Inhuman Swill : Page 173
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Last post today!

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Finally, one more bit of news. My short story "Why I Think I'll Be Staying Home Tonight" is out in the new issue of Electric Velocipede. Grab a copy now—and/or subscribe!

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And more good news

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My brother may in fact, after another reversal, be coming home soon after all! We got the word yesterday from his wife; [info]stmachiavelli forwards me this story from the Deseret News with more info:

Utah's 1457th coming home Telephone calls giving the welcome news began arriving from the Middle East shortly after midnight early Wednesday: The Utah National Guard's 1457th Engineer Battalion is returning home from Iraq after all....

Once the extensions became public, some family members of the Guard unit organized a group called Rights for American Citizen Soldiers aimed at finding answers about the deployment extension.

"I'm thrilled," said Alyssa Wright, whose husband, 1457th's Spec. Jared Wright, called home about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday. "I don't know if us getting the word out did anything, but it couldn't have hurt. I'm just relieved."  [full story]

Let's hope the Army means it this time.

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Draft validation

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From my agent, a generally positive assessment of the third draft of The Accidental Terrorist:

I've read your revision and I'm pretty darn happy with it. I think you've done a good job synthesizing and compacting huge swaths of material into a much more manageable narrative. I'm also happy with the choices you've made in adding flashback material. All in all, this is a strong piece of revision, and it makes me confident that we'll be able to whip this monster into submission shape sooner rather than later....

I'm very happy with the work you've done thus far, and very impressed. It was a huge haul you just went through, and while this new revision won't be easy, you have gotten over the hump. This book is much, much closer than it ever was. Good work.

In the elided portion, he went into some suggested adjustments of voice in the sections leading up to the subclimax and climax, where the writing might have lost some necessary passion, and I think he's probably right about that. But the fact that he likes what I did with this draft is a huge validation and relief.

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Expanding our horizons

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I had dinner with some SF-world friends early in the evening yesterday: John Klima, Will Smith, and Gavin Grant. Chinese food at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge on Canal Street. Not great, but good. Then we walked up to KGB to hear Rick Bowes read a section from his upcoming novel, From the Files of the Time Rangers. I ducked out before the evening's second reader so I could hop a cab to Astoria, let Ella out of her crate, and take her for a walk.

A few blocks from home, I spotted an eyebrow-raising announcement on the sign out in front of the humble little neighborhood Baptist church:

ASTORIA BAPTIST CHURCH

50th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

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The spayed club

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This morning we walked Ella to her new vet (recommended by close friends with pets in Astoria) and stayed with her through a quick exam. Then we, er, left her. She's being spayed as we speak. Laura was quite distressed as we left the vet and worries that Ella will resent us when she picks her up later today. I assured her that Ella would still love us, even if she's in discomfort later, though now, thinking about the poor dog on the operating table, I'm getting pretty squirmy myself.

The vet and the techs were very reassuring, though. Ella's in good hands, dammit.

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Hello, Ella!

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Ella and mirror
And here's the lucky dog! Oh, wait, that's a picture of Ella.

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SFO is a T-Mobile wi-fi hotspot. Hi! I estimate I'm now about six and a half hours from home, hugs, and puppy licks.

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Sleepless in Seattle

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It's not like I have insomnia or anything, but I'm pretty sleepy and am just trying to keep my eyes open until my flight boards in an hour or so. I'm sitting in the departure lounge at Sea-Tac, empty Starbucks cafe latte (grande) cup next to me, waiting for the two-hour flight that will carry me to San Francisco for a five-hour flight to JFK. I've been up for about seven hours already, having driven here from Portland this morning in my rental car. Whole lotta travel still ahead, and I'm not forgetting the car trip from JFK home. Tired tired tired.

It's been a good trip, though. I had three-plus days in San Francisco at the 2004 Joint Conference on Mumblety-Mumble Mum. Tech support in our exhibit booth, web site demos, sessions on the ramifications of new legislation for this and that. Yada yada yada. I did get to catch up with some current and former coworkers, which was nice. Even better, I saw my brother (not the one in Iraw) and his wife one night for great pan-Asian food at the E&O Trading Company. I saw my cousin and her husband another night, and I finally met the five kids that weren't yet born last time I visited. And had a great, great Burmese lunch with [info]curmudgeon, who also dragged me (well, "drag" would be a strong word) to her local used bookstore where I bought more books than I could really carry in my luggage.

Late Friday I flew to Seattle, where I crashed with my pal Dr. Gabe, a pediatrician late of the Bronx. We had breakfast at Mae's, which was the one place in Seattle I needed needed to visit. That's other than the Westin downtown for the Nebula Awards banquet, of course.

I arrived at the Westin in the afternoon and ran into friends right off the bat. Then I was found by Joe and Gay Haldeman, and I sat down for a drink with them (Balvenie Double Wood for me) for half an hour or so. Then that little gathering merged with another little one that included Harlan Ellison, and, as Gordon Van Gelder put it, I was Harlaned for the first time. I did my best not to fawn, but it was cool.

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Pet peeve of the week

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No one who posts here does this, but all you other folks, try to remember that it's "bated breath," not "baited breath."

"To bate" is a transitive verb meaning to reduce the force or intensity of something. Thus, when you have bated your breath you are restraining it. In other words, this is a different idiomatic way to say you're holding your breath.

"To bait" is to lure something, like fish or vermin, with food or some other enticement. Thus, if you ate a lot of Limburger cheese, you might have "baited breath"—and you might expect to attract mice with it.

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Ella

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In happier news, Laura has met a happy, house-trained, six-month-old soft-coated wheaten terrier puppy in the suburbs of Chicago and will in all likelihood be bringing her home to Queens at the end of the week. Her current humans are sad to give her up because she's such a good dog, but have realized they are simply not able to keep up with her because of their age. A happy day for us!

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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