Yesterday, I wrote another 1,215 words on "A Mountain Walked." The post brought my comp copy of The Mammoth Book of Steampunk: 30 Extraordinary Tales (Running Press), which reprints "The Steam Dancer (1896)." This marks the third reprinting of the story since 2007, and if you include its original appearance in Sirenia Digest (which I do), it's been published a total of four times in five years. Which makes me very proud of it. I do think it's one of my better short stories, and that it's aging well, but I think this will be the last time I allow it to be reprinted in the foreseeable future.
Also, ellen_datlow has announced the ToC for her forthcoming anthology Hauntings (Tachyon Publications), which reprints "The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad No. 4)."
This week, while cleaning my office, I found several checks totaling $386.50 hidden in the chaos. One dates back to early January. This not only speaks to the severity of the now-banished clutter, it says quite a bit about my state of mind these past few months.
As announced last night on Twitter and Facebook, I'm going to begin a weekly podcast, Aunt Beast's Salt Marsh Home Companion, and, hopefully, it will begin sometime in May. Each week I will read one classic (or obscure) work of weird fiction. The podcast will be FREE and will be anchored on my website. My hatred for my voice be damned. Also, will some web-savvy person whose willing to donate time and energy to work with the site please speak up. Thank you.
Back on the 19th, I promised I would say a little more about Whedon and Goddard's wonderful The Cabin in the Woods, and now I shall (behind a cut, because it enters spoiler territory, and I apologize on LJ's behalf for the "cut-along-the-dotted-line" silliness*). These observations are not especially profound. To me, they seem fairly obvious:
1) I am always annoyed at people who read a book or see a movie and boast of having "seen the end coming" or having "figured out the twist" long before the end. These people are morons. And I've heard a lot of this regarding The Cabin in the Woods. However, like The Red Tree, this film isn't a story designed in such a way that the audience is meant to solve a puzzle. It's one in which the characters in the story are meant to try and solve a puzzle. From the film's very first scene, we are shown this isn't simply a slasher film, and I'd expect anyone to have a pretty good idea of what's up after fifteen or twenty minutes. And if you're a fan of Angel, simply seeing Amy Acker in that lab coat should have been enough to cue you in that here we have Joss Whedon playing with the concept of Wolfram and Hart on a much larger scale. If you're not on the ball, then surely you know what's what by the time the RV enters the tunnel and that hawk flies into the grid to be promptly incinerated. So, stop with the "I figured it out" bullshit. It's not a mystery, except to those trapped within the cabin.
2) And this is where the profound is actually probably rather obvious. In the end, we have a film about the importance of rituals in controlling the darker urges of humanity, the murderous bump-in-the-night boogeymen of our unconscious that would tear society apart were it not for, say, as in this case, the safety valve of scary movies. The "old gods" are not actually in that seething pit below Dana and Marty. They are symbols of the demons lurking within us all, always looking for a way out should the bulwarks of our social rituals ever fail. And here that's exactly what happens. Just as that thin line between comedy and horror that has always existed is now collapsing (this has happened many times before in human history), the film's faceless league of international corporations fail because, when all is said and done, Dana and Marty are able to (literally) short circuit the ritual and turn it back upon the shamans. They cease to be afraid, and, in so doing, the ancient monsters of the id are released upon the world, to enact a sort of global reset. This is as fine a commentary on the current state of our culture as I could ever manage. It's not even subtext. CNN is more terrifying than all the zombies we can send shambling through dark forests, and the monsters have become comical in the eyes of most people. You want to understand this film, step back, stop thinking of it as simply a scary movie, and look to Joseph Campbell, Freud, and Jung. And, too, the film demonstrates that it's not the archetypal specters we fear in this day and age, but technology wielded by governments hardly (or no more) scrupulous than Orwell's Big Brother.
Also, "I'm sorry that I let a werewolf bite at the end of the world."
And now I must get back to Wyoming in 1879...
* I see now that LJ have taken its head from out its ass an dispensed with that nonsense.