Daily Archives: November 17, 2008

A Moment of Minor Humiliation, Coupled With a Request Regarding Books

As I’ve noted earlier, I’m fantastically disorganized, and that’s not been helpful in the particular case of sending out books to people I’ve promised them to. However, just the other day, my super-efficient and otherwise incredibly awesome wife delivered unto me a whole bunch of shipping boxes and envelopes, so that I can finally send off these oft-delayed books.

At which point I find I’ve lost mailing addresses and names of the people to whom I owe books.

Because I suck.

So: If I owe you a book, either through a contest here on Whatever or through some other promise, will you please send me an e-mail with your mailing address and the name of the book I promised to send you? Because now I have the tools to send your books, and wish to, so they will not loiter on my conscience. Put “YOU OWE ME A BOOK” in the subject header so I’ll be able to tell your e-mail apart from the rest.

And yes, please send another e-mail to me even if you recently sent one, because, well. My e-mail in-box these days. You don’t want to know.

For those of you to whom I do not owe a book but who think this might be a nifty time to try to snake one out of me: I assure you that while I do not immediately remember to whom I owe books, once they send their requests, it’ll come back to me. And anyway, it’s not nice to take advantage of a forgetful author. Your karma cries out to you. And so on.

Thanks, folks, and to those who have been waiting for books, my abject apologies.

The Pulps and the Electronic World

PBS’ MediaShift Web site has an article called “Pulp Magazines Struggle to Survive in Wired World,” in which I am quoted rather extensively (indeed, I have my own section in the article) about science fiction print magazines, their online counterparts, and what it all means in the long run for literary science fiction. You’ll not be surprised that I am not hugely optimistic about the long-term prospects for the print magazines at the moment, although you may be surprised to discover that I think their current situation has less to do with the Web than it has to do with what they were doing even before then (or more accurately, what they weren’t doing).

I have more thoughts on the state of the pulps than made it into the article, of course. I would share them with you now, but my wife just came through the door with dinner. So that’s what I’m going to do in the short term. Nevertheless I encourage you to check out the article, and I might come back to the topic later.

Quick Thoughts on the Obama Interview

You know, the one that ran on 60 Minutes last night.

1. The dude’s got seriously wacky ears. I mean, I knew before that they were large and stuck out from his head — you can’t miss that — but during the interview I found myself unaccountably fascinated with them. They just, you know, don’t look normal. And I’m fine with that, since I didn’t vote for him on account of his shapely pinnae. Still wacky, though.

2. One thing I find interesting about Obama is that he seems perfectly happy to say “that’s something I’m not going to talk about” when he’s asked a question about something he doesn’t want to talk about. He did that at his first president-elect press conference (on the subject of his security briefings) and he did it again last night on the subject of cabinet appointments. He doesn’t hem or haw or dance around the fact he’s not talking about something, he just says he’s not talking about it. I wonder how long it’s going to take before the press gets really tired of that; they’re used to presidents not saying anything, just in a really long-winded way that gives them something to quote. Obama’s terseness is not to their advantage.

3. I got a big, goofy grin on my face when Obama mentioned that he used to live near Harold’s Chicken Shack. Since he’s in Hyde Park, I know exactly which Harold’s Chicken Shack he’s talking about because I used to live near it too, although not at the same time Obama did (he started teaching at the U of C the year after I left). It’s a little weird to have a president who lives in one of your old neighborhoods and eats at the same fast-food chicken place you did. Also, for the rest of you: Harold’s is the bomb. If you’re not in Chicago, you really don’t know what you’re missing.

4. As I type this I’m having an IM conversation with a friend of mine who is noting that the Obamas are very much like we are, “we” being the polyglot generation of well-educated, relatively affluent 30- and 40-somethings who are the first post-boomer, post-yuppie set of grownups out there. With the caveat that I’m not silly enough to say that I feel like I know Obama or that we share a special bond (a Chicago bond! w00t!), I think my friend is right, and watching the interview last night I certainly got that vibe as well. It’s why — among other reasons, to be sure — I desperately hope he doesn’t screw things up. When you look at your president and for the first time see someone like you, it makes a difference.

Also, I suspect it means I’m getting old. But never mind that now.

Me Not Here Online

Want me in someplace not here? Today, you have two options:

1. There’s a brief interview with me at Barnes & Noble’s Book Club area, discussing Agent to the Stars. Go here and scroll down to the ninth message and you’ll find me.

2. Time Traveler has audio of me and Jeff deLuzio talking on the topic of “Has Science Fiction Lost Its Mainstream Cultural Relevance?” from this year’s PenguiCon convention (my answer: It’s a bogus question).

Enjoy each of these as you would a fine cognac.