Archive for January, 2012

Book Signing and Party for Three Messages and a Warning

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

I attended a signing at BookPeople for Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic, co-edited by Turkey City’s own Chris Brown (formerly Chris Nakashima-Brown, now renamed after a long and painful de-Japanization process).

The event was fairly well attended, with about 40-50 people showing up.

Two of the authors flew up for the event: Pepe Rojo of Tijuana:

And Bernardo Fernandez of Mexico City (who also works as a graphics artist and teacher, as well as a crime writer):

(I’m not sure if you can tell, but Bernardo’s shirt features a robot (or possibly an android) and an electric sheep.) I believe he mentioned that he was working on a graphic novel about William S. Burrough’s time in Mexico. I bet it ends with a bang.

I also found it interesting that both of their fathers were engineers.

In attendance were also many members of the Austin SF community, including a few that my pictures of weren’t completely awful:

Stina Leicht and Sara Felix.

Jessica Reisman, a few moments before the police arrested her for the Hollywood scriptwriter they found dead facedown in her pool.

On Saturday, there was a party at Chris Brown’s newly opened East Austin hipster-pad-cum-1970s-science-fiction-movie-set. Sadly, none of my photos of the house (taken at dusk) came out well. But I did get a few pics of the party attendees:

Don Webb, who co-edited one of the most influential Spanish-language anthologies of speculative fiction, for which he was paid $50 and three bottles of Tequila.

Stina and Jessica redux.

The rest of my pictures were various degrees of crappy. (Hopefully Jayme Blaschke, who was there with a bigger, better camera, will put some up.) Sadly, one picture that didn’t come out was that of Bernardo wearing a t-shirt depicting Mexico’s most famous science fiction character: Bender Bending Rodriguez.

Finally, no expects the Spanish Steampunk Zeppelin!

Shoegazer Sunday: Dead Mellotron’s “I Woke Up”

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Love the band name.

Much More Important Than ABBA

Friday, January 27th, 2012

The surviving members of Monty Python are reuniting for a science fiction film farce called Absolutely Anything.

I am so there.

In Which The “No Disco” Rule is Temporarily Lifted

Friday, January 27th, 2012

I doubt I’ll live this one down. Let’s just call this Guilty Pleasure Friday.

I read on Bill Crider’s Blog that ABBA was releasing their first new single in 18 years. Now keep in mind I’m firmly in the “anti-disco” faction. I lived through the 1970s, and disco was right up there with inflation and the Pittsburgh Steelers among things right-thinking suburban teenagers in Houston hated in the 1970s.

So ABBA was never going to be among my favorites. But despite all that, I still remember liking “Take a Chance on Me” when it came out, so I thought I’d give it a listen again.


The refrain is pure disco vapidness, the “sexy” winks are ridiculous, and the 1970s video production values are non-existent. But those first few seconds of high female acapella harmony still send shivers down my spine. Maybe it’s because such harmonies are so underutilized in pop music today, a point I’ve made before.

Say what you want about ABBA, but this was before the age of digital desuckification and autotune, and those girls could really sing.

Unpublished R. A. Lafferty

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

I don’t have a love/hate relationship with The New York Review of Science Fiction, but I do have a “Love/Meh” relationship with it. I’ve been a subscriber lo these many years, and have contributed the occasional piece. But frequently much of it will either strike me as the sort of close-reading, semiotic, postmodern academic grab fanny (“The Anvil of Dissonance: Contextualizing the Other in the Early Work of Joanna Russ”) that I tried to stay away from back when I was publishing Nova Express, or subjects that, while theoretically worthy of study, I would get so little out of that I see no point in spending the time to read (“The Evolution of the French Vampire Novel: 1867—1894”).

But every now and then they publish something absolutely vital to my interests.

This month it was Andrew Ferguson’s piece on unpublished R. A. Lafferty works, which is much more extensive than either the list in The SF Book of Lists or anywhere online. I knew about the unpublished In a Green Tree volumes and a few others, but there’s lots of stuff I’ve never heard of, including the novels:

  • Loup Garou, a werewolf mystery
  • Civil Blood, an anti-communist novel
  • Antonio Vescovo, a very early novel described as “a cross between Rabelais and The Lives of the Saints” (!)
  • Dark Shines, about gifted children and an evil protagonist, and
  • When All the World Was Young, a plague novel in which everyone over the age of 10 is killed.
  • And there’s a huge list of unpublished stories, poems and essays as well. All of which I’ll no doubt end up buying when it comes out.

    If you’re a Lafferty fan, it’s well worth your $4 to pick up a copy of this issue.

    Lawrence Person’s Library: Reference Books (Part 3: Contributor Copies)

    Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

    Here are some pics from the section of my reference library where I keep contributor copies of publications my work has appeared in. Before the contributor copies, there are several book auction catalogs (including from the auctions I covered here), as well as some old S. M. Mossberg and L. W. Currey book catalogs of interest. After that the actual contributor copies start. You should be able to figure out what these are from my bibliography. The exception is the black tape-bound volume on the first shelf, which is a compilation of materials handed out for a Danish class on science fiction which includes my review of Donnie Darko. I have so many copies of Jim Baen’s Universe because FACT had boxes to give away at the 2008 Nebula Awards here in Austin and I snagged some leftovers.

    As usual, click to embiggen.

    I have a few of these available for sale through Lame Excuse Books as well.

    Previous entries on my reference library can be found here and here.

    Worst. Webpage. Ever.

    Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

    Oh. My. God.

    Someone saved Bello De Soto’s wesbite for posterity.

    Who is Bello De Soto, you ask? Oh, nobody important, except for the fact that she designed the worst website in the history of the world. It’s like the The Star Wars Holiday special of web design; you can’t understand just how bad it is until you’ve experienced it.

    I had a friend who tried to load this on Safari, and it crashed so hard he needed to reboot his iPhone. (Loading it in Firefox seems to create no harmful effects, other than aesthetically. Then again, I have enough memory to load the 503 MB of horror without problems.)

    Here’s a big ass picture of that page, and here’s a video of someone from Web Pages That Suck loading the page.

    The original website is no longer up, presumably because web designers carrying pitchforks and torches destroyed the evil laboratory in which it was created…

    Hours of Tasteless Entertainment

    Monday, January 23rd, 2012

    Suppose you came to the Internet sometime after the year 2000. You may take a certain level of taste and restraint for granted, even for porn sites. You may never have beheld the web design wonderland that was Geocities.

    Geocities! Where Good Taste Went to Die!

    But now you can relive those halcyon days of yore with the Geocitiesizer! Just input the URL for any web page, and the magic of rotating gifs, cluttered backgrounds, inappropriate font choices and auto-play 8-bit pop tunes can be yours!

    Shoegazer Sunday: Mash’s “Bury”

    Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

    Here’s another obscure Japanese shoegazer band, Mash, with their song “Bury.”

    I like the way it builds, though the outro crescendo could have been a bit shorter…

    New William Gibson Book: Distrust That Particular Flavor

    Friday, January 20th, 2012

    William Gibson has a new book out, Distrust That Particular Flavor, collecting his non-fiction output. Gibson’s essays are usually interesting and thought-provoking.

    Paul Di Filippo offers a review, as does The New York Times.