Showing posts from July, 2008


I've been thinking a bit about dentistry, dentition, and various things dental this week due to a convergence of circumstances. First, I had some minor dental work, then at my neighbor's yard sale I picked up a copy of a children's book called Your Wonderful Teeth , which has some marvelous photographs. And then I watched the movie Teeth . The pictures from the former will speak for themselves, but the latter requires a few words. Teeth is a horror-comedy about vagina dentata . I saw the trailer a few months ago and had one of those "No, they didn't ... oh wow, they did ..." moments where at first I assumed my own strange brain was projecting something, only to realize that my projection was entirely accurate when the voiceover announced: " Dentata . It's Latin for 'teeth'." I didn't expect much of the movie. How could it possibly live up to its premise? (And what, exactly, was there to live up to?) I assumed it would pro

BAF Cover Preview

Ann just posted this , and so I'm going to do the same, as all wise people follow her lead: The advance copies contain few of the ancillary materials, because, well, we're kinda still working on getting things like my preface, Ann & Jeff's intro, the recommended stories list, and an accurate "publications received" list finished (note to self: next time finish this list before you pack everything up and move it to another state).


Just to remind myself of all I should be reading, I decided to take this photo of my most immediate to-be-read pile: books that I have either begun reading recently or need to start reading very, very soon because there are upcoming projects related to them (for instance, I agreed to write about Meja Mwangi for KenyaImagine , warning them that I wouldn't be able to get to it until August, but now August is ... a week away...) I'm reviewing the Nisi Shawl collection for Strange Horizons , and probably later reviewing the Greg Bear novel for them, and I owe SF Site a review of the LeGuin books (I haven't even gotten myself a copy of the second book in the trilogy yet...) Some of the others are for classes I'm teaching in the fall, while assorted others are books that I started reading recently and then had to run away from for a moment to go do something else and haven't had a chance to pick up again. Meanwhile, the mailman just drove up my driveway, which means

Congratulations to Matt Bell

Matt Bell has won the StorySouth Million Writers Award for his story "Alex Trebek Never Eats Fried Chicken" from Storyglossia . (Galleycat has a good write-up about the award and Matt here .) I'm noting this not because I'm a big fan of awards, but because I had not noticed Matt's name before Jeff and Ann VanderMeer picked his story "Mario's Three Lives" for Best American Fantasy 2008 , and it's fun to see someone whose work we read without any knowledge of his background or abilities now achieving some recognition. So congrats to Matt, and let's hope this is just the beginning of many more accomplishments in the future!

Asimov at Bread Loaf

Moving back to New Hampshire has meant that I am, once again, living with all of my books -- I had left many in storage when I was in New Jersey. I still don't have room for them all, and will have to get rid of many if I ever want this place to look like anything other than a warehouse, but for now it's fun to reacquaint myself with the many books I have missed. Yesterday's Readercon post, for instance, included a passing remark about Isaac Asimov at Bread Loaf , and I just now took the source of this information out of a box: Whose Woods These Are: A History of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 1926-1992 by David Haward Baine and Mary Smyth Duffy, which I bought when I attended Bread Loaf in the summer of 2000. Asimov first visited Bread Loaf in 1950 at the invitation of one of the faculty members, Fletcher Pratt . In 1971 and 1972, he attended as a member of the faculty, invited by his friend John Ciardi , who was director of the conference for many years. My f

Those Kids Spelt So Much Better with Typewriters!

There are many things that can be said about technology and education, and various issues related to both fields that are complex and not easily resolved. Over at The Chronicle Review (part of The Chronicle of Higher Education ), Mark Bauerlein instead decides to go for useless simplification . (Which I discovered via Scott Esposito .) Commenting on a comparative study of written errors in student papers from the '80s and now, Bauerlein decides that though the authors of the study, Andrea & Karen Lunsford (well-respected researchers in the field of composition and rhetoric), say that their study does not support the fears of "hard-core worriers who see a precipitous decline in student writing ability and who often relate that decline to the creeping of IM and other digital lingo", he knows better, and, in fact, the Lunsfords' study proves their own statement wrong -- computers have made student writers worse! (Note that the Lunsfords were speaking specifically

Readercon Summary

A grand time was had by all at Readercon this year, and it was a great thrill for me to get to see one of my oldest friends in the writing world, James Patrick Kelly , as guest of honor -- honored so well and appropriately. The two panels I was on seemed to go well, though I arrived at the con only half an hour before I was on the "Triumphing Over Competence" panel and hadn't quite adjusted yet, so my contributions were few. Adam Golaski did a fine job of moderating, but it was a tough topic to focus in on in a way that would lead to real insights. Saturday's "The Career of James Patrick Kelly" panel felt much more successful to me, and one of its strengths was the diversity in the backgrounds of the panelists -- we had all discovered Jim's writings (and Jim himself) at different times and in different ways. Of course, afterward I thought of many things I should have said instead of what I did, in fact say, but I probably talked too much anyway, so i


While watching the marvelous end credit sequence of WALL-E last week, I thought I saw Shaun Tan's name amongst the art department, but I wasn't sure, because I was having too much fun following the concept of the credit sequence to pay close attention to the names. I thought I could rely on IMDB, but no, he's not listed there. Did I dream it? I fired up the ol' Google, though, and voilá -- this article from The Australian , wherein it is said: "...he was commissioned to do art work on the Hollywood children's films Horton Hears a Who and the forthcoming WALL-E . While he enjoyed both jobs and insists he has no complaints, most of his work ended up on the cutting-room floor." The jaws of Google are vast, though, and they also caught an entry on TOR art director Irene Gallo's blog that is really the point of this whole entry. What they caught was Bob Eggleton's comment : "The ending credits are worth the price of admission and,really un

Readercon Schedule

For my stalkers, here are the panels I will be on at Readercon: Friday 2:00 PM, Salon F: Panel Triumphing Over Competence. Matthew Cheney, Carl Frederick, Adam Golaski (L), Theodora Goss, Claude Lalumiere, Cecilia Tan Jeff VanderMeer created an online ruckus with the assertion that today's short fiction market has been overwhelmed by "the triumph of competence." We can think of nothing less useful than a debate between those who agree with VanderMeer and others who feel we are in a Golden Age of short fiction, since the presence of both camps argues convincingly that any response to today's short fiction market is subjective. Instead, let's ask: what practical things can we do to make things better, regardless of how good we think they are now? What can we do to promulgate the writing of more (or "even more") great stories? And what can we do to help readers find stories they'll love, especially if they've been burnt out by over-exposure t


I'm safely back in New Hampshire and beginning to settle in. Most of my time has been taken up with packing and unpacking -- moving into a house that was already fully lived in is quite a task. My father's aesthetic was not minimalist, and he'd lived here since the early '70s. I'm also discovering all the many joys of home ownership as I realize how much work needs to be done here (windows that really should be replaced before winter; dry rot that has to be dealt with; the many surfaces that need a coat [or five] of paint; the flying ants that have a secret entrance into one room...) It's magnificently peaceful here, though, and more than anything else I needed some peace, so really I have no complaints. Posting will resume within the next day or two. (During my absence, the entire internet seems to have gone insane, but I shall not confuse correlation and causation...) Readercon is coming up next week, where it looks like I'll be on a couple of panels :