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Showing posts from November, 2010

Ways of Reading

Ron Silliman has written an interesting post about, among other things, how he reads:
I’m always reading a dozen books at once, sometimes twice that many. [...] In part, this reading style is because I have an aversion to the immersive experience that is possible with literature. Sometimes, especially if I’m "away" on vacation, I’ll plop down in a deck chair on a porch somewhere with a big stack of books of poetry, ten or twelve at a time, reading maybe up to ten pages in a book, then moving it to a growing stack on the far side of the chair until I’ve gone through the entire pile. Then I start over in the other direction. I can keep myself entertained like this for hours. That is pretty close to my idea of the perfect vacation.I’ve had this style of reading now for some 50 years – it’s not something I’m too likely to change – but I’ve long realized that this is profoundly not what some people want from their literature, and it’s the polar opposite of the experience of "…

A Thousand Cats

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My latest Sandman Meditations column was posted earlier this week.  This one is about "A Dream of a Thousand Cats".

In the column, I mention my new cats, Alex and Oliver.  As an added bonus to all that, here's a picture of them dreaming...

New Site Design

It's long been time for this site to get a facelift.  Well, now it has one.  I've not only changed some of the formatting and colors (yes, I'm fond of purples; it's my site, it will have lots of purple!), but also taken advantage of Blogger's new Pages feature, familiar to anybody who's used Wordpress.  The pages are listed up there beneath the site header.

The About and Fiction pages are self-explanatory, but the Selections page probably needs a few words of introduction.

For a couple years now, I've wanted to put together a collection of the nonfiction I've written over the last seven years or so (since a piece of mine about George Saunders appeared in English Journal in May 2003), but I've struggled to come up with a book-length manuscript that is more than just a collection of miscellanea.  I could easily put together a collection just of my writings on science fiction, or on film, or general book reviews, or extended essays on writers such as J…

The Horror! The Comics!

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The Center for Cartoon Studies' Schulz Library has a great blog, which, if you're at all interested in comics or graphic novels, provides wonderful reading.

Today, for instance, they posted a marvelous piece by S.R. Bissette about a new anthology of 1950s horror comics.  This is part one of what looks to be a three-part series.

I also just discovered Bissette's own site, itself a marvel.  Don't miss his series of posts on LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka's Dutchman.

Security, Causality

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We make fiction for the same reason as we make buildings: security. Rigid notions of causality in fiction have developed as shelter from a fear of the unstructuredness of actual events. Few societies have been more afraid than ours of losing a status quo that was illusory in the first place.

--M. John Harrison

Worlds Apart

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I was writing a comment in reply to Ray Davis on a previous post, and realized it might be better as a post than a comment.

Here's Ray's original comment:
Huh. The "problem that had long puzzled" Josipovici was precisely -- like precisely, except for some name-swapping which sharpens the point, like Joyce for Mann and Beckett for Bernhard -- what led me to start looking into science fiction in 1976. (And eventually led me here, of course.)

From what I've read of Josipovici, I suspect he arrived at different answers than myself.My feelings are similar, and are one of the reasons that though my particular pleasures are different from Josipovici's, I'm sympathetic to his argument. Those feelings are also a reason why I have a knee-jerk negative reaction to arguments that pose science fiction (broadly defined) as the opposite of Modernism.  (Different, sure.  Opposite, nope.)  That's an interpretation that doesn't work for me because it contradicts my …

"You are Not I" Film Found

A fascinating story in the New York Times about Sarah Driver's1981 film of Paul Bowles's brilliant story "You are Not I" -- a film in which Luc Sante is an actor, and on which Jim Jarmusch served as cinematographer and co-writer.

I have no idea if the film is any good, but the Times story of its creation, loss, and discovery -- as well as the story of Bowles's archives -- is really amazing.

Never Let Me Reload

A couple quick notes...
Weeks ago, Mary Rickert emailed me to let me know about a lovely YouTube video created as a trailer for her forthcoming book Holiday.  I completely forgot to post it.  I haven't seen the book yet, but I know many of the stories in it, and I know Mary, so I have no hesitation in recommending it.I just received my contributor's copy of Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, and even though it doesn't have a picture of a steampunk reloading press, it's still a good book.  The interior design is particulary striking, especially in the section to which I contributed some lesser-known information about an ancestor of mine, the "Secret History of Steampunk".  (Also, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly deny all knowledge of the Mecha-Ostrich, despite the vicious rumors circulating about some sort of illicit scholarship I am said to have engaged in.)  I thought the first Steampunk anthology was good fun, and I especially enjoyed Stepan …

Catching Up, Once Again

This semester of teaching (at two schools) has pretty well kept me away from the blog here, but things are beginning to even out, and I should be able to return to my regularly irregular posting in the next few weeks.  I will probably even soon be able to reply to that email you sent me.  For now, though, some quick notes...
Over at Gestalt Mash, my latest Sandman Meditations column finishes up The Doll's House. I've now finished reading Gabriel Josipovici's What Ever Happened to Modernism?, and will start writing a review of it for Rain Taxi very soon (I'm only about a month late on that...)  I found the book provocative, fascinating, and enlightening, but even if I hadn't, I think I'd be amazed at how stupid many of the reviews of it have been (the link is to The Complete Review's roundup; their own review is not one I agree with, but though I don't think it's up to their normal standard, it's not awful).  I won't address this in the review…

Strange Horizons, World Fantasy Award, and Susan

Yesterday, Susan Marie Groppi won a well-deserved World Fantasy Award as editor-in-chief of Strange Horizons.  I did a little dance for joy when I found out, because aside from this here blog, Strange Horizons is the publication I've had the longest ongoing relationship with as a writer.  It was just about six years ago, in fact, that Susan first asked if I'd be willing to write an occasional column, and the request just about knocked the wind out of me, because all the writing I'd done had been stuff I'd had to hustle myself -- nobody had ever asked me to write for them before.

I've had the pleasure of writing reviews and interviews for SH, too, and it really always has been a pleasure, because the community of staff is exemplary.  The magazine has lasted longer than most of its peers, and the quality of work has been astoundingly strong for a weekly website.

Susan's award was in the "non-professional" category (a category I have a certain fondness f…