Showing posts from January, 2006

Getting the Links Out

Go away! To: "Who Put the Bomp?" by Nick Mamatas and Eliani Torres Jeff VanderMeer on "Politics in Fantasy" . (Ben Peek already has a response .) Poet and translator Pierre Joris has a blog . Recently of interest: New translations of prose fragments by Paul Celan. I've been meaning to note for a while that the Carl Brandon Society ("dedicated to addressing the representation of people of color in the fantastical genres such as science fiction, fantasy and horror") has a blog . One of these days I will actually update the sidebar. I really will. Did you check out Ander Monson week at the LitBlog Co-op ? I liked his Other Electricities a lot, and some of the posts are interesting, perhaps even if you haven't read the book. Monson has a website for Other Electricities if you're curious about the book. This week is all about All This Heavenly Glory by Elizabeth Crane. Some people liked it a lot. Mozart got old recently. New Yorker mu

Other Identities

I've been writing and rewriting this post, abandoning it again and again, sometimes thinking that I have nothing to say, sometimes thinking what I have to say is entirely self-contradictory, sometimes thinking I'm the wrong person to be trying to say any of it, but there's a chance I'll write a Strange Horizons column from some of this, if I can get to more coherent thoughts, and if I'm going to fall flat on my face I might as well do it here rather than there. So here goes. A few things keep swirling around in my head, occasionally seeming related, sometimes seeming completely unrelated. They are: Pam Noles's excellent essay "Shame" , about the whiteness of the imagined worlds in SF Tobias Buckell's response to a response to that essay Nisi Shawl's "Transracial Writing for the Sincere" (which I hadn't discovered before Tobias linked to it) Nathan Ballingrud's response to the Noles essay Freebird's post on "Homos

2005: Some of the Goods

Jeff VanderMeer bowed out of writing a best-of-the-year article for Locus Online this year, and he and Mark Kelly schemed to get me to do it in Jeff's stead. I think they both knew me well enough to suspect that I would try to read every book published in English in 2005, and giving me the assignment late in the fall was a form of entertainment for them. I nearly drowned in books -- books sent by publishers, books borrowed from multiple libraries, and even a few books I bought on a whim. I barely slept. My eyes turned into big red sores on the front of my face. When I finally got down to the last three-foot stack of books to look through, I nearly cried, because one three-foot pile didn't seem particularly daunting at that point. I doubt I'll ever be able to do such a thing again, because I doubt I'll ever have an entire month free just for reading again, but though it was utterly exhausting, the whole process was also exhilarating. And so now I present you with

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&


Here are some things that are not here: The latest selection from the LitBlog Co-op -- for the first time the book at the top of my list is the main selection: Garner by Kirstin Allio, an evocative, strange, and beautifully written novel that's not only published by a small press, but also takes place in New Hampshire, so how could I not like it? Of the other nominees this quarter, three of them seemed to me very much worth reading, and I will continue to direct your attention to the LBC site in the coming weeks for discussions, author appearances, etc. Strange Horizons has just published an interview with Lydia Millet that I conducted. Subjects include her excellent novel Oh Pure and Radiant Heart , nuclear proliferation, polemical writing, satire, genre bending, and the responsibilities of writers and citizens. I wrote briefly about the surrealist painter Remedios Varo in November, and somehow managed to miss the fact that I did so a week after Giornale Nuovo had done a far

Moments of Culture

It's relatively rare these days that I get a chance to see world-class performances, but this past week I saw two, both at Dartmouth's Hopkins Center : a new piece by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and a concert by Kronos Quartet . I've seen Bill T. Jones's company once before, and was intrigued by their mix of dance and theatre as well as contemporary and classical styles of performance. Their new piece, "Blind Date" (well described by Deborah Jowitt in this review ), is overtly political, and the first half felt at times shrilly polemical, though beautifully danced and designed. The second half undercut the polemic, though, by adding complexity, by layering through the revised repetition of movements and words and images, and by ending with a cry for hope: what would it look like, Jones and his company seem to be asking, if we didn't smooth over our differences, but rather tried to balance them, preserving individuality without giving up o

Brokeback Mountain

I saw Brokeback Mountain a couple of days ago, because it finally made it to New Hampshire (although only a few theatres), but I didn't want to write about it immediately, because though I thought it was excellent for a bunch of different reasons, I didn't entirely trust my reaction. Did I only like it for predictable political and social reasons? Did I only like it because I was in the mood for a tragic story of repressed love (but then, when am I not in the mood for a tragic story of repressed love)? Did the fact that a couple of my closest friends are moving to Montana this week have anything to do with my enjoyment of the film? Or that Heath Ledger mumbled exactly like at least three people I've known? Et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam. Oddly, I found myself comparing Brokeback Mountain to Munich , which I saw the week before. The comparison began because both films were at the top of a lot of mainstream reviewers' lists of the best movies of 2005 (though le


Love is all a matter of timing. It's no good meeting the right person too soon or too late. If I'd lived in another time or place, my story might have had a very different ending. --Mr. Chow 2046 Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love was a beautifully filmed, admirably restrained study of two people left behind when their spouses have an affair, two people who discover a possible, and powerful, love between themselves, and deliberately turn away from it. The simple narrative and the care with which it unfolded were impressive, but also difficult to embrace emotionally, because the photography and the soundtrack provided more actual passion than the performances, which was a central part of the tragedy, of course -- two people who should have loved each other, but were unable to do so, stuck in a world of gorgeous colors and lush, romantic music playing over the ubiquitous radios. 2046 is a sequel to In the Mood for Love , though it stands alone just fine, because it pick

The Winning Resolution of Rangergirl

I'm pleased to announce that Judge Tim Pratt has decided the winner of the New Year's Resolution Contest is the following entry by Maggie: I resolve to take a Rangergirl tour. I'll start with a visit to Cafe Pergelosi and end with a visit to South Dakota where I will visit Wounded Knee and do my part to bring the White Buffalo Maiden back. And then I'll write up my experiences, sell it and ride on the coattails of Tim Pratt's success. (Judge Tim is, we discover, somewhat susceptible to flattery.) Maggie will receive a free copy of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl . Judge Tim wanted to give an honorable mention to Geoffrey, who provided a fine double bind, but I reminded him of one of the Mumpsimus Laws: if we mention something, it loses whatever honor it had in the first place. Thanks to everybody for participating, and thanks to Tim for dropping by to render some justice on this here frontier.

Odds and Ends

Sorry for the silence around here recently -- some very sudden things came up at work, and though I'm officially on sabbatical, too much was going to affect work next year for me to avoid participating. That coupled with the start of a new term at Dartmouth and a couple deadlines for pretty comprehensive articles about 2005's books and stories (for Locus Online and Vector -- the first will be published within the coming weeks, the second one I don't know the scheduled date for, but it's a much juicier article and filled with things to argue with) didn't give me any time to do much more than send the occasional email. Then I even fell behind in email, so if you haven't heard from me this week and expected to, I apologize. It's looking like I'm going to be busier than I expected over the coming weeks and perhaps even months, so blogging may be a bit spotty, but I doubt I'll disappear completely (though I do know how ). Jeff VanderMeer's been pu

Resolutions for a Rangergirl

Tim Pratt's first novel, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl , has been well received by such disparate entities as Charles de Lint and Douglas Lain . I have, through my connections with various international espionage organizations, acquired an extra copy. I would like to give this copy away, and so I have convinced Tim to be the judge for a new contest. The New Year's Resolution Contest In the comments section to this post, leave an interesting, imaginative, and/or bizarre new year's resolution. The most interesting, imaginative, and/or bizarre resolution, in the judgment of Tim Pratt, will win its creator a copy of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl . (Please be sure to leave your email address in the comment, unless you know I already know how to get in touch with you.) This contest will end on Sunday, January 8 at 8pm Eastern Standard Time, when judging will commence. The decisions of the judge are entirely subjective and binding. You are not required to be