Thursday, May 31, 2007


The (Other) Campbell Award Finalists

The list of nominees for that other Campbell award have been posted, as Scalzi notes, and I'm delighted to see my pal David Louis Edelman's Infoquake in the lineup. He's in good company along with Harrison, Stross, Robson, et al. (And stiff competition, too!) Congrats, David!


Devo's Go Monkey Go

In case anyone was curious, this is my daughter Georgia's current favorite song and video. Since being introduced to the Powerpuff Girls a couple of weeks back, she's become a big fan.

On a related note, last night she put on her new Supergirl pajamas, immediately held her hands up over head, and got a little frustrated that she wasn't able to fly while wearing them.


A Demon on Wheels

A few years ago at WFC I held forth about how recent advances in CGI made a live action Speed Racer film, for the first time, an attainable goal. Obviously Hollywood was eavesdropping on my conversation, as they always do, and now the thing is being made. You're all very welcome.

And here is our first look at the Mach 5 used for the live action shots (though the racing will be all CGI, it seems... just like I predicted three years ago, naturally).

I've been driving the same Ford Escort since April of 1997, but I would happily trade that P.O.S. in for one of these babies, thank you very much. Provided, of course, that the buttons on the steering wheel were all completely functional (including the one that launches the robot hawk).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Hello Goodbye

Today's xkcd touches on a part of TH White's The Once and Future King that's obsessed me since I was a kid.

When Merlyn is first introduced in White's novel, he is a fairly light-hearted, absent-minded-professor sort of character, until shortly after his first meeting with Arthur we get the following scene.
He stopped talking and looked at the Wart in an anxious way.

"Have I told you this before?"

"No, we only met about half an hour ago."

"So little time to pass?" said Merlyn, and a big tear ran down to the end of his nose. He wiped it off with his pyjamas and added, anxiously, "Am I going to tell it you again?"
Then there's a particularly melancholic scene with Merlyn and Arthur's foster brother, Kay, a short while later.
"Oh, well," said Kay, "I bet the old man caught it for him."

"Kay," said Merlyn, suddenly terrible, "thou wast ever a proud and ill-tongued speaker, and a misfortunate one. Thy sorrow will come from thine own mouth."
Gene Wolfe did a little riff on this in Urth of the New Sun, with Severian meeting characters who were travelling backwards in time, which from their perspective was their final farewell. I stole a bit of it in a couple of scenes in End of the Century, with characters meeting each other out of sequence. And, come to think of it, did something similar in AEGIS: Book One, though there's no telling when that one will see the light of day.

So far as I know, the business about Merlin living backwards was an invention of TH White's, since I don't recall seeing anything similar in any of the stuff I read while researching Arthurian myths for EotC. Does anyone know if I'm in error, and White was building on an existing tradition?


Google Map's Street View

Have you seen this?! A new feature has been added to Google Maps since I last played around with it, called Street View. It's exactly what it sounds like. Panoramic images have been taken of nearly ever major street in several American cities (San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Denver, and Miami, it looks like), and then overlaid onto the existing Google Maps street grid. Now when searching for an address, you can actually see what it looks like from ground level. And using the arrows overlaid on the street itself, you can actually navigate, a virtual walkthrough of the neighborhood.

This would have been hugely usefull when writing the NYC scenes of my X-Men novel last fall. And you'd better bet that I'll be using it heavily if I write anything in the cities covered by the feature.

Of course, I'm a geek, so I immediately started fiddling around with it.

Want to see where Doctor Strange's place in Greenwich Village would be, if it actually existed? Here you go.

How about the apartment in San Francisco that Matt Sturges and I shared back in the mid-90s? Here it is. (Sadly Borderlands Books and the McSweeney's pirate store, both of which are only steps away from this address, didn't move in until after we'd moved out.)

How about where Kong fell?

Okay, I've got to stop playing with this now...


Separation of which church & state, now?

Or should that be "witch church"?

It's being reported that the Georgia woman who was suing her local school district to ban the Harry Potter books has been handed a defeat by the superior court.
The adventures of boy wizard
Harry Potter can stay in Gwinnett County school libraries, despite a mother's objections, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Laura Mallory, who argued the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft, said she still wants the best-selling books removed and may take her case to federal court.
(I'd like to thank the state of Georgia for existing, by the way. Along with Florida and Alabama, it occassionally takes the heat of off Texas as being backwards, redneck, and parochial, and we could always use the break.)
The ruling by Superior Judge Ronnie Batchelor upheld a decision by the Georgia Board of Education, which had supported local school officials.

County school board members have said the books are good tools to encourage children to read and to spark creativity and imagination.
There's a nice little bit of unintended irony in the article, which I doubt very serisouly that Ms. Mallory would recognize.
At Tuesday's hearing, Mallory argued in part that witchcraft is a religion practiced by some people and, therefore, the books should be banned because reading them in school violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

"I have a dream that God will be welcomed back in our schools again," Mallory said. "I think we need him."
Well, how about you? Did you see the irony there? Did you?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


The Line of Dichotomy

Have I mentioned this here? I don't think I have. Here's my new masters at Solaris on the subject:
Check us out at the BL Publishing stand at Book Expo America. As well as all the newsabout upcoming Solaris titles, and plenty of gossip from behind the scenes, we're hosting signing sessions with the likes of Gail Martin and Chris Roberson.

Oh, and while we're talking of the latter, we're giving away an exclusive Chris Roberson short story, The Line of Dichotomy. It might be from the same Celestial Empire setting as the upcoming-in-2008 The Dragon's Nine Sons, but right now the show is the only place you can snag it. So, erm, hurry, yeah?
I'll spoil the surprise. It is indeed part of the Celestial Empire sequence. And is, in fact, a sort-of-prologue to The Dragon's Nine Sons, set shortly before the new novel and detailing what one of the two main protagonists was doing just before the curtain raises. The story will be in an anthology sometime next year, I believe, but in the meantime getting a copy at BEA will be the only way to get hold of one.

I'll most likely be reading from the chapbook at the event this Saturday, if anyone in the NYC area is interesting in coming and hearing me mangle a bunch of Chinese names.
Solaris Books invite you to join us at Perdition on Saturday June 2nd between 6pm – 8.30pm for an evening with popular SF/Fantasy authors Chris Roberson and Gail Z. Martin. Chris will be reading from his exclusive new chapbook Line of Dichotomy (a story from his Celestial Empire sequence and a prologue to his upcoming novel The Dragon’s Nine Sons). Gail will be reading an extract from The Blood King, the follow-up to her bestselling fantasy epic, The Summoner. Chris, Gail and Solaris Consultant Editor George Mann will be available afterwards to answer questions and discuss upcoming projects. Entrance is free and Solaris will be providing appetizers and a cash bar.

Perdition can be found at: 692 10th Avenue (between 48th and 49th Street). Telephone: (212) 852 5600.
And for anyone who'll be attending BEA itself, I can probably be found loitering around the Solaris booth on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Absolut Pillow Fight

Doesn't this (a new Abolut ad)...

...almost play as a response to this (a never aired XBox add from 2005)?


Intellectual "Property," Laws and Rights

Over on Making Light, Teresa has posted a terrific article relating to the fanfic kerfuffle currently making the rounds of the genre provinces of blogistan. Eric Flint points to some nineteenth century speeches that help but all of this into context, and a self-professed UK lawyer posts some fascinating arguments about whether fanfic is "illegal," and explains the difference between "laws" and "rights." Really interesting stuff.


Zeppelin v Pterodactyl

How does Jess Nevins keep finding these things?

I'll note that I did have pterosaur-riding pirates versus airships in Paragaea, but I didn't have biplanes in the mix as well. That's what I was missing!

Thursday, May 24, 2007


The Postal Service's We Will Become Silhouettes

I saw this video sometime last year, and promptly forgot both the name of the song and of the band, but the tune and imagery have stuck with me ever since. Today I stumbled upon it on YouTube, and share it here both to keep myself from forgetting again, and in case that it resonates with any of you, as well.


An Open Letter to Art Bloggers and Online Cartoonists

Look, if you've got an irregularly updated blog, or publish a supercool online comic strip on a somewhat regular schedule, just do the rest of us a favor and incorporate an RSS feed, will ya? In the last few days I've stumbled across several really kick-ass comics and art blogs that I'd love to keep up with, but none of them publish feeds, even text only announcements about updates, and I know that it's just a matter of time before they're lost in the shuffle and I never visit them again. Anyone using Blogger or one of the other automated tools who doesn't include a site feed just baffles me, since it's just a matter of a single click in the configuration settings to turn it on. So please, for the love of God, feed already, feed!


True North

Strange Maps is one of my favorite blogs, because so often the little cartographical gems it covers suggest whole novels. Today's post about the "True North" is a perfect example.

Somewhere in the 14th century, a Franciscan from Oxford, a ‘priest with an astrolabe’, writes a travelogue about his discoveries in the North Atlantic, calls it the Inventio Fortunata (‘The Discovery of Fortunata’) and in 1360 presents it to the King of England.

This book has been lost since the late 15th century.

However, a Jacobus Cnoyen from the city of ‘s Hertogenbosch (in present-day Netherlands) summarizes the contents of the Inventio, related to him in 1364 in Norway by another Franciscan who had met the author. Cnoyen’s own travel-book is called the Itinerarium.

This book has also been lost.

All this we know by the extensive quotes from the Itinerarium in a letter by the Flemish cartographer Gerhard Mercator to his friend, the English scientist, occultist and royal advisor John Dee. That letter, written in 1577 and now in the British Museum, mentions that:

“In the midst of the four countries is a Whirl-pool, into which there empty these four indrawing Seas which divide the North. And the water rushes round and descends into the Earth just as if one were pouring it through a filter funnel. It is four degrees wide on every side of the Pole, that is to say eight degrees altogether. Except that right under the Pole there lies a bare Rock in the midst of the Sea. Its circumference is almost 33 French miles, and it is all of magnetic Stone (…) This is word for word everything that I copied out of this author (i.e. Cnoyen) years ago.”

(A truly enormous JPG of the map is here, which I'm not including inline so as not to choke RSS feeds with a 4 Mb image.)

Doesn't this just scream for an alternate history approach about a world where his view of geography was correct, and in which Elizabethan explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, advised by John Dee and accompanied by Christopher Marlowe, mounted an expedition to the northern land of the Pygmies, hoping to cross the Arctic whirlpool and reach the Black and Very High Cliff at the top of the world? Only to discover that they were in a race for the pole, with the forces of the Spanish crown already several steps ahead of them?


The Deanna Hoak World Fantasy Awards Campaign

I wholeheartedly endorse the Deanna Hoak World Fantasy Awards Campaign, and you should, too.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007



I'm not at all interesting today, so instead I'll share this fuzzy camphone shot from Georgia's checkup visit to the pediatrician yesterday. (She's perfectly healthy, thanks for asking.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Jesus of the Hammerheads

So, would the apparent shark messiah walk under water, instead of on it? I'm confused...
"And then there were four... Here's the scenario: three sharks are in a tank, all three are female and all were captured when they were sexually immature babies. They spend three years in the tank together without ever coming in contact with a male. Then, one day, a baby shark pops up.

The sharks are hammerheads, living in an aquarium at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, in the US. The pup was born on 14 December 2001, and triggered a great deal of confusion, which has only now finally been cleared up: the pup was the result of a 'virgin birth'."
The other question is, will this hammerhead grow up and turn the water in which he swims into wine, and will that make him more popular or less popular with the other sharks in the tank?

Update: Of course, if I'd read a bit further in the article I'd have seen that the pup was later consumed by the other fish in the tank. But just wait a while, I'm sure it'll come back sooner or later.

Monday, May 21, 2007


You Need This: Dr. Thirteen: Architecture & Mortality

The Dr. Thirteen backup in the recently completed Tales of the Unexpected isn't just the best thing DC has published in a long while, but to my tastes is probably the best thing Azzarello has ever written.

Written by Brian Azzarello
Art and cover by Cliff Chiang
Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang join forces to tell the adventures of Dr. Terrence Thirteen, a parapsychologist who disproves reports of supernatural activity. In this story collected from TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #1-8, Dr. Thirteen rounds up a group of the world's magical beings to prevent strange forces from tearing asunder the very fabric of the past, present, and future!
Advance-solicited; on sale September 19 o 144 pg, FC, $14.99 US
This solicitation appears to have been written by someone who hasn't actually read the book. Or, if they read it, decided to carefully conceal the fact by describing some other book entirely in the solicitation. Igore that description, and just take my word for it, You Need This! Part metafictional meditation on the great and goofy comic books of yesterday, part commentary on the current state of the superhero genre and the comics industry in general, the Dr. Thirteen story was altogether awesome, and 100% fun.

And I know I wasn't the only one who thought that this panel was real, after all:


Christopher Bird Should Write The Legion, Redux

Rich Johnston reports the following hopeful rumor:
I understand that Chris Bird has been asked by DC to produce a spec script and proposal for Legion of Super-Heroes based on his "30 Reasons Why I Should Write The Legion" series on his LiveJournal.

That'll be one hell of a "how I broke into comics" story.
Here's hoping he's right!

UPDATE: Sadly, it appears that he's not.


Asimov's Science Fiction, July 2007

The Asimov's website has posted the cover and TOC of their July 2007 issue, presumably on newstands soon if it isn't already. And look who gets to be "...and puppet show" on the cover.

"The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small" is the pulse-pounding story of one guy talking to another guy, while another guy listens in from time to time. Oh, there's a telescope in it, too. Expect to hear the announcement of the Big Budget Hollywood Adaptation any day now.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Number Seven, the Laughing Prisoner

(via) It seems that Stephen Fry and Jools Holland cooked up this parody/pastiche of The Prisoner back in 1987. The slightly lo-res quality of the recording means that the joins between the new footage and the original stuff with Patrick McGoohan are virtually unnoticeable, which only serves to improve the effect.

And here's some more...

Friday, May 18, 2007



This was a week for clearing out the To Do list. Finished up the last of Iron Jaw and Hummingbird and got that off, typed up the Pursuit of the Lily Stargazer proposal and sent that off as well. Did some overdue mailing, sent bios and story intros to various venues, dug up all the old CWSB stuff from my archives to send to the other guys, signed contracts, and approved the final proofs on British Summertime. Oh, and cleared a couple of books off of my To Read pile (Philip Reeve's Larklight and D.M. Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo, to be exact, both of which I enjoyed immensely). Printed out all of the extant stuff on The Dragon's Nine Sons so I can reread all of it and get back up to speed, and then Monday I'll start in on that one in earnest. This afternoon finished watching the last of the fourth (and final) season of ReBoot during my lunch break (and wft is up with the never-to-be-resolved cliffhanger, anyway?), and Allison and I are about to spend the evening watching mindless romantic comedies. Hell, we might make a weekend of it.

So what did you do this week?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


An Alternate History of Chinese Science Fiction

Jess Nevins's An Alternate History of Chinese Science Fiction over on No Fear of the Future must be read to be believed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Short Reviews

Kimberly Lundstrom, writing for Tangent Online, seems to have enjoyed my story "The Sky is Large and the Earth is Small" from the July issue of Asimov's Science Fiction. (I've received my subscription copy, but haven't seen it on the newstands yet, nor does the Asimov's site list it as the current issue yet.)
"The Sky Is Large and the Earth Is Small" is an intriguing tale from Chris Roberson's alternate world, in which dynastic China, instead of Western Europe, rose to world domination. Cao Wen, a low-level scholar in the Ministry of War, seeks a "guest" held by the emperor's secret police, the Embroidered Guard. It appears that this prisoner, Ling Xuan, traveled across the sea to the Mexica years before and may have information for Cao Wen's report to the Minister of War, a report that could make or break Cao's career. Expecting to quickly extract the necessary information from an old and broken prisoner, Cao instead finds a man who is at once a canny bargainer and a philosopher who has more to offer than Cao expects.

In Ling Xuan, Roberson presents a fascinating character—enigmatic and frustrating, but human and empathetic. The setting, too, is rich and invites exploration. I will be seeking out more of Roberson's work.
And the review blog Yatterings carries a new review of The Voyage of Night Shining White, which approaches the story from an interesting perspective.
Despite its slight appearance, it is a book of extraordinary grace and poise.


I do wonder whether this is a space opera of manners. In Fantasy of Manners, the action is judged on how well something is said and done, not the action itself which is almost a necessary byproduct. This is certainly the case in this novella in which the motion is generated by the crew members talking to each other and revealing their histories. The captain relates how he became a eunuch and plays out the political background on Earth whilst the other members reveal something of themselves. Each person becomes human and not just a rivet in the skin.
Both of these are Celestial Empire stories. I just finished another CE, Iron Jaw and Hummingbird, and am now starting on yet another, The Dragon's Nine Sons, and chances are as soon as that one's done I'll be starting on Three Unbroken, another... you guessed it... Celestial Empire novel. As my editor at Solaris was quick to point out, by the end of this year I'm likely to be very weary of the Celestial Empire, and ready to write about something else for a little while...


Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Tick Tock Men

As I mentioned on Friday, this last weekend I attended a writers' retreat at Naulakha, Rudyard Kipling's house in Dummerston, Vermont, where he lived for four years in the 1890s. The host for the thing was Bill Willingham, and the attending writers included all of the members of Clockwork Storybook (along with Bill Williams, publisher of Lone Star Press). If you haven't heard of CWSB, you're not alone, but the short version is that it began life as a writers' group, meeting weekly and critiquing each others stuff, then morphed into an online magazine (with all the stories taking place in the same shared world, the fictional city of San Cibola), then mutated into a publishing concern, which published novels and story collections by the four of us (including Any Time At All, which was the shorter version of Here, There & Everywhere, and the original and shorter version of Set the Seas on Fire).

The four of us--Bill, Mark Finn, Matt Sturges, and me--hadn't been in the same room together since early 2002, over five years ago. Quite a lot of water has flowed beneath countless bridges since then, and one of the pleasant discoveries of the weekend was that time cures all sorts of wounds. That, and the fact that the others are much, much better cooks than I remember.

Here's a view of Naulakha, which Kipling called a "ship." It's easy to see why, since the house is really, really long and incredibly narrow. And the well-worn, time-polished wood of the floors and banisters creaks reassuringly like a ship under sail, too.

We spent the weekend doing what we used to do when we got together. We wrote, we read aloud, we critiqued each other's work, and we talked, and talked, and talked about movies, comics, books, tv--only the really important stuff. The years have been kind to everyone's talents, and I think we're all much, much better writers than we were back in the old days.

Here's all of us, goofing around years ago.

And here we all now, just like old times. From left to right its Mark Finn, me, Matt Sturges, and Bill Willingham.

There was some talk of finding some of the shared world stuff we did, knocking loose the mothballs, and making it available somehow or other. Watch this space for details.


Reading in NYC during Book Expo America

My masters at Solaris Books have begun circulating the following press release.


An Evening with Chris Roberson and Gail Z. Martin

Solaris Books invite you to join us at Perdition on Saturday June 2nd between 6pm – 8.30pm for an evening with popular SF/Fantasy authors Chris Roberson and Gail Z. Martin. Chris will be reading from his exclusive new chapbook Line of Dichotomy (a story from his Celestial Empire sequence and a prologue to his upcoming novel The Dragon’s Nine Sons). Gail will be reading an extract from The Blood King, the follow-up to her bestselling fantasy epic, The Summoner. Chris, Gail and Solaris Consultant Editor George Mann will be available afterwards to answer questions and discuss upcoming projects. Entrance is free and Solaris will be providing appetizers and a cash bar.

Perdition can be found at: 692 10th Avenue (between 48th and 49th Street). Telephone: (212) 852 5600.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Progress Report

Yesterday I finished the epilogue to Iron Jaw and Hummingbird. I've printed out the manuscript to take with me to the wilds of Vermont today to a writing retreat at Rudyard Kipling's house hosted by Bill Willingham, which he's taken to calling the Ghosts of Clockwork Weekend, since Matt Sturges and Mark Finn will be there as well (along with Lone Star Press's Bill Williams). I'll be doing a final read-through and polish on the manuscript while at the Kipling place, which should be fitting since most of Act I is lifted from Kim.

Iron Jaw came out a bit more than 80K words, of which 20K were written before this year, or 59,227 new words. Taken with the 22,382 new words I wrote for the expansion of Set the Seas on Fire in January, and the 167,245 words of End of the Century written between the end of January and the end of March, that means that I've written 248,854 since the beginning of the year. Considering that in 2005 I wrote 158,985 altogether, and in 2006 I managed 169,800, this is already my most productive year to date. I've been writing full time since last fall, when Georgia started preschool, and it's nice to see I'm actually getting something done.

Okay, next week I write up the proposal for The Pursuit of the Lily Stargazer and dive right into The Dragon's Nine Sons. And, with any luck, in August (after writing a few short stories I owe various editors), I'll be able to start work on Three Unbroken, about which more later.

But really, did you catch that a second ago? I've written a quarter of a million words since the first of the year. Yikes!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Das Rad (The Wheel)

(via) Hey look, another YouTube post! This is terrific little animated short (stop motion, of course) that was up for the Academy Award a few years ago, apparently.

Hey, don't complain. I could have posted Drunk David Hasselhoff.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


O Mighty Isis

Dianora2 will dig this, if she hasn't seen it already.

The newsblog TVShowsonDVD has just posted the box art for the forthcoming DVD release of The Secrets of Isis, due out July 24th.

I don't know, guys. I loved this and Shazam! when I was a kid, but I've tried to go back and watch them as an adult, and... Well, let's just say there are some things probably best left in misty memory and not revisited. The rule of thumb, at least for me, seems to be that Sid & Marty Krofft stuff holds up surpringly well, but the Lou Scheimer & Norm Prescott stuff (Ark II, Shazam, Isis, Flash Gordon, Space Sentinels, Blackstar, et cetera, et al) on the other hand...? Great concepts. The execution? Well, maybe not so much...


Not Your Father's Multiverse

Or mine, really. But I wouldn't mind trying out a new model, at that.

I meant to mention this yesterday, and got tied up in the last act of Iron Jaw and Hummingbird. In an interview over on Newsarama, Grant Morrison talks about about the new DC multiverse, the "Megaverse," which debuted last week in the final issue of 52.
And the parallel Earths you see in issue #52 are not the familiar pre-Crisis versions. If you think you recognize and know any of these worlds from before, you'd be wrong. We all wanted to do something new with the multiple Earths so what you've already seen in 52 is simply the tip of the iceberg - each parallel world now has its own huge new backstory and characters and each could basically form the foundation for a complete line of new books. If you like the ongoing soap opera dynamics of New Earth, you can watch Mary Marvel turning to the dark side as her skirt gets shorter and shorter, or you can buy the Earth 5 line of books featuring more iconic versions of the Marvel Family. If you miss Vic Sage as the Question, you should be able to follow the adventures of Vic's counterpart on the Charlton/Watchmen world of Earth 4.

The idea behind the Megaverse is to basically create a number of big new franchise possibilities. It's like having several comics companies and universes under one umbrella, so, as I say, there could be one book or a whole line of books spinning out of the new Earth 10 (I handled that particular revamp, so I can tell you that the original concept of the Freedom Fighters on a world where the Nazis won World War 2 has been greatly reconsidered, expanded and intensified into something that's a bit more Wagnerian and apocalyptic and a bit more adult) That's how I'd like to see the Megaverse played out as we move forward. And no crossovers! Each of the parallel universes should exist in its own separate stream with no contact from the others - not until we have a story worthy of bringing them together.
Of course, in all fairness, I was quite excited about Hypertime when it was first announced, too, so I'm understandably reserving judgement on this. (Still, if you haven't been following this, the fact that the new Earth 10 looks quite a bit like the old Earth X is a very clever bit of business, if you consider the Roman numeral involved. And Earth S as Earth 5? All you've got to do is round out that corners a bit...)


Liberal's Just Another Word for Gay

(via) Hey, remember when I did more with this blog than just post YouTube videos?

Nah, me neither...

Don't stop watching before the singing starts, or you'll miss out. Catchy tune.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Shakespeare's Who's on First?

(via) It is what it says.


Alex Hirsch's Off the Wall

Check out this hilarious student short linked from Drawn. Alex Hirsch is a student at CalArts, and this is his final of several student films. Pure awesomeness.


Spinal Tap Reunites

Spinal Tap reunites for a Live Earth Concert (which is definitely anti-devastation). Go watch the video and see for yourself.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Return to Living Island?

(via) A new animated HR Pufnstuf? Really?! With a new version of the theme song? Holy cats!!

I have a deep and abiding love for the wacked out original. Deep, people. And the chance for an apparently charming animated version Georgia and I can watch together? Aces.

(I haven't tried her on the original Sid & Marty Kroft version in a while, and maybe should give it another shot. The first time, though, it moved too slowly to keep her attention.)



Jay Lake points out this terrific Airships site. Full of awesome, made of win.

(Why yes, I should be working. Shouldn't you?)


Sin Trek: Left Behind

(if the flash app doesn't load, click here)

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Sighting in the Wild

This phonecam shot is as fuzzy as a hiker's blurry photo of sasquatch fleeing back into the woods, but it's the best I can do. This afternoon, while shopping in our corner HEB supermarket (west-coasters, think Safeway; Brits, think Tescos; east-coaster, think whatever it is you think), we spotted a few faced copies of X-Men: The Return in the wild.

Why is a comic book tie-in novel shelved in Mystery, you may ask, haphazardly below John Scalzi's Old Man's War and next to a Star Trek novel that also proudly displays a kick-ass John Picacio cover? Probably because this supermarket's book section only has shelves labeled Romance, Fiction, Western, Mystery, and the largest of all, Inspirational. (To contextualize, the magazine racks are primarily Maxim, Guns & Ammo, Bow Hunter, and quilting magazines. I'm not sure exactly what that suggests about the demographics of my corner of northwest Austin, but you can draw your own conclusions...)


Zapp Brannigan's Captain's Log

For all you Futurama fans (and you know who you are) here's a one-page gag ad from Bongo Comics' Free Comic Book Day giveaway, Bongo's Free for All 2007 . Enjoy.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Cracked Actor

I love the internet. A post on mefi points out that "Cracked Actor," an early seventies BBC documentary about David Bowie is available in its entirety on YouTube. If you haven't seen it before, and have any interest in Bowie at all, you should.

I saw "Cracked Actor" years ago, and it really wormed its way into my head. The filmmakers in question followed Bowie for a while during the Diamond Dogs tour, just after he'd killed off Ziggy Stardust. As the Wikipedia entry linked above mentions, you can clearly see the effects of the cocaine Bowie was then taking, as well as appearances by his manager and personal assistant, to say nothing of hair dresser, wife, band members, et cetera.

But what really stuck with me wasn't really the stuff with Bowie at all, but the interviews with all of his young American fans. My reactions to seeing all of those painted Bowie fans more than thirty years ago ended up in the mouth of Alice Fell in End of the Century. The book's not out until late next year, but here's the relevant bits, if anyone's interested.
Bowie was still blaring from the stereo, talking about time, who waited in the wings, speaking of senseless things. Stillman was still silent, lost in memory.

“You know, I saw a documentary once,” Alice said, filling the silence. “About Bowie. It was on cable or PBS or something. There was all this footage of kids going to one of his concerts in America back in the early seventies, or hanging out in their bedrooms talking to the camera about how Bowie was god. And when I saw it, I couldn’t help but notice how many of those kids were clearly gay. And just loving it, you know? That Bowie was up on stage, being all of these different people, blurring the lines between genders and stuff like that. You know? You could see it in those kids’ eyes, that they thought the long hard battle was over, and that from that point on, they could be anything they wanted to be. Homo superior or whatever, right? But then, what happened? Just a few years later, Bowie moved on to be some other character altogether, and punk came along, and metal. Don’t get me wrong, I love punk, but maybe it wasn’t as... accepting of gay kids as the whole glam thing had been. And metal? Forget about it.”

Alice was silent for a moment, thinking back to those eager, hopeful faces. They’d be the age her mother was now, she figured. She wondered what had become of them.

“Anyway. I just think about those kids, sometimes. Thinking that the future was here, and that they didn’t have to be afraid anymore. What must it have been like, when they realized that they were wrong, and it was just like it had always been?”

Stillman glanced at her, but didn’t say a word. They continued on up the motorway, finally leaving London behind.
In the interest of full disclosure, after reading the above passage my editor expressed surprise that it had been written by a drunken lout like me. Your mileage may vary...

Friday, May 04, 2007


Thy Saffron Wings

I don't think that I've mentioned yet that my Celestial Empire short story "Thy Saffron Wings" has been picked up by Pete Crowther and Nick Gevers for a forthcoming issue of Postscripts. For those keeping score at home, this leaves only one standalone chapter and the framing sequence from Fire Star (remember that one?) that haven't been broken out and sold as individual short stories. And there's a better than average chance that, if The Dragon's Nine Sons does well enough, we'll be seeing Fire Star on shelves sometime in the foreseeable future.


Robot Chicken Star Wars trailer

It is what it says. If you don't know Robot Chicken, then I can't help you.


Equal Bat-pay for Equal Bat-work

(via) Some familiar faces turn up in this early seventies Labor Department ad (though one face not as familiar as it might seem).

Here's what commenter Jeff Kapalka said in the comments to the original post over on Beer & Meat, to help give a bit of context:

In case anyone's interested (and even if they aren't) that's Dick Gautier behind the Bat-cowl in the PSA. At the time of filming, Adam West was reluctant to return to his signature role.
Gautier, of course, is best remembered as Hymie the Robot in the original Get Smart TV show, and as Robin Hood in When Things Were Rotten.
I guess this was before West was asked by a boat show if they could fire him out of a cannon...

Thursday, May 03, 2007


X-Men: The Return online preview

It appears that the first half of my X-Men novel, The Return, is online at Google's BookSearch. See what you turn up in egosearching?

You can even search the text, and see how many times I used insensate, a word which my editor pointed out I tend to overuse (or rather, how many instances of the word's use were left after she went through and took the rest of them out). I find that a word gets stuck in my head when working on a project, and I use it a lot, and then it drops back below the radar and only shows up with normal frequency again. I used to use "Edenic" quite a lot, as I recall. What is it these days? No clue. Unfortunately, that's really the sort of thing I can only recognize in hindsight (which is where editors come in handy).

Updated: Well, now that I go back and look at it, the preview might not be the first half after all, but a random sampling of pages. Oh, well. You can still search them, right?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Adventure Time (Again)

Hey, remember Pendleton Ward's Adventure Time (now sadly no longer on YouTube at the old link, but temporarily seems to be available here)? Well, in a Frederator blog post about the short's acceptance at the Platform Film Festival, Pen has posted a short comic strip featuring the characters. Enjoy.


King Kong Appears in Edo

This is just one more reason why, if Jess Nevins didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
I know there are worse blows to cineastes than this: the full, ten hour-long version of Greed, say, or the German version of Metropolis, not to mention the films of Theda Bara.

And yet I mourn, more than those, the loss of Edo ni Arawareta Kingu Kongu, a.k.a. King Kong Appears in Edo. Made in either 1934 or 1938--there are contradictory references on this--it was released in 1938 and was arguably Japan's first kaiju movie.

What did it have, besides Kong? A hunchback, expressionistic architecture, a hunchback, Kong fighting a giant bumblebee, and Kong fighting an enormous ant lion.

This wasn't the only pre-WW2 Japanese King Kong movie; there was also Wasei Kingu Kongu (1933) and Kingu Kongu Zenkouhen (1938), the latter featuring a Kong-versus-samurai throwdown. But neither of those had Kong fighting giant monsters or the surreality of Kong climbing on Dr. Caligari-style architecture.
Having been the one to find it, Jess obviously had dibs on this one. But I'll admit that it's cross-polinating interestingly with a half-idea I hae about sixteenth-century explorer Filippo Pigafetta's Relatione del reame di Congo, better known by its Latin title, Regnum Congo (which is cited in Huxley's "On the Natural History of Man-like Apes", and from there ends up referenced in Lovecraft's "The Picture in the House"). Or else the story about how the volcanic island Helekea from Set the Seas on Fire--after nearby US atom bomb tests in the post-war years widen the existing fissures between our world and other continua--ends up home to a host of extradimensional creatures.

But come on! King Kong in feudal Japan?! How awesome is that?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


The Legion of Frankenstein

(via) Someone will have to explain to me what's not to love about this, since from where I stand it's 100% love. Sketch-blogger David Lee Ingersoll has assembled his very own pantheon of modern Promethei, the Legion of Frankenstein.

Curious about Who's Who?

My personal favorite is Apenstein in the lower left-hand corner there, but your mileage may vary.


Think Blue...

Well, it's silicon instead of laminate, but if this is any indication, we might be halfway to Cordwainer Smith territory:
"A team of researchers from the IBM Almaden Research Lab and the University of Nevada successfully simulated the neural activity of half of a mouse brain on a BlueGene L supercomputer that had 4,096 processors, each one of which used 256MB of memory."
Too obscure? If you think so, then you should definitely read "Think Blue, Count Two." Here's a handy quote from the good folks at Technovelgy, all about the Laminated Mouse Brain Computer:
...Tiga-belax came in, very cheerful indeed... In his right hand there was a black plastic cube wih shimmering contact-points gleaming on its sides. The two technicians greeted him politely.

"I've got that beautiful child taken care of... I've used a mouse-brain."

"If it's frozen," said the first technician, "we won't be able to put in the computer..."

"This brain isn't frozen," said Tiga-belas indignantly. "It's been laminated. We stiffened it with celluprime and then we veneered it down, about seven thousand layers. Each one has plastic of at least two molecules thickness. This mouse can't spoil. As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever. He won't think much, unless we put the voltage on him, but he'll think. And he can't spoil..."
If you haven't read this one, you should go right now and order up a copy of The Rediscovery of Mankind. You definitely won't be sorry if you do. Some of the best short science fiction that I've ever read (and definitely the most mind-expanding).

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