Woke to a rainy morning here in Providence. It is impossible, of course, not the check into the NOAA website to keep an eye on the progress of Gustav, and for that matter, Hanna. I know too many people in the paths of each storm not to worry.
A week or so ago I mentioned being somewhat pleasantly baffled that Trisha Telep chose "Untitled 12" and "Ode to Edvard Munch" for her anthology, The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance. From Amazon, the following quotes illustrate my point. A reader reviewed the book story-by-story, giving each story a star rating (X out of 5). Of my two, she wrote, "My least favorite were both of Kiernan's entries...the vague poetic style of these stories left me unconnected to their characters." I am amused:
"Ode to Evdard [sic] Munch" - Caitlin Kiernan - A man shares his blood with a mysterious vamp for a piece of her dreams. (3 stars - no romance and the connection between the leads was odd)"
—— and especially ——
"Untitled 12" - Cailtlin R. Kiernan - A sick woman searches until a vampire finds her. (1 star - I detested this one. More on the horror side, the vampire and the turning were truly icky, though I debated giving an extra star to the author for inspiring such strong negative feelings with so few words.)"
There's no place here where I can say that the reader seems to have misunderstood anything, unless, perhaps, it was the fundamental principles of fiction and that low-brow bit about "vague poetic style." I am rather pleased that "Untitled 12" inspired such loathing, as it was written, in part, as a response to the glut of "romantic" vampire prOn, and "Ode to Edvard Munch," being, in part, a dream cycle, it is undeniably "odd" (though I am left to wonder how a mortal and a vampire would have a non-odd connection). I think this gets back to what I have said before about the expectation of genre readers defeating texts, and writers who cater to such readers. And the "supernatural romance" crowd is at least as bad as the hard sf crowd. For my part, I'm pleased that Telep wanted these two stories in her book, and that pleasure arises specifically from the knowledge that they were so completely opposite of what the readers would be expecting. You know, blood, instead of red cotton candy. In the end, I blame Anne Rice (who once knew better), and her idiot step-daughter, Laurell K. Hamilton, for the the sad state of affairs with vampires in genre fiction, as well as this whole absurd "paranormal romance" subgenre thing.
Yesterday. It throws me off making entries late in the day. But, yesterday there was...stuff. Last night, Spooky and I watched Martin McDonagh's genuinely brilliant and thoroughly delightful In Bruges (2008), which I recommend most highly. Great cast. Great script. And Bruges. I read another paper from the new Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology —— "Mahajangasuchus insignis [Crocodyliformes; Mesoeucrocodylia] cranial anatomy and new data on the origin of the eusuchian-style palate." Mahajangasuchus is one of those grand bull-dog crocs, and the observations on the evolution of the "hard" palate in crocodyliforms was especially interesting, that the structure might have arisen both as a response to the need to decouple the oral cavity from respiration (an advantage only to aquatic forms, and pretty much the leading idea since Huxley proposed it in 1875) and also as a response to torsional feeding stresses. I even have a picture:
Cast of the skull of Mahajangasuchus from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar
Last night, more EVE, which I do enjoy, despite the breakneck learning curve and despite the emphasis on PvP action. The latter is especially problematic, and I'm disappointed the game places so much stress on conformity and cooperation and makes no real provision for loner malcontents like me (and most of the characters I create). Then, too, there is the game's manic devotion to corporate commerce as a driving force for its story, when there could have been so much more of substance to motivate its players (religion, race, politics, etc.). Economics has always bored me to tears, and much of EVE revolves around buying and selling and stock and shares and blah, blah, blah. I just want to zip around the universe fighting space pirates (or, better yet, being a space pirate), shagging hot aliens, and gawking at new star systems. So, EVE gets two thumbs up for realizing such an amazingly complex gaming universe, and for making it beautiful, and two thumbs down for turning it into a dreadful capitalist bore that expects me to constantly interact with PvP-obsessed teenagers who name their starships after their penises and wouldn't know "suspension of disbelief" if it cut off their allowances. Regardless, tonight I have to get back to work on Howards End. It's time to attend to a lot of the details of the necropolis/warren/train tunnel complex, and soon we'll be laying the streets. My thanks to everyone who's sent me information on potential characters. If I have not already been in touch, I will soon. I just badly needed a break from SL.
Postscript (4:32 p.m.): from NOAA: 000
WTNT62 KNHC 301718
HURRICANE GUSTAV TROPICAL CYCLONE UPDATE
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072008
120 PM EDT SAT AUG 30 2008
DATA FROM AN AIR FORCE RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT INDICATE THAT GUSTAV HAS CONTINUED TO STRENGTHEN AND NOW HAS MAXIMUM WIND NEAR 145 MPH...230 KM/HR WITH HIGHER GUSTS. THIS MAKES GUSTAV AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE. A SPECIAL ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED AT ABOUT 200 PM EDT TO MODIFY THE INITIAL AND FORECAST INTENSITIES. THE SPECIAL PUBLIC ADVISORY WILL TAKE THE PLACE OF THE INTERMEDIATE PUBLIC ADVISORY PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED FOR THAT TIME.