Thursday, July 30, 2009

Open Letter to the SF Community

The Carl Brandon Society has just blogged an Open Letter to the SF Community with some resolutions for discourse in the SF community. Three simple, well-worded points should stand for all Internet discussions, not just those in the SF community.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I am swearing off, forever, penny-a-word publication. FOR EVER. If I relapse, everyone reading this blog has permission to slap me.

My latest publication, from penny-a-word publisher Living Dead Press has managed to get in hot water through pure ignorance. They made a post to Shocklines promoting the book. However, it was soon noted that The Book of the Dead is the name of a seminal Skipp and Spector zombie anthology from the 90s. Charitably, I could say that LDP is paying homage to the older anthology, but much more likely, they just didn't know about it.

And it turns out they included a pair of stories that include references to George Romero's X of the Dead films, for which they did not seek out or receive permission. Which it treading on intellectual property, and actionable.

LDP's response? They've already deleted their posts on Shocklines (preserved in a Tomoview thread) as well as the Amazon review that mentions the film tie-in (which can be found on the Shocklines thread).

This tempest means that this anthology is not going to get read. My story is not going to get read. And my publishers have managed to piss off John Skipp, who I met at NECON less than two weeks ago, and was a tremendously nice guy.

This is what I get for not listening to Brian Keene's advice. I need to value my writing more, and not sell it to clowns.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Pimp's Life

I've had three rehearsals for Carmen, and it's been interesting.

This is an hour-long version, perhaps an hour and a half. Highlights from Carmen." It includes the bare bones of the plot, but all the famous arias. Escomillo sings part of "Toreador" into my right ear.

I'm having to resist the urge to make my character, non-singing Lilas Pastia, thief, pimp, landlord, and all around bastard child of Thenardier and Fagan, into the only comedy this opera has. I've been officially given the only 'bit of business' in the opera, and it would be rather easy to convert a few entrances into subtle, dark humor. I am resisting.

A couple of notes:

One: The director brought her dog, who got upset when the stage fighting began. He didn't attack or growl at anyone, but he got in the middle of it, and barked. I was reminded of the kid in the middle of a Thanksgiving family argument begging for everyone to get along.

Two: There's a moment in which my character roughs up Carmen. We've rehearsed it a couple of times, and I'm having difficulty getting physical with the actress who plays Carmen. I'll watch it without a qualm, but I appear to have very deep reservations about violence against women.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Only One NECON

Necon 29 was, again delightful. Attendance was down a bit due to the economy, and many friends were missed. But many other friends were there, and friends I hadn't met before. I bounced between many conversational circles, and did a bit of tech work to make sure Matt Bechtel's "State of Necon" address didn't go off more than 24 hours late. I received my first Valuable Prize, which I traded up a couple of times. Jack Haringa now has my Valuable Prize.

I am now the proud owner of a copy of the Big Book of Necon, which contains many stories and moments from Necons past.

A few notes: Dallas makes an astonishing goon.

Every year that passes makes me more impressed with Gary Frank's ability with a guitar. He can play anything. I did not expect to sing a Pink Floyd song at 2 in the morning, much less get into it.

Doug Winter is damn funny. And he's a lawyer. How does that work? Does he suppress it in the courtroom, and let it all out only at Necon?

I need to take the Monday after NECON off.

Coming back from Necon and diving right into opera rehearsals did not make this my easiest week ever.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Everyone Loves a Good Review

But not as much as I love a positive review of my work.

Bob Freeman recently posted this review of Cthulhu Unbound on the Monster Librarian website. It runs like this:

H.P. Lovecraft’s intricate mythos of chthonic alien monstrosities and human madness is an industry onto itself, spawning role-playing and computer games, pastiches in all shapes and sizes, and influencing literature and film ad nauseam. The latest anthology to drape itself in the cloak of Lovecraft’s dark creation comes from Permuted Press. Cthulhu Unbound, the first of two volumes, attempts to unshackle the mythos from preconceived boundaries of the genre, but the anthology that is uneven at best. Some of the tales are quite good, such as Kim Paffenroth’s “The Covenant” and D.L. Snell’s “Blood Bags and Tentacles”, but most fall embarrassingly flat. The crowning achievement in the anthology goes to John Goodrich’s “The Patriot”, a ghoulishly creepy war story that was atmospheric and a delight to the end. The anthology is worth the price of admission for those three stories alone. For public or private collections.

"Crowning achievement"

I'll take that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Helping the Less Fortunate


So, on Friday, I spent twenty-six (we have a phone that times calls) minutes over three different phone calls, helping a man mourn the passing of his X360.

Twenty-six minutes. I didn't sell him anything, but I did get to hear about the history of said X360, as well as that of his Wii. And his opinion of the relative merits of the Nintendo, Playstation and Xbox on-line communities. During those twenty-six minutes, I was also working ringing out customers, and really would have liked to get to receiving some of the games that had come in.

Because you tan talk to the Bartender to Geeks when no one else will listen to you witter on about your games.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


Dunno if it's the season, or a low time in their cycle, but the SFF Online Workshop reviewed me twice in five hours. With my last two submissions, I waited two weeks or more before anyone decided to write an opinion.

I don't believe either of my reviewers is known to me... Maybe it's just that college is out and there are a lot more potential writers reading and reviewing. Maybe I'm getting more interesting.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another meme, so I can ply you with more lies...

Matociquala sez its time for the first lines meme. So let's see:

New York’s endless parade of pedestrian museums, stodgy libraries, dull theaters, redundant opera, unimaginative concerts, and boring ethnic restaurants had long ago lost Neville’s interest. "N is for Neville"

People packed the small room to listen to Mark’s speech. "Darwin's Cosh" (A bit shit isn't it?)

Len lay on his belly, overlooking a huddle of filthy shacks. The ammonia reek of chicken shit was like sandpaper up his nose. "God of Chickens"

Robert was a coward, and he knew it. "Too Short For an Angel"

George Orne and Harry Whitfield were chopping up a stump when George glimpsed movement out of the corner of his eye. "Queen Anne's Lace and Juniper"

Dudley hated taking the bus. It was full of niggers, faggots, retards, and worse. "Not an Ulcer"

Tamara “Psycho-Therapist” Lee grunted and went down as Maria “Sister Mary Maniac” Eddiston slammed into her. "The Sisterhood"

Dramus’s head snapped up when the intruder alarm went off. "A Certain Society of Concerned Citizens"

Falling snow turned the wet tree-trunks beside of the road into a faded, black and white photograph. "Beanie Baby"


Azubuike had been in the reek of bodies, sweat, shit, and despair for so long, she couldn’t smell them anymore. Hag

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Know the rules, respect the laws

I’m doing my duties as the Bartender to Geeks, and I’m listening to two gamers talk about combat. One of them keeps repeating a word that sounds wrong: feent. It’s only when he says that you do it to set up the next attack that I realize he’s talking about a feint. This I recognize as the standard nerdboy (I include myself) need to sound out a word that they’ve never heard. OK.

I go over and correct him. I do not say that it’s a French word imported after teh great Vowel Shift and therefore has Continental vowel pronunciation. Because that would have been, you know, too much.

Later, the some other guys are talking about Internet porn and rule 34. One of us has the temerity to say that there’s no site devoted to hot girls in the shower playing electric guitars. Approximately thirty seconds later, I was able to demonstrate his wrongness. Do not doubt Rule 34.

Arm-wrestling With Technology

So, the Queen of Science got an MP3 player for her birthday. On the ghosts of Oppenheimer and Darwin, that was the damned longest continued struggle with technology I've ever had.

The Queen has a laptop which she uses for basic stuff--word processing, etc. We don't connect it to the net much, so we've kept it with the same basic Windows XP that it came with. Well, last generation's MP3 player can't work without Service Pack 2 and the most recent version of WMP. We're on dial-up. I'm sure you can see where this is going.

At noon (we started the SP2 download at 8), I go to work where, we have high-speed. Additionally, woot has just delivered one of the 4 gig USB drives. Oh good, I'll just download it at work, then take it home. Only the USB drive doesn't work. I spend some ten minutes trying to figure out why it doesn't work, and eventually borrow a different drive to put the stuff on.

Installation takes its time. We check yes to the EULA we don't read, we install SP2, we install WMP. We install the program that makes the MP3 player go. We plug the MP3 player in, according to instructions. The computer cannot figure out that the fuck it is. Contrary to the instructions (thanks, manual writers!) we eventually figure out that we have to install the MP3 player as a piece of hardware. And viola, a mere thirteen hours after it was unwrapped, we listened to the first MP3 off her new player.

Ain't technology grand?