The Singularity and Podcast Novels: Balticon 2009

I had sworn off cons for 2009. Once I decided not to go to Wiscon what was the point? Nothing is as much fun as Wiscon. But as they say: never say never. Turns out Balticon is on my schedule. Here’s how it happened:

The Book View Cafe Library of Congress gig is scheduled for Friday, Memorial Day weekend, the same weekend Balticon is scheduled for (and Wiscon I might add, but let’s just forget about that for now). As everyone outside of Maryland knows, DC is right next door to Baltimore so as soon as we wrap things up Downtown, we’re going to head out to Beemore.

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72-Hour Film Competition: Saturday

Tacoma Glass Museum: Hot ShopFriday, during which Kat cast and planned our movie, was gorgeous and sunny; today, when we had to film, was cloudy, cold, and rainy. The talent was heroic, in Edwardian dress and high-button boots, and only one umbrella among us.

We even got thunder and lightning, but fortunately by then we were indoors.

First stop, this morning: the Tacoma Glass Museum, where they welcomed us. We went into the Hot Shop where the glassblowing happens. At first Kat couldn’t go down on the floor – not allowed without a limited-access pass, according to the narrator of the glass blowing workshop. I figured it would go and beg for a pass; the worst they could say was “No.”

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72-hour film competition

I am one tired puppy. Just finished the script for the 72-hour film compeition. The idea is you start from scratch and end up with a 5-minute film three days later. The competition gives you a list that has to be included in your movie (to be sure you don’t arrive with a script or a finished movie instead of doing the competition).

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Strunk and White: Fifty Years Is Long Enough

Strunk and WhiteThe Elements of Style – better known as Strunk and White for its authors, William Strunk and E.B. White – is fifty years old.

The publisher has brought out a 50th Anniversary Edition. Newspapers and magazines have waxed elegiac on the subject. Famous people say they can’t write without it.

I have a confession: I don’t use it. I never have.

And I make my living as a writer. Continue reading

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Champagne at the Oasis, OR, Book Launches in North Queensland

Mostly people picture book launches or signings in bookshops – either glorious crowds besieging furiously signing author (optimum dream) or wretchedly solitary author sitting over table with copies and trying not to eye every passing browser like a hopeful vulture (absolute nightmare.)  In my locale, bookshops are either too small to fit many people, or not interested in what I write, so to reach my *huge* local audience (face very straight here) I usually organise  a launch.

This involves quite a lot of work, from ordering the books, and guestimating how many, to lining up a launcher, finding a venue, fixing up food and drink (book launches naturally involve quantites of champagne, at least in my view), conning a v. efficient friend into running the cashbox, and, most critical, Deciding What to Wear. p1010395-bvc1Lucky male authors, who can just throw on whatever they feel like. This fem author, at least, can agonise loud and long over the choice.

(Mine for this time boded to be too hot, since the weather stayed up to 31C. deg. maximum right into April this year.)

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Who Won the 2009 Nebula Awards?

The last time the Nebula Awards presented by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) were held in Los Angeles was 2001.  That was a treasured evening in my memory, also coordinated by one of the world’s most special and gifted people, Christine Valada.  The Grand Master Award was presented to Philip Jose Farmer by Harlan Ellison that evening.  I believe that Ray Bradbury presented the Ray Bradbury Award (which is a marvelous trophy – very Ray Bradburyish) to Harlan Ellison.  The super-elegant Neil Gaiman was emcee; it was an incredible evening.  I had tears in my eyes much of the time, because I never thought I’d be sitting in the same room with these people who had touched my life so greatly.  Such was the case with the 2008 Nebula Awards (presented in Spring, 2009) on the UCLA campus Saturday, April 25.

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Night Magic

Anyone who has ever exchanged email with me probably has noticed the hours I keep. Time stamps tell them I am a confirmed owl. East-coast larks and I often cross days, as they start their days as I am ending mine.

Rather than calling myself an owl, now and then I say I have vampiric tendencies. (After all, I do write fantasy.) I get some interesting reactions to this statement, especially from non-science-fiction/fantasy fans. But whatever term you use, the fact remains: my personal circadian rhythms and schedule are effectively out-of-phase with the sun.

Some people share Ben Franklin’s low opinion of late hours. Or should I say Poor Richard’s? After all, Mr. Franklin was quite the bon-vivant in his day, which hardly seems to match the Puritanical tone of “early to bed and early to rise.” But science has come to the rescue once again! More and more research seems to be saying that it’s not my fault. (I’ve been saying this at intervals for years about all sorts of things, but no one listens.) Continue reading

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Detective # 853: A Very Short Review

You don’t go to the comic book industry for modesty.  Dwelling on untrodden ways, by the springs of Dove —  this does not go well with low-cut spandex and adamantium blades extruding from your knucklebones.  So, even before the two special issues Batman #686 (reviewed at BVC here https://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2009/02/16/batman-686-a-very-short-review/) and Detective #853 came out, DC was billing them as classics.

detectiveAnd thanks to the talents of writer Neil Gaiman and artist Andy Kubert this little two-issue memorial run really is very close to classic.  We must simply ignore the aggravation of the nonsensical basic premise, that Batman has died:  a train wreck of a non-event which was done spectacularly badly and from which everybody just has to avert their eyes.  It will go away soon.  Continue reading

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