Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"Never use goats when there's an R in the month!"

I woke up to an emailed warning that I might be about to have spammed LiveJournal again. As the Webelf explained, the good news was she'd fixed one of our Blogger problems, and turned off the Feed while she was doing it-- "The bad news is I'm fairly sure that when I turn it back on again, it will spam Livejournal and cause lots of hate mail for you. (And lots of happy letters to me about pink mink whips, if precedent holds.)I'm not entirely sure how to avoid that, at the moment.. should I offer myself up to send pre-emptive apologies?" but as far as I can tell, it's only randomly reposted one entry, and not even a long one at that.

So we're now on new Blogger and things should be working. Fingers crossed. Toes crossed. Touch wood. Not that I'm superstitious or anything but where Blogger is concerned (spits over left shoulder, flings salt on the lucky goat-talisman, does the good-luck jig, pockets his powdered imitation rhinoceros horn and a bottle of coloured sand from the Isle of Wight) you never know...


From issue 551 of Locus, "Locus Looks at Short Fiction", by Nick Gevers

In the '50s, there was a particularly enjoyable kind of SF in which present day people were abruptly confronted with beings whose enticing alienness threw contemporary society into goofy relief -- Henry Kuttner wrote this way a lot, sometimes with C.L. Moore, and William Tenn did a good job of it too. Neil Gaiman's brilliant story "How to Talk to Girls at Parties", collected in Fragile Things and reprinted in F&SF in January, pleasurably recalls such tales, as its teenage male protagonist and friend, wandering London streets a few decades back on quests gregarious and hormonal, stumble on a party where foreign girls -- really foreign girls -- are to be found in numbers. The eerie confidences vouchsafed by these girls, masterfully weird, gradually impress on the testosteronized consciousnesses of the boys that something very odd is going on. Several sorts of longing are engaged here, all familiar to a genre audience. Gaiman knows his readers well, and depicts their younger selves heart and soul. A superb, disconcerting portrait.
which made me happy, not because it's a good review, but because the story got compared to Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore). I'm pretty sure their story "Vintage Season" was somewhere in the back of my mind for taste and texture when I was writing HTTTGAP. It's a story, like "All Mimsy Were the Borogroves", that is there in my head from when I was a boy, and that I've not gone back to for so long.

(That's interesting -- a google tells me that "All Mimsy..." has been filmed -- and the Best of Henry Kuttner is coming back into print as The Last Mimzy And Other Stories, which a small cause for celebration. (The back in printness, not the retitling.)

(And being compared to William Tenn (Phil Klass) makes me smile.)

Did you know that peoplw who are your characters can now get a tee shirt?

No, I didn't. But I'm glad they can. Only female people, though, obviously. Male characters would still have to write it on their hands in felt-pen.

Incidentally, I learned (via Mark Evanier) about Amazon's 30 Day Price Guarantee -- -- and was as thrilled to see a phone number for Amazon customer service (1-800-201-7575; to get a human right away, dial extension 7) in the article. I don't think I'm ever going to go and check the price of things I bought over a 30 day period, but there are now services that will do that for you...

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