Inhuman Swill : Page 95
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

Death by caffeine

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I could drink 132.38 Starbucks Grande Caffe Lattes before croaking. How about you?

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My subway reading the past couple of days has been the Bruce Sterling collection Globalhead. This morning I was sailing right through—until I decided to change things up and take a different route to work. When I hopped onto the 6 train downtown, I entered the flow of a voice that made continuing to read impossible.

The owner of the voice wore a strip of newspaper pinned in her hair. She sat looking at nothing and no one, and her first rant was about how Bush should be impeached. Fair enough. Her next rant was a long, vulgar, and virtuoso screed against Condi Rice, which I wish I could reproduce in full but which ended with the phrase "got-damn bitch-ass skank."

I sort of lost the thread when Bill Gates became her next target—don't you know that AIDS isn't the problem, Microsoft is the problem?—but it occurred to me to wonder if anyone had bothered to tell her that the Democrats won Congress last week.

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A nibble comes in, one admiring but not entirely won over, and yet again you find yourself crafting a book proposal to suit a particular audience of one. You like this audience of one, and you take their comments seriously, but you resolve not to internalize those comments at the expense of your own vision for the book. It's hard work, especially with a novel on hold for a week or so, but at last you find a way back inside the material. What comes out is a blend of the new, the old, and the very old. The one temptation you can't resist is the temptation to throw a piece of it out there the moment it rolls off your virtual platen.


So that's one place you could say it all started, my first day as a missionary in Canada. But you could also rewind a couple of years if you wanted, to a lonely back road somewhere east of Victorville in the California desert, and say it all started there. That's where, late in 1984, my father sprang a terrifying question on me.

"Son," he asked that afternoon, "do you want to serve a mission?"

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I was recently interviewed by Amy Brozio-Andrews for the Absolute Write newsletter. I learned today that the interview will run in the December 6th issue. I can't wait to be reminded what I said.

The most recent Absolute Write interivew is with, um, Richard Ford. But my interview was not conducted at the Four Seasons.

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Jack Williamson, 1908-2006

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I just learned about Jack Williamson's death. I find myself much sadder than I imagined I would be.

I first encountered his work as a young teenager, when a friend of the family gave me a whole stack of science fiction novels that included an omnibus edition of Williamson's Legion of Space books. I devoured them greedily, and that sort of grand, cosmic space opera was what my very earliest stories (now justly lost and forgotten) were striving to be.

I was lucky enough at the 1996 WorldCon to have M. Shayne Bell drag me along to breakfast with Williamson and a group of other folks one morning. I didn't say much to him, but I felt as if I were sitting in the presence of nearly the entire history of the SF genre. He was born in 1908 and published his first story in 1928. His final novel was published 77 years later, in 2005.

I wish he had lived to be 100. R.I.P.

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Inclined toward inclusion

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I mentioned this last week in a locked post, but wanted to mention it for the benefit of the world at large now that it's more or less official.

My novella "Inclination" has been selected by Rich Horton for the next edition of his Prime Books anthology Science Fiction: The Best of the Year. The company is damn fine, as you can see from this almost complete table of contents that publisher Sean Wallace has posted. I am thrilled to my very bones to be included!

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Break out the rum!

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Holy shit! It's way too late, but Rummy has resigned.

This is too much good news in 24 hours. I'm trying not to be giddy, because we're still deep in the weeds and liable to be there for quite a while. Thanks in no small part to Rummy, who I hope won't let the door hit him in the ass.


Update: The Comedy Central Insider Blog had this last night???
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Eat it, Clark

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Personality Test Results
Via [info]deadscrypt, who is also...

If you were a MOVIE VILLIAN, which one would you be!?

Lex Luthor

You are so dangerous and filled with evil that it's hard to imagine the world being able to stop you. You love to talk, and hear yourself talk, and can match wits with anyone. You love living the high life and stepping on the little people, intent on asserting your will on those who oppose. You also hate California.

From the Movie: Superman

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by YouThink.com quizzes and personality tests.

But I have to say, I don't actually hate California. I was born there!

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The birds of Austin

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Paul Witcover and William Shunn
Scott Edelman just sent me some photos he took at World Fantasy, one of which fairly screamed to be posted here.

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Back from Austin

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William Shunn & Paul Witcover
Laura and I didn't take many photos at World Fantasy, but luckily the irrepressible John Klima did.

Klima and his Spilt Milk Press are bringing out my chapbook in May, but in the meantime you would be well served to snap up a copy of their first chapbook, The Sense of Falling by Ezra Pines. That link is to an old pre-order page, but rest assured that this slim volume is out and available and well worth your five measly bucks.

Had a great time in Austin. Laura and I caught up with several New York friends who have decamped to Texas in the last couple of years, saw Idiocracy (at last) at a movie theater that serves beer, drank more Shiner Bock than we ever hoped to in our wildest dreams, attended a plethora of great readings, managed to get lost more than once on the Capital of Texas Highway, ate ourselves silly, and at least met great folks like Evan McClanahan and Trent Hergenrader in person. I was very sorry to have arrived at the bar too late Sunday evening to meet up with ShunnCast listener Andrew Langston—my deepest apologies!—but I did arrive in time to meet by chance an editor who spoke enthusiastically about the novel proposal for Inclination that is on her desk.

So all in all, a splendid weekend, and I thank Laura for, as usual, keeping me out of the hotel room and on track.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

Signed editions
that even a
missionary
could afford.

Order yours now!

William Shunn

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