Inhuman Swill : Page 203
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Nebula Awards weekend

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Laura and I are just back from Kansas City. I didn't win the Nebula, but I was hardly disappointed with the experience of being a nominee. It was a terrific weekend, and it really couldn't have gone better. I met a lot of writers that I've looked up to for a long time, and I even got to hang out and commiserate with them at the post-awards party. Ah, the rewards of being a loser. :)

One of the high points of the weekend was when Nancy Kress—a multi-award-winning writer I admire who also used to write a great column on writing for Writer's Digest—introduced herself to me out of nowhere, told me she'd been hoping to meet me, and told me how wonderful my nominated story was. (I started hyperventilating around then, because until then I hadn't really believed the possibility that I might actually win. But if Nancy Kress liked my story so much...)

I got to hang out with old Clarion friends like Geoff Landis (who was also on the ballot, for his novel Mars Crossing), Mary Turzillo, and Resa Nelson, and also with Scott Edelman, a terrific who bought some of my stories for Science Fiction Age when that magazine still existed. My old friends and online writing group compatriots Mark Worthen and Jeannie Eddy showed up from Jefferson City too, which was delightful. We were fortunate enough to have Tor editor Jim Minz join us on an excursion to K.C. Masterpiece for barbecue, and I'm happy to report that he is a real gentleman, besides an editor of discernment and taste.

I was delighted to meet James Patrick Kelly and Robert Reed, both writers I've admired for many years, and ended up spending a couple of hours with them both at the post-awards party. Wil McCarthy (nominated for The Collapsium) was there, and I got to chat for a while with Mark Tiedemann too, who was delightful.

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Damon Knight, 1922-2002

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Jesus Christ, where was I when this happened?

Damon was one of my instructors at the Clarion workshop in 1985, probably the most formative six-week period of my life. Besides everything else—writer, critic, teacher—he was a hell of a character. He had two little inkstamps. One was a smiley face that said "I like you." The other was a sour, scrunched-up face that said "Shit!" He would stamp your manuscript with one or the other. He told me I was definitely going to be a writer, and boy did I believe it when he said so.


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So there I was, riding the W train to work this morning, holding onto a bag full of homemade tollhouse cookies for the office, skimming along in my bad novel, when the train left Queensboro Plaza and plunged into the tunnel. And into total darkness.

Seriously. I couldn't see the book. The train conductor came on the speaker and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, there are no lights on this train. Repeat, no lights on this train."

Everyone tittered a little nervously. I glanced around. Nothing but shadowy forms, barely visible. I got a little nervous as we raced through the tunnel in complete darkness, thinking that anyone could do anything to anybody in the dark.

That section of the tunnel must only have lasted fifteen or twenty seconds, though. Then the lights in the tunnel began to flash past, strobing yellow with flashes of blue, and everyone could see each other again -- albeit in eerie pulses.

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Mormon Fight Club

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April 9, 2002

Utah Gov.'s Son Named in Fight Club


Filed at 5:29 p.m. ET

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Plan? What Plan?

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I'm kicking myself. I should have bought tickets for the Death and Dismemberment tour weeks ago, but there hasn't been much work and Laura and I are, well, a little short on cash. I checked today and both Bowery Ballroom shows are sold out. And this week we could actually have afforded a show that cheap. Damn!

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Welcome to Peter

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Welcome to LiveJournal, [info]pould! Hope you like it here.

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Nebula nominee William Shunn

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The final ballot for the 2001 Nebula Awards was posted this morning in the newsgroups for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of Americas. It hasn't been released officially yet as far as I know, but I can't help shouting out that "Dance of the Yellow-Breasted Luddites" made the ballot. I still can't quite believe it. (I've made the preliminary ballot before, which is essentially the Nebula semifinals, but this is the first time I've made the final ballot.)


The other nominees in the novelette category are Amy Sterling Casil, Andy Duncan, James Patrick Kelly, Kelly Link, and James Morrow—great company, including a couple heroes of mine.

As soon as the ballot is announced at the SFWA Web site, I'll post a link.

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The Veil Beyond the Veil

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A couple of nice happenings this week. The official preliminary Nebula ballot came out, and my story "Dance of the Yellow-Breasted Luddites" is there in the best novelette category. I also got my contributor's copies of the next issue of Realms of Fantasy, which contains my story "The Veil Beyond the Veil." Should hit newsstands February 1st or so. More info in [info]missionaryman's journal.

Also, Laura and I had an absolutely lovely date yesterday afternoon and evening. First we hit the American Museum of Natural History. We have a dual membership to the museum so our admission is free, but special exhibits cost extra. Well, we only intended to bum around for a while, but a departing couple offered us their 4:30 tickets to the Butterfly Conservatory exhibit, which we gladly accepted. The Butterfly Conservatory is marvelous, a humid habitat for butterflies that visitors can walk through, and we were fortunate enough to be there during the four-day lifespan of the gorgeous Atlas moth, which has a wingspan of seven or eight inches. I counted five Atlas moths sleeping in various parts of the conservatory, and I could get right up close and examine the brilliant orange feathery antennae with a magnifying glass. We also hit the new exhibit on Hinduism on the way out, but had to leave before we could absorb it all. We'll be going back.

From the Museum, we sped downtown to Stuyvesant Street, where we had dinner at the Japanese restaurant adjoining the bar Angel's Share. (I forget the restaurant's name. Yaka-something Village?) We had what is basically the Japanese equivalent of tapas—some edomame, some yakatori skewers, some pork and potato stew, some scallion pancakes with cheese and chicken and spicy sauce, some sake, some plum wine. Unfortunately our fried asparagus was very late coming, and we had to leave without it.

We walked over to the Quad Cinema on 13th Street to catch E-Dreams, the documentary about the rise and fall of that had the misfortune of coming out in the wake of Both films are interesting but focus on the young CEOs of the companies without giving very much insight into what the companies are about or what it's like to work in the trenches of an Internet startup. The we-will-conquer-the-world hubris is fascinating in both movies, and it's sad that we laugh at those moments because those of us who worked in that world were certainly buying into that bullshit at the time. But neither movie was entirely satisfactory to me, perhaps because the directors rely on the vogue documentary technique of telling a story without narration, but don't have the skill to assemble a picture where the pictures fill in the important gaps in the story.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn