January 18th, 2011


[links] Link salad has a catapult loaded with durians

Caligula's tomb found after police arrest man trying to smuggle statue — (Snurched from the always interesting Pharyngula.)

Second Home: 1943Shorpy with an interior shot of a working caboose and some explanatory text.

How much carbon... — In case you were wondering about the CO2 value of your banana. Or a whole lot of other things.

New Type Of Entanglement Allows "Teleportation in Time", Say Physicists — Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.

The shooting in Arizona? An isolated incident!Oh, and by the way, all those other threats were isolated too. Reminds me of when I was in college and there was a string of fraternity-related burglaries of test material from departmental offices. The head of the Interfraternity Council must have used the words "isolated incident" in several dozen press statements my freshman year.

?otD: What's the weirdest fruit or vegetable you've ever eaten?

Writing time yesterday: 2.5 hours (further revisions to the Sunspin outline)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (interrupted)
Weight: n/a (forgot)
Currently reading: Between books


[writing|interviews] In the frozen tundra of the Midwest

Flew to Omaha yesterday. I expect to be able to keep writing momentum on this trip.

Over the past two days I have spent 5.0 hours editing the Sunspin outline, largely based on feedback from mcurry. He did an excellent job of flagging some issues, as well as reinforcing some of the issues I'd identified on my own. The ending needed some serious help, and I think I've sorted out what and how.

In other writing news, one of the acceptances from last week was the short story "The Blade of His Plow", for the DAW anthology Human For a Day, edited by Jennifer Brozek. The other was "Brown-Bottle Nostrum" to 10Flash Quarterly. Plus a reprint sale to the same market.

Also, I had so much fun with the recent Paul London interview [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] that I will take questions in this comment thread to assemble into an interview in the next week or two. So ask me about writing, cancer, parenting, life, myself, whatever.

Another week here in the country of the corn...

[books] Salamanca by Dean Francis Alfar

Yesterday on the plane I finished reading Salamanca by Dean Francis Alfar. I was utterly charmed by this book, which won the Grand Prize in the 2005 Palanca Awards, a signal literary honor in the Philippines. I suppose the best way to describe the book is as Filipino magic realism. Salamanca holds obvious kinship to Latin American fabulism, but it stems from a different tradition.

It's a short novel, told in several sections, about the life of a fabulist writer named Gaudencio Rivera in the post World War II era. The book wanders in time and space between an isolated rural village, Manila, and various locales in the United States. The story manages not to fall into the cliched writing-about-writer traps, largely because of the intersection between lyrical style and the underlying examination of the soul of a dissolute man.

Salamanca wasn't written for an American audience. I know enough about Filipino history and culture to understand at least some of the nuances of the setting and background action, but certainly I missed far more than I caught. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book, fiction serving almost incidentally as a window into another society.

I have no idea how available Alfar's book is here in the United States, but it's worth some trouble to pick up if you can. I have one or two other pieces by him that I'll be reading as time permits. In the meantime, here's a link to Alfar's short story, "L'Aquilone du Estrellas (The Kite of Stars)".