Friday, May 30, 2008
Spyglasses, Space and Spume
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
A Girl in the Hand
Friday, May 23, 2008
Early Morning Cello
I've done this several times in the past. I once wrote a lengthy dissertation on organic architecture to help a friend get a degree, learning about the subject as I went along. Is that plagiarism? No, it's fraud, a quite separate category. I've also sat exams in the guise of other people, and when invigilating for exams I've always permitted the candidates to cheat. Clearly I am immoral. But I'm also nice. Such seemingly inappropriate, superficially paradoxical combinations move me deeply: sweet and sour, organised chaos, futuretime nostalgia.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I've just received the timetable for an SF conference organised by the Welsh Academi at the University of Glamorgan in June. The fact the Academi has organised a conference that has nothing to do with social realism is remarkable in itself. Next they need to learn the difference between genre and true fantastical literature (magic realism, fabulism, metafiction, etc) and maybe I can help that process along, just a little. My own talk is entitled 'OuLiPo: how to write impossible stories' and I'm looking forward to demonstrating some of the remarkable techniques devised by Queneau, Perec, Calvino, Roubaud, etc.
The Postmodern Mariner is almost ready to go to the printers! Yo ho ho! The unofficial launch for the book will be on the beach here in Swansea (unofficial to bypass Health & Safety laws) and it's hoped people will dress in piratical garb of some sort, even if it's just a knotted hanky on the bonce. I have a clear image of what a Postmodern Mariner should look like: outfitted like a buccanneer but with a frappuccino instead of a parrot on his shoulder. A filmmaker named Martin Roberts might film the event.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
What Kind of Hat Does the Sun Wear?
On Sunday I went for an 11 hour hike in the Gower with Adele and got myself frazzled by the sun. We went swimming in Three Cliffs Bay (the sea was freezing) and then played frisbee to dry out. We also had a hopping race. I lost because she cheated. After all that solar radiation I now resemble a sunblush tomato, almost 10% the redness of Tim Prosser. Here's the evidence, coupled with another plug for The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy. I'm trying to organise a beach party on Thursday evening. Anyone who wants to come, please let me know!
Jeff VanderMeer has advanced the claim that I am an unsung hero. I fear he might be right and thus I invite singers to sing for me, if they feel so inclined, at any time in the coming weeks, to help negate my unsung status. If singing is not possible I'll accept an instrumental, perhaps performed on a vegetable trumpet like this, or on a carrot syrinx like this. I hope those instruments are organic!
Friday, May 09, 2008
Caroline was the main inspiration for my Sereia de Curitiba book and we've managed to remain close friends despite not seeing each other for six years. For me that's unusual, as I'm bad at keeping in touch with distant people: when my friends are far away I tend to lose contact with them. That's not good; but I'm not especially good, so at least a certain symmetry is preserved.
I might not be good, but I'm talented, and that's some kind of substitute, surely. Today I received my free copies of Mike Ashely's new anthology, The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy. It contains my story 'The Old House Under the Snow...' and I'm delighted to be part of this project alongside such excellent writers as A. A. Attanasio, Michael Moorcock, R.A. Lafferty, Howard Waldrop, Orson Scott Card, Jeffrey Ford, Michael Swanwick, etc, etc.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Back in cold rainy Swansea... but I managed to play frisbee on the beach again. It wasn't too windy and the sky was interesting. My friend Adele has a soft frisbee that rolls up into a cylinder and makes a strange gloopy noise when it's caught, like a flying jellyfish. Frisbee is a minor hobby of mine, reading is a major one. For some reason I don't seem to be getting quite the same kick out of reading as I used to. Probably a sign of age. When I was in my early twenties I was genuinely besotted by every new discovery: the act of reading seemed active rather than passive.
I still enjoy books but I rarely love them in the same way. Maybe I'm consuming too many. I average between 20 and 30 every year. I've recently been disappointed with many authors recommended to me. Jonathan Carroll wasn't as good as I'd hoped, nor was Richard Matheson. It has been more than two years since a book made me jump up, ruffling my hair (as Nabokov would have it). As for the next hair ruffler: it might well be Blaise Cendrars' Moravagine. Mind you, I've just had my hair cut very short and there's not much to ruffle.
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