While digging out from under the post-ConFusion pile of books I set aside two new additions to the Library of Winkelman Abbey. On the left is the latest edition of Poetry magazine, and on the right is The Best of Uncanny from Subterranean Press. This is a Big Gorgeous Book and I will likely be reading the stories therein for several weeks.
Speaking of reading, I am working through the stories in the various Long List Anthologies of runners-up in the Short Fiction category from the Hugo Awards. Five of these anthologies have been published so far, and I hope the series continues as long as the Hugos are awarded.
Writing has mostly involved a few short poems and a lot of editing of the large stack of short stories. I have about half a dozen submissions out there and I have already received three rejection letters in 2020, so I am off to a rocking start!
The week leading up to ConFusion 2020 was packed and chaotic, full of kitten hijinks, shenanigans and tomfoolery. And also a few books.
The top two, Half Way Home and the Principia Discordia, I picked up at ConFusion from the stack of free books.
The bottom row starts with Franco Berardi’s Breathe: Chaos and Poetry from Semiotext(e), a publisher for whom I have re-developed a profound love. Next is This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. I picked this one up hoping that Mohtar would sign it at ConFusion but alas! she did not attend this year.
Third in the bottom row is Kameron Hurley’s The Light Brigade which I DID get signed at ConFusion, and next to it is Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway, likewise signed. I will talk more of ConFusion and books and signing in an upcoming blog post.
For reading, I managed a couple of short stories, but was too busy for much other than the usual half-hearted browsing of random internet pieces.
Yeah, ConFusion was a lot of fun.
As of yesterday we have had Poe, our little Yooper ginger kitten, for three weeks. In that time she has gone from this:
Out veterinarian say she is around five months old even though she is about as big as as three-month-old kitten. Or she was when we picked her up. Good diet, comfortable surroundings and lots of loving attention have turned her from a half-feral animal who hid in a bucket in our bathroom the first morning after her arrival, to the de facto ruler of the house, as all cat people will recognize.
I haven’t lived with cats in about fifteen years, and I have not “owned” a cat since the mid-1980s, and those were somewhat tame barn cats never allowed inside the house. So this is both a new experience and one with frequent spikes of nostalgia and deja vu.
She has adjusted well. She took to her litter box the first day and has had no accidents that we have found. She is wonderfully affectionate though still has the primal barn cat reaction to sudden loud noises or unexpected situations like my girlfriend or I changing our clothes. She is also still working on object permanence – a human being laying in a bed is fundamentally and ontologically different from that same human being walking around or sitting on the floor. And a human being sitting anywhere is an invitation to climb into a lap, which can be quite painful when the human in question is sitting on a cafe-height chair and the kitten in question has to climb the final bet because she can’t quite jump high enough to reach the lap in question in one motion.
So this experience has been absolutely wonderful so far, and we plan to keep Poe with us. We might even pick up a companion for her at some point.
Cats, I understand, do tend to accumulate.
I would say this past week was another quiet one here at the Library of Winkelman Abbey, but with a new kitten nothing is ever quiet. I did manage to get Poe to sit still long enough to enjoy Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson, the only new book to arrive in the past week.
My reading schedule is waaaaaay off for this time of year, thanks to Poe, who is distracting in the very best ways. I am reading a lot of short fiction, as I planned, and loving it! My subscriptions to Pulphouse, Amazing Stories, The Paris Review, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, etc., are finally paying off.
I have also been closely following the 2020 State of the World conversation over at The Well. Sterling, Lebkowsky and company are touching on some interesting and deeply concerning topics, as well as pointing out that the unease (to put it mildly) that Americans are feeling right now is basically how most of the rest of the world has felt for decades, and to a large extent how things have been for us for a long time, though we do tend to take pride in our ability to live in denial. Food for thought as well as loads of writing fodder.
My next literary update will likely be a little late and will certainly be loaded down with books from ConFusion 2020, which starts in FOUR DAYS!
For the past twenty years Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky have held a talk over at The Well in which they discuss the current state of the world and what that might mean for future states of the world. The talks are wide-ranging and erudite, funny and snarky and depressing and hopeful and all points in between.
This is a list of all of the talks currently available on The Well. This is as much for my own convenience as for spreading the word. If nothing else the talks are excellent sources of ideas for stories.
Welcome to the Big List of Books for 2020. This is the sixth iteration of the list of books and reading materials acquired by the Library at Winkelman Abbey. The previous five are here:
This list will continue the process started last year – book titles will link to the book publisher or distributor or other place (like Indiebound) where books can be purchased. Only as a last resort (or in the event the book was created using CreateSpace) will the link go to Amazon.
And as always, you can find the complete list of book I own over at LibraryThing, and the terribly incomplete list of books I have read over at GoodReads.
- Gibson, Andrea – Lord of the Butterflies (Button Poetry)
- McGuire, Seanan – Every Heart a Doorway
- Hurley, Kameron – The Light Brigade
- Berardi, Franco “Bifo” – Breathing: Chaos and Poetry (Semiotext(e))
- El-Mohtar, Amal and Gladstone, Max – This Is How You Lose the Time War
- Landsman, Keren – The Heart of the Circle (Angry Robot)
- Eichenlaub, Anthony – Honor in an Age of Metal and Men
- Bell, E.D.E. – Diamondsong (Atthis Arts)
- Bell, E.D.E. (ed.) – Five Minutes at Hotel Stormcove (Atthis Arts)
- Bell, E.D.E. (ed.) – As Told By Things (Atthis Arts)
- Marsalis – Apeman Rex
- Steinmetz, Ferrett – The Sol Majestic
- Pike, J. Zachary – A Song of Three Spirits (Gnomish Press)
- Sanford, Jason – Heaven’s Touch and Other Science Fiction Dreams
- Sanford, Jason – Never Never Stories
- Cipri, Nino – Homesick (Dzanc Books)
- Eichorn, Shannon – Rights of Use (Astra Invicta Publishing)
- Stewart, Glynn – Starship’s Mage (Faolan’s Pen Publishing)
- Hurley, Kameron – Empire Ascendant (Angry Robot)
- Hurley, Kameron – The Broken Heavens (Angry Robot)
- Gibbs, Mary Lynne – The Dragon’s Curse (Dragon’s Roost Press)
- Cieslak, Michael – Urbane Decay (Source Point Press)
- Principia Discordia (Steve Jackson Games)
- Howey, Hugh – Half Way Home
- Thomas, Lynne M. and Thomas, Michael Damian (eds.) – The Best of Uncanny (Subterranean Press)
- Poetry #215.5 (February 2020)
- Kim, Sagwa – b, Book, and Me (Two Lines Press)
- Murnane, Gerald – Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs (And Other Stories)
- VanderMeer, Jeff – Dead Astronauts
- Berardi, Franco “Bifo” – The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance (Semiotext(e))
- Jacobin #26 (Winter 2020)
- The Invisible Committee– The Coming Insurrection (Semiotext(e))
- Tikkanen, Märta – The Love Story of the Century (Deep Vellum)
- That We May Live (Two Lines Press)
- Poetry #215.6 (March 2020)
Poe has been with us a little over a week, and in that time we discovered that (a) Poe is a girl, and (b), she is extremely affectionate, going from half-feral when we got her into the house, to insisting on sitting on our laps, shoulders and heads.
No new books here in the first week of the year, and my reading time has been limited. I am still working my way through Sayak Valencia’s Gore Capitalism, and opened up Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus (again) just for some light reading. I also finished all the stories in issue 7 of Pulphouse, which is a truly excellent magazine. I am glad they are back in business and are making a good go of it.
This past Thursday, January 2, I went back to work after almost two weeks off for the holidays. More importantly, I started in on my new morning routine, which is really more of a clarification and expansion of my old morning routine. It goes something like this: Wake up every morning at 5:30. Work out for about 45 minutes. Do writing stuff for an hour and a half. Work out for fifteen more minutes. Get ready for work.
The writing stuff is broken up by day. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I write. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I edit. on Friday, I submit. That meant that this past week I got in one day of editing and one day of submitting. It worked well; I got in some good edits on three poems and submitted four older poems to three journals. We will see how this goes. As a sub-goal I will try to send out about five submissions a week of variously assembled packets of poems and whichever of my large slush pile of short stories are ready to send out into the world.
As I get fully into my routine, which will likely happen in February, I may adjust some things to account for my girlfriend’s new morning schedule when she starts her new job, and the wants, needs and demands of the kitten.
Poe welcomes you to the new year.