shaken & stirred

welcome to my martini glass


and now

We go home to George and own nice soft bed and did I mention we both seem to be coming down with colds? At least the traffic should be less gruesome today. Once arrived, I do promise a real update and uploaded photos and all that, but for now check out the posts and photos at the Technorati page and don't forget to tag your own Wiscon posts so they show up.

Good traveling to those of you preparing to head out to BEA too. I'm jealous. Next year.

Now to the car to read Peeps and listen to music, sweet music. Did I mention The Panel is Dead! I thought so.

Tag: Wiscon



So, my wireless card didn't take to the hotel network. But I'll try and post later about being mean and karma, readings by lots of people, disappearing the body and the death of the panel (The panel is dead! Just like God and Science Fiction! And the Novel!).

Wiscon was lots and lots of fun, if a bit of a blur. We've been told the traffic is impenetrable between here and home, so are staying another day.



pretty magic trip to wiscon

So, we'd originally planned to drive halfway to Chicago tonight, but have been too busy to prepare. We're leaving at 6 a.m. instead, just in time to swoop through Chicago and pick up Richard and Barb at the airport. The lovely boxes of Say... have you heard this one? arrived this morning. Those of you at Wiscon, put aside 5 bucks to spring for it (and 5 more will get you a subscription and possibly a chance at a fabulous prize*). (Those of you not at Wiscon, scroll down to the right to fork over your 5. It's really, really amazing.)

Meanwhile, my panel on pandemic flu is up against the Adequate Science Fiction reading (Richard, Christopher, Alan DeNiro and Lauren Ann McLaughlin), which makes me very sad and I might drop out of it. That's a reading I don't want to miss.

Speaking of other readings I don't want to miss, there's the one I'm in: Pretty Magic Butlers of Roanoke in Conference Room 2, Sunday from 10–11:15 p.m. I'll be reading with the boots-shakingly excellent Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld and Ysabeau Wilce.

Christopher kindly worked his ass of designing a limited edition -- extremely limited, only SIX copies in the whole wide world -- chapbook with work by each of us. The genius artist who did our Say... cover this time pitched in a cover made just for us. The whole thing is quite lovely and if you come to our reading, you could win it. Plus, there will be cookies.

Here's the cover:

A beauty, huh?

And yes, I'll be updating and posting pictures and all that good stuff. See some of you very, very soon.

Now, errands.

*More to come



read a book: Holly Black's Valiant

So, one of the books I wrote about in my first review column for Say... (currently residing in two boxes in a Fed-Ex truck somewhere between Nashville and here) was Holly Black's amazingly wonderful new novel Valiant, which comes out very soon. I'm reprinting that section of the column here as a preview and because I think you should buy this book immediately (pre-order or it'll be available soon) and because I don't have time to write any new content for Shaken & Stirred this week. Findeth the column after the lovely cover image and be warned there are potential plot spoilers, though mostly for things that happen very early on:

Valiant, Holly Black.
Black follows up her excellent first novel Tithe with a book set in the same world. It seems like faery has been done and redone, but no one has managed to reinvent the faery world and the dangers of human interaction with it like Black has. Her two faery books feel completely new, even while making extensive use of traditional depictions, history and lore. Valiant is her best yet (and I say that having adored Tithe). Like Tithe, Valiant opens with a girl living a not so perfect life in New Jersey. But Valiant quickly shows us that this will be an even darker, grittier ride, and yet, it never feels put on or overdone. The tight, evocative writing is an exact match for the story of Valerie Russell, aka Val, a lacrosse playing 17-year-old whose life falls apart in the first chapter after she interrupts her mother and her boyfriend having sex--then finds out her best friend had known about their trysts. Val flees to New York City where she’s quickly taken in by a group of runaways living in an abandoned part of the subway. One of them, Luis, has “the Sight” and is in service to a troll named Ravus.

Valiant takes its title from the early nicknaming of Val by one of her new friends as Prince Valiant. At a time when the “ass-kicking teenage girl” is beginning to feel tired, Val rings completely, winningly true. She’s filled with self-doubt but her nature is to act when it’s called for, no matter the cost. She ends up in service to Ravus, but quickly he’s in hers. A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the story will still provoke surprise and wonder for readers. Val’s emotional journey and the constant reinvention of the reader’s expectations make this faery tale completely engrossing.


If you can't tell, I seriously loved this book. Buy it.


Justine Larbalestier joins the land of RSS feeds and WordPress: she's gone and made a proper blog. Link her.


you know tom cruise's cousin was hiding behind that couch, you just know

The Defamer photo-blogs Tom Cruise going apeshit crazy on Oprah. It's like a man and a monkey movie where TC is both the man and the monkey. Oprah is the semi.*

Via Mandy.

*Sorry, but the man and a monkey genre are mostly movies about truckers.

book crazy

You may be noticing a trend here, leading up to Wiscon. So much to get done. Sorry.

1) The number of books I've owned?

2) The last book I bought?

Not sure. I think it was Trawler by Redmon O'Hanlon. But it could also have been Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now. Or E. Lockhart's The Boyfriend List. The last book I wanted to buy, but put back for next time was The Bitch Posse.

(UPDATED: Ha! I remember: Margo Lanagan's Black Juice. Which is amazing.)

3) The last book I read?
Breath and Bones by Susann Cokal

4) Five books that mean a lot to me: (in no particular order)

1. Sister Noon, Karen Joy Fowler. The first book of Karen's I read. One of my favorite novels, period.

2. Corrupting Dr. Nice, John Kessel. How can you go wrong adding a dinosaur to The Lady Eve? And he fixes the ending. Best time travel novel EVER!!!

3. I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith. A book I wish I'd read at 14 instead of 24, but loved anyway.

4. Mockingbird, Sean Stewart. This book is damn near perfect, in my opinion.

5. Stranger Things Happen, Kelly Link. One of the story collections I go back to over and over.

6. The Book of Embraces, Eduardo Galeano. A desert island book.

(Can't have just five!)

Tag: All y'all.

(Via Cecil.)


always the bridesmaid, never veronica lake

You're Brigitte Bardot!

What Classic Pin-Up Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

(Via E. Lockhart.)

(Also note: Veronica Lake isn't an option in this quiz.)

here kitty kitty

I feel a responsibility to point to this meerkat photo, which was posted over at boingboing last weekend. ("Take us to your leader.")

Shouldn't every Monday start with meerkats?

Related link: All About Meerkats

put this one on your buy list now

I completely missed the public announcement of Toni McGee-Causey's recent book deal, but Sarah handily points to it this morning:

Toni McGee-Causey's BOBBIE FAYE'S VERY (very very very very) BAD DAY, the misadventures of one extremely pissed off trailer trash Cajun beauty queen who has to outwit former boyfriends, her "hostage" and organized crime in order to rescue her no-good pain-in-the-ass brother from kidnappers run amok in the Louisiana swamps, to Nichole Argyres at St. Martin's, in a good deal, for three books, in a pre-empt, by Lucienne Diver at Spectrum Literary Agency. Film rights are with Vince Gerardis of Created By.

Toni and I ran off from our screenwriting workshop about the same time to write novels... that had started as scripts. Bobbie Faye's a dead fun white trash caper and you'll be sorry if you miss it. I personally can't wait.

If only this boded well for the book I ran off to write... guess I should finish that, huh? (Getting there, getting there.)


csi, in which the s stands for stupid

Apparently jurors now require forensic evidence to convict, according to the WaPo:

Prosecutors say jurors are telling them they expect forensic evidence in criminal cases, just like on their favorite television shows, including 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.' In real life, forensic evidence is not collected at every crime scene, either because criminals clean up after themselves or because of a shortage in resources. Yet, increasingly, jurors are reluctant to convict someone without it, a phenomenon the criminal justice community is calling the 'CSI effect.'

'There is an increased and unrealistic expectation that every crime scene will yield plentiful forensic evidence,' said Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney S. Randolph Sengel, who talked to jurors after the drug trial. 'As a result, we spend time now explaining to juries the absence of evidence.' And when interviewing potential jurors, Sengel said, he and his team of prosecutors have 'recently taken to reminding them that this is not 'CSI.'

The shows have had an effect on courtrooms nationwide, according to lawyers, judges and jurors. Some prosecutors are calling experts to the witness stand simply to explain to juries why forensic evidence might be absent. Defense lawyers are exploiting the lack of scientific proof to plant doubt, even when there are eyewitness accounts, confessions or other compelling evidence.

Leon Dempsky understands the influence that crime shows can have on juries. The Arlington defense lawyer says he will tweak his closing arguments based on rudimentary knowledge of forensics that jurors might have picked up from watching television.

"If someone breaks into a house, and the police don't have the suspect's fingerprints, I'm going to argue that there are no fingerprints," Dempsky said. "If a woman is raped, but there are no bruises and no DNA, then I'm going to argue that, too."

reading climate

There's a fascinating exchange over on Douglas Hoffman's Shatter. He posted his wife's very critical thoughts about John Scalzi's Old Man's War and Scalzi responded. Worth reading (although spoilers abound, if you care about that sort of thing) and there's lots of things to notice here, especially the illustration of how a person's day to day cultural baggage can inform their reading of a book in ways completely outside the author's intent or control. Also, that people can discuss books while still being polite. (Via Scalzi.)

Back to editing chapbook and trying to punch several very rough chapters into shape so I can read one out loud without crying afterward.


lovely saturday w/ hangovers

Well, that was nice. Today was Bike Lexington, which meant getting up earlier than usual (sadly only for a Saturday) to meet up with our friends Bill and Nathalie for an en masse ride around downtown to encourage shiny happy cycling feelings. That was a good time, except my rear brake kept engaging on hills, something I didn't figure out until it had happened a couple of times and I was convinced I had somehow gotten into the worst shape of my life. Shame breeds silence. Eventually, though, I realized something was actually wrong with the bike. My legs feel like rubber. Etc. The guy who runs our bike shop was around, luckily, and told me to come by and let them fix it after. Big news of the day: I WON A BIKE! In one of those raffle things! Just after complaining about how I never win anything, even though I used to be dead lucky. Oddly, I can only locate a photo on Phat's Japan page, but here's my new seabreeze cruiser -- I chose aqua. It's quite spiffy and this now means we have six bikes for when people come visit. Yay!

Then we had a nice brunch at Alfalfa's, more tooling around, got my brakes tweaked and on to the new wine/gourmand shop, where we got lots of free samples from two Australian guys who are in the U.S. pimping their wines all over the place. (I didn't write down the names sadly, but the reds were especially lovely.) You'll be happy to know, Justine, that the big tall bald one was wearing a cricket shirt and he and Christopher exchanged terminology that meant nothing to me.

Home home home. Nap nap nap. Woke up to see the unbelievably cool cover for the limited edition chapbook we're doing for Wiscon.

If only all days were so pleasant.

Now, the house is a mess. Something must be done about it.

A few linksies:

Alex Epstein thinks that 3 act structure is bollocks and he interviews comedy writer Jacob Sager Weinstein (of Yankee Fog).

Someone picked up Susann Cokal's Breath and Bones on my recommendation. Yay! It's a lovely book and I'll have more to say about it soon.

Jed Hartman takes the occasion of SciFiction's 5th anniversary to sing Ellen Datlow's praises. Add my voice to that chorus. He also points to an old Salon article about Event Horizon that's worth a read. In it, Rob Killheffer says:

"We're not growing a bunch of new readers," Killheffer admits. "The barrier that written science fiction has always had is the willingness of the reader to encounter unfamiliar concepts and do a little bit of work in reading. That barrier is as high as it ever was. 'Star Wars' is evidence that the imagery of science fiction has become familiar to people. They'll buy stories in a familiar world with familiar characters, but there's little evidence that they'll pick up a new world -- even when the book is aimed directly at that audience, telling a similar story of high adventure and using the imagery of science fiction in a similar way. They're not looking for science fiction, they're looking for 'Star Wars.'"

What do you guys think about that?

Miranda July just won the Camera d'Or at Cannes (via the Cinetrix). That makes me very happy.

That's all.


just so you know

Quentin Tarantino was awesome in The Muppets' Wizard of Oz .

Also, I love the Medusa Miss Piggy face in the background of the climactic Wicked Witch scene.

baton twirling

It's one of those days.

1. The person (or persons) who passed the baton to you.

Jeff at Syntax of Things. You read him daily, right?

2. Total volume of music files on your computer.

Um, I don't really know how to do that. The only thing I have in there right now is that Fresh Air interview with Amy Sherman-Palladino and the Bob Edwards one with Marshall Chapman where she raps in Middle English. Someday I'll figure out this whole electronic music files thing.

3. The title and artist of the last CD you bought.

I honestly couldn't remember, but Christopher sez Postal Service's Give Up.

4. Song playing at the moment of writing.

"Step Into My Office," Belle and Sebastian

5. Five songs you have been listening to of late (or all-time favorites, or particularly personally meaningful songs)

I'm going with of late:
"Trouble With Dreams," Eels
"Yeti," Caribou
"Freakin' Out," Graham Coxon
"When U Were Mine," Blue Rubies
"Cotton Crush," Kevin Devine

6. The five people to whom you will 'pass the musical baton.'

Justine Larbalestier
Scott Westerfeld
Christopher Rowe (I'm just being mean!)
Richard Butner
Carrie Frye

Answer or face shame!

in a blind-folded taste test, could you tell adults from children?

Lauren Mechling writes about being the author of books for teens at

“The thing I don’t understand,” she said instead, her voice more hesitant and quiet than before: “Why don’t you just write novels for adults?” I wanted to remind her that the sum her company paid for my book would have purchased four pages of an average adult novel, but I was too busy feeling dejected to respond. I mumbled some unintelligible half-apology and took the elevator down to the lobby.

It keeps happening. When I tell people I write teen fiction, they tend to chuckle condescendingly, or perhaps even look a little embarrassed for me. Upon learning I had begun a second teen book, an editor at the newspaper where I work made the “cash money” symbol by rubbing his thumb against his index and middle fingers. When I ran into an ex-boyfriend he asked me what “the plan” was, meaning, expressly, when would I get around to writing the Great Grown-Up Novel?


pretty pretty

Over at UnCommonwealth, E.L. Chen answers what it's about. She's a comics artist, so you'd better go see her answer.

(Yes, I realize the content is sucking like the mighty god Thor here this week, but things are really, really, really busy. The Say... proof apparently looks beyootiful, but I haven't even seen that yet. Possibly look for more this weekend.)


wednesday hangovers

  • Back when everyone was up in arms over Orson Scott Card's views on gay marriage, I really, really, really wanted to point to John Kessel's brilliant takedown of the morality showcased in Ender's Game. Well, it's finally online. Highly recommended. (Via the lovely and talented Schwartz.) (I could mention here that one of the polaroids on my desk, a constant source of inspiration, really, is me and Kelly and Barb and Karen and John-in-a-Toga-for-a-Good-Cause, along with other Toga Guy. It was taken at last year's Wiscon. Good times.)

It's a little sad that one of the inventions I'd most enjoy -- on a purely comfort, pleasure level, if we preclude life-preserving, world-saving types of things from this exercise -- is a TV time machine. It would, for instance, go into the future and bring back new episodes of Gilmore Girls. Maybe even produce them after the series ends.


attention gilmoregossipcircle main event

Following tonight's 8 p.m. season finale.

The WB sez of "A House is Not a Home":

Rescuing Rory (Alexis Bledel) after a night of reckless behavior with Logan (Matt Czuchry), Lorelai (Lauren Graham) is shocked to hear her daughter's plans for the future. Lorelai first turns to Richard (Edward Herrmann) and Emily (Kelly Bishop) for help, but soon realizes that Luke (Scott Patterson) is the only person she can trust.

Keiko Agena also stars. The episode was written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino.

Finally, an ep written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino. Anyone seen any word on whether she's coming back next season?

See you later. Prediction bunnies feel welcome to start early.

Bonus: Amy Sherman-Palladino on Fresh Air.

Zap2it sez: LOS ANGELES (
Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, the married showrunners of The WB's "Gilmore Girls," have won a six-episode order from the network for a new series. As for what that series will be, that will come later.

The couple have also extended their contract with "Gilmore Girls" producer Warner Bros. TV (a Time Warner sibling of The WB) and will remain at the helm of the show for next season. The network hasn't formally picked up the series for a sixth year, but it's a pretty much a sure thing.

P.S. If you're getting entries from a few days ago via Atom feed, I don't know how to make it stop. Blogger appears to be experiencing (yet another) hiccup, this time in its site feeds. WordPress is looking better all the time.

honky tonk angels & guys with horns

but you should still buy the anthology

I somehow managed to miss the fact that you can read Jeff Ford's Fountain Award-winning "The Annals of Eelin-Ok" online. The Faery Reel really was the anthology of last year though, so pick it up anyway.


night night

Will try to be more posty tomorrow, though try is the operative word. After a day of dealing with zine production followed by a night of carousing and a day of carport basketball (read: Combat Horse) games with my nephew and my swain, realized maybe I needed to climb in bed early and watch bad DVRed TV and finish the book I'm reading. So, that is what is being done.

It is not bike riding. Or writing. Or anything productive and that's: okay.

And at some point I'll have more to say about and reread Case Histories (not necessarily in that order). Here's what I had to say when I was reading it, though I did engage with it a couple of entries later. Not being one of the original members, I didn't actually vote in this first round, if you're curious, but I have opinions anyway and am pretty pleased by the choice, even if mine would have been different. (And um, wasn't nominated!) I think the most interesting part of the LBC so far are the discussions that are just starting up. Maybe some of the people who were disappointed by this selection will be delighted by the next one. And so on.

I knew Case Histories was having more of an impact on me than I first thought when I noticed it was infecting the book I had just started writing in a sideways way with its voice. I began paying better attention to the voices of each. I do think you should read it, if you haven't -- and consider buying it from Powell's, who is making with a 30 percent off discount. (And if I was still sitting on the fence about reading it, Lizzie's pitch would have more than pushed me off.) Anyway, there's lots more to come -- minority reports, other nominated titles, stuff from the editor and just more talk. Stay tuned.

And as the subject line says: night.

hey, that ptarmigan changed into something else

monday hangovers

(Yes, I'm cheating.)

A few linksies for your cup of coffee/tea.

For example, Gwenda, who doesn't read books she doesn't want to and always finishes one book before starting another one, might be a fiercely loyal friend who doesn't brook any nonsense from people she doesn't like.
  • Christopher's continuing the "What's it about?" series of profiles of contributions and contributors to the coming Say... issue (currently at the printer). Yesterday he profiled Craig Gidney. He'll be doing these most days up to Wiscon.
  • Jeff reports that Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, a documentary following musician Jim White as he tours the South with his ceramic Jesus, has gotten a distributor and will begin showing in the U.S. in June. I heart Jim White. Very happy at this news. Jeff has all the goods. The one Jim White live show I went to was on his tour for the awesomely brilliant No Such Place and he was thrilled at the reception the band got. The night before in Cincinnati had been less than a bust, with the few people at the show throwing loose change at the stage and heckling the band throughout the set. Buckeyes. (Kidding.)
I suppose the best Oscar show is always the one that hasn’t happened yet.

Happy Monday.


another extremely exciting announcement! (updated)

The Speculative Literature Foundation has just announced the winner of this year's Fountain Award (for a speculative short story of exceptional literary quality): Jeffrey Ford for ""The Annals of Eelin-Ok" (from the excellent Faery Reel anthology).

Just as wonderful is the short list, full of great stuff, including David J. Schwartz's "The Lethe Man" from Say... why aren't we crying? Yay! I love that story (and many of the others on the list).

See the whole short list at the link. The 2004 jury was comprised of: Matthew Cheney, Gavin Grant, Patricia McKillip, Vandana Singh, and Alison Smith (who won last year's first Fountain Award for a story in McSweeney's). And lest you scoff, along with bragging rights the winner actually gets $1,000 -- not too shabby.


Update: Matthew Cheney posts some short thoughts; sounds like a great jury and a lot of work.
Another update: Dave reacts to being on the short list. (Yay! Again, yay!) Congratulations to all those recognized.

don't you want to know what she's talking about?

Lizzie Skurnick (aka The Old Hag) writes about the first Read This! selection, which she nominated to the group:

When it finally rose to the top, after I made a brief foray into the first few pages, it fared no better. Four young daughters... distant father. distracted mother... snooze. If I wanted to spend time with fanciful young girls tripping through the long green, I'd reread The Secret Garden.

But when I saw it mentioned on a trusted web site as an excellent read. I went back to it immediately. And, after the infinitesimally-slower-than-I'd-like first few pages, I launched into what remains, hands down, my favorite read of the year.


always a race to the finish

Publishing the zine is, that is. Though hopefully a bit less so this time, if all goes well at the printer's.

Christopher has posted a brief account of the techie-herculean effort involved in actually getting the issue to press. He's also posted the lovely front cover (the back's very lovely too, with a brand new Fortress of Words logo and everything), which I can't resist putting up here as well.

You know how to subscribe, right? Just scroll down the righthand sidebar over there until you hit the paypal buttons. So much beauty for so little dinero.

We just made a short trip to B&N to pick up a birthday pressie for a party tonight. And now I've got a few moments to page through the Oxford American food issue, which looks frabjous. We also picked up Asimov's, which is having a run of truly beyootiful covers. And The Believer came in the mail, with lots and lots of fun things in it this month (attention J & S: including an excellent essay about the WNBA and how its fans are different--which made me wish extrahard we lived in a town with a team).

Lest you doubt my ability to stay on task, I finished my Aunt G column this morning for LCRW and tapped out some words on the new book. So it goes.

Keep an eye on the LBC site -- the big announcement should happen tomorrow, as the calendar says it'll be May 15 at midnight.

breaking poetry

I know, I know, but I feel compelled to break in and point to "Orpheus Retires", a poem by the lovely and talented Erin Keane which is up at Strange Horizons. Erin and I went to Governor's School for the Arts (GSA to the hipsters) together way back in high school land.

(She also runs a kick-ass reading series called InKY, which will host me, Christopher, Mark Rudolph and musical guest Dennis Sheridan for Strange Fiction night June 10.)

Enjoy the poem!


see you next week (updated) (again)

Unless strange children speaking a foreign tongue convince me otherwise, that's it for me this week. There's this whole business of a book to revise and another I'm supposed to have a 100 pages of in, oh, two weeks or so. (I'm currently on page 50.) Whenever I feel the need to blog (read: procrastinate) over the weekend, I'll just get another Diet Coke and go back to work.

For that is how sausage is made.

(Actually, Diet Coke and writing have very little to do with the making of sausage.)

This entry brought to you by the Sausage Makers of America.

Updated: I promised no new posts, so no new posts. But hey, y'all, head over to Mr. Rowe's place and play "My Day Job Destroys My Will and Soul at a Faster Rate Than Your Day Job Destroys Yours!" in the comments. Past jobs are fair game. Play nice. There will be at least one prize.

One more update: Guide horses. I know it's wrong but: I want one as a pet! (Via Erin.) (I really do know it's wrong, promise.)

Juuust one more: Merry Friday the 13th, lucky day to all us unluckies. I heart this:
"My personal savior is Batman," said Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Greg Jurgenson. "My wife chooses to follow the teachings of the Gilmore Girls. Of course, we are still beginners. Some advanced-level Fictionologists have total knowledge of every lifetime they have ever lived for the last 80 trillion years."
Praise Batman. Praise Lorelai. Praise The Onion.

letters about being little

Cecil Castellucci links to a fabulous set of letters between Roger Ebert and actor Daniel Woodburn on the preferred terminology for talking about people of particularly small stature. (It's little person or small-statured.) Woodburn sez:
The truth is Little People or Persons of Short Stature or Dwarfs do not have equal rights under the law. We are forbidden to join the military or police force based purely on size and not ability. Accessibility laws laid down by the ADA are not always accommodating to Little People. The ACLU, has not, in my experience acknowledged such issues as forcible eviction, denial of housing, or employment and education when it comes to people with Dwarfism. The response was "We don't recognize that there is any such race as the Dwarf race." True though it may be, in my opinion there needs to be a precedent set in support of Little People.

With regard to the term Little People, I suppose that until we can get the world at large not to describe someone as black or Jewish or disabled or Asian or Hispanic when we talk of their existence, we must include the term "People" in order to keep them in the one race that we all share -- the human race.
Cecil sez:
Some of you may know that I am little. I do not have dwarfism. But I am an adult of short stature (4'10"). I even joined the Little People of America. And I have gotten great tips on how to adjust the world to fit me. Like when I get a new car, I'm going to get blocks for the pedals. I have a seatbelt adjustor. I now know about Cinderella of Boston for the fancy tiny lady shoes. (I can only wear kids shoes, my feets are so tiny.)
On the various whys of the terminology, an excerpt from
Little person (as opposed to big person), and short-statured are currently preferred terms to refer to a person with extreme, disproportionate shortness. Dwarf is sometimes perceived as having negative connotations, although the term is often used by those affected. The plural is dwarfs — dwarves is used only for the imaginary creature. In the 19th century both dwarf and midget were ordinary medical terms referring to persons of disproportionate and proportionate shortness, respectively. Like many other older medical terms, they became primarily pejorative as they entered popular use. Midget is now considered offensive in all contexts to most, but not all little people.
On a note related only because I often write about books, years ago John Ney Rieber gave me The Dwarf by Par Lagerkvist and it's one of the only books I've ever had to stop reading. There's a scene close to the beginning where the court dwarf of the title, who is EEEVIL, kills the princess's kitten while she is asleep and holding it. The manner of death is especially awful. (Of course, Lagerkvist won the Nobel Prize for Literature, so what do I know?)

And on a closing note both related to this topic and books, I highly recommend John Richardson's In the Little World: A True Story of Dwarfs, Love, and Trouble, which came out in 2002.

Why did I read it in the first place? Some friends sent it to me because they know I possess a fierce admiration for little people -- it seems to me the world refuses to bend for them, so every day they bend it into the shape they need. Sometimes with great pain and trouble. Which is pretty amazing when the day to day business of life is so easy for most of the rest of us.

and then there were none

(...left who had resisted the temptation to b-l-o-g.)

Scott's got a spiffy new website look and a blog. Via Justine.

I still think designing websites is hard business -- based on the fact that I argued with a pre-made template for an hour yesterday.

beginning to feel like a reading voyeur

New post is up at the LBC -- gimme the story of the time you were reading that one. Here, there, or on your own site.

thursday hangovers (Updated)

A few things:
"A sense of humor is a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. Laughter is how we express the anxiety we feel at this knowledge."
The Louisville Free Public Library is tied up in probate with the family of the late Audrey Jean Knauer over a $290,000 bequest and that the outcome might depend on whether the actor Charles Bronson wants the money. Ms. Knauer died in 1997 and inexplicably willed her money to Bronson, whom she labeled a "talented character actor" but whom in all likelihood she had never met. Ms. Knauer's mother wants the money; the Library says it could buy 20,000 books; and Bronson has not yet responded.
(Update: Bill points out that Bronson is dead, and has been since 2003, so that either explains his nonresponse or means this is an old story with a hopefully happy resolution. For everyone except Bronson.)

I'll probably have a post up at the LBC later. I know everyone's getting impatient for the first Read This! selection. The good news is, you only have to wait a few more days: May 15's the announcement. Yippee.


what's it about?

Sonya Taaffe answers.

And hey, you know all these sickbed posts today mean nothing tomorrow, right? Thought so.

it's short

Cute haircut powers activate!

"a literary bodice-ripper"

So boasts the top blurb, from Publisher's Weekly, on the back cover of Breath and Bones by Susann Cokal. The nice people at Unbridled Books sent along a copy the other day, and it turns out to be just as delicious as promised. The prologue is marvelously creepy: the delivery of a large painting by a widow; sideways glances at paintings embodying myths and all featuring the same flame-haired woman; a body with bright red hair floating in a glass case full of water, eyes missing. I was hooked. Cokal's writing is so precise that she's able to pull off some things that would be cringe-worthy in lesser hands. And it's a lovely, hefty book as a physical object.

The perfect book for a sick day and a too-hot spring. Has anyone read Cokal's first novel Mirabilis? Recommend?

See also: PW on Unbridled Books' start

Unrelated: At least one person has emailed me and said they're having trouble seeing the new template in Safari. Let me know if this problem persists. Or, um, let me know if you're running Safari and it looks okay to you.

moving in on the past

Maud Newton posted an excellent entry on gentrification the other day, talking about some of Jonathan Lethem and Tayari Jones' thoughts and fictional treatments of the subject, in Brooklyn and Atlanta respectively. Maud quotes Lethem saying (at a Liberal Arts pilot taping):
Lethem said that as a boy he harbored paralyzing guilt because his sympathies lay on both sides of the gentrification argument, with "the people who were being displaced," and with "the people who thought the place could be made wonderful."
Yeah. I've been thinking a good deal about this since one of our neighbors confirmed and fleshed out what we'd been told about our house. It was the clinic of the first black surgeon in Lexington, Dr. John E. Hunter; his home was next door, his father's house on the other side and his brother's house two down. It makes sense. Our house has that great front entry room, a waiting room, and a weird little side door that would have gone directly into the exam room (I'm guessing) and which we've blocked off with a bookcase. I'm feeling a somewhat obsessive need to find out all I can about the man. It feels like we shouldn't be allowed to live here and not know the history.

bet Harlan Ellison wishes he'd gotten this much press with the window stories

You've probably seen this NYT piece about the three novelists in a box (well, a large plasticy construction) installation; each will attempt to complete a novel by June 4. My first impulse is to snark and make jokes about David Blaine, but then, guiltily, as I do whenever I have a knee-jerk bad reaction to modern art, I turn to Matthew Collings' wonderful book This is Modern Art. (There's also a wonderful TV series by the BBC of the same name.) I do this to make sure I'm giving it enough thought and not just being unreasonably dismissive.

The installation is at the Flux Factory, which claims it's not got anything to do with the Fluxus movement but seems to anyway (see that Res mag article that reaches the same conclusion and they put it on their site so...). I thought I'd stick up a few of Collings' bits about Fluxus here, even though this doesn't directly correspond with thinking about the novelists on parade:

Three leaders
Andrew Breton was the leader of the Surrealists. Guy Debord was the leader of the Situationists. An off-shoot of both Surrealism and Situationism was the Fluxus movement, led by George Maciunas--another charismatic leader who also was notorious for having mad purging fits.

Fluxus was anti-art. All its manifestos were against it. Like Situationism, it was for some other kind of thing that was still creativity, but which would go on in the streets and in people's houses instead of in galleries and museums. It was full of light-heartedness. Maciunas was full of good humour and jokes and he frequently displayed a Zen attitude toward existence. In his last interview, conducted on his deathbed, when he was asked if Fluxus really was art after all, he said, "No, I think it's good inventive gags."

"I make jokes!" he said. But he was known to be an outrageous tyrant and control freak, as well as a Zen-fan, who had to control every detail of Fluxus events and personally design all the Fluxus posters and cards and statements. Or at least see that all such stuff was designed along the lines he initiated. And if anyone went off the strict lines they were excommunicated.

Is it odd or inevitable or banal that these Modern art movements, which valued jokiness, should have such angry leaders? Or are all leaders angry?

(...skipping section more about Fluxus principles...)

Zen v Mafia
Although the Fluxus look and the Fluxus attitude are trendy today, and they run through a lot of the art of well-known art stars of today--and the word "Fluxus" has some of the same impressive mystery power within a dinner table context as the word "Situationism"--Maciunas is little known. He died from cancer but his departure was hastened by some Mafia guys who beat him up badly and put his eye out, following an altercation over some building work which he considered to have been badly done and refused to pay for, which ocurred shortly before cancer was diagnosed. A Fluxus principle was that artists should live in communal situations and one of Maciunas's great contributions to the present-day lifestyle of artists was the conversion in the '60s and '70s of many loft spaces in New York's SoHo area into artist's living spaces. So this assault was a rare case of both Zen and avant gardism being defeated by the Mafia.

rambly hangovers edition

Nothing like messing around with your template for an hour, then deciding just to leave it as is because everything goes completely screwy when changed. Maybe I'll try again later if I'm feeling better... your faithful Bond Girl is a bit under the weather today. (Whereas, I'd much rather be on top of it, like Storm.)

Speaking of templates, because I was, I gave Mr. Rowe a pretty new one that I now firmly believe I should have kept for my own. He's posted the first of a series of entries teasing the contents of Say... have you heard this one?, starting with poet Peg Duthie*. Go see what it's about. (And then subscribe, if you haven't already -- zines aren't free, you know!) I'll be posting an excerpt from my very first Say... review column sometime soon.

Speaking of Say... contributors, because just look up there, Chance Morrison and Dave Schwartz have added their answers to the what kind of reader you are discussion. Now I have to figure out a next entry for the LBC that will yield the same fabulous results. I appreciate the comments of all who divulged their proclivities.

Speaking of proclivities, because I just did (seriously look up there), David Moles weighs in on the experimental fiction discussion started by Dan Green (?), likely setting off another debateful tempest.

Speaking of tempests, because I can not stop speaking of, the Ruminator interviews Fran Lebowitz. (Via Moorish Girl.)

Speaking of brilliance, Ms. Fowler is on the road lots over the next couple of months. Is she coming to a bookshop near you? (She's coming to ours, yay!)

I'm going to make like George now and lie down. More later.

*Thanks to the person who alerted me to my doltish mistake.


if marriage was an option

BookLust rants:

I guess I also have a problem with artists who are navel-gazers. The ones who are continually asking the questions: "Who are we?" "What is our role in society?" "Why do we do what we do?" and "What is our creative process?" Yes, these questions are important, but I draw the line at making a career out of asking these friggin' questions all the live-long-goddam-day. Just get on with it.

And she draws nice too.

hell officially reaches freezing

gilmore gossip circle and one of those cliche apologies

No content here again today. Things are busy busy and there are still deadines whirling around my head like cuckoos. Tonight, though, new Gilmore Girls. The WB's episode description of "Blame Booze and Melville":

Rory (Alexis Bledel) is surprised by the performance review she receives from Logan's (Matt Czuchry) father, Mitchum Huntzberger (guest star Gregg Henry), at the newspaper. Luke's (Scott Patterson) plan to buy the Twickham house is threatened when Kirk (Sean Gunn) makes a competing bid. Lorelai (Lauren Graham) is thrilled when the travel magazine featuring The Dragonfly Inn hits the stands, but worries about Emily's (Kelly Bishop) reaction to the article. Meanwhile, Sookie (Melissa McCarthy) goes into labor and Emily becomes a personal patron for a ballet dancer.

The episode was written by Daniel Palladino and directed by Jamie Babbit.

I might also add that the big teaser animation is running Lorelai and Luke's faces with the words: She craved apples only one other time, when she was pregnant.

Season finale next week.


subscribe to Say...

At some point, I'll move these buttons to the side of both mine and Christopher's sites. But I thought I'd replicate the buttons here, in case anyone who isn't willing to go allllll the way over there to subscribe to a magazine full of kick-ass fiction, aka Say..., wouldn't have to.

Get two issues for 10 bucks:

If you're in Canada, get two issues for 11 bucks:

Or people in the rest of the world can get two issues for 12 bucks (read: dollars):

No paypal account necessary! Credit card ready! You can be reminded of the TOC for Say... haven't you heard this one? here! You know you want it! All the cool kids are doing it!


jealousy giving way to expectation & order say...!

David J. Schwartz, aka "The Librarian," posts his promised Serenity (with no spoilers) review and it's excellent.

Speaking of Dave, he's got a poem in the next issue of Say... which you can order using handy paypal buttons Mr. Rowe put up this morning. The buttons will also allow you to pay using a credit card, without even bothering with a paypal account. You know you want it. You know you need it. Five bucks for one issue, ten bucks for two. Such a bargain.

Read Stephanie Burgis' fabulous entry about her story "The Little Tailor" (also in this issue). How can you miss it? Don't you have a heart?

*I'll put these buttons up over here too, but after the Mother's Day driving around.

that woman called o

Lonnae O'Neal Parker writes about O bringing her circus to D.C.:

In keeping with the guiding spirit of O, the Oprah magazine's 'Live Your Best Life' tour, which spent the day in Washington yesterday, we've decided this day we're Writing Our Best Story Ever!

Ever! Ever!

We've read clips, talked to fans and conferred with Oprah's people. We've pleaded for access (Please, please lemme talk to Oprah. I do believe in myself! I do! I do!) and leaned in close to catch the wisdom of her words.

anne rice is fbc

Besides the cute haircut, the main attraction in this week's EW is a letter from Anne Rice which will be sent out with ARCs of her new novel. I reproduce it below (and wait for EW's lawyers to contact me). There seem to be some bits cut out by EW:

Dear Reader,

For over ten years I've wanted to do this book--Jesus in his own words. For five years I've been obsessed with how to do it, and for the last three years I've been consumed with nothing else.

The ultimate questions, the ones distilled from a thousand others, were so obvious as to be frightening. What did it feel like to be Jesus? What did it feel like to be God and Man as a child? ... In all my career, I don't think I've ever faced such a daunting task. And there were moments when I came near to giving up. I prayed. I asked for guidance. I scrapped hundreds of pages. At moments, I was on the verge of accepting that perhaps I couldn't do what had to be done here...

I'm not a priest. I can't be one. I'll never be able to go to the altar of the Lord and say the words of consecration at Mass, "This is my body. This is my blood." No, I can't work that magnificent Eucharistic miracle. But in humility, I have attempted something transformative which we writers dar to call a miracle in the imperfect human idiom we possess. It's to bring Him here in the form of a story, and that story is Christ The Lord.


Anne Rice

It reminds me of nothing so much as Query Letter #4 over here.


something of great importance*

I'm getting a haircut on Wednesday and I flip open this week's Entertainment Weekly (yes, this is procrastination at its finest) and there's this ad for Microsoft XP but the girl in it has this really wonderful haircut. I think I want this haircut.

But it's always so risky judging something like that from a picture. (And my hair stylist will ultimately decide whether it's even possible but...)

If you don't have this week's EW but do have, you know, five minutes to kill and want to register an opinion, you can go here and let the Flash animation load and then click on music. The haircut on question is on the music girl. You can see it better in the print ad, but that's not available online (of course).

*Well, minor importance, anyway.

saturday hangoversish, sleep-deprived, subscription-pleading, readery edition (updated)

Mr. George Rowe the Dog was up and down all night, as were we, in the melatonin haze. It's so not fair. But at least there was no mad rush to work, exhausted beyond the powers of caffeine.

I spent the afternoon in the backyard, just out of the sun's reach, finishing Valiant. It's amazing and I'll have more to say about it soon. Christopher's giving me the evil eye though, because he needs my review column for Say... which looks like it will be all YA books this time around. (Can I resist putting in a plug for Air? Probably not.) Then I have to write the next Dear Auntie column.

Speaking of Say..., please subscribe. It's cheaper than the drive-thru. Promise. (It's not easy running a zine: sing to tune of "It's Not Easy Being Green.") And this issue is beautiful, outside and in. Christopher put up details on how you can secure yourself a copy this morning.

I wanted to point to a few responses to the what kind of reader are you question: Pam McNew's, Holly Black's, Cecil Castellucci's, Lazy Gal's and Simon Owens'. Keep 'em coming. (Also, that "bad books" thing was meant as a self-deprecating joke. If it made you mad, then I probably didn't mean it how you think.)

What's that they say about the sound of deadlines? You have to listen to it?


Updated: Lots more answers to the readery question over at the LBC and some more on individual journals. (Yay!) Responses from: Jason Lundberg, Hannah Wolf Bowen, and Jonathan Strahan. I'll continue to update this section as I see more.

tell me a story

Denis Dutton reviews The Seven Basic Plots in today's WaPo, making it unnecessary to ever actually read this book (unless you just want to):

Booker has not discovered archetypes, hard-wired blueprints, for story plots, though he has identified the deep themes that fascinate us in fictions. Here's an analogy: Survey the architectural layout of most people's homes and you will find persistent patterns in the variety. Bedrooms are separated from kitchens. Kitchens are close to dining rooms. Front doors do not open onto children's bedrooms or bathrooms.

Are these patterns Jungian room-plan archetypes? Hardly. Life calls for logical separations of rooms where families can sleep, cook, store shoes, bathe and watch TV. Room patterns follow not from mental imprints, but from the functions of the rooms themselves, which in turn follow from our ordinary living habits.

So it is with stories. The basic situations of fiction are a product of fundamental, hard-wired interests human beings have in love, death, adventure, family, justice and adversity. These values counted as much in the Pleistocene era as today, which is why evolutionary psychologists study them intensively. Our fictions are populated with character-types relevant to these themes: beautiful young women, handsome strong men, courageous leaders, children needing protection, wise old people. Add to this threats and obstacles to the fulfillment of love and fortune, including both bad luck and villains, and you have the makings of literature. Story plots are not unconscious archetypes, but follow, as Aristotle realized, from human interests and the logic of what is possible.


that wiscon schedule thing

This is at least two where and whens I'll be at during Wiscon over Memorial Day weekend. I'll try and remind closer to then, but everyone else is disclosing now, so I will too.

The reading is:

Pretty Magic Butlers of Roanoke (Readings)
Sunday, 10:00-11:15 p.m. in Conference Room 2

Young adult fiction comes in many forms. Some of it involves the Pretty Magic Butlers of Roanoke who will read for your pleasure and offer spectacular cookies and prizes.
Ysabeau Wilce, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gwenda Bond

And I'm on one panel too:

Are We Ready for the Next Pandemic? (Science and Technology)
Sunday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.

The major problems this past year with the preparation of the influenza vaccine, combined with the recent outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) in Asia, lead to serious concerns as too how prepared the world is for the next big pandemic of influenza. Additionally, new threats such as SARS and West Nile Virus highlight the dangers of diseases that can rapidly be imported from anywhere in the world. Is it possible to be prepared for a pandemic? What does it take?
Linda McAllister, M: Carl F. Marrs, Michael James Lowrey, Janice M. Eisen, Gwenda Bond, Suzanne Alles Blom

Otherwise, I'll see you at Michelangelo's or in the Governor's Club Lounge.

explain the jitters away

I've (re)discovered this little wonder drug this week. Maybe you've hard of it: caffeine.

Why I ever cut back I no longer remember. I believe it had something to do with not wanting to be abso-fucking-lutely miserable if I missed my morning dose or some such silliness. Morning dose? That was my first mistake. You must spread it out to really reap the benefit, you see.

I am one of the people in that special hell we call Seasonal Allergies. We also live in the city with the number one worst allergy conditions in the country this year. It's not just the sniffling, hacking and non-easy breathing, it's the total zap on your energy. I was talking to a fellow sufferer the other day and she looked perky and wonderful. She confessed she'd stockpiled ephedra before it was banned and was popping it in addition to her Claritin and NasalChrome. Not having done such (and being deadly afraid of ephedra), I figured I'd go for the low-tech version of this: doubling my morning tea (Tazo Awake) to two large to-go mugs as close together as possible and raising that a Diet Coke or two around lunch, which I often go for a walk outside after. Do I feel better? I seem to be able to breathe and I'm sleeping fine after dosing with Melatonin and Zyrtec. Has the caffeine regimen conquered my allergies or has it just given me the superpower of energy? Who cares?

I feel like god.

I know, I know: this feeling might not last forever, but at this rate, I'll be back on Peet's by next month. And I'll meet my writing deadlines too.

Isn't it beautiful?


Huge but worth it sand animation file from Seoul in 2003. It's about nine minutes long.

(Via Ted over at withboots.)

my jealousy is great (updated)

David Schwartz saw Serenity at the Chicago advance screening:

I saw Serenity last night. Wow. I'll blog more about this later, but for all of those with high expectations: raise them. I'll blog more about the movie later--without spoilers, if I can manage it--but, wow. Just wow.

Want. See. NOW.

Update: Sillybean went to an Austin showing and has the goods. Plus, Nathan Fillon and Ron Glass were there.

Update 2: Sillybean points to an excellent, spoiler-free review and account of the movie.


no real content here today

But I made a post over at LBC about reading. There, here or your own site: what kind of reader are you?


feels like a reunion tour, but a strange one

There's another confabulation going on over at David Moles' place. This time it's a polite cage match about the slippery definitions of slipstream.

lame but fun (& I haven't read this)

Two quizzes in one day, I know, I know. I'll get a bad reputation.

I am...

When I get fed up
with my life, I run away for just a little while. You know, I do that in
life, too - whenever things get tough, I get a change of perspective.

out what Children's Book You Are!

not sure it would have been the same result if you could change beer to wine on that one question

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous!

You drink everyone under the table.

(Via Ms. Italy.)

really, the world does need at least one more literary journal

The Fairy Tale Review's first issue is coming soon and it looks amazing. It will feature work by Aimee Bender (the link will take you to her piece "Apples"), Stacey Richter, Kim Addonizio, and Donna Tartt, to name a few. It will also include the transcript of a panel between Kate Bernheimer, Francine Prose, Kiki Smith, Wendy Weitman and Jack Zipes called “Retelling Little Red et al: Fairy Tales in Art & Literature” from a Museum of Modern Art event.

The FTR's description sez:

Fairy Tale Review is an annual literary journal devoted to contemporary fairy tales. The journal hopes to provide an elegant and innovative venue for both established and emerging authors of poetry and prose. Fairy Tale Review is not devoted to any particular school of writing, but rather to fairy tales as an inspiring art form.

There's lots more at the website.


gilmore gossip circle alert

New episode at 8 sharp: "How Many Kropogs To Cape Cod?"

The WB's description sez:

Wanting to make a good impression on Logan's (Matt Czuchry) powerful father, Mitchum Huntzberger (guest star Gregg Henry), Rory (Alexis Bledel) learns everything she can about him before starting work as an intern at one of his newspapers. When Lorelai (Lauren Graham) learns that Emily (Kelly Bishop) and Richard (Edward Herrmann) have invited Logan to Friday night dinner, she ends her boycott of family gatherings in order to get to know Logan better. During the evening, Emily and Richard fawn over Logan, but Lorelai sees a side of him that causes her to worry about Rory's involvement with the Huntzberger family. Meanwhile, Lorelai gets an interesting job offer, and Luke (Scott Patterson) tries to talk Taylor (Michael Winters) into closing the Stars Hollow museum.

Melissa McCarthy and Liza Weil also star. The episode was written by Bill Prady & Rebecca Rand Kirshner and directed by Jamie Babbit.

I'm a tiny bit alarmed by the lack of a Sherman-Palladino in the writing OR directing credits, but they do still polish every episode so maybe it's just uncredited. We shall discuss whether this episode is up to standards later. How many eps are left this season? Should our end of season speculation take further liberties?

Ms. Meisner and I managed to squeeze in some last-second Gilmore chat as we were departing the hotel... therefore, we are ahead of the rest of you tonight.

the musical continues...

with a slapstick interlude in which the heroine wrestles a gasoline hose as it spews all over the parking lot, her feet, nearby birds and inanimate objects. No one comes out to help, instead choosing to look out the front window of the station and remark to each other, "She's got more money than sense!" (referencing gasoline prices). She must then drive thirty miles in brisk 50-ish degree weather with the windows down so as not to pass out from the overwhelming gas fumes now radiating from her being.

She rummages in her desk and the music swells as: "The Beyond Belief Anti-Bacterial Instant Hand Gel (with moisturizers)* will surely do the trick!" And when she slathers it on then apologizes for any lingering gasoline smell, explaining what happened, is told: "Oh, so you smell like a French whore."

Something which is, sadly, true. Beyond Belief is obviously preferred by French whores everywhere.

*Provided by grandmother, but also one must ask: what kind of hand gel isn't instant?


I heard The Polyphonic Spree's cover of "Wig in a Box"* and The Decemberists' "Sixteen Military Wives" this morning. Now I feel like I'm in a musical.

"First she has another cup of tea..."

That sort of thing.*

*The best thing they've done by far. They should stop writing their own songs and do an album of Hollywood musical songs, starting with the Gershwins and moving on...

**Did I mention I can breathe today (so far)? Blame this on that.


monday hangovers, no description edition

Did I mention there's lots of writing and deadlines on tap for this week? There are. So posts here may be fewish and far betweenish.

BWI has an interview with Margo Lanagan -- who, it must be said, is a genius. I'm just reading Black Juice now and it is exceeding the hype. Best story collection I've read since, oh, Stranger Things Happen came out. (Speaking of which: have you preordered Magic for Beginners yet?) (I stole the BWI link from someone, but I can't remember who.)

Don't forget that next weekend is Mother's Day. Eek knows what you should get her. (We owe you bios and photos and you shall have them within the next day or two. Promise!)

Patricia Storms further proves her brilliance with The Story of 'O' -- a comic illustration of the moment in time when Oprah and J-Franz intersected.

Beatrice also tells you to go read Gavin's story. Do not make someone else tell you again.

Lethem on Kafka.

nebular deposition (with apologies for namechecks)

There's probably not enough caffeine in the world to make me truly perky today -- not that perkiness is ever an intended state of being. Back here in the Land of Too Much Pollen (although copious amounts of sunlight help), I'm feeling tired and sniffly and headachey, due to the aforementioned allergens dancing in my nose. I'm sure I'll readjust in a couple of days.

Since everyone else is doing it, I thought I'd do a wrap-up post on the weekend, although the photos tell the same story.

Friday night we arrived at the lovely Allegro Hotel more or less when we intended, around the local quitting time. The Allegro's free 5 o'clock cocktail hour was in full swing in the lobby and, really, there's nothing I love more than entering a hotel and being immediately handed a glass of wine. The hotel's giant lobby was full of giant plush couches and chairs that looked like the kind of thing children would imagine for furniture. These would prove to come in very handy over the weekend. Also, there were cute dogs roaming around the hotel at various times and the rooms were less impersonal than the norm, more like the result of an interior design show. Anyway, we got in just in time to unpack, change, ice a bottle of wine for later, and meet Robin down in the lobby.

We chatted with David Hartwell and ran into an arriving Susan Groppi and Matt Withers (who has an unacceptable lack of web presence). Then we badged up and met up with fellow Southerners Andy and Sydney Duncan. They joined us and our friends Robin and Clint, who are local, for dinner at Ye Olde Elephant Pub, where I had a very nice Thai chicken salad despite what anyone may tell you. (Everyone else had chee-burgers.) We ran into Critical Mass on the way to the restaurant -- Chicago's CM has the right idea about these sorts of things, as opposed to the dour, growly or hippified way of massing (sometimes seen elsewhere).

Back to la hotel for the reception where nominated writers participate in the 1950s ritual of being "pinned" and the Grand Master is first celebrated (Anne McCaffrey -- apparently I am the only person who never read the Pern books). This year's also featured a call by those in attendance to Jack Williamson who was having his 97th birthday, delighted by the singing of "Happy Birthday" and is probably still trying to figure out who exactly was on the other end of the phone. We ran into lots more people at the reception and ended up in a late-night lobby confab with most of them. In the interest of naming names: Sean Stewart, David Moles, Ben Rosenbaum, Susan and Matt, Karen Meisner, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Greg van Eekhout and charming wife Lisa, David Schwartz, James Cambias, and others. There would be more names there but it's all kind of pleasantly blurry.

The next day we took it easy; you see, Nebula Weekend is kind of a convention without the panels and programming during the day (for the most part). Which makes sense when you think about it. We wandered around the streets near our hotel in the rain. Christopher observed that the part of Chicago where we were looks like the kind of city a little kid would draw (in perfect synch with the hotel furniture). We deep-dished and then spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with various interesting parties. At some point in the afternoon, we ended up at a table chatting with Gordon Van Gelder, Sheila Williams, Gardner Dozois, Ellen Datlow and Susan, among others. Editors gravitate toward each other! We talked about museums, gorillas and tiger training: also short fiction. Then I think they all went to be on a panel and we went to debate The Tie Issue on the plush couches in the lobby.

Dressing up was achieved for the awards dinner and I missed Golden Rule Jones, who happened to be dinnering in the hotel we were at, because of what can only be termed a Panty Hose Emergency. Free cocktail hour happened, followed by cash bar reception. We finally met Cory Doctorow, accompanied by a lovely date with outrageously cool hair. There was much drinking and eating and merry-making and picture-taking. We were next to the Strange Horizons table, which was in fact the youngest table in the room, and it's handy to be able to keep an eye on those people. Our table was split between SciFiction and F & SF, so we had it pretty good -- two eventual winners, Eileen Gunn and Ellen Klages, plus Andy and Sydney, the marvelous Ms. Datlow, Scott Edelman and Gordon and his wife. Sydney was officially the best dressed person in attendance, beating Annie Hall with a stick in her natty suit and Charlie Chaplin tie. Anne McCaffrey was given a chair to sit down in by Christopher (a chivalrous gesture I missed because I was in the ladies with Ellen), then showered with silly string (a reference to the dragons of Pern, I'm told). This meant that when Christopher got his chair back he had silly string to throw at people.

Awards were given.

We were happy and sad, sometimes all at once. I have no doubt that everyone who lost will someday win. Much joy for the people who won. Andy Duncan is officially the Susan Lucci of the Nebula awards. (Five nominations!)

More drinking! More discussion! More emailing and phoning of those not in attendance! Everyone who is in SFWA should be nominating the deserving things they read! Dean Koontz's dog Trixie's book should not be reviewed ANYWHERE! Do not fuck with bridesmaids in pink cowboy hats!

We slept and said goodbye to all the lovely people and then we came home. George was happy. The end.

Updated: Christopher's posted far more succintly on this topic. (See, he IS updating more frequently.)


what it looked like

I put up a bunch more photos from last night. I'm starving, don't have a room key and haven't even begun to pack... which means a real entry will have to wait until we're back home.