Sunday miscellany

Saturday’s book signing was swell. Barnes & Noble had me front and center. Several of my friends and family stopped by and I also sold a handful of books to other folks in the store. I spoke with aspiring writers, one of whom was astonished to hear about the vast writing community in Austin (seriously, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a writer). He was taking creative writing courses as Southwestern University up in Georgetown, and I have to say, what are they teaching kids up there these days? He hadn’t heard about Texas Writers League, which is one of the biggest writers leagues in the country. How can you train upcoming new writers without letting them know about one of the huge resources in the area? Sheesh.

Sunday we saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This was one of the better Harry Potter installments. Darker, yet with moments of humor, and the kids are becoming better actors. Rupert Grint has the thankless role of the second banana, and he manages it well.

I’ve read all of the books and I only liked the first three. The remaining four were bloated, self-indulgent, and increasingly poorly written. I admire Rowling tremendously for her accomplishment, and I think the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone) is an incredible children’s book, but after Chamber of Secrets and Azkaban, the books all went downhill. I don’t think I even saw the last movie.

One of the things I liked about this one was that the producers and directors have thankfully settled down with the special effects. God, that first movie was so annoying, what with all the flashpowder whiz-bang magic going on. With HBP, the special effects serve the story instead of the other way around. Even though I write fantasy, I don’t like magic (that’s why in Gordath Wood there’s very little of the stuff). Well, it’s not like I don’t like magic, it’s just that I think it gets in the way of a good story. Okay, that’s not it either. Magic just makes things easy, that’s all.

The writing life

Words: 2,035

Music: KGSR Broadcasts Vol 16. James McMurtry has an amazing voice

¬†A lot of words tonight, probably because I didn’t write all weekend. Saturday we spent at the park watching A play ultimate Frisbee. We got about 4 or 5 inches of rain on Friday and Saturday, so the kids were sliding all over the place. Plenty of mud came home with him. But it did clear up so nicely and even though it was humid on Saturday, Sunday (and today) was a gorgeous clear day, sunny, crisp and cool. I love days like that. We are almost into summer here in Central Texas and these days will be a dim memory soon.

Sunday we drove to San Marcos to visit friends. They have a two year old daughter and a 4 and half month old baby boy, and I got to hold the baby for hours. It was fun, even when he spit up all over me. And the little girl — who has these sweet red curls — finally warmed up to me enough that she would sit in my lap and I told her the story of the three little pigs.

For now though, it’s great weather. And my little herb garden is thriving. I even used some sprigs for tonight’s marinade for the porkchops. Rosemary, oregano, and on a whim I crushed in some mint. The basil is still coming up, and I planted a ton because I love basil. So despite my black thumb, we’ll see. Maybe this is the year.

Spinrad on Disch in Asimov’s

Words: 539

Not too great progress this time, but I have a story I want to edit before I send it to my writer’s group.

Music: KGSR Broadcasts 16. Disc II. I was blown away by Sam Baker and Gurf Morlix’s Slots. Achingly beautiful.

I picked up the most recent Asimov’s and so far have read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Spires of Denon and Norman Spinrad’s essay on Thomas Disch.

Although I have been reading science fiction and fantasy since I was a kid, I only¬†started to go to cons when I got serious about being a writer. The con culture is intertwined with the history of SF. I don’t think romance and mystery genres, both noted for their conventions, have the same con culture. (Please correct me if I am wrong in that.) The science fiction community and our cons are unique. And Spinrad touches on that at the end of his essay, that connection that writers and fans have, facilitated these later years by the Internet, and how maybe it could have saved his friend and colleague.

I wonder who of this current generation of writers and con-goers will become the lions of the genre. Who are the future grandmasters? Who is our Holy Trinity (Asimov, Clark, Heinlein)? Or is that time passed for good, and no one will ever rise to that level?