Sunday, August 08, 2010

Out there: July 2010

"Unicorn". At market #6, but I got actual comments on rejection #5! Ed thought they were harsh. I thought they were one editor's opinion.

"Dolphin". Still at market #1. I followed up. They're still deciding.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

What I read -- July 10

"The Sorceress of Venice" by Salman Rushdie. I'd read somewhere that if the SF community could go back in time and save Salman Rushdie, they should have given him a Nebula for his first book, and then he would have fallen into genre obscurity forever after, and no fatwa ever would have been issued. And that made me curious. I'd never read a book by him before. It reminded me of Catherynne M. Valente. After a while I started to get the characters all confused, because there were a lot of them. This book really seemed to want to be read out loud.

It's a story-within a story, and the inside story steals bits of the outside story. I felt like I didn't get the maximum value out of this book, because there were in-jokes I'm sure I missed. You know those footnoted versions of, say, TS Eliot, that you have to read in high school or university English classes? This book seemed like the modern equivalent of those, but without the footnotes. I found myself wishing I had better knowledge of the renaissance, or of Indian and Persian mythology. It's a book for well-read people. I'd say, if you're going to read one book this year, this shouldn't be it. But if you're the sort of person who reads a hundred books a year, then this would be a good choice.

"The Windup Girl" by Paolo Bacigalupi. Nebula winner, and it had been on my list for a while, so I requested it from the library. To be honest, the only reason I requested it was because one day I logged into the library's system and it told me there was a problem with my account, and would I please contact their customer service? So I did, and then I felt like I had to let the very pleasant customer service rep do something for me, since I was about the thousandth person to call her that morning with a problem, and everyone had been very polite about it, and...

I found the first fifty pages or so confusing, but then I started to get into it, and the place and the characters (there are multiple POVs) started to make sense. What really worked for me about the POVs was that everyone was not chasing the same thing. Anderson was trying to find the seedbank, and the fact that Hok Shen was trying to get the plans for the spring was totally irrelevant to him. The spring was just a cover. Kanna's actions kept thwarting them both, and Emiko needed to be free and was a tool for everyone. It was like the opposite of a heist, where everyone wants the same thing.

"Pretty Monsters" by Kelly Link. Since I've been writing and editing short stories lately, it seemed appropriate to read some, so I've pulled out some anthologies. I'd read three of the stories in this book before, don't know where (well, one of them was in the other book by her I read), but they were still very good. She has a distinctive voice, that's for sure. I don't think I should try to emulate it.

Monday, August 02, 2010

In process -- July 2010

Manners. I wrote "Done" on this sucker on July 5. I'm so glad it's over. Don't know why I kept going on it.

"TheBogWitch". Fifth draft included changes from the two crits I got on OWW. Needs at least one more draft.

Karate Zombies. Brainstormed to define the zombieism disease. I have some outstanding questions: How did patient zero become infected? Climax -- time and logistics?

"The Bezoar". Seemingly abandoned, though I'm still carrying a draft around. Strange, because I think it's not that bad of a story. It might have made it up on OWW if my USB key hadn't stopped working on my desktop computer at work (I'm pretty sure it's the computer, not the key, because my iPod doesn't sync properly either).

"The Rabbits". Short story that needs a better title. Started writing this as my page-a-day on July 6. It's nice to have a page-a-day that I'm actually enthusiastic about. I musst have been at one point able to write more than one page at a stretch in "Manners", but if so, I sure don't remember it. I was able to make the boy uncomfortable by asking Ed questions as research for this story (he knows way more about the endocrine system than I do, even if he says it's his weakest area as a medic).

Rather than doing my usual disturbing online stalking activities, I managed to do a bit of research. And I typed pages as I went, rather than leaving the typing for later. This helped me keep track of teh storyline and things I'd meant to hit as I progressed (sometimes the page-a-day thing losese its narrative thread and descends into pointless dialog, mostly while characters eat). I have around 8000 words, which is too much, and it's not done yet (almost!).

"Pukka". The 6000 words I have here of probably a novel would seem to be a stream-of-consciousness explanation of what goes on in my deranged mind. Part of it comes out of a crazy conversation I had while making illicit use of the office printer late one Friday afternoon. The other person was photocopying Puff the Magic Dragon sheet music. It's SF. It's a novel. It needs a lot of research.

And in knitting...

Morrigan. I have about a foot of body, with 18 rows to go to the armholes. Thanks to this: for confirming the error I thought I was seeing in the side chart.

Noro Henley. Fin. Worn three times. Best compliment? "Very professional." She meant the execution, not that it looks like office wear. Though in my office, it does just fine.

Tempting II. Excellent carry-around project. I've just attached the sleeves.

Duck booties. Made these for a pregnant coworker. The shower is next week. Very fiddly, but cute.