Author Archives: — michael [&c.]

A brief on a year-long labor

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Sometime in July ’08 I began work on a short project that is finally seeing a final draft. This morning I drummed out parts 3 through 7 (seven total) from a copy of its first draft in a worn-all-to-hell moleskine and written more-or-less illegibly. Worst yet, it needs work – and plenty of it. What’s taken so long is persistent, every-so-often revisions based on shifting personal taste. It is a story told tangentially, and I am frustrated by narrative conventions and my attempts to thwart them. Argh.

But I hope to be done here soon. In the meantime, I am picking www.s-is-for-somewhere.com back up to try and finish it as a virtual hub for my scattered presence online; I’m not much of a web-designer, but I get a kick out of dabbling a little and so I am excited to see what I can do with it. If I had the wherewithal I’d ask for help – but hell no[t yet].

I’ve decided to release everything I can online for free under the creative commons licensing; I suspect the reality is that I won’t make a dime, but that’s okay – I may be able to overcome obscurity (a feat).

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Thief –, or a dosage of a raw Science [non-]fiction

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At the New York Times: A TINY glass telescope, the size of a pea, has been successfully implanted in the eyes of people with severely damaged retinas, helping them to read, watch television and better see familiar faces.

You mid-nineties gamers remember the antihero Garrett (Thief: the Dark Project / :the Metal Age / : Deadly Shadows / :Gold), having his eye twisted-out by the tree-thing Viktoria, had a steampunk mechanical [telescopic] eye built by the Hammerite, Father Karras.


Sunday is equally lazy. Kristen and I slept late [and she still]. It is just about noon and I am at the glasstable looking out at the little patch of woods just off the porch, and finishing-up “the Hangman” draft – which has taken me only a year to get to this point for measely fifteen-odd pages since I’d written it down. I come back to it every few months, and can’t understand why it is taking me so so so long.

The Townhouse [Week 1]

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I thought I might chronicle (half-assedly, admittedly) Kristen’s & my venture into [re]indepdence: it is her first side-step into the world outdoors, and–as you know–I’d become a statistic when I [newly graduated and jobless] moved-in with the folks out-of-the-way in Florida. I intend to post some photographs of the place when we have things a little more situated, but, so far, we have a semi-complete Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, and Office; the townhouse is small, but two stories and cozy. You’ll see.

The Explosionist
The Explosionist

I finished reading Jenny Davidson‘s The Explosionist – a smart and intuitive read; paced well, a semi-episodic detective trick — I learned a dash of history precisely because it is alternate in The Explosionist‘s Edinburgh; and I subsequently tore down the heavens when it ended on a cliffhanger, prepared to loose on JD all the fury of the world until it occurred to me that, if so, I would never learn what happened after.

Lucky her.

invalidating Dead Witnesses —

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The Explosionist

The Explosionist

— while grooving with Jenny D.’s scientifically-proven paranormality in The Explosionist, I kept wondering just why sleuths in the novel’s world hadn’t simply asked the [presumably good-and-dead] victim directly – or …, vicariously through incense [?] (“–these on the bones of this dead man” etc.). Then p.-268 read

“The basic idea,” Keith said, so earnestly it was almost comical, “is that many serious crimes–murder’s an obvious example–leave no witnesses aside from the perpetrator. So you want to get the dead to testify, but their words are often so vague as to be useless, not to mention that the 1921 decision in Scotland v. Blavatsky affirmed that recordings of the voices of the dead are inadmissible in court. They’re simply too easy to fake.”

and I am subsequently incurably interested in applications of the laws of the living to the dead.

Twi[L]ight Me on Fire, please —

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Hold the Vampiric Phone, already --

Hold the Vampiric Phone, already --

Just now read Laurel Ann’s writeup on Regina Jeffers’ Darcy’s Hunger: a Vampire Retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and I am inclined to feel a little malicious. Only recently my fandom’s been strained when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies awoke in me an already festering disdain for Jane-in-the-Ass [see what I did there?] knockoffs and sequels [many, anyway; some I like].

I’d gotten an early copy of P&P&Z and enjoyed it–digging zombies–for what it was worth, but I am hardpressed to ever designate beyond “fun” and broach “good” – it isn’t; it’s leeching from established Janeite and horror markets and having good fun in the process, and that’s about it. P&P&Z was in the forefront of a monsterification trend, as genre-author fanboys-and-girls “horrify” [tr. verb def. 3] the regency, as if trying to find common ground between the Romantics and Stephanie Meyer.

 Mr. Darcy might be a little dark, but Byronic? I think the circumstance would be different for Regina Jeffers if she retold P&P in the style of–let’s say–Ann Radcliffe [The Mysteries of Darcypho], but–and I don’t mean to judge her prematurely–the preview at Austenprose leads me–Librarian with dwindling respect for sacred cows–to chalk her paperback as Harlequin and file it among volumes of the exact same thing.

— I know I’m being crass, and–if I think about it–I am not scoffing Jeffers’ writing (I am sure she is completely capable) or choice in book, – that isn’t the issue [although it may seem like it]; rather, I am more and more aggravated that Janeites continuously think this sort of thing Novel.

Godforbid, I am almost of the opinion that–if an author isn’t going to model Jane, rethink her in the manner of another contemporary [Radcliffe], exaggerate regency drama as horror [rather than make it horror just-because (P&P&Z would have been loads of fun and smart if the apocalypse were related to ill-feelings vis-a-vis the reverberations of the Fr. Revolution a generation prior)]–why not rename the characters and pawn his or wares as original.

/The Graphic Classroom/ in /Teacher Librarian/

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I read through the grapevine that The Graphic Classroom was plugged in the school-library journal Teacher Librarian, reading: “Web 2.0: The growing popularity of blogs such as The Graphic Classroom, http://graphicclassroom.blogspot.com, has provided a way for people to easily share reviews and favorite web sites about age appropriate materials for young people.” — which makes me want to mention (I am sure I have before) that I am really pretty impressed with what Chris Wilson [editor] is achieving through his reviewsite. And although it is [for some ungodly reason] in the shadow of godawful reviewsites like No Flying, No Tights, I am watching for it to take off.

I think [I think] the issue may be that it is geared toward a niche audience, or maybe because it is a blog it is somehow less-worthy than NFNT‘s messy code, which–maybe like Bookslut–earns it status as an eZine. The Graphic Classroom’s multiple talented authors are thorough reviewers (academic in length and structure), and Chris has some well-earned sway among some of the early-reader/ya graphic marketers: it might not be too hard (although it’d certainly be more time consuming) to wrangle authors and illustrators in and interviewed, reports on major industry events (we already do that, but they aren’t gathered in–say–their own corner of the site, but intermingled with the steady stream of reviews).

Using Bookslut as a model and looking through the TGC archives, there are enough reviews, op-eds, features and suchlike, including the obligatory links, Chris’s killer graduate study, archives organized by recommendations, and so on to situate and usurp a NFNT’s position in the YALSA Recommended Websites list. IMHO

[Lizzie] Borden Casket Company

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Over and Under // Todd Tucker

Over and Under // Todd Tucker

Since the great American budget-cut swept through, I just frankly haven’t had the wherewithal to submit my list of volumes of young-adult slag to order. One snuck through–I remember listing it – at some point–which looks to take a solid second-tier following The Explosionist in my spare-time literating*.  I quote:

But in the building summer heat, violence quickly erupts–including an explosion, a murder, and the escape of two fugitives–and the young boys can no longer ignore that the world around them has forever changed. Through their secret observations of labor meetings, both boys feel the effects of the dissolution, and it tests their loyalty and friendship, as well as the town’s spirit.

* — this isn’t a word.