MSM Updates

Sunday Reading 2019-06-30


Juicy Ghost, Rudy Rucker. I like to see a good plan come together, but I don’t know how I feel about one that comes together so easily. The conflict here, under the political satire, is subtle. Also, see Rucker’s Complete Stories, which I think most authors ought to do.

Long is the Way, Carrie Vaughn & Sage Walker. Any day a new Wild Cards story comes out is a good day.


What It’s Like to Teach Writing When Everyone is a Writer, Janet Burroway. One of the most important textbooks in my college years was an edition of Burroway’s Writing Fiction. I know people who work with Burroway now on the later editions of the book.

All-American Despair, Stephen Roderick. “For the past two decades, a suicide epidemic fueled by guns, poverty and isolation has swept across the West, with middle-aged men dying in record numbers.” Bleak. Probably not what we want to hear these days, but maybe what at least someone needs to hear.

Ancient History

Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, Gay Talese. One of the classics of New Journalism or Creative Nonfiction or whatever the kids are calling it these days. With bonus cameo appearance by Harlan Ellison.

Sunday Reading 2019-06-23

A new experiment. Bookmarking a few of the interesting things I’ve come across during the week. Hoping to curate this with a little more diversity in the future than is evident in this first pass.


We Could Have Had Electric Cars From the Beginning, Dan Albert. Rambles a bit, but eventually gets to the point of what caused the internal combustion engine to win out over the electric motor during the dawn of happy motoring. Spoiler: It was the appeal to American individualism and unchecked masculinity constantly put forth by Capitalism.


T.C. Boyle is Most Certainly Living His Best Life, Peter Nowogrodzki. Seven conversations with the writer whose story, “Greasy Lake,” got me started down the writing path when I was a dumb, young kid. I still love his work as a dumb, old dude.


The New Prometheus, Michael Swanwick. A new story in the Mongolian Wizard universe which crosses over with Frankenstein, which is in danger of becoming its own subgenre. Victorpunk, anyone?


Things I Learnt The Hard Way (in 30 Years of Software Development), Julio Biason. YMMV, but probably not too much.


Aquaman and the Duality of Self/Other, America, 1985, Catherynne M. Valente. If you want to completely overdose on Hitchhiker’s Guide/Good Omens style comedy, go read Valente’s novel, Space Opera. (Amazon link benefits the author, not me.)


Tom Gauld

From the always wonderful Tom Gauld.

Black Label, Indeed.

Vertigo Publishing Imprint to be Sunset at the End of the Year, DC Comics. Sigh. For those of us who haunted comics shops in the early 90s, this puts a cap on one of the best runs ever. I’ll write about this more sometime, maybe. Though I figured Vertigo for dead when they moved John Constantine into the DCU proper and stuck him in this mistake called Justice League Dark.

Today's Rabbit Hole

Last night we finished watching the “Fosse/Verdon” miniseries and then watched some of Gwen Verdon’s dancing from “Damn Yankees,” a movie I realized I’d watched at least the ending of when I was a very young kid, and which, upon reading the Wikipedia entry for it, I understood as the Faust tale mentioned early in the show. Which gets me thinking about other versions of Faust I’ve read, including Michael Swanwick’s novel, Jack Faust, and a long, epic poem by Robert Pinsky called “The Rhyme of Reb Nachman” which appeared in Wigwag magazine back in the late 80s, a full collection of which I believe still sits in my storage unit, and which I am surprised has not shown up scanned into I may have to rectify that.

A little disappointed to discover something great three years after it is over, but also glad to have found it at all: TERRRIBLE TERRIBLE TERRIBLE punk slacker animal comics.

This very much captures why I enjoy MST3K, RiffTrax, Svengoolie, & the incredible junk drawer that is Amazon Prime Video, an infinitely-stocked version of the VHS rental wall at the gas station up the road: The Joy of Watching & Rewatching Movies So Bad They’re Good (h/t @LongReads 🐦)

A sentence I never expected I’d write: I could watch the dog animations for this Australian pet shop rebrand all day. <…>

One of the best birthdays I ever had was the year I was given the first four or five volumes of Encylopedia Brown books: <…>

And I thought the show couldn’t get more tortuous.


Early bedtime for these boys.

Always nice to see a new story from Jonathan Carroll: “Mama Bruise” 📚

100% in love with this artist’s paintings: <>

This one hurts. I heard him read a few years ago and he seemed in frail shape then, so not a surprise. But he never wrote a book I didn’t like, and a lot that I love.…

The weather in Chicago today, which now apparently includes thundersnow, better not be a damn Game of Thrones marketing campaign unless some white walkers clean my sidewalk next.

I am reading one of the most wonderfully strange pieces of fiction I’ve come across in ages & it was published in practically the last place I’d have expected: 17776 Football. Remember when the web was full of this kind of thing?

Bad Apple News! Bad!

TFW you can’t tell if the description of a software package is a buzzword bingo joke, or if you’ve finally reached your own technical decrepitude, or both.

This looks like the most boring Jack Kirby comic book ever.

EXPERIENCE the plight of the poor humans treated like the machines that will replace them. MARVEL at the lack of economic security! WONDER at the absence of any labor gains made by over a century of unionization! BOOK YOUR POVERTY TOUR TODAY!

TIL the etymology of the word “cliché.” H/T to Eve Batey (🐦 @eveb), the “Inside Media” newsletter editor. How I got this far, given my interests, and never knew this, surprises me.

Today’s good comics, all about walking dogs and learning to speak French: Unleashed in Paris by Kate Gavino (🐦@kategavino). 📚

No, no. I don’t think I would like any of those things, but thanks for the suggestion

Today’s prompt, to use in whatever creative endeavor you might practice: From Marcus Aurelius, “The blazing fire makes flames and brightness out of everything thrown into it.”

Some fine reading for a lazy Sunday morning in the new issue of Gingerbread House (@GingerbreadMag): <…> 📚

Someone had a big day meeting the new walker.

One of my favorite musicians, David Mead (@davidmeadtwits), released his first album in 8 years this winter, COBRA PUMPS. He offers it free to subscribers to his mailing list. Really looking forward to this. <> 🎵