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02-08-03: Greg Bear A Planet Caught Between Dreams and Fears, Joe R. Lansdale and the Hog & Chicken Routes

Joe R. Lansdale and the Hog & Chicken Routes

"Writers saw horror story"

Joe R. Lansdale and his wife make the paper in San Antonio.

Here's a link to a story about Joe R. Lansdale and Ardhath Mayer, both residents of Nacogdoches, Texas. I heard that name a lot this week, and wondered if Joe was around. Youc an read the story from the San Antonio Express News, Here's a link to the aritcle.

Greg Bear A Planet Caught Between Dreams and Fears

This novel was my first experience of Greg Bear's work. Maybe I should catch up with this new series, which has received generally good notices.

Like many readers, I find the fate of the Shuttle Columbia crew unbearably poignant. It's the same feeling that William Mook captured in a guest column last year. This event has been fraught with omens large and small. Since the Roman Empire, human have paid attention to omen whether they believed that they were telling them something "true" or not. Verified facts versus emotional truth -- who wins.

Last night I was puttering about the library when I found a book I thought shold have been included in the 'Horror from Another Genre' column, Greg Bear's 'Blood Music'. Today, I found a pointer on the Fortean list to an article for Newsday by Mr. Bear. I recommend that everyone who reads this column give it their time. It's short and to the point.

02-07-03: Cory Doctorow, Ken Macleod, Borderlands Books Newsletter, IT Issues #2


Cory Doctorow Signing at Borderlands


This Day-Glow cover may threaten your very sanity. It bears a lovely resemblance to about ten million optical illusion and perception tests.

I've been interested in this title since I first heard about it. It's just been released, and I'll be reading it next, having just finished the wonderful 'Broken Angels' by Richard Morgan. Back in the Dark Ages, I lived about two blocks from Disneyland. The local gang, known as the Penguins, because they wore black and white, stole the engine from my roommate's car. OK!

Doctorow is signing at Borderlands Books a week from Saturday, on 02-15-03, at 6 PM. He's best known at this point for his non-fiction work for about ten million computer journals, as well as short fiction for SF magazines. However, the vibe from this book is great -- it looks smart and funny. I'm starting it today, and will have a review up shortly. Well, as shortly as things happen around here.

The home page of Doctorow's website should give you some idea of what he's about.

Doctorow has a website dedicated to his fiction at You can imagine that I entirely approve of this domain name. Check out the website -- it has some nice fifties-style graphics that look like they're kiped directly from Boy's Life. Yes, at one time, I did subscribe.

Doctorow also edits Boing Boing, at I can claim to be one of the folks who have the original print issue of this fine zine. I bought it years ago and liked it; it's stored on a shelf in the studio. Obtained, of course, at the behest of Mark V. Ziesing. It's a funny old world, isn't it? The website is extremely fun. Spend an hour or two there instead of working today. It's Friday!

Ken Macleod's Newest from Tor

Ken Macleod's latest novel is now available as an American hardcover from Tor.

Tor is really pulling it together of late. Just a couple of months after it came out in the UK, Ken Macleod's 'Engine City' is now available in the US. This caps off a tight little trilogy which started with 'Cosmonaut Keep' and continued in 'Dark Light' (published in the correct order). These books are the antithesis of space opera as you might know it. They're flat out too weird to deserve the term. But "Socialist space satire" is a category that probably doesn't sell as well. Look, you're talking about a must-buy -- science fiction with systems administrators as the hero. What more could one ask for?

IT Issues #2

After a traumatic two weeks when the stability of my prime workstation declined to zero, I'm back up and running and everything looks a-OK. The motto: Don't let your kids download games from the Internet on your work computer. I've been using an iMac Blueberry Classic since it came out, and it's been a rock-solid reliable piece of gear. Up until last week, when it started to freeze constantly. I had to move everything over to a backup system, keep the two in sync while I tried to fix the iMac, then, having ensured that the backup system was good to go, re-install the iMac from scratch, then move everything back over and keep all the email website files in sync while I tested the re-install. Everything is beautiful once again.

Alas, I just went back and found out that the sync was completely hosed, and I lost the original article about IT issues, wherein I first described my problems. I feel it a kindness to spare you further mention.

Borderlands Books Newsletter

While at Spookycon, I attended my first signing at the wonderful Borderlands Book Store in San Francisco. Even if you don't live nearby, you might want to subscribe to the newsletter just to see what's new out there. I find that subscribing to a vast number of independent bookseller newsletters keeps me abreast of a wide variety of new and interesting reading. You can sign up at their website, or buy from them via ABE. They have a pretty sweet collection of very expensive books for collectors, and they might have precisely what you're looking for.

02-04-03: Vandermeer Update, Carter Scholz Collection, Jonathan Nasaw Confronts 'Fear Itself'

Carter Scholz Collection

Carter Scholz's new short story collection doesn't look like the usual SF writer's material. Though he's published in Orbit and Starlight, he garners comparisons to Calvino and Kafka.

I knew I'd be reading books by Carter Scholz late last year, when his appearance at Bookshop Cruz was confirmed. I'd seen 'Radiance', and loved the setting of a high-tech defense company, simply based on personal prejudice, as a close friend had worked in the industry for years and regaled me with all sorts of tales of strippers and SDI. This week, I popped over the radio station to see what was waiting in the 'In' basket and found this collection on the second pass. With publications in Orbit and Starlight and other genre-oriented magazines and comparisons to Nabokov (much mentioned in the Ramsey Campbell Interview), Borges and Kafka, and subjects like the problems of submitting science fiction stories for publication and conversations with artificial intelligences. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Scholz does that keeps him suspended between genres and successful enough to publish two hardcover books.

Jonathan Nasaw Confronts 'Fear Itself'

I saw this novel at Bookworks Aptos, the super- lose but highly independent store quite near where I live. They lauded the 'Local Author'. I was drawn to the title.

Atria Books, a tiny imprint of Simon & Schuster has this rather cheesy-looking novel out now, but it sounds pretty intriguing. The premise has a weathered FBI agent trying to root out a serial killer who is eliminating attendees to a phobia disorder convention by forcing them to face their greatest fear. It could be an invitation to deep-fried cheese or a mediation on fear -- or both. We'll see how he fares after I read the book.

Vandermeer Update

Readers of last week's column about the upcoming Jeff Vandermeer anthology should observe what I should have observed last week -- that the anthology is co-edited by Mark Roberts, who also designed the delightful website:

Look for this anthology from NightShade press in October. Oh, the cover the on website that I snapped up was from a 'previous edition'. I'm just wondering if any of the contributors have ever contributed to the Skin Disease Weekly. With a motto like 'Better Hygiene Through Horror', what more could one ask?

I am forced to warn readers that if they visit this website, they will find images that will haunt them for days. Don't go there! I apologize in advance to those who do not heed this warning.

02-03-03: New Laurell K. Hamilton Novel Proof

New Laurell K. Hamilton Novel Proof

The Ultra-unexciting cover for the proofs of the new Anita Blake novel. I may give this on a read to see how Hamilton is faring. The fairy queen novel was well done but had a bit too much sex for my taste.

The new Anita Blake is due out in April, but I just got some proofs today. I guess perhaps I'm getting some notice, eh? They sent me the first PB eds of the entir series, but petered out when the HC's came. The previous novel i9n this series was another NYT bestseller. This novel opens with Anita trying to get her life back to normal after a breakup with her werewolf lover. Then Musette, a twisted vampire from Europe shows up. Brutal killings ensue, leading Anita to the vampire-run erotic video shop of the title. Of course, looks like Musette is implicated in the killings and to bring Musette down, Anita would risk all. Sounds like she's in a real pickle! Not one you'd find at the shop one hopes. I'm willing to give Hamilton credit simply for being a pug owner, as I have a pug myself. She cops to having two 'attack pugs', an oxymoron if ever there was one.