April 26th, 2008


[links] Link salad Saturday serving

mevennen is quite wise about the emotional processes of writing — Money shot: "Objectivity seems to be the prize of experience."

80-year-old Gakutensoku robot revived — (Thanks to danjite.)

Sneaky Pete — As if the Blastolene Special wasn't cool enough.

Mega-Landslide Could Shake Hawaii — Ah, the miracles of geology.

The Guru Handbook on taking breaks — Apropos of my post from last night, albeit in a slightly different context.

Mayo in the anoLanguage Log is funny about crossword puzzle clues.

The price of climate change — Interesting stuff on historical correlations between climate change and social phenomena such as crime and warfare.

Evolution’s Bumper Sticker War Against Intelligent Design — (Thanks to threeoutside.)

Dept of things I didn't knowThe Straight Dope on alternatives to hemoglobin in the animal kingdom. Which, incidentally, strikes me as very typical of the way evolution works — lots of essentially randomized strategies with varying degrees of success (hemoglobin won, basically). Why would an Intelligent Designer have bothered with hemocyanin?

Quiverfull — A conservative Christian movement to maximize reproduction. Ick. People are free to believe what they want, but ick. (Thanks to threeoutside.)

Scalia to public: get over it — "People who believe the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision giving the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush was politically motivated should just get over it, says Justice Antonin Scalia." Right. The way conservatives have gotten over FDR, the Great Society, Bill Clinton, etc...

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (rest day)
Last night's weigh-out: n/a
This morning's weigh-in: n/a
Currently reading: (between books)


[awards] 2007 Sidewise Nominations

Per the Sidewise Awards site (and related email):

Best Short Form:

  • Elizabeth Bear, "Les Innocents/Lumiere" (in New Amsterdam, Subterranean Press)

  • Michael Flynn, "Quaestiones Super Caelo Et Mundo" (in Analog, 7/07)

  • Matthew Johnson, "Public Safety" (in Asimov's, 3/07)

  • Jess Nevins, "An Alternate History of Chinese Science Fiction" (in No Fear of the Future, May 17, 2007)

  • Chris Roberson, "Metal Dragon Year" (in Interzone, 12/07)

  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch, "Recovering Apollo 8" (in Asimov's, 2/07)

  • John Scalzi, "Missives from Possible Futures #1: Alternate History Search Results" (in Subterranean Magazine, Winter 2007)

Best Long Form:

  • Michael Chabon, The Yiddish Policemen's Union (HarperCollins)

  • Robert Conroy, 1945: A Novel (Ballantine Books)

  • Mary Gentle, Ilario (The Lion's Eye and The Stone Golem) (Eos)

  • Jay Lake, Mainspring (Tor Books)

  • Sophia McDougall, Rome Burning (Orion)

  • Jo Walton, Ha'penny (Tor Books)

[personal|books] Update-o-rama

Spent most of today engaged in damage control from the credit card fraud issue of yesterday. This has not become a fiasco, but it certainly qualifies as an annoying distraction. I did take a couple of hours off for lunch with my parents, who are officially moved to Portland now that they've sold their house in Dallas and bought a brand new Prius this week.

Laying low tonight, baking ginger chocolate chip cookies in the morning, then off to an OSFCI board meeting. lasirenadolce is back tomorrow, which will be very nice.

Finished The Houses of Time by Jamil Nasir Powell's | Amazon ] yesterday on the plane. I was frustrated by that book — it somewhat reminded me of Ted Mooney's Easy Travel to Other Planets Powell's | Amazon ], or to be more accurate, my years-out-of-date memory of that book. A very cool idea, or set of ideas, enshrouded in a slow-paced miasma of prose. I strongly suspect this is a matter of taste rather than objective judgment, but I think Nasir could have written a world-beating novelette with this exact material, and it's rather a shame he didn't.

Andrew Vachss' Flood Powell's | Amazon ] impressed the hell out of me until the last couple of chapters. The ending felt a bit forced, telegraphed even, without bearing up to the grim and glittering promise of the first 90% of the book, as well as the layered, post-noir style. This book hits a lot of the dystopian cyberpunk buttons, without actually being cyberpunk, or truthfully all that dystopian. You can quite clearly see where SF stole noir from in reading Vachss. While I found the ending a bit weak, trite even, the ending after the ending was just silly. All of which annoyed me because I wanted his punch between my eyes to carry me right out of the last pages of the book.

Right now I'm reading Presumed Innocent Powell's | Amazon ] by Scott Turow. I am having a bit of double vision on this one. The plot is gripping me very well, I'm deep inside Rusty's head and his fears (about halfway through the book right now), but the narrative voice and prose style rubs me the wrong way. I'll report back when I'm done.

[child] Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads

The scene:

Your humble narrator, comfortably ensconced on the settee in the spacious living room at Nuevo Rancho Lake. He reads a legal thriller by Scott Turow. The grandfather clock marks the lugubrious moments of its second century of service at the altar of the hours. The ancestral piano sits, the memory of generations smudged into its keys.

In bursts the_child, triumphant glee writ large upon her face and a white plastic bag spinning in her hand. In an exultant tone, she bellows, "Hey dad, want to do something exciting on Saturday night with your daughter!?"

"Um, sure," your humble narrator replies. These questions are like frat boys on Friday night — always loaded.

"Let's dissect a fish head!!!"

the_child has a salmon head the size of a small chicken with her, wrapped in a garbage bag. A donation from the father of her friend D—, for which your humble narrator will seek suitable revenge later. We then spend about 45 minutes cutting into the head, examining gill structures, the muscles at the root of the pectoral fins, the spine, the eyes and so forth.

The denouement:

Collapse )being rendered down so we may later examine the skull. A bag of fish parts is rotting in trash. Various knives and miscellanea are in the dishwasher, which is on the "recycle nuclear waste" setting of most extreme cleansing.

All in all, another Saturday night at Nuevo Rancho Lake in the glamorous life of a working writer.