(1) SPACE REMAINS THE FINAL FRONTIER. Howard Tayler is right – pass along the dream.
(2) A CENTURY OF CARL SLAUGHTER. Adding together all the interviews, book features, series features, author profiles, essays, and news items he’s written for File 770, today I published Carl’s 99th and 100th submissions. I’m grateful he’s been so generous with his talent here.
(3) AGENT SECRETS. Liana Brooks tells aspiring writers when is “The Best Time To Query”.
These are just the tidbits that everyone in the industry takes for granted and assumes everyone knows.
1 – Literary agents close for several months of the year so always check their websites to see if they are open to queries right now.
2 – Summer is con season and, on Fridays, the agents and editors leave work early. If your deadline falls on a Friday, make sure the manuscript gets in early.
3 – Between Thanksgiving (American) and Groundhog’s Day, publishing is slow and full of NO. Everyone wants to clear their desk for the new year and empty their inboxes so agents (and editors) are quicker to say no this time of year.
That means February is one of the best times to query. Everyone is back from their holidays. Everyone is over their “no booze” New Year’s Resolution. Everyone is excited about the coming spring and in the mood to say YES!
(4) ATWOOD DISAPPROVES DYLAN WIN. Margaret Atwood, in England to receive the PEN Pinter Prize, had this exchange with her Guardian interviewer:
On Thursday, just as I am saying goodbye to Margaret Atwood at the end of our interview, I get a text message. “Oh,” I say. “Bob Dylan’s won the Nobel prize.” She is about to have her photograph taken, and is arranging a rakish grey felt hat atop her steely curls. She looks at me, opens her mouth very slightly, and widens her eyes. They are the faintly unrealistic blue of a Patagonian glacier.
“For what?” she says, aspirating the word “what” with devastating effect.
If Atwood herself occasionally checks her phone for missed calls from Stockholm on such mornings, she does not admit to it; in any case, fellow Canadian Alice Munro’s victory in 2013, commemorated with a generous tribute by Atwood in this paper, will have queered that particular pitch for some years to come.
(5) BUT HOW DID THIS NOT PREVENT DYLAN FROM WINNING THE NOBEL PRIZE? Though it may be the reason it took so long.
(6) BOB WEINBERG MEMORIAL. Steven H Silver sent this report about the celebration of the late Robert Weinberg, who passed away September 25.
A memorial party was held for Bob Weinberg today at the Orland Park (IL) Civic Center from 12:00-4:30. There were about 70 people attending. Doug Ellis and others spoke about their relationship with Bob. Attached is a picture showing Phyllis and Alex Eisenstein, Tina Jens, Randy Broecker, and Richard Chwedyk. Images of Bob and his art collection were shown on a screen and some of Bob’s jigsaw puzzles were available for people to work on or take home.
(7) AVOIDING ANTISOCIAL MEDIA. Kevin Hearne is taking a break from Twitter and Facebook, however, he still recommends Instagram and imzy.
I am currently hiding from the icky people of the world. Many of them are on Twitter, so I’ve taken a Twitter break until after the election. Quite a few are also on Facebook so I’ve stopped hanging around there too: It’s like people are just waiting for you to show up so they can poot in your face. I’ve noticed that if I spend any time on either platform my mood turns sour like milk from four months ago, and I’d rather not let that negativity poison my days.
I am, however, still posting happy pictures on Instagram, if you’d like to follow me there: I’m @kevin_hearne. And I’m on imzy as well. If you’d like to follow me there & become part of that community, click on this link, ask for an invitation, and I’ll approve it quick as I can.
Both Instagram and imzy, I have found, are poot-free.
(8) ADD THESE TO MOUNT TBR. Open Culture has a list of five for us: “A Clockwork Orange Author Anthony Burgess Lists His Five Favorite Dystopian Novels: Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Island & More”.
Before John Stuart Mill coined the word “dystopia” in 1868, pessimistic post-Enlightenment thinker Jeremy Bentham created an earlier, perhaps even scarier, word, “cacotopia,” the “imagined seat of the worst government.” This was the term favored by Anthony Burgess, author of one of the most unsettling dystopian novels of the last century, A Clockwork Orange. Depicting a chaotic future England filled with extreme criminal violence and an unnerving government solution, the novel can be read as either, writes Ted Gioia, “a look into the morality of an individual, or as an inquiry into the morality of the State.” It seems to me that this dual focus marks a central feature of much successful dystopian fiction: despite its thoroughly grim and pessimistic nature, the best representatives of the genre present us with human characters who have some agency, however limited, and who can choose to revolt from the oppressive conditions (and usually fail in the attempt) or to fully acquiesce and remain complicit.
(9) STEAMING ALONG. Gail Carriger includes lots of photos with “Con Report ~ Fun at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego”.
I really wish this con were closer to me, I would go every year if I could. It was like meeting old friends for the first time (shout out to Madame Askew and The Grand Arbiter). Tea Dueling is my new favorite sport of all time and everyone should do it everywhere forever.
(10) RINGS. From NPR: “Spin To Survive: How ‘Saturn On Steroids’ Keeps From Self-Destructing”. The accompanying astronomical art is by Ron Miller.
In 2007, data showed that a young star about 400 light years away from our solar system was blinking. It was being covered, uncovered and covered again in what astronomers call a “series of complex eclipses.”
The eclipses told astronomers that something was orbiting the young star, and that the something was very large….
…In 2012, [Eric Mamajek] and colleagues published a paper announcing what they thought was causing what he calls “the weird eclipse.”
It was an enormous ring system swirling around a planet.
“This planet is much larger than Jupiter or Saturn, and its ring system is roughly 200 times larger than Saturn’s rings are today,” Mamajek said at the time….
(11) FRANCE IN 2023. The fans behind the Worldcon in France bid are holding an awareness meeting at Utopiales on October 29.
(12) THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE. Terry Bisson’s classic “Bears Discover Fire” is available as a free read at Lightspeed Magazine.
“What’s this I hear about bears discovering fire?” she said on Tuesday. “It’s true,” I told her as I combed her long white hair with the shell comb Wallace had brought her from Florida. Monday there had been a story in the Louisville Courier-Journal, and Tuesday one on NBC or CBS Nightly News. People were seeing bears all over the state, and in Virginia as well. They had quit hibernating, and were apparently planning to spend the winter in the medians of the interstates. There have always been bears in the mountains of Virginia, but not here in western Kentucky, not for almost a hundred years. The last one was killed when Mother was a girl. The theory in the Courier-Journal was that they were following 1-65 down from the forests of Michigan and Canada, but one old man from Allen County (interviewed on nationwide TV) said that there had always been a few bears left back in the hills, and they had come out to join the others now that they had discovered fire.
“They don’t hibernate anymore,” I said. “They make a fire and keep it going all winter.”
“I declare,” Mother said. “What’ll they think of next!”
The nurse came to take her tobacco away, which is the signal for bedtime.
(13) PRE-ARRIVAL RAVES. Comedian Patton Oswalt (who is also a geek supreme) did a tweet storm that raved about the upcoming movie Arrival, based on Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life.”
Arrival comes to theaters on November 11.
(14) STOP THE PRESSES. While I was finishing the Scroll (or so I thought) Tom Becker posted this instant classic Dylanesque filk lyrics.
Scroll along the pixel tower
Filers kept the view
While all the SMOFs came and went
Outside, in the distance
An angry troll did growl
Two puppies were approaching
The wind began to howl
[Thanks to Rob Thornton. John King Tarpinian, Petréa Mitchell, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Josh Jasper. Hate to disillusion anyone, but I don’t know what this one means myself…]