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[links] Link salad sees a city in its mind

Criada reacts to The Specific Gravity of Grief — I was very touched by this one.

A reader reacts to Green — They really, really didn’t like it. My favorite part of the review: I should have bought an IT book or something. Best book diss EVAR.

Some thoughts on uniformity — Paul Jessup on story telling.

Engendering Utopia: From Amazons to Androgyny — A reprint of an old IROSF article by specficrider and me.

Okay, kids, play on my lawn — Roger Ebert on video games as art (again), with reference to Shakespeare and Clive Barker.

Science Historian Cracks the ‘Plato Code’ — This is cool. (Thanks to e_bourne.)

Get Fuzzy on kosher dolphins

The fanciful vehicular concept art of 1930s Japan — Very cool stuff from The future that never was ours.

Inspiring vintage science fiction art — (Via Dark Roasted Blend.)

The First Photo of a Planet Outside Our Solar System — Wow. More from Centauri Dreams.

More on Research 2000Daily Kos on the invalidity of their own polling. This is a serious problem with process, accountability and accuracy. Probably not so much with underlying trending, as this piece points out. For example, Harris says: 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president” (Thanks to ericjamesstone for the nudge.)

Montana GOP seeks to ‘keep homosexual acts illegal.’ — As has the Texas GOP. This is keeping government out of private life, which was all the rage for conservatives during the HCR debate? Tell me again how the conservative movement isn’t grounded in bigotry.

?otD: Are you on the road to nowhere?

Writing time yesterday: n/a
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.5 (solid)
This morning’s weigh-in: 226.6
Yesterday’s chemo stress index: 2/10
Currently (re)reading: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

[links] Link salad walks narrow streets of cobblestone

with a review of The Specific Gravity of Grief

Book bloggers catch on with publishers — (Via a mailing list I’m on.)

Nimoy Sunset Pie — Hahah. (Via a mailing list I’m on.)

We are not time travelers — As said in sending this to me, “Today is yesterday’s tomorrow.” Some great retro thinking here. Modern gadgets packaged for 1977.

The Stringer and the Snake-eater — A journalistic view of the McChrystal affair. (Thanks to .)

Newspapers Retract ‘Climategate’ Claims, but Damage Still Done — This is fundamental to the Republican and movement conservative media strategies. Get the outrageous claims into circulation, then use the “liberal media” meme to discredit any walkback or retraction. Really, it’s a brilliant cycle pioneered in the current form by Reagan strategists Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes. (The same Ailes who is News Director at FOX, in case you were wondering about such little details as objectivity — much of the dispute in the 2000 elections arose from a similar strategy of aggressive distortion involving VNS, John Ellis and Roger Ailes. Go look it up, very illuminating reading.) That such brilliance should be put to uses so destructive of American civility, power and potential is a shame. (Via .)

Oil spill hits Mississippi shore — Mississippi’s Republican governor Haley Barbour has assured us all the oil spill will have ‘minimal impact”, ao I’m certain this is no big deal. For more on Barbour’s remarks about the oil spill, see here. This really reminds me of the GOP position on climate change, except in the oil spill the counterfactuals move fast enough to be noticeable by the press cycle and public opinion. They’ve been getting away with ideological-driven lies about the environment for years simply because of the slow pace of change. Must be very puzzling to guys like Barbour that it’s not working now.

?otD: What’s your favorite city?

Writing time yesterday: n/a
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.5 (solid)
This morning’s weigh-in: 225.2
Yesterday’s chemo stress index: 8/10 (GI follies)
Currently (re)reading: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

[cancer] Going in for the last infusion of this cycle

This morning is the last time I go in for my chemo infusion. Session twelve of twelve. We’re bringing cake for the staff (made by and the Niece, with help from their grandmother), a card, two copies of The Specific Gravity of Grief, one for my oncologist and one for the infusion center’s reading library.

Emotional log jam inside my chemo-addled brain. I’ll have intelligent things to say about this later.

[links] Link salad hopes there is still room up on the hill

Reading Recommendation: The Specific Gravity of Grief — Brenda Cooper with a review.

Spring thaw on the North Slope — I have seen these Arctic meltwater lakes from the air and from the ground when I visited Barrow a few years ago, and they are very curious. The land looked like a gaming board.

Banished by the FBI — American citizen trapped overseas on the no-fly list. Civil liberties ‘r us. (Via .)

How to Prevent Language Extinction — Offer not valid in Arizona or within 1,000 yards of Sarah Palin.

Sea creatures flee oil spill, gather near shore — To quote Mississippi’s Republican governor Haley Barbour, “[T]he coast is clear. Come on down!”

Are the Ten Commandments really the basis for our laws? — Some analysis of a cherished Republican talking point. (Thanks to .)

Psychoanalysis of a Republican — Political humor. He, to list but a few examples, rails against government while lauding the Medicare that pays for his sessions; believes the government to be simultaneously incapable of any competent action and yet skilled enough to remake a foreign country or stop a gushing oil well a mile beneath the ocean’s surface; insists that the President is alternately the dupe of foreign countries and the mastermind of a vast globalist conspiracy. When these contradictions are brought to his attention, patient reverts to hostile accusations of bias directed against the therapist or he changes the subject.

Rand Paul’s ideas crash into reality — The Lexington Herald-Leader editorializes on home boy Rand Paul. At the the junction of principle and pragmatism, Paul denounces big government and its costs and intrusiveness, but depends on the little things that big government does for him.

?otD: Does the paper holds your folded face to the floor?

Writing time yesterday: n/a
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.0 (decent)
This morning’s weigh-in: 230.6
Yesterday’s chemo stress index: 4/10 (exhaustion)
Currently (re)reading: A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

[books] A bit more on The Specific Gravity of Grief, and where I’d like see it go

As I said in Link Salad this morning, The Specific Gravity of Grief was reviewed by GeekDad at It’s a thoughtful, interesting take on the book, which I’m always grateful for.

I have a long term ambition for this book, which is to have copies make their way into oncologist’s offices and infusion centers around the country. I don’t feel a need to make any money off that process, which will push the price down, or possibly lead to some fund-raising as well to place copies very cheaply.

However, for any of that to happen, we need to sell through the 250-unit limited edition printing that Fairwood Press has put out. The review will help, as will forthcoming reviews. But one of the best things you could do for me and my cancer is spread the word, so people who are interested know about the book and can consider purchasing it. If we can sell through this printing, Fairwood Press will do a cheaper trade paperback edition, which I will work to drive the price down as far as possible on.

Take a minute and go read GeekDad’s review. If you’re interested, or know people who might be, spread the word. The book is available here from Fairwood Press. If you’ve already done so, thank you for supporting this project.

[links] Link salad is offended by Surfing Samurai Robots

On Measuring The Specific Gravity of Grief — GeekDad reviews my new single-title novella at A thoughtful, interesting review. If you’re interested, you can buy the book here from Fairwood Press.

Zombies, Steampunk, or Historical Fantasy – Help Me Pick the Next Novel to Read — This may be the funniest pre-review of one of my books I’ve ever received. Pinion is the conclusion of a trilogy that sounds fantastic to me. But I don’t want to read the first two books; their existence offends me. Huh?

Ozymandias — Art guru James Gurney with a very cool post about one of his Dinotopia paintings.

Complex Reactions on TitanCentauri Dreams on the increasingly real possibilities of life on Titan.

A Softer World on honesty, empathy and tact — Ah, the marvels of Internet discourse.

SMBC explains the Prisoner’s Dilemma

Non Sequitur is hilariously political

It Will Happen AgainBush admits torturing KSM and says he’d do it again. Gee, what a shock.

Hatch’s Partisan Military Service Bill — This just in: Republican senator caught out in mendacious hypocrisy. But I repeat myself. (Source is Rachel Maddow, in case you think she’s a liberal hack not worth watching. A well-sourced liberal hack, admittedly.)

?otD: Does the existence of any particular book offend you?

Writing time yesterday: n/a (chemo exhaustion)
Body movement: Short suburban walk later (on the pump)
Hours slept: 8.5 (badly interrupted)
This morning’s weigh-in: n/a (forgot)
Yesterday’s chemo stress index: 9/10 (on the pump)
Currently (re)reading: The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

[books|cancer] The Specific Gravity of Grief

If you’re interested in my single-title novella “The Specific Gravity of Grief” (early review here), it can be pre-ordered from Fairwood Press here.

The initial release is a numbered, limited edition. If it sells through quickly, we’ll probably do a general release. Fairwood Press and I have not yet discussed ebook or online possibilities, but that’s much on my mind.

I’m not generally in the habit of explaining my fiction, but this is a special piece. What I was trying to achieve with it was to communicate the internal emotional experience of cancer, to give a healthy reader a real understanding of what it feels like to go down this road. If I had my way, there would be a copy in every oncologist’s office in America, not for the patients but for the families and caregivers.

It’s not genre fiction, except in the loosest possible sense, but it touches on genre a lot, as I used myself as a character. “The Specific Gravity of Grief” isn’t exactly fiction at all, though it is fictional autobiography without being a roman a clef.

I’ll certainly write more about cancer, both in fiction and outside of it, for the rest of my life, but I suspect this will be my most raw, most honest, unfiltered take. A book to be experienced but not enjoyed, perhaps.

Please excuse my hubris in speaking for the book.

[links] Link salad wants to go on the Ed Sullivan show

A first review of The Specific Gravity of Grief — THe reader likes it.

The Future is Written in Fat-Bellied Red Across Every Morning Sky — A positive review of the Escape Pod version of “On the Human Plan”.

Reviews of the DAW anthology Is Anybody Out There? — Including my story “Permanent Fatal Errors”.

SMBC on why there are so few female engineers

A Hidden History of EvilWhy doesn’t anyone care about the unread Soviet archives? (Thanks to .)

Palin pushes abortion foes to form ‘conservative, feminist identity’ — I’m confused. Isn’t this what the Right calls “feminazis”?

Rachel Maddow on GOP reactions to Elena Kagan versus GOP reactions to Harriet Miers — Bald-faced hypocrisy in their own words. Ah, the justly famed principled consistency of the Republican party, for which so many hopefully vote in order to avoid those nasty situationalists on the other side.

?otD: Does anyone even have blue suede shoes anymore?

Writing time yesterday: 2 hours (editing and WRPA)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 11.5 (interrupted once; yes, not a typo)
This morning’s weigh-in: 232.0
Yesterday’s chemo stress index: 7/10 (fatigue, peripheral neuropathy)
Currently (re)reading: The Warrior’s Apprenctice by Lois McMaster Bujold

[links] Link salad wonders what ever happened to the Children of the Sun

The dust jacket for my forthcoming The Specific Gravity of Grief — The book is a single-title novella from Fairwood Press, about the internal emotional experience of having cancer. And yes, in its way, it’s genre.

Violent but Charming — The Dictionary of Old English explores the brutality and elegance of our ancestral tongue. (Via .)

Houston Art Cars — (Thanks to .)

US cancer costs double in nearly 20 years — Hey, it’s keeping me alive.

Nathan Myhrvold: Could this laser zap malaria? — (Thanks to .)

SMBC takes on the ‘perfect copy’ problem — Heh.

Warm ‘Saturns’ and Their Moons — More exoplanetary goodness from Centauri Dreams. Heads up, you skiffy types.

Judicial Experience Matters — Except When it Doesn’t — More principled consistency from Your Republican Party.

?otD: Would you get on the flying saucer if they stopped and asked?

Writing time yesterday: none (chemo)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.5 (so-so)
This morning’s weigh-in: 233.4
Yesterday’s chemo stress index: 6/10 (emotional stress, GI)
Currently (re)reading: Making Money by Terry Pratchett (on the iPad 3G)

[personal] Obligatory year in review post for 2009

Writing and Publishing

(All figures subject to some revision, due to the vagaries of both record-keeping and publishing.)

I wrote twenty pieces of first draft short fiction, totalling 92,100 words. (Some of these were collaborative.) Due to a combination of circumstances, largely involving cancer, I only wrote one complete first draft novel this year, Endurance at 114,500 words — an unusual burst of brevity for me. Extensive revisions or rewrites to Pinion, Heart of the Beast (unfinished collaborative novel with Jeff VanderMeer), The Rockefeller Plot (unfinished collaborative novel with my dad) and Our Lady of the Islands (complete-but-in-revision collaborative novel with .) Also a number of articles, interviews and the usual avalanche of blog postings. Without getting too precise, I probably wrote about 500,000 words this year, which is a very small year from me.

I sold seventeen original short stories. Five of them were written collaboratively with , two more collaboratively with . I also have two forthcoming year’s best appearances for 2009 material, both for “On the Human Plan“, which originally appeared in Lone Star Stories in February of 2009. Those seventeen short fiction acceptances were balanced by twenty-three short fiction rejections. Also had ten reprint sales, including the YB inclusions, most of the rest of audio or foreign rights.

Approximately fifteen short stories of mine were published this year, including a number of the collaborations. I saw exactly three novels published this year: Green (Tor Books; June, 2009), Madness of Flowers (Night Shade Books; October, 2009) and Death of a Starship (MonkeyBrain Books; December, 2009). Contracted two more novels with Tor, Endurance and Kalimpura, which will extend the Green story. Those are my ninth and tenth novel sales. The anthology Other Earths, edited by Nick Gevers and me, also appeared this year, to strong critical reception, as well as the anthology Footprints, edited by Eric Reynolds and me.

Delivered Pinion to Tor (the third Mainspring book), The Sky That Wraps to Subterranean Press and The Specific Gravity of Grief to Fairwood Press. Drafted Endurance (the second Green book) for delivery next spring.

In 2010, I expect to see Pinion published by Tor Books, as well as my collection The Sky That Wraps from Subterranean Press, and single-title novellas The Specific Gravity of Grief (a cancer tale, from Fairwood Press) and The Baby Killers (high concept steampunk, from PS Publishing).

Attended a number of conventions, the highlights being my Toastmaster gig at World Fantasy in San Jose, and the lovely time we had at WorldCon in Montreal. We do plan to attend WorldCon in Melbourne this coming year, along with the New Zealand national SF convention the weekend prior. Those will be part of my “I survived chemo” celebration.


My relationship with has continued to solidify and blossom. That is a balm to my heart and delight to my life. Many other friendships and relationships have prospered as well, including the discovery (by me) of the delightful , and the ongoing evolution of my long-term friendship with .

Unfortunately, my relationship with cancer has also continued to solidify and blossom. 2008’s colon cancer came back with a lung metastasis, this after significant scares regarding liver and lymph metastates. In November I had a partial thoracectomy to remove a single grape-sized tumor from my left lung, along with a patch of lung tissue the size and shape of a Dorito. In December I had a port implanted in my right chest to facilitate chemotherapy. This coming January, I start a series of twelve infusions of a FOLFOX-Avastin cocktail, a chemotherapy combination with a range of potential side effects that would give anyone pause.

Chemo means my writing life will be pared down through next summer, though by what degree is not obvious. I have only retained two contracted commitments, one a major editing project, the other to revise and deliver Endurance. I’d also like to finish revising Our Lady of the Islands, my collaborate novel project with , so we can go to market with it, as well as make further progress on The Rockefeller Plot, the diplomatic thriller I am writing with my father. Beyond that… With luck, the second half of the year will see me restored to normal production, as I need to draft Kalimpura and I’d like to take a crack at Sunspin.

Hope your year was as happy and productive as mine, and considerably healthier. All the better for the New Year to you and yours.

[cancer] Emerging from the fog

Every day or two I wake up a little more. I’ve cut back considerably on the Dilaudid. This helps immensely. I’ll be back at work part time next week, and full time the week of 12/21, so the opiates need to be gone at least during working hours. On track to do that.

The next event here is the port implant surgery on Wednesday 12/16. That’s day surgery, on an outpatient basis, but it will pretty much soak up the day. After that, everything kind of smooths along until chemotherapy starts on 1/8.

will be here through Friday morning 12/18, will be back that day. We’re off for ‘s birthday party on 12/19, then back to Portland on 12/20. goes home on 12/21, then and I head for California on 12/26. I’ll be there through 1/3, then will be back in Oregon 1/7 for the chemo, as will if her schedule permits.

Still need to get a grip on my mental and emotional state of late. With a few exceptions, I’ve been largely neutral or positive, but only in the last few days have I become even slightly multi-threaded again. Being single-threaded drives me batshit. I feel so limited. I could also stand for the deep freeze weather to be done with, along with the intense and chronic oversleeping the healing process brings.

Life, of course, goes on. Confirmed a couple of fiction sales recently, submitted copy edits executed by on my behalf, working with on the production issues around “The Specific Gravity of Grief”, have some signature sheets to do for Subterranean Press, and yesterday for the first time managed to do some actual writing when I put in an hour and a half of revisions on Our Lady of the Islands.

So coming back to myself. Lots more to say when I get a slightly better handle on it. You guys have been brilliant.