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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Accenting the Accent: "Dinner on a Flying Saucer" by Dean Wesley Smith

This short story first appeared in Denise Little's anthology, Front Lines. It is also available as a stand-alone ebook for $2.99.

Wife, Ethel, approaches narrator with a shotgun. He claims to have been abducted by aliens, had dinner, and left their sucker marks on him--not human hickeys.
Is this an SF story of a slipstream one?

Ethel doesn't believe him, and it becomes difficult for the reader as well. When his wife scoffs that he'd do anything with the widow Mattie, he seems to take it as a challenge, intimating that he may pay her a visit. However, he does appear to believe his own bluster. See quote referenced below to decide what you think  actually happened.

It is also a story focused on voice--a Southern one.

"I bet the widow Mattie would be real grateful like, and maybe give me a ride like she’d done to Chester. Especially when she found out I was a real war hero and all, keepin’ the world safe from them stick-slug invasions."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New and reissued books/ebooks

The Paul Di Filippo MEGAPACK 
22 Tales of the Fantastic 
by Paul Di Filippo  

The Dire Earth: 
A Novella 
(The Dire Earth Cycle) 
by Jason M. Hough 

Dead Man Tells Tale 
by Jonathan L. Howard 

Two Scott Nicholson books:

  1. The Spider Trilogy with J.R. Rain -- $0.99 
  2. After: Whiteout (AFTER post-apocalyptic series, Book 4) -- $3.99

Stories set in the PALE ZENITH universe 
by Wendy Rathbone 

Kristine Kathryn Rusch reissued two short stories 
$2.99 each

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlepig: 
A Novella 
(The Bobby Dollar Books Book 4) 
by Tad Williams 

Teaching the Dog to Read  (novella)
by Jonathan Carroll 

In Search of Wonder 
by Damon Knight 

Five by Five 3: 
Target Zone 
by Kevin J. Anderson and Michael A. Stackpole 

Skin Deep 
by Brandon Sanderson 

The Book of Feasts & Seasons 
by John C. Wright 

(Of Man and Manta Book 3) 
by Piers Anthony 

5 Robin McKinley books

  1. Sunshine $6.83 
  2. Deerskin $6.55 
  3. Rose Daughter $6.41 
  4. The Outlaws of Sherwood $7.49 
  5. The Door in the Hedge: and Other Stories $6.64
The Eternal Champion Sequence (3 books)
by Michael Moorcock 

Weird Heroes, 
A New American Pulp 
by Byron Preiss and Philip Jose Farmer 

by Richard Kadrey 

Star Bridge 
by James Gunn and Jack Williamson 

(Major Baahjan series Book 1) 
by Catherine Asaro 

by Charles de Lint 

Out Of This World 
(Wildlings Book 3) 
by Charles de Lint 

Willful Child 
by Steven Erikson 

Coming Home 
(An Alex Benedict Novel Book 7) 
by Jack McDevitt 

(Parasitology Book 2) 
by Mira Grant 

The Future Falls: 
Book Three of the Enchantment Emporium 
by Tanya Huff 

by Stephen Baxter 

15 Plays 
by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers by Andrea Hairston, John Kessel, Cecil Castelucci, James Patrick Kelly, Mac Rogers, August Schulenburg, Adam Szymkowicz, Liz Duffy Adams, 
Erin Underwood (Editor), Jen Gunnels (Editor) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Kickstarters and story bundles

Jeff Vandermeer has added a little more oomph to his tasty story bundle to get Helsinki the World Con bid:
"Anyone who buys our Storybundle at the bonus level (all of the e-books) will be eligible for their own secret life. Three randomly chosen readers will win a flash fiction written by me that incorporates details of their lives as the starting point. Handwritten, personalized, and one-of-a-kind. No other copies will ever exist. in addition, those three winners will receive the Area X hardcover of my NYT bestselling Southern Reach trilogy, with a limited edition Southern Reach art booklet. (Anyone who has already bought the Storybundle at the bonus level will be entered in the random drawing.)"

Here's a Kickstarter with what are basically six chapbooks by various up-and-comers.

  1. Martha Wells - Between Worlds: the Collected Ile-Rien and Cineth Stories
  2. Will McIntosh - Futures Near and Far
  3. Tina Connolly - Scales & Other Transformations
  4. Stephen Gaskell - Transit & Other Stories
  5. Brenda Cooper - Beyond The Waterfall Door: Stories of the High Hills
  6. Bradley P. Beaulieu - Compartmentalized & Other Stories 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

C. Auguste Dupin, Detective: Genius and... Blowhard?

Edgar Allan Poe created the mystery genre through his popular genius detective, C. Auguste Dupin. Their influence, while far-reaching, rests on three stories:

  1. The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841),
  2. The Mystery of Marie Rogêt (1842), and
  3. The Purloined Letter (1844).
The first is perhaps the most dramatic and most famous. It has been filmed around a half dozen times. The latter two, once. 

Nonetheless, the most iconic, I contend, is the lattermost. It brought forth the idea [Note: I am about to deliver the dreaded spoiler, so read the tale now before your mind is forever corrupted] of hiding things in plain sight. The actual story isn't as simple as the concept it delivers. Dupin points out that 1) the astute can guess behavior patterns of people based on their intelligence, 2) you can make gains in politics through the destruction of another's morality (a lesson still in practice--perhaps more popular than ever), and 3) hiding things in plain sight... through simple disfigurement, while hanging with other items of similar disfigurement.

Paul Collins, a biographer of Poe, calls these essays. And they are--of a fictionalized sort--especially "The Purloined Letter". Dupin spends a great deal of time reasoning out all the extraneous matter and beating around to his final point. In the modern locked-room mystery, Dupin's stories represent the final unraveling, where the detective relates how the mystery occurred. His methods are similar to Doyle's Sherlock Holmes's. Doyle also employs a sidekick like Dupin who can become our proxy for our awe of the detective's mental prowess.

Doyle's sidekick, Watson, is superior in that he actually has a personality that develops across the stories. Poe's is an anonymous blank-slate. Even Dupin is something as a blank slate except for one thing: He talks a lot, demonstrating his genius.

If Dupin were real, some people would become enthralled and hang on in his every word. Most would probably lose track of what he was saying and think of other matters, waiting for him to finish what he had to say, stifling yawns and glancing at pocket watches: "My! Look at the time." I think the term "blowhard" is unfair as he is just explaining a crime at length, but that would likely be the feeling that most people would got in his presence, especially if they feared intellectual matters that shot over their heads.

According to Collins, Poe wrote literary puzzles for readers to figure out. I suspect that these Dupin stories were an outgrowth of such interest, exploring dramatic puzzles of crime. The idea of Dupin's character may never have come to mind. For all that Dupin might have been a pain to be around in real life, his reasoning has been fascinating to read for nearly 175 years.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What We Do in the Shadows -- trailer and clips

At Michael Knost's recommend, I hunted down these clips from a forthcoming New Zealand mockumentary about vampires. It seems reminiscent of Spinal Tap with a similar underground-classic appeal. Each vampire has a distinct character flavor that's rather charming and humorous--more in the smiling department than that of the guffaw one.


Other Clips (Some gore. Some overlap in content but each unique. Not all may be from the movie, but they carry a similar tone):

  1. Opening Scene
  2. Stu teaches technology!
  3. Dead but delicious.
  4. Vampires vs Werewolves: "Awooooo!"
  5. An evening with a vampire
  6. The bisgetti and cobra trick
  7. Incubus Seeks Succubus
  8. Passing Time
  9. Werewolves not Swearwolves
  10. Self Image Problems
  11. Blending in to Bleed Out
  12. Hypnosis in the Shadows
  13. Dating 101 with Viago
  14. Vampire's Guide to Vellington
  15. Vampire's Guide to Vellington Out-takes
  16. Behind The Lid - Vellington Sign