Thursday, March 19, 2015

William Gibson has the perfect response to Neal Stephenon's demand for more optimistic SF

The question is asked at 10:28 

From this interview, (which you can also watch above):

I don't know, I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of the novelist as a vehicle for boosterism. Or the novel as a vehicle for boosterism, because my idea of what good novels do is to kinda go out and read the signs, and come back and make something in their image, and the idea is, the signs aren't always very good, and lately they're kind of wildly un-good. But we never know. I mean, the nuclear wasteland of my childhood never happened, in spite of it having been this terribly real emotional place.

I love Neal Stephenson more than most people, but Gibson (who just turned 66, believe it or not) is right on the money here. I have the vague recollection of posting this interview before, but hey, it's my blog. I can do what I want.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Chipophone: 8-bit organ


This is what the word "amazing" was reserved for, folks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Neil Gaiman visits Tulsa, where one of his favorite writers lived

Here's the article in the Tulsa World. I was there. I would have enjoyed myself a lot more had I not been sick. Allergies, I reckon. I felt like I'd been hit by a steamroller and my mouth developed a dry fuzziness which had me looking longingly at the nearby woman who'd been wise enough to pack a Coke into her purse. The stiff, immovable seats of the Performing Arts Center somehow didn't help the fact that antihistamines are potent knock-out pills for me.

It was apparent Neil Gaiman was genuinely excited to be in Tulsa. He explained that one of his favorite writers, R.A. Lafferty, lived in Tulsa so he'd been intrigued by my hometown for over thirty years. He said he wrote his first fan letter to Lafferty and the two developed a correspondence which lasted many years. Then he apologized for his "ridiculous accent" before he read Lafferty's short story Seven Day Terror, which had the audience cracking up although they hadn't initially warmed to the idea of Gaiman reading someone else's work. His accent and sense of timing actually served the story about a "disappearing device" made out of a beer can very well. He claimed it was the first time he'd performed a reading of a work that wasn't his own.

When asked what was the best piece of advice he'd ever gotten, Gaiman told a story about what Stephen King once told him, but then he amended his answer saying Harlan Ellison told him how to shave a coarse beard with conditioner and that that had been the best advice he'd ever gotten. The audience laughed at the way Gaiman answered the question before also dodging it. When asked how we should deal with Terry Pratchett's troubles with Alzheimer's, Gaiman said, "We don't." He then explained that people's complacency with the disease is perhaps why it doesn't get enough attention. His advice was to continue feeling bad about it because it's a terrible thing.

All said and done, it was a good night, every bit as peculiar and amusing as you could hope for, but like I said I felt like shit. Nonetheless, it was pretty cool to see the writer of American Gods in person. What was even cooler was the fact he obviously enjoyed being here.

That's what's funny about Tulsa. It sounds like a shit hole (the way I imagine Oklahoma City) and to be honest downtown used to be kind of shitty when I was younger, but every out-of-towner I've met since then loves it. It's a fun place, guys. Really. Just don't do the boring tourist thing (at least not all of it) and you'll be surprised by how much stuff there is to do here. And the eatin's cheap, so don't complain.

More on R.A. Lafferty here.

Friday, February 27, 2015

He's dead, Jim


It's not often a celebrity's death has any effect on me. But damn it, man, this is Spock we're talking about. Judging from the front page of Reddit today, I'm not the only one who felt this way:


Some kids made a shot-by-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now there's a documentary about it


I remember reading about this in a magazine years ago. (It had to be years. Who reads entertainment magazines anymore?) Supposedly, when the kid who plays Indy kisses Marion, it was his first kiss ever. That's crazy. And a little awkward. Who wants their first kiss to be immortalized on VHS?