Just Arrived

Just Arrived, 2/17/10

The UPS dude rolled up at 7:30pm with a stack of packages. What was inside?

* I Am Not a Serial Killer, by Dan Wells (Tor): Well, if he’s not a serial killer, what’s that body doing behind the laundromat? Well? I do like the note in the introduction of the book, from Wells, to his family: “let me please reiterate this book is not autobiographical.” Hmmmm. Wells, I should note, will be offering up a Big Idea essay, in which he will incriminate explain himself, the day the book drops, which will be at the end of March.

* Gardens of the Sun, by Paul McAuley (Pyr): The follow-on to McAuley’s very highly regarded novel The Quiet War, which was nominated for the Clarke award. This is out March 23.

* The Passage, by Justin Cronin (Ballentine): The ARC cover to this book is every major and minor HarperCollins executive squeeing about how awesome it is, so I guess the company’s behind this one. Must be nice. It’s apparently a postapocalypic vampire trilogy, which makes me think of someone pitching it to a movie company: “It’s Twilight! Meets The Road!” Let’s hope it’s not, you know? This one is coming June 8.

* Ghost Radio, by Leopoldo Gout (Harper): Aside from its author having the most Dickensenian author name in a while, this debut novel features a tale of ghosts, poltergeists and call-in talk radio. Nifty. Out next week.

* Earth Strike: Star Carrier: Book One (Eos): Author Ian Douglas is apparently buying colons in bulk for the titles of this military science fiction series, in which the star carrier America faces down some very bad alien bad guys coming to destroy us all. You know. Like they do. Also out next week.


From the “How Cool is This” Department

A few months ago my French publisher L’Atalante asked me if they could use my short story “After the Coup” for a giveaway chapbook to promote their line (and my books). I said “sure” and then promptly forgot about it until this afternoon, when in my mail were a couple dozen copies of the chapbook, with the cover you see above, done by Didier Florentz, who does my other L’Atalante covers as well. The title has changed; now it’s “Diplomacy in Three Rounds,” which is of course exactly what goes on in the story, and the cover captures a nice moment in the story too. Overall, a nice surprise for the day.


Various & Sundry, 2/17/10

Bits and pieces:

* You know, I haven’t been following the Olympics at all, because I don’t much actually care, but I have to say the Norwegian Olympic Curling Team’s pants deserve a medal. For something.

* I’m also delighted to discover that (for now, and in Florida) students are still allowed to criticize their teachers online, even if teachers are understandably exasperated at the possibility of Facebook pages dedicated to how much their students hate them. Welcome to free speech, folks. That said, someone probably should give Teh Kidz a primer on libel and defamation, since my crystal ball which sees the future sees some tightly-wound teacher or administrator suing a teen (or his/her parents) on that grounds — and given that some similar suits out there include pages where teens labeled their principals as pedophiles, not entirely unreasonably so. I also see Facebook/MySpace choosing to make a lot of deletions of such pages, if they don’t already, since their terms of service don’t really have to pay attention to that pesky First Amendment.

* I’ve been asked for an update on the SFWA elections, as I am running for president of that august institution. There’s not too much to tell at this point; the deadline for announcing official candidacies has passed, and both I and Mary Robinette Kowal (who is running for VP) are running unopposed. Someone could still decide to run against me or Mary, but they’d be running as a write-in candidate, which puts them at a bit of a disadvantage (trust me, I know). Beyond this the election process continues to lack drama, which again I think every SFWAn appreciates at this point. As I understand it the election ballots will be mailed in the next couple of weeks. So that’s what’s up with that.

* Athena has yet another snow day today, which frankly amazes me. This is how bad it’s gotten:

Me: Not counting last Friday, when was the last time you were actually in school?

Athena: Maybe the first or second of February? I don’t know. I don’t keep track of these things anymore.

And I’ll note last Friday was a reduced day, not a full day. I think it’s taking a toll on the school administrators as well; Krissy listened to the phone message from Bradford’s superintendent last night about yet another delay/cancellation, and said, “he just sounds totally defeated at this point.” Well, sure. At this point, every day canceled in February gets tacked on in June. He doesn’t want to be in school in June any more than the kids do.

It has an impact here as well, since it’s difficult to get a whole lot of writing done with an 11-year-old wandering around the house, demanding to be entertained. I downloaded Plants vs. Zombies on the iPod to keep her busy, but there’s only so far that goes. “Fortunately,” in the last week most of my work has involved dealing with various contracts and negotiations (none of which I can give you any details about but which aren’t actually that exciting so you’re not missing much). So at least my creative process, so as it is, has not been unduly disrupted. But, you know, sooner or later I’ll have to write something.

* Speaking of which, I have an AMC column to get to. Later.

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