Inhuman Swill : Chicago

Writing-related announcements have been piling up here in the blog queue, so if you'll indulge me here, I'm just going to get all of them out at once.

Cast a Cold Eye, by Derryl Murphy & William Shunn CAST A COLD EYE

First and foremost, my book Cast a Cold Eye, a collaboration with three-time Aurora Award nominee Derryl Murphy, is out and available from PS Publishing!

The slim volume looks beautiful, with front and back cover art by Steve Leary, and features an introduction by Charles de Lint. It comes in two editions: a signed, numbered and jacketed hardcover limited to 100 copies, and an unjacketed hardcover.

If you want the signed edition, I've heard rumors of folks receiving copies numbered in the mid-60's already. Better get yours soon!

BOOK RELEASE PARTY

To celebrate the release of Cast a Cold Eye, we'll be holding a book release party on Friday, January 8th, at Time and Again, 1239 W. Cortland St. in Chicago. I'll read from the book, and there will be plenty of copies for sale. More details as that date gets closer.

3-FOR-THE-PRICE-OF-2 SPECIAL

But wait! That's not all! PS Publishing is running a special right now that gets you one free book from their catalogue for every two you buy at regular price!

The special runs through the end of January, and there are dozens of great books to choose from. Along with Cast a Cold Eye, might I suggest, for example, fine works like Beth Bernobich's novella Ars Memoriae, Patrick O'Leary's collection The Black Heart, or Paul Witcover's Everland and Other Stories?

Cast a Cold Eye FREE GIVEAWAYS

And as if that weren't cool enough, there are two different ways you might win a free copy of Cast a Cold Eye.

First, if you sign up for the PS Publishing monthly newsletter before Friday, December 18th, you'll be entered in a drawing to win a free copy not just of Cast a Cold Eye but also Eric Brown's Gilbert and Edgar on Mars.

Second, BSC Review is conducting an email drawing on Thursday, December 10th, the winner of which will receive four books from PS Publishing—Grazing the Long Acre by Gwyneth Jones, Just Behind You by Ramsey Campbell, Val/Orson by Marly Youmans, and Cast a Cold Eye. Head over there for details and enter now!

ESSAY FIESTA

On Monday, December 21st, I'll be one of several writers reading in the new Essay Fiesta series at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago's Lincoln Square. Essay Fiesta features writers reading humorous personal essays, and proceeds go to benefit the Howard Brown Health Center. The reading starts at 7:00 pm.

"INCLINATION" TO BENEFIT LITERACY

In other news, I'm proud to note that next spring Bull Spec, a new market for speculative-fiction, will be producing e-book and audiobook versions of my novella "Inclination" in French, Spanish and maybe Chinese. All proceeds will go to benefit the Durham Literacy Center in North Carolina.

See here for more details.

CHICAGO IN 2012

And last but not least, my pulpy new short story "The Visitors at Wriggly Field" [sic] will appear online later this month as part of the Pulps series at ChicagoIn2012.org, in support of Chicago's bid for the 2012 Worldcon. Earlier stories in the series, both in print and online, have been contributed by Frederik Pohl, Gene Wolfe, Mike Resnick, Phyllis Eisenstein, Richard Garfinkle, Lois Tilton, and others.

While the online stories are available free, the print stories are available to those donors who contribute at least $20.00 in pre-support of the bid. For more information, see here, and I hope you'll get the chance to come see us in Chicago in 2012!

Hey, Chicagoans! I have a reading coming up just a week from today, Tuesday, November 3, 2009, as part of Chicago's Tuesday Funk Reading Series.

I'll be appearing alongside Robert Duffer, Lynn Suh and Chris Sweet. It's my third time at Tuesday Funk, where I'll be reading another sequential installment from my memoir The Accidental Terrorist. The reading begins at 7:00 pm sharp upstairs at:

Hopleaf Bar 5148 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60660
That's just south of Foster, in the beating heart of beautiful Andersonville.

Hopleaf is one of my very favorite bars in the world, specializing in Belgian ales but with a menu of over 600 craft beers from around the world. All that and excellent Belgian food too!

This is only Tuesday Funk's second time at Hopleaf, so by coming out and supporting the reading you'll help ensure that the series can return to this beautiful bar month after month after month.

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday Funk Reading, November 3, 2009

A quick update about "Strong Medicine," tonight's fiction-and-dance event at Writers WorkSpace in Chicago. Due to unfortunate unavoidable circumstances, Asimina Chremos (the dance half of Microgig) will not be able to appear in person tonight. However, she will appear on video accompanied by live cello improvisation from Fred Lonberg-Holm, making the evening even more science-fictional than it was before. Don't miss it!

We look forward to seeing you tonight at 7:00 pm at Writers WorkSpace, 5443 N. Broadway in Chicago. (Doors open 6:30.)

For more information, please visit: http://www.shunn.net/medicine

Instinct

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Let me tell you a story.

This morning I was out walking the dog,
who, honestly, can be a grouchy pain in the ass.
But today she was pretty good. It was clear and cold, being October,
and we had waited more than five minutes
to cross a busy street. Ella was alert for squirrels,
trotting with her head up like a tiny horse,
when half a block ahead we saw a woman walking a shepherd mix
of some kind. It was small for a shepherd, brown with
a little bit of red to it.
Ella sat down on her haunches, as she sometimes does,
and wouldn't budge. It's her way of telling the
other dog that they're equals, and she's not afraid.
I made her keep walking, though, but I kept her
on the side of me away from the other dog,
just to be on the safe side. Because you never know.

As we passed the woman, her dog lunged in front of me,
growling. Ella lunged back. She's a soft-coated wheaten terrier
and doesn't look like she could be that tough, but they
were both about the same size and it was an even match.
In the confusion of bodies and leashes and guttural snarls,
I could see the other dog's teeth, points of gleaming bone,
trying to find their way home in my dog's
throat. I hauled Ella into the air by her leash and
swung her clear of the scrap. She wears a body harness and not
just a collar for exactly this reason.
The woman, sounding shaken, could not have apologized more.
Her dog never acts like that. I was shaken too. She
thanked me for being so cool, but it's like I told her:
"Sometimes things like this just happen."
There's no reason for it.

It's much the same way that I don't like you.

Printing postcards

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It seems, I'm afraid, that Cast a Cold Eye will just miss being out in time for the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose. But never fear! In the absence of actual books, I'm having postcards printed up for Derryl and me to distribute at the con. (I'm using Moo.com, which I love, and which is also where I got my business cards. And nowadays if you order from the US, your stuff ships from the US, which is a great improvement over waiting for a shipment from the UK.) Anyway, if you want to see what the front of the postcards looks like, check out this page I built to tout our book:

http://shunn.net/cast

I'm also having postcards printed up to advertise the story reading/dance performance taking place October 16th here at the WorkSpace. I'm very happy with the way the fortuitous way the color schemes of the photographs matched up with the illustration. Check it out:

http://shunn.net/medicine

If you're in Chicago, I do hope to see you on the 16th!

STRONG MEDICINE: A Program of Fiction and Dance
Writers Workspace, 5443 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
Friday, October 16, 7:00 pm (doors 6:30 pm)

Writers WorkSpace is pleased to host a free evening of fiction and dance in the spirit of October, featuring sound-and-movement duo Microgig and science-fiction writer William Shunn. On a mission to bring dance to places it's not normally found, Microgig members Asimina Chremos (dance) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (sound) will stage their haunting improvisations in this unusually close and intimate setting. Bookended by chilling short stories read live by William Shunn, the evening will be one you won't want to miss. Space is limited, so arrive early. Light refreshments will be offered.

(See an earlier Microgig performance, from the beer cooler at Chicago's famous Hideout, below.)

Chicago rocked!

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Support Chicago radio personality James VanOsdol's history of the local '90s rock scene, Chicago Rocked! He's funding the project through Kickstarter.com and only has 13 days to raise another more than $10,000. Please pledge if you can, because I selfishly really, really want to read this book.

Reading tonight!

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Just a reminder of the reading tonight at Flourish Bakery Cafe, 1138 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL 60660. I'll be appearing with five other authors and poets. What a bargain! For more information, please see:

http://tuesdayfunk.blogspot.com/2009/08/tuesday-funk-16.html

Here's a personal invitation:

When all my dime-dancing is through, I run to you Winter is not here yet, but it has definitely RSVP'd this past week. Summer had finally shown up after slumming somewhere down south but only hung out for a couple of weeks before autumn served it its eviction notice. I know that in a few months we'll be longing for temperatures in the 50s, but right now it feels cold as hell out there.

Fortunately, it was hot inside the Chicago Theater last night, once everyone thronging the sidewalks stopped taking pictures of the marquee and squeezed themselves through the doors. As part of their Rent Party '09 tour, Steely Dan is playing complete albums in a few cities. Chicago is fortunate enough to have gotten Aja last night, and gets Gaucho tonight and The Royal Scam on Thursday. I wish I could go every night, but Laura and I could choose only one, so we agreed on Aja.

It was a fantastic show, with an incredible cross-section of great songs. I won't be posting a full review, but I do want to note a couple of things. First, this was the first show we've been to in a long time, with the possible exception of AC/DC, where the majority of the crowd appeared to be older than we. (Definitely not the case at, say, The Dead Weather a few weeks back.) Second, having listened to it countless times over the past 32 years, I can't quite put my finger on why "Deacon Blues" made me all teary last night. Maybe I, I want a name when I lose.

Setlist (Aja tracks in bold):

  1. Black Cow
  2. Aja
  3. Deacon Blues
  4. Peg
  5. Home at Last
  6. I Got the News
  7. Josie
  8. Black Friday
  9. Time Out of Mind
  10. Daddy Don't Live in That NYC No More
  11. Bodhisattva
  12. Babylon Sisters
  13. Showbiz Kids
  14. Hey Nineteen
  15. Dirty Work
  16. Do It Again
  17. Don't Take Me Alive
  18. My Old School
  19. Kid Charlemagne

Squeak! squeak! So Laura got home this morning from walking Ella to report to me, as I drank my unmagical coffee-n-cream, that they'd had a fantastic time. All except for one little incident.

There's a big preserve of prairie grass at the park in which the dogs like to romp. Ella herself enjoys tearing first one way then the other along the narrow paths through the tall grass. This morning Laura was nearby while a dog we know named Digger was playing in the preserve. She heard happy squeaks coming from Digger's direction. I'll let Laura report the rest in her own words:

I looked at Mike and I said, "Digger has a toy? A squeaky toy? I've never seen him with a toy at the park before! Fun!" Mike replied, "He just caught a bunny. They sound like squeaky toys before they die." Me: "Well, I guess that makes sense, but I have to go now."
Our own little carnivore is lying flat on her side on the floor next to me, her eyes fluttering as she fights sleep. I sure have a different view now of the delight she takes in running around the house with her rabbit toy squeaking in her mouth.

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