Inhuman Swill | Blog | William Shunn
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

My body math index

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Photo by patricia serna on Unsplash
Here is an actual thing that happened yesterday at LabCorp, where I went for a routine biometric screening for health insurance purposes.

Tech: How tall are you?

Me: Five-eleven.

Tech takes out phone, taps a while at the screen, writes a number on the form, then goes out of room. Me looks at the form. Me's height is written as 61.3. Tech returns to room.

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Liars&8217; League NYC Presents Accident & Emergency
If you’re in or near Manhattan tonight, I hope you’ll drop by KGB Bar to hear fiction by me and a few other excellent writers, in support of an excellent cause . . .


Wednesday, October 2: 7:00-9:00 pm
Liars’ League NYC presents Accident & Emergency
KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., Manhattan

At this long-running series, original short stories are read by professional actors. My new short story “Harper’s Guitar” (a self-contained chapter from my crime novel in progress) will by read Mark Woollett. Also featured are stories by Rachel Lyon, Katherine Shaw, and Arthur Longworth.

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Write This Down: A New Creative Nonfiction Reading Series in Brooklyn
If you’re in or near Brooklyn tonight, I hope you’ll drop by Branded Saloon to hear personal essays by me and some other excellent writers and storytellers . . .


Monday, September 30: 7:30-10:30 pm
Write This Down: A Creative Nonfiction Reading Series
Branded Saloon, 603 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn

At the “Back to School” edition of this new nonfiction series, I’ll be reading “Words and Phrases You Must Never Use in Utah,” a personal essay about my time as a novice cusser at the Clarion Workshop. Also appearing are David Lawson, Rhonda Hansome, and David Rothman. I hope to see you there in Prospect Heights!

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Liars’ League NYC Presents Accident & Emergency
New Yorkers! I’m participating in two events next week that I hope you’ll be able to come out and see:

Monday, September 30: 7:30-10:30 pm
Write This Down: A Creative Nonfiction Reading Series
Branded Saloon, 603 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn

At the “Back to School” edition of this new nonfiction series, I’ll be reading “Words and Phrases You Must Never Use in Utah,” a personal essay about my time as a novice cusser at the Clarion Workshop. Also appearing are David Lawson, Rhonda Hansome, and David Rothman (a couple of whom you might have caught at Line Break). Join us in Prospect Heights.

Wednesday, October 2: 7:00-9:00 pm
Liars’ League NYC presents Accident & Emergency
KGB Bar, 85 E. 4th St., Manhattan

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After the July republication of Cast a Cold Eye (the spooky novella I co-authored in 2009 with Derryl Murphy), I’ve been inspired to continue our stroll down Memory Lane with a rare little number from 2007.

That was the year John Klima’s Spilt Milk Press brought out a chapbook of six of my stories under the title An Alternate History of the 21st Century. This little collection of near-future science fiction included four reprinted short stories and two original novelettes.

One of those original stories, “Objective Impermeability in a Closed System,” went on to be reprinted in Hartwell & Cramer’s Year's Best SF 13. The other, “Not of This Fold,” has only ever appeared in the chapbook, but was still called out favorably in my entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

That little book also included whimsical illustrations by Mattias Adolfsson and a very kind introduction by Cory Doctorow (which, though not included in new edition, happens to be available to read at Boing Boing.)

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Today is America's day, and what's more American than Coney Island? I have a poem for Coney Island, so, by the transitive property, this poem is also for America. And like America, it perhaps contains some bad words.

(It’s also for Throwback Thursday, since it was recorded live, complete with rhythm section, at the HiFi Bar in Manhattan on October 11, 2015. Happy 4th.)

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tl;dr: Ten years ago Derryl Murphy and I published Cast a Cold Eye, a hardcover novella about spirit photography set in 1921. It came out to some very nice reviews. Now we’re republishing it as an ebook. We hope you’ll preorder a copy!

Cast a Cold Eye is back! It was a mere— Oh, good lord. Has it really been sixteen years since this project started?

Apparently so. According to my records, it was June 7, 2003, when Derryl Murphy dropped me that fateful email:

I’ve had this idea rattling around in the back of my head for few months now, but the starts have been all false, and a little voice has been telling me for a while now that I should contact you. You interested in doing a short story together? It involves photography and spirituality, sorta, which might make for a nice blend between us.
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Lyrics, Lit & Liquor
Bill will be one of more than half a dozen artists appearing at the upcoming edition of the Lyrics, Lit & Liquor perfomance series, at 2A Bar in Manhattan's East Village. He will read an excerpt from a new short story, "This One's Easy."

Also appearing are Colin Dodds, Stacy LeVine, Christie Grotheim, Ron Kolm, Cassandra Nemzer, and Becca Bernard & Ian Goldstein. Admission is free.


Wednesday, May 15, 7:30 pm
Lyrics, Lit & Liquor
2A Bar
25 Avenue A
New York, NY 10009
2abar.com

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Calamity

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Last January
I staggered and collapsed.

I landed flat on my back,
snapping my scapula.

But I can't be that mad.

After all,
assonance will happen.

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A limerick for Larry

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Larry Eisenberg (2016)
Larry Eisenberg, science fiction writer and biomedical engineer, passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 99. Despite his accomplishments in those field, to readers of the New York Times online comments section he was best known as a prolific versifier, whose more than 13,000 posts since 2008 came mostly in the form of limericks.

Dr. Eisenberg's passing inspired a host of tributes in verse. I posted one of my own, both in the Times comments section and on Twitter:

As it happens, my limerick was read on the December 28 edition of the CBC Radio public-affairs program "As It Happens" during a segment remembering Dr. Eisenberg. Listen here:

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