I’ve heard that SFWA Grandmaster James Gunn will give a keynote speech for the Cushing Library’s Exhibit above. I wish I could be there. After all, for the last 35 years I’ve witnessed some of that “SF & Fantasy” at TAMU. I remember the first time I ever met Jim Gunn–he came down for something and Dr. Kroiter brought him to the SF as Literature class to talk to us. I hadn’t read much of his work at that time but I was a big fan of the TV series The Immortal.
Since then I’ve learned usual lesson. The source material is almost always better.
Brad Denton was a graduate student under him, writing some of his early short fiction in the program. Read his post about meeting Dr. Gunn back in college, “First Contact with a Grand Master.”
I’m in Chattanooga, Tennessee (the ‘nooga as us hep kids call it) at a combination writer’s retreat and birthday celebration (not mine, but our host’s, Mary Robinette Kowal.) It just so happens that her BD is one day (and fourteen years) after mine.
I was supposed to be the offeeeeeecial photgrapher for the following event but one of the Team Mary’s sous chefs came down sick and I was roped in.
Nobody really lost, especially all of us who got to eat it.
Looking for something good to read?Â A screenplay by Ursula K. Leguin, maybe?Â Novels by Brenda Clough, Susan Wright or Vonda McIntyre?Â Or maybe a handful of short stories to while away that wait for your much-delayed flight home from Kathmandu (now that we can look forward to a new and different president)?
Check out Book View Cafe, a nifty new website featuring work by over two dozen women writers working in SF, horror, fantasy, YA, and related genres.Â We (disclosure: yes, I’m one of the roster) have banded together to make the site a place where we can bring our out-of-print work back, republish short stories, and show off new and experimental fiction.Â Much of the work is free; there will be some available for subscription, and some for a nominal fee.Â Read on screen, or download a PDF to your computer to take elsewhere.Â And right now, since we’re in the roll-out phase, everything is free free free!
There’s also the Book View Cafe blog, with brief posts on divers topics by BVC authors.Â I know, another damned blog.Â But there’s stuff in there runs the gamut from comics to Camelot.Â You know you’re curious.
I don’t know if Book View Cafe is an entirely new publishing paradigm, as the big kids say, but it’s at least on the leading edge.Â And there’s really good stuff in there.Â Come check us out!
So, I finished* the revisions to the book last night**, and then I went to sleep. In my dream I had planted trees in my front yard–one or two saplings. I was trying to make sure they got enough water and was very worried about whether they would survive. It was all also very muddy and messy. (This may have something to do with the fact that we were having sewer problems yesterday. Ugh.)
Then I looked around and realized I had several trees in my front yard. And they were big! I had these big beautiful trees and I hadn’t known how quickly they’d grow! But then I got mad because:
I hadn’t planted them the right distance apart (they were in this really haphazard configuration–some crowding each other);
They STILL weren’t getting enough water; and
When I looked more closely I saw they were actually weird looking and kind of ugly, because I had chopped off all these limbs from them. I remember looking at them and thinking, what the hell was I thinking??
Shaddup, Subconscious, sez I. I got the damn thing finished. Are you ever satisfied?
(really cool tree picture, “Weird Tree,” by RJA Digital, published under a Creative Commons copyright 2.5 – non-commercial use only, share-alike.)
As I return to Eat Our Brains after an absence of a few weeks, I’m also announcing the return of my novel LAUGHIN’ BOY as a trade paperback.Â It’s available for preorder from Wheatland Press right this minute.Â The stunning cover art is by Darin Bradley.
LAUGHIN’ BOY was originally published as a limited-edition hardcover by Subterranean Press in 2005.Â It was a gorgeous book, and it sold out . . . but its cover price and small print run meant that a lot of potential readers didn’t see it.Â So I’m beyond delighted that Wheatland Press is now publishing this less-expensive but equally beautiful edition.
I usually dislike books labeled as “memoir” (though I occasionally read them), because Iâ€™ve always known they canâ€™t be trusted.
In fact, when the whole Million-Little-Pieces debacle unfolded a few years ago, I was bemused by the “Shocked! Shocked!” reaction it provoked. Seriously, now: Were daytime-television bookclubbers really surprised to discover that “memoir” is French for “big fat self-serving lie”?
Besides, even if a memoirist endeavors to be as truthful as memory allows, he or she will still get something wrong. I myself, the earthly avatar of Honesty and Cub-Scoutiness, have discovered that I often just flat misremember things. Last year, for example, I wrote an essay for Eat Our Brains in which I described a childhood game that I said had no name, but that I would refer to as “Dizzy Idiots.” Then, a few months ago, my Baby Brother (who could now crush me â€˜twixt his thumb and forefinger like an overripe grape) reminded me that the game I had described did have a name. It was called “Tornado.”
[Well, Baby Brother would have a better memory of that game than I would. He was the one who wound up in the Emergency Room because of it.]
So, the last piece of published short fiction I had out was the short story, “The Session” in Terri Windling’s anthology, The Armless Maiden and Other Tales for Childhood’s Survivors back in 1995. This doesn’t count a piece Rory and I co-wrote back in the early 90’s but which appeared in Revolution SF back in 2005. I’ve been (slowly) writing novels instead.
I had a short fiction career at one point (if one can call a career something that amounted to a)nothing even close to a living wage and b) averaging less than one published story a year.) It wasn’t totally unremarkable. I made it onto the final Hugo Ballot twice and the final Nebula Ballot once. I was (at least in my own mind) a hot young turk. All of my sales were to markets considered “professional” by SFWA. I got the odd fan letter. And I got to meet a lot of cool writers and editors.
But now I’m back at it again and I’m having a rough time. I’m not completely hopeless, I think. I sold a story to the new Tor website which helped my self-esteem a bit. But now I’m working on my latest novel and I’m writing it in chunks that I hope to market as short fiction.
I talked to 2000 Texas school kids yesterday using remote teleconferencing from a high-tech facility in Huntsville Texas. It was pretty cool. They would un-mute their microphones and their local camera would use that action to zoom in on the individual talking. Robot cameras rule!
I talked to these kids in four different sessions (3 different talks, one repeat.)
By the time Jack Williamson was my age he had published over 29 novels and over 73 short stories. He then went on, before he died, to publish almost as much again, be awarded the second ever SFWA Grand Master award and then, in this decade, won the Hugo, Nebula, and John W. Campbell awards.
So, it is with a great deal of humility (and a severe case of imposture syndrome) that I let you know I will be Special Guest of Honor at the 32nd Williamson Lectureship at Eastern New Mexico University.
Also speaking at the lunch will be special guests Christopher Stasheff and Connie Willis. In the morning before the luncheon there will be a presentation on the physics of both the novel and movie versions of Jumper by Alberto Rojo, recent Jack Williamson Endowed Chair and associate professor of physics at Oakland University. In the afternoon there will be panels at the University Library
2:00 Tribute to Fred Saberhagen 3:00 New Directions: SF and Fantasy
4:00 PG for Violence, Action and Scary Creatures: SF and Film
At 4:00 pm on Thursday the 10th, Connie Willis, Walter Jon Williams, and I are also doing a “Young Readers and Writers” event at the Portales Public Library.
SF Signal does this regular thing called Mind Meld where they ask the same question of several different people in the field.Â This week’s goes, “Is Young Adult SF/F Too Explicit?” People answering included Ellen Datlow, Kaza Kingsley, Derryl Murphy, Farah Mendlesohn, Ben Jeapes, Gwenda Bond, and me.
We kissed. She melted. Mop please! – James Patrick Kelly
Then comes this book. Autobiography in six words. Online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs and culled the best. Of course, now I lay in bed attempting to compose mine.