Inhuman Swill : Publications : Page 5

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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I've just sold my early, early story "Colin and Ishmael in the Dark" (Science Fiction Age, September 1993) to Escape Pod's new fantasy podcast that will probably launch sometime in July.

This story grew out of a writing exercise in one of my college writing classes. We were supposed to write a page in class of only dialog. I wrote three pages, then set the result aside for a couple of years. When I took it out and read it again, I knew how the story should end and wrote the rest very quickly.

I'm excited to hear "Colin and Ishmael" read aloud. I'm very fond of it. I think it will be best to listen to it in total darkness.


My icon for this entry is the original illustration from this story's appearance in Science Fiction Age.
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Chapbook pre-ordering

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You know, that last post reminds me that I should explicitly point out that my chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century, due this summer, is available for pre-ordering now.

JUST CLICK HERE.

Did I mention that it features four reprinted stories, two all-new stories, an introduction by Cory Doctorow, and the fantastic illustrations of Mattias Adolfsson? If not, I should have.

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ScientiFicShunn feed

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[info]
The syndicated RSS feed for ScientiFicShunn, my relatively new only-fiction-no-chat podcast, is now available on LJ. See scientificshunn.

The podcast is also accessible via the iTunes Music Store, if you have iTunes installed on your computer.

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Timesink

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I'm not writing a lot of short fiction these days, owing mostly to work on novels and memoirs and such, but I'm delighted that John Klima has just bought a story called "Timesink" from me for a future, as yet undetermined issue of Electric Velocipede. This is my fourth story for EV—er, if you count that Perry Slaughter number as one of mine.

John will be responsible for making a couple other of my stories available this very year, when he brings out my chapbook An Alternate History of the 21st Century this summer. Four reprints plus two new stories, and from what I hear there may be some very, very cool artwork too. You'll have to stay tuned for more details on that.

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What a hectic day yesterday was! After most of a frantic morning at the office, I sneaked out to spend an extended lunch hour watching the new independent supernatural thriller First Snow, after which I rushed back to the office to crank out a quick same-day review for SciFi.com, then stayed late at the office working frantically to try to make up for some of the chaos my absence had caused.

At home that night, even with a nice glass of Lagavulin in hand, watching Borat on DVD did little to relax me. Call me not a fan.

This morning Laura and I hauled two rolling suitcases full of books from Queens to the Strand in Manhattan. Nice little payday, and not one of our books was rejected. Laura has really figured out what books they'll take and which ones they won't—which is nice, because the Strand used-book counter I remember from my early days in the city is one characterized by sneering and snobbishness. I like this morning's Strand much better.

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Nocturnal mission

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My essay "The Missionary Imposition," from Sybil's Garage #2, has just gotten a spiffy new treatment at the hands of Matthew Kressel. Thanks, Matt!

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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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