Breaking Glass

“Glass,” a very short story of mine about psychopaths, mirror neurons, biochemical consciences, and very sharp screwdrivers, has just been published on the Technology Review Magazine site. You can read it for free on the site or (I don’t know why you’d do this) wait for the print version to come out. 

Technology Review, published by MIT since 1899 (when steam was king and “hot technology” was no metaphor), is a magazine and now website that, well, reviews technology. But every so often they invite science fiction writers to lie to their readers. It’s kind of a reciprocal agreement — for years the site has provided one-stop shopping for near-future Sf writers looking for the next new geegaw to pin a short story to. 

I’m honored that “Glass” is being run side-by-side with Algis Budrys’ The Distant Sound of Engines, first published in 1959. Budrys, who died this past June, was one of the most influential writers and teachers in SF.  He certainly influenced me — I read his novel “Who?” in 7th grade and was blown away. Also in the issue is Mark Williams’ excellent essay, The Alien Novelist, which discusses the impact that the man had on SF.  

And while you’re on the site, look up previous stories, such as David Marusek’s Osama Phone Home. Cool stuff.

Phone call from 1952

At least, that’s what it sounds like. My phone-in interview on Fictional Frontiers with Sohaib, the Philly radio show on WNJC-1360 AM, is now available in podcast form. You can listen to the full show, or download just my 15 minutes of radio fame (12mb MP3).

Sohaib, speaking from the studio, sounds great. Me, I sound like I’m barking through a time vortex using nothing but a Bakelite handset, rusty magnets, and a hand crank.

But I actually had a lot of fun talking to Sohaib. As I mentioned in a previous post, he was scarily enthusiastic about Pandemonium, and we talked about genre-bending, Philip K Dick, and how much I look like Christian Bale. (Actually, only I brought that up.)

But listen to the whole show, where he talks to some comic writers, including the legendary Jim Shooter.

Demonium Panned!

Finally, a chance to use that headline. 

After all the really nice reviews of Pandemonium—like two I ran across this week, A.M. Dellamonica’s at Sci-Fi.com and Faren Miller’s at Locus—I finally found one that was negative. No, negative’s too weak a word. The reviewer, from a site I hadn’t run across before called Static Multimedia, found the book to be repulsive, depressing, disorganized, meaningless, and “void of goodness.” 

But why summarize? Reviewer Liese Cope says it best:

Pandemonium is void of anything inspirational and is not very thought-provoking.  It seemed to be a jumbled mess of ideas and questions that never have any resolution or sometimes even any point.  The book was also very depressing.  There seems to be no hope and no sign of good.  When dealing with the concept of demons (normally thought of as an ultimate evil) a reader desires to see that there is some goodness left in the world.  However, this whole book is void of goodness and faith in humanity.  In fact, even the “nun” who “helps” Del along the way is a cussing, violent, angry, and an impure person. The one person who would be expected to be a form of hope and goodness is very twisted, just like the book.

It’s obvious Pandemonium wasn’t written to be the feel good novel of the year, but if a book is going to be that depressing and utterly serious, the author usually owes the reader some glimmer of hope or some gem of wisdom that can be taken away. Unfortunately this book is void of both.

The key word seems to be “void.”  

However, you really need to read the entire review to understand that not only is the book bad, but that I am evil, too.  “Pandemonium just gives excuses for people’s actions, adding to the ‘not my fault, not my problem’ society we are living in. Ultimately, I [sic] Gregory tore down the integrity of humanity, showing them as nothing more than empty boxes for demons to fill and take total control over at any time.” 

I (Gregory) was really hoping that no one would notice the integrity-tearing thing, much less the void of hope glimmers and wisdom gems. But you can’t fool all the critics all the time.

Get to know the Right People

If you love yourself — and you know you do — give yourself a treat and read Adam Rakunas’ slightly lewd and very funny story, “The Right People,” appearing now at Futurismic. I love this story. 

Now back to me, and my obsession with self-promotion.

So a couple weeks ago I recorded an interview with Sohaib, the host of the Philadelphia radio show, Fictional Frontiers. I had a great time, and Sohaib was scarily enthusiastic about Pandemonium. You’ll have to listen to the interview to hear who he’d pick to direct the film version. 

You can hear me stumbling over my words this Sunday, October 12, at 11am eastern, on WNJC 1360AM (“Philadelphia’s Renaissance Radio Station” — though I have it on good authority that radio in the Renaissance sucked. The reception was terrible.).  If you don’t happen to be living in Philly, you can hear a live stream on the web. A podcast of the show should be availbable about a week after that — I’ll post the link when I have it. 

Meanwhile, if you want to see  me stumble over words, Matt Staggs of the very cool Enter the Octopus blog interviewed me, and he got me to confess to several things — what I really think of archetypes (and the dolphins who write about them), why Philip K Dick forced his way into my book, and who is the hottest chick that I’ve ever made into a fictional character.