Friday, February 20, 2004

I like it when obscure memes take on lives of their own and start manifesting in the strangest possible contexts . . .

By Zakas.

Incidentally, my Posthuman Blues essay on JPL's reluctance to address the "bunny" was picked up by The Weekend Bandit, a newspaper serving northern Texas and southern Oklahoma. If you live in the area, keep an eye out for it. The distribution is 14,000, which I'm quite sure eclipses the readership of the blog you're reading now.

Futurismic turned down my fiction submissions. And I have to agree with the editor that they weren't exactly gripping. Both were hopeful "outtakes" from my great unpublished short-story collection. Literary "B"-sides, if you will. One, "You Are Here," takes place entirely within an abandoned shopping mall after a viral holocaust. I once submitted this to Bruce Sterling, under the impression that he was the editor of The Infinite Matrix. I'd written it while under the influence of J.G. Ballard ("Crash," "Concrete Island") and Sterling (who wasn't the editor, although he maintained a well-received blog hosted by Infinite Matrix) saw through it, addressing me as "Mr. Ballard" in his reply. Which was actually severely flattering, if sort of unnerving. (Have I told this story before? I really hope not.)

Three new book purchases:

"The Best Short-Stories of J.G. Ballard." I've already read it, but at $5 I couldn't pass it up. Contains "The Voices of Time," one of the best science fiction stories ever written, and some of Ballard's more experimental postmodern fiction, including "Why I Want To Fuck Ronald Reagan." With a very good introduction by Anthony Burgess.

"The Difference Engine." No, not the celebrated steampunk tome by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, but a nonfiction chronicle of Charles Babbage's attempt to create the first digital computer. (I admit to knowing alarmingly little about the actual guts of computers, but I'm fascinated by those who do.)

Barry Miles' Ginsberg biography. I've also got Miles' "The Beat Hotel" in hardback, which I'll probably read first. I enjoyed Miles' studious (if doting) book on William Burroughs.

In the meantime, I'm enamored of John Shirley's "Gurdjieff: An Introduction to His Life and Ideas" -- which, thanks to John, I'm reading before publication. I recommend snatching this off the shelves the moment it comes out.