January 11th, 2008


Announcement: "Things That Aren't" On Nebula Preliminary Ballot

I am very pleased to announce that "Things That Aren't," my novelette collaboration with Bob Greenberger that was published in the April 2007 Analog, has made it to the 2007 Nebula Awards Preliminary Ballot.

I've actually known this for a few weeks, but the ballot has finally been released on SFWA's website, so it's official. There are a total of 13 works in the novelette category, and there's some real competition out there. Bob and I are on the same ballot with a lot of regular mutual readers of Mabfan's Musings, and I wish us all the best of luck. For those of you who are curious, here's the list of novelettes behind the cut:

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My thanks to all those who enjoyed the story and found it worthy.

If you're a member of SFWA, you can read the story at this link:"Things That Aren't" (SFWA Private Edition).

If you're not a member of SFWA, but you'd like to read the story, I might be able to accommodate you. (Especially since the story is also eligible for the Hugo and the AnLab.) Watch this space for details.

Spider-Man: One More Day

I originally hadn't planned to discuss my thoughts on the "One Day More" story line that just concluded in Amazing Spider-Man 545 a few weeks ago, for two reasons. First of all, I didn't think anyone would be interested in my opinion. And secondly, I presumed that there would be so much discussion in the blogosphere that any of the points I might make would have been made already.

As it happens, though, I've actually been asked for my opinion, since I'm not just a reader of Spider-Man, but someone who grew up in Forest Hills, just like Peter did (cf. my essay "The Friendly Neighborhood of Peter Parker" in the book Webslinger). And as I ruminated over the story, I realized that my thoughts on the story go deeper and further than just this one story itself, into the realm of general thoughts on serialized fiction.

So even if you don't read comic books, or don't care about the adventures of Spider-Man, I think you might find something interesting in here about the writing of franchised characters and the writing of fiction in general. Because I also bring into the discussion Stephen King, William Goldman, and the TV shows Lost and Gilmore Girls. Read on, or just cut to the end, which is a good bit and has Marvin in it. (Well, to be honest, Marvin doesn't appear at the end. But I do reveal if I plan to keep reading Spider-Man.)

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Finally, for those of you who didn't read through all my pondering, the answer to your question is yes, I will continue to read Amazing Spider-Man for the foreseeable future. I may not be happy about this current development, but I still want to keep up with the life of Peter Parker.

Juno Soundtrack: Kimya Dawson Coming to Boston

Yesterday I got the CD of music from the movie Juno. I've already praised the movie, and part of what made the movie the best one of 2007 was the soundtrack. The songs fit the mood of the movie's scenes perfectly, and apparently part of the reason was because Ellen Page, the film's star, decided that her character would most logically listen to the music of the Moldy Peaches, a band that includes singer Kimya Dawson, who performs many of the songs on the album.

I'd never heard of Dawson before, probably because I'm not too up on indie rock or the anti-folk movement. But I can understand why her songs are appealing to me. I'm probably not the best person to try to describe her music, but what the hey. Her lyrics are somewhat surreal, her style is acoustic, and her voice is real. There's an idiosyncratic feel to what she's doing, and as I listen to her songs I feel like I'm enjoying an orthogonal view of the world around me. I think it's because the music is filled with bouncing rhythms and catchy tunes, while the lyrics range from simple, sweet observations of life to the mocking of those very same observations.

Okay, that didn't make any sense. But the music is still cool. And if you're in Boston, there's a great opportunity coming up.

I looked up Dawson on the Internet and found, much to my surprise, that she'll be performing locally next Thursday night, January 17, at Newbury Comics. So if there's anyone else out there who was as enchanted by her music as I was, let me know. Maybe we can get a small group together.

(For my friends in NYC: she's in Brooklyn next Tuesday.)