September 9th, 2008


[links] Link salad for a Tuesday

The Grants Pass cover — For the antho sale I announced yesterday.

How to download free books, music, and movies from local libraries — Interesting. Speaking as a consumer, I applaud. Speaking as a copyright holder, I go, “hmmmm.” (Thanks to lt260.)

Fresno man arrested in spice, sausage attacks — (Thanks to danjite.)

Using Cepheid variables to send information across galactic distances — Wow. Imagine the crypto requirements on that.

Top 10 Amazing Physics Videos — (Thanks to danjite.)

The Large Hadron Collider is a symptom of America’s decline in particle physics and, some fear, in science overall. — Yep, and I can really see how the know-nothing anti-science agenda of the Republican party is really going to fix this problem in international competitiveness. It’s ok for us to be a second rate power so long as we don’t teach evolution in schools, right? (Thanks to lt260.)

Jay Lake’s normal spewing of liberal blah — Heh. Clearly I have refused to acknowledge the glittering social, political, economic and military successes of the past eight years.

Bob Herbert in the New York Times on the pride of being liberal — “Liberals. Your food is safer because of them, and so are your children’s clothing and toys. Your workplace is safer. Your ability (or that of your children or grandchildren) to go to college is manifestly easier.”

Time in saddle: 30 minutes
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 235.6
Currently reading: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[personal] Miscellaneous updatery

Working today here in Portlandia. Fireside writers this afternoon and evening.

Off at 0:stupid early tomorrow to San Francisco for the CTIA Wireless Entertainment Expo, a major trade show for the Day Jobbe. I will be seeing some, all or none of you there at various times of the weekend, as I’m staying over til Sunday morning to do writerly things and friend things.

In other news, I dropped into the 235.x weight range today. I’m closing in on 50 pounds lost for the year, and I’ve shed eight inches in the waist size of my pants, threatening to go down another step soon. I’m quite pleased with myself.

As of next week, I’ll be working on Tourbillon. There’s always a bit of dread for me right before stepping into a novel project. It’s rather like jumping off a high board knowing I’ll have to fill the pool with water on my way down. I haven’t made the big bug splat yet in my career, but the possibility lurks at the edge of my thoughts like a cat at a mousehole. The only cure for writing angst is writing, so anon I shall write.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.


[books] The Gone-Away World

So, a bit of a review of Nick Harkaway’s book, The Gone-Away WorldPowell's | Amazon ]. As I said before [ | LiveJournal ], “It’s about what you would have gotten if Booth Tarkington and James Joyce had sobered up and collaborated on some post-apocalyptic cyberpunk.” That only scratches the surface of what’s going on here.

I know not everyone liked the structure of this. fjm for example said that the book she wanted to read was 300 pages shorter. I take her meaning — much of this plot arc is backstory — but I was fine with that. It’s voicy writing, and I’m a sucker for well-executed voice. The world-building wobbles between rubber science and theatre of the absurd, in a bravely unselfconscious way. But this novel is driven by character, and by the language of character. Most of all, it’s a beautiful, horrible journey.

I don’t know if Harkaway is destined to be a science fiction writer. He’s publishing with Knopf, he has a literary pedigree to match Joe Hill’s, and whatever his auctorial ambitions are, they happen to be entirely his business. But he’s at least dropped into our clubhouse for a spell, and done something which struck me as a refreshing and fascinating without committing the too-common literary sin of gross disrespect for genre’s sources and traditions. I liked the book so much that I recommended it for a Nebula, and will almost certainly do the same when Hugo season rolls around.

Originally published at You can comment here or there.