Monthly Archives: July 2008

my schedule for armadillocon…

here’s what’s going down in A-town. This time, I won’t be asking anyone for directions anywhere…

My Reading
Fri 8:30 PM-9:00 PM deWitt
J. M. McDermott
(I’ll probably ask the room what they’ve heard and what they haven’t heard. I expect I’ll be reading either “Dedalus and the Labyrinth” again, or “Death’s Shed”.)

Literary Criticism

Sat Noon-1:00 PM deZavala

Hobson, Huey, Kofmel, McDermott, Webb*, Wagner
How does critique of sf differ from that of mainstream literature? Where should one look for the best analysis? Is this the domain of fans, or are academics taking over?

(This should be interesting. I have yet to encounter a single academic on par with a Renata Salecl discussing genre sf. Authors and bloggers, utterly dominate the feild. Maybe I’m wrong? We’ll see…)

Autographing
Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Dealers’ Room
Leicht, McDermott, McHugh, M. Wells, S. Williams

(I am willing to sign other author’s books, but I will only sign my own name. I’m not much of a forger, anyway.)

peculative Fiction in Computer Games
Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM deZavala
Duggins, Huey, McDermott, Salvaggio, W. Spector*, Tyler
Science Fiction and Fantasy are in computer gaming – from Bioshock to Final Fantasy to Warcraft to Fallout. Why is there so much talk about the science fiction and fantasy element in movies, when computer gaming has so many genre elements in most of its top games?

(I’m always about three to five years behind in my gaming for a variety of reasons, so I will likely bring a very different perspective to this panel than everyone else.)

SF Canon for Short Fiction
Sun 2:00 PM-3:00 PM deWitt
Denton, McDermott, Richerson, Rountree, Swenson, S. Williams*
Is there a science fiction canon for short fiction? Are there short stories and novellas that we all should have read, or is there no required reading in this form. Our panelists will try to determine if there is a canon, and talk about what to add to it or what should be in it.

(I expect I’ll be spending a lot of my time saying, “I agree with what Sheila Williams said…” and “What do you think Sheila….” and “What did Gardner say the last time you spoke with him about it, Sheila Williams, head editor of ‘Asimov’s Magazine’?”

You know, stuff like that.)

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while pirate elvis sleeps off the hangover of all this rum-soaked fried peanut-butter and banana sandwiches, go read this essay by cat valente that will make you a better/smarter artist:

http://www.jeffvandermeer.com/2008/07/29/have-i-ever-told-you-about-my-lovehate-relationship-with-confessional-poetry/

Also, go pick up a book of hers. They’re all good. The Orphan’s Tales are especially caramel-coated in robot/manticore/popess goodness.

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pirate elvis lives

Graceland was never going to be the same after the death of the King.

Of course, little did they know the King was not, in fact, dead. That was just one of the King’s clones that broke while the king himself was out on a mission.

That mission? Capturing every shipment of Chinese sneakers before they reach the ports. America must be protected from foreign sweatshop products, after all, and who better to conquer the hordes of un-American influence than the King of all Americana himself, Elvis Presley.

His Letter of Marquis was signed by LBJ. His ship was decked out in all the latest pirate technologies. The plank had a piano keyboard on it, to let the condemned dance a tune for their salvation. The galley had more friers than McDonald’s University. The crew were all musicians and actors, singing and dancing their way to justice. The carpets were plush. The bridge was a jungle room. Even in the prisoner’s cages, there was a high tech recording studio for anyone that finally caved in to their interrogations and decided to sing.

Yes, my friends, Pirate Elvis lives!

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spring and autumn flowers, fruits, and grasses

spring and autumn, flowers, fruits, and grasses

she had matching screens
blocking the light
in her paper
bedroom: painted screens

hydrangaea, strawberries,
hyacinth, squash blossoms,
narcissus, roses, cat-tails –
placed in the season that birthed them.

spring, summer, autumn,
she stepped from behind the screen
smiling at me from winter
white porcelain jars of harvest with
long nights and nothing to do
but
blossom.

(author’s note: I changed the date for this to come out today, since the entry I pre-dated for the 29th magically appeared by itself far too soon… Bumped everything else up a day as a result. Blogger can be weird sometimes.)

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write to the title

these are the titles of stories i have never written, but i try very hard to come up with some way to use them whenever i can…

“throw it in the fire”
“pirate elvis was a friend of mine”
“never trust the dead”
“king for a day at pirate elvis castle”
“watch for sunlight”
“revenge of pirate elvis”
“king basilisk’s terrible palace”
“zombie pirate elvis wats scooby-doo and the gang”
“snow gophers versus pirate elvis”

These are all stories I would like to write.

i’m working on a story right now, instead, called “when we were executioners”.

and, back to work i go…

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buttons, buttons, eat all the buttons!

congrats to all who earned buttons.

spambots, beware: i know you’re there, pumping up my pagehits, waiting for your chance to swing in and post about something really awful…

like that time someone thought my post about pre-dating a blog post was really about looking for a dating website and commented and linked to me.

i wonder what will set off the spambots, now. will it be viagra? arnold schwarzenegger? buttered toast and tea?

regardless, it isn’t free buttons, apparently. i can post about free buttons with impunity.

buttons! buttons for everyone! some of them the thread still attached! some of them with the pointy bits all mangled and crunchy! some of them boiled limp and gooey like a dali clock!

buttons, buttons, eat all the buttons!

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i knew it…

adsense be saying i get so and so many hits… but people don’t be reading to the end, except for Lola.

I’m not mad. It’s my fault for not being more interesting. Really, I don’t blame you, fair reader. If my blog post is dull, than don’t read it.

Let’s try this again:

First five comments get a free, official LAST DRAGON button.

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snow gophers, plus…

I looked up suicide in the Thesaurus, but there’s no other way to say suicide. I have to come up with something for this fucking obituary. I don’t want people to think Quentin killed himself. He didn’t kill himself. His death was ruled a suicide, but it was really more of a self-inflicted act of stupidity than intentional ending of life. How do I put “Qualifies for the largest Darwin Award ever”, but with some respect for the dead?

The thing about Quentin’s death is that it wasn’t that he was trying to take all those pills and drink all that alcohol. He had a headache. He didn’t realize the reaction that would happen when he mixed his special migraine pills with alcohol. He was underage, and a bespectacled geek. No doctor would have figured Quentin – zit-riddled, snaggle-toothed Quentin – for the kind of math geek that drinks vodka in his Mountain Dew. Sure, they might have warned him about the side affects of chronic masturbation, if there were any. But vodka? One look at the boy in his short pants and suspenders and the thought of underage drinking would have zipped right out from anyone’s head. No one could have predicted that.

Also, the knife wounds along his wrist were not intentional. I know they look intentional. But, accidents happen. It just so happens Quentin was always very, very uncoordinated. It’s lucky he does have ginormous spectacles. I can think of at least three occasions he would have accidentally put his own eye out. I know it seems convenient that he managed to cut his wrist, but after the pills, and the vodka, you can’t expect anyone to be very successful cutting up another lemon for their drink. Don’t forget those lemons. They were at the scene, you know.

The gunshot wound is a bit harder to understand, but it isn’t like he was blowing his brains out. Don’t ask me where Quentin got his gun. I have no clue. But, I hate to say that about a dead kid, you have to admit you could see Quentin owning a gun. He had a real problem asserting himself socially, and anger issues. I don’t think he would have shot up the cheerleading squad, even if they did make fun of him instead of ignoring him, but you could really see him as the lone gunman type. Of course he had a gun. He had a Libertarian bumper-sticker on his mini-van, and a FPS obsession that bordered on addiction. He had real anger issues, and plenty of history flaring his nostrils and slamming inanimate objects when he didn’t get his way. He was a math genius, and could easily figure out how to acquire an illegal gun. The fact that it blew his own chest off may seem miraculous in someone who is not suicidal, but need I remind you about the pills in his system and the alcohol?

I suspect he didn’t even know how many pills he took, or how much alcohol. I suspect he took them a couple at a time, and then forgot he had already taken his medicine on account of the overdose with the alcohol. Then, he took more, drank more, and all the while oblivious to the catastrophic meltdown in his pancreatic system.

Sometime between trying to cut the lemon, and pulling the trigger, he probably noticed he was bleeding and assumed he was under attack. He pulled his gun out of his shoulder-holster, but didn’t quite make it all the way out before the trigger went off.

The M.E. did say the bullet entered at an angle, around the breastbone. If he was trying to kill himself, he would have shot himself in the head, or blown off a toe and let himself gently bleed to death.

The noose is also a bit difficult to explain. Still, he was a nerd. Nerds wear ties. When they are alone, sometimes they wear really freaky ties for no good reason. Nerds like ties and wear them even when they don’t have too. If you told me that Quentin was hanging out in his house in slacks and a tie, I would laugh but I wouldn’t call you a liar. He always wore a tie. He thought it was cool to look like Elvis Costello. We liked to remind Quentin that Elvis Costello was not only older than our dads, but nerds never listen, do they?

The fact that pill-and-alcohol-addled Quentin had tied a noose instead of a traditional knot has more to do with his gallows humor. He thought it was funny to tie a noose around his neck with his tie. Seriously. He did it at parties, when he was drunk and trying to look cool. He tied the noose around his neck, but he didn’t want to use it.

On his way to the ground, after the bullet wound, but before the carbon monoxide poisoning, his tie was blown out of place from the rippling energies of the angled bullet. The tie swung out and caught something – in this case a corner in the ladder – and held it by a few important, influential threads. These threads bunched. The cheap stitching was destroyed. The errant threads got caught inside the jagged wooden ladder, and held.

What was he doing on a ladder? Obviously, it was the only surface clean and clear enough to double as a cutting board. He had his mountain dew and vodka on the little tray at the top of the ladder. He used the very top of it as a cutting board.

I know this sounds illogical, but you didn’t know Quentin, and I did. This all made perfect sense to him.

When you first stepped onto the scene, the second thing you’d notice was how the tie looked like it could be torn any second. It did not look intentional to me. It looked like it got stuck when he fell, and his bad, drunken, noose joke became reality.

This, of course, merits mentioning the true cause of death: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

Someone left the minivan with the Libertarian bumper-sticker running in the garage. If you can’t hear the engine running over the 80’s power metal (Quentin was an Iron Maiden freak) then you can’t possibly know you are being slowly poisoned to death by a running car in the garage. Have you tried doing anything but angry drinking while Iron Maiden played in the background?

I know, I know, what the heck was he doing in the garage drinking vodka, taking pills, cutting up limes on the top of a ladder, etc. etc.? Well, to answer all those concerns, let me just remind you that I knew Quentin and you didn’t.

I could go on. Seriously. Anyone who knows Quentin knows this isn’t a suicide. It’s just a case of a clumsy weirdo finally having the accident everyone thought he was destined to have.

I know, everyone thought he had gone loony because of the Snow Gophers, and his mystery animals seem like some kind of warning sign in retrospect. Imaginary animals should have been the first sign of trouble.

I disagree. I knew Quentin. The Snow Gophers were real.

I also suspect a Snow Gopher slipped all that vodka into the first Mountain Dew, and whispered in his ear about the pills he needed.

***

to be continued…

Also, first five comments to this thread get a free “last dragon” button in the mail.

Ready, set, CONTEST!

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things thought about whilst doing nothing better

Q: What did one Inuit say to the other Inuit?
A: I don’t-i-know. Let’s Esk-i-Mo!

Yup. I’m up at the Kimbell a lot these days, and it shows no sign of dying down. If you know anyone in Fort Worth looking for some part-time work, send ’em to the museums.

I’m still trying to do that whole novelist thing full-time, too. this morning, i was late to work because i fell asleep on my keyboard.

sometime after 500 pages of straight “s”, the computer crashed. i was able to investigate the document and delete all those “s”‘s but who knows how many could have been written.

maybe tomorrow i’ll put together an interesting thing for you in the morning. i’ve got plans to reward regular readers with something cool and free.

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just heard from Behind the Wainscott

‘Tisn’t a paying market, but their theme looked like fun.

I just heard from Jonathan Wood about my entry into their Tarot-themed issue.

I’m the Seven of Pentacles.

In other news, today was see people that look just like people I know day at the museum. I saw at least five people that looked just like people I know. (Including you, Lola!)

It was creepy. I was surrounded by doeppelgangers.

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