Spooky's still asleep, as is Jennifer.
My editor and lit agent both e-mailed yesterday to give me the very good news that I've made the 2004 Locus Recommended Reading List. Murder of Angels was chosen in the "Fantasy Novel" category, and "Riding the White Bull" was chosen in the "Novelette" category (personally, I think of it as a slightly longish short story). It was good news on a day when I needed good news, and I am pleased.
Somehow, I worked most of the day yesterday on To Charles Fort, With Love, yet managed to make it through only two stories — "The Road of Pins" and "La Peau Verte." At some point, I stopped and made the following note to myself: I have never finished a story. I'm beginning to see that now. I don't think that there's ever a point where a story or novel is just exactly right. There are only finer and lesser degrees of refinement, and even those are probably subjective. You might think it's perfect for a time, but read it a year or five years later, and you'll see you were mistaken. There's always something I can make better, every time I read one of my stories. Usually there are dozens of somethings. And I once thought this wasn't true, that a story reached a certain point and beyond that point you were only changing things, making them different, not making them better. Indeed, I thought, beyond a point, you risk screwing it all up. I don't think that anymore. You risk screwing it all up right from the start, and no story is ever as perfect as it can be. Perfection is always one or two polishes away from the writer.
I'd hoped to do at least four or five of the stories yesterday, but the impending weather posed an enomous distraction. I had to leave the house twice, once for the supermarket adventure and once more to get a DVD for last night (the last one, that's really nothing to do with the storm). At least we won't starve, especially since Jennifer came home last night and showed us that our gas stove isn't electric, so we need not worry if the power goes out. We shall not have to subsist on cold rations, as we'd thought we would. We'd already boiled a bunch of eggs, because we always aspire to be prepared, even if we rarely ever are. But, yes, we shall not starve. We have oranges, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, pickles, deviled ham, mushrooms, Pop-Tarts, potato chips, Campbell's soup, and a very nice tomato. And, as long as the power holds out, I will continue with the proofreading. After that, I'll huddle on the chaise in the livingroom beneath my purple blanket and the alpaca throw that Spooky's mother sent me for Xmas and read and watch the world get whiter.
Reading all these stories so close together, taking them in all at once, which is something I virtually never do with my own work, is having a very strange effect on me. I feel removed from them.
The new chapter (Twelve) of the Adventures of Boschen and Nesuko is up at Anelnoath.com. setsuled gets just a little bawdy this time, but, sadly, that bawdiness doesn't include a naked Nesuko (she's immune to physical illness, by the way).
Last night, as the sky began to fall, Spooky and I watched an amazing, wonderful film, Kazuaki Kiriya's Casshern (2004, based upon the 1973 anime). Truly a beautiful film. Two and a half hours of wow. Visually, it falls somewhere between Moulin Rouge and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, between The Matrix and The City of Lost Children. It's probably the best steampunk yet brought to film, certainly steampunk brought to film on an epic scale that I've not seen before. You should see this film. You may be disappointed, because you may be more wow-resistant than either me or Spooky (I know some people are like that, sadly), but you should see it anyway. I was having wonderful Dark City flashbacks all night. The naysayers will say nay and insist it's all flash and no substance, just like they are meant to do, but they will be wrong. Casshern even has a good soundtrack, which is one of the last things I expect from Japanese science fiction (jpop causes me to make that cat-hacking-up-a-hairball noise; I just can't seem to help it).
Oh, regarding Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, I need to revise an earler comment. The North Koreans are the Charrids and the South Koreans are actually the Kalish.
Okay. Now I'm going to go do some proofreading while there's power.