Hugo helpfulness

I understand that there’s going to be an announcement about the Hugo voter packages very soon. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a coherent list of links to what’s available online, you could do a lot worse than check out John DeNardo’s roundup at SF Signal. It’s huge.

Myself, I’m keeping a list here, Continue reading “Hugo helpfulness”

Things I cannot believe.

I saw The Last Unicorn tonight. On the big screen, with Peter S. Beagle in attendance and answering questions, and signing books afterwards (and taking pictures with people! I have a picture of myself with Peter S. Beagle now). And before I get any further I will note that tour dates are here and it would be lovely if you could pass that along to anyone you know of who’s interested.

I thought I might not cry this time, which is foolish. I never forget that I cry when I hear the theme song. But I always forget how sure it is, the tears coming up as smooth and sure as a stone drops down through water, and I thought that since I listened to the music last night as well the effect might be somewhat muted, and so I was sitting down to watch and thinking maybe this time I wouldn’t cry, and…

Yep. Tears. 🙂

(Did you know that the composition of your tears differs based on the emotion that evokes them?)

But yes. Peter S. Beagle was answering questions before the movie, and Connor Cochran[1] was… was maître d-ing or toastmastering or whatever the term is, and interjecting little anecdotes. And one of them was that when he first met Peter thirteen years ago, Peter thought he was a failure.

I… just hearing that was like the split-second of freefall confusion when our dog once yanked me off our front steps. Not the moment where I landed on the edge of the step and bruised myself purple-black for weeks. But the sudden absence of ground where there’d been that solid unquestioned presence only a second before.

Peter S. Beagle ever thought he was a failure.

Peter S. Beagle.

I would expect that sentiment no more from him than I would expect it from Ursula K. LeGuin.

I came home with more books than I went out with, and they are signed. And I am happy, and teary, and a little giddy, and so very very glad I got to tell him thank you for everything he’d written. And I’m sitting here, doing a little reading and being glad that things seem to be going better for him, and trying to wrap my head around how he could ever have believed…

I hope things keep getting better for him. I truly do.

[1] I am 95% sure this is the man, but I checked with the light of my life, and he never gave his name, and I meant to ask. Actually I am 99.8% sure, and I would be surer except it takes me a while to learn people’s faces and I did not see him for long. But 99.8% sure is not bad, so I set it down.

Quick happy notes.

We went out to dinner tonight, and there was lovely happy fluffy conversation, ranging from Star Trek Online to the lives of various actors and former actors to BraveStarr (does anyone else remember that? I mean, without Googling?), and along the meandering way Mark Ruffalo came up.

He did not come up for long, but he is on my mind. Specifically his role as the Hulk.

(Okay, I hate having to do this, but: I am not speaking for all crazies. I am, in fact, speaking for myself, as a very lucky crazy, in terms of my privilege and support system.)

I love Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner.

I love the way he’s so careful. I love the way he measures his speech. I love the way you can see him holding his own hands, so cautious; I love the way that when he’s dealing with people who know about and might want to use the Hulk his speech and body language, over and over, codes as a human being who has learned to second-guess himself, and to be hesitant.

I love this scene. I love how at 0:25 Cap–a good guy! A decent, fairly perceptive guy!–says it might be a good time to get angry.

How he actually thinks he might need to speak up and tell Banner it’s a good time to get angry.

(Oh, Cap. I’m sure you mean well. I know you mean well. I know you’re speaking up because you’re nervous, because you don’t understand how someone who is so calm and quiet could possibly be anything close to as angry as they need to be. But… shhhh. We’ve got this.)

And Banner doesn’t even blink. He explains, like it’s an obvious thing (and it is!), and then he unfurls.

(The Hulk is fundamentally a good and well-intentioned creature. This makes the Hulk different from, say, depression. But this isn’t about the Hulk, except in terms of how the Hulk casts Bruce Banner’s accomplishment into proper relief.)

Banner lives with this all the time. This thing inside him. This thing that is always there, that means that even when he is angry he has to manage himself, he has to not show it, because if he starts indulging himself and turns into Mr Shouty the way all the others do, it will go badly. Because his anger, released, is so much worse. It is terrifying. It is an annihilating force that results in a level of destruction that is incomprehensible coming from a normal human.

This is not fair. Banner has been robbed of the catharsis of expressing small, normal amounts of a negative emotion, in safe ways.

Banner is angry all the time. But he cannot let himself indulge. And so he looks hesitant, and he acts weak. And sometimes he lets go, and he’s the Hulk. And that’s cool, because this is after all the Avengers movie.

But the rest of the time, that quiet hesitant man? That still figure in the corner speaking in soft tones?

He’s holding back the Hulk.

With all he’s been through, while he was frightened and hunted and alone, dealing with unimaginable pressure, he has learned to hold back the Hulk.

I love Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner.

The year is 1876…

…but the history is not our own.


Deadlands is alternate history–a steampunk horror weird Western where the dead get up and walk and things crawl in the shadows and hiss on the night wind and the more frightened people are, the closer you can get to Hell. Graced with the tagline “the spaghetti Western… with meat!” in the early days, its history noticeably diverges from real-world history on the day that the Battle of Gettysburg was called on account of zombies.

Years later, California has mostly fallen into the ocean, the war between the States has hit a kind of cold détente, slavery has been abolished, the new superfuel (colloquially called “ghost rock” because it sounds like damned souls screaming when it burns) is driving technology forward at an unprecedented rate, and what became the United States in our world has been split into six distinct political entities.[1]

I’m probably doing a bad job at describing it. And, let’s face it, the best description I can give it is still going to be textual. That’s not always the most evocative means of description.

And that’s okay. Know why?

They’re making a TV show.

[1] There are a couple of other changes that make me relieved; f’r ex, the most recent edition of the game explicitly sets out that racism and sexism in the game setting are the provenance of the villainous and shamefully ignorant. Arguably not plausible. Guess how much grief I am going to give a game that chose “implausible” over “deal with yet more unfun prejudice that is totally normalized”. Go on, guessssss.

Two cents on Farthing Party – Friday

(That title sounded cleverer in my head. In any case…!)

I’ve never written a con summary before, so this may meander a bit.


After a bus ride across the aisle from two people who were still young enough to know everything and were telling each other about it[1], I got into Montreal on Friday and checked into the Hotel Victor. Continue reading “Two cents on Farthing Party – Friday”

The week too young, the day too old.

This Saturday, in Toronto, there is going to be a release party for Future Lovecraft. I was really hoping to go–I like Innsmouth Free Press, I like trips, I like anthologies and the Mythos, I highly approve of the Merril Collection, and three of the book authors were going to be there.

Sadly, between the cost of travel and the small fact that I’ve spent the last two mornings coughing up muck, I don’t think I’m gonna make it. 🙁

That said, since I do have one more book that I am letting myself buy this year, I think it will be Future Lovecraft. It’s still on pre-sale, and hey, it’ll be here in time for Christmas. It’s got a Nick Mamatas story, and one by Molly Tanzer–she wrote the Ivybridge Twins story from Historical Lovecraft, which is quite seriously awesome–and between the table of contents and the sample story I am quite looking forward to it.

Meantime… well. It’s almost December, and I’m tired. I think it’s about time to turn in.