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Something metal

Yes, that was, indeed, the correct word. Overwhelmed. And I am still overwhelmed. But I am also thankful, so I can probably live with overwhelmed. At this point, I'm planning for today to be the last day (for now) that I accept donations directly through PayPal. If donations continue at the current rate, by tomorrow, all existing and immediately incoming medical/dental bills will be covered, and as I will undoubtedly need this sort of assistance at some future date, I don't want to overtax your generosity. Of course and still, there will be Sirenia Digest, which is a good way to offer ongoing support, as well as our eBay auctions and Spooky's dolls (she doesn't have any up at the moment, but I post links whenever she does). And there are always the books, from both Penguin and Subterranean Press.

Also, I just got offers of assistance from Jeff VanderMeer and Matthew Cheney. Here's the deal: Jeff is offering free signed first-edition hb copies of Shriek: An Afterword to five people who donate and say so via his blog. Two of those books have already been claimed, I know. Meanwhile, Matt Cheney is offering three free copies of Best American Fantasy. So, if you'd like to donate and recieve Shriek, go to Jeff's blog and do so. If you'd like Best American Fantasy, say so here. Once I have confirmed the donations via PayPal, I'll let Jeff and Matt know. And my thanks to both of them. By the way, given what Matt and Jeff are offering here as incentives, and that these are their own private copies, I'd suggest these donations be at least $20.

And, for the last time, here's the PayPal button:


Subterranean Press has made an offer on my first collection of science fiction, and I've accepted. The book will include all my previously uncollected sf short stories, and will likely be titled either A is for Alien or Bradbury Weather and Other Stories. I'll post more details when they are available. The Dry Salvages will not be included in the volume, but we're talking about releasing the FREE ebook edition of The Dry Salvages to coincide with the release of the sf collection. We've also briefly discussed the third collection of erotica, but I have no details available on that yet.

Tales of Pain and Wonder is now at the printer, and you probably want to place your order soon, if you haven't already.


Byron came over last night, and we had dinner at the Vortex at L5P. He actually had the audacity to order the "Elvis" burger, which comes with fried banana slices, peanut butter, and bacon. I only had a bowl of chili, mostly because chewing is a chore right now, but I think one look at Byron's burger and I'd lost most of my appetite, anyway. He pronounced it "interesting." Anyway, he'd brought along a copy of John Dower's Britpop documentary, Live Forever (2003), and we watched it after dinner. I was a little disappointed that most of the film was given over the Oasis/Blur feud, and that so many important bands were only mentioned in passing (Radiohead, Portishead, Suede, etc.). I've always thought Noel Gallagher was a pompous ass and that Liam Gallagher was a silly git, and the documentary only served to reinforce those impressions. On the other hand, Damon Albarn (Blur) and Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) come off rather well. And I thought the film did a nice job of exploring the optimism surrounding the rise of New Labour and Tony Blair. And then I proceeded to go to bed at the rather reasonable (for me) hour of 2 ayem and sleep an almost unbelievable nine and a half hours.

Also, courtesy Sonya Taaffe (sovay), "Marie Smith, the last speaker of the Eyak language, died on January 21st, aged 89" I found this bit particularly chilling: "Just as impossible, scoffed the experts: in an age where perhaps half the planet's languages will disappear over the next century, killed by urban migration or the internet or the triumphal march of English, Eyak has no chance."

Okay. Cat, get off my desk!


Feb. 10th, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
There was some discussion over at linguaphiles when Mrs. Smith's death was initially reported.

It's always sad when a language dies, but it's also an inevitability; languages are like species or nations or cultures: they develop, they grow, they thrive, and, ultimately, they reach the end of their indefinite yet finite span. Some simply die off, like so many indigenous languages around the world have, partly through the willful acts of conquerors, others through simple realities of survival; others have children, splitting off into languages that bear familial resemblance yet are no longer truly compatible.

The English we know and speak today will one day cease to be; there will be none alive who will understand and speak it as a native, even if, like Latin or Ancient Greek, it is maintained continuously through scholarship. Already dialects of English are splitting off and becoming their own creatures; Singlish -- Singaporean English -- is a dialect that may well lose mutual intelligibility with the source language, especially as China grows to eclipse the West over the next century. In a hundred years, I fully expect Standard Chinese -- or, more properly, the form Standard Chinese will have a hundred years from now -- to be the language of trade and international relations, the role English enjoys now and that French once enjoyed. Sure, in a hundred years, half the languages spoken now will no longer be living languages, but many of the languages that die in that time -- possibly the majority -- will be thoroughly documented and researched, and there will doubtless be new languages that are considered but dialects now. It hasn't been all that long since Afrikaans was just a particularly crude-sounding dialect of Dutch; now, it's a reflection of the likely path all Germanic languages will follow, as the features it lost and gained in diverging from the parent tongue parallel the evolution of English from Anglo-Saxon.

But I ramble. The point is, it is lamentable that Eyak no longer lives, especially given why it died, but it is not forgotten, and, like ourselves, that it would one day die was inevitable from the first moment it began to live.