Tuesday, February 22, 2005


In the mornings, after I stumble into the shower, Aviva usually comes and sits in a kid-sized chair in the bathroom and I tell her a story through the shower curtain. A long, hot shower in the morning is my most environmentally extravagant luxury -- I brush my teeth and shave in there -- so it's often a long story (though rarely long enough for Aviva, who protests, "but that wasn't a LONG story!")

The stories are usually about Aviva and Elisa, and their adventures, often featuring Noah and Elisa's brother Leander, or Aviva's cousin Seraphina, or Aviva's six children, or the Moon Mole, or characters from the PBS Arthur series, or from Blaui Wunderland.

(Elisa, in case you're just coming in, is my daughter Aviva's best buddy. It was amazing to see them reconnect on our recent trip back to Switzerland. I mean, they're almost- and just-turned-four respectively, they haven't seen each other in a year... and as soon as we got there they went off into Elisa's room and giggled hysterically together for about four hours. Played, talked, tickled and screamed, negotitated all their conflicts themselves, and basically ignored us. Aviva doesn't play with anyone else quite like that. Here they are two years ago).

Recently, the stories have recounted many adventures involving Cereina, Aviva's most headstrong and energetic daughter, and Cereina's best friend Sophie, daughter-doll of Elisa. Sophie is addicted to, and allergic to, Twizzlers ® -- if she eats them, she will sneeze -- and Cereina is committed to use any means necessary to stop her friend from indulging. (Since both are 5th Dan black belts in the kind of karate that lets you leap tens of meters in the air, crash through walls unharmed, leap from balloons onto motorcycles, etc., this often involves long chase scenes. Often they are interrupted in their sparring over the Twizzlers® to have to join forces and rescue siblings in danger, etc.)

Aviva usually contributes quite a bit to the direction of the story, choosing what age everyone is at the time of the story, where the story takes place, the theme, and what should generally happen, correcting certain factual details of life in Oberwil, deciding what course of action Aviva would take in a given circumstance, throwing me random curveballs ("but then a lion came!") and so forth. But she usually insists that I be the one to tell the story. At most, she will be willing to tell a story first in trade, but her stories have usually been like: "Noah went into the street and died and then Aviva saved him and they went home. The End."

This morning, however, Aviva told me a very, very long story.

Some highlights:

  • Elisa was allergic to everything, except people. She called Aviva to help her make pasta that she could eat. She could only eat pasta made of wheat. Aviva was seventeen and knew how to make this pasta

  • A lion and a monster came. The lion ate Aviva and the monster ate Elisa. The lion then got sick. Elisa went to visit (and console?) Aviva in the lion's stomach. The lion's mother gave him people-medicine to make him feel better. Aviva and Elisa escaped the lion: Elisa by crawling out of his mouth, Aviva out his butt.

  • The lion was four, and the monster was a hundred. After Aviva and Elisa's escape, the monster went into the lion's stomach, and the lion got even sicker. He had to go to the hospital for a hundred days.

  • Aviva went into electricity -- first her head, then her whole body. She died and made a new Aviva. The new Aviva's name was Seventeen And A Hundred and she was seventeen and a hundred. (Later the original Aviva was restored, by an unclear process... this particular plotline reminds me of Silver Age Marvel Comics, acutally).

  • Elisa fell in a hole. Aviva jumped into the hole to save her. Then they danced in the hole and had a party, until they were a hundred years old. They went home and their parents said "where were you?" and made them back into thirty. (On questioning, Aviva allowed as how the hole was probably a magic hole).

There was lots more, too.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Finally Nebulous

Along with many other wonderful stories, my "Embracing-the-New" is on the Nebula Final Ballot.

Party in Chicago!

And yay to ballot-mates Greg "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Singularity" Eekhout and Chris "Greasy Grimy Gooey Singularity" Rowe and Ken "Romantic Tragicomedy With Gamma Rays Singularity" Wharton and Cory "Postcapitalist Social Mechanism" Doctorow (links to whose stories/books I blogged earlier) and the wonderful Eileen Gunn, and my cw2k1 instructors Brad Denton and Connie Willis, and Ellen Klages and Vernor Vinge whose stories were really cool, and ... well, everyone really.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Awaiting Gametogenesis

Fear Zogg.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Con Schedule : Roomies Sought

The plan for 2005 is to make it to WisCon and WFC, maybe the Nebula Awards Weekend if I make the ballot, and I think CapClave.

I think I have crash space for the Nebs, and CapClave is local so I will just drop by, but for the other two, I need roomates. I think you can stick 4 people in those rooms, so ideally 3 roomates for each. Anyone going?

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Monday, February 7, 2005

Orphans from Iceland

Got my contributors' copies of Issue #15 of McSweeney's, which contains my story "Orphans". This is the Icelandic Issue, with half the stories in translation from Icelandic and an enclosed weird and tacky Icelandic mini-tabloid.

I am pleased about this. Iceland rocks. It has 290,000 people and publishes 1000 books a year. Everyone in Iceland has to moonlight at several different jobs so that they can pretend they have enough people to be a nation-state with a cosmopolitan, urban center. A tiny bus stop in the remote north, next to a farmhouse, with nothing else in sight for miles but sheep (always in groups of three), icebergs, and volcanoes, will typically be accompanied by a major piece of expressionist sculpture. Rejkjavik is one of the architecturally coolest cities I've seen.

Hence my tribute to Iceland (Outermost Thule) in that Zeppelin story.

Plus, I love Bjork.

However, the rotten, 18-months-buried-in-sand shark they feed tourists: not so much.

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Saturday, February 5, 2005


Holy crap, Ken Wharton's Aloha is good. A powerful synthesis of speculative daring, heart, and crazy narrative cleverness. The only story I've ever read and then immediately had to read again backwards.

I may have to vote for Ken for the Short Story Nebula instead of myself or Greg...! (On the happy chance that we all make the ballot, I mean).

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Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Year's Best

So it looks like "Start the Clock" will appear in YBSF 22 -- I'll be sharing the TOC with Chippewa Melko and Zeppelin Moles. (And while I'm looking up Dozois anthologies on Amazon, "Droplet" will appear in Robots. also out this summer.)


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