I just got the news (thank you Doug Miller), via boingboing.net, that I am one of the thirty-one sf authors who will be discussed this month on the Science Fiction Message Board. Specifically, I have been assigned to August 23rd, or that day's been assigned to me, whichever. I'll post about this again nearer to the date, and here's the link to the announcement by Cory Doctorow. I was frankly amused at the person who complained about my inclusion on the list because I write "Vampire romance novels," when I've only written one vampire novel, sixteen years ago, and it wasn't very romantic.
Yesterday was an odd sort of day. A semi-day off, but at least I answered that mountain of email. Spooky baked some very yummy muffins for Lughnasadh (apple, cinnamon, walnuts, and dates). I loaded Sigur Rós' Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (2008) and Gordon Bok's Seal Djiril's Hymn (1972; my thanks to Sonya for this one) onto the iPod. I took a long, cool bath. That sort of rather aimless, laid-back sort of day. We get too few of those hereabouts. About 5:30, we headed to Beavertail for an informal Lughnasadh ceremony. And here things got a little derailed, and it was likely my fault.
I've always thought that the ruins of Fort Burnside (circa 1942, built to guard the minefield that was placed in Narragansett Bay during WWII) would be a wonderful place for ritual work, especially given that the two circular depressions that each once held a 3-inch gun have an odd and striking resemblance to a megalithic site, as does the old bunker. What I failed to take into account were the nosy people. Why I failed to take this into account is beyond me, as I know well enough that humans are pathologically incapable, in general, of minding their own damn business. As Spooky was beginning to cast the circle, some swamp-yankee goombah with a camera wandered up wanting to know what we were doing. As we worked, we attracted a smallish audience (a child's shrill and repeated scream, "Mommy! What are they doing?!"). And as we were heading back to the car, a woman approached (she was out walking her dog), and she said to Spooky, "I see you two are spiritual people." Spooky stopped to talk to her. I figured she was some harmless New Ager, so I busied myself putting things away. A few minutes later, Spooky shows up, grumbling, and tells me that the woman wanted to know if we'd "...ever thought about Jesus Christ, who created the sea?" It was all Spooky could do to keep me from going after the woman, I think. I was instantly livid. I swear to fuck, I considered making an impromptu human sacrifice to Panthalassa and all the hungry crabs and fishes.
I mean, what if I stood around outside some local Xtian church on Sunday, and when they exited, annoyed the congregation members with questions like, "Have you ever thought about the Morrigan, or Dionysus, or Brighid? What if someone who was Islamic, or Buddhist, or Hindu, or what-the-hell ever did such a rude, thoughtless, arrogant thing? Sure, I know why it's so, as I was raised Catholic and Methodist, but it is truly regrettable that so many Xtians are driven to evangelize, to witness, to annoy the shit out of the rest of us with their religion, when I'd never dare do such a thing. But I don't have to be happy about it. Afterwards, I was so angry I climbed down the cliffs to the sea, to a spot where the incoming tide was especially violent, slamming itself loudly against the rocks, slinging up spray ten or fifteen feet into the air. I sat there and watched the waves and tried not to hate that woman, who seemed to feel that we have so little conviction and so little right to privacy that she could approach us and ask such a goddamn, idiotic question. Spooky was much nicer to her than I'd have been, telling her "Many things made the sea." I'd have probably said, "Yeah, we did the Jesus thing, but, turns out, pagans get better sex. And, by the way, from that sour fucking look on your face, you could probably use some." We stayed with the sea until dark, then headed back to Providence, and got sandwiches from Eastside Market for dinner.
Oh, on the way down to Beavertail, we stopped at Newbury Comics in Warwick. I went in only meaning to get the new director's cut of Alex Proyas' Dark City (1998) and the newly released Doomsday (2008). But it is an evil, seductive place, and so we also picked up the hardback of Joss Whedon's Angel: After the Fall, Vol. 1 and a limited edition book/CD thingy Nick Cave has released to accompany Dig, Lazarus, Dig. Last night, we watched the new cut of Dark City, which runs 111 minutes, versus the theatrical release of 100 minutes. But, those restored eleven minutes make an already brilliant film far less choppy, more subtle, and give it quite a bit more depth. Also, the annoying opening voice-over that was forced on Proyas by the studio has been removed. At the time of the film's original release, I was a friend of a friend of the director's (well, technically, I still am), and knew that he was very displeased with the cut, especially with the voice-over, that gives away the film's fundamental mystery in the first minute. The restored footage concerning the whore's daughter (we don't even see that she has one in the 1998 cut) and Jennifer Connelly's character singing "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" (vocals performed by Anita Kelsey), were especially welcomed restorations. Anyway, I have always adored this film, and now I adore it even more.
Time to get back in the platypus saddle, back to work, and my thanks to Larry Roberts of Bloodletting Press for giving me a two-week extension on the introduction I agreed to write for S. T. Joshi's forthcoming Arthur Machen collection. Also, my thanks to Ernest Lilley (senior editor at SFRev) for sending me the following photos from my signing at Readercon 19. Spooky's even in most of them:
I have no idea what book I'm signing here.
Neil Clarke of Wyrm Publishing and Clarksworld Magazine on the left, and this is what happens when I try to smile. Oh, you can also see the Chiana mug Theo Black gave me.
Here I am actually signing an old copy of the long-defunct zine The Urbanite, the market to which my story "Paedomorphosis" first sold.
I love this guy, because he brought eleven books for me to sign, including ARCs.
All photos Copyright © Ernest Lilley 2008, used by permission.