Inhuman Swill : Page 134
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

It's official, or will be when the promised contract arrives in the mail. I just made my first sale to Asimov's. A 19,000-word novella no less.

The story's called "Inclination," and though it takes place a few decades earlier, it's set in the same future milieu as my Nebula-nominated novelette "Dance of the Yellow-Breasted Luddites." And it certainly won't be the last thing I write that's set on or near or in a place somehow connected to Netherview Station.

No clue yet when it will run, but publication is surely many months away.

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Name change

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Something I've meant to do for some time now is change my LJ username from "silvertide" to "shunn." Back when I started this thing, lo these many years ago, I was for some reason concerned about easy identification. Well, that hasn't been a concern for a very long time, so it just makes sense to me to make the switch for clarity's sake.

It will happen shortly, and should be transparent to my LJ friends.

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A fascinating little story on Google Maps hacks is here:,1284,67514,00.html

I've been playing around with the HousingMaps hack, which mashes Google Maps together with Craigslist real estate listings. It's stunningly cool.

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Doin' the Jedi backstep

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Scott Rosenberg in Salon:

Millions of people, including millions of science-fiction-loving kids, fell in love with "Star Wars" on its original release in 1977. I wasn't one of them. An 18-year-old bookworm who'd weaned on Heinlein and Asimov, feasted on Zelazny and Herbert, and graduated to Le Guin and Dick, I watched "Star Wars" with a sinking heart, because I knew that it would set back the cause of "real" science fiction for decades.

The problem wasn't that "Star Wars" was in itself a bad movie; it was made with love and care, it told a decent story, it passed a couple of hours entertainingly. There was nothing shameful in itself about the way George Lucas built his saga from the spare parts of a thousand serials. But in resurrecting the old Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, E.E. "Doc" Smith tradition of space opera, with its stereotypical characters, its potboiler plots and its pseudotechnology, Lucas completely bypassed the previous 20 years' worth of evolution in science-fiction writing and moviemaking.  [full article]

I have to say, I can relate. Not that I had this opinion in 1977, when I was 10, but I have certainly come to it since.

Still on the fence about seeing Episode III.

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Thirteen minutes

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Last week Ella received a gift from my brother and his family in the mail—an indestructible, nylon webbing–reinforced stuffed squeaky snake.

And, we have snake guts! A new world record!

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The door into summer

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click me
Laura took this photo Sunday morning. We were in Astoria Park in Queens, underneath the Hellgate Bridge.

An even huger version is here.

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Step into my office, baby

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Oh, my God, there's Overheard in the Office too!

You Just Know She's Hot as Hell

Eastern European cocktail waitress: So what is this "stepping up to the plate" you spoke of in our meeting?
Bar manager: It's an analogy...OK, it's like this: in baseball, you step into the batter's box. You step up to the plate to try and hit a home run. That's what we need, is home runs here.
Eastern European cocktail waitress: I don't understand your speech at all.
Bar manager: Great! Now I'm going to have to explain what an analogy is.

Bourbon Street Casino
120 E. Flamingo Boulevard
Las Vegas, Nevada

It's an embarrassment of riches!

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It's crass, it's rank, it's skanky nasty, it's politically incorrect, it's my new favorite Web site:

Overheard in New York
Clean sample:
Tourist on cell: Of course I know where we are. We're near Broadway Street. No, no, wait. Broadway Avenue.

--57th & Broadway


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Helluva week

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It's been a helluva week, and man, am I exhausted. I began coming down with a cold about eight days ago, and I ended up not just staying home from work Thursday and Friday but also lying on my sickbed doing nothing through most of the weekend. I mean, sick days are great, but being sick over a weekend sucks.

I did get out Saturday evening to see Spamalot with a huge crowd of good folks, including Laura, [info]bobhowe, and [info]steelbrassnwood, and I laughed so much my stomach hurt, but by the end of the evening I was swaying on my feet and had to beg off on a round of drinks.

I was still coughing and exhausted Monday morning, and I ended up working only the afternoon. I met Laura and Ella at the vet in Astoria after work, where we learned that Ella's constant chewing at her front left paw was likely because of a yeast infection between the pads. On the walk home, we stopped at Brick Cafe for a drink at the sidewalk tables, where Ella can sit with us. I had a beer, Laura a martini. Later that evening when tipsy Laura went to throw her arms around me, she missed and broke my glasses.

So large chunks of Tuesday were lost to trying to get the glasses repaired. Still waiting to hear if the break in the fram is fixable. (Don't worry — I forgave Laura almost immediately, though I'm not sure she's forgiven herself yet.)

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Veronica Mars

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Was anyone else here hooked on Veronica Mars this season? Anyone else correctly guess who it was that really murdered Lilly Kane?

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William Shunn