Readercon, The Loot Edition

While I let the rest of the weekend tumble around in my head until a reasonable con recap post can be put into words, I’ll start you off with the small pile of wonderful things I brought home with me:

  • John Kessel’s THE BAUM PLAN FOR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE AND OTHER STORIES – I first read this collection last year, checked out from my local library, and adored it. I was pleased to find a reasonably priced SIGNED paperback in the dealer’s room; was more than pleased to meet the man himself at the Pros(e) party too.
  • RIGOR AMORTIS – You might remember that I have a story in this little anthology of zombie erotica. I’d forgotten my copy but got one from the thoughtful Kay Holt, who’s also in the book. This meant I got to have her, Lucia Starkey and Don Pizarro sign it for me.
  • Postcards and flyers for various cons I want to attend and books I want to buy.
  • THE HOMELESS MOON 4 – A free zine being passed out at the con
  • OBJECTS OF WORSHIP – Claude LaLumière’s great collection, which I’ve already read and reviewed. I got this copy for a friend who (at the last minute) couldn’t make the con, and he was gracious enough to inscribe it for her.
  • Elizabeth Hand’s ILLYRIA – I am not too familiar with her work, but it’s been recommended to me, and I was at a few panels she was on, so I wanted a place to start. I found this lovely little hardcover in the dealer’s room.
  • Harold Waldrop’s novella collection OTHER WORLDS, BETTER LIVES – I saw him read two stories of his on Saturday night, and got to have a great conversation with his publisher about this book and the state of Waldrop’s sales in general. Bonus: this book is SIGNED too.
  • Claude’s DOOR TO LOST PAGES – I’d bought the epub, read it (review to go up soon) and wanted the paperback. He signed this one too, and it’s all mine!
  • Crossed Genre’s Issue 19: Gadgets and Artifacts – Bought because Don Pizarro’s got a story in this issue that I love, and that I got to hear him read aloud during the CG reading on Friday night. This brings up an interesting point about writers you get close enough to that you’ve mutually become part of each other’s lives: what happens is, we become slackers. I bought it with the intention of getting Don to sign it, and since we spent the whole weekend together, I didn’t think this would be a problem. I knew where to find him. Presenting him with it, and a pen, he opened it to his story, poised the pen over the page and  … stopped. “I need to think of the right thing to say,” he said, and handed it back. Yes, I understand, the pressure of not wanting to sign something dumb to people you’ll see over and over again. But … did I ever get it signed? No, no I did not. My advice here kids is: smile, be patient, but don’t let them leave til it’s signed.
  • Readercon 22 program booklet – lots of cool info I didn’t have time to read at the actual con (given out free with my badge).
  • Dec 2002 Locus – there was a stack of free, older, issues of this magazine and I grabbed the China Mièville issue. I love his writing and even though it’s an older interview, I’m sure there are things to be learned.
So much to read. And I have to tell you about the panels I went to, the people I hung out with (which, in my opinion, made the con as amazing as it was), the readings, the food, the … Readercon-ness of it all. Soon, I promise.

Readercon: And so it begins …

I am at Readercon, having arrived yesterday, in a blur of driving and more driving and being stuck in traffic and short on sleep and I ended up passing out at 9 pm. This morning I’ve had a lovely breakfast and am now sitting in the first panel of the day. There will be con recaps throughout the weekend, as often as I feel like paying the exorbitant fee for daily Internet usage, but for now – I am having such a lovely time.

And the con is just getting started.

New Sale! (Now with added details)

I’m pleased to announce I’ve sold my story, “Call Center Blues” to DAILY SCIENCE FICTION. It’s going through the editing process now and I’ll post a link once it’s live on the site. This is the sale I was so very excited about last week. At 8 cents per word, this is my first pro-rate sale, and it’s in science fiction to boot! Though I don’t want to give too much away, I will say that this story comes directly from my current day job, working in a tech support call center. While dealing with customers who don’t actually want the features they’ve ordered is part of my daily routine, I wondered what would happen if the unwanted feature was me, or someone just like me. “Call Center Blues” evolved from there.

Thank you for all of your support.

New Sale! Shh!

I’ve gotten word today that I’ve sold a new flash fiction piece to a very respected, pro-rate market. I can’t jump around and squee about it nearly as much as I’d like until the contracts are signed and I’ve been told it’s ok, but you can bet I’m jumping and squeeing quietly over here.

All right. Probably not that quietly.

But, I’m so pleased! Details happily announced as soon as I can.

You Should Read: Fran Lebowitz’s METROPOLITAN LIFE

I got my copy of METROPOLITAN LIFE from a friend about a month ago. It’s a small paperback, found languishing in a used book store and saved from obscurity. Or, at least, saved from being bought by one of those English Literature students who is more likely to line a wall with books by famous authors than they are to actually read any of them. I have been reading it in bits and pieces, whenever I needed a quick shot of crisp humor to pick me up or clear my head. Lebowitz is brilliant, insightful, and sharp, there’s no doubt about that. She’s also truly humorous, in a dry and brittle way, as if the humor is mainly to be found in realizing that you get the joke many others would not. I love her. (Note: PUBLIC SPEAKING, the Scorsese documentary, was one of the ones I recommended a few weeks ago.)

The book is broken up into sections which contain a great number of tiny essays, most two or three pages long, which largely appeared in Interview and Mademoiselle before being collected into a book. There’s a quick introductory essay about how little she can get done in a day, and then the essays are sorted into the following categories: MANNERS, SCIENCE, ARTS, and LETTERS (capitalization hers). Some of the essays cover topics such as race or feminism, and a few contain ideas that may seem outdated now, but to be fair, it is nearly 40 years since she wrote the essays in the first place. For the most part, they are just as funny as they would have been to someone reading them when they first appeared in print.

There are too many to review individually but some of my favorites from MANNERS were “Vocational Guidance for the Truly Ambitious”, where I discovered that I was a natural dictator*, “Children: Pro or Con?”, where she explains that the right child is more useful than one might assume, and “Notes on ‘Trick'”, a handy guide which might serve some of us even today. In SCIENCE I was especially fond of “Weak Speech Handsets: Aid for the Dull”, where she invents a device to make some people worth listening to, and “Why I Love Sleep”, where she lists famous people who appear to also have slept at least once in a while, and “Food For Thought and Vice Versa” where she explains that real food is meant to be eaten instead of merely being pretty, and that “Large, naked, raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who live in hutches eagerly awaiting the return of Easter.” ARTS focuses on design, and furniture, and her inability to find either that doesn’t rob “comfortable” to make “modern”. In “Color: Drawing The Line” she explains the true meanings behind the primary colors, none of which she particularly approves of. In it she describes blue by saying, “In dealing with champions of this hue one could do worse than remember that water is also the favorite environment of sharks and is the cause, nine times out of ten, of death by drowning.” I cannot argue with her on either point, though I will note that I rather like both blue and sharks. I am less fond of drowning. In LETTERS she writes on the act of writing and the meaning of being a writer, and therefore I can recommend each essay in this section. Very important is “Writing: A Life Sentence” where she helpfully describes the things by which you can tell if your child is doomed to become a writer, so that you can avoid this at all costs.

If you have no idea who Fran Lebowitz is, and certainly some of you don’t, go out now and pick up this little book with great haste. You can thank me later.

* Please note: I already knew this.

Publisher: Fawcett (The edition I have is 1978)
ISBN-13: 978-0449241691