Sep 16 2016

Meanwhile, in the wilds of Connecticut


Here’s a link to an excellent discussion of Cyberpunk, recently broadcast on my local radio station.

I’ve stopped being surprised by how cool Colin McEnroe’s show is.   I first knew of him as a Dave-Barry-esque humor columnist in the Hartford Courant in the Eighties.  But somehow, while I wasn’t looking (i.e. off living in Boston and New Hampshire)  he transformed into this crazily intelligent, erudite, nerdily-witty but deep-thinking radio talk-show host.     Who knew?

The guests on the Cyberpunk episode were Paul Di Filippo, John Shirley, Leigh Grossman, and  Willa Paskin (Slate’s TV critic).   (Bonus mention of Pat Cadigan, around 46:00.)

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can browse through McEnroe’s previous episodes, and zero in on whatever amuses, inspires, or sets  you off on therapeutically cathartic rant.  Also, there’s the podcast.

Okay, I’m off — must reread & analyze for the next meeting of the Fabulous Genrettes…


UPDATE:  Here’s that video that was mentioned in the show: Keiichi Masuda’s “Hyper-reality.”  You’ll want to go full-screen.




Jan 14 2016

More of the same. Plus: meanwhile, back in the real world…


My thanks to all who wished me a get-well-soon for this cough/cold thingie.

Alas — Still got it!  Yow.

My plans for this week went by the wayside.  My big accomplishment: dragging myself to the doc on Tuesday, where I was afforded much sympathy, and a perscription for antibiotics (normally not given for colds or flu, but she’s concerned that I had it last month, and it came back worse, just in case), and one for cough syrup with codeine (use only ONCE a day, only AT NIGHT, she stressed).  Also a suggestion that I pick up some Robitussin DM for the day, since Dayquil/Nyquil has zero effect.

I did manage to water the houseplants and feed the birds, so that’s something.

Also, watched some TV, much of it astonishingly bad — which is not a problem, as I was unable to give it anything like intelligent attention.   And had I any intelligent attention on hand, I would have found  better uses for it.  Like, oh writing.  Or, alternatively, reading!

Short reviews of some things I saw:

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride: Seriously, WTF?  I feel cheated.

Legend of Korra:  Nice to catch up on the ones I missed, and all in order, thank you Amazon Prime membership — wait, season 4 not included?  I HATE YOU.

Final seasons of Falling Skies: Please be good; Please be passable; Please be not horrible, Please be not unwatchable, Please explain why I keep doing this to myself.

Recent seasons of Teen Wolf: I can no longer remember why I once liked this show.

Brit murder mysteries: Place of Execution, Collision, and Amnesia.   Grim, but I seem to remember they were good.  Of course, I dozed through a lot of it. So.  Bonus John Hannah in Amnesia.

Sliding Doors movie:  Heard a lot about it, finally saw it, and quite enjoyed myself.  Plus: bonus John Hannah.   Opposite John Hannah from the one in Amnesia.

Mozart in the Jungle: saved this for today, when I knew that codeine-induced rest would have me feeling somewhat better, because I already knew it was excellent, and I wanted to be able to appreciate it.  Good move.

Enough about me.  In the real world:

I woke up today to learn that Alan Rickman had left us.   Sad about that… I never knew much about him until Harry Potter, but his brilliance as Snape told me I had been missing something. He’ll always have a place in my heart for that…   Sabine and I saw him live in New York in Seminar, and I thought he was wonderful in the role.

And on January 10, it was David Bowie who departed.  This guy had such a huge effect on popular music, and on so many creative people… and I missed most of it, first time around, since I was a died-in-the-wool folkie during the years of his greatest influence.  I knew him by the echoes of what he did, because those echoes were everywhere.  They still continue, and I’m so amazed.

As a former singer/songwriter myself, and one who as a kid wished to be an astronaut, this video hits me in both places:

Bowie himself once said that he thought this was the most poignant version of the song…

Also — was it really a week ago? — we lost poet and illustrator Claudia Carlson.

I never met Claudia.  But when I was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, the SF grapevine directed me to many comrades-in-arms.  She was one, and I quickly Facebook-friended her.  I was so amazed at her constant creativity, her depth and humor, and astonishing grace.   While I hunkered down to get through my chemo, she got through hers writing poems, drawing endlessly, finishing an illustrated children’s book and yet another book of poetry.  Gone now, and I’m so sad.

Here’s a review of her last book of poetry, My Chocolate Sarcophagus.

Here’s the Amazon link, to pre-order.

All three, lost to cancer, in one week.

Here are three who lived:

Pat Cadigan, SF author, cyberpunker  — first told she had only two years left to live, recently told that they have no idea when she’ll die.  Could be a while; could be years; might be more than a decade.   Her cancer went from something you die from to something you live with.

Mary Anne Mohanraj, author (including SF!), teacher at Clarion and professor at the University of Illinois — finished her chemotherapy on December 21.  The chemo shrunk her tumor, and like me, she ended up with a lumpectomy instead of a mastectomy.

And there’s me.



Nov 26 2015

Here I am


Still at it.

Holed up in my beloved office, banging my head against its beloved walls,  attempting to convince this [insert expletive] story to give up its secrets!

Alas, not every day of writing moves swiftly and gracefully.  Or every week, for that matter.  Or every 10 days off from the [insert expletive — but a different and more creative expletive, because we don’t do cliches, do we?] day job.

Well.  On the up side, I am here. In all senses of the word.

As in: here literally, in my office at the keyboard.



Also, here metaphorically, as in: at my post, delving into the tasks relating to my calling.

And here in the largest sense, as in: walking around in the world, existing in existence — thanks to stubbornness, perseverance, intelligence (mine and that of other persons), Modern Medical Science, and the help of friends and loved ones (most especially my amazing sister).

Wow.   I win!

I've lately grown fond of white carnations.

I’ve lately grown fond of white carnations.

I hope your Thanksgiving Day was as lovely as mine.

(Oh, and speaking of cancer-survival poster-girls — you should check out SF author Pat Cadigan’s blog, as she continues  not only to survive against odds, but to actually make cancer her bitch.   As she puts it.  That’s what she says.  And it’s true!)


Aug 30 2015

Worldcon 2015 — just the readings.


This was the first Worldcon I’ve gone to in — wait while I look it up — Yikes, 11 years.  The last one I attended was Noreascon  4 in Boston in 2004.  (Plenty of other smaller conventions between now and then, of course.)

I wasn’t able to wrangle any spots on the program this year, so I was in pure attendee mode.  Yes, entertain and inspire me, pros!   I’ll sit right here.

One thing I was looking forward to was the readings.

I heard Pat Cadigan, who I’ve been following on Facebook lately.   She’s doing the whole cancer-treatment deal, so of course there’s a certain amount of fellow-feeling on my part.  She looked amazingly good!  And from her posts, it seems she’s doing a lot, so I think she has a lot more energy than I did during my treatment.   Or a lot more feisty-ness, at least.   I quite enjoyed her story “Cancer Dancer,” a fantasy in which A Way Out is offered…  They put her in the Big Room, expecting a big crowd, and there were a good number of people there.  Oh, and did I mention: She won a Hugo this year (Correction: No, that was two years ago — I don’t know why I mixed that up, I was right in the audience this year watching her as she accepted a Hugo on behalf of Thomas Olde Heuvelt, who couldn’t be there, for his novelette, “The Day The World Turned Upside-Down.”  Thanks for catching my mistake, Pat!)

I also heard John Scalzi, the first time I’ve ever been in his audience, I think.  This is a guy who’s a real natural onstage.   There was a story, some general audience interaction, a little ukulele (at a fan’s request), a phone call from his wife,  all good fun.  The story was an not-yet-published urban fantasy, and was quite a neat idea.   About it, Scalzi said (quoting from memory here): “When most writers do urban fantasy, they do chain-smoking elves.  I do actuarial tables.”

I heard Jo Walton do a bit from her upcoming book, Neccessity, the third of her  books based on Plato’s republic.  No spoilers, sorry!   But I did so like the character in the section she read.  He has, shall we say,  a unique point of view.  Also, Socrates was present, so of course: dialog!

I’ve known E.C. Ambrose (alias Elaine Isaak) for ages, and yet this was the first time I’d ever heard her read.   She read a section from a prequel to her Dark Apostle series, and when she was done, I said, out loud, before any applause: “Wow!”   It was quite exciting!  Elaine  reads really well, and the prose was strong, the characters were very clear, the scenes were filled with tension, and later, action –  really a good performance of good work.

I was also looking forward to Daryl Gregory’s reading — you know how I much I like his stuff.


Daryl Gregory's reading. Not shown: Daryl Gregory

Daryl Gregory’s reading. Not shown: Daryl Gregory

We were there!  He was not.

I used Twitter to good effect, tweeting him the photo above, captioned: “@darylwriterguy Daryl Gregory where RU? (snf).”  Sabine commented that perhaps he hadn’t recovered from the Afterparty (a name of one of his books, how do you not know that?).   A fan nearby overheard her and tweeted to Gregory: “There was too much Pandemonium at the Afterparty, so @darylwriterguy missed his reading but We Are All Completely Fine.”   Shortly thereafter, Gregory scurried in, all apologies.  He had mixed up the times on his reading and the one after (Jack Skillingstead, who was sitting right there in the audience with us).  There was no time left to read, but Gregory proceeded to charm us, and amuse us and gave away some books.  It worked!  He’s a hard guy not to like.

And since we were right there, we just stayed for Jack Skillingstead‘s reading.  I had never read anything of his before, and it was quite worth hearing.  I might look him up now.

I’ve been reading Kay Kenyon lately — Sabine recently turned me on to her stuff, and I quite enjoy what I’ve read so far.   So, we caught her reading as well.   The excerpt she read didn’t quite grab me — but I’m definitely going to keep digging in to her work.

But for me, star of the show: Ada Palmer, who read from her upcoming first novel Too Like the Lightning, a story set centuries from now, but told with the tone and style and language of an 18th-century memoir.   It sounds like it should be a gimmick, but it’s not –  it’s a brilliant move, and the execution was spot-on.  I was utterly fascinated, and then frustrated that it won’t be released until next year!  I shall pre-order, needless to say.

Well, you wanted to hear about more than the readings, didn’t you?  But alas: out of time!   I’ll  talk about the other stuff later…

If you wanted an update on the whole Hugo awards vs. Puppies business — there are plenty of sources.  You don’t need me to repeat it right?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about there, here’s an article in the Chicago Tribune on the subject.

Also, you can watch the streaming of the whole ceremony at this link.