Posts

10 Films After 10 Years

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The once-in-a-decade Sight and Sound poll of critics and filmmakers to determine the "greatest films of all time" is on the horizon — the 2012 one was published in the September issue of Sight and Sound , and people I know who have been invited to contribute their lists have done so in recent days. Since I am somewhat obsessed with the Sight and Sound poll, particularly how it has changed through the decades (the first poll occurred in 1952 ), I was surprised to find that I did not note here at The Mumpsimus the 2012 poll when it was released. I prepared for it by pointing to some lists I liked and making my own using Ignatiy Vishnavetsky's technique of making a big list of favorites and then randomly choosing 10. Looking at that post now, I see it also includes a link to what was Roger Ebert's final Sight & Sound list . 2012 does not feel like a long time ago to me. If you were to tell me that 2012 was three years ago, I would believe it. And yet, when I s

Geoffrey H. Goodwin (1971-2022)

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Banner image for Geoffrey Goodwin's Facebook page   Geoffrey H. Goodwin was a writer, a bookseller, a friend. He contributed here at The Mumpsimus in the early days, starting with a conversation about Hayao Miyazaki's film Howl's Moving Castle , which we saw together in Cambridge, Massachusetts when it was released in 2005. Geoffrey then contributed two interviews: one with Thomas Ligotti , another with Jedediah Berry . We had planned for Geoffrey to do more interviews and guest posts, but other commitments pulled him away. His final contribution here was to our Delany Roundtable in 2014. 2014 turned out to be a disaster year for Geoffrey. A car accident caused by a drunk driver brought significant physical and mental injury to him. His later years were extraordinarily difficult. His later years. Yes, Geoffrey is gone now, his death reported as cardiac failure , the failure of the literal heart of a person with, in the metaphorical sense, an extraordinary heart. It is ap

A Conversation with Craig Laurance Gidney

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  Craig Laurance Gidney is a longtime friend of mine, a past contributor of book reviews here at The Mumpsimus, and a participant in our Delany roundtable in 2014 . I also had the pleasure to work as one of the editors for his story "Black Winged Roses" at The Revelator . It has been a joy to watch his career develop from his first short story collection, Sea, Swallow Me (Lethe Press, 2008) through to the success of his novel A Spectral Hue (Word Horde, 2019) and now his new story collection, The Nectar of Nightmares (Underland Press, 2022). About his work, Elizabeth Hand has said, "Sublime in the purest sense of the word, Craig Gidney's gorgeous stories evoke beauty, terror, and wonder, often — usually — on the same page. He uses words the way a master artist employs paint, creating lush, hallucinatory worlds as beautiful as they are treacherous." Craig's previous collections have all been nominated for the Lambda Literary Award, as was A Spectral Hue

Some Queer Books

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The clickbait site Book Riot just released a list with the ridiculous title "The 100 Most Influential Queer Books of All Time" — as if such a thing could ever be determined. Influential how? For whom? Measured with what criteria?  The list itself is fine if you're looking for some new reading material, particularly from recent years (like many such lists, this one pays token attention to the past but is fundamentally interested in what's recent), but it's not much good for anything else — it does not include Gertrude Stein, Samuel Delany, Judith Butler, Edmund White, Dennis Cooper, Jean Genet, William S. Burroughs, Michel Foucault, or Kathy Acker, the exclusion of any one of whom renders the title meaningless. Such lists aim for a kind of objectivity that predestines them to be bland. What would be far more interesting would be lists from readers and writers of the books they themselves feel most affected by. Good lists pay no homage to the false gods of objectiv

Difficult Peace

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  Years ago, when I inherited a gun shop and sold the inventory, I had to send a pistol through the mail. I brought all the necessary paperwork to the post office, the clerk was helpful, and then we got to the question they ask about every package: does this box contain anything dangerous? "That's an interesting question," I said. "On the one hand, it's a gun. On the other ... there's no ammo in there. So it's just a hunk of metal and plastic, no more or less dangerous than any other hunk of metal and plastic." In the context of being mailed from one licensed gun dealer to another, that package was not, in fact, dangerous. Were someone to open the package and put ammunition into the gun, then it would become a deadly weapon. As mass shootings continue to bring attention to certain types of gun violence in the U.S., I find myself remembering this conversation. I find myself thinking about the idea of safety.  Because I have written quite a bit over t