Ethel & Her Weird Friends

Ethel invites the most interesting people over.  Here she is with Mei Leng and Jesse.  Mei Leng is explaining what she wants to do to George Bush.  The snappy dresser is Jess.  Yeah.  The man’s wearing a skirt and an un-American hat.  Ethel, the head of this sleeper cell, listens attentively with her right ear (behind Jesse).  No one has explained the glowing eyes looking out of the pile of coats on the radiator to the left of Jesse’s head.  A terrorist, you think?  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.  Now go buy something.

Technical Assistance

Dallas friend Floyd Phelps sent me the following anecdote from the canyon we used to call the Generation Gap:

I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Richard, the 11-year-old across the street, whose bedroom looks like Mission Control and asked him to come over.
Richard clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem. As he was walking away, I called after him, “So, what was wrong?�
He replied, ‘It was an ‘ID ten T’ error.â€�
I didn’t want to appear stupid, but asked, ‘An ‘ID ten T’ error? What’s that?  In case I need to fix it again.â€�
Richard grinned.  “Haven’t you ever heard of an ‘ID ten T’ error before?”
�No,� I replied.
â€�Write it down,â€� he said. “I think you’ll figure it out.â€�
So I wrote down:       “I D 1 0 T�
I used to like the little shit.

Gaiman talk

I’ve been asked by a student group called Literati at VCU to join Tom De Haven in a discussion of Neil Gaiman’s work.  Tom will talk about his graphic novels, and I’m to tackle his prose fiction.  I’ve been reading Fragile Things in preparation and am finding it delightful.  He’s grown a great deal as a short fiction writer since Smoke and Mirrors.  The only book of his that’s disappointed me has been Stardust.  It’s not bad just ordinary.  I think his particular brand of magic and humor works best in a modern setting.   I loved both Neverwhere and Anansi Boys.  I liked American Gods but wasn’t as impressed with it as one is supposed to be.  The event will be in Hibbs 308 at 4:30 this evening.

Story sold to Space and Time

I just heard from Space and Time that they will be publishing “Small Motel,” a weird alien abduction story—or maybe the narrator’s totally nuts—or both.  I don’t know the date yet, but till then, the opening paragraph:

First, they made a starship that looked like a replica of a small motel out west somewhere with its own stretch of blacktop, then abducted us.  American Owned, it said, because all the ones they’d seen had that right next to the Vacancy sign.  Most of them were probably lying too.  Jim, the alien at the front desk, big, fat, and expansive in his manner, told me I was a card when I asked him what planet he came from, but I kept after him.