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Just My 0.003¢

0. Not gonna write about SW:toR today. There's too much else. I'll come back to it tomorrow. But, in short, it's the best MMORPG I've ever played, though I will temper that estimation with some minor caveats.

1. I haven't had to mark any days L for a long time (thank you, meds), but yesterday was a lost day. There was very little in me but anger. I managed only a flury of email before having Spooky drive me to the Athenaeum. It was peaceful downstairs in the reading room. The comforting, soothing smell of old, old books. Ghosts beyond counting. I am only sorry I committed a blasphemy by using my iPad amid those shelves (I'm not being sarcastic). I proofed the pencils for Alabaster #1, pages 17 through 25, but they were almost perfect, so it wasn't much work.

2. Today is the third anniversary of the day I first saw wintry precipitation in New England. Today, though, it's 52˚F, sunny and windy.

3.* Gonna talk shop. The business of publishing that is. Frequently, people ask me for writing advice, and, almost without fail, I refuse to offer it. But here's something. If a magazine, especially a fairly prominent online science-fiction zine, isn't willing to pay more than 0.003¢/word for a reprint in return for (and I quote from the contract) "digital media rights," which said contract defines as "...all non-physical forms including but not limited to html, Kindle, iTune apps, Mobi, ePub, and others" (id est, everything imaginable) then you need to stay far, far away from these sorts of publishers. They have nothing to offer you. No, not even "visibility." But, though I ought to know better, I just signed such a contract, because I have mountains of stories available for reprint, and when I agreed to the arrangement – several months ago – I had no idea what comprehensive electronic rights were expected in return for the paltry $25 I'd agreed to as an advance. I only saw the contract on November 21st (this is for their December issue), though the reprint request was made by them two months earlier. In between, I had to stop them from rewriting portions of the story. Anyway, point being, I don't care what the online publication is, you and your "digital media rights" are worth more than 0.003¢/word. Last I checked, pro rates were still hovering between 3-5¢/word. And, by the way, this emphatically was not Subterranean Magazine or Clarkesworld, both of whom have always paid me very well for online rights. I feel like, more and more, we're working – all of us, not just authors – in an environment that aggressively discourages dissent, then punishes dissenters, those who aren't so happy to get any work that they'll work under any conditions and for any price.

4. Today, I will do my very best to finish Alabaster. That's just five pages of script.

5. Please don't forget Question @ Hand #5!

6. I lay awake night before last, in the arms of Monsieur Insomnia, and watched George P. Cosmatos' Leviathan (1989) for the third or fourth time. What sort of film do you get when you splice Ridley Scott's Alien to John Carpenter's The Thing, then set it at the bottom of the sea? Well, you get Leviathan, a film which shamelessly steals from both those other films in almost every way possible. When I first saw it in theatres, I was furious. Later, on video, it just sort of bored me. But Monday night, watching it, I thought, Well, if I give Alien and The Thing each an A+ for Astounding, then I ought to give Leviathan a C for Could Have Been Worse, or Competent, or maybe for Cause I'm Only Half Awake. As the film has aged, it's easier to forgive the blatant plagiarism. Leviathan has taken on a questionable charm all its own. Peter Weller is truly fun to watch as he swaggers and scowls and uses the performance to bemoan the state of his career as it swirls round and round the drain. I actually love Peter Weller, and here he seems to be giving Cosmatos a well-deserved middle finger. And, too, Meg Foster autopilots her way through the role of the Tri-Oceanic Ice Queen rep giving the crew the shaft. It's those blue-white eyes of hers. But the rest of the cast is boring as dusty zwieback, though the monster/s is/are pretty cool. The whole thing with the sunken Russian ship and the blurry photos from its infirmary, that's nice, too. The tech is amusingly quaint (but not a tenth as convincing as the "used futures" seen in Alien and Blade Runner). As for the ending, it's clear neither the director nor the screenwriters were even trying to make sense. Still. Watch it if you can't sleep.

7. Tomorrow, I'll post the final cover for The Drowning Girl: A Memoir. (It's not the one up at Amazon).

8. Here are photos from a spectacular sunset on Monday:







Photographs Copyright © 2011 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac



Counting Fractions of Fractions of Pennies,
Aunt Beast

* Postscript (4:47 p.m.): The editor of the unnamed magazine has contacted me and withdrawn his offer to reprint the story for 0.003¢/word. This is really the best outcome. I would have withdrawn it myself, but didn't want them left in a lurch (though they'd hardly treated me with similar considerateness), what with the December issue looming. Now, I only wonder who told them about my post, as I'm pretty damn sure he doesn't read my blog. And I wonder how far the news of my evil treachery will flow through the grapevine, and if I'll be blacklisted by others of this caliber. We take responsibility for the outcome of our actions, if we choose to act.

Comments

( 34 comments — Have your say! )
lemonlies
Nov. 30th, 2011 06:37 pm (UTC)
Monday's sunset was beautiful in Boston as well. The amazing sunsets are the one thing that truly I miss about living in Florida.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)

We get many more of them here than I ever saw in Atlanta, Athens, or Birmingham.
MarisaSandlin
Nov. 30th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC)
One of the great pleasures about reading Two Worlds and In Between is coming across stories that I'd heard about for years but was never able to read. The Dry Salvages are just such a story and wow, what an amazing piece of work. I finished it this morning and before bed last night I was watching The Waters of Mars and realized that it had something in common. The persistent human belief that whatever lies out there in the cosmos must surely mean us good, right? I mean nothing viral and alien in a substance so innocous as water could ever mean us harm. This sounds idiotic but I think that story (yours, not RTD's) finally got through my little head what you've been saying all along, in some fashion or another: the other is magic but the other will likely kill you.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)

the other is magic but the other will likely kill you.

Yes, and not necessarily even out or malice, or even amusement.

I'm very glad you liked the story.
(no subject) - MarisaSandlin - Nov. 30th, 2011 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 30th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
sovay
Nov. 30th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
Here are photos from a spectacular sunset on Monday

That's breathtaking. There was something similar here, but I caught only the rags of it.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)

That's breathtaking.

I was working, and Spooky called me to see the sky burning.
martianmooncrab
Nov. 30th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
Peter Weller is truly fun to watch

he has been in some truly good and bad movies, and worth watching in most anything. He and Meg Foster can have the dueling blue eye thing going.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2011 07:49 pm (UTC)

he has been in some truly good and bad movies, and worth watching in most anything. He and Meg Foster can have the dueling blue eye thing going.

Yerp.
seph_ski
Nov. 30th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
Given your concerns about your iPad being inappropriately used in sacred book space, I thought taking a little time to read this delightful account might go a ways in balancing out your karma:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/11/29/142910393/the-library-phantom-returns
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2011 08:09 pm (UTC)

Can't decide if this is very awesome, or if I'm mostly horrified at the mutilation of the books....
(no subject) - seph_ski - Nov. 30th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 30th, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - seph_ski - Nov. 30th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 30th, 2011 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rysmiel - Nov. 30th, 2011 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 30th, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
dipsomaniac
Nov. 30th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC)
photos from a spectacular sunset on Monday

Spectacular says it all.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)

Indeed.
chris_walsh
Nov. 30th, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
Jerry Goldsmith's own assessment of Leviathan: "I did this movie back when it was good, when it was called Alien." It's the film that prompted him to get a better agent, though he also did Leviathan because he was friends with Cosmatos. (It's why Goldsmith almost scored Tombstone, too, but he had a conflict and recommended Bruce Broughton, who did a spectacular job.)
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)

Thank you. This restores a little of my faith in Goldsmith.
(no subject) - chris_walsh - Nov. 30th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - chris_walsh - Nov. 30th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 30th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
everville340
Nov. 30th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
Here are photos from a spectacular sunset on Monday.

One of the things that I miss back east is the distinctive architecture of "neighborhoods". The molten sky seething o'er the rooftops is beautiful.
greygirlbeast
Nov. 30th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)

The molten sky seething o'er the rooftops is beautiful.

Awe.
(no subject) - everville340 - Nov. 30th, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 30th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 30th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - everville340 - Nov. 30th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greygirlbeast - Nov. 30th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
jessamyg
Dec. 1st, 2011 12:01 am (UTC)
Almost Less Than Zero Word Rates
That was such a pitiful, pitiful offer. 0.003c a word; even the hacks in the age of all the pulp magazines would have laughed in their faces. Myself, I would have felt like taking every fragment of a cent and inserting them into whatever bodily orifice they made available. The sheer greed of some publishers is almost beyond belief. Notice I said almost
greygirlbeast
Dec. 1st, 2011 12:16 am (UTC)
Re: Almost Less Than Zero Word Rates

It was galling...and actually more galling and convoluted than what I posted. I was being faintly discrete.
( 34 comments — Have your say! )