November 2nd, 2012


"I am weak and therefore fold." (again)


Dreary and cold here in Providence. Okay. Not cold, but not warm. Sort of coldish. Only 52˚ Fahrenheit, with clouds. Nasty.

My feet are very bad again. I may be using a goddamn stick again soon, and I swore I never would. A fucking stupid sort of vow, I know, but I did, nonetheless. There are blocks of wood below my ankles.

So, yes, it's a happy second of November!

Yesterday, I went back to "The Interrupted Bone Sharp." I think I've been very angry with myself for setting it aside. Shelving it. Whatever. I wrote another 854 words on the chapbook, a section about having been, while still a kid, the first person to discover the blastoid Granatocrinus granulatus in the Mississippian of Alabama. Yeah, you're yawning already. But that's not the point. The point is that I refused to allow myself to be cowed by my past. Kill your fear. Anyway, I'm thinking now of posting a section of the chapbook here (behind a cut, of course), to see how people like it. It's not the sort of writing I'm used to doing. It's somehow both easier and more difficult than writing fiction. I also proofed the colored pages for the first chapter of Alabaster: Boxcar Tales, which begins in Dark Horse Presents in November.

A week or so back,I got my contributor's copies of Steampunk III: Steampunk Revolution, edited by Ann VanderMeer, which contains my story "Goggles (ca. 1910)." This is the story I almost titled "The Last Steampunk Story." For me, it is. If I can help it. Yeah, it's a Cherry Creek story. The last one. I'm actually very fond of the story, which is sort of YA, but it does represent the culmination of my exasperation with a very poorly thought-out aesthetic and my own unfortunate infatuation with that aesthetic.

How long, I wonder, until the Outrage Olympics squawk about words like "child" and "kid," because, you know, they stigmatize young people as "Other"? Oh, and forget "whippersnapper." Soon, kittens, if not already.

Yesterday, I finished Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl, last month's "book of the month" selection. Though I went in with doubts, turns out this is, in fact, quite an impressive accomplishment. Jesus, for a first fucking novel? If only my first (or second) could have been a tenth that good. Astoundingly fine world building. In fact, one of only (few) significant complaints is that the characters often become lost in the setting. And, too, the title character spends far too much time off stage (not even appearing until Chapter 3), especially given that she's the most interesting person in the book. There are undoubtedly too many characters (less ensemble is more), and the Hock Seng subplot should have been dispensed with. In fact, you could simply remove it, in toto, and the excision wouldn't affect the rest of the book negatively in any way. And that's never a good sign. And has anyone noticed that The Windup Girl is essentially a retelling of Blade Runner. That's not a bad thing, but I found it interesting I'd never heard anyone remark on it. Oh, wait. The Sacramento Book Review actually did. Never mind. I was pleasantly surprised that the book deviates from hard SF into a sort of fantasy or magical realism, via the haunting of Kanya by Jaidee.

All that said, it is a beautiful novel, in its language and in its vision. And Bacigalupi may well be a worthy successor to William Gibson. Well, back when William Gibson was still writing interesting novels. Here we have a brutally realistic imagining of a post-petroleum world wracked by bioengineering, overpopulation, famine, corporate greed, global warming, and war. I only wish it were more a story about the windup herself. Nonetheless if you haven't, read it. Great cover art by Raphael Lacoste, by the way.

And now, I promise I'm on my way back to Mars.

Aunt Beast