Inhuman Swill : Writing

ShunnCast #20

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Epidode #20 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which at least two people are rendered dripping wet, one senior companion braces for a return to reality, and Bill unexpectedly learns the true meaning of death. Plus a bedtime horror story!

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I'm very pleased to announce that John Klima's Spilt Milk Press will be bringing out a chapbook of my stories in Summer 2007. We're still working out the contents, but under John's expert editorial eye I'm confident the result will be worthwhile.

If you don't know, John publishes the excellent zine Electric Velocipede, home to more than one of my past stories, not to mention showcase for fine work by Hal Duncan, Mark Rich, Jeffrey Ford, Richard Bowes, Alan DeNiro, and many, many others.

More details as they emerge!

Yes, here I am at Readercon 17, making a quick post from my lovely hotel room.

I met [info]bobhowe at Logan Airport, each of us having flown their separately, and then we made the quick drive to Burlington together in a rented car. After checking into our rooms, we met in the hotel pub for some lunch and a couple of beers. We also chatted briefly there (and afterward at con registration) with Jeff Ford, Patrick O'Leary, Paul Witcover, and Scott Edelman.

(I had to stop at two beers, considering that I will be reading to an audience of hopefully multiple persons in about 90 minutes.)

At registration I was happy to see that this afternoon's schedule had been rearranged enough that Mary Turzillo and I will be reading consecutively instead of at the same time. Mary is reading at 4:00 pm, and I'm reading at 4:30 pm. If you're here, come on down! At Laura's suggestion, I will be recording my reading to the laptop for my podcast.

(Haven't seen Mary, or any other Blue Heaveners, yet. But I'm keeping my eyes open!)

Bob and I have scored at the freebie table. Paperback copies of Paul Park's A Princess of Roumania are there, as is a stack of what would appear to be genuine, musty-smelling first editions of Norman Spinrad's The Void Captain's Tale. Goooooaaaaalll!

Okay, time to toddle off to a panel.

(Interesting that "Fast Car" is the track that came up when I started playing music here. I'm having dinner with Geoff Landis and Mary Turzillo tonight, among other Clarion '85ers, and Tracey Chapman's mother sang at their wedding a few years ago.)

ShunnCast #19

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Epidode #19 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which boldness leads to a first discussion, the possible hues of areolae are considered, and Bill receives instruction as to when women's jewelry is not women's jewelry. (Step back, son -- give the man some whacking space.)

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I've just received my Readercon schedule for this weekend:

Friday 4:30 PM. Reading (30 min.) William Shunn reads from his novel-in-progress Inclination, a continuation of the novella of the same name that appeared recently in Asimov's.

Saturday 2:00 PM. Kaffeeklatsch

If you're attending, look for me!

Extra! extra!

I'll be reading at KGB on August 16th, together with Elizabeth Bear. News so fresh it's not even on the web site yet!

I'm very excited, and will offer more details as the date gets closer. Hope to see you there!

ShunnCast #18

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Epidode #18 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Joseph Smith and his followers become acquainted with tar and feathers, while Bill hears things he wishes he hadn't from Katrina, his parents, Elder Fowler, and Sister Youtz.

See also [info]shunncast.

My short story "Observations from the City of Angels" (originally published under a different title in Salon) has been selected for a future episode of the SF podcast Escape Pod. No word yet on which of their fine readers will narrate the story, but we'll know in a few months!

Past episodes of Escape Pod have featured stories by the likes of Paul Di Filippo, Tim Pratt, Greg van Eekhout, Sarah Prineas, Bruce Holland Rogers, and Cory Doctorow. I'm very delighted by this, and I can't wait to hear the result.

ShunnCast #17

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Epidode #17 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill travels many precious kilometers to the town of Medicine Hat, where he learns important lessons in teenage drinking, misogyny, and the correctness of ratting out one's companion.

See also [info]shunncast.

Weekend update

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It was a jam-packed weekend. Most critically, I finished the long overdue final draft of a novelette called "Not of This Fold," which is about Mormon missionaries and alien first contact. That goes into the mail today, and means I can get back to my novel Inclination. The goal is to finish the first draft of that by the end of the summer, so I can finally shave this beard off.

Saturday night, Laura and I went to a dinner party in Brooklyn with some friends we don't see often enough and who are now moving to Maryland. Why didn't we hang out more??? Because we're bad people.

Ella spent last week doped up on an anti-inflammatory because of a slight limp in her right hind leg. She still occasionally pulls up the leg and hops along on three legs for a few steps, but otherwise we don't see much sign of the limp. Still, she goes in for X rays today to see if there's anything to be seen. The poor fuzzball will have to be sedated. Our Maryland-bound friend's guide dog recently was treated for Lyme disease, so we're also going to have the vet check for that.

I got my hair bleached and cut yesterday, and also spent some time recording future Accidental Terrorist chapters for my podcast. Plus, I squeezed in a viewing of the French film Irréversible, which is probably the most profoundly disturbing movie I've seen1.

But that's not to call it profound. In fact, though I'm still mulling it over, the film struck me as a pretty facile exercise by the time it was over. Still, the brutal fight in the basement of the gay club—where one man has his arm broken at the elbow and another's head is gradually caved in under repeated blows from a fire extinguisher—was the single most horrifying scene I've ever watched. It was so horrifying, in fact, that not only did I walk away from the screen afterward and not come back to finish the movie until seven hours later, it undercut the more infamous rape scene that comes later (or earlier, in the movie's backward chronology), in which Monica Bellucci's character is assaulted in an (apparently) unbroken nine-minute take. Bad as it is to watch, for me the worst part of that scene is the tiny figure that appears at the end of the underground passage where the rape is taking place, stops, and leaves again. That just ground my guts.

What is the point of this movie? Is it an honest attempt to illustrate of the fragility of the thread that supports our holds aloft our happy, civilized lives? I'm not sure that anyone who can sit through this movie in its entirety really needs to have that lesson shoved in his face. I'll admit it, I feel violated, though I did go back and finish the movie, just to see if it would redeem itself. I don't think it did.

Finally, I'm jotting these notes from my new office high above 37th Street in Manhattan. I actually have a window at my left that looks down on the street! This is the life.

1 Which may only tell you what kind of movie I don't normally watch.

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