Inhuman Swill : Page 88
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

I don't know, do they?

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This week's featured Preliminary Nebula Award Ballot story at Fictionwise is [info]bobhowe's novelette "Do Neanderthals Know?" Great story, check it out for free in e-book form:

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The Mozart of porn

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Via Andrew Lienhard...

Attention, lovers of '70s electrofunk and/or same-era porn. German composer Klaus Harmony's soundtracks are for you!

And I'm talking to you, [info]asphalteden.

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In the land of the furries

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See if you can spot Scott Edelman, Bob Howe, and me (and maybe other people you know!) in this old segment from the premier episode of the Trio series Parking Lot. We're trying to be all erudite and shit while they intercut our interview clips with furries. It's pretty funny, and no less than what we deserve!

(Taped in 2003.)

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I am unable to attend tomorrow night's February CD Mix of the Month Club, since I'll be in Utah at my grandfather's memorial service. But I'm sending my mix, Tenor of the Times, along to the meeting in my absence. The disc is a tribute to Michael Brecker, my favorite saxophonist of the past quarter-century. (Sharp-eared listeners will realize that this disc follows the same program as my tribute in ShunnCast #37.)

Brecker was one of the most prolific and influential tenor saxophonists of the late 20th century. A consummate session player, he appeared on as many as a thousand pop, rock, funk, and jazz recordings, often together with his older brother, trumpeter Randy Brecker. He played with the likes of James Taylor, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Carole King, Todd Rundgren, Elton John, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Parliament, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Chic, and Frank Zappa, not to mention such jazz legends as Horace Silver, Charles Mingus, Herbie Mann, Chet Baker, Don Cherry, Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, and Jaco Pastorius.

His own groups included Dreams, Steps Ahead, and the popular Brecker Brothers, a jazz-funk outfit he and Randy led together. Besides innovating on the tenor, Mike helped pioneer the EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument), which he employed to great effect on Paul Simon's The Rhythm of the Saints. Beginning in 1987, he cut a successful string of solo albums with collaborators like Pat Metheny, Herbie Hancock, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, and Larry Goldings, emerging as one of the giants of the modern jazz scene. Along the way, he picked up eleven Grammys.

Mike was diagnosed with the blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome in 2005, and though a global search for a stem cell donor turned up no exact matches, his plight prompted thousands to sign up with the International Bone Marrow Registry. He underwent an experimental partial matching stem cell transplant late that year, but not with the hoped-for results. On January 13, 2007, he died of complications from leukemia in New York City. He was 57.

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ShunnCast #37

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Epidode #37 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which Bill, as threatened, pays tribute to late jazz great Michael Brecker. A special all-music edition!

See also [info]shunncast.

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Taxes SUCK

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I just wanted to say that. That is all. Carry on.

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I love the Aughts

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So, the discussion about my 100 best '90s albums list was interesting enough that I decided to give the current decade the same treatment. It's a somewhat different exercise, though, because the recent years really haven't had as much time to sink in yet. Strangely, though, my yearly favorites were much easier to pick this time (though it was a close call between Eminem and Steely Dan in 2000). It will be interesting to revisit all this in another ten years.

The same rules apply, but again there's an exception or two. I allowed two System of a Down albums for 2005, on the grounds that they're really two halfs of one work, despite being released separately. Also, Brad Mehldau managed to sneak on there twice by cloaking himself with Pat Metheny.


  • Meaningless, Jon Brion
  • Parachutes, Coldplay
  • The Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem
  • Whoa, Nelly!, Nelly Furtado
  • Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea, P J Harvey
  • The ConstruKction of Light, King Crimson
  • Kids in Philly, Marah
  • Solo: Improvisations for Expanded Piano, Lyle Mays
  • Sci-Fi, Christian McBride Band
  • Haunted, Poe
  • Kid A, Radiohead
  • Tourist, St Germain
  • Two Against Nature, Steely Dan
  • Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), XTC

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Locus recommendations

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Other folks round these here parts have pointed out that the Locus Recommended Reading List is online this year. Let me congratulate the folks I know more than glancingly whose work appears on the list, including Laird Barron, Beth Bernobich ([info]beth_bernobich), Rick Bowes, Toby Buckell, Alyx Dellamonica ([info]planetalyx), Cory Doctorow, Gardner Dozois, Jeff Ford ([info]14theditch), Daryl Gregory, Joe Haldeman, Alex Irvine, John Kessel, Justine Larbalestier, Ken Macleod, Jack McDevitt, Paul Melko ([info]paulmelko), Richard Parks ([info]ogre_san), Tim Pratt ([info]tim_pratt), Robert Reed, Karl Schroeder, Jack Skillingstead, Greg van Eekhout ([info]gregvaneekhout), and Scott Westerfeld!

"Inclination" made the list too. In fact, here's a bit of Rich Horton's year-end roundup of short fiction from the February Locus:

There were quite a few fine novellas—enough that I'm not sure I can reliably define a Hugo ballot. At the top are "Inclination," by William Shunn, about a young man from a strict religious enclave on a space station, and his encounter with the radically different wider world; and "A Billion Eves," by Robert Reed, concerning the ramifications of serial colonization of numerous alternate Earths, beginning with a sexually-repressed inventor kidnapping a sorority, but leading to a more ecological than gender-related point. Paul Melko's "The Walls of the Universe" is another look at traveling across parallel worlds, and about how character is affected by circumstances; and Brian Stableford's "The Plurality of Worlds," very weird stuff about an alternate Elizabeth era with space travel. Ysabeau S. Wilce returned to the story of Hardhands with the lovingly exotic "The Lineaments of Gratified Desire."
"Inclination" also makes Horton's list of the top ten works of all the year's short fiction.

Which reminds me—if you're a Locus subscriber, be sure to fill out the 2007 Locus Poll & Survey. And that reminds me, if you're an Asimov's subscriber, don't forget to fill out your 2006 Readers Award Ballot.

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I suppose I've arrived, in an unfortunate kind of way, when my web site is quoted liberally by a Christian evangelical to support his anti–Mitt Romney, anti-Mormon ravings.

Okay, I suppose he makes some good points (by implication) about Mormon devotion to a "higher cause" and so forth, but I honestly think you could make the same argument about George W. Bush and the "higher father" to which he claims to answer. The question seems to be less about whether Romney (who has not to my knowledge made public statements to this effect, unlike Dubya) would put his religious beliefs above the Constitution than about whether or not the commentator agrees with those beliefs.

I don't want to see Romney elected, but frankly I'd rather have him in office than Bush. And I get so tired of people arguing that Mormons are not Christians, or that they're "anti-Christ." I don't agree with Mormonism, but that's language that's designed only to sow hatred, no matter how deeply it's couched in terms of helping those poor benighted Mormons "who are on the road to hell." Take your hate speech and leave me out of it.

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Oh, what fun it is to play around with the slideshow-making capacities of QuickTime Pro and the music-compressing capacities of Adobe Audition! Not to mention what fun it is to play with the dog.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn