Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Happy New Year.

What a long jump that was. Bad journal writer! Bad!

The fourth "Other Cities" piece, "Amea Amaau", was up. It's actually my least favorite of the series. Now the fifth one, "Ylla's Choice" is up. I got the contract and check for the series, and we're finally done with the edits... whew!

A lot of the best short speculative, fantastic, and fabulous fiction nowadays is being published on line.
I've been struck lately by the inventiveness of the stuff on Strange Horizons -- recently I liked Other Moments a lot, and The Cruel Brother, and Douglas Lain's Identity is a Construct blew my mind (wonderful shades of Philip K. Dick, Stanislaw Lem, and Donald Barthelme) -- and the very high quality of the stuff Ellen is publishing at SciFiction. The last thing I read there was the Pat Cadigan story, and it was really good. As was this one. The poetry at SH tends to be good too -- to my taste much better than the poems in the print SF mags. I've always found "speculative poetry" a bit of an oxymoron; something about SF is anti-metaphorical, exterior as opposed to interior, and this seems antithetical to the spirit of poetry, so that you tend to get a lot of silliness, or breathlessness, or decent poems that just tangentially insert tropes associated with SF, but without really managing to be speculative. The Strange Horizons poetry folk seem to have broadened the definition enough to embrace a lot of stuff that I like a lot better than traditional "speculative" poetry. I liked The Franks a lot, for instance.

I signed up for Worldcon and sent off my SFWA application. Worldcon is the biggest science fiction convention of the year, and a very useful networking gig for writers. SFWA is the speculative fiction writer's association; active membership in it requires selling three short stories or one novel to professional markets. It's unclear whether Strange Horizons counts as a pro market by their criteria, so I am a test case.

Worldcon members vote on the Hugos, and SFWA members vote on the Nebulas -- the two big awards for science fiction and fantasy -- and so I may get to vote on both this year. That should be fun.

I am eligible for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer this year, as are many other fine people, such as Charlie Finlay, Ruth Nestvold, Tobias Buckell, and maybe my Clarion buddies Kiini Ibura Salaam and Ari Goelman, though we're not sure about their eligibility yet. Also some others whose work I haven't yet read but plan to: e.g. Cecilia Dart-Thornton, who wrote the well-recieved novel The Ill-Made Mute. 

I've been thinking about the nature and boundaries of genres lately. Here's my definition of science fiction (and discussion of the natures of other genres) as posted to the tangent-online newsgroup on

I haven't started any new stories in a while, on purpose. I've been trying to get through revisions. I've sent "Embracing-the-New" to Playboy (though who knows if they're even buying SF now that Alice Turner has left) and "A Cliff By The River" to SciFiction, and I've made headway revising "Red Leather Tassels", "Nematode Wiggle", and -- much to my surprise, as I thought it was dead before I started chatting with Charlie Finlay about it and got some excellent ideas -- "The Book of Jashar". 

Also making some progress on a novel outline for Crimp. Ramin and I are thiiiiiiis close to an outline we both agree on.

So.... now for the Aviva stuff.

Here are some aviva movies -- wait for the GIFs to load completely: 
 Shelf   Apple   Hallway  

Here are pictures from before Hanukah:    1   2   3   4   5   6   7  

Aviva with her beloved snail:    1   2   3   4   5  

Aviva eating yogurt:  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   (and a movie thereof)

Aviva's first Hanukah:   1   2   3   4   5  

She took her first seven or so unaided steps. Very exciting! I estimate she has a passive vocabulary of at least twenty words, mostly in Swiss-German (you know, if you say "go bah-de" she perks up and heads for the bathtub). I think "mama" and "dada" are among these and may even be in her active vocabulary, but it's hard to tell, as she has no patience with pointing out the obvious (i.e."Where's mama?" garners only a look of scorn).

More next time.