Inhuman Swill : Page 180
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

"Divided by Time"

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Realms of Fantasy - December 2003
I've received my contributor's copies of the December 2003 issue of Realms of Fantasy, which contains my short story "Divided by Time." My name made the cover again (!), which this time out features a still of Viggo Mortenson from The Return of the King. My mother will be relieved, I'm sure.

I'll holler when the issue shows up on newsstands.

Update: Hey, they've actually updated the Realms web site! Though their quests are still "herioc."

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Silver tide or silver lining?

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So the agent suggests the author trim and revise his novel. The author revises the first half of the book and send it to the agent with an outline of the other changes. The agent send the revised half and outline to the editor.

A year goes by, or close enough.

The editor contacts the agent. He's 150 pages in, has some reservations but wants to see the second half of the book. If we get it right to him, he could finish reading by World Fantasy.

Problem: the author, waiting for word, never revised the second half of the manuscript. D'oh!

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Oh, what a tangled Web we weave

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Did the Web encourage Chuck Palahniuk to out himself too hastily?

A story so funny it's sad, or vice versa. Or does it even fucking matter?!

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Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour

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Laura and I rode in the Multiple Sclerosis NYC Bike Tour on Sunday. We chose the 60-mile route, expressly so we could ride through the Lincoln Tunnel.

We started in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan at 7:30 am. The weather was gray and misty, and the forecast was for rain all day. We were released in stages onto the beginning of FDR Drive which runs up the east side of Manhattan. The FDR was completely shut down northbound, as was the Harlem River Drive. As the island narrowed we were shunted over to 10th Avenue, where we rode all the way to north to 218th Street or so. Then we cycled south to the Henry Hudson Parkway and the West Side Highway, which were shut down for us southbound.

In the 40s, the 60-milers and 100-milers were shunted over to the Lincoln Tunnel. (The 30-milers continued south, as they were almost done.) A group of us at a time was released into the Tunnel approach, where police examined our backpacks. Then we entered the Tunnel itself—a glorious zip downhill which soon had us burning along faster than we could pedal even in our highest gears, with plenty of speed left over at the bottom to help us up the far slope. The Tunnel was over far faster than we wished, and then there was a rest stop with water and bananas and muffins before we tackled New Jersey.

This is where my geography gets a little vague, but we cycled north on city-ish streets (where Laura and I collided when I braked hard to avoid being hit by a Mercedes who for some reason wanted to go through a green light) until we entered a gorgeous state park with spectacular cliff views of the Hudson and brutal uphill stretches. Most of the bikers, including us, walked their bikes up at least one of the hills, which was about a mile long.

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Fair and balanced

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Today my web site is fair and balanced.

(All respect to Neal Pollack.)

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How I spent my summer blackout

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Boy, did I have a memorable birthday yesterday. Really, I'm glad everyone turned out to celebrate, but I didn't mean for us all to take over the Queensborough Bridge like that....

I was at work in Manhattan when the lights went out. It was an odd thing -- they didn't snap off so much as slowly give up the ghost, occasionally reviving a bit, over the course of two or three minutes. I tried urging my officemates to leave almost immediately, but we dithered so much as a committee that we didn't pick our way down the fire stairs (pitch dark at some landings) until more than half an hour later. Our phone system relied on office electricity, and none of us could get a call out on our cell phones.

I work at Park and 32nd. I bent my course straight downtown to Union Square (Park and 17th, more or less), where Laura and I have arranged to meet in case of emergency. I walked with two officemates, one of whom was listening to a portable radio with headphones and issuing such reports as that power was out all the way to Ohio and Ottawa. A little disconcerting.

Laura was waiting at our prearranged spot, bless her soul, and the two of us walked across to 2nd Avenue and then uptown. At first we were salmon -- everyone seemed to be coming downtown. Some businesses were giving out water (though Laura and I had both filled bottles before leaving). Around 35th or 36th, we bought very soft ice cream cones from Baskin-Robbins.

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Just a quick reminder that I will be appearing early Saturday morning on Jim Freund's program "Hour of the Wolf" on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City. While science fiction is the main focus of the show, we'll no doubt discuss my memoir Missionary Man as well.

The show runs from 5:00 am to 7:00 am EDT. If you don't live near enough to tune in, and you're a very early riser, you can catch the RealAudio stream at:

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Monkeys could do my job

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Well, apes, anyway:

Primate Programming Inc: The Evolution of Java and .NET Training

I want to hire these guys. I do. Especially Cathleen. I'm a sucker for her value-pricing.

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So I was asking the other day for confirmation of some calculations about centripetal acceleration. Well, in my usual overboard fashion, I created a little CGI script to help myself play around with different values for size, speed, and effective gravity for my station:

You provide two of the three values (ac , r, and/or Δt) and the script calculates the third. You can choose the units for input also; if they differ from G, meters, or seconds, respectively, the results are provided in both the default and specified units. You can also set the display units for the blank value.

The results print in a table that provides acceleration values for different levels of the station, moving closer to the hub.

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The kitchen table doesn't usually look like this, but there's a list of relatives who always need a copy of the newest story. Plus one to my childhood pal Darin, who now lives in Alaska and was in the same college writing workshop where I wrote the first draft of "Pietro Coppino," way back in 1989....

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William Shunn