Where I Am

A few people have sent emails recently wondering if I'm still alive, because I hadn't updated this site in a few days. To calm your souls and ease your minds, I thought I'd let everybody know that yes, indeed, I am still haunting this earth.

Blogging is going to continue to be light for the next few weeks, I expect, because I have returned to work part-time from my sabbatical and am still a full-time graduate student at Dartmouth. Because of some sudden, unexpected staffing changes at the school where I work, I have been promoted to be the Director of Performing Arts, which means I get to oversee all of our theatre, film, music, and dance programs. Exciting, but also daunting, and time-consuming. Once I get some things taken care of, my schedule will be lighter, and I'll have time not only to write, but also to read again, and so things will pick up around here and become, I hope, less sporadic.

In the meantime, I just finished reading Douglas Lain's Last Week's Apocalypse, which I'm reviewing for Strange Horizons (providing they accept what I end up writing), so I won't say much here except that though I have some reservations about the book as a whole, they are reservations that caused me to compare the collection to things by Samuel Beckett and Don DeLillo, which I hope makes them the sort of reservations that cause people to be so intrigued that they go out and buy multiple copies of the book, because there are some real masterpieces in it, and the things that frustrated me about the collection as a whole were things that came from so many of the stories being thought-provoking, immensely well written, innovative, and challenging. (Time to go finish writing that review...)

Speaking of reviews, Matt Peckham just said he liked my review in the January issue of Z Magazine, a review of Bread and Roses : Mills, Migrants, and the Struggle for the American Dream by Bruce Watson. I had been meaning to email Z to see if they wanted the review I had submitted, and I was pleased to know that, apparently, they did. It would have been nice to hear it from them, but these things happen. I usually buy Z at a bookstore, so I haven't seen the new issue yet, but I'm happy to appear there, because it's a magazine I've been reading off and on since I was in high school, when, because the politics of the magazine tend to be pretty radical, I hid the issues I had and read them furtively, as if they were pornography. In a few months, the contents of the issue will be available online to nonsubscribers, and I'll link to it then.

In his note to me, Matt let me know that he's revamped mattpeckham.com into TheoryLog, which is devoted primarily to sequential art and theory. (Hey Matt, do you know Derik? Matt, Derik; Derik, Matt.)

Lots of things are happening at the LitBlog Co-op these days. All of the nominees have been named, and this week begins a discussion of one of them, Other Electricities by Ander Monson, a book I liked quite a bit. It's strange and affecting, beautifully written, and full of weather. Three of the nominees this quarter were ones I very much enjoyed reading -- Garner (the actual pick), Other Electricities, and Divided Kingdom by Rupert Thomson. (Since you're curious -- you know you are -- the other two didn't do much for me. I was indifferent to one of them and quite vehemently loathed the other.) In many ways, I thought Divided Kingdom was the best book of the lot, and certainly the one that grabbed and held my imagination the strongest, but I also thought that it has gotten a lot more attention than the other books, so I didn't think, given such strong company, it would have been the best book for us to choose as this quarter's pick. But you'll see it featured prominently on my Best of the Year list for Locus Online when that is posted. (You'll also see Other Electricities noted in passing. It's not really fantasy or science fiction, except in the loosest of loose senses, but it felt odd and evocative enough that I thought it might interest at least a couple readers of SF. The same is true for Garner, actually.)

Finally, the second issue of Fantasy Magazine will include an interview I just did with Theodora Goss, and I'm particularly pleased with it, because Dora's responses to my occasionally annoying questions about the nature and purpose of fantastical writing are thoughtful and complex. I think the second issue will be published fairly soon, so be sure to subscribe if you haven't already. (Here's the table of contents.)

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