Epidode #31 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill takes up the life of a more diligent missionary than has in the past been his wont, does battle with elderly Jehovah's Witnesses, and tries to get a few things off his chest, with embarrassing results.
See also shunncast.
Wandering around the house this morning, trying to avoid writing, I plucked an Alfred Bester collection off the shelf and started reading at random. I fell into an essay from F&SF in 1961 where Bester evaluates some of the top SF writers of the time. He compares Heinlein to Kipling in terms of both virtues (craftsmanship) and vices (oversimplification of reality, xenophobia), then continues:
Despite these flaws, Mr. Heinlein remains the most powerful and original force in science fiction today; an author always to be reckoned with, never ignored. In fact, the latter would be impossible. Mr. Heinlein reaches out, takes the reader by the scruff of the neck, and doesn't let go until he's shaken the wits out of him. Some day we hope Mr. Heinlein will use his talent to shake a little wit into the reader.Good advice for us all! Now back to work.
A relatively new science fiction podcast named "Retrieval Detachment" (part of the Radio Caravan podcast syndicate) features entertaining discussions of the concepts behind selected SF stories. This week they focus on my story "Observations from the City of Angels" and discuss the implications of full-sensory blogging:
Retrieval Detachment Episode 4 Subscribe to the podcast at the iTunes Music Store, or get the audio directly here.I found the discussion very interesting, and in fact it gave me some ideas for the additional stories I plan to write in that milieu.
"Observations from the City of Angels" will also appear in my chapbook, due next summer from Spilt Milk Press.
A nibble comes in, one admiring but not entirely won over, and yet again you find yourself crafting a book proposal to suit a particular audience of one. You like this audience of one, and you take their comments seriously, but you resolve not to internalize those comments at the expense of your own vision for the book. It's hard work, especially with a novel on hold for a week or so, but at last you find a way back inside the material. What comes out is a blend of the new, the old, and the very old. The one temptation you can't resist is the temptation to throw a piece of it out there the moment it rolls off your virtual platen.
So that's one place you could say it all started, my first day as a missionary in Canada. But you could also rewind a couple of years if you wanted, to a lonely back road somewhere east of Victorville in the California desert, and say it all started there. That's where, late in 1984, my father sprang a terrifying question on me.
"Son," he asked that afternoon, "do you want to serve a mission?"
I was recently interviewed by Amy Brozio-Andrews for the Absolute Write newsletter. I learned today that the interview will run in the December 6th issue. I can't wait to be reminded what I said.
The most recent Absolute Write interivew is with, um, Richard Ford. But my interview was not conducted at the Four Seasons.
I mentioned this last week in a locked post, but wanted to mention it for the benefit of the world at large now that it's more or less official.
My novella "Inclination" has been selected by Rich Horton for the next edition of his Prime Books anthology Science Fiction: The Best of the Year. The company is damn fine, as you can see from this almost complete table of contents that publisher Sean Wallace has posted. I am thrilled to my very bones to be included!