Pandemonium Launch Party

Books, beer, and chili, people!

If you’re in the State College area on Sunday, September 7, 2008 you’re invited to the Pandemonium Two-Stage Launch party.

Stage One will be a reading and signing at the State College Barnes & Noble at 3pm. B&N will have books on hand for sale.

Then afterward — Stage Two, if you’re digging the organizational structure I’ve laid down in this post — we’ll have everyone over to my house at around 4:30 for appetizers, beer, lesser beverages, and chili. The chili will be provided in two spice levels, “Sane” and “Demonic.”  (Persons possessed by vegetarianism will also be accommodated.) If you need to skip the B&N portion, just show up at the house around 4:30. If you’ve pre-ordered a book, just bring it to the house and I’ll sign it there.

For directions to the house, email me at daryl.gregory@gmail.com. Hope you can come!

My thanks to B&N’s Meredith Rogers for hosting the signing, and to my in-house public relations manager, Kathy Bieschke, for hosting the Stage Two party.

On the third day of Christmas…

Too many Christmas gifts these days are just cash, cards, and certificates  — but I do love getting bookstore certificates. Last night I emptied the Barnes and Noble gift card I’d gotten and came home with three books I’m really looking forward to. Which is a rarity — sometimes I go months without finding a book I’m really excited about reading.

First up, Michael Chabon’s “Gentlemen of the Road”, a swashbuckler he was thinking of calling “Jews with Swords”. It’s even illustrated with those pen-and-ink drawings with a caption from the text, just like in Hardy Boys and other adventure books. Too. Much. Fun.

Then the new book by Iain Banks, “The Steep Approach to Garbadale”. This is Banks in non-genre mode — when he writes SF his name is “Iain M. Banks.” Which makes me think that if Banks really cared for his readers, he would have used the initial for Mainstream and left it out for SF. Ah, too late to change now. I’ve read every book the man’s written, going back to 1984’s “The Wasp Factory”, and if you must know, he’s one of the reasons my son is named Ian.

And then I bought my own copy of a book I’ve read years before, but I very much need to re-read, Scott McCloud’s “Understanding Comics.” The thing is, it’s not just about comics — it has a lot to say about all storytelling, and maybe some day I’ll blog about that. My son picked up another book in the series, “Making Comics”, and I’ll be reading that too.

My Fully Customizable Holiday Letter to [You]

Nothing says Happy Holidays like one of those mass-produced year-end summary letters from friends and family. But If you’re like me, you have trouble finding the time to write your own generic letter, much less one personalized to every Tom Dick and Mary in your address book.

I was stuck—until I discovered the miracle of Auto-Emotion™!

Thanks to Auto-Emotion’s quick-and-easy web forms, I churn out fully-customizable holiday letters out in a jiffy—and now so can you!

Just print out this handy form, pop it in the mail, and let your recipients do the work for you! It’s a festive project everyone can enjoy, and I guarantee your loved ones will cherish this form-driven letter just as much as that rambling missive you sent last year.


 

Due to time constraints, I can no longer offer  individual holiday greetings. In the form below, please check the boxes that apply to you, sign the letter with my name, and mail it to yourself. Feel free to include a recent picture of me and/or my family. Thank you. 

Dear Checkbox Friend  Checkbox Relative   Checkbox Creditor   Checkbox Rehab Counselor (check all that apply)

Happy Holidays!

I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to write. The   Checkbox years   Checkbox months just seem to fly by! It  seems like only yesterday that we were gathered around the ol’  Checkbox Christmas tree   Checkbox judge   Checkbox casket.

How is/are the   Checkbox kid(s)  Checkboxpet(s)   Checkbox secretarial staff ? I was saddened to hear about your problems with   Checkbox your health   Checkbox your computer   Checkbox me.  I sure hope you hung on to your Checkboxsense of humor!   Checkbox unused prescriptions!

But seriously, as a person who shares your deep faith in  Checkbox God   Checkbox physics   Checkbox the rule of law, I’m sure  that in no time you’ll pull   Checkbox through   Checkbox out    Checkbox yourself together.  

As for me, this has been one “wacky” year! You probably  Checkbox heard   Checkbox read in my file about some of the issues I’ve been working through, but don’t worry, I’m sure that soon  I’ll be calling you up to Checkbox laugh  about it  Checkbox schedule payment   Checkbox score more Vicodin.

I have to sign off now—so many letters to write!—but  don’t be a stranger. We must get the “old gang” together for that Checkbox lake vacation   Checkbox intervention   Checkbox hearing we’ve always talked  about.   Checkbox Write back   Checkbox contact my attorney  soon.

Checkbox Merry  Christmas!    Checkbox Happy  Hanukkah!  ;  Checkbox 明けましておめでとう!

Zweite Person Gegenwart

Pandora #1 Cover Otherwise known as “Second Person, Present Tense” in German — now appearing in Pandora #1, the “dem neuen SF/Fantasy-Magazin” .  It is to have mind blown!

Here’s the opening:

Daryl Gregory
Zweite Person Gegenwart

Wenn ihr denkt: “Ich atme”, so ist das “Ich” ein Zusatz. Es gibt kein Du, das “Ich” sagen könnte. Was wir Ich nennen, ist nichts als eine Drehtür, die sich bewegt, wenn wir ein- und ausatmen.
—Shunryu Suzuki

Ich hielt das Gehirn für das wichtigste Organ im Körper, bis mir klar wurde, wer mir das eingab.
—Emo Phillips

Als ich das Büro betrete, lehnt Dr. S am Schreibtisch und redet eindringlich mit den Eltern des toten Mädchens. Er ist nicht froh, aber als er aufschaut, legt er ein Lächeln für mich auf. “Und hier ist sie”, sagt er, wie ein Spielshow-Moderator, der den grossen Preis enthüllt. Die Leute in den Sesseln drehen sich um, und Dr. Subramaniam gibt mir einen persönlichen, ermutigenden Wink.
Der Vater fällt mir zuerst auf, ein fleckiger, quadratgesichtiger Mann mit einem straffen Bauch, den er wie einen Baseball trägt. Wie bei unseren vorherigen Besuchen blickt er nahezu finster, darum bemüht, seinen Gesichtsausdruck seinen Gefühlen anzupassen. Die Mutter dagegen ist schon am Weinen, und in ihrem Gesicht stehen wie in einem Buch: Freude, Angst, Hoffnung, Erleichterung. Es ist viel zu übertrieben.
“Oh, Therese,” sagt sie. “Kommst du nun nach Hause?”

I am not blogging, I am not blogging

Let’s face it—most blogs are boring. Science fiction writer blogs are exceptionally so. Does anyone need to read one more un-spellchecked paragraph whining about the state of science fiction publishing, or how hard it is to find an audience for “the work,” or that George W. is the antichrist? No.

No, no no.

But the one thing I like about blogging software is that it makes it easy for people to add comments, and for other people to comment on the comments. That’s cool. It’s like hosting a dinner party in which most of the people are saying interesting things, and the rest sneak in anonymously to insult the host and argue with the other guests. That’s internet fun, people.

Wait, there’s a second thing: blogging has become so common that people understand the interface. The weird, reverse-chronological posts; the ubiquitous “blogroll” and “archives” sections; the obsessive-compulsive linking to other web pages that substitutes for actual content. People get that instinctually. And by “people” I mean “geeks under 30.”

Stop. One more thing. The blogosphere runs on irony. The fact that I’m starting a blog by complaining about blogs is not just in the spirt of blogging, it’s cliché.

So here we are.

If the rest of my website is a sandbox, then this is the 6-foot radius around the sandbox in the backyard where sand and dirt become a nameless third substance and Matchbox cars go to die. 

So, for my next post—which you’ve already read, if you’re following this blog in the standard, reverse-chronological order—is a one-act play about how George W. is the antichrist.

Enjoy.