Sophomore effort

Your first novel is fueled by passion for your craft, belief in your talent as a storyteller, a fire that burns in your belly, a head full of imaginary people speaking to you, millions of collapsing waveforms of narrative possibility, and entire days that pass like mere minutes. Not to mention liberal doses of caffeine, adrenaline, sugar, alcohol, and endorphins.

Your second novel is hampered by crippling doubt, self-loathing, a paralyzing fear of failure, a head full of imaginary people screaming at you, hundreds of words of uninspired narrative dross, and minutes that pass like entire days. Not to mention excessive doses of caffeine, alcohol, and empty carbohydrates.

posted 9/15/09 at 2:11pm to Writing · 3 replies · permalink

Things Wot Are On My Shelves: Contact edition

(for Faruk)

James Gunn: The Listeners, Scribners, 1972, 1st edition, 1st printing

Gunn’s novel is a fictional account of first contact, co-dedicated to Carl Sagan and based on his early use of radio telescopes in the search for extraterrestrial life.

A direct antecedent to—and inspiration for—Sagan’s novel, Gunn’s The Listeners is still an amazing work of speculative fiction and is a must-read for anyone who enjoyed Contact and for sci-fi fans in general.

posted 7/10/09 at 4:27pm to Books, Things Wot Are On My Shelves · 0 replies · permalink

Infinite Summer

Are you participating in Infinite Summer? If not, you should be1

Infinite Jest is an enormous yet rewarding read, and is one of my top five favorite novels.

Yes, it looks intimidating, but as Jason Kottke explains in his excellent forward to the project:

It is a fact that Infinite Jest is a long book with almost a hundred pages of endnotes, one of which lists the complete (and fictional) filmography of a prolific (and fictional) filmmaker and runs for more than eight pages and itself has six footnotes, and all of which you have to read because they are important. So sure, it’s a lengthy book that’s heavy to carry and impossible to read in bed, but Christ, how many hours of American Idol have you sat through on your uncomfortable POS couch? The entire run of The West Wing was 111 hours and 56 minutes; ER was twice as long, and in the later seasons, twice as painful. I guarantee you that getting through Infinite Jest with a good understanding of what happened will take you a lot less time and energy than you expended getting your Mage to level 60 in World of Warcraft.

So, go out and get a copy right now, and dig in. You won’t be sorry.

  1. Mostly because it’s a wonderful idea, but also because my good friend Avery is a co-founder of the project.
posted 6/22/09 at 8:05am to Books, Writing · 0 replies · permalink


It wasn’t that she woke up at 3:20 a.m. with a man in her bedroom that startled her so much, though it was a rare enough occurrence that it justified her alarm.

No, the unsettling thing was that her late night interlocutor was a dead Frenchman who’d been in the ground for the better part of a century and a half.

Me, from The Truthfulness of the Calotype

posted 6/15/09 at 3:28pm to Uncategorized · 0 replies · permalink

Bessa R2, Summicron f/2 40mm, Ferrania Solaris ISO100

Bessa R2, Summicron f/2 40mm, Ferrania Solaris ISO100

posted 5/6/09 at 11:32am to Uncategorized · 0 replies · permalink