02 April 2007

Out There

A few things from around the web...
  • A version of the introduction by Jeff & Ann VanderMeer for Best American Fantasy

  • I recently interviewed Nick Mamatas about his new novel, Under My Roof. Here's a piece of it:

    MC What is it about nuclear weaponry that appeals to Daniel, do you think? So many contemporary stories of apocalypse involve biological weapons or environmental catastrophes that the threat of nuclear destruction feels almost like a hearkening back to the Cold War. Would anthrax in the garden gnome have had the same effect?

    NM Pfft! The fault isn't in the atom, it's in the popular imagination. Anthrax is the WMD of wusses and wimps. People who work around livestock can contract it and keep on working. You can be vaccinated against weaponized anthrax. The Sverdlovsk disaster in 1979, when a Soviet plant accidentally released weaponized anthrax into the air, barely killed 100 people. The book would have been three pages long had there been only an anthrax deterrent. Same thing with chemical weapons. Just wait for the wind to change if one goes off, then march in. The only real city-destroyers remain nukes.

  • Scott McLemee on independent bookstores and Borders's restructuring: "One provision of the new strategic plan is a call for 'increasing effectiveness of merchandise presentation.' The press release does not give details, but somehow it bring to mind an image of life-size animatronic displays of Ann Coulter and Al Gore waving copies of their books."

  • John Joseph Adams interviews Rick Bowes about his Nebula-nominated novel From the Files of the Time Rangers.

  • At the blog of the National Book Critics Circle: A conversation with Julie Phillips.

  • New issues have been posted of Lone Star Stories and Farrago's Wainscot.

  • Levi Asher offers a dissent on Cormac McCarthy's The Road. (Nope, I haven't read it yet, though I hope to sometime between now and a time that is not now. I do like to see well-considered, thoughtful, articulate dissent about books that mostly receive praise, though, because I think such discussion is healthy and gets us all thinking more carefully about what we read and how we value it.)

  • Some stories from Africa that I've read: A discussion at the BBC of the question, "Is Angola Africa's new hope?" Five African Union peacekeepers have been killed in the Darfur region of Sudan. After four days of fierce battles, Mogadishu is, for the moment, somewhat calm, though thousands of people are fleeing. The government of Liberia and the International Rescue Committee are trying to get 15,000 child laborers back in school. The BBC collects bloggers' reactions to events in Zimbabwe. At one of those blogs, Kubatana.net, Natasha Msonza compares similarities between Zimbabwe and Zambia's histories.