June 2009


She can’t quite decide to take the plunge—

From the love correspondence of Governor Mark Sanford:  “There are but 50 governors in my country and outside of the top spot, this is as high as you can go in the area I have invested the last 15 years of my life — my getting here came as no small measure because I had that foundation of love and support so critical to getting up in the morning and feeling you could give and risk because you already had a full tank of love in the emotional bank account.”

Kind of gives you a lump in your throat, don’t it?

Working on classic comic fantasies Topper and Harvey for the urban fantasy class, I’m struck how central the notion of naughtiness and sin are to both of them.  I often use the following quotation when I teach the wonderful Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, but I think Thorne Smith and Mary Chase would agree:

It is probable that nearly all who think of conduct at all, think of it too much; it is certain that we all think too much of sin … To make our ideal of morality center on forbidden acts is to defile the imagination and to introduce into our judgments of our fellow-men a secret element of gusto.  If a thing is wrong for us, we should not dwell upon the thought of it; or we shall soon dwell upon it with inverted pleasure.  If we cannot drive it from our minds—one thing of two:  either our creed is in the wrong and we must more indulgently remodel it; or else, if our morality be in the right, we are criminal lunatics and should put our persons in restraint.  Gentleness and cheerfulness, these come before all morality; they are the perfect duties.  And it is the trouble with moral men that they have neither the one nor the other.

… If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong.  I do not say “give them up,? for they may be all you have; but conceal them like a vice, lest they should spoil the lives of better and simpler people.

—from Robert Louis Stevenson, Across the Plains

I just finished up this summer’s science fiction class and as usual polled the class on what should stay and what should go.  Star Wars, though it held nostalgic memories for some, proved to be pretty thin broth seeing it now.  The most popular film was Children of Men, trouncing all competition.

William Gibson, whose Neuromancer always fares poorly these days, did no better with Count Zero.  Oh well, I enjoyed rereading it.  Joe Haldeman’s incredible The Fovever War was the most popular book, and I’ll definitely teach it again.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the second most unpopular novel was also the second most popular—The Man in the High Castle.

I got the terrific news that “Healing Benjamin” (to appear later this year in the resurrected Realms of Fantasy) has been selected to be in Ellen Datlow’s February 2010 anthology of fantastic cat stories, Tails of Wonder, from Night Shade.  Ellen is one of my favorite editors—I’m thrilled and honored.  This will make February an eventful month.  “Texas Beach” will be coming out in Richmond Noir, and Wilderness will be reissued by HarperCollins.  I’ve gotten a peek at the cover art for that, and it’s way sexy—as it should be.  It’s always gotten dark, horror covers before, and werewolves notwithstanding, it’s not a horror novel.

I know

the wino

who lives on your block.

He doesn’t speak

and doesn’t walk

very well.

He lives in Hell,

though technically

he’s homeless,

no address,

lives rent free

between the

Dumpster and the

deli,

till winter comes,

numbs his toes.

Then I don’t know

where he goes.

The wino

I know

has noplace else to go.

The radio off,

rushing waters sing haiku

written on clean flesh.