August 22nd, 2009


Strange moon, strange land, strange man.

Right now, it's a chilly 85F in the House, and rising. We call this gallows humour.

Yesterday, despite the heat and the sweat and something approaching a fevered delirium, as the mercury climbed towards 89F (with a heat index hovering around 100F), I wrote 1.037 words on "Werewolf Smile," which is being written as a single paragraph. I asked Spooky, last night, as we were going to bed, if she thought people would murder me if I wrote the next novel as a single paragraph not broken into chapters. She said, without a moment's hesitation, yes, they would. Regardless, in some ways, the vignette, "Werewolf Smile," is the beginning of a "dry run" for the next novel, the one with the working title Blood Oranges.

Much of the past three days, when I wasn't too hot and sweaty to think, has been spent pondering some of the inconceivably stupid myths about Elizabeth Short that have been handed down across the decades. Was the thing not strange and terrible enough to start with, without all that conspiracy theory and tabloid silliness? And no, Blood Oranges is not a novel about the Black Dahlia murder, though there is some common ground.

Yesterday, while I wrote, Spooky took her ailing laptop into the guys at Geek Squad. They immediately deduced that the motherboard had gone belly up. Remember, she just had the hd replaced about three weeks ago. So, now she has to wait 2-3 weeks for the motherboard to be replaced. Which slows things down around here a bit. For one, it'll mean that the book trailer/short film thingy likely won't be ready until next month, as she was doing much of that work on her laptop. She's working on my old (2001) iBook, but it's pretty limited. There'll be no WoW for either of us until her machine comes home (but think of the bonus we'll have accrued).

I'm seeing some nice reviews of The Red Tree. I don't think I've seen but one or two that have made me wince or cringe, which is sort of a new experience. I will say, please read the prologue before you begin Chapter One. This is very important. Don't skip it. It's there at the start for a reason. I will also say that I think it's very strange when people complain about unreliable narrators, since, by definition, all first-person narrations are unreliable, to one degree or another. I am especially confused by those who claim to be fond of reader-response theory, but have disdain for unreliable narrators, since unreliable narrators force the reader to play a more active role in interpreting and shaping the narrative.

If you've not already, please have a look at the current eBay auctions.

Last night, we read from Gibson's Spook Country, until we could no longer stand the stagnant heat of the House. We went to Thayer Street, to the Avon, and saw the 10:45 p.m. screening of Duncan Jones' Moon. A brilliant, disturbing, and beautiful film, expertly paced and written. It's rare to get two very good, very smart sf films in a single year. I think it last happened in 2006, when we got Children of Men and The Fountain. This year, we get District 9 and Moon. In a lot of ways, Moon harks back to the better sf films of the 70s, and I especially appreciated that. Oh, and a score by Clint Mansell, which is always a good thing. If you can see it, do. It's hard not to get the feeling that, somehow, this film was an inevitability, if we begin with "Space Oddity."

Leaving the theatre (and beforehand, for that matter), Spooky groused about how Thayer Street has changed since the '80s, how the funky little shops and restaurants have all been replaced by chain stores and cookie-cutter people. What William Gibson would probably call avatar people. Mostly Brown students, I'm guessing, and none of them are too tall or too short, too thin or too fat. They stand out in no way at all, as though suffering from some fear of being distinguishable one from the other. They are neither pretty nor ugly. There is the male model, attired in the male-model uniform, available in several interchangeable ethnic variants. Same with the girls. Terrifyingly bland, really. Mall culture. I think I've decided that it's not that we see people who look like Second Life avatars, but that Second Life avatars actually look like these cookie-cutter people.

And now, the platypus says it's time to get back to the story. And I will obey, as it's too hot to weather those venomous spurs.