Inhuman Swill : Page 138
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Scratched my cornea yesterday on a tree branch while trimming the branches hanging over the fence from a neighbor's tree. Found this out when I went to the emergency room this morning because my eye still hurt so badly. Have antibiotic ointment now to squeeze into my lower lid to coat my cornea with. Should be healed in a couple of days, they say, but man it hurts in the meantime.

The triage nurse at Lenox Hill was a real character. Tall, portly, white-haired and -bearded man with a short red-dyed ponytail. So much huge turquoise- and other-stone-encrusted silver jewelry on his hands and wrists it was almost like he was wearing greaves. Necklace of what looked like bone segments around his throat. When I told him how it happened, he said, "Should have stayed inside, man. I always say, work is hazardous to your health."

Pleasant ER visit, as those things go. Sunday morning at 7:40 is apparently a good time to go. Took only about an hour from our arrival until filling my prescription at a pharmacy a few blocks away. We were the only ones in the waiting room when we arrived.

Off to coat my eye with goop.

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Mondo RIAA

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I had heard last week that Mondo Kim's on St. Mark's Place was raided by the RIAA NYPD for trafficking in mixtapes and bootlegs. Five employees were arrested. Kelefa Sanneh's piece in yesterday's Times fills in the gaps in the story informatively and with outrage. Read it while it's still free.

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Fossil dog

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We call this pose the Archaeopteryx.

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Please, parents, as your high school graduate ventures out into the wide world, examine the philosophical leanings of his or her chosen college destination with care and judgment! Provide gentle correction where necessary! Don't let this happen to your child!

"I'm so glad I never attended B.Y.U.  Now, which distillate of the blood of young children shall I drink today in celebration?"

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May's CD mixes of the month

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Western fans of anime and Diana Wynne Jones fans alike, at least in some of the bigger cities around the country, can finally queue up today to see Howl's Moving Castle, Hayao Miyazaki's ninth feature film. You can read my Science Fiction Weekly review here:

There was more I wished I could have addressed in the review, like the very good voice performances (particularly from Lauren Bacall and Billy Crystal), Miyazaki's compassion for even the supposedly evil characters, and what I see as the true nature of Sophie's curse (which many reviewers, I'm sure, will not understand, let alone try to figure out), but there's only so much you can do in 600 words, 300 of which are summary. Still, this was an assignment I was very happy to fulfill.

I saw the English dub of Howl's at a press screening in May, then again this past Monday (with Laura and [info]bobhowe and friend) at MOMA, where the film had its North American premiere. The 400-seat auditorium was full, and as a curator led Hayao Miyazaki to the front of the auditorium, you would have thought the applause that began slowly but crescendoed to a hurricane as people realized who this gray-bearded man was was greeting a rock star or pope. It was like being in church. I haven't felt that way often in the past ten years.

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New article available

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My personal essay "The Missionary Imposition" is out and available in the current issue (#2) of Matthew Kressel's zine Sybil's Garage. This is a beautifully produced little number with fiction by folks like Bruce Holland Rogers, Bruce Boston, and Lauren McLaughlin. A few of the pieces are available in full online, including mine, which opens thus:

To me, the missionary position means sitting on the passenger side of a 1986 Chevy Nova with my right arm jammed back between the seat and the door. There are four of us, tooling around the country lanes of northern Idaho after dark, and I am surreptitiously holding hands with the woman in the seat behind me. It's not a comfortable position, but that's how you do it when you're a Mormon missionary.  [full essay]
But that shouldn't keep you from supporting SG by purchasing either the print version ($6.00) or an electronic version in PDF format ($4.00).
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The thing in view

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So here's the thing. The men's room shared by all offices on this floor is a tiny, cramped, claustrophobic thing more suited to installation in a submarine than an aboveground structure. It has one urinal and two stalls. The unscreened urinal is on a slight pedestal, and situated such that, when the door is open, the view of it is unobstructed—unless, of course, someone happens to be washing his hands at the sink. The sink, you see, is about a foot from the urinal, and affixed to the wall at about the same height as the urinal's lower edge.

What I don't get is why a person who chose to use that urinal when empty stalls were available would feel a need to glare at someone opening the door and coming inside. Spatial relationships not your strong suit, Ace?

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I am your meme, Luke!

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LiveJournal Username
So, what's your name, Jedi?
I see. What's your affiliation?
Good, good. What's your lightsaber color?
Finally, what's your fighting tactic most likely to be?
The Sith Lord who hunts all Jedi: ricperrott
The Jedi Master who leads you into battle: crabwalk
The Leader of the Wookies: roadnotes
The One that dies in the first 20 minutes: cygnoir
The Traitor who misleads you all: pnh
Survivor #1fjm
Survivor #2kijjohnson
The odds you'll survive this are:
This Fun Quiz created by Jae at BlogQuiz.Net

If you choose to fill out this form, though, you should know that the site at the other end,, may try to install nasty spyware-ish certificates on your computer, so proceed with caution.

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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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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn