Sunday, March 27, 2005

Gernsback and I, and the Call of Nature

My odd little metafiction, "Biographical Notes to
'A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-planes' by Benjamin Rosenbaum"
, is on the Hugo ballot. It's competing with amazing works by Chris Rowe, Kelly Link, and Paolo Bacigalupi. (The Flynn may be amazing too, but I haven't read it; actually, I haven't read the Link either, but I can say with confidence that it's amazing because everything Kelly writes is amazing).

(And David Moles -- who nagged and cajoled me to write and then submit that story, and did brilliant editing on it, including goading me to create the attempt at a Hegelian synthesis (or third alternative?) of worldviews at the end, is up for the Campbell award as well. Shout-outs also to Mr. Kelly and Mr. Denton on that ballot, both of whom have kindly taken me under their broad, pterodactyl-like wings on many occasions. And to the incomparable Mr. Stross, the mighty Ms. Bear, the surreal Mr. Picacio, the doughty Mr. Robeson, and Morgan, Datlow, Dozois, Van Gelder and Groppi... at this rate I will know everyone on the ballot in a few years...)

Also, the British science magazine Nature asked me to write a very short story (800 words), of "technological SF, set in the next 50 years", for the last page of the magazine (they're running a series of them). I sent 'em one, and they accepted it.

I am fascinated by my psychological reaction: this much success is making me acutely nervous. I was very comfortable with the notion of someday being on the Hugo and Nebula ballots as kind of a vague, happy ambition, which could hover in the future, casting beams of beatific light on the present, and where I could imagine it as a blissful return to the unmarred integrity of Being, to when I was, say, four years old and the most important creature in the universe and everyone I knew adored and celebrated me. (And Nature, you know, never occured to me)

Now that I am actually living through my fifteen minutes, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. I mean, holy crap. The Nebula ballot was one thing; I could just barely enjoy that, though it was on the border of painful. But this! Come on now! Stop this carousel, I want to get off!

I hope I will soon calm down enough to actually enjoy it.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

Attack of the Epistemologists

I have been nattering on at, I am sure, entirely too great a length about Goedel's theorem and the state and future of science fiction (and science fiction as the popular art of a particular religuous group, and the nature of theological reasoning) over at David Moles's blog....

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Monday, March 14, 2005

Droplet , sixty-seven cents

The good news: My moody meditation on love, loyalty, and marriage, or sex-crazed romp of erotic lesbian androids, or critique of the optimists of the Singularity, whichever way you want to read it, "Droplet", is now up on, along with several other stories.

The bad news: Fictionwise doesn't seem to be letting people print my stories. I've asked them to enable printing. We'll see what they say. I really don't want to sell people eBooks that won't print. I mean, yuk.

Update:Worse news -- Fictionwise just doesn't let you have printable PDFs. Saves on tech support costs, they say. Hmph. Anyone want to create a printable PDF of "Embracing-the-New" or "The Orange" or "Start the Clock"? I'll post it.

Further Update:Emboldened by the comments below, I am nagging Fictionwise some more to see if they'll enable printing after all. Also, I note that my comical surrealist story, "Red Leather Tassels", is also up on Fictionwise.

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Ten Things Meme

I love how Dawkins's term "meme", which he uses variously to mean

has now acquired a third meaning --

  • "a game whereby a group of friends post similar blog and LiveJournal entries".

This third meaning is, to my great amusement, quickly eclipsing the other two in prevalence.

So -- this meme, via Gwenda, Chris, Chris, Susan, Nick, Heather, Tim, Toby, Jenn, Greg, and Alan:

Ten Things I've Done Which You Probably Haven't.

1. Sung Rocky Horror tunes with a group of friends, while being incarcerated in a jail. Sober.

2. Lived in a geodesic dome.

3. Swam naked across the Potomac River. (Of course, if you went to high school with me, you probably did this one).

4. Smashed a sometime underling in the face with a sizzling hamburger. (Yes, at the age of nine, I was a supervillain.)

5. Seen a collared anteater peaceably munching 70 feet above my head.

6. Had a first date in a Jewish cemetery. With a non-Jew. And married her. Not that day, though.

7. Written a Perl program to generate random character names, and used them in a story (which got published).

8. Tried to negotiate a bill collection while in an illegal Big Bird costume, and while in character as Big Bird.

9. Entered the Gaza Strip on foot (after my cab driver refused to go any further).

10. Officiated at a wedding, and delivered a Talmud-quotin' sermon on the difficulties of non-arranged marriages.

Top that, eh?

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Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Fiction, Wise

So Fictionwise approached me about them selling my stories, particularly "Embracing-the-New", since it's on the Nebula Ballot.

I said yes, so if you go to my page on Fictionwise, you can buy a few stories for under 75 cents (I believe I get 30% of the take), and get "Embracing-the-New" for free (for now), in lots of pretty formats for your computer or PDA. There are three up now, and more will be coming in the next few weeks.

I had a moment of concern that this might be confusing to readers, because "Embracing-the-New" is under a Creative Commons license (along with "The Orange" and "Start the Clock"), and I didn't want people to buy it from Fictionwise, and later feel burned because they could download it for free online. But it then occurred to me that Fictionwise is simply acting like Red Hat, doing packaging and sorting work on open sourced information, and charging for the service.

Fictionwise was very accomodating about releasing me from the exclusivity parts of their contract. They are even distributing the Creative Commonsed stories with the Creative Commons licensing information, and they have enabled copying and printing and all that stuff (because I don't want to be in the position of selling people busted PDF's that don't print).

Let me know what you think.

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Sunday, March 6, 2005

What Noah can say
Abaup, down, upwards, downwardsengl. "up", Sw.Ger. "abe" downwards
ÄtäeatSw. Ger "ässe", eat
Baballengl. "ball", Sw. Ger "Ball"
Baababathe Sw. Ger "baa-deh", bathe
BapaGrandpa (David)engl. "Grandpa"
BopoBopi (Grandpa Simon) Cousin Seraphina's "Bopi", from Sw. Ger "Grossboppi"
Bubaboy (also possible secondary meaning "to clean") Sw. Ger "Bueb" boy (also Sw. Ger "putze" to clean)
Dadathank you / please can I have that / here, take this Sw. Ger "danke" thank you
this, that, gimme Sw. Ger "das" that or "dä do" that there
DädäDaddyengl. "Daddy"
Dittedrink Sw. Ger "trinke", engl. drink
LalaLaurelour friend Laurel
MamaMommy Sw. Ger and engl. "Mama" mother
MämaGrandma (Karen)engl. "Grandma"
Mämägirl Sw. Ger "meitli" girl
MomoMomi (Grandma Rita) Cousin Seraphina's "Momi", from Sw. Ger "Grossmami"
NänänäNoSw. Gr. "Nei, nei, nei" no, no, no
Noah, I want to be involved in this interaction, possibly secondary meanings of "No" and "yes""Noah", also engl. "no", Sw. Ger. "nei" no
yes (rarely attested)engl. "yes" or "yeah", Sw. Ger. "ja" or "jo" yes

(Esther runs a close second, but the unchallenged expert in interpreting Noah's utterances is Aviva; she is the principal reference for this list.)

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Thursday, March 3, 2005

Give Me Your Tired...

In all the debate about reforming U.S. Social Security, everyone seems to be missing the fact that there's an obvious (if radical) solution to the problem...

Click here to continue reading "Give Me Your Tired..."
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