ShunnCast #48

            

Epidode #48 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill attempts to convince you to order his brand-new six-pack chapbook—only five bucks!—and a definition for the term "chapbook" itself is sought.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=48

See also [info]shunncast.

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Cut and pasted without hands

            

LDSF-2: Latter-Day Science Fiction
I'm not sure what Parables Publishing is up to, putting the entire text of their "classic" LDSF anthologies online. I guess they're trying to drum up some publicity for their long-overdue fourth volume of science fiction for Mormons. Good luck to them.

Why do I care? Well, the first story I ever published, "Cut Without Hands," appeared in LDSF-2 back in 1985. I was sixteen when I made the sale (payment in copies), and I was beside myself with joy. Unfortunately, editor Benjamin Urrutia lost my address and couldn't send me my author's copies. I assumed the project had died on the vine—until the spring of 1987, when I was a missionary in Washington and received a letter from Mr. Urrutia. He had read about my brush with the law in the paper and was writing to ask if I was the same D. William Shunn who had given him a story for his anthology.

Much as I wish my little piece of Mormon apologia would quietly vanish, copies of LDSF-2 still show up in used bookstores every once in a while, so I can't be too upset that my story is now up on the Web for all the world to see—in total copyright violation. I'm not inclined to press the matter, though Philip José Farmer and the estate of Avram Davidson (both authors had Mormon-related stories reprinted in LDSF-2) might feel differently. So go read this odd historical curiosity before someone more litigious than I gets wind of it and the whole thing vanishes. (You'll have to scroll way down, or search on "cut without hands," since the Parables folks seems to have only rudimentary HTML skillz.)

Another story you might want to read while it's still available is "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" by hyperpopular LDS author Jack Weyland, which immediately precedes mine in the table of contents. This story is significant to me only because I hated it so much, even as a young Mormon missionary. Its central conceit was so smug and insular and made for such bad science fiction that for two decades I carried around a desire to write a story that proceeded from the same premise but took it in an entirely different direction.

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Vacation disasters

            

William Shunn vacations in Canada
An occasional nightmare of mine, in Simpsovision:

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Pinheading our hopes

            

People spend so much time and effort agonizing over things that are imaginary. Yes, it happens with Star Wars and the Marvel universe too, not just with religious topics, but at least Star Wars fans know Star Wars is made up. I think.

Man, what if all the brainpower we waste on this stuff were devoted to world peace instead, or to developing clean, renewable fuels. Too bad we didn't evolve to agonize over questions like those until they're solved.

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Via Laura:

My father used to teach me, in soberest earnestness, a version of the supposed prophecy discussed in this Salt Lake Tribune article:

It's Mormon lore, a story passed along by some old-timers about the importance of their faith and their country.

In the latter days, the story goes, the U.S. Constitution will hang by a thread and a Mormon will ride in on a metaphorical white horse to save it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it does not accept the legend—commonly referred to as the "White Horse Prophecy"—as doctrine....

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ShunnCast #47

            

Epidode #47 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill reflects on sex and the modern Mormon missionary, with illustrations from his own post-Canada mission service. Live from Balticon, more or less!

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=47

See also [info]shunncast.

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Mormons on pseudoephedrine

            

Dooce has a terrific little audio snippet of a Utah traffic reporter who unintentionally reveals her religious affiliation on the air:

Only in Utah

Good thing she wasn't flying the chopper! And shouldn't cold medicine be against the Word of Wisdom?

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Tearing off the "ex-Mormon" label

            

In answer to a question about how one ever sheds the "ex-Mormon" label, or if it's even possible, I posted the following, in part, over at the exmormon.org discussion boards, and thought it bore repeating:

As for shedding that ex-Mormon identity ... I try to, in some ways, but it's hard. I don't want to define myself in negative terms, in terms of what I'm not, but rather in terms of what I am: liberal, atheist, SF writer, husband, scotch connoisseur, what have you. But my Mo past is still a part of me, and always will be. I don't get as angry about the church as I used to, and consequently I feel like it has less power over me, which is a good thing. When I talk or write about the church now, I can take a more analytical view, rather than just unloading with both barrels of my righteous rage. Man, it's exhausting to be so angry all the time, and I find so much more balance now. I can write about the church now with both fun and serious intent, like in my story "Not of This Fold," but feel like I'm using that story to say something about the way humans are in general, rather than having it be specifically the way the Mormon Church screws people up and how pissed off that makes me. If that makes any sense.

So while I *am* an ex-Mormon, that's no longer how I define myself. Or at the very least, it's far from the only or most important ways I define myself.

Some of you will recall the moaning I've done here over the years about the latest flame from some rabid TBM, but since taking down the most incendiary of my Mormonism pages that really doesn't happen any more. Which is fine with me.

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Mope Boyd

            

God, I wish I had seen this on The Colbert Report. Maybe I or someone else can track down the clip on YouTube.

(In the ex-Mormon online world, Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer is commonly referred to as Boyd KKK Packer because of his extreme fundamentalism and his stated desire to have church history whitewashed.)


Update:  Here's the video. Thanks, Brian!

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ShunnCast #42

            

Epidode #42 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill attempts to tie off a few last dangling threads and bring the whole enterprise to a poignant yet thematically satisfying conclusion.

http://www.shunn.net/podcast?id=42

See also [info]shunncast.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
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About the Book

What happens when an ambivalent young Mormon missionary is pushed to the limit in a challenge to prove his faith? Hint: the outcome is explosive. The Accidental Terrorist is the long-awaited memoir from Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn, based on his popular podcast. Available now from Sinister Regard!