This is such a delightful thing. Ottawa’s own Moonfruits launched a new music video yesterday, and I’m one of many extras in it!
The song, “Le Maire” (The Mayor), is from the Moonfruits’ folk concept album called Ste. Quequepart (Saint Someplace), about villagers disgruntled with their mayor, who’s been asleep for three years. It’s fantastic, and I’ll have more to say about it on Drip eventually, because I want to talk about it and a 1971 Lebanese play called Sah Annom (something between Congratulations on Having Woken Up and Good Morning) where the town’s mayor is only awake three days every month.
In the meantime, do listen to “Le Maire”! Even if you don’t understand French, it’s tremendously addictive. And if you do understand French, the lyrics are AMAZING.
Over on Drip, I wrote up a non-spoilery account of my experience of watching Avengers: Infinity War last night. It’s a public post, so you don’t need to be subscribed to see it.
Here’s a taste:
I had no expectations of this film. I’d loved Spider Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther beyond all reckoning, and didn’t think any of the things I loved about those movies would feature in this one. I’d also read Emily Asher-Perrin’s Tor.com post titled “Why I Don’t Care if Anyone Dies in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR” and nodded along. I was looking forward to seeing the cosmic crew again, enjoying some quipping, blinking at a lot of pretty lights, and appreciating at least one shot of a thoroughly muscled man trying to hold on to two things pulling in separate directions.
As it turned out, I was unprepared for how much I would, in fact, care, and be affected and impressed.
I was even less prepared for the interruption of a climactic battle by someone in the theatre’s back row screaming about having seen a knife.
We’re OK, but it was a really weird night.
In other news, a quick reminder that I’ll be in Montreal for a panel on Sunday, under the auspices of the Blue Metropolis festival. Come hear Su Sokol, David Demchuk, Melissa Yuan-Innes and I discuss Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and its relevance to modern SFF! 4:00 PM at Hotel 10’s Salle Jardin, just up the street from the train station.
Last year, the Rubin Museum invited me to write a very short story for publication in their magazine, Spiral, on the theme of “The Future as an Ever-Renewing Now”. I said I was interested in writing something about water, climate change, and cycles, compressed into their required wordcount. As I wrote, the assignment evolved — and I ended up writing two pieces, one of which is a more straightforward translation of the other, both of which Spiral wanted to publish.
“Time, Like Water” came first; “As Above” came second.
In the first one’s case, I’m especially grateful to Annalee Flower Horne and Caitlyn Paxson for their input; in the second, two hours spent in the quiet company of Derek Künsken, Nicole Lavigne and Brandon Crilly produced the fastest rewrite ever.
I hope you enjoy them!
My second column for the NYT Book Review is up! I look at Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s The Merry Spinster, Aliette de Bodard’s The Tea Master and the Detective, Kelly Robson’s Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, and Tessa Gratton’s The Queens of Innis Lear.
I could’ve happily talked about most of these for paragraphs more — especially Ortberg’s — but I quite heroically kept to prescribed wordcount.
I’m pulling back from social media for the next two months to focus on academic work. I’ll check email and approve blog comments, but that’s it. If you’re reading this on Twitter or Facebook, it’s a crosspost; I won’t see your replies on those sites until I’m back.
I’ve never taken a break this long — the longest I’ve done in the past was one month — but it’s necessary, and I hope to keep to it. In the past I’ve broken hiatus to promote things, but always kind of regret it, so I expect to just crosspost from here as necessary.
In the meantime you can sign up to my newsletter to keep up with where I’ll be or sign up to my Drip to get new essays, poems and reviews as soon as they happen.
Take care, friends — especially those of you struggling with ice storms in southern Ontario right now. May this discontented winter be made glorious spring, and the dreadful wind and rain pass without harm.
There are only 21 hours left to become a Founding Member of my Drip account! Here’s what you get by so doing:
- An exclusive poem for you, called “Foundations”
- First crack at switching into limited edition tiers when spots open up
- A review of Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Lands
And, as of this moment
- You’ll be entered into a giveaway for a signed chapbook of “The Truth About Owls”!
These chapbooks were printed as promotional material for Great Jones Street, a short fiction app which recently closed up shop. I was given 15 of these chapbooks, but I don’t know whether any others were ever printed, so as far as I can tell this is an extremely limited piece of ephemera.
The last line of the story is in Arabic, but was misprinted — so in addition to my signature you’ll get to see what my hand-writing looks like in Arabic as I correct it. (It’s … Not calligraphic, let’s leave it at that.)
IN ADDITION to that —
- If we hit 150 subscribers before this Founding Period ends (we’re at 137 right now), I’ll give away 2 chapbooks.
- For every founding member above 150, I’ll give away a signed broadsheet of a bilingual poem printed on an antique letter press.
This too is ephemera — it has a complicated backstory, but in brief, it was written in French for Con or Bust, I translated it into English for my Livejournal followers back in the day, and both versions of the poem were going to be in a letterpress project that had to be backburnered — but the publisher, Saira Ali, gave me a bunch of these sheets that had already been printed along with their blessing to use them for promotions and stuff. The only other way to obtain one of these is to bid on it in Con or Bust’s upcoming auction.
So! If any of the above appeals, I hope you’ll subscribe! And many, many thanks to all of you who’ve already done so, or boosted the signal in any way — I’m deeply grateful.
What it says on the tin!
So last week I launched a Drip account, a subscription service affiliated with Kickstarter. Now Drip’s invited me to do an AMA with them on Twitter next week! (If you’ve never taken part in such a thing, it stands for Ask Me Anything.)
Given how quickly things on Twitter tend to zip by, you can get your questions in early by submitting them through this form. The fine folks at Drip will then administer them, so I’ll always be responding to a question they’re asking, which should help keep everything readable, manageable, and moving along! I look forward to hearing from you!
In related news — I’m so grateful to everyone who’s subscribed! I’m still a little stunned by how quickly the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker tier filled up, but all the others are unlimited, and involve varying degrees of participation in choosing what I read/write about next.
And of course, if you sign up before April 6, during my Foundational period, you’ll also get a villanelle called “Foundations” written specially for subscribers, which I hope you’ll enjoy.
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So today’s the first day of 2018’s first Mercurial Retrograde. Let’s skip the part where you’re an eminently sensible person who doesn’t believe in such nonsense; Mercury’s Retrograde believes in YOU. It believes in your capacity to miss deadlines, travel poorly, succumb to accidents, and drastically miscommunicate with your fellows, and it is here to support you in all these endeavours.
In other words, it’s the perfect day to launch a subscription service!
(There’s even a video I recorded at great cost to my personal well-being because as it turns out I can listen to myself speaking without any problems but watching myself is a sea-bridge too far. I HAVE A FACE? IT MOVES? AUGH.)
$2 CAD a month gets you access to everything I’ll write there, with higher tiers at $5, $7 and $12 giving you voting and nominating powers over what I read/discuss next. The next 15 days are the Foundational period, which gives you additional now-and-future perks: if you subscribe to any tier during this time, you’ll also get a poem I wrote specifically for subscribers and this project, called “Foundations.”
A last note about the $12 tier, because it’s a little special: it gets you a yearly postcard from the Oracle of Buses, a mantle I put on when I’m on a bus and feeling especially liminal, containing an answer to a question you haven’t asked.
But it’s limited, and there are only
4 3 spots left, so check it out soon if you can!
I wrote a public post about the project here, about the need I feel right now to dive into slower, deeper work; I’d welcome your thoughts and feelings on the matter. There’ll be more such posts during the next couple of weeks too.
Happy day after the Vernal Equinox (in the Northern Hemisphere), friends! I hope you all felt empowered to Skip Leg Day.
I’ve got a ton of academic work to get through between now and June, so I’m very sad to say that I won’t be at Wiscon or the Nebulas this year (in spite of how wonderful the guests and programming look, gah, you should absolutely go!). But I will venture out of Ottawa for the following events:
April 29: Blue Metropolis Festival, Montreal
I’ll be on a panel with Su Sokol, Melissa Yuan-Innes, and David Demchuk talking about Mary Shelley and SFF!
May 4-6: Penguicon
This will be my first ever Penguicon! It’s been recommended to me for years and years, and I’m delighted to have been invited to be a Guest of Honour along with so many excellent people, including Mary Robinette Kowal, Mary Anne Mohanraj and Mark Oshiro, all of whom I’m very excited to get to see and spend time with.
May 24-27: Wakefield Writers Festival
I’m really looking forward to taking part in a localish festival, especially one to which I’ve also never been before — details as they develop!
July 5-8: CONvergence
LIKEWISE so excited to go to CONvergence again! It was my very first GoH experience ever, back in 2016, and I’m deeply touched that they’ve invited me back for their 20th anniversary gueststravaganza. It’s an absolutely amazing con run by brilliant, dedicated, generous people, and I highly recommend it.
My first column for the NYTBR is here! The print version will be in this week’s Sunday edition. In it I review Del and Sofia Samatar’s Monster Portraits, Subterranean Press’ Weight of Words anthology, and Jo Walton’s Starlings.
Here’s a taste:
More than any other genres, I think, science fiction and fantasy are in constant conversation with their past, present and future. Entering those worlds as a child meant growing into an awareness of how deeply they depend on a kind of exchange between readers and writers — almost inevitably, new works of science fiction and fantasy inherit a sense of engagement, whether it shows up as homage, critique or collaboration. Three recent books of short fiction, each of them fantastically hybrid, join the conversation and demonstrate just how overt its dynamics can be.
Of the three books, the one I’m most passionate about discussing is Monster Portraits–it took a lot of wrangling to make my feelings about that book into something intelligible. So if you’re in the mood to do me a personal favour, please pick up a copy, read it, and join me in flailing about it in an attempt to interpret my emotions through dance.
This column will appear every 8 weeks, so look for the next one towards the end of April! So many great books coming out between now and then!
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Tagged caitlin r kiernan, catherynne m valente, column, dave mckean, del samatar, jo walton, joe hill, maria dahvana headley, nytimes, review, reviewing, sofia samatar