Novella Contest, others

Miami Ohio is having a novella contest (under 40,000 words), with a $25 reading fee.

I assume everyone's heard of Jonathan Lethem's Genius Grant.

Interviews forthcoming shortly, fingers crossed.


This Is Something We Can and Should Do

An ad for Borders says, "Bestsellers are 30% off everyday, or create you own bestseller [also 30% off]."

Why not convene on which good book to buy and see if there's an impact to be made? I realize this is what blogs are doing in general, but I'm talking about timing, coordinating so that the idea might blip on people's radars.


Double Talk

A sign I saw on a bus on my walk to work read:

You see a smaller house payment.
We see peace of mind.

A man and woman are lifting an infant into the air. Adorable. Heart-warming.

I didn't think about it much the first time I spotted it though I thought it weird that anything could be win-win, especially when it comes to an advertisement for a business deal. Then I realized what they were talking about: more money from loans stretched over a longer period of time, which to say, the business's "peace of mind." Of course, they would be the ones to see their own peace of mind, not the couple adjusting the payments on their house. There may be a time for lower payments, but I thought it was phrased a bit dubiously.


A Must-read Shiner Story

Any fans of Lewis Shiner must read Shiner's latest, "Perfidia," which genre fans may have missed since it came out in a literary journal, Black Clock. As good as the story is and as attractive the magazine (not to mention contributions by Steve Erickson, Shelley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem, Ben Marcus, Rick Moody, and others), it's twelve bucks that I might have saved had I known that it will be reprinted in the Subterranean magazine, sometime in the future. That story alone will make your subscription worth it. As for reading either market as a writer, they don't appear to have open submissions, a policy which might help justify spending a writer's hard-earned beer-money on them.

While "White City" was probably his most admirable before this publication (although I'm sure the editors of The Norton Book of SF would think of "The War at Home" which is admirable for compactness), this is truly Shiner's best (that I've read--admittedly, a little more than a third of his short fiction output).

Like most of Shiner's work, it's political, but I tend to admire the craft more than the politics myself, and the craft of this one is superb: rich in detail and plot, with significant characterization. A man bought a wire recorder off Ebay that purportedly has a bootleg recording of Glenn Miller, three days after he died, and at the end of the recording is the sounds of a violent scuffle. The collector goes to France to investigate if this recording is real (despite having a father who is near death himself). The Ebay collector finds far more than he expected and more than the government wants known. The last parenthetical remark is my biggest beef with the story. I can't imagine leaving my father like that without a pang--even if the story requires it for dramatic impact. It doesn't really get touched on, and certainly researching a recording that's waited sixty years to be found could wait a little longer. Other than that, this novella reads like Datlow's old Omni magazine. Go read, now!


SF Posts Elsewhere

Jeff Ford posts a story.

James Gunn on the History of SF (where it's been, where it's going). (How did Tobias Buckell get to it before I did? Bastard!)

Stephen Leigh on workshops.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen has a great series of icons. If you get it, you're in the SF club. It's both funny and enlightening.