Tags: beasts

Cordon C3

Howard Hughes and the Groovy Lizards

I think I'm just about through this bug. I slept well, and it was a fine spring day. We made it to 83˚F. My window's still open, and my nose is almost clear enough that I can smell the night.

Today, I did a very extensive revision of Section 14 of The Tindalos Asset. There another couple of sections in need of revisions, and two new sections I need to write, and then a thorough polish of the whole manuscript...and then it will be "finished." It would be really fucking good if I could manage all that by, say, Saturday evening.

Once again, Sirenia Digest is gonna be late, and that's just the way the platypus crumbles.

After the writing work today, I began reading "Revision of the Paleogene genus Glyptosaurus (Reptilia: Anguidae)." I made it eleven pages before I finally ran out of steam and had to go lie down.

Tomorrow, I'll have more energy.

After last night's LJ entry, we watched Joe Dante's unexpectedly charming Matinee (1993). Tonight, we're watching Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume Two and Avengers: Infinity War, in preparation for Avengers: Endgame.

Meanwhile, you guys need to check out this Very Special Ebay Auction we've got going on. Subterranean Press is letting us action ONE and ONLY ONE advance-reading copy of their forthcoming edition of Houses Under the Sea: Mythos Tales before the book is released. And I'm going to emeblish many of the pages with doodles of Lovecraftian-ish monstrosities and prehistoric critters (like trilobites, ammonites, and crinoids). All proceeds go to shit not being free. The auction ends on Sunday, before Game of Thrones (because we're thoughtful like that).

Later Taters,

3:27 p.m.

Howard Hughes and a Bird in the Hand

No sun to speak of today, but warm. Currently, it's 61˚F.

Not much progress on the new story today, just some proofreading and line edits. I talked with Bill Schafer about cover art, and I talked with Pete Crowther about a new edition of Confessions of a Five-Chambered Heart. I drew monster doodles for eBay customers. And someone at Bustle, which is apparently "the premier digital destination for young women," wanted to know what's the scariest book I ever read. For an upcoming article, I think. So I said House of Leaves, though Ghost Story and The Haunting of Hill House are tied for close seconds.

That was my work day. I also read Larry MacMurtry and listened to Springsteen. Spooky had to go out an get a new iron, because the old one went tits up this afternoon. She's making beasties for her Etsy shop, and we cannot have wrinkled beasties. That's my job.

We're getting some books up on eBay. Please have a look.


6:58 p.m.

"If the sun don't shine on me today, and if the subways flood and bridges break.."

Yesterday was, well, if weather were snot, that was yesterday. The snow came wet and heavy on a battering wind, then turned into slush and rain and sleet, and now we have mountains of ice on the ground. The driveway is a glacier. No idea when all this shit will melt. We have more flurries this evening, then another round of snow coming this weekend. This is March in Rhode Island. Currently, it's 22˚F, with the windchill at 8˚F.

No work yesterday. Yesterday was an utterly lost day. The storm multiplied my anxiety several fold and left me struggling with claustrophobia. I did manage to finish reading Karl-Hans Taake's The Gévaudan Tragedy: The Disastrous Campaign of a Deported ‘Beast’ (2015; originally published in German as Die Bestie des Gévaudan: Der verheerende Feldzug einer verschleppten Kreatur) It's a short book, but a very good review of the attacks that comes to the same conclusion I came to at least two decades back, that La Bête was either:

1. A giant wolf that had the exact appearance and all the behaviors of a young male lion, or

2: A young male lion, that had escaped from a menagerie.

3: A species of mammal entirely unknown to science, but one that had the exact appearance and all the behaviors of a young male lion.

Parsimony helps us with this daunting choice, naturally.


I can say that there's a very good chance that there will be a special 20th anniversary edition of Silk released next year. Yes, it will have been twenty years, as of June 2018. Details TBA.


Random bits from my Facebook:

It is a nation of cowards and of fearful men and women that believes it needs to build walls around itself.

~ and ~

Spooky has named me Aunt Beast, the Queen of Inappropriate. I'm very afraid it's true.

~ and ~

I think I know now how my grandparents must have felt by the 1970s. And it's really very awful.

~ and ~

On the internet, there is a tradition, sanctified by at least a hallowed decade of observation. If someone tells a joke, it is your duty to try and improve upon it, to be sure the attention is drawn away from them and onto you, as the only purpose of any statement made online is to offer someone else a chance to talk. The only purpose of wit to the elicit a limp rejoinder. There is another tradition that makes it necessary to explain sarcasm.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast, Queen of Inappropriate

9:05 a.m.

"Last night I woke, but then I saw the ship of woes."

Sunny and cold here, on the eve of the storm. Currently, it's 29˚F, with the windchill at 24˚F.

I've had sort of a stupid day, and it's not even yet 1:30 p.m. I went to the market with Spooky to get everything we need for St. Patrick's Day dinner, and I whacked my head getting back into van, hard enough to make my ears ring. Hardly forty-five minutes later, back home, I almost tore off my right thumbnail, a bloody mess now hidden beneath a C3-PO Band-Aid. That has been my day thus far. I think it's best I not get out of this chair for its remainder.

I spent yesterday looking for stories. I have not yet found one.

I have the Locus review of Agents of Dreamland, and it's a good review, but sort of amusing. I don't know why they'd have given it to someone who dislikes dark fiction to review:

“Caitlín R. Kiernan’s Agents of Dreamland is not a fun book, unless you really love the implacable horror that’s Kiernan’s trademark. The universe is hostile, inimical, strange beyond your wildest nightmares, and all your coldest nightmares are coming for you. Agents of Dreamland is a glittering novella, as one might expect from a prose stylist of Kiernan’s talent: sharp and precise and pointed. It’s a story of secret agents and of horrors from the black depths of space, told in a non-linear fashion that preserves narrative tension while giving the reader the ineluctable sense that doom is inevitable, because it’s already too late. An agent called the Signalman meets a woman in a diner. She has a briefcase. He has a thumb drive. They have a tense exchange of information: they are from rival agencies, competing for decades, at least. A week earlier, he’d been at the site of a doomsday cult, where followers of a peculiar messiah gathered together to wait for their transformation. Meanwhile, out by Pluto, a space probe passes by something inimical, and goes dark. Part of the novella is told in the first-person voice of one of the cult followers, a former addict who is now convinced of her new role. She and her fellows listen to the voices in the static of an old television set, while their bodies are transformed by something like a fungus. The spores they leave behind will change the world: welcome to the fungal apocalypse. The descriptions of how the strange fungus changes people’s bodies, and changes their minds, is a stomach-turning exercise in body-horror. Agents of Dreamland is full of chilling Lovecraftian echoes, the patterns of existential horror sliding inevitable towards an extinction horizon. I’m not a fan of horror at the best of times, and Kiernan’s elegant and chilling portrayal of a hostile universe is exactly the opposite of my cup of tea – but even I have to admit that it’s a very polished piece of work.”

"...even I have to admit..." I call that a win. And no, it isn't a "fun" book.*

I've had to cancel the two new York City dates, which pretty much reduces the micro-tour to a nano-tour. I was counting on a $5k check that isn't coming now in order to cover my travel, hotel, and food expenses, which likely would have totaled about $600 (on the deep cheap). I regret this, and I apologize to people were planning to attend the two events in April. It wasn't by choice.

I've begun reading Karl-Hans Taake's The Gévaudan Tragedy: The Disastrous Campaign of a Deported ‘Beast.’

Now, I'm gonna go hold ice on my head...and my thumb.

Resistance, Peace, and Compassion,
Aunt Beast

* Review by Liz Bourke

"I thought I heard the captain's voice. It's hard to listen while you preach."

Okay, so, here's the state of My Little Ring-Tailed Lemur World:

1. On Sunday, I wrote 1,011 words on "Protoreaster nodosus (NYC 2014)" and realized that it's broken and needs to be gutted and reworked. It is, in fact, two short stories trying to be one. There's a story I was working on in, I think, December, "Oranges from Africa," and part of that story has made it's way into this story, and I can't see it working. And I don't have time right now to rip apart "Protoreaster nodosus (NYC 2014)" and try to rework it. This is why I don't rewrite. It's always, always earlier to just start over, from scratch, than it is to rewrite. I need to get Sirenia Digest #104 out by the 20th, so that I'll have nine days to work on the first script for the new Alabaster mini (my deadline is September 29th). So, I'm taking my 2,987 hard-won words and shelving "Protoreaster nodosus (NYC 2014)" until, maybe, next month. Or, more likely, November. Maybe it'll make #106.

2. This means I need a new story, a new idea, and I need to find that concept today.

3. We're getting eBay back up and running. And every winning bidder gets a FREE Alabaster "Because Bird" pin. Also, the same deal applies to sales from Spooky's Etsy shop, while my limited supply lasts.

4. Last night we watched "Robot of Sherwood," which was incredibly silly and by far my least favorite Doctor Who episode since the departure of the Ponds. Seriously, let's keep Paul Murphy and Mark Gatiss away from the toy box from now on, please.

5. Yesterday, needing to clear my head, and because we won't get many more vaguely warm days, Spooky and I went to the zoo. It was a pleasant couple of hours, despite the raging migraine I had yesterday, and my goddamn rotten feet. I'm getting moderately good at dealing with chronic pain. The elephants are almost always my favorite, though the Green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) and the Giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyl a) and its nursing baby were pretty goddamn cool. Spooky took a bunch of photos. Here are a few, and I may post a few more tomorrow. This was much better than our last zoo visit, which, I think, was early in 2009. There was snow on the ground that time.

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Which is all I have for now.

Aunt Beast

"If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone."

The beast in me
Is caged by frail and fragile bars.
Restless by day,
And by night rants and rages at the stars.
God help the beast in me
~ Nick Lowe (1994)

A morning of packing. We'll spend tonight at Spooky's parents, then catch the train the Penn Station at the Kingston depot at about nine tomorrow morning. From there, it's the Crescent Line south to Birmingham. There's the expected anxiety are coming out of the hermit crab's shell of my office, my soft carapace being exposed to the world for some two weeks with no recourse to my armor. But there's more excitement about being home for the first time in six years and three months. I don't count the five minutes I spent on the platform last July, on our way to New Orleans.

I have to catch a train in Kingston, then I'm Alabama bound. There's a line from a Tom Waits song. Or Woody Guthrie.

There was a bit of a catastrophe on Wednesday night. We went to a show at the Columbus Theater to see Kishi Bashi. But, first we were crammed into a space upstairs – the theater's old balcony – hardly even the size of our apartment, some two hundred or so people. Hipsters. The worse sort of hipsters. The reek of humans (I forget how much humans stink), skunk pop smoke, curry, Budweiser, et cetera and et ectera was almost unbearable. Plus, we were crammed into tiny seats that would have been new in 1899, and I might have fit were I only 5'5" and very thin. Then, we had to suffer through two utterly horrid opening acts, the second being the worse, three Weezer wannabes calling themselves Bombadil. They were OH so irony and also had a ukelele. When Kishi Bashi finally came on, they were crammed onto that tiny stage, in a room that was star too small for the expansive soundscape they were trying to create. I could hardly hear, and I was exhausted from the smells and being so cramped. So I got up and left the theater, leaving Kathryn to endure the nightmare. I went to the restroom and almost immediately cracked met skull on a marble thingy as I was entering a stall in the toilet, I very briefly lost consciousness and came to as I was tumbling backwards. It was a bad fall, and I have a bad bruise on my coccyx to show for it. Within a minute, I mad a bad contusion on my head, and I was afraid I had a concussion. I made it back into the theater and got Kathryn. And we went home. As we left, Kishi Bashi were beginning a cover of Wings' "Live and Let Die" that I really would have loved to have heard. And no, I didn't go to the doctor. But my head hurt until late yesterday. The bump has mostly gone down.

That was our Fun Wednesday night. Someday, we'll see Kishi Bashi in a proper venue. And no more Providence, not ever again.

But, hey, I had some wonderfully productive five days before that. I wrote "Black Glass, Green Glass." I proofed the "CEM" for Raisin' Hell. I got Sirenia Digest #103 out to subscribers. That means I don't have to worry too much about work while I'm in Alabama. Right after I get home, I may have a short trip (one night) to NYC for Writers House's 40th anniversary party. Merrilee Heifetz of WH has been my agent since July 1997. That's seventeen years with the same agent. And we'll be visiting Neil for a couple of days in October. So, lots of travel for someone who's unaccustomed to travel.

Yesterday, I had my hair dyed black again, at Vis-à-Vis Hair Design on Broadway. No more grey. This is the first time I've gone black since 2009, I think.

And I suppose that's all for now. I mean to make regular blog entries while I'm in Leeds. I'll have lots of photos I want to post. But this is likely my last entry until at least Monday.

Almost Outta Here,
Aunt Beast

"....no closer to any kind of truth."

I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right.


Another beautiful late summer day out there. Which means it's muggy in my office, but, frankly, I don't care. I'm dreading the coming autumn, and, for now, I'll take the swelter, please and thank you.

This semi-vacation thing is starting to feel a bit weird. The not-working-much part of it. Other than handling email yesterday, nothing. I am told this is good for me.

We left the house about 3:30 p.m. and headed over to Thayer Street for the 4:15 showing of Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild. This is, likely, one of the most beautiful and astounding films of the last ten years, and it joins a short list of the most artful sf/f movies of the past decade, alongside The Fountain, Children of Men, Sunshine, The Fall, Melancholia, and Tree of Life.* It's brilliant. Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry, wow. Just wow. This is a story of humanity, and anyone out there who actually thinks Beasts of the Southern Wild is in anyway racist is a goddamn fool.


A good Kindernacht last night. The first feature was Hyung-rae Shim's Dragon Wars (2007), which, no shit, is very possibly one of the dullest films ever made. Not sure where that ~$70,000,000 budget went, but it wasn't to actors and screenwriters and editors. Also, pretty sure sizable chunks of the movie were simply missing, so much sense did this film fail to make. Even the SFX were...dull. I'm not even sure it manage to be bad. Just...dull.

But! Fear not! The second feature was Fred Andrews' Creature (2011). Instead of hoards of CGI soldiers and flocks of CGI dragons, we get Sid Haig and some dude in a rubber alligator-man suit. And it was stupendous fun. Instead of ~$70,000,000, only ~$3,000,000. Not the size, guys. What you do with it. Creature is surprisingly well filmed and acted, and good art direction. And a script. And Sid Haig. I mentioned Sid Haig, right? Did I mention the gratuitous and perfectly placed Spider Baby reference? Not the size, guys. Not the size.

So, yes. Good day, even if I did whack my head hard in the restroom at the Avon. Oh, and I have photos to prove that yesterday happened. They're behind the cut:

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RIP, Jerry Nelson (1934-2012). You made us smile, and you made us laugh.


Everybody loses the thing that made them. The brave men stay and watch it happen. They don't run.

Still Here,
Aunt Beast

*Yeah, one could argue that both Tree of Life and The Fall aren't genuinely sf/f films, but...