Thursday, April 26, 2007

Stories, Stories, Stories

Viking is publishing a YA short story collection by Kelly Link in 2008. Suh-weet. Even better, Sense Five Press is publishing the urban fantasy anthology Paper Cities, edited by the wonderful Ekaterina Sedia who gave me my first break in her previous anthology, Jigsaw Nation.

I am not writing stories. I am very tired and searching for pictures of Marley Shelton on the internet. I have a weepy soul and no tissue for it.

It's not just Earth warming up.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gotcha'

I figured it was going to happen soon, but not this soon: astronomers have discovered an earth-like planet outside our solar system, in orbit of the red dwarf Gliese 581, only 20.5 light-years away (that's actually pretty close). The planet, 581 c, is about five times heavier than Earth and may have liquid water on it surface. Suh-weet.

Also, astronomers have picked up on a interesting connection between two cycles: the extinctions on Earth, and the Earth's journey through the galactic plane of the Milky Way. Both occur every 64 millions years or so. Hmm.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Storyglossia 19

My story "Keeping Up Disappearances" has published in Issue 19 of Storyglossia magazine. I had an idea for a long time about an out of work actress - a former 'It Girl' who ended up back home, washed up at 33. I never knew what exactly to do with it until I found myself watching these cable 'news' shows last summer, drawing every last ounce of blood out of these successive, unfortunate missing child cases. I put the two ideas together and got a down-on-her-luck actress suddenly back in the spotlight thanks to a scandalous missing-child case in her hometown. I decided on the transcript format after realizing the only way to really get at the hysteria and melodrama of these types of shows was through the actual words of the hosts and guests.

Give it a read. Hope you enjoy it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cosmic Sigh

This is so in my novel.

I don't know what to say about VT. Other than tragedy is too frequent a visitor these days. Some are wondering what this tragedy says about creative writing, because the POS murderer was a 'writer.' He wasn't. He didn't kill anybody because he was a writer, and creative writing isn't responsible for violence anymore than movies or TV or whatever the scapegoat is this week. That's how I feel. I admit I haven't devoted any attention whatsoever to this man, his life, or his work, such as it is. He deserves none of it.

Sci-fi writer Michael Bishop lost his son Jamie, a teacher of German, at VT. He leaves a devastating message at the inferior411.

I don't know what to say about this, either. I pray we'll wake up from this endless nightmare of mass murder one day and realize the destruction we visited on ourselves because we valued the ease of owning weapons over the future of our children. I hope those guns serve us well in the future we are carving out for ourselves. Which is in limbo. Oh, but wait. No more limbo.

Sigh.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Aliens Are Soviets

The perfectly square and perfectly unnatural Red Square Nebula. This is the sort of thing that sets a writer's brain buzzing. Sure, it's probably a natural occurance. Probably.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Grindhouse

So I went saw Grindhouse yesterday afternoon. Again. It's that good. Death Proof, the Tarantino half of the double feature, I could watch all day. The first time I saw it I didn't know what to make of it. After the thrill-a-minute first film and the hysterical fake trailers you're primed for more of the same and Death Proof is much more deliberate. The second viewing you're prepared and you discover how excellent and singular a film it is; you sort of wish DP had the theater all to itself. Tarantino calls it a slasher film with a car as the weapon, but it struck me how similar to Jaws the film is. In Jaws you never see the shark. The tension builds as a result of what you imagine and Kurt Russell shows up in his car every so often, the hood ornament a fin breaching the surface of the water as he hunts for his next snack. That's actually the first thing we see Stuntman Mike doing: eating. Gratuitously.

There's a lot going on in the film. The first time I thought the two features didn't speak to each other; they have a textual relationship (they share the same world, apparently, and some characters - as well as some from previous Tarnatino films) but I didn't see an intertextual one. So they're making a monument to grindhouse cinema; Robert Rodriguez succeeds flawlessly in recreating that exact type of film. He does it digitally, with gore and effects and T&A galore. Tarantino on the other hand devotes an entire film to characters that have largely lost their jobs to the advancement of CGI; Stuntman Mike is a relic from a bygone age. He lists a string of TV series he worked on, which nobody remembers. There's no reason to death-proof a car anymore; they'll just insert a computer generated one. Tarantino shoots the film in grogeous 35mm; the stunts are real. That's really Zoe Bell on the hood of that Dodge Challenger holding on to ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Stuntman Mike hunts down groups of girls, girls of new media (Jungle Julia is a DJ and upstart record label exec, and Zoe Bell is a real-life stuntwoman who stood in for Xena and the Bride) and destroys them with his old Hollywood car. But they turn the tables on him and in this way, the films do speak to each other, and grindhouse cinema in general. Rodriguez created a brilliant homage to the genre; I don't think it transcends it. Tarantino usurps it. DP questions the validity of the films it names as its inspiration. It considers the direction film itself is taking, away from practicality toward ones and zeroes. And it has one of the best car chases you're ever likely to see. So go see it.

Oh, and I don't know what to make of this yet, but give it a read.

Friday, April 13, 2007

No Post Belongs Here More Than This One

Whatever it is, it's not sci-fi. Because sci-fi is not a literature of ideas.

Check out the performance-art website of renaissance-woman Miranda July, who is quickly becoming my favorite artist-type person. She's one of those artists, like Regina Spektor, who seem to arrive fully formed. They're the kids on test day who are sitting at their desks with their pencils down when you're still struggling with question #7.

I have not written in days. Longer than that. Anything new. I pick at the second novel of the BDE, revising it in trickles. Not writing starts to feel like cabin fever; you feel like you're suffocating. I hate it and yet there's this ridiculous sense of constipation. The writing just doesn't come. The words stand you up. But it's been almost two years since I finished the first draft of the second book. two years since I have written a new novel. In the meantime I have revised heavily it and the first book, the angel book; I've written a couple dozen short stories. But I'm a novelist. I need to live with something large enough to take years to capture. Well. That's the whole point. You never do capture it all. Most of it gets away, and what you come back with is the trace evidence it existed at all.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

I Heart Zoe Bell

Buying Buffy Season 8 #2, Mouse Guard #1, and Jossified Runaways #25 at local comic shop: $10

Buying vintage 1978 Jawa doll at said comic shop: $30

Lunch at Burger King: $5.67

Matinee of Grindhouse: $5.50

Medium Diet Coke at the theatre: $3.00

Seeing sunshiny Zoe Bell ride a 1970 Dodge Challenger: priceless

Friday, April 06, 2007

Sunday, April 01, 2007

You Write Like A Girl

First some people couldn't accept William Shakespeare wrote all those fantastic plays. Now Mary Shelley can't have written Frankenstein because she was too stupid and young. Oh, and feminine. People will always leap at conspiracy theories in which a small cadre of shady government power brokers maintain elaborate secrets about aliens or assassins or blood lines across generations, but no one person can write a great novel or play. It's beyond human capacity. Whatever.

A couple days ago I had an idea for a new novel. I was falling-in-love for the first time excited. I have not had any worthwhile ideas for a book in ages. In the course of a few hours the book blossomed in my head, the characters, the structure, lines and passages that I wrote down furiously. I felt (as you often do at this stage) that I could just sit down and write it in one lump. But it never happens that way. I did write the first few pages, where I discovered some possibilities and or problems with tense and structure that I'll have to sort out. The reality is I may not get to this for some time, unless I just drop everything else; I've been revising the second book of the BDE with the intention of ramping off that into the third and final book. I also felt like I could just sit down and write that one, three years ago. But I have something to look forward to, and I'm excited to be writing and thinking about something that isn't the trilogy. It's consuming; it's like getting lost a dense forest and forgetting how you came in and how you'll get out.