out all the work that keeps me from doing the work that matters.

I have the cover (behind the cut) for the new edition of Tales of Pain and Wonder, featuring photography by Travis Burton (the same Travis Burton I thank in the acknowledgements to Daughter of Hounds). If you have not yet pre-ordered and would like a copy, you should probably do so soonish.

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Thanks to confusion over which publisher would have which rights to "Little Conversations" (a.k.a., "Salammbô Redux") — and I suspect I am partly to blame for this mess — there has been a bit of musical chairs involving "Little Conversations," "The Steam Dancer," and "The Ape's Wife." Though it was originally slated to appear first in the Subterranean Press anthology Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy, "The Ape's Wife" will be replacing "Little Conversations" in Clarkesworld Magazine, sometime in the next day or two. It will also be included in the forthcoming anthology, Realms: The First Year of Clarkesworld, and in the signed chapbook version of Issue 12 of the magazine. "The Steam Dancer," originally intended for the Fall 2007 issue of Subterranean Online, will be replacing "The Ape's Wife" in Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy. And, finally, an as yet undetermined story from Sirenia Digest will be replacing "The Steam Dancer" in the Fall 2007 Subterranean Online. Does that make sense? I hope so. As soon as "The Ape's Wife" is up, I'll post a link here. A good bit of yesterday was spent tweaking the story, and I think it's one of my best from the last couple of years (it was written back in April and May, you might recall).

Let's see. What else. Well, there have been movies. On Monday, disgusted with the lack of progress on the new story, I talked Spooky into a 4:30 matinee of James Mangold's remake of 3:10 to Yuma at Midtown. We were both very pleased with it. I saw someone refer to 3:10 to Yuma as the "best western since Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven" (1992), which might be true were it not for John Hillcoat and Nick Cave's The Proposition (2005). Then, last night, because we truly can be idiots sometimes, Spooky and I rented the unrated cut of Martin Weisz' The Hills Have Eyes 2. I have virtually nothing good to say about this film. It isn't scary. It isn't shocking. It isn't any good. It's actually quite a bit worse than Alexandre Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes (2006). The characters are, at best, targets, and in the absence of suspense, characterization, story, cinematography, and subtext, the film is little more than a cumbersome exercise in sadism and misogyny. It is, in all ways, both artless and pointless. I'm not slamming the film for being gory or vicious or bleak. I'm slamming it for being lousy and catering to the lowest possible common denominator. Move along...

One of the greatest frustrations I have in trying to explain the allure of Second Life to the uninitiated and the unaddicted is the difficulty of reproducing high-resolution images in this blog. But, Spooky (a.k.a Miss Artemisia Paine) took this shot last night, of Professor Nishi at sunset, on the roof of the Palaeozoic Museum in New Babbage with her telescope, and I was determined to include it here, regardless of the fact that this is a crappy, pixilated 72-dpi version of the image. It's behind the cut, and does not do justice.

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The platypus says it's time to bring this entry to a close and drink my coffee. The monotreme knows what's best. Comments?

Postscript (4:31 p.m.): "The Ape's Wife" in now up at Clarkesworld Magazine. Just follow this link. I do detest the way that web publication places spaces between paragraphs. I've been told, again and again, it's because people won't read unbroken blocks of texts, but if that were true, they wouldn't read books. Okay, so most of them don't. Anyway, yes, the story's up, and I do hope you like it. I'd love to hear your reactions (unless you hate it, in which case I'd rather not know).