February 12th, 2010


"Visionary's blind ambition, unintended consequnces."

1. Kathryn and I were stunned and deeply saddened at the news of Alexander McQueen's death, at age 40. Far too fucking young. McQueen was an especially important influence for Kathryn, who told me, yesterday, that it was his work that first showed her that fashion could be art. But this is all we get from any artist, as much as they have to give, however little or however much.

2. Today is Darwin Day, of course. Viva la Evolución! I offer this quote from Carl Sagan:

The secrets of evolution are death and time — the deaths of enormous numbers of lifeforms that were imperfectly adapted to the envirnoment; and time for a long succession of small mutations that were by accident adaptive, time for the slow accumulation of patterns of favorable mutations. Part of the resistance to Darwin and Wallace derives from our difficulty in imagining the passage of the millennia, much less the aeons. What does seventy million years mean to beings who live only one-millionth as long? We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it forever.

3. Our "blizzard" of two nights ago was a bit of a bust. South County got quite a bit of snow, but most of it missed Providence. There's a little still on the ground, but not much.

4. Yesterday, I received what may be the best fan letter I ever have received. My thanks to Jennifer Roland and Sean Foley of the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Anthropology. It begins, "We are drunk. You are awesome...We are currently snowed into our department office, and have discovered that we both love your writing...Belly's Low Red Moon is playing RIGHT NOW, and we have found a typewriter to write you a letter. Of all the ways there are to be snowed in, this is one of the most agreeable." And it goes on, wonderfully, and came with two topographic maps, one New London, Conn-N.Y. quadrangle, and another of the Jackson's Gap quadrangle (Alabama; did a lot of fieldwork in this area, way back when). Both maps have monsters drawn on the back of them. A "Brogmotherium" (looks rather like an arboreal crocodylomorph) on the latter map, and a "Chrixptherium" or "Cephal-bear" drawn on the former. Anyway, my thanks to Sean and Jen, who made a Very Bad Day not so very bad.

5. I've learned that a wonderful review of The Red Tree has appeared in the January '10 issue of the New York Review of Science Fiction, penned by Pete Rawlik. I shall quote a short bit, to give you the gist:

It should be obvious to regular readers of my reviews that I am not a fan of Sarah Crowe’s fiction. I found her novel The Ark of Poseidon pretentious and derivative of the worst parts of Faulkner and Chappell. I believe I called A Long Way to Morning “a tragic southern gothic disguised as an urban, angst-driven, slow-motion train wreck that should be relegated to the dustbins of memory”. Her short story collection Silent Riots was a juvenile exercise in gender-bending erotica that despite its immaturity, likely garnished the kind of toxic attention that she so obviously was in pursuit of. In my mind Sarah Crowe had been set on the shelf with Hastane, Torrance, Ashbless and others who have afflicted the public with their overly dramatic and self-indulgent prose.

So it came as some surprise when editor Sharon Halperin asked me to review
The Red Tree, Crowe’s posthumously published account of her last days at Wight Farm. In a strange twist of literary, legal and financial entanglements, reminiscent of the legal battles between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane, this book is actually published and copyrighted under the name of famed horror writer Caitlin Kiernan. Apparently, Crowe owed Kiernan a significant debt, and in settling Crowe’s estate, the family ceded rights to publish The Red Tree to Kiernan, on the condition that Crowe’s name would not appear on the cover or in any advertising. The fact that only Kiernan’s name and not Crowe’s appears on the cover may serve to confuse some readers as to authorship, but it does not detract from the quality of the work at hand.


6. Spooky and I have been digging Caprica (even if it does derive from the Syphilis Channel). I think it's off to a great start, and I especially appreciate the cinematography (rarely, does TV cinematography catch my eye, and rarer still am I pleased with it). It helps that we get Eric Stoltz, whom I've always enjoyed, and Paula Malcolmson, who I loved as Trixie in Deadwood. We will spend today doing the proofing to "Sanderlings" and "Untitled 35," which we meant to do on Wednesday. And yeah, this paragraph is a mess as paragraphs go, I agree.

7. The Insilico rp continues to go marvelously. The story rapidly unfolds all about me. Well, that little corner of the grander story, the little corner I inhabit. Presently, there are three Xiangs, though it did not go quite as I thought it would. The Gemini Corporation has Xiang 2.0b (after extensive reprogramming) working the streets as an Internal Affairs investigator. Xiang 2.0a, the first to be awakened after the EMP, now inhabits an elaborate, exponentially expanding universe of her own creation, contained within the briefcase of Gemini cognate Molly Longshadow, who has convinced the X2.0a AI that it is a goddess. And where I thought X2.0c would be, there is, instead, X1.5, which Omika Pearl restored from Xiang's home terminal, using a back-up made several night's prior to the destruction of the original Xiang. X1.5 has been allowed to reenter the machine collective, unbeknownst to her owner, Omika (yeah, X1.5 is a liarbot). There's one screencap from last night, behind the cut (below). Oh, a few days ago, I replied to papersteven that I would not be posting a journal for any of these characters. However, I've decided last night's Molly/X2.0a transcript will be posted. It's just too surreal not to put up. Also, I'll be posting a complete biography of the Xiangs to the Insilico Ning, and I'll put links here tomorrow.

Collapse )