I'm not dead yet. Thanks for asking. Just busy. (My apologies for the silence to the two of you who suffer addiction to my longer rambles.)

First, some news. Yes, it's true that I will be writing a monthly column for Strange Horizons, the first of which will be published in early February (assuming Susan and the rest of the SH gang like what I just sent for a first piece).

I just finished an interview with Holly Phillips, author of the fine short story collection In the Palace of Repose, which is a great book to give to friends who say they don't like "all that sci-fi and hobbits stuff". Have them read Holly's stories "The Other Grace" and "Summer Ice" to start -- evocative, enigmatic work that should appeal to both die-hard readers of fantasy fiction and people who like their fiction a little bit more on the lit'ry end of things.

I have read almost nothing for the past week other than things for work and the first 200 pages of One Day the Ice Will Reveal All Its Dead by Clare Dudman (known in the UK as Wegener's Jigsaw. Jeff VanderMeer threatened never to speak to me again if I didn't read it, and that would leave me bereft, so I'm now reading it. You should, too. I notice that Dudman's second novel is about Heinrich Hoffmann, a fact that pleases me immensely. It's due in the U.S. this summer.)

Actually, I lied above when I said I haven't read anything for a week. I've been dipping into some nonfiction, mostly because with nonfiction I don't mind jumping around, skimming, skipping, and using the index for guidance. Someone gave me a Borders gift card for Christmas, and I used it to get Collapse by Jared Diamond and Freethinkers by Susan Jacoby, both of which have kept me reading late at night when I really should be sleeping. (If you want a preview of Diamond's ideas, you can read variations and excerpts at The Guardian and Seed. As for Freethinkers, you can get a sense of that from a Beliefnet interview with Jacoby, her NY Times article "One Nation, Under Secularism", this excerpt, and Amardeep Singh's thoughts about the book.)

Toward the end of next week, I really will have some time for reading, and will continue to chronicle that reading here and elsewhere. Just so you know some of what to expect from me in the future, here are some of the books I have waiting to be read soon:
And there are probably others I can't immediately remember... (One thing that I do remember is the manuscript of a book due to be published in the next year or two, and which I will not name, because were I even to hint at the title, you would shriek and I would have to kill you if you didn't die of envy first. Here is a sample sentence pulled at random from it as a tease: "Sometimes it left him so weak and drained that he could not teach his classes -- although this did not mean that if his disease went into remission by nightfall he would not take the Path of Hypocrisy right up to Mary's window.")

Oh, and there are the various issues of magazines now piling up on the floor and coffee table.

Will I get through it all? Will I drown beneath a sea of books? Will I devote my life to quiet meditation? Will my eyes fall out? Keep your eyes on this space to find out...


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