The Whatever Digest, 9/13/18
First: This banner from the Subterranean Press web site, which I got a giggle over:
I love it because I think Nate Taylor, the illustrator, did a perfect job drawing me. I look ridiculous, but in a fun and affectionate way, which I think is perfect, both for me and for the book. I may put the image on my business card, if I ever get business cards again, which honestly seems unlikely, but even so.
Also, in a larger since it’s a delight to love one’s cover art, which this banner is derived from. As a writer I have generally had pretty good luck with cover art — the number of covers of my work that I love outstrips the ones I’ve not like by a considerable margin. One does recognize that cover art isn’t just about one’s own preferences; it’s also marketing, designed to sell the book to booksellers and to readers, so one has to make allowances for that. But even making allowances for that, I’ve been pretty lucky. Virtue Signaling continues that lucky streak.
(PS: Pre-order it! Now!)
Virtue Signaling is coming out on December 31st, which means it will be the third book I will have published this year, not counting paperback releases and foreign editions. But it will actually be the fourth book I am published in, since Robots Vs Fairies, in which I have a short story, came out in January. That’s not a bad year for publishing things. I may take the pedal off the gas slightly in 2019. Slightly.
Trump asserting that thousands did not die because of hurricanes in Puerto Rico: One, what a venal piece of crap this president is, and two, this is probably not what people in Virginia and the Carolinas want to be hearing just as the outer tendrils of Florence begin slapping up against their coasts. It doesn’t exactly inspire confidence either in the potential government response, or how Trump will wiggle out of culpability if something goes wrong. Someone on Twitter made the crack that there are enough white people in the Carolinas that the FEMA response should be adequate this time, and while that’s a pretty sharp barb, with this administration it’s difficult to say it’s 100% wrong. I dislike having an administration which is so obviously white nationalist.
In any event, Carolinas and Virginia: Good luck. I don’t want to say you’re on your own, but I will say that if you drown, Trump will probably say that you did it just to make him look bad.
Google announced yesterday that it will be sunsetting Inbox, their much-superior email application compared to GMail, in early 2019. This makes me very sad because Inbox is my default email client, precisely because it does so many things better than GMail. Google claims it will be importing many of the features Inbox currently is better at (like email organization) into GMail, but I am, shall we say, entirely skeptical. For my money, GMail would be better off if Google simply ported Inbox over in its entirety and called it GMail. But they’re not asking me, damn it.
I’m a fan of Lindsay Ellis’ deconstructions of film and TV, which are both well-researched and a lot of fun to watch. But her most recent video isn’t about either of those two media, it’s about YouTube, the very medium in which she toils, and talks about how the people who are making shows and videos there are making them seem “authentic” as opposed to the conventional polish of television (or, even more so, film). Along the way she talks, on her own and with vlogger/author Hank Green, about the emotional cost of keeping up that veneer of authenticity on a regular basis, for people who, ultimately, one doesn’t know, even if they feel like they know you — in part because that’s what you were aiming for.
I found this video even more interesting than I find most of Ellis’ videos, because the issues she’s addressing are ones I’m familiar with, right here on Whatever. The site here is personable and people enjoy getting a glimpse of who I am and what I do, but as personable as it is, the version of me here is tuned — it’s a public persona. It’s not a false version of me, but it’s a version of me tweaked for the blog, as it were, just like when I’m out on a book tour, that version of my is tweaked for interacting with real live people in that particular setting.
I well aware of how much I do what Ellis’ talking about in the video, in my own fashion and mode, so it’s also interesting for me to see other people talking about it in their lives. What Ellis and others have to do and deal with is not exactly what I do and have to deal with, but it’s close enough that I can feel where she’s coming from.
And now I’m off — I’m heading to Columbus today to do a panel on science fiction and religion, in no small part because both The Collapsing Empire and The Consuming Fire feature a major religious figure in them. Should be fun. You kids enjoy yourself for the rest of the day. I’ll see you tomorrow, as we start the second 20 years (let’s hope!) of Whatever.