Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Bunny

i know how you feel, i just don't care.

Who's Your Happy Bunny?
brought to you by Quizilla

End of the year stats

Written: 18 short stories, and 1 novel
Sold: 13 short stories, 3 nonfiction pieces, 1 poem
Published: 15 short stories, 1 novel, 29 reviews for Tangent, 2 reviews elsewhere

Next year, I hope to increase my short story output, and finish "The Tinker's Daughter". Also, I would love to snag an agent and get another novel out there.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Four Things

1. Lab tech
2. Seller of used records
3. Bartender
4. Professor

1. The Usual Suspects
2. Leolo
3. Stalker
4. Fargo

1. Moscow
2. Boston
3. New Brunswick, NJ
4. Elizabeth, NJ

1. The Simpsons
2. South Park
3. Family Guy
4. Mythbusters

1. NYC
2. London
3. Atlanta
4. Kamchatka

2. TTA message board

1. sushi
2. pad thai
3. brie
4. stuffed mushrooms

1. Moscow State University
2. Rutgers
3. My high school
4. that's it

1. If you're a plant...
2. Cats are so great
3. The hell?
4. I have to feed the lizards

1. London
2. St Petersburg
3. New Zealand
4. Venice

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Andrew Hook (he of the Elastic Press) posted a nice review of Poe's Progeny here . He has quite nice things to say about my story, "Making Ivy":

"Maybe the best story here I think - fantastically understated stuff and brilliant concept!"

I'm quite pleased with such a complimentary opinion from the writer and editor I respect. I tend to write fairly understated stuff, and it's very gratifying to see that people do appreciate it.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Robert Sheckley

I was sad today to learn that Robert Sheckley died. Along with Kuttner and Simak, he's one of the greatest SF writers ever. At least, I got interested in SF after I read them.

His books always managed to be hilarious, and touching, and profound in a disturbing way... you could feel the Earth tilt under your feet just a little, momentarily disorienting but liberating. With all the hubbub about SF being literature of ideas (Is not! Is too! It's forward-looking!) I thought of Sheckley's books often, since for me he represents SF. It's not the ideas, I think, that made him special; it's the freedom with which he wrote, shamelessly throwing together an incredible jumble of images, philosophies, people... he was not restrained. He wrote marvelous books. I'm sad they were rarely reprinted. I'm sad there won't be any more.

Friday, November 25, 2005


My review of Nemonymous 5 was posted on Tangent Online website. Another one, for Chris Barzak's awesome story ("The Boy Who Was Born Wrapped in Barbed Wire")in The Endicott Studio Journal of Mythic Arts, should be posted there shortly. TESJoMA is a neat online magazine, with great fiction and non-fiction. It is edited by Terri Windling. The whole site is well worth exploring -- it's a wonderful resource for all mythologically-minded folks. And they publish some excellent fiction.

My appreciation for Space-time for Springers is up at ED SF Project.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I think most of us are mourning the passing of one of the finest publications speculative fiction has ever seen. Dave Schwartz, bless him, started a fine initiative here. I urge you to check it out, pick one of Scifiction's many stories, and write an appreciation for it.

Fritz Leiber's "Space-time for Springers" is mine.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Story Sale

"Hydraulic" sold to Spicy Slipstream Stories, edited by the multitalented Nick Mamatas and Jay Lake. Much rejoicing.

Huge thanks to Mike Jasper and Paul G. Tremblay for critiquing this one.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Favorite Stories

Ganked from Mike Jasper -- writers talk about which of their stories they like best.

I like all my stories -- which is fairly obvious; I wouldn't have written them otherwise. But I like some more than others, and some of my favorites show recurring themes.

"Kikimora" (Jabberwocky #1) and "Yakov and the Crows" (Book of Dark Wisdom #10, tentatively) are two of my modern-day Russian fairytales. They are similar in that they deal with people who cannot accept the new world that springs around them. Scary world.

"Just Chutney" (Aeon #3)and "Hector Meets the King" (Strange Pleasures #4) are both about mythical heroes who grapple with growing old, and try to pay long-overdue debts.

Among the unpublished ones, "The Clockmaker's Daughter" and "Pastoral with Buddha" are very dear to me. Incidentally, both have young female protagonists -- unusual for me, but perhaps it is another emerging trend.

Friday, October 28, 2005


For lack of better content, some excerpts from WIPs.

"Emissary Togril watched out of his slanted eyes as the sky lit up in streaks of blue and white, and the ribbons of color crackled and danced across the night, obscuring the campfires of the caravan. The light undulated and grew brighter, then faded and dispersed, like a drop of milk in a water bucket.

When only a faint glow remained of the former splendor, the weak phosphorescent shadow stretched downward, toward the flat surface of the steppe. The air grew colder, and Togril could smell the spicy, sun-heated wormwood and tamarisk, the smoke of the campfires, and his own gamy body. The tentacles of light grew thicker, until white roads stretched between heaven and steppe; then, Togril discerned a movement.

Eleven columns of somber riders descended, their horses' hooves clanking, just above the edge of hearing, on the solid milky surface. Their breath did not cloud the cold night air, and their armor – intricately decorated over the breastplate – was made of green translucent ice, or so Togril guessed. He did not stir; even though young, his years in Genghis Khan's army taught him not to make a move until he was certain of it. So he sat, his arms draped around his knees, and watched.

The procession showed no sign of stemming, and streamed onto the ground. A cheetah sat behind each warrior, their eyes glowing frozen gold, their pink tongues hanging out, as if they had just vaulted into their masters' saddles after a chase. The leashes that chained the cats to the back bows of the saddles were spun out of thin links of the same green ice as the rest of the tack and armor."

And another one:

"You want a story? All right, I've got one. Imagine that you are born a prince, the youngest of the three, in a fairytale kingdom. While the oldest is set for life, the other two have to consider their options. Sure, the second son can hang on, hoping – but not quite, for to really hope in such circumstances would be wrong – to succeed his older brother. Fevers, blood poisonings, wars, accidents – all of those things happen. But if you are number three, hope has a tang of monstrosity, your royal blood does you no good whatsoever, and by the time you're old enough to know these things you should start thinking about getting a job."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Poetry Musings

Lately, I find myself reading tons of Russian poetry. I'm not big on most verse, but there are several poets I just can't get enough of, and no matter how often I read them I still get shivers. Mandelshtam, Tsvetaeva, Brodsky… There's a great epic poem by Brodsky, Procession, that features an incredibly varied cast – Lovers, King, Harlequine, Columbine, Hamlet, Devil, Poet, Prince Myshkin, etc etc. And their monologues are just heart-rendingly beautiful. There are also some very interesting bits, such as the story of Pied Piper of Hamelin as told by rats.

I don't know why I never get that same reaction with English poetry. Sure, I like some of it well enough, but never to such a visceral level, when a certain line strikes such a chord that it resonates through your whole body.

And I find it incredibly frustrating that poetry is impossible to translate. It seems so unfair that most of my friends will never be able to feel this, to appreciate it the same way I do. I tried translating often enough; but I suck at poetry. I looked for translations, and some are competent. But they can never capture the emotion – it's like a black-and-white photograph of a painting; gives you a fair idea of what it's about, but loses all savor.

It seems that often foreigners find themselves isolated in such small ways – certain linguistic delights, certain frames of references are not shared by anyone around them, and it creates a sense of isolation more profound than any other. One can learn the language, but one will never be able to fully explain the frames, the earliest memories, the thrills of Hamelin rats' song.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Food for Thought

I've been reading Medicolegal Investigations of Death (don't ask), and came across this little gem:

"The autopsy of an individual struck by an automobile may be most rewarding."

Some day I swear I will use it in a story.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Liquid Laughter

LL story was sent off, and accepted into the fold. I am quite excited about this project -- I really like the stories so far. I especially like the fact that everyone is so uninhibited, bringing in wildly divergent bits and mythologies and histories. And the time period is quite fascinating -- I learned a lot while researching for the story. Most of my knowledge of that epoch concerns the civil war in Russia, and it was fascinating to learn more about it. I won't give anything away, but LIQUID LAUGHTER is shaping up to be an incredibly fun book. Make sure you get a copy when it comes out.

Many thanks to Michael Kelly for critiquing that one.

Friday, September 23, 2005

I'm almost a duck!

I avoided quizzes this far, but I liked this one.

You Are A: Bear Cub!

bear cubBears are strong and independent creatures who roam in the forest in search of food. Bears are usually gentle, but anger one and be prepared for their full fury! You won't back down from a fight, you have a bit of a temper -- classic attributes of a bear. Intelligent and resourceful, though lazy at times, you are a fascinating creature of the wild.

You were almost a: Duck or a Kitten
You are least like a: Squirrel or a ParakeetWhat Cute Animal Are You?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Writing Goodness

THE INDENTURED TRANSOMNIAC is done. Yay! Many thanks to Michael Jasper for reading along, and being generally helpful and supportive.

Now, to find out if anyone wants to publish it...

The LIQUID LAUGHTER story is almost done. Reworking an earlier draft, so that should be submittable in a day or two.

Here's an excerpt: "He grew feverish as the steamship traveled through the Bosporos Strait. There were other seas – Marmara, Aegean – with the names that reminded him of Greek myths. But he did not feel like either Jason or Theseus; Orpheus seemed more appropriate. Dardanelles (Hellespont!) led to Lethe, where the poor daughter of Nephele waited for him, coppers on her eyes, her mouth empty and black as the sea. She had the face of the English nurse."

A review of Aeon 3, featuring my story "Just Chutney" was posted on Tangent Online. My review of the latest SCIFICTION story, "Panacea", should be posted there very soon.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Guest review...

...for The Mumpsimus has been posted. Check it out!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Long time with no updates

Mostly due to the current events -- just didn't feel like chatting about current projects much. Everything seems quite trivial at the moment. Plus, a recent surgery seriously ate into my computer time. Regular announcements of upcoming publications and snippets will resume eventually.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I rather like this bit.

"A man could run as long as there was land under his feet, solid ground on which his falling-apart boots could thud, where he collapsed in exhaustion, before getting up and running again. He could ride in the crowded trains, in unbearable stench, being eaten alive by lice. The problem arose when he found himself at the shore of a sea, with nothing but waves from here to the horizon. When there was no more land, there was nothing left but to fall from the abrupt precipice of its edge.

It was his punishment, Obolenskiy supposed, for having lived wrong; he had never felt the country underneath him, and now he had none. No university, Sechenov or Wittgenstein were going to change that.

He had lost his rifle a long while ago, somewhere between his battalion and his epaulettes. The latter seemed superfluous, and he tore them off, like scabs off an old wound. Not to avoid recognition – that was impossible; who couldn't tell a White army officer a mile away? – but to expose his hurt, his failure to belong. He tossed the limp cloth wings on the beach, and sat down, hugging his knees to his chest, flicking one pebble after another into the deep water of the Black Sea."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Somewhere in Arkansas...

... there is a person reading my book. I was searching libraries, to see who carried my book -- since it is designed for the library market. Found a new one today, in Arkansas. And Crow was checked out. It gave me a great rush of warm fuzzies. Thank you for reading my book, whoever you are.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It's August already...

... and I'm still buried in work, with no hope of digging out before September. Chipping away at Transomniac, but slowly. Also, it occurred to me that this particular story would be better off as a long novella/short novel, so now the nifty progress bar looks like this:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
33,000 / 40,000

Yeah. I like that. Overall, I noticed that I'm starting to tend toward brevity. I don't think I'm even capable of producing a short story over 6,000 words anymore. Haven't decided whether it's a bad or a good thing.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
30,000 / 80,000

And huge thanks to Mike Jasper for not only reading ACCORDING TO CROW, but also saying nice things about it here

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dibs on this name...

Just received a bit of junk mail from "Frugality O. Various". Is it a great name, or what? Dibs on it!

A bit from the current WIP: "Dominique came from a solid peasant stock, not frequently given to fancy; still, in the privacy of the thick bones of her skull, she dreamt of an Asian gentleman who insisted on being called Buddha, and small dogs with sharp white teeth."

Have been reading some message boards, and felt tempted to reply to things a few times. Resisted the impulse, but made a few general observations:
1) "If you're not with us you're against us" mentality doesn't seem to further discussion on literary movements.
2) Calling someone an idiot does not invalidate their point. The biggest fool can say that the sun will rise tomorrow; it doesn't make it untrue.
3) Often, statements of fact are misinterpreted as hostility. Some folks like to feel persecuted. Or maybe they can't separate their core beliefs from their favorite icecream brand.

Yes, I like to state the obvious. If something is obvious it doesn't mean I can't find it interesting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Chi Zine Fiction Contest

My story received an honorable mention! Yay! Making top 8 out of 241 is pretty good, no? I'm very happy about that.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


.... a whole bunch of stories started some time ago and abandoned for various reasons. Done with photosynthetic cats; on to a man who sets oil refineries on fire. After that, the encounter between Jebe, Genghis Khan's general, and aurora borealis. And after that -- actually, a tossup between deadly game of marbles, clowns caught in a worldwide flood, and a Crimean war veteran and fistulas. Suggestions are welcome.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Another entry

My story in Lenox Avenue #6 received a positive review in Tangent Online. Otherwise, not much is happening on the writing front -- too much work and all that. I'm trying to snatch up bits of time here and there to do reviews and a little bit of fiction writing. Just started on a new story, with the working title of "Hydraulic". I'm pleased with the central conceit(s), as well as some of the minor plot points -- like cats turning green due to algal symbionts. Ah, a cat you don't have to feed.... There's also mystery, strange energy sources, and the world ruled by Disney. And battery acid.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Jigsaw Nation...

... is getting on its way. I just sent out all the contracts, and we are gearing for March 2006 release. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tangent Reviews

Two of my reviews are now posted on Tangent -- Asimov's August issue, and SciFiction June 22 issue. Highlights of the Asimov's issue: stories by Neal Asher, Paul Melko, and Tim Pratt.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Sale... Oceans of the Mind. "God's Chosen" is about a commune of religious scavenger robots on Mars will be appearing in their Winter 2005 issue. I don't think it gets better than robots on Mars.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Just received a lovely e-mail from the Russian SF magazine ESLI, asking to reprint The Smiling Vermin (a short from May 2005 Analog, co-authored with D. Bartell). ESLI is a very nice glossy mag, and I am quite thrilled with their offer. Yay reprints!

Friday, June 17, 2005

OK, I guess it IS my blog.

I decided to use this space for writing updates. This year so far:
1) Novel, ACCORDING TO CROW, is out from Five Star Books.
2) Shorts sold to: Analog, Lenox Avenue, The Book of Dark Wisdom, Fortean Bureau, Fantastic Stories, Surreal Magazine, Strange Pleasures 4, and Jabberwocky.
3) WIP: The Indentured Transomniac (on hold)