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At his final Tuesday Funk as a co-host in Chicago, on December 3, 2013, William Shunn offered a brief history of the series's Poems by Bill feature.

latest inhuman swill post

The Conet Project: Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations I find something deeply unsettling about numbers stations.

I suppose I must have encountered the concept at some point reading spy fiction, but my true introduction to numbers stations came earlier this year from my friend Anthony Atamaniuk. When he played a few examples at a party, I was instantly transported to the nightmarish world of my earliest childhood memories, where the universe beyond my bedcovers seemed to vanish with the fall of night, and every half-heard or half-imagined sound was like a transmission from a cinder planet light-years dead. To me the recordings sounded like outer space, like eternal night, like death.

If you don't know, numbers stations are the shortwave frequencies on which spies regularly transmit coded messages. In 1997, Irdial-Discs released The Conet Project, a 4-CD collection of numbers-station recordings. The whole thing is available as a free download, but you can also purchase a re-release that adds a fifth disc of more recent recordings.

If you have any interest in the history of espionage, or just in very creepy recordings that probably influenced many a horror movie soundtrack, you have to take a listen:



(You may have heard some of this material before. In fact, if you want to hear where the ethereal voice intoning "Yankee ... Hotel ... Foxtrot ..." on that Wilco album came from, just click forward to track 4.)

What I find most remarkable about numbers stations is that they're not some Cold War relic. They persist to this day, even in this Internet age. I know that composer Olivia Block has been scanning the shortwave bands for numbers stations lately, searching for the ingredients of a new recording project. Somewhere out there, hunted women and men are still pulling out their radios late at night, casting their lonely reports out into the ether like messages in bottles.

And the thought of it terrifies me.

latest proper manuscript format post

A reader writes to ask:

I have just one question concerning the "1in from margin" factor: what page size is normally used?

8.5x11?
6x9 ?

I see the '1in from margin' statement everywhere but nowhere I've found do they say the page size.


In the United States, Canada, and a few others places, print and submit your manuscript on white standard letter size paper, which is 8½ by 11 inches. In most of the rest of the world, including the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, use A4 paper, which is 210 by 297 mm, or about 8.27 by 11.69 inches. (A4 is part of the ISO 216 standard, which makes a lot more sense than our system.)

But really, when have you ever seen a ream of 6 x 9" printer paper at Staples? It's a fairly standard size for book publishing, yes, but that wouldn't make it at all practical for manuscript submission.

By the way, before you ask, if you're submitting a short manuscript on paper you'll need to buy 9 x 12" envelopes.

latest perry slaughter post

The vig

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By the way, the vicious rumor that I sold 49% of my soul to the Devil is 99% true.
William Shunn
Tuesday, November 4, 7:30 pm
Tuesday Funk Reading Series
Hopleaf Bar
5148 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
www.hopleaf.com
Thursday, November 13, 7:00 pm
Boundless Tales
Astoria Bookshop
31-29 31st St.
Astoria, NY 11106
www.astoriabookshop.com

About William Shunn

William Shunn is the Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author of over thirty works of short fiction, which have appeared since 1993 everywhere from Asimov's Science Fiction to Salon. A collaboration with Derryl Murphy, Cast a Cold Eye, came out from PS Publishing in 2009. For three years he hosted Tuesday Funk, an eclectic monthly reading series in Chicago, and he occasionally writes in the guise of Perry Slaughter.

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