Thursday, September 26, 2013


First, here is a picture of my Mary Marvel costume. My writing group wanted to see it. Hi guys!

This is actually me from last year at Gencon, with Brian Morris as Uncle Marvel. It's one of my favorite pictures and I've posted it here before.

Yesterday was Shel Silverstein's birthday. In his honor, here's a poem:

The Bridge

This bridge will only take you halfway there
To those mysterious lands you long to see;
Through gypsy camps and swirling arab fairs
And moonlit woods where unicorns run free.
So come and walk awhile with me and share
The twisting trails and wonderous worlds I've known.
But this bridge will only take you halfway there-
The last few steps you'll have to take alone.

Shel Silverstein

I like to think this poem describes the act of introducing children to literature. I can give my son every book I have ever loved. I can take him to Narnia, Bradbury's Mars, Earthsea, and Westeros. But at some point he's going to have to find what kind of books make him happy, and decide where to travel on his own- I can only take him so far. 

Let's see...I have a story coming out in The Bedlam Book of Horror anthology, but I don't have a release date on it yet. The story is "Dog of War", a pulpy horror tale based on a real-life urban legend of World War I about the Hound of Mons (there were demons as well as angels at Mons, it seems).

In conclusion, here is an awwwwctopus. Your argument is invalid.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Life as a GIraffe

I am a giraffe.

The other day, my husband said he was talking to his lab-mates at lunch about their totem animals. According to them, a totem animal is the one you are most like. It doesn't have to be your favorite animal, just one you resemble. They decide that he is an owl. It makes sense; a quiet, watchful bird that notes everything and is very precise in all its movements.

Also, he can fly almost silently, so there's that too.

I thought for a while. Giraffes are my favorite animal, so I was deliberately steering clear of them in my head so I didn't bias myself. My husband suggested that I was some kind of sea creature.

A jellyfish? They have no brain, after all.

Harhar, no. 

A cuttlefish? They're colorful and rather creative.

No, he said. A cuttlefish changes its appearance to camouflage itself. I don't do that; wherever I am, I am obviously me.

I thought some more. Well, then I'm a giraffe.

Giraffes are very chill animals. They hang out on the plains and eat leaves and don't bother any other animals. And if a lion or something tries to bother them, it is dispatched with a swift, powerful kick (I don't get into other people's business, and those who start drama are quickly ejected from my life). Giraffes don't make much noise (I am quiet). And a giraffe is a giraffe, always. It can't pretend to be anything else. It sticks out no matter where it is.

I think being one of those social chameleons would actually be very useful, and it's a little frustrating that I can't always make myself fit in.

But since I can't, I'd rather be a giraffe.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Frederik Pohl 1916-2013

Waaaay back in high school I read a story in one of those 'Best of..." anthologies. It was about a future where the world population had exploded, and the United States had implemented a very unusual method of birth control- although the control was enacted well after the person culled had been born. It was a powerful story, and I remembered it. I couldn't recall the title or the author, but I remembered every detail of the story.

One day I told my husband about it. He pulled up Google- for some reason in all this time I had never thought to consult the Internet- and found the story: "Spending a Day at the Lottery Fair" by one Frederik Pohl.

I was thrilled to have the information, and even more thrilled when, a few days later, he brought me a collection of short stories called "Pohlstars", which included "Lottery Fair".

I re-read the story, and it was everything I remembered (and a little more, to my now-adult brain). And then, because you can't read just one, I kept reading. I read the heartbreaking "The Sweet Sad Queen of the Grazing Isles". I moved on to his most famous novel, Gateway. The incomparably weird "Starburst". The epic "The World at the End of Time". The sharp, cynical "The Day After the Day the Martians Came". And the rest of the Heechee Saga, oh yes. When I discovered that Pohl had a blog, I read that too. As a writer and editor who had been working for the better part of the 20th century, he shared wonderful stories, as well as his political opinions and pictures of his cats and the cruises he took with his wife. And he kept writing. He kept on despite the fact that, as he mentions in his blog post, his hands no longer worked and hadn't for some time.

Pohl was truly unique, even in the rush of Golden Age and New Wave SF that spawned so many unique writers. He combined solid science with flights of epic fancy, wrote truly alien minds with fantastic detail, and laid bare with humanity's best and worst qualities with sharp cynicism, but also humor. His style was plain but eloquent.

Frederik Pohl died yesterday at the age of 93. I commented on his blog posts a couple times. I hope that he might have read them and, in my clumsy words, understood what I was really trying to say: that he was an important artist and an important person to readers everywhere. To the world. To me.