Inhuman Swill : Page 66
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Full chapbook cover

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An Alternate History of the 21st Century
Mattias Adolfsson has posted his full original cover art for my upcoming chapbook in his blog:

Great stuff! And John Klima has some nice things to say about both the art and the chapbook itself over at his blog.

The chapbook should be coming in about a month's time. Don't forget to pre-order your copy for just five bucks.

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A quick glance at the New York Times site makes us happy we're not in Gotham today. We hope all our New York friends are staying dry and cool and above ground and above water, and—possible tornado in Bay Ridge???—not blowing away!

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Moonflowers and Guernica

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An Alternate History of the 21st Century: Stories by William Shunn
We had visitors from Iowa on Saturday. John, Shai, and Aubrey Klima dropped in for the day from Davenport, a mere three hours away. We walked to a nearby bar & grill for lunch, along with John's college pal Pat who turns out to live only a few blocks from us. Aubrey was very concerned that her new pal Ella was not accompanying us on the trek.

After lunch the Klimas took us on an extended shopping expedition to Lincoln Park, where I was introduced to the marvels of Lush, where John was like a kid in a candy shop, and to Sam's Wine and Spirits, where both of us were like kids in a candy shop. Laura narrowly missed buying a great pair of shoes at mumblety-mumble shoestore (what's in a name, anyway?), but she and Shai both walked out with spiffy new hats. Back at the homestead, while Aubrey chased a mostly tolerant Ella around the room and offered people the raspberries impaled on her fingers, we ate fine cheese and fruit while sampling a bit of the Old Monk Rum that John had recommended highly. (I also purchased a young calvados and a 40th birthday Tomintoul 27yo.)

Almost as fun as the visit itself was the opportunity to see page proofs of my chapbook, complete with the Mattias Adolfsson illustrations that will grace the cover and interior. Laura and I were both blown away by the art. My two favorite illustrations are the ones accompanying "Observations from the City of Angels" (a robot hand plucking a petal from a flower) and "Objective Impermeability in a Closed System" (an at-first puzzling piece that I only belatedly realized references Picasso's Guernica). Can't wait for you to see them! I have to get the proofs proofed early this week so there will be copies to take with us to Worldcon in Yokohama.

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Cut and pasted without hands

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LDSF-2: Latter-Day Science Fiction
I'm not sure what Parables Publishing is up to, putting the entire text of their "classic" LDSF anthologies online. I guess they're trying to drum up some publicity for their long-overdue fourth volume of science fiction for Mormons. Good luck to them.

Why do I care? Well, the first story I ever published, "Cut Without Hands," appeared in LDSF-2 back in 1985. I was sixteen when I made the sale (payment in copies), and I was beside myself with joy. Unfortunately, editor Benjamin Urrutia lost my address and couldn't send me my author's copies. I assumed the project had died on the vine—until the spring of 1987, when I was a missionary in Washington and received a letter from Mr. Urrutia. He had read about my brush with the law in the paper and was writing to ask if I was the same D. William Shunn who had given him a story for his anthology.

Much as I wish my little piece of Mormon apologia would quietly vanish, copies of LDSF-2 still show up in used bookstores every once in a while, so I can't be too upset that my story is now up on the Web for all the world to see—in total copyright violation. I'm not inclined to press the matter, though Philip José Farmer and the estate of Avram Davidson (both authors had Mormon-related stories reprinted in LDSF-2) might feel differently. So go read this odd historical curiosity before someone more litigious than I gets wind of it and the whole thing vanishes. (You'll have to scroll way down, or search on "cut without hands," since the Parables folks seems to have only rudimentary HTML skillz.)

Another story you might want to read while it's still available is "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" by hyperpopular LDS author Jack Weyland, which immediately precedes mine in the table of contents. This story is significant to me only because I hated it so much, even as a young Mormon missionary. Its central conceit was so smug and insular and made for such bad science fiction that for two decades I carried around a desire to write a story that proceeded from the same premise but took it in an entirely different direction.

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Cast in cold type

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I've sold a book! Well, half a book, anyway. A dark fantasy novella, to be precise.

According to my records, it was over four years ago that Derryl Murphy dropped me a note that said:

I've had this idea rattling around in the back of my head for few months now, but the starts have been all false, and a little voice has been telling me for a while now that I should contact you. You interested in doing a short story together? It involves photography and spirituality, sorta, which might make for a nice blend between us.
I had never collaborated, except for one quite short story almost a decade before, so I had some reservations but decided to give it a try anyway.

We hammered out a basic plot, based on Derryl's initial idea and some moody photographs of graveyard statuary, and then started tossing the manuscript back and forth—veeeerrrrry slowly, since we both had a lot of other big projects going. But earlier this year we finally had a final final draft, novella length, and it was time to send the damn thing out.

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Brand nude movie review

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I saw a little British film called Cashback earlier this week at a strange mall here in Chicago that seems to have modeled itself after the Guggenheim. I'll tell you about the movie over at Science Fiction Weekly. The mall, well, let's just say the spiraling ramp frustrated my best efforts to exit.

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Ali's well!

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When last we checked in with Ali El Sayed at Kabab Cafe in Astoria, he was papering the doors and getting ready to light out for Egypt. We're pleased to hear, via [info]rajankhanna and the New York Times, that he's back in town and back in form, rumors of plans to join his brother's place down the street notwithstanding:

Pita with a Generous Helping of Quirkiness

Go keep him company for us.

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Via Klima Kat:

Your Score: Ceiling Cat

42% Affectionate, 43% Excitable, 28% Hungry

You are a master of stealth. They never see you coming. But you always see them coming. HEY-O!

To see all possible results, checka dis.

Link: The Which Lolcat Are You? Test written by GumOtaku on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

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It's amazing what a difference it makes when a city agrees to stash its garbage out back in the alleys instead of out front on the sidewalk.

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It was an interesting conversation in a staff meeting at work the next-to-last week of June. "So," said my boss, "you'll be in the office on Thursday the 28th, I hope? Please say yes."

Laura and I were moving from New York City to Chicago on Saturday the 30th—our sixth anniversary—and I thought I had already been pretty clear that I had to take both that Thursday and Friday off. I was keeping my job, and once we were in Chicago I would resume work as usual, except I would be working from home. I was using vacation time for the move.

I considered what to say. People are used to me being kind of an asshole at the office; I rarely hold back from saying what I think, or so my coworkers seem to think, and I believe they find it amusing, annoying, and scary in about equal measure. "The movers come Friday morning," I said. "My wife has been doing the lion's share of the packing, but if I don't pitch in in a big way on Thursday, she'll kill me."

"What if we'll kill you if you don't work that day?" said another of my coworkers. We did have a lot of tough deadlines coming up.

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