It was fairly late before I managed to escape this distraction-plague'd house yesterday, but I did wind up, finally, at Emory U., where I read through both "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)" and "La Mer des Rêves." Three down, ten to go, plus the preface. My revised plan is to do five or six more stories today, four or five tomorrow, then spend Saturday and Sunday with the preface, take Monday off, and get back to work on Daughter of Hounds on Tuesday. Except, there's also the "Bradbury Weather" revision to squeeze in there somewhere. I'll be going back to Emory today, me and my iBook. I have found unfindable places, beyond the reach of phones and e-mail.
I was very pleased, yesterday, reading back over "Spindleshanks (New Orleans, 1956)." It's still one of my best stories. So far, it's been published in Queer Fear (2000, Arsenal Pulp Press), a book for which the editors asked me to write a story about gay characters and were upset when I wrote a story about gay women. It was actually suggested to me, seriously, that I could simply change pronouns and make the characters male, some tidy literary sex change. I said no, I most certainly couldn't do that, and that no one had ever specified that they should be gay male characters, and so the story was published as written. It was then reprinted, in a slightly revised form, in Stephen Jones' superb Keep Out the Night anthology (PS Publishing, 2002). I think of it as a ghoul/werewolf story, though we never see any such beast in the tale, and so it probably works best as a ghost story. And it's the last story I set in New Orleans.
"La Mer des Rêves" was actually written for an on-again-off-again William Hope Hodgson tribute anthology, but ended up being published in John Pelan's Walk on the Darkside (2004, Roc). It's a very short piece, only a little bit more than two thousand words, something more of a brief phantasmagoria, a vignette of saltwater, world-shifting and gills, than a full-fledged short story. It's another one I love, if only for its complete lack of regard for the expectations of the short story (it has many more virtues; I'm just being difficult). Some of the themes that became important to Murder of Angels show up first in "La Mer des Rêves." A curiousity of both these stories is that they have characters named Emma or Emmie, which is only curious in light of the fact that I am currently writing a book about Emmie Silvey.
Should To Charles Fort, With Love include afterwords for each story, just a paragraph or two, as I did with From Weird and Distant Shores? I'd sort of prefer to, because I like people to know something of the history of a story. I'll post a poll asking this question later today or tonight.
I got back to Starlight Man, the Blackwood biography, last night, which really is shaping up to be very good, and also started reading The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt by William Nothdurft and Josh Smith, which I'd been wanting to get to for a while now.
Yesterday, I also snail-mailed some reference sketches I'd made to Leh'agvoi for our collaborative Nar'eth "winter manga." That should be along soon; I'll keep you posted. I find myself missing Nar'eth a lot lately. This pink, translucent alias lies heavy upon me. I don't know when I shall have another opportunity to be her.
I've been playing Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (Xbox) for the last few nights. In the very, very near future, a military coup has left North Korea in the hands of some guy of whom America (and "the Allies) disapprove, and he has a lot of nuclear weapons. You play one of three mercenaries, employeed by a shadowy, powerful para-military organization, sent in to capture or kill fifty-two men central to the NK coup, thus making the world once again safe for Western nuclear supremecy. I think the only reason that I've been able to get into this game is that you can play a female agent, and that you're allowed to play all sides against the others (Russians, Chinese, North Koreans, and "the Allies"). It's as much about making all the money you can, however you can, as it is tracking down the fifty-two coup members. I just pretend that I'm Nar'eth in an alternate, unrealized reality, and that the Allies are PKs, the Russians are Scarrans, the Chinese are the Nebari, and the North and South Koreans are Charrids. So far, it's working for me. Oh, I know it's a massive rationalization, but frell, it feels good after a long day at the iBook to highjack a tank, run down people who are shooting at me, squish 'em, and then blow dren up. And I get paid for it! Okay, well not in "real" money, but still, it's nice being an imaginary millionaire.
Three more people have won Kaiyodo prehistoric critters on eBay, because they wisely used "buy it now" or took advantage of one of our fixed price sales. This means there is only one critter still up for grabs. Check out our pay-for-Spooky's-dentist eBay auctions and claim this guy as your very own.