02-08-03: Greg Bear A
Planet Caught Between Dreams and Fears, Joe R. Lansdale and
the Hog & Chicken Routes
Lansdale and the Hog & Chicken
saw horror story"
Joe R. Lansdale and his
wife make the paper in San
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, MySanantonio.com.
Here's a link
to the aritcle.
Bear A Planet Caught Between Dreams and
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
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
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.
Doctorow, Ken Macleod, Borderlands Books Newsletter, IT
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
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 www.boingboing.net.
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!
Macleod's Newest from Tor
Ken Macleod's latest novel is now
available as an American hardcover from
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
Keep' and continued
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?
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
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.
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
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.
Update, Carter Scholz Collection, Jonathan Nasaw Confronts
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.
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
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
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
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.