Inhuman Swill : March 2009
            

Hey, Chicagoans! I have a reading coming up just over a week from now, Tuesday, April 7, 2009, as part of Chicago's Tuesday Funk Reading Series.

The reading starts at 7:00 pm sharp at:

Flourish Bakery Cafe
1138 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
That's just east of Broadway, just west of the Bryn Mawr stop on the Red Line.

I don't have all the details yet, but there will be two other readers, giving you a full hour of prime literary entertainment. I'll likely be reading from his memoir The Accidental Terrorist. Copies of my chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century will be available for purchase for a paltry $4.

Full entry
            

I'm a little startled every year to see how many people I know well show up on the Hugo ballot. Congratulations to you all, Charlie, Paolo, Cory, Toby, and everyone else!

But I want to give an extra huge shout-out to John Klima, whose excellent Electric Velocipede receives its first nomination this year, for Best Fanzine. It may seem odd that one of the increasingly fine and acclaimed short-fiction venues of this decade is recognized in the fanzine category, but that only speaks to the outsized mark it's been making on the field relative to its subscription base.

John's been a great champion of my short fiction over the years. I'm proud to have had stories in a good quarter of EV's issues, not to mention having had a chapbook published by his Spilt Milk Press. With a couple of World Fantasy Award nominations and now a Hugo nomination to his credit, I'm glad to see so many other people championing John's work.

And this news comes a week after John and Shai welcomed their second child, Easton Cade, to the family. It's a big week at the Klima household. Congratulations!

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It has to have been 1988 when I first read Watchmen. I was a Mormon missionary stationed in Wenatchee, Washington—a zone leader, no less. We weren't allowed even to read newspapers or magazines, let alone comic books, but some sainted individual at church (I now forget who) had found out I was an aspiring science fiction writer and decided I needed to know about the most exciting thing to happen in the field in the time I'd been away. He (because he was definitely male) made me a gift of Issues 2 through 12.

I still remember the marathon reading session that went on that night. Two other elders were hanging out at our apartment that night, and as I finished each issue I would hand it off to my companion, who handed it off to the next elder, and so on. I think all our minds were blown that night, to one extent or another. I don't know what stood out for the other elders, but I was as fired up by the formal brilliance of the books, the panel-to-panel transitions and juxtapositions and visual motifs, as I was by the surface level of the story. Even at 20, I could tell that I had just watched a depth charge exploding against the hull of superhero mythology. I could also tell the blow had been delivered in a way no other medium could have accomplished.

My reading experience wasn't crippled, I think, by not having Issue 1 at hand, though the next day I dragged my companion to the first comics store I could find and plunked down something like ten dollars for a copy. That hurt a little, but it was still less than I would have paid for all twelves issues had I bought them as they came out. I still have those books, bagged in plastic and locked in the safe. I'd be hard-pressed to part with them, even though my Issue 1 is not from the first printing.

But now I digress. I've reread Watchmen many times over the years, and even turned my wife into a fan, so like any other fan I approached the news of a movie adaptation actually going into production with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. I didn't go to a midnight screening last Thursday night, but I did see the earliest showing I could get to on Friday. And I sat rapt, thrilled, and hypnotized for nearly three hours. Seeing those familiar scenes translated so beautifully and faithfully to the screen, I was transported.

Full entry
The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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