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Some of you know, I had a pumpkin carving date with Claire Sunday night before sunset. (We don't trust Oliver with any kind of knives. He might make lightsaber noises with it and start dicing.)

I think the thing that amused me most about all this is at some point when we were scooping out the pumpkin guts, Claire decided my pumpkin was a vampire pumpkin, and she was turning into a vampire pumpkin herself. She got really into waving her hands all around, and doing the Bela Lugosi voice. She especially liked putting the cut pumpkin teeth from my Jack-O-Lantern in her mouth, which was kind of awesomely gross.

Part of what amuses me about this is the poor thing is still traumatized from stumbling across this book in her classroom. (I'm not kidding about this, either. We're talking mortal fear here. Clearly, we haven't listened to the Ghostbusters song enough this year.)

So I was happy that for a little while, she was able to embrace and tease the scary.




I really need to read Bunnicula to her at some point soon...

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween!

One Brew to Rule Them All...

So, WFC is tomorrow, but I feel like it's already kind of started. This past weekend, I got to hang out with bogwitch64, voidmonster, and kirizal, as well as meet Terri's husband. And last week, a special little package showed up on my doorstep. One filled with some very interesting bottles. Observe - PodCastleAle!





A couple months back, I talked to a PodCastle listener* who happened to let slip that her husband was a homebrewer. I got to thinking...we have a lot of magical awesome magical things in the ol' PodCastle (Electric Pentacles, Possible Swords, Wonder Scout Uniforms) but one thing that's missing is a fine beer. We don't just drink any meager beer. We're a fantasy podcast, and thus, we want a beer that's fantastic. Thus was born PodCastAle - one brew to rule them all, and in the darkness...er, drink them? It's what's for second breakfast? How about...Man, I had a rough night, and I hate the fucking eagles, man. Anyway, it's a very good beer, and I'm drinking it. Right now.

See you all at WFC this weekend!

(Come by and say hi! Even if I am all out of beer by the time you see me!)

*Many, many thanks to the awesome Dani Daly and her alchemist husband Brian who sent me this really awesome beer. It's FANTASTIC.

I Will Shortly Be Consumed By My TBR Pile

Please note: This is not a complaint.

I've talked some before about my TBR Pile. But HOLY GOD this is a whole new level. My actual Currently Reading pile is throttling me.

I'm currently reading:

Embassytown, by China Mieville (Hardback)
Clementine, by Cherie Priest (e-book)
Black Hills, by Dan Simmons (e-book)
Something Wicked This Way Comes*, by Ray Bradbury (audiobook I downloaded)
Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire (audiobook from my library)
Metatropolis, by Scalzi, Bear, Buckell, Lake, and Schroeder (audiobook I downloaded)

This does not count the two comic books I'm reading (Witchfinder, Batman and Robin) or the (literally) 10+ collections/anthologies I've been playing musical bedside table with. And there are at least three other books I want to start reading ASAP, but I probably won't crack them until after WFC.

(Oh, wow. I know I'm going to pick up a few books at WFC.)

I need to take a reading sabbatical. Among a bunch of other sabbatical things.

*One of the other things I have to do is blog about rereading this book. I remembered it being great, but I'm kind of shocked by how amazing it still is.


Been a rough week for comic books.

I mentioned earlier about the whole Starfire controversy in which a seven-year-old explains what we want to see from female characters.

Then, yesterday, reviews for Frank Miller's Holy Terror started going live. Ouch. I'm sure I've talked about my disdain for this comic in the past, as far back as when it was going to be a Batman comic. But basically, the premise is Batman vs. Al Qaeda, and it sounds even worse now than it did then. Muslims are of course the villains (it is the war on terror, yo! - Who else?) there's a mosque in Manhattan funded by Muslim terrorists, for Muslim terrorists. Essentially, it sounds like Miller is saying, "If you're a Muslim, you're part of the problem."

According to Frank Miller, this was supposed to be the equivalent of him doing propaganda - you know, like Superman or Captain America punching Hitler in the face. Except, Seal Team Six already actually beat him to the punch on that one, I guess? And as Saladin Ahmed points out in the comments over at Tor.com's review, it actually demonizes an entire people group, not a political figure.

Also over at Tor.com, blogger Tim Callahan talks about why he enjoys Miller's work so much. He makes some interesting points - not so much about this book itself, but about Miller's archetypes. For example: "Frank Miller's villains are vile and disfigured." He goes on to call them one dimensional.

I got to thinking about that.

(Let's not even get started on people with disabilities and/or deformities and/or GLBT. I'm looking at you, 300.)

I soured on Frank Miller somewhere during Sin City, I think. I avoided The Dark Knight Strikes Again because of what friends had told me about it and what he did to Dick Grayson. And All-Star Batman and Robin? Goddamned Bah. For those who don't know (SPOILER ALERT) Dick Grayson (AKA the original Robin) turns out to be the Bad Guy in the Dark Knight Strikes Again. Now, this could actually be a good plot twist, if handled well. But as we know, Miller's villains are all very one dimensional, and I'm pretty sure Grayson's never given much depth or layering in DKSA. And I'm kind of confused by how any comic book writer could have such hatred for Dick Grayson to make him a one note villain. If you're gonna write that shit, it better be Shakespearean.

Somewhere, there should be a picture of Dick Grayson punching Frank Miller in the face. Because that would be AWESOME. (I would also be happy to accept Nightrunner, Superman, and/or Batman doing the same deal.)

Then again, maybe it should be one of the above kissing Frank Miller's cheek, because he seems to enjoy hating people (and being hated) a little too much. Wouldn't it be nice if he could learn a little platonic love and acceptance?

What happened to you, Frank Miller? We thought you were a golden god, but right now, you smell more like that yellow bastard.

So I guess I missed this yesterday (dayjob is insane), but it's worth pointing it out to anyone else who might've missed it: fantasy author Michele Lee showed her 7-year-old daughter - a big fan of comic book superheroine Starfire - part of the new comic book Starfire was in. It's worth you checking out

A lot of people are complaining in the comments there and at io9.com that of course the kid doesn't like it. She's seven. The book is rated "Teen." Also: OMG your 7-year-old knows the word "boobs"? What a horrible mother!

These people are missing the point.

It is not about boobs or ratings.

It is about a female character actually doing important stuff. And then, becoming a bikini clad prop.

Do better, DC, For the seven year-olds in all of us.

Dandelion Wine - the Movie?

I read last night on Tor.com that Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine might be making it's way to the big screen. Funnily enough, I also just finished listening to Dandelion Wine yesterday (albeit, read by a different reader than the one mentioned in the article, but one I enjoy listening to). And I'm left wondering...huh? How are they going to pull that off?

i should admit, Dandelion Wine's not one of my favorite Bradbury's - not by a long shot. I read it about 10 years ago, and thought maybe I was just too cynical at that time in my life, and would get more out of it in audio. I did, although it's still nowhere near my favorites. (Before, I really only remembered two of the stories - the "The Happiness Machine" and "Lonely One" - this time, only a few others hit me "The Night," "Madame Tarot," and "Dinner at Dawn").

I guess if they cut out all the stories that don't involve Tom and Doug, then maybe? But then we'd lose at least one of my favorite stories.

Anyone have any opinions? Excited about the possibility of a Dandelion Wine movie, or should we just his remakes of Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes?
Anyone know?

Or, anyone read/recommend/not recommend it?

Bullshit and Blasephemy

Hurley's mom said it best: "Jesus Christ is not a weapon."

This week at PodCastle we reprinted Leah Bobet's hilarious and awesome "The Parable of the Shower," read by Laurice White. You should give it a listen.

So I was supposed to write and record an introduction for it when the Orson Scott Card outrage started going off in rapid succession (for non-regular LJ folk, Jim C. Hines has a really good write-up about it all, but I first read William Alexander's review of "Hamlet's Father" over Rain Taxi). So at PodCastle, I went on a little rant in the intro, essentially calling bullshit and blasephemy.

The "bullshit" tag is probably obvious. Here's why I call blasephemy: If one of Jesus's two greatest commandments is to "Love your neighbor as yourself," then suggesting that because someone is gay they are not only indisputably evil but also probably a pedophile (which is "the moral" quite a few people have read from this book)? That's about as unloving as you can be.

It should be noted that I really like quite a bit of what I've read of Orson Scott Card's fiction - specifically Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, and The Worthing Saga. I just grabbed Ender's Shadow from my library to listen to. It should also be noted that I haven't read Hamlet's Father, and probably will not. This one falls right around Left Behind for me - I wouldn't mind reading it one day, just to really be able to rage against it better, but there are a lot of other books I'd rather be reading first.

No blasephemy but just as much bullshit: Over at Genreville, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown talk about how an agent offered representation for their YA SF book on the condition they either a) turn their gay protagonist into a straight protagonist, or b) completely cut out the character.
Last month Daniel Abraham had a really thoughtful post on rebooting in general, and how it can help mythologize a character. And over the last few years, I feel like I'm more open to the possibility of rebooting stuff than I was, say, when Marvel's Ultimate line of comics came out. So I'm insanely curious about the whol DCU reboot. I doubt I'll pick up any of the single issues, but I'm pretty sure I'll check out some of the TPBs.

What I wanted to ask you all about, though, is this: why does the DCU reboot sound so intriguing, as opposed to say Marvel's "Brand New Day" Spiderman storyline, which just always sounded so incredibly stupid to me? Is it the framing device? The ham-fisted "explanation" of Marvel? Or something else?
Guys guys guys! My story "God-Shaped Box" is available in audio! And holy crap look who read it - Larry Santoro, who did one of my favorite ever Escape Pod stories and readings: Eugie Foster's "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest, Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast. " 

"God-Shaped Box" has a special place in my heart - and I've always thought it works best being read aloud. I've read it 2-3 times to audiences (most recently at Conjecture), and I'm always kind of thrilled/shocked/intimidated by how quiet the people listening get.

Larry gave my story a kickass reading too, and I'm really kind of humbled to hear him reading a stor y of mine.

So if you've got 20 minutes, check it out, and if you're so inclined, leave a comment over at the Journey Into... website, and tell Marshal how much you enjoyed it.
For the past few months I've been wandering the musty hallways of PodCastle muttering madly to anyone who will listen: Gene Wolfe. Gene. Fucking. Wolfe.


People looked at me oddly. Because, of course, they had no idea why I'd use Mr. Wolfe's name so.


Well, now it can be told. PodCastle's running a Gene Wolfe story this week: "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories." It's an amazing story, and Ben Phillips, formerly of Pseudopod, gave it a really nice read. (It's amazing how easily he slips into the role of Doctor Death if you ask me.)


It took us a looooooooooooooooooong time to be able to get the rights for this one, but it was totally worth it. (And I can't thank csecooneyenough for helping make it all happen. See? I just thanked her again.)



So drop on by and give it a listen. It's an amazing story, and like all the stories at PodCastle, totally free to listen to. Enjoy!

Do You Need That Old Blade Runner Magic?

Here's something I never thought I'd see - Ridley Scott is going to make another Blade Runner movie: http://m.deadline.com/2011/08/ridley-scott-ready-to-direct-new-version-of-seminal-sci-fi-film-blade-runner/

(Sorry that link is weird - my LJ's all wonky.)

Nobody knows whether it's going to be a prequel (featuring the Mars Mutiny) or a sequel (possibly with Ford, but hopefully featuring new characters).

You know, if you had told me this a couple years ago, I would've a) scoffed, and b) thought it was a horrible idea, because PREQUELS.

Now, I'm a little more optimistic. A lot of that has to do with the buzz I'm hearing about Promotheus, the pseudo-prequel to Scott's other SF fling - Alien. I think we could be in for something special with that one. So I'm trying to be cautiously optimistic with this news. No, it's not Scott doing an original SF movie, but it could be a very good SF movie. It could also be Jar Jar horrible. So for now, I'm flying casual.

What a Long, Awesome Trip That Was

Hello, LJ and You All Everybody. I have been on vacation for two weeks and 4,000 miles (from LA to South Dakota to Montana to Idaho to Washington to Oregon and back down the Pacific Coast), saw parts of the country I'd never seen before, met cool people I hadn't met in the flesh before, visited with family and friends, and it was GOOD.

But I'm back now. (At least until Thurdsay, when I leave for a wedding.) 

How are you all? What did I miss? (Aside from, an incredible amount of spam?)

Heading Out Late to Bordertown

This weekend, we posted the latest PodCastle Spotlight: Welcome to Bordertown. I realize that most of the people on my f-list are already familiar with this excellent collection, and lots of other shows and blogs have covered it, but I think we put together something special (namely - you get to listen to Amal El-Mohtar's (aka: tithenai's song performed by her sister, which just sounds so amazing). But mostly, I love this collection, and I hope more people will check the book (and the Spotlight) out.

(Also, my glorious co-editor Anna totally pwns me at the end - which I'm sure is totally worth the price of admission.)

After reading this io9 article about what series should/could replace Harry Potter at the theaters (my personal opinion - none of them. We'll have to wait 20 years to see what the next most awesome thing that captures everyone's imagination is), it would be so sooooooooooo awesome if someone made a Bordertown TV show. It could have an epic, mystery, lots of teenage angst, humor, and most of all: it'd be FUN.

Yeah, I know it's a pipe dream, but I'd watch the hell out of that every week.

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Hollywood? Make This Freaking Happen!

I know a lot of people feel Johnny Depp is...overexposed as of late. As much as I love Jack Sparrow (and I do), I get that. I'm glad he's not Oz, and I hope he doesn't do anymore Willie Wonka/Mad Hatter nonsense. But people - pleasefortheloveofGOD make a Kolchak the Night Stalker movie with Johnny Depp as Kolchak. Yeah, I know, I know, he's not Darren McGavin. You know who else he isn't? Stuart Townsend. And if you get that reference, you know exactly what the hell I'm talking about!

Depp's been doing this kind of thing ever since Sleepy Hollow and the Ninth Gate. Hell. Hell, the Ninth Gate could've been an Elseworlds Kolchak story. Point is, Depp can play this, and play it good.

Dammit, MAKE THIS HAPPEN! Because as it appears I'm not going to get any new X-Files anytime soon, I would love to see this one. Like yesterday.

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Journey On...With Extra Cyberpunk!



We drove up the coast this past weekend with the kids, and I've been remiss in posting this. My short story Cyberpunk is up at the fantastic new Journey Into...! podcast. Marshal Latham did an amazing job with the production on it - made it full cast production (and let me be Cyberpunk!), did some awesome effects and music, and in the end, I feel like I can safely he say he made the story better than it was before. He also made me feel like I was listening to Variant Frequencies again.

I'm going to get ego-tistical in a second, but before I do that, let me say you really should check out Journey Into...! Not just because of my story, but because of the awesome old time-y adaptation Marshal ran of Ray Bradbury's "Zero Hour." It's a blast, and it works so well. Also, in addition to older radio plays, he's got stories coming from writers like Tim Pratt and David Barr Kirtley that I really can't wait to hear. It's a podcast to watch, er, listen to, and I'm really thrilled to be a part of it.
 
So...author's note thing. The story behind "Cyberpunk" is an interesting one. Long time readers/listeners will remember that a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I podcasted a children's book called The Unbelievable Origin of Superspiff and the Toothpick Kid. In that book, the kids loved this comic book called Cyberpunk, and I wrote an issue of it, and inserted it into the actual novel. It ended on something of a cliffhanger, as some comic books do, and this is that story.

Ever since I posted it, Marshal's been asking me about more Cyberpunk. Like a webcomic or graphic novel or something. Just more. Then he started this podcast, and told me he wanted Cyberpunk on it, but not just that old story. He wanted MORE. So now, I'm writing more. At least two more issues. And hopefully more.  And I'm having a blast doing it. It's almost as good as getting to write comic books.

And check out that cover art by Bo Kaier? I emailed him to tell him it was like Jim Lee's X-Men, The Matrix, and Neuromancer all rolled into one. He told me it was actually Lee's X-Men, The Matrix, and Deckard from Blade Runner. Which in a lot of ways, makes way more sense. It's just perfect.

So if you dig it, please head on over and leave him a comment, and if you've got time, please check out the other awesome stuff Marshal's featuring there.
Thanks to everyone for the warm fuzzies regarding our anniversary this weekend! We had a great time - went out to Duke's in Huntington which is a favorite of ours when we're flying without the kids. We had macadamia-nut crusted halibut, spicy sugar cane shrimp, and Hula Pie for dessert. Emma had a glass of red wine, and I had one of those drinks that comes with a slice of pineapple and an umbrella. It was fun!

Somehow, we managed to survive the 4th of July. Just. Barely. While we were out in the ocean teaching our kids to body board, my cousin stepped on a stingray. Luckily nothing happened to him. My other cousin stepped on, we think, the same stingray, and got a stinger in the foot. He's going to be fine, but was in incredible pain yesterday (and I like to think he's pretty tough). We're all hoping the kids will not be afraid of stepping on stingrays next time they're out in the ocean.

I started reading C.C. Finlay's The Patriot Witch the last week, something I'd planned on doing last year around the 4th of July, due to bogwitch64's praise. It's got magic, American history, and best of all - QUAKER WITCHES AND WIZARDS. It just seems like the kind of book that benefits from being read over the 4th. I've kind of torn through it...and am wondering if I should dig into book #2 after I finish it - something I haven't done for a long time. It's a fun read. Also, I am seriously considering being out of town for the 4th next year. Maybe taking the family to Colonial Williamsburg. (No, seriously.) This has nothing do with stingrays. (No, seriously.)

Hope you all had a swell 4th (and 5th)!

Twelve

Today, around six-thirty-ish, Emma and I will have been married for twelve years. Sometimes - a lot of times - that sounds longer than it actually feels. Other times, it's like - hard to imagine we had lives before this, you know? 


I love being married to Emma. She makes me want to be so much better than I am. And? She's totally awesome and gorgeous and my best friend. I am a very lucky dude.  
 
Last week, Oliver started preschool.  

 



It's not been exactly the easiest transition for him, but the benefits are already obvious. He's learning, he's communicating better, and after a bit of upset when I initially drop him off, he's having fun.

Friday, on the way to school, we decided to play Star Wars in the car. Claire said, "I get to be Princess Leia! Daddy, who are you gonna be?"

"Well, I'm driving, so I'm Han Solo." 

"Who is Oliver going to be? Chewie?"

"No!" shouted Ollie. "I be Little Solo." 

As you can imagine, my geek heart just about burst. I've got cool kids. 

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He WAS The Goddamned Batman

Over at the PodCastle forums, we've been having an awesome discussion about Conan. It's put me in a reflective mood about Fantasy fiction and its roots, and the baggage that comes with that.

So when I read this piece about Frank Miller's new comic, I'm left wondering, man. WTF ever happened to Frank Miller? The guy who wrote one of the most subversive superhero comics of his time (The Dark Knight Returns, for those keeping score) has said about his new comic book, in which a new superhero battles Al Qaeda, "Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That's one of the things they're there for ... It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a piece of propaganda."

Really? Let's go back to comic books as propaganda is your high concept?

Miller wrote some great comics in his time. The afforementioned Batman; additionally Batman: Year One, and his run on Daredevil (everything Elektra and also Born Again). I think you could make a good case for him of helping to create the woman in the freezer trope, but I'd suggest the emotional reaction he got from fans for killing Elektra was something that a whole generation of comic book readers would hold up a defining moment in the medium.

I've been burned out on reading Miller's stuff for a while now. Sin City looked stylish, but talk about obejtifying women. I never did pick up because I'd heard about some of the dialogue (I'm the goddamned Batman. Really?) annoyed me so much, I even tried riffing off it in a superhero story of my own.

About the only good thing I can say about this is that someone made the wise decision to not make it a Batman comic (it was, at one point, supposed to be Batman fighting Al Qaeda called, Holy Terror, Batman).
So, yeah, I think I'm gonna pass on this one. I'm way more interested in checking out Lavie Tidhar's Osama.


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