Inhuman Swill : Science Fiction : Page 29

The fourth wolf

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Okay, some higher-quality excerpts from my Saturday appearance on Jim Freund's "Hour of the Wolf" are up and available on my site. Find 'em here. And find earlier appearances here.

And don't miss the cameo by our own [info]steelbrassnwood! (Or at least by a recording of his. Thanks, Ken!)

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From the WBAI archive

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I'm still working on getting some higher-quality excerpts from my appearance yesterday on "Hour of the Wolf" posted to my site, but in the meantime you can stream the two-hour program in its entirety from the WBAI archive.

But hurry! It'll only be available there for 13 weeks!

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Saturday on your radio

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I will be the late-breaking guest on Jim Freund's "Hour of the Wolf" this coming Saturday, September 24, from 5:00 to 7:00 in the A.M on WBAI 99.5 FM. (I'll likely read a new story-in-progress called "Objective Impermeability in a Closed System.") Then stick around, as taped readings from Symphony Space with Susanna Clarke and Neil Gaiman will follow from 7:00 to 8:30 A.M.

Tune in if you can, or listen online, but don't despair if you can't. WBAI now archives its broadcasts.

(It'll be my fourth appearance on the show. Does this make me a regular?)

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A game of cylinders

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There's still an hour or so left in the bidding for my Heidelberg Cylinder auction at eBay.

Also, I've just listed a first-edition, first-printing hardcover of George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.

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Laura and I have been culling great numbers of books in preparation for our anticipated move (still months down the road). As I was going through boxes, considering each volume in turn, I ran across my hardcover copy of Dave Wolverton's space opera The Golden Queen (recently republished as part of the two-book omnibus Worlds of the Golden Queen under Dave's more successful pseudonym David Farland).

I opened the book to hunt down a particularly memorable passage, and happened to turn directly to it. I read aloud to Laura:

Everynne closed her eyes and let her mantle connect to Lord Shunn's personal intelligence via telelink. She watched his attack progress—silver fliers swept through the sky in a wedge, shooting low over the forest toward the gate, dropping a barrage of explosives along with canisters of chlorine gas, which was particularly toxic to dronon. As soon as the fireballs began erupting over the treetops, Lord Shunn's attack force moved in.

Under cover of the trees, long-range laser weapons were nearly useless, so Shunn's forces all wielded only incendiary rifles. No human could bear the weight of the armor needed to ward off an incendiary blast, so Shunn's men were protected only by gas masks and lightweight heat-resistant combat fatigues. The men ran forward in loose formation, moving cautiously. Since the battle was meant only as a diversion, they were not in a hurry to engage the vanquishers.

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Coming attractions

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When the mail came on Friday and I spied the October/November issue of Asimov's in the pile, I opened it immediately to the last page. I didn't necessarily expect to see it yet, but it was there nonetheless:

COMING SOONmind-bending new stories by Robert Silverberg, Stephen Baxter, David D. Levine, Wil McCarthy, Liz Williams, Chris Roberson, William Shunn, Paul Melko, Jack Skillingstead, Bruce McAllister, Allen M. Steele, Carol Emshwiller, Michael Swanwick, Paul J. McAuley, Neal Asher, and more!
So cool. Congratulations, Paul!
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Legionnaire of space

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Jack Williamson's new novel, The Stonehenge Gate, is out, and he insists it is his last.

I learn this from an article [info]bobhowe points me toward, in the Albuquerque Tribune. It's a delightful piece to read (despite the fact that one paragraph is worded carelessly enough that you might assume there have only ever been two Grand Masters named by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America—Williamson and Robert Heinlein).

Part of the reason the article is so delightful, of course, is that Williamson, at 97, has been writing since nearly the dawn of modern science fiction. His first short story was published 77 years ago, in 1928. He was one of my earliest SF reading discoveries, as well; a family friend gave me a copy of The Legion of Space when I was at that impressionable age. I had the honor of joining him and six or eight other folks for breakfast one morning at the 1997 WorldCon in San Antonio, and I don't think I could have been more awed had I been sitting there with God. I don't think I said two words. If I have a writing career half as long as his, I'll count myself fortunate. Even if he's really done, it's a wonder of the universe that he's been doing it so long and is still with us.

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Via conscientious objector [info]fjm. In the end I suppose it was nobody's fault, but the temptation to assign guilt remains great even today.*

Elite Reader You have a Geek Lore rating of 80%
Sure, fans aren't Slans, but you're definitely something special. Your knowledge of speculative literature has to be pretty damned impressive to achieve this score. Long may you flip those pages!
My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 99% on Geek Lore
Link: The SF/F Opening Lines Test written by winternight2 on Ok Cupid
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At Fantasy Book Spot, you can find an interview with "writer's writer" Richard Bowes, a friend and workshop comrade. The occasion is the release of his new "mosaic novel" From the Files of the Time Rangers, which I've read in a couple of different drafts, and which I urge you to seek out and pick up. Beautiful, beautiful work.

(Also, don't miss his short story "There's a Hole in the City." There is indeed.)

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Via Paul Melko by way of David Moles, I encountered this morning a fascinating essay by SF writer and scholar John Kessel exploring and repudiating the morality of intention that underpins Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and attempting to explain the book's enduring popularity.

It's a long essay, and quite worth reading if you have any interest in morality and fiction, but here's a distillation:

The number of times this scenario of unjustified attack and savage retaliation is repeated, not just in Ender's Game but in other of Card's stories and novels, suggests that it falls close to the heart of his vision of moral action in the world.... The same destructive act that would condemn a bad person, when performed by a good person, does not implicate the actor, and in fact may be read as a sign of that person's virtue....

This, I fear, is the appeal of Ender's Game: it models this scenario precisely and absolves the child of any doubt that his actions in response to such treatment are questionable. It offers revenge without guilt. If you ever as a child felt unloved, if you ever feared that at some level you might deserve any abuse you suffered, Ender's story tells you that you do not. In your soul, you are good. You are specially gifted, and better than anyone else. Your mistreatment is the evidence of your gifts. You are morally superior. Your turn will come, and then you may severely punish others, yet remain blameless. You are the hero....

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Featured Book

William Shunn