Inhuman Swill | Blog | William Shunn
Page 1
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.
          

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.)

Full entry
          

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.
Full entry
          

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

Full entry

Calamity

| No Comments
          

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.

Full entry

A limerick for Larry

| No Comments
          

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:

Full entry
          

Ella-gy 2019 Calendar
Ella the Wonder Dog
2003 - 2018
In Memoriam

Ella's calendars have been an annual tradition for many, many years. Even though she's gone now, and sorely missed, the tradition continues with a collection of photos drawn from throughout her life.

In honor of Ella's memory, the new calendar is sold at cost, with no markup.

Goodnight, Little Bear.

Full entry
          

Before the Dawn
I'll be one of more than 150 scheduled performers at the 25th Annual Alternative New Year's Day Spoken Word/​Performance Extravaganza, which takes place on January 1, 2019, from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. John's Lutheran Church in Greenwich Village. This year's theme is "Before the Dawn."

(Note: My 3-minute slot on the program will take place at some point between 7 and 9 pm.)

The Alternative, which is free to the public, features poets, prose writers, monologists, musicians, dancers and other performers in an eight-hour showcase that ranges from some of New York's most seasoned talents to emerging stars. The lineup evolves each year to keep the event fresh and democratic. The audience is encouraged to donate paperback books to Books Through Bars, for people incarcerated in prison, and canned or boxed food or drink for City Harvest, which provides for the hungry in New York.

The Alternative began on New Year's Day in 1995, and quickly became one of the most popular events on the city's poetry and literary scene. Founder Bruce Weber is ably assisted by a staff of writers, designers and curators. Each year a fresh group of performers are plucked from all corners of the Tri-State area to enliven and transform the Alternative in unexpected ways. Adding to the mix for the sixth consecutive year will be an anthology comprised of featured writers, published by Rogue Scholars Press under the guidance of C. D. Johnson.

Full entry
          

I'm delighted to announce that my new short story, "Last" (with a nifty illustration by Marco Megrati), has just appeared at Seat14C.com, an online science fiction anthology and writing competition presented by XPRIZE.

XPRIZE, as you may know, is a non-profit organization that designs and manages public science competitions intended to encourage technological development that could benefit all of humanity. (No small goal, there.) One of their latest initiatives is a push for science fiction stories that promote a more hopeful future than the dystopian visions that seem to be so popular.

To that end, XPRIZE has launched Seat14C.com, a site that is both an online anthology and a fiction contest. Thirty well-known science fiction writers have all contributed short stories about the passengers on a transatlantic flight that departs Tokyo in 2017 but somehow lands in San Francisco in 2037. (The contributors list includes names like Margaret Atwood, Hugh Howey, Nancy Kress, Bruce Sterling, Charlie Jane Anders, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Charles Yu.) Our stories were written to highlight the amazing positive effects that twenty years of scientific advancement could have on a city like San Francisco.

As for the contest, XPRIZE invites readers to submit their own stories about the passenger in Seat 14C. The winner, to be chosen by members of the XPRIZE Science Fiction Advisory Council, will receive round-trip airfare to Tokyo, four nights in a four-star hotel, and $1,500 in spending cash, besides having his or her story published on Seat14C.com.

Full entry
          

My novelette "Our Dependence on Foreign Keys" is now available as a 99¢ ebook! I hope you'll check it out, especially since I'm hoping to get to work on more Franny and Hondo stories.

"Our Dependence on Foreign Keys" was originally published online in 2015 in Across the Margin.


Our Dependence on Foreign Keys

'Our Dependence on Foreign Keys' by William Shunn

Release date: 2 May 2017

When high-tech partycrashers swarm his exclusive soirée high above the floodways of New York City, billionaire inventor Pell Franziskaner can't be sure whether it's a garden-variety annoyance or a prelude to murder. His own.

Environment, economics, and augmented reality collide in this tale of reputation, revenge, and artificial intelligences so advanced they run directly on the fabric of spacetime.


Full entry
          

My novelette "After the Earthquake a Fire" is now available as a 99¢ ebook.

This story tells a fictionalized version of some of my experiences as a Mormon missionary in Idaho after I was ejected from Canada. If you finished reading The Accidental Terrorist and wondered what what the rest of my mission was like ... well, I hope you won't read too much into this.

Be aware that this story includes scenes of animal cruelty which may be disturbing to some readers.

Um, I hope you like it.

Full entry