Currently reading: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal 📚
Late Capitalism infects & kills everything it touches. Evidence: Chief Poetic Officer. Note that the site is © 2023. I suspect that 2020 goes so poorly that the collective agony rents a hole in spacetime and this effluent has flooded back.
Dammit, CNN. Do better with your headlines. “It’s Snowing. Where’s Global Warming?” That’s not helping. (I’m not linking to such bullshit.)
I’ve just listened to two purported creative professionals debate whether including page numbers in a long-form printed work (a book) was “egotistical” because it assumed someone was going to cite the work. What? No, really. What?
I guess Medium is the new Quora. I’m sure there’s at least some informed opinions there, but I’m never going to see most of them since I already have enough monthly subscriptions and I’m not going to use social media authentication.
Currently reading: Across the Great Lake by Lee Zacharias 📚
Finished reading: Evelyn As by Christine Butterworth-McDermott 📚
I have to assume that Cory Doctorow has his social media on full automation, because I’ve made the mistake of following his Mastodon account and it has flooded my feed.
Had a wonderful dinner this weekend at Brian Moy’s Dim Sum Dinner Club pop-up. Somehow managed to forget to snap a pic of one course, but everything was just delicious. Cannot wait to see what he does with his plans. Great wine pairings offered by Diversey Wine, too.
Currently reading: Luna: New Moon by Ian McDonald 📚
Sad to see that Linux Journal has closed its doors, seemingly for good this time. This has been a monthly read for me for over 20 years. Linux Journal Ceases Publication: An Awkward Goodbye
Knowing that I can follow Mastodon users on my micro.blog account, and knowing that they can follow my micro.blog posts is making me appreciate @manton’s work on this all the more. This is the promise of IndieWeb actually working!
Question for @help: I attempted to follow my micro.blog account from Mastodon. The Mastodon instance found my micro.blog account fine, but my follow is still pending approval. How do I approve the follow on micro.blog?
Currently reading: The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod 📚
Oh, good. The gangrene of Late Republicanism has spread to the delicate extremities of poet laureate nominations, resulting in the appointment of a driveler whose effluence includes the line “Give me chicks with guns on skis.” Who Gets to Be the Next Poet Laureate of New Hampshire?
Uber’s Path of Destruction, Hubert Horan, American Affairs Journal. I feel guilty any time I use Uber rather than a traditional taxi or mass transit. The dire state of ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft further cements my belief that the age of individual automobile has hit its twilight years. There’s no greater a civilization-ending waste than the automobile, at least in urban areas. Also, any time some SV sociopath tells you he’s (it’s almost always a he) “disrupting” some market segment, kick him somewhere painful and then get the hell away.
Bundyville, Season Two, Leah Sottile, Longreads. Read this, listen to this, and understand that this is totally not fiction, that some of your fellow citizens actually believe in the American Redoubt as a plan rather than bad dystopian storytelling.
How to Make Up Planets and Accidentally Influence People, Kayne Lynch, The Nib. Touching upon a similar species of idiot surveyed in Bundyville, from another direction.
Rereading Gene Wolfe, Tor.com. I’m still working on rereading Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels, but Wolfe is on the list to read through someday.
To the Moon, Jessica Handler, Brevity. Jessica is an instructor and patio drummer at Wildacres, the writing workshop we attend each summer. She posted this older piece in honor of the Apollo anniversary. From another Wildacres instructor, John Kessel, a reminder to all writers that “the moon is not an ornament.”
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.
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.
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.)
From the always wonderful Tom Gauld.
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.
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 archive.org. 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 🐦)