August 2009


I’m working on a story starring some of these fellows called “All the Snake Handlers I Know Are Dead.”

I saw District 9 by Neill Blomkamp yesterday, and I still can’t get the last frame out of my head.  That such an image could matter to me, that I would care at all, much less have it haunt me, is a testament to what science fiction can do.  There’s tons of pointless techno second guessing surrounding this film in the reviews I’ve read—how does the pooba work huh?  And why don’t they explain …  Thank you, Neill Blomkamp, for not explaining all the time.  SF doesn’t need any more di-lithium crystals.  There are the usual round of reviews saying it’s good and hence not really science fiction.  I can’t help those people.  One reviewer didn’t seem to think Blomkamp was aware this isn’t a happy ending.  No—I think he got that part.  And I’m still getting it.  I loved this film.

Check this out.  The cover for the Datlow cat anthology.  I’m one of the Many Others.

I’ve been having computer problems, a dead hard drive, so I haven’t been posting.  I can’t watch the health care “debate.”  So much concentrated ignorance overloads my despair circuits.  The current system works fine folks say.  Take my case:  Because I was diagnosed with cancer last year, Sarah and I married, and I got on her health insurance, so that when I had a heart attack, I was insured and was able to survive and not be bankrupt afterwards.  Without last year’s cancer and Sarah’s state job, I’d be toast today.  Now who says that isn’t good healthcare?

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately, including a science fiction short story writer of some renown.  I had to stop reading the collection, however, because of the ill-advised afterwords appended to each story.  Each one was a “poor me” whine reminding the reader of his unappreciated genius, following with a bit of crowing about how brilliant the story was.  I found them okay, but he’s pretty much a one-trick pony far as I can tell, and the whining just got on my nerves.  The marketplace has been hard on us all, buddy.

Photographs of lightning, actually.  One of my characters is a photographer.  Isn’t this a beauty?

While working on a short story this morning, I thought of “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold.  It’s one of those poems that found its way into my personal anthology many years ago and has stayed there ever since.  I love many things about it.  This morning it’s the sounds.  Enjoy.

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.