Sunday, April 07, 2002
Quick! Click on Close Encounters ( and go and read a wonderful bunch of authors and books, suggested for your reading pleasure by an equally wonderful bunch of authors, editors, and people (all but one of them good friends or fairly close acquaintances or at least people I've had a meal with, which makes me start to wonder how small a world it is really).

When you're done, go and poke around the rest of the Washington Post Book World site. It's their SF/Fantasy special, and it has lots of fun articles (which work of mine does Michael Swanwick think ought to be a movie, you ask yourself? Click here to find out.) Who is our greatest living SF writer? (Er, that one's not hard if you've been paying attention.) (Clue: I just wrote a travel guide to a mythical part of Chicago with him.) (Give up? Click here.)

And there's an article by Michael Dirda on his visit to the IAFA, which is the only conference I try and get to for pleasure each year (except this one, when I was guest at Aggiecon instead). Which, I should add, has everything to do with listening to John Clute talk about dialogue with the ruins, and nothing to do with the little-umbrella-drinks by the pool and the satiny red bikinis to which Mr Dirda alludes. Honest. (Actually, I have encountered very few academics or authors, of either gender, who should be allowed out in public in satiny red bikinis.)

And, if you like it, drop a line to the Washington Post letting them know what a cool thing a special like this is. Sensible specials on genre, with actual content that's about something and written by people who know what they're writing about, are rare enough at the best of times. Magazines and Newspapers that do it need a pat to the back, or flowers, or something.


Got a phone call from Harlan Ellison today. I'd read in Ansible that he'd lost his case against AOL, and had left a message of sympathy and an offer of help on his answering machine. Turns out it wasn't needed at all -- the case (and Harlan's already won against two of the three defendants) has been sent to appellate court, which is where Harlan wanted to be, and has a good year to run before anything's decided and, with luck, good lawyers, and the forces of truth, good and justice on his side, Harlan wins.


Am writing like a mad thing currently, and keeping more or less up with everything except e-mail. Yesterday I somehow managed to squeeze in writing an essay on the painter Richard Dadd as an introduction to Mark Chadbourn's novella The Fairy Feller's Master Stroke. I have no idea how I did it. Maybe time is rubberier than I had thought.


I got Lambchop's Is A Woman yesterday. Overall the album's a bit samey, but the second song, "New Cobweb Summer", does that strange and transcendant thing that Lou Reed's song "Coney Island Baby" does, or does to me, anyway, where it moves from being quiet and restrained to tearing its heart out and making me gasp, and the volume never increases, and it remains every bit as laid back and restrained all the way through as when it began (which is practically lying down in a straightjacket), and when it's over I still don't know how it did it. Absolute magic.