Inhuman Swill : Page 98
Why is my blog called Inhuman Swill? Because you can unscramble the pieces to make William Shunn.

The spoilers and the spoilee

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Last night I finished reading As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. I read the last paragraph and I wanted to throw the book across the room. It is with relief this morning that I retreat to the comforts of The Dirdir, third book of Jack Vance's Planet of Adventure saga.

Don't get me wrong. The book is beautifully written, brilliant technique, exciting in parts, even if no modern agent or editor would let a writer get away with the smashed rules Faulkner leaves strewn in his path like bone fragments. But Anse Bundren drags the stinking, spoiling corpse of his wife across half of Mississippi, letting his children bear all the mental and physical cost of the trek, only to proudly grab a set of new choppers and oh yes let's not forget a new wife on the last page? I wanted to throw the book the room across the book is was and I was not is the book and burn it up to tall black circles making the stars move backward across the room.

In Yoknapatawpha County, selfishness is the prime virtue, and any character that's remotely likeable is like to be harshly and Biblically punished for his likeability. The last book I read about such awful, self-absorbed characters was Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and I didn't like it then either. I feel as if I've been dragged on an epic journey and used as callously as Anse Bundren used everyone around him.

Still, I suppose I'll read more Faulkner. I'm curious to see if there's more to him, and if I'm just a philistine.

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Nothing's shocking, anymore

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I love the United States. I hate what our government is doing to it. I hate that we're allowing it. I love Molly Ivins, who writes in "Why the Torture Bill Matters," in part:

I'd like those supporting this evil bill to spare me one affliction: Do not, please, pretend to be shocked by the consequences of this legislation. And do not pretend to be shocked when the world begins comparing us to the Nazis.  [full column]
Via [info]14theditch
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Laws of Traffic Dynamics #43

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Stationary pedestrians will tend to cluster on a public sidewalk at its narrowest point.

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So plans for the chapbook from Spilt Milk Press are proceeding. John Klima and I are hashing out the table of contents, but the tentative plan is that the little book will collect six of my near-future SF stories—four previously published, two new.

Publication date: May 2007? Stay tuned!

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From the ever irrepressible Walter Becker:

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Humans 5, Mice ?

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So, we came back late Sunday night from a weekend away to find another mouse snared by one of our traps.

This one was in the pantry, and it had been sitting there untouched for a couple of months. I came in from bringing the last of the luggage from the rental car and Laura pushed plastic bags, paper towels, and industrial cleaners into my arms. "There's something to clean up in the pantry," she said.

She had found it when putting Ella's food supplies away. The trap had caught the mouse right across the top of the head, nearly bisecting the poor thing's skull fore and aft. There was blood pooled a few inches away, as if the trap had jumped upon snapping, the mouse had thrashed hard while dying, or the blood had just flown through the air in a massive gout. Maybe it was all three.

I was half afraid the mouse's head would fall apart when I picked up the trap—the front of its head tumbling free, the back of the head following the limp body to the floor—but miraculously it held together long enough to get it in the plastic bag without having to pick up the body directly. Scrubbing the floor was as pleasant as you can imagine.

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ShunnCast #26

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Epidode #26 of "ShunnCast" is now available, live from the Delaware shore, in which Bill makes good stage one of his escape, whilst plagued by memories of blood oaths in a granite temple. Plus, special guest commentary by Paul Fischer.

See also [info]shunncast.

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Humans 4, Mice ?

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I'm just sayin'.

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The Accidental Terrorist 30th Anniversary Sale

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William Shunn