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"Guys from the future..."

Up since 7:30 ayem, which might not have been so bad, except I didn't get to sleep until sometime after three, probably more like four.

There was snow in Providence yesterday evening, but the ground wasn't frozen, and it didn't stick. In the night, it changed over to rain.

Sometime just before I awoke, I dreamt of collecting fossils on Mars. I very, very frequently dream of collecting fossils, but usually the terran variety. In this dream, however, I was on Mars, in a very lightweight spacesuit. There was someone with me, but I can't recall now if it was someone I know in my waking life or not. We were walking a long river valley, a sort of braided river valley, which ran north to south (and the Ares Vallis comes to mind). Anyway, the ground was a very light grey, almost purple in places, a weathered clay or mudstone or siltstone of some sort. I came upon a small rise in the old riverbed (or flood channel) where an amazingly rich bone bed was exposed. The fossil bone was almost the same color as the stone, though I recall the unweathered parts being purplish and the more weathered surfaces being almost white. All the bones were disarticulated, but looked as though they'd come from Martian analogs of Late Paleozoic sarcopterygians and temnospondyls. Mostly, there were isolated skull bones: frontals, parietals, postorbitals, squamosals, parasphenoids, jugals, etc. I was elated to have come so unexpectedly upon such a wealth of bones, and was bagging them as quickly as possible. Whoever the person with me was, he or she was trying to get me to hurry, as we'd been away from the habitat too long, and there was concern about cosmic rays. Something like that. Still, I managed to fill two specimen bags. Marvelous dream. Maybe this is my subconscious telling me to get back to work on The Dinosaurs of Mars.


The last two days are a blur of editing The Red Tree. The good news, though, is that the ms. has to be back in Manhattan by Monday, so this can only possibly continue another four days, at the worst. Though I hopefully suspect that there's only two days work left to be done. I just got an email from Sonya (sovay), who very kindly went through and found all the quotes within the text, quotes from other works. They're all either "fair use" or quotes from works in the public domain (and most are the latter), but I have to provide documentation for each quote for legal at Penguin. Writing all that up will likely require a day. Yeah, see what fun shit authors get to do? And that will be that, at least until the CEM. But, this time, Spooky will be handling the CEM for me, mostly, so that's a relief. She can write "stet" as well as I can ("stet" is a proofreaders mark, Latin for "let it stand," and when one wishes to disregard a copyeditor's mark, one writes "stet" in the margin of the page. My CEMs get hundreds and hundreds of "stets").

The eBay auctions continue. Thanks to everyone who has bid thus far. Take a look. Bid if you are able and interested.


One of the many things that needed doing in this round of editing The Red Tree required that I read Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear" again. It's really one of the most atrociously written of HPL's stories, and a testament to how stupendously his writing improved from the early 1920s to the early and mid-1930s. Anyway, yeah, I had to read back over the story on Tuesday, because there's a line from it that I'd been trying to recall, that I wanted to use for one of Sarah Crowe's novels (Sarah is the protagonist of The Red Tree). I last read the story back in June, when we were driving up from Atlanta; while we were driving through the Catskills, in fact. And I found this one line, and I thought, That would make a great title for one of Sarah's novels. But, I didn't mark it. Hence the need for a re-read. However, halfway through the story on Tuesday, I could take no more, had not found the line, and decided that The Ark of Poseidon would remain The Ark of Poseidon. I did, however, rediscover a very interesting thing.

I have argued in the past that Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (1959) owes a considerable debt to Lovecraft, in particular to "The Dreams in the Witch House." But I can also point to a passage in "The Lurking Fear." At the end of Chapter Five of The Haunting of Hill House, Eleanor and Theo experience another harrowing visit to their bedroom by the entity that "walked there" in Hill House. In her terror, Eleanor reaches out and takes Theo's hand, and she squeezes it tightly. At the very end of the chapter, however, the lights come up, and Nell discovers that she couldn't have been holding Theo's hand, after all, as Theo is still across the room in her own bed. Jackson writes:

"What?" Theodora was saying. "What, Nell? What?"
"God god," Eleanor said, flinging herself out of bed and across the room to stand shuddering in a corner, "God god — whose hand was I holding?"

In "The Lurking Fear," HPL's protagonist has an almost identical experience when he and two companions spend a night at the Martense mansion on Tempest Mountain. Three men fall asleep in one bed. The narrator is in the middle. Though in a sort of fever dream, he is distinctly aware that one of his companions, at one point, throws an arm across the narrator's chest. Then he awakes to find both men dead and horribly mutilated. HPL writes:

Something had lain between me and the window that night, but I shuddered whenever I could not cast off the instinct to classify it. If it had only snarled, or bayed, or laughed titteringly — even that would have relieved the abysmal hideousness. But it was so silent. It had rested a heavy arm or fore leg on my chest...


Last night, Spooky and I watched Ridley Scott's Body of Lies, which I wish I'd been able to see in the theatre. I thought it was splendid. And it occurred to me that, unlike the Vietnam War, the great movies about America's war against Middle Eastern nations are being made right now, while the events are still unfolding. Which is an interesting state of affairs. Of course, history could always prove me wrong. Maybe the Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan Apocalypse Now won't be made until 2020 or so.

There. A nice long entry of substance, despite the insomnia. Screw you, "micro-blogging."


( 14 comments — Have your say! )
Feb. 19th, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
The Lurking Fear is not a very good story, but I love the concept of the Martense family. One of their descendants plays an important role in a comic I really want to do someday, when I find someone willing to draw it.
Feb. 19th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)

The Lurking Fear is not a very good story

That's a very kind understatement.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 19th, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)

That is a wonderful dream, all the way through.

I was really far more wonderful than I make it sound. But, yeah.
Feb. 19th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
'Yeah, see what fun shit authors get to do?'

I have long thought that you should compile the more annoying work-related journal entries into a pamphlet entitled So You Wanna Be a Writer, Kiddo?: Why You're Probably Better Off Becoming a Plumber or Something, foreword by Harlan Ellison.
Feb. 19th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
This should feature the Three Cardinal Laws of Plumbing:

1. Hot is on the left.
2. Shit flows down.
3. You get paid on Friday.

This final law demonstrates the vast superiority of plumbing to writing.
Feb. 19th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
Or if not plumbing, then electrician. Less shit, but more risk of electrocution.
Feb. 19th, 2009 08:53 pm (UTC)
This final law demonstrates the vast superiority of plumbing to writing.

While we're at it, I must point out that the second item on your list, as regards both plumping and writing, is frequently violated.

Edited at 2009-02-19 08:53 pm (UTC)
Feb. 20th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
I'll also admit that in at least one of the bathrooms in our house, the hot is on the right. ;)
Feb. 19th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
Off Topic question, Ms. K.

As I mentioned, I got my copy of A is for Alien last week or so and I was sort of surprised at the limited number of stories. I was honestly of the opinion that you had done quite a large number of SF stories that just hadn't made it to being collected together. This might be because of my subscription to Sirenia, though. My comment here is not to complain, but rather to ask, "why weren't the stories in the chapbook (B is for Beginnings) included in the main collection?" Although they are older stories (or stories reflecting a younger writer), I found them rather enjoyable. I'd sort of like to see a revisiting of the rad-wasted world of the toxies and scavengers that the stories introduced.

I'm just curious if you had some hesitation about these stories, or if there were space/printing limitations, or some other reason why the stories were left out of the main volume. I've been sitting on this for a few days since I wanted to make sure it wasn't addressed in one of the published forewords or introductions to A is for Alien & B is for Beginnings.
Feb. 19th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
his might be because of my subscription to Sirenia, though. My comment here is not to complain, but rather to ask, "why weren't the stories in the chapbook (B is for Beginnings) included in the main collection?"

Those three stories were reprinted in From Weird and Distant Shores, and both Bill Schafer and myself felt they did not belong in this new collection. For my part, there's such a great shift in voice, and my writing has matured to such a degree, since those three early tales, that I felt it would have jeopardized the cohesiveness of the collection. So, yes, there was a very specific reason they were put in the chapbook, instead.

Edited at 2009-02-19 05:52 pm (UTC)
Feb. 19th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
Those three stories were reprinted in From Weird and Distant Shores...

*sigh* Obvious answer is obvious. Thanks for the response, though.
Feb. 19th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the response, though.

You're quite welcomed.
Feb. 19th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
Maybe this is my subconscious telling me to get back to work on The Dinosaurs of Mars.

If your subconscious isn't, I am. I would like very much to read it.
Feb. 19th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)

If your subconscious isn't, I am. I would like very much to read it.

Okay. I'm putting it on my to do list for 2010.
( 14 comments — Have your say! )