Much to my surprise, I did 1,488 words on what I sincerely hope will be the preface for To Charles Fort, With Love. I'm giving it one more day. It's a strange sort of preface, which may (or may not) befit this collection. I can only hope it isn't dull.
On Thursday, we're expecting the delivery of fourteen boxes, containing 500 copies of Silk. I have no idea where we're going to put them all.
Back in 1988, Stephen Jones and Kim Newman did a really delightful little book together, Horror 100 Best Books. The title's fairly self-explanatory. Authors of dark fiction were asked to write short pieces on one hundred of the field's best and most influential titles. Contributor's included Clive Barker, Harlan Ellison, Robert Bloch, Ramsey Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Peter Straub, Neil Gaiman, and David Schow. Now Steve and Kim are doing a follow-up, a second best one hundred, and this time I've been asked to contribute. Which is drad. I'll be writing a piece about Kathe Koja's 1993 novel, Skin, which had a very great influence on my own work. Sadly, as is the case with all Kathe's early novels, Skin is now out of print.
Yesterday, I received the following in an e-mail, regarding the practice of writing authors to inform them of published typos:
I have never done this. I always figured authors were way too busy to get involved in such things. However, I did once go to a con (BayCon 04) when a PANEL actually *advocated* this practice. I kept waiting for the punchline: like, "okay, write this big long letter to get it all off your chest (the fact they're incensed at a typo in a work that took at least over a year to produce that they paid 8 bucks for), but don't actually expect the author to read it or anything." But no, they seemed to fully expect the authors to read these idiotic rants and be somehow affected by them--as they kept insisting the panel attendees do it. Anyway, just to tell you, as noble as your intent is, there are actual sources of misinformation out there; this is not just passive stupidity that causes this behavior. So you miiight have to be jeeest a little bit more creative than being rude.
Personally, I think anyone who goes to any panel at any con and uncritically accepts such ridiculous advice from panelists is certainly exhibiting "passive stupidity." Who were these panelists? Why should you take their word on this? What makes them authorities? Were they themselves professional authors? Were they publishers? Editors? Regardless, it's absurd. There are always sources of misinformation. But I expect people to be able to recognize foolishness for what it is and to think for themselves. I've heard many, many foolish things from panelists at cons. For example, I was on a panel at last year's Dragon*Con where a published author insisted that the one thing that distinguishes fantasy from all other fiction is that it absolutely must provide the reader with a clear resolution. This is, of course, not true. It's baloney of the worst sort, and I'd hope that people attending the panel wouldn't accept it as so just because this writer happened to say it. However, I expect some of them did. But maybe that's not "passive" stupidity. Maybe that's active stupidity.
Okay. I guess it's time to make the doughnuts. Please, please, please check out the copy of From Weird and Distant Shores we have on eBay, the very last item in our auction to fix Spooky's broken molar (she's at the dentist as I type this). Thanks.