Odds and Ends and Stuff and Crap

fa0426.jpgFirst off, a big congratulations to Naomi Kritzer, whose book Freedom’s Apprentice has its official release today, the second book in her Dead Rivers Trilogy. You’ll recall I praised the first book in the series for being other than the usual rote fantasy and for exploring an unknown and fascinating alternate history, and I reasonably expect this one to be as good, enough so that I bought it at about two minutes after midnight on that Amazon thingie you hear so much about.

Over at her own Journal, Naomi experiences a little bit of angst about what being a second novel in a series means for her book sales, which (seeing as I’m writing a sequel) I can appreciate. This is one of the reasons why Ghost Brigades is not a direct sequel — it takes place in the OMW universe, but you won’t have to have read that book to get into TGB, and I hope to high holy god that Tor will use the words “From the Author of Old Man’s War” on the cover instead of “The Sequel to Old Man’s War.” Having said that, I have confidence that Naomi’s fears are just twitchiness; she’s a good writer and she written three other good books so far: I expect nothing less than that for number four. Which is, you know, why I bought it.

* Also purchased at the same time as Freedom’s Apprentice: The Tiger OS for the Mac. As it happens Amazon has a $35 printable rebate coupon you can send in, and as it happens I have a wife who actually sends in rebate coupons, and that means I got the OS for less than $100, and that’s reasonable to me. My understanding is that this amazing new OS will fold my clothes, tutor my child and make me an unstoppable sex machine (or should I say, even more of an unstoppable sex machine than I already am) and naturally I am all over that.

* Carey McGee comments on my recent blatheration about the Beatles and the Stones, and muses:

I have had in my mind for a story idea about a group that was the extreme version of this, whose musical invention and sheer power was such that they only released one recording, a six-song EP that becomes something of a holy talisman of the band’s fans — the absolute apex of rock and roll. And since their output was so small, and they weren’t around to tour, very few people would have heard of them.

It made me wonder, what if this situation already exists — that there is some absolutely brilliant music being made out there by mad geniuses and I’ll never even know about it.

The answer to this question is almost certainly yes. A close call to this would be The La’s, who thanks to the absolute perfectionist weirdness of its primary songwriter only produced one self-titled album — but Jaysus Mary and Joseph, what an album. And of course if it weren’t for the otherwise entirely bland Sixpence None the Richer covering “There She Goes,” about six people in the US would know about them. I can’t see how there couldn’t be even more obscure bands in the same position, and I already regret never having heard them, especially since I heard that new Kelly Clarkson song six times in three hours on my drive up to Michigan this last weekend.

Incidentally, McGee’s blog Rational Explanation is pretty good overall, so you might want to check it out. I don’t know him personally, although it appears he’s the reviews editor of the Internet Review of Science Fiction and as such has some definite thoughts on the matters of books and reviewing.

* My friend Mykal Burns pointed out this Boing Boing entry to me late last night, about a guy who — based on the overall consumption of the eucharist and sacramental wine over the 2000 years of the transubstantiating Catholic Church — calculated the current size of the body of Christ (it’s big). Mykal’s comment was along the lines of “Hey! Didn’t you do this once?”

And indeed I did — around 1994 I wrote a short story about a Catholic school in which the kids were rioting after they got in trouble for attempting to calculate the size of the body of Christ in just this fashion — the priests tried to curtail their mathematical endeavors as sacrilege, which prompted the riot, and afterward the kids were left to their academic pursuits; at least they were evincing some interest in school work. After an initial and incorrect calculation of the body of Christ being nearly the size of Mercury (leading some to wonder if the body of Christ had its own atmosphere, and if so, what it might be comprised of), a later revision showed the body of Christ to be roughly the same size as Mount Everest. Which lead to the further theological speculation of whether the Second Coming would in fact be the impact of the massive Holy Meteor Jesus, and Armageddon the economy-sized Tunguska Event that would follow the body of Christ’s literally earth-shattering impact.

Sadly, no copies of the story are extant (for the reason that despite the intriguing premise, the story sucked), so any claims I might have had to being the first to measure the contemporary size of the body of Christ are circumstantial at best. I’m willing to let someone else take the credit and/or eternal hellfire and damnation.

* Finally, here’s a thought for you: The publicist for Book of the Dumb 2 has scheduled an author’s event for me for the day before Father’s Day. Where at? A local Sam’s Club. Why there? Because that’s where they sell truckload after truckload of the books, that’s why. How do I feel about being an author at a Sam’s Club? I feel fine. I don’t care where my books sell. I just want them to sell. I just hope, being that this is published by the Bathroom Reader people, that they don’t actually position me near the pallets of toilet paper in a blaze of cross-promotional thinking. That’s not too much to ask for.