1. The work part of yesterday was spent going over the production notes from Audible.com for The Red Tree. A number of minor edits and rewrites had to be made, things that worked in print but not being read aloud, and there were some corrections. I am told that the target release date for all the Audible.com adaptations of my novels (except Silk, which they won't be doing, at least not for now), is April 27th. After I was finished talking to my contact at Audible, I spoke with my editor at Penguin, to see if the corrections could be incorporated into the mass-market paperback of The Red Tree, due out later this year. She talked with the production manager, who said yes. Also, I was told the corrections would likely be made in a second printing of the trade paperback, if there is a second printing. Just the mention of the possibility made me hopeful, as it means the book must be selling halfway decently, or my editor wouldn't have bothered even to mention a second printing. Anyway, if you want the original text, you'll need to pick up the first printing of the trade, the one on sale now.
2. A goodly portion of yesterday was spent following the news coming out of Haiti, what little news is coming out of Haiti. The scope of the disaster is staggering, and horrific. Officials are now reporting that the death toll in Haiti may be somewhere between 100,000-500,000 lives lost thus far. This in a nation with a population of only about ten million. So, in a single earthquake, between one and five percent of the population may have perished. Let's assume the more conservative number and say 100,000. Even the worst natural disaster in American history doesn't come close. The death toll for the "Great" San Francisco earthquake of 1906 was about 3,000. The Chicago Heat Wave of 1995, only 739. The Tri-State Tornado of 1925, only 925 fatalities. In 1871, the Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin (same date as the Chicago fire) killed 1,200 to 1,500 people. The 1900 Galveston hurricane killed about 8,000 people, and Katrina resulted in 1,836 confirmed deaths. The 1811-1812 series of three stupendous earthquakes along the New Madrid Fault (halfway between St. Louis and Memphis, beneath the Mississippi River), which shook the entire United States, killed only a few thousand people (thanks to low population density at the time). In terms of actual deaths directly attributable to any single event, nothing in America even comes close to what is happening in Haiti. Understand, I do not intend to make light of any of these events and their consequences. I'm just trying to put all this in perspective for myself.
3. Yesterday, on the way to the market, we stopped just off Point Street so I could get more photos of the ongoing demolition of the old I-195 overpass. After viewing the devastation in Haiti, it felt very...odd. This time, I photographed the overpass from the western side (my first set of photos were taken from the eastern side). The photos are below, behind the cut. It was bitter cold, and the sky looked like a slab of polished slate (darker than it appears in the photos). As we were pulling into the parking lot, it began to snow very lightly. Spooky made chili for dinner. We watched four more episodes of Fringe, finishing up Season One.
4. There was a little Second Life rp last night. And something has occurred to me, one reason that I dislike the "urban fantasy" sims in SL. In worlds where demons, angels, werewolves, "nekos," vampires, fairies, and pretty much any other mythical being you can think of all walk the street and rub shoulders, the effect is that the marvelous and terrifying quickly becomes mundane. It's possible, in this scenario, that by inversion the ordinary could be elevated to the level of marvelous and terrifying, except that's not what happens. The ordinary becomes extra-mundane. And in a world of monsters, you have hundreds of players who seem not even half aware of the possibility of wonder or awe. It's all cartoon sex, street gangs, and cynical indifference to the Weird. Which is something worse than sad. Fantasy in the wrong hands...
5. Let me remind you that, tomorrow night, I will be reading from "Houses Under the Sea," at the Lovecraft Unbound reading being hosted by the Montauk Club in Brooklyn, NY (in the historic 120 year-old Ballroom at the Montauk Club, 25 Eighth Avenue, Park Slope, adjacent to Grand Army Plaza). Admission is $5 for non-members, and the reading begins at 8 p.m. EST, with a social hour and tour of the building afterwards. Seating is limited. As I have said, this will likely be my last public appearance until Readercon this summer. I will sign any books you feel like bringing along.
And here are the overpass photos:
All photographs Copyright © 2010 by Caitlín R. Kiernan