New Flash Fiction – “Have You Seen Lucky?”

My short story “Have You Seen Lucky?” was recently published by Abyss & Apex.

Dog lovers and Replacements fans should enjoy it.

While you’re there, buy a copy of The Best of Abyss & Apex, Vol. 1 which features great short stories by writers like Jude-Marie Green, Rachel Swirsky, Tim Pratt, and the great Jay Lake.

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Neko Case and Kelly Hogan’s “Droids” is Awesome and Snarky

One of my favorite musical memories is watching these ladies perform back-to-back sets at the legendary Grand Emporium in Kansas City in 2000.   Now, they’re tackling science-fiction fandom and coming up with some pretty funny stuff.

Some people are already saying they think the song is an outdated stereotype of SF culture.  Others are essentially saying “it’s just a joke” and don’t make a big deal out of it.  Actually, it’s better than that.  The timing seems perfect given the recent, thoughtful-but-heated discussion about sexism at SF conventions and in SF publishing (if you don’t know, just Google it–way too many links to post here).  And, the video is darned funny.

I love their list of things they’d like to see in 2091.

I’d nominate this for a “Best Dramatic Short Form” Hugo Award in a heartbeat.

And, if you haven’t listened to Case’s Furnace Room Lullabies or Hogan’s Beneath the Country Underdog, I encourage you to do so ASAP.  Really, all the stuff Bloodshot Records put out between 1995-2005 (including those two great discs) is great.  I’d hate for people to get they idea they just do clever parody songs; both have handled the Patsy Cline/Kitty Wells tradition pretty elegantly.

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11 Musicians Who Each Match A Doctor Who

When Peter Capaldi announced recently that his portrayal of Doctor Who was influenced by David Bowie,  I came up with the following list of doppelgangers:

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My picks are more about thematic connections than physical resemblances, hence a few weird/controversial choices.  I probably thought about this more than I should have, but I’m still sure I left out someone good.  Sorry if your favorite rocker didn’t make the cut.

Also, I haven’t seen every Who episode, so I don’t make any claims to comprehensive knowledge here.  I hope full seasons of 60s-80s material will become more readily available.

More than anything, making this list proved to me that an overtly Bowie-ish Doctor was overdue.

(I did minor edits to photos to make them fit together. I’ll remove content if the rights holder thinks this doesn’t fall within the realm of fair use.)
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KU Science Fiction: A Sketch of Pohl, Gunn, and Harrison

I’m going through all my notes from the Intensive Institute on the Teaching of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas.  I found the sketch below in notes from the first Campbell Conference I attended.


Fred Pohl, James Gunn, and Harry Harrison sat side-by-side on stage at the Smith Hall auditorium and talked about their lives in science fiction– from early experiences as science-fiction readers and aspiring writers to their later careers as seasoned professionals.

Not the greatest likenesses in the sketch, but a great memory.

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My Summer Science Fiction Class at UC Davis

I’ll be teaching Science Fiction during Summer Session II at the University of California, Davis.  I’m excited by the opportunity.

My course’s full info is available on the UC Davis English Department’s site.  The reading list (which includes the first Hugo Award-winning novel and the 2012 winner)  and  is below:

  • The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction, Evans, et. al.
  • The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
  • The Female Man, Joanna Russ
  • The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson
  • Among Others, Jo Walton

I’ll probably add a few readings to rectify the absence of “Mellonta Tauta,” “The Cold Equations,” and “Heirs of the Perisphere” from the otherwise excellent Wesleyan anthology.

As always, I’m glad to field questions via comments or by e-mail.  I can explain/justify all choices, just not in the length of a single blog post.

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I’m Missing Bradley Denton’s Show at ConQuesT

I noticed a month or two back that the Center for the Study of Science Fiction’s Writers Workshop website now has a picture of author Bradley Denton and me playing guitars.  Sure was fun. 2012-Denton-Williams-playing Tonight, probably at the moment I’m typing this, Brad is getting ready for one of his biggest, best annual performances.  Because of my travels to the Library of Congress and the American Literature Association, I’m missing it.

Each year at ConQuest — Kansas City’s annual science fiction convention — artist James Hollaman hosts an event called RoomCon.  It’s basically an all-night party in a hotel room featuring Brad playing guitar with whatever band shows up. (Currently, Caroline Spector is the regular bassist/co-conspirator).  Denton’s alter ego, “Bland Lemon Denton” bills himself as the world’s oldest and worst blues man.

These shows are joyful, loud, sing-a-long affairs of Springsteenian proportions: four-plus hours of covers from The Rolling Stones to Robert Earle Keen to Roky Erikson.  Always a good time, and a great example of how the spirit of rock and roll lives in science fiction circles.

Brad’s new novella collection is out.  Should be read by anyone with a pulse.

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Jack Wright in D.C., Twain and Faulkner at ALA

I spent most of Wednesday reading two Jack Wright dime novels at the Library of Congress.  Both are great examples of proto-science fiction that imagines inventors making a difference in real-world affairs.

In “Running the Blockade; or, Jack Wright Helping the Cuban Filibusters” from March 13, 1896, Jack uses his electric submarine, The Lone Star, to bring supplies to Cuban leaders fighting Spain.

In “The Flying Avenger; or, Jack Wright Fighting for Cuba” from April 10, 1896 Jack brings his airship to lay waste to Spanish troops and attempts to broker peace between Cuban General Gomez and Spanish General Weyler (the “Butcher”).

Both were written by Cuban-American writer Lu Senarens under the pseudonym “Noname.”

Also, I chaired a “William Faulkner and Mark Twain” panel at the American Literature Association in Washington D.C.  It featured two excellent papers: one on game theory by Michael Wainwright and the other on modernist aesthetics and race by Rachel Watson.

Doing original research on either one of these canonical American authors is an enormous task.  Writing a great paper that connects both of them is therefore doubly impressive.  Thanks again Rachel and Michael!

Now, back home to add the Jack Wright material to my book chapter on Lu Senarens.


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