Here’s your monthly-or-so reminder that I make weekly appearances on PW‘s Week Ahead podcast, a special edition of Beyond the Book, hosted by Chris Kenneally at the Copyright Clearance Center. This week I talk about strong women—including a fictional SWAT team sniper and a real-world fugitive slave—whose stories are reviewed in next Monday’s issue of PW. You can subscribe to the podcast here.
- I’m on the air, digitally speaking! Starting, uh, last week (I meant to blog about this on Friday but it’s been a bit hectic around here), and continuing ad infinitum, I’ll be giving sneak previews of PW‘s reviews section every Friday on special episodes of the Copyright Clearance Center’s Beyond the Book podcast (not to be confused with Barbara Vey’s Beyond Her Book blog). Other PW editors and staff will be talking about book news; in the first episode, features editor Andrew Albanese talks about the Amazon/Overdrive partnership, the upcoming Frankfurt book fair, and more. Listen to that episode here and then subscribe to the podcast through this iTunes link.
- So you want to write a romance novel? Watch these videos first. “Was it good?” “It was amazing.” “Will we live happily ever after now?” “No.” If you want to write a non-romance novel, this video may also prove instructive. (Hat tip to Maureen Johnson.) I have yet to find equivalent videos for SF, fantasy, or horror, but if you encounter them, do send them my way.
- It’s Strange Horizons fund drive time again, and they’re only about 20% of the way to their goal. Don’t forget that donating any amount enters you into a drawing for a wide array of nifty prizes.
- Andrew Porter sends links to videos of Roger Zelazny and Jane Yolen doing readings at Fourth Street in 1986. Each video is an hour long, so give it some time to load before you start watching. They start with some introductory material about conventions; if you decide to skip that, on the broadly correct assumption that nothing much has changed in that regard over the past 25 years, the readings begin around 02:45.
- Speaking of readings, Andy Duncan knocked it out of the park at KGB on Wednesday! Wow! If you ever have a chance to hear him read, do not miss it. Michael Swanwick, the least self-effacing writer I have ever met, went up to the podium after the break and said, “Andy is a hard act to follow. But I can do it.” Alas, his tale of doomed love between an ugly, brilliant theoretical physicist and her gorgeous, brilliant technician did not quite outshine Andy’s remarkable novelette “Close Encounters”, in which a mountain hermit reflects on his long-ago abduction by aliens.
- Michael also mentioned a story idea and said I should blog about it and encourage someone to turn it into an actual story. Alas, I can’t remember what it was.
- Also speaking of readings, I’m going to take a very brief moment to toot my own horn and note that I and other contributors to Milk and Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry will be reading at Bluestockings Books on October 10th at 7 p.m., and at CCNY’s Shepard Hall on October 11th at 6:30 p.m. If you’re in New York, come join us! The book is gorgeous and amazing (as is everything published by A Midsummer Night’s Press) and I’m kind of stunned that editor Julie R. Enszer liked my little poem enough to include it.
- Oh all right, a bit more horn-tooting. That’s what blogs are for, isn’t it? I’ll be onstage at the 21st First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony this Thursday, September 29, up in Cambridge MA. Tickets are sold out, but you can watch for free on our webcast. I believe my role is listed in the program book as “Human Aerodrome and Onstage Lurking Presence”.
A bit of trivia for you: Many years ago, my father took a road trip with Tom Disch and Marilyn Hacker. The men took turns driving, and whoever wasn’t driving would write sonnets with Marilyn to pass the time. My father assembled these sonnets into a tiny chapbook called Highway Sandwiches. As it happens, Marilyn Hacker is also a contributor to Milk and Honey, so I believe she’s the first person to ever share TOCs with both my father and me. I could not have predicted that!
I love the idea of National Short Story Week; just because the nation in question is the U.K. doesn’t mean we can’t observe it on this side of the Pond. Maybe I’ll read one of the enormous collections that can really only be consumed in full over a four-day weekend. If you’re a SFWA member, you could get started reading and rereading Nebula-eligible works, now that nominations are open.
Angry Robot is–pardon me, they’re British, Angry Robot are–observing the holiday by announcing the December 1 launch of individual digital short story sales through their online store. You can buy stories individually or bundle them in a sort of make-your-own-anthology setup. I’ve wanted this sort of thing for years, though of course in my ideal world the store wouldn’t be limited to stories from a single publisher, and you could share your anthology TOCs and see which ones were most popular and turn them into POD print books as well as e-books. As I see it, the short story is the closest publishing equivalent to the song. It’s high time we started treating anthologies and magazines like albums, and giving customers the opportunity to make their own mix tapes.
In nonfiction news, the Science Fiction Oral History Association (which I did not know existed until this weekend) has launched an extraordinary podcast, Space Dog, which will broadcast recordings from SF history. The first episode features Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Lester del Rey, Frederik Pohl, and Gordon R. Dickson shooting the breeze in 1976. Wow.
While I was at Readercon, Jon Armstrong dragged me and Graham Sleight off to his room for… no, no, this isn’t that sort of convention story. He just wanted to record us talking about books for his podcast, If You’re Just Joining Us.
Readercon signup is unusual in that they specifically ask whether there’s anyone you do or do not want to be on panels with. I gave the names of several people I would rather not ever sit in the same room with, much less share a stage. I also named Graham and John Clute, of whom I think very highly, because I would far rather heckle them from the audience listen to them talk than attempt to keep up with their brilliance. In addition, Graham and I are close friends and we talk quite frequently about books and writing. I was concerned that the two of us on a panel about books would end up dominating the conversation with our usual rapid-fire back-and-forth.
Naturally, we both wound up on the Year in Novels panel. Fortunately our co-panelists were Gary K. Wolfe and Shira Lipkin, who have no trouble speaking up and have many greatly interesting things to say, so I permitted myself to believe that at least from the audience’s perspective it actually looked like a panel discussion rather than the Graham and Rose Show with a couple of special guests. This belief lasted precisely until Jon came up to me and Graham and asked us to recap the panel for his podcast, since we had an obvious rapport. Ah well.
So we set up a time and sat down in Jon’s room with a microphone dangling between us—Jon has quite the sophisticated set-up—and chatted for a while in our usual fashion, mentioning some books we’d discussed on the panel as well as others we’d immediately kicked ourselves for missing. Jon eventually got bored and made us stop talking, though he softened the blow by saying we were “very articulate.” (I was in a snarky mood and replied, “For white people?”) I can’t bring myself to listen to the recording, so I just hope I didn’t say anything too embarrassing. If I did, um, sorry about that. I’m not used to communicating in a medium that I can’t edit later!
In all seriousness, many thanks to Jon for the invitation, and to Graham for joining us. Between this and participating in the Sturgeon read-a-thon, I’m finding myself thinking more about voice acting than I have in quite some time. If there were a Genreville podcast, would you listen to it?