Tuesday, April 28, 2009

M-I-C. See you real soon. K-E-Y. Why? Because we love you.

Hello, readers. My posts have been fairly absent of late. This is due to many things, none of which are the swine flu, Tokyo's self-propelling goo, or Barbara Streisand. Two things to which it is actually due would be those events to which sometimes I refer (and involve my family hopefully not all deciding to die simultaneously), and also this thing here, which is a magnelephant blog started by me in which I plan on discussing everything ever. There will probably be a lot of posts about cats.

In other words (are there any other kind?), this may be my last post here, and it may not, depending on how the moon strikes me. It's been fun and this magazine will have many wonderful people, not me, working for it next year. One of them you can read her stories here and here. If you ask her nicely, maybe she will sometimes post on this blog, or poke someone else into doing it. If she pokes hard enough, that someone else maybe will sometimes be me.

One last/more/erm time, here's a list of things that I more or less found interesting enough to compose into a list, occasionally annotated by my silly serious ruminations:

The Nebula Awards have been announced. LCRW tabluates winners according to gender, which makes sense if you understand the concept of Tiptree-ian momentum.

A person with my name, along with my brain and my fingers and my ankles, has published an article in Strange Horizons called, "Imagining the Perfect Man: Science Fiction and the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin." The pictures are quite nice.

A list by John Crowley in which there are suggested many books for people, especially those with fantasy and sci-fi inclinations [taken, as are most of my ideas, from the man in black who doodles rats and doesn't--yet--have a famous album of him singing in a prison. Though there are reports of him carrying dead women in alleys.]

Happy tomorrow, readers.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Things

Hello, readers. As you may know, it's possible that the brief, but fervent, rioting over Amazon's supposedly targeted deranking of GLBT books was a lot of roused rabble over nothing, or that maybe it wasn't.

Here are things you can be sure are worth getting excited about.

A review in the New York Times of Yoshihiro Tatsumi's graphic memoir, A Drifting Life. Tetsumi, born 1935 in Osaka, Japan, came of age during the era of atomic bombs, washing machines, and Coca-Cola. This was also the era of Manga, of "big, dewy eyes; tiny mouths; piles of spiky hair." Tetsumi went a different way, though, being the manifestee of a form called gekiga, a "darker" and "often more violent" graphic style. His memoir covers all of this, the emergent culture and art, in a mere 855 pages. "It’s as if someone had taken a Haruki Murakami novel and drawn, beautifully and comprehensively, in its margins."

Neil Gaiman discusses Sir Clement Freud and Grimble.

Nathan Bransford, literary agent, challenges you to be him.

And finally, once upon a time, in an LA Times article, Seth Grahame-Smith said he had "no plans to build a classic-books-remix career." "I don't know," he said, "if I want to be the guy who writes 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' and then 'Sense and Sensibility and Vampires,' or 'Wuthering Heights Reloaded.' " And, well, he's not that guy. He's the guy who's writing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Apparently it's a historical horror remix career he's after. Next up, 'Plato versus the Blob.' Followed soon, of course, by a super historical horror remix in which Elizabeth Bennett, Abraham Lincoln, and Plato join forces to battle giant mutant rabbits.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Mobs...

That logo delights me, not necessarily because it's the prettiest or most clever logoed rage ever made, but because of what it implies concerning the world we live in, namely, that righteous crusaders/mobs/concerned and informed activists, through the interweb (especially now with Twitter and hashtags) have a remarkably easy time gathering together and taking action against perceived and/or actual injustice. This has it's downside, I suppose, as occasionally angry mobs have made mistakes, but still, it's thrilling to see how pitchforks have evolved into google bombs. Amazon Rank.

Amazon's "glitch" in which GLBT books have been deranked is wonderfully discussed here and here and here. Read and become enraged, readers. It's intoxicating.

Happy rioting.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Robot Tuesday

There's every possibility I'll be unable to post tomorrow, and there were things to important not to mention and arrange pictures about.

For one, Fantagraphics is offering 15% off their roster of Eisner nominated books. These include bits by Kevin Huizenga and John Kerschbaum, collections of Village Voice strips and the WWII cartoons of Bill Mauldin, as well as several editions of The Comics Journal. My favorite, though, based solely on the cover and description would be The Last Musketeer by Jason. "The now centuries-old Athos" panhandles and trades on his old fame until, one day, Martians invade and once again "there is a need for swashes to be buckled..."

For two, I read this past weekend a book called Genesis by Bernard Beckett. If I were to sum it up in a sentence, a perfectly reasonable thing to do, I think, I would say it's a Platonic sci-fi think-piece about what it means to be human in which there are featured: an orangutan robot, occasional laser beams, a shadowy Academy, and one very long and revelatory job interview. Also, it reminded me of a certain movie which I can't mention for fear of ruining certain things. Plus that would involve writing a second sentence about the book.

For three, A Beautiful Revolution, the blog of Andre Jordan. He wrote a book called Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now. Maybe don't visit the blog if you're in the mood for cartoons where people do not cut off their heads with a saw. It's kind of funny, though. And it might just make you smile, readers, and so maybe it's exactly the place you've been looking for all your life.

Mythical Monday

Hello, readers. I've decided this is the sort of Monday which may not exist. It's unseasonably cold and there's every chance it may rain. It's possible this is a late April Fool's joke. Nature is reliably disorganized about these things.

Here is a list of stuff which probably exists.

Samuel 'Chip' Delaney profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer. The man truly does have a fine beard. [via LHB]

More news from the future. The interstices of publishing in a world of Kindles and iPhones and gWheezits gets discussed in a New York Times article. Specific topics include: e-books, Gatsby's twitter account, inserting cutscenes within prose similar to Wing Commander III, and the one-day future of interactive electronic narratives (as in, like, interactive fiction? Not really. Video games? Nothing so ambitious. More like snazzy web-pages.)

Learn of the very important, or maybe insignificant, matter of Shakespeare's possibly being a hottie.

To sum up: "Myth isn't about something which never happened, but about something which happens over and over again." Like a certain day of the week, no?

ttfn, readers.

p.s. Yes, it is Tuesday. This only adds evidence to my theory of Monday being a myth, though.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hello Again

Hello, readers. Events occurred somewhat separate to the Book Conference which involved me reporting less than I had intended. A summary of fun will come, but for now, here are new things which are happening.

David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlases and Ghostwrittens, as well as a Black Swan Green, will have a new novel out in June 2010. [via Ed]

Gabriel Garcia Marquez retires.

Last week, Alison Bechdel graphically reviewed Jane Vandenburgh's non-graphic, plain text memoir, A Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth Century. It's beautifully done and made reading the actual book almost seem beside the point, but maybe I just have a thing for predominantly blue comic book panels. In any case, considering the fairly ubiquitous practice of textually reviewing graphic works, it seems high time the tables were turned* on the written word.

In completely unrelated news, here's one more article on the assimilation/acceptance of comic books into the literary establishment. It's actually quite cogent and my somewhat exasperated introduction shouldn't dissuade you from reading it.

The second volume of Interfictions, an anthology of interstitial writing, has a cover and it would be the rising sun swedish congolomeration pictured to your left (unless you're looking at your monitor upside down, in which case, I worry about you). Also, you can go here, and flickr your way through the pool of pictures from which the eventual cover was chosen.

*What if the table's round? Would anyone notice a round table turning? Does it mean to flip someone's table upside down, as in ha-ha, written word, you thought you were going to have a nice spaghetti dinner, but lo, now the table is upside down and your dinner but a flattened memory!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oxford Conference for the Book

Quick post, events occurring.

Today marks the beginning of the 2009 Oxford Conference for the Book. Each year, a Mississippian of artistic bent, generally deceased, gets celebrated. Last year it was Zora Neale Hurston. This year it's Walter Ingils Anderson, an author, blockprinter, and children's book illustrator, among other things.

If you're in the area, check the schedule, stop by for some of the events.

On the third floor of the University library, there's an exhibition of Mr. Anderson's watercolors and ink drawings inspired by classic works of literature (Alice in Wonderland, Paradise Lost, Don Quixote, and so forth).

Tomorrow morning (Friday morning), Trenton Lee Stewart author of The Mysterious Benedict Society will be reading and talking with fifth graders. He'll be signing books, as well, along with Jay Asher at Square Books, Jr. at 3pm.

And on Saturday, don't miss Jack Pendarvis doing something Pendarvisian at his reading alongside fellow author folk, Steve Yarborough and John Pritchard.

The whole thing ends Saturday at 6 at Off-Square, where there'll be a marathon book signing/Granta/Square Books party.

Reportage and pictures forthcoming.*

ttfn, readers.

*Unless they don't, but hopefully they will. Depends, mainly, on batteries being properly charged.