Inhuman Swill : Page 139
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

From the New York Review of Science Fiction Reading Series mailing list:

A brief reminder and revision for tonight's (Monday, February 7th) NY Review of SF Reading:

Since a total of 7 people from this group (named after Jules Verne's birthday) have stepped up to perform, we are splitting the event into two nights, the second part most likely to be our April offering. Tonight's readers will be:
Richard Bowes
Jae Brim
Robert J. Howe
David Barr Kirtley
Bill Shunn will host.

Monday, 2/7/5
Doors open at 6:30

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The ice—

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An excerpt from my short story "The Ice Queen," which appears in its entirety in the Winter issue of the Canadian fiction magazine Storyteller, is currently available online.

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Net source of evil

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Poll #432676 Net source of evil

Open to: All, results viewable to: All

On the basis of material posted in this blog, would you agree with the following statement?  "Bill Shunn maintains that the U.S. has been a net source of evil in the world."

class='LJ_PollAnswerLink' lj_pollid='432676' lj_qid='1' lj_posterid='17832'
View Answers

Yes, I agree with that statement.
3 (20.0%)

No, I disagree with that statement.
7 (46.7%)

I don't have enough information to answer that.
5 (33.3%)

I don't care what Bill Shunn thinks.
0 (0.0%)

Bomb Iran!
0 (0.0%)

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Maureen Dowd can sometimes be a windbag herself, but I'm in complete agreement with her today:

Inherit the Windbags

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Truth or fiction?

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The other night at dinner, I was discussing books and culture with [info]bobhowe and several other people, when Jared Diamond came up. I put in that was thought Diamond seemed pretty sharp on a lot of points, but that I didn't care for remarks he had made about what seemed to me to be the relative merits of fiction and non-fiction in describing the world. Here, copied from a recent Salon interview, is the exchange to which I was referring:

Have you heard of Michael Crichton's new book, "State of Fear," and its premise that a bunch of environmentalists are upset that their cause isn't getting the attention it deserves so they go around staging environmental disasters? Crichton has said publicly, as well as in his heavily footnoted book, that global warming is bunk -- which would be laughable were not the print run of his book one and a half million copies.

Everything you say is true. There are a couple of things to be added to it. One is that my previous book, "Guns, Germs, and Steel," has sold more copies than Michael Crichton's one and a half million, so I think my new book will get to more readers. And the other thing is that Michael Crichton is a very skilled writer of fiction. And fiction is, by definition, the telling of stories that are untrue. He's very good at that. And I'm a writer of nonfiction, which aims to be the telling of stories that are true.  [full interview]

It seems to me that, regardless of the merits of Crichton's work, all fiction is being tarred here, and disdained as a form that cannot allow for the transmission of anything true. I was so bothered by this idea, in fact, that I wrote a letter to Salon about it.

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Oh, the places I haven't been!

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My visited countries map is rather more pathetic, though I'll be adding France this summer!

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

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Oh, the places I've been!

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Via [info]pnh, the states in which I've set foot (shown in red):

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Two I'm actually not sure about. Virginia I believe I've been to in the course of visiting D.C., but I don't recall with complete certainty. However, I'm sure enough that I've included it. New Mexico, on the other hand, I think I recall having visited as a child, but I'm not sure enough to include it.

Again following [info]pnh's lead, a map of the states where I've lived:

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A while back I posted the drawing from The New Yorker's latest cartoon caption contest. The winner has been announced, and though it's not mine it's a good one:

"He feels he can do more good working within the system."
For the record, my entry was the somewhat lamer:

"If you finish it, your meal is free."

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Meme me up

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Via [info]pnh...

Starship Captian! by Uberdude
What is the name of your starship?
Uptight First Officerwomzilla
Closeted Helm/ Navigationmagnoliafrog
Token Alien Scientistbobhowe
Tarty Nymphomaniac Yeomansdn
Substance Abusing Ship's Doctoreleanor
Ensign Smith (aka "the victim")kijjohnson
Ship's Engineer /Drunkreadwrite
Arch Nemesis Alien Commandertafkak
Your ship's secret weaponThe Genesis Device
How dose your mission end?Destroyed the Galaxy
Quiz created with MemeGen!
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As I was accompanying Laura to the front door this morning, I chanced to notice an oversized envelope with Storyteller Magazine as its return address sticking out of our mailbox. I opened the envelope then and there, and I just about fell over when I saw the cover on my contributor's copies of the Winter 2004 issue.

I do not know if this issue is available yet on newsstands in the U.S. (or Canada, for that matter), but I'll surely holler when I find out.

(By the way, "The Ice Queen" is the story I read in December on Hour of the Wolf, the audio of which can be found here.)

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