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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday tabs etc....

The most excitement we're having at this end is that my assistant Lorraine has decided that it's time to join the landed gentry and is house-hunting, and, because I've wound up with an unexpected (but by no means unwelcome) few days at home, I had an enjoyable afternoon yesterday getting a little fresh air and sunshine by volunteering to be her driver as she went looking at houses. Being Lorraine, they tend to be scary-looking thin Victorian places, the scarier-looking, thinner and more Victorian the better. Today, she and her friend Betsy are out looking at more places, and I just got an excited phone call from her which began "I think I just found my house! It's just by the cemetery!" So no surprises there.

Right. It's Sunday Morning, and it's time to close a bunch of Tabs:

Someone sent in a clip from a video of me talking to Heidi MacDonald at the West Hollywood Book Festival last year about why I started this blog...

And looking at the Beat to do the Heidi link informs me that Alexa Kitchen (now 8 years old) has a new book out.

When Denis Kitchen first told me that his daughter (then about 5) was drawing comics I made the kind of noises that you make when friends tell you that their five year old daughters are writing operas, performing brain surgery or designing shopping malls -- a sort of a "how very sweet and I hope you aren't going to actually show me any of this please god" sort of noise.

And then one day Denis showed me her comics. Which were good. Really honestly actually good, rather than something you just say is good to keep a proud parent happy. So now Alexa has moved into Scott McCloud territory with a book called DRAWING COMICS IS EASY (Except When It's Hard). You can read about it at I plan to buy a copy for myself, and another copy or two for local schools and godchildren and suchlike.

I don't know if it'll be available through Amazon, but if you don't have a local comic shop I bet you can ask DreamHaven about it.

Then again, they may have more information over at


On the theory that what North Carolinans think are the best books may not be what New Yorkers think, the NewsObserver puts together its own list (by asking 32 local authors) of the best books in the last 25 years, and Sharyn McCrumb earns herself a place in Heaven.

Meanwhile, the oddest thing about the reactions to the Book Magazine survey -- like this article in the Times -- is the general failure to notice that it was just another internet survey, and the widespread journalistic assumption that there are thousands of readers of Book Magazine who actually came out and voted. (It occurs to me that if I'd drawn attention to it here and actually asked people to go and vote for me I'd undoubtedly now be one of Britain's top five Greatest Living British Authors, and I'd be feeling sillier than I already am at #21.)

It's not that the survey itself is meaningless... hang on. Scrap that. Yes, it is.


Incidentally, if you want to suggest to the SF Book Club what the great SF novels of the 1990s might have been, you should go and investigate


Gene Wolfe's story "A Sob In The Silence" is one of the most disturbing stories I've read in a long time. It's in Strange Birds, the chapbook he did with Lisa Snellings (a Locus review of it is at


Over at (a site well worth visiting daily - how else would you learn about the Avenging Unicorn Playset?) they are giving away wonders and freebies: . Put up a banner, join their mailing list and win win win. (I was going to put up their little "Magnetic Fields and Damn Sexy Art" link picture here, but Blogger is not cooperating.)


While sick in bed last week, I got to read what's out there so far of Gunnerkrigg Court, a really enjoyable webcomic, of the kind that will undoubtedly be out sooner or later in paper form (actually it looks the author's self-publishing it currently in paper form -- It starts at Lots of different flavours in there -- it's a semi-gothic funny-sweet school story with mysteries and robots and so forth -- but I kept finding myself reminded of the early days of reading Bone. Nice stuff.


Having taken some flak for saying what I thought about the problems with Wikipedia, it's interesting to see that there are people whose opinions of the Wikipedia "Hive mind" problem are significantly lower than mine -


Everyone I know (and many people I don't) has sent me this story and picture about a bear treed by a cat.

I've had words with my own cats about this. I've asked them what I pay them for and whether they think that cat-food and vet appointments grow on trees. I've explained that other cats can tree bears just by hissing at them. I refer them to my own short story "The Price" and point out that fighting devils is much harder than scaring bears.

My cats in their own turn point to the ten-foot tall reinforced steel bird-feeder pole in the garden that the bear casually bent into a boomerang shape in order to get to the bird-feeders, and tell me to just shut up and feed them and anyway they have some serious naps planned for this afternoon.

I suspect -- from the lack of obvious bear activity in the last few weeks, and from the fact that the most exciting thing that the motion sensitive garden camera has caught is a posse of eleven year old girls on a trampoline -- that the bear has finally moved on. We're right at the southernmost tip of their territory here, after all. I'll put up some birdfeeders next week and we'll all find out.


There's a Harlan Ellison short story in which the entire universe cries out for vengeance and starts to array itself against a crooked plumber. Reading this saga of some people who decided not to return a Sidekick that they found, I kept thinking of that story...


Right. Off to work. I'm retyping a story I wrote in 1984 for the M is For Magic collection, and writing Eternals #3. When we did 1602, we had through to #5 finished before Marvel solicited #1, a much more civilised way of doing it, to my mind. Or at least, less stressful.
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