Inhuman Swill : Page 86
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

How is it possible that I have only just now discovered the indispensable Steely Dan Dictionary?

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Save the last Vance for me

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Asimov's associate managing editor Brian Bieniowski has a delightful guest editorial in the most recent issue, on the subject of SF Grandmaster Jack Vance. Read it, read it, do.

Brian's piece dovetails nicely with Robert Silverberg's "Reflections" column, as well, which is on the subject of rereading Vance's Dying Earth.

UPDATE:  Congratulations, Brian!
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Free SF stories!

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The good folks at Asimov's have released their 2006 preliminary Nebula Award ballot entries online for free.

This means you can now read my novella "Inclination" at their site for free, in its entirety.

But that's not all! Read Paul Melko's excellent novella "The Walls of the Universe" as well, not to mention Daryl Gregory's moving novelette "Second Person, Present Tense." I highly recommend them both.

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ShunnCast #34

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Epidode #34 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill finds his privacy violated by a heinous and despicable criminal act on the part of his mission president, only to head out on split-offs with Elder Finn and discover even darker and more shocking revelations. Plus, they shot Joseph Smith?!

See also [info]shunncast.

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Il a neigé

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Holy shit, it was snowing when I got out of the subway!

Of course, by the time I got to the office I could see blue sky and the snow had almost petered out.

And now the sun is shining through my office window.

All in ten minutes.

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Nebula Award nomination #2?

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The 2006 preliminary Nebula Award ballot has just been announced by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). My novella "Inclination" is up there in the novella category.

The preliminary ballot is essentially the Nebula longlist. SFWA members will now vote to narrow the ballot down to five nominees in each category. The resulting final ballot (a/k/a shortlist) will then be voted on in March, with the awards ceremony to be held the weekend of May 11-13 in New York City.

What? What's that you say? There are only four works on the preliminary ballot in the novella category? Well, don't that beat all? I guess that means those stories all advance automatically to the final ballot. Which would make me...

Holy shit! I'm a Nebula nominee again! (Er, somewhat unofficially.)

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Always a bridesmaid

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From a Times article about the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees:

The members of Van Halen to be inducted are the brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen; the bassist Michael Anthony; and David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, who have replaced one another as the band's lead singer more than once. Gary Cherone, who sang with the group in the late 1990s between Mr. Roth's second stint and Mr. Hagar's, was not recognized.  [full article]
Ouch, Gary. But I guess Extreme still has its shot at Hall of Fame-dom.
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It must be a year now since we moved from our old place. Last week we received a whole mess of holiday cards, automatically forwarded from our old address, from folks who apparently didn't get the memo about our change of address.

Today, though, I got word from a friend that a holiday card they had sent to the old address was returned as undeliverable. This means two things:

  1. Our 12-month forwarding order has just expired.
  2. There is no longer a house at 23-33 31st Avenue where the mail carrier can deposit unforwarded letters.
Yes, our old house is gone. Not a brick remains. It's now a giant hole in the ground surrounded by a tall plywood fence (though the Google satellite image, off by a couple hundred feet, still shows the happy house unmolested). We need to go take some pictures.

I hope there's no critical snail mail out there on its way to the wrong address, because it ain't gonna reach us.

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More on the gas smell

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Gothamist has a roundup of reports on the Manhattan gas smell. Turns out my wife is one of the (numerous) folks who called 911 this morning to report it.

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No, I'm not getting a kickback

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Show and Tell and Other Stories, by Greg van Eekhout
I love to read, but I'm not the sort of reader who is willing, like some, to walk down a street or subway platform absorbed in a book or magazine. Greg van Eekhout, though, has forced me into that mold twice in the past 24 hours, the bastard.

I've been reading his chapbook Show and Tell and Other Stories in bites and nibbles over the past couple of days*. Both last night, on my way to meet friends for drinks in Brooklyn, and this morning, on my way to work, I arrived at my subway destination and had to finish the story I was reading on the hoof. I couldn't put the chapbook down.

Each of the six stories is odd, surprising, and moving in its own way. There's a good reason that Gardner Dozois chose the book's one original story to reprint in his upcoming Year's Best Science Fiction. You should get a copy of Show and Tell yourself, for only $7.00 including shipping.

This makes me all the more eager for a full-length van Eekhout collection, and a novel.

*Yes, I've had the chapbook since WorldCon in August and should have read it sooner, but I am a notoriously slow reader and, more to the point, an absent-minded and disorganized shelver of books.

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