Damn It

I wrote up a long piece on the Oscar nominations and the WordPress tool ate it. Yes, I saved it. No, it didn’t help. I think I’ll go kill some zombies now.

Book Notes; Big Idea & Book Haul Information

Various notes relating to things of a book-like nature:

1. Sent from my agent yesterday: The German version of The Android’s Dream, and the Russian version of The Last Colony. I’m particularly pleased by the Russian cover art, which now appears at least tangentially related to what’s going on in the book; I don’t know if it’s original artwork or not, however. I would also note the German version of TAD is substantially thicker than its English-language counterpart; German is not a compact language. Also in the picture: The “little sister” figurine given to me by my friend Dawn, who works at the videogame company that made BioShock. Athena’s comment upon seeing it: “Wow, that’s really creepy. Can I have it?” The little sister is currently guarding the Hugo. Get near it, and she’ll call a big daddy. And frankly, I’d like to see that.

2. Various authors have either inquired about or sent hopeful essays for the Big Idea feature. So to be clear: Yes, I’m still doing them, and yes, please feel free to inquire about them. I do recommend not writing up a Big Idea unless I’ve given you the go ahead, since in fact at the moment I don’t take every request and I’d hate for you to do work for no result. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. For those of you who sent in Big Idea inquiries in the last week, I have them and will get back to you in the next couple of days. Also in relatively short order I’ll have some announcements about Big Ideas in a larger sense. Don’t worry, they’re not going away. I’ll just be fiddling a bit.

3. It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of the Book Haul features, in which I crow about the books that get sent to me while you all yearn to pummel me for it. Oddly enough, this is apparently a popular feature, since I get a lot of folks asking for it, so I’m going to make an effort to do more of them in the coming weeks and months, contingent on, you know, publishers sending along books. I’ll get on that starting next week, I think.

More on Science Fiction That’s Not

Just for kicks and giggles, over at the AMC column, I’m taking another swing at when a movie is a science fiction film and when it is not: Why, for example, Moonraker is a science fiction film, but the other Bond films with laser-bearing satellites are not. Because, you know. We don’t argue about this stuff enough already. Incidentally, if you do want to argue about this stuff some more, you know the comment thread is waiting for you over on there on the other side. And not just waiting for you. It’s yearning for you.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Science Fiction Comedy Improv!

Photo by Bluesilver on Flickr
Photo by Bluesilver on Flickr

As many of you know, last Friday Mary Robinette Kowal and I did a reading at Borderlands Books in San Francisco, in which we read a number of our short pieces, mostly humorous, and generally had a pretty good time. What you may not know is that in addition to reading, we tried something fairly dangerous, namely, science fiction comedy improv. Yes, that’s right, as a special treat/punishment for the folks who came out, Mary and I came up with an idea and ran with it, and tried to make it funny. Because we’re insane like that.

How did it go? Well, you’re about to find out, because below you’ll find the streaming audio for what we came up with, “The PetMaster 2000.” Mary plays a woman whose science fictional home technology has gotten a little out of control, and I play the rather notably unhelpful customer service representative she has the misfortune of contacting. We had fun, in any event, and it seems the audience did too. At least, at the time it seemed like they were laughing with us, not at us. Which is what you want.

The original audio was recorded by John Nichols, who brought the digital recording device you see in the picture above (behind Ripley, the Borderlands Books hairless cat). He’s got the entire appearance, which was something like 2½ hours including pre- and post- chatter, over on his site, and at some point I’ll chop the whole thing up into reasonable-sized chunks and post the mp3s here. But in the meantime I’d like to thank him for bringing his recorder and kindly providing me with the files. He rocked for doing so, and in general our audience rocked for coming out and making Mary and me feel like rock stars through the entire performance.

Anyway: Science Fiction Comedy Improv! Enjoy.

The PetMaster 2000

(Clicking will open the file in your browser (provided it can handle mp3s), or you can right-click to save the file. Yes! Save it! Forever! Give it to your children! And their children! And so on.)