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Showing posts from February, 2009

Nebula Nominees

Okay, now the world feels small. For the first time, I know someone in all the fiction categories of the Nebula nominees. And not just like encountered on Facebook once (though there is that...) -- but was roommates at the World Fantasy Convention with (Dave Schwartz), wrote a story with (Jeff Ford), have known since I was in the 7th grade (Jim Kelly). Rick Bowes keeps my first child in a basement in Hell's Kitchen. Kelley Eskridge I know the least of the group, but she's among the awesomest people on Earth, so I have to claim her anyway. (She's teaching my second child to dance.) John Kessel I met for the first time this summer, but I think he was the one who convinced Rick that my first child needed a basement and some electrodes.

It's a good thing I'm not a SFWA member, because my approach to awards is to root for my friends, and I would have trouble voting with so many good people nominated. I think I'd advocate for mud wrestling to determine the winn…

Best American Fantasy update

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As Jeff notes, the Best American Fantasy series is moving to Underland Press for the future, starting with Best American Fantasy 3 guest-edited by Kevin Brockmeier. We owe thanks to Prime and Sean Wallace for helping the series get launched.

The much-delayed second volume is, apparently, now available. Folks who got advanced copies seem to like the book, which includes stories by Rick Moody, Kage Baker, Peter Beagle, Kelly Link, Jeffrey Ford, Judy Budnitz, and other writers equally deserving of mention. For a sense of the book, check out Liz Hand's review at F&SF or the story-by-story reading at Bookspot Central.

Volume three is shaping up nicely, and we've nearly settled on the contents, so once we have done that and I've secured reprint permission for everything, I will post the contents here.

Interview at Bibliophile Stalker

Somehow, in the merry-go-round-that-aspires-to-be-a-rollercoaster that is my life, I missed this interview that Charles Tan conducted with me about Best American Fantasy (volume 2 is now, finally, making its way into the world!), writing, reading, theatre, teaching, reviewing, etc. It was a fun interview, and I'm grateful to Charles for giving me the opportunity to ramble on about some favorite topics. Here's a taste:
What for you makes a good story?

I wish it were something simple and reliable -- I wish, for instance, that I loved every story with the word "arugula" in it. That would make writing and reading much easier. But, alas, it's all more ineffable than that. Generally, it boils down to surprise and individuality. I don't continue reading stories if they don't contain some element of surprise -- if they don't make me wonder where the writer will take the next sentence, the next paragraph, the next page. I'm not a fast reader, so if I feel …

I Kill Bookstores

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Scott Esposito has an interesting post pointing to a few ideas concerning that ever-present question, "What will happen to bookstores?" He quotes Karl Pohrt of the struggling Shaman Drum bookstore: "What is the next version of a bookstore?" It is, as Scott says, an essential question. No matter how nostalgic we may get about the good old days when indies ruled the earth and everybody read books instead of playing with their internet machines and rotting their brains, the world has changed, and bookstores will either adapt or die. (Much of the problem at Shaman Drum, it seems, lies with textbook sales, a somewhat different beast from trade books, and, I expect, far more doomed, partly because they are generally items of obligation, their sales not fueled by interest, curiosity, and passion. And because most textbooks tend to be priced like precious jewels, buyers will seek out ways to avoid paying those prices anywhere they can.)

From Scott's post, I also d…

The Conversation, Part V: In Which I End with a Provisional Conclusion

For all you folks waiting on the edges of your seats at home, here is my last contribution to The Conversation: Part Five. (In which we continue to talk about zombie movies and bring in Shakespeare for a cameo appearance.)

If I had to find a pullquote, it would be: "Inevitably, I end up distrusting my own statements. And yet I continue to make them. Compulsion? Insanity? I'm not sure."

"My Dear Emily" by Joanna Russ

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I haven't even updated my course blog this term, so I feel a bit guilty writing here about a story I recently taught, but this story has dug its way into my head and I need to write down some ideas before I start babbling in Babylonian or something...

As I've previously mentioned, I am using David Hartwell's The Dark Descent in my "Murder, Madness, Mayhem" class. It's one of my all-time favorite anthologies -- beautifully organized, with a selection of stories from various genres and eras, many of the stories allowing all sorts of discussion-fueling comparison, making it not just a great read, but a particularly valuable teaching tool.*

I had the students read "My Dear Emily" on the same day they were to read J. Sheridan Le Fanu's "Schalken the Painter" and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper". The idea was to talk about gender roles in the stories, since we've been talking about how writers use various e…

The Conversation, Part IV: Zombie Movies, Star Trek, & Proust

Not much content hereabouts lately, because my attentions have been given to other things and my time taken up by various projects, but my conversation with Eric Rosenfield continues on apace, and in this installment I reveal a certain fondness for zombie movies and an inability to appreciate either Proust or Star Trek.