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a man slumped on his desk, from 'The Sleep of Reason Produces



finding good books by staring at selected authors in public settings

Went out to SF in SF, where science fiction writers read their works out loud to earth humans. Traditionally, I’m the sort of science fiction reader who gets bought those huge “The Entire Fucking Year in Science Fiction” anthologies by a relative at Christmas, reads them all the way through, and then never buys anything else for another year. These days, I’m spending a lot of time very very close to science fiction fans (it’s a thing we new fans like to do: stand uncomfortably close to you), which means I get to hear about the good stuff without having to wait for Christmas and/or having no-one to talk to about it. Istill have not got to the point where I can remember anyone’s names, let alone annoyingly recite their own plot points back to them at cons, so real aficionados have to introduce all authors to me as “you remember, Danny, that guy who wrote that X you said you really liked”

The speaking writers this month were Nick Mamatas, who is that guy who writes the Cthulhu mythos story in the style of Jack Kerouac, and David Levine who is that guy who wrote that Tk’tk’tk story. They were interviewed by Terry Bisson, who I only found out afterwards is totally that guy who wrote They’re Made Out of Meat.

The stories they read were great: during his tale, Mamatas shifted slowly in my mind into the very slightly new category of that guy who wrote the Cthulhu mythos story in the style of Raymond Carver. And after Levine‘s reading, I have him mentally categorised now as “The Ted Chiang of Toontown”. If I’d heard either of those descriptions independent of my own head, I’d want to go read them, and so should you.

4 Responses to “finding good books by staring at selected authors in public settings”

  1. Liz Says:

    Terry Bisson is also that guy who wrote the really fabulous alternate history I told you all about! Fire on the Mountain, where the Civil War never happened and instead there was a successful slave rebellion and the good bits of the U.S. and Nova Africa are all Mars-going Socialists. Also, they’re made of meat.

  2. David D. Levine Says:

    “The Ted Chiang of Toontown”

    I am totally putting that on my tombstone.

    Thanks for coming!

  3. David McBride Says:

    As I seem to be doing everywhere now, I can enthusiastically recommend the works of Charles Stross. See: homepage, “The Concrete Jungle”.

  4. del Says:

    [here from David Levine’s live journal]

    You’ll know when you’re really talking inside baseball, when you can not only remember the author of that book you liked, but which company published it, and who the editor was


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