shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


hangovers, monday ed.

My last holiday away from work today, which is a little sad, and so I'll be trying to do all the productive things I was going to use the supposedly slowed down holidays for. Ahem. Right now, first cup of English tea, crunchy facon and Calexico in the background. Some links:

1. Sarah Weinman points to the Philadelphia City Paper's annual story contest. The story must be in one of three genres: Mystery/Thriller/Crime, Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror, Romance/Bodice Ripper. The story must be set in the City of Philadelphia. No exceptions. No suburbs. The story must be 2,500-3,500 words. No more than one per entrant. Michael Swanwick will judge SF entries. Prizes will be awarded in each category. So, get cracking (pulling out those trunk stories OR writing new ones). Winners pubbed in the paper, runners up online.

(Switching out Calexico for local faves Apples in Stereo.)

2. Don't forget to read Christopher's latest journal entry and heckle him to post more frequently. When George does it, Christopher just pretends not to speak dog.

3. Literary agent Barry Goldblatt posts his thoughts on getting an agent and whether writers must have one. He specializes in children's fiction. OK, first some cold, hard facts. As you may or may not know, it is much, much harder to get an agent than it is to get published. I'm not just referring to self-publishing or small press publishing either. It's a simple matter of numbers. There are far fewer agents than there are acquiring editors, and many of the good, well-established agents of course already have large client lists, and so take on very few (if any) new clients each year. Next, be aware that getting an agent does not guarantee getting published. So, you can put in a lot of effort, find a great agent who loves your work...and still not convince an editor. That's just the way it is sometimes.

4. Great quote from William James (via William Gibson): "I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride."

5. TEV (who is back too! The blogosphere really is stable!) hosts a marvelous guest essay by Daniel A. Olivas on cuento de fantasma. A partial definition from the essay, which you really should read all of: In his foreward to the anthology, Johnson observes that the fantasma has its roots with the magical realists such as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Máquez and Julio Cortázar. But there was something else happening with the modern stories included in his anthology: a belief that the supernatural is a part of reality, not separate from it. Further, he saw issues of race and class addressed under cover of spirits, el Diablo and ancient gods. Very interesting stuff, and James Sallis gets a namecheck.

6. The 100 most popular baby names of 2004 list is up (via Jennifer Weiner), at least 5 minutes of fun and headshaking.

7. Matt Cheney posts his list of stories he liked in 2004. Many of my own favorite stories from 2004 are on it, but I actually think SciFiction had one of its strongest years ever. Aside from Mr. Rowe's "The Voluntary State" (obvs. my favorite story of the year), I'd direct you to: "House of the Future" by Richard Butner, "Zora and the Zombie" by Andy Duncan (a fantastic story about Zora Neale Hurston's encounter with a zombie, and if you ever get the chance to hear Andy read this story, take it!), "The Baum Plan for Financial Independence" by controversial rabble-rouser John Kessel, "Gliders Though They Be" by Carol Emshwiller and "Super 8" by Terry Bisson, to name a just a few SciFiction stories I thought extremely strong.

That's it for now. Possibly back later with that promised Air review.


  • At 10:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The top 100 baby names list always amuses me. But I always read it, to make sure my child's name isn't on there. (It isn't. Hurrah!)


  • At 10:50 AM , Blogger gwenda said...

    I bet. I wish they also had an oddest or saddest baby names list. I remember a few years ago when it was really de rigeur to name kids after characters from literature or with slightly off spellings, I saw the worst thing ever in my hometown newspaper. Some parents had seen The Three Musketeers movie and decided to name their kid D'Artagnan without ever actually looking up the right spelling. Oh, it was PAINFULLY bad. But I guess more likely to be pronounced correctly by teachers, since they'd sounded it out.

  • At 8:53 PM , Blogger chance said...

    hey - if chris hasn't seen it yet - he;s on the prelim nebula ballot for "The Voluntary State"

  • At 2:37 PM , Blogger gwenda said...

    yeehaw! Thanks, Chance.

  • At 5:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    When I was pregnant with my daughter, I joined an online community for Moms who were expecting at the same time. The names I saw there... "We're thinking of calling her Hallinga Chrystyne or Svetlana Poughkeepsie. Which do you like best?" I felt out-of-the-ordinary for picking a "classic" name!

    (For fun, though, you ought to visit the Goth baby naming site and Baby's named a bad, bad thing.)

    - Darice


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