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Tuesday, September 10, 2002

John Clute is a fascinating writer, and the best critical writer on SF we've had. He's also been intimately involved as an editor and a driving force behind the astonishing SF Encyclopedia and the not-as-astonishing Fantasy Encyclopedia. But hidden, or as Clute might say, nested, in the Fantasy Encyclopedia, behind odd entries with names like THINNING and WAINSCOTS was a short-novel-length Clutean Unified Field Theory of Fantasy, which I wish he would extract, polish and expand upon.

I'm pretty sure that, from the evidence in his fascinating and beautifully constructed essay on Coraline over at's Excessive Candour he's now in the process of constructing a vocabulary for Horror. "If Coraline had been a tale of horror, we would have expected her to have been dragged (as though by a hook) through what was not a portal at all but a cloaca, a outgushing gape of the Bad Place Within, which befouls the protagonist on contact," he says. And I'll bet you a tinned pilchard that if there's an Encylopedia of Horror, and there should be, that CLOACA, HOOK and BAD PLACE will have their entries in there.


Finished a Washington Post book review (not allowed to say which book until it comes out), and sent the DEATH MOVIE second Draft off to my agent, only fourteen months late (sigh).


I thought that I'd put in a plug for Scott McCloud, mainly because I keep running into people who talk about Scott and his work and how much Understanding Comics changed their lives, and who say "Of course, it's my dream to have Scott come and speak at my college/conference," and who appear very doubtful when I explain that he really does do that kind of thing, and what is weirder, he LIKES to do that kind of thing.

So Scott now has a page up at which tells you about his teaching seminar and his talks and suchlike, and how to contact him (er actually). If your college/workplace/institution needs someone to come and explain the world to you, or just to teach you the rules of Five Card Nancy, you want Scott. There. End of plug. Forward the link to anyone who might need it...


Oodles of FAQs in -- from Famine to Flood -- and I'll try and answer most of them over in the FAQ blogger, over at
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