Cataclysm!

You will note, immediately below, the pathetic plaint of my Vile Human at the illness of his domestic vermin. What he does not mention is that after acquiring this pestiferous pile of protoplasm, he and his mate brought home another. They were supposed to arrive together, but the second beast was having his reproductive proclivities surgically curtailed and was not ready to travel until the following week. Then Vile Human, the silly sap, repeated the four-hour drive (round trip) to Hanna and dutifully collected the fresh vermin.

The new infestation was named Kaos (so spelt) by the folk at the shelter. Here are both vermin together:

At first Kaos spent most of his time hiding in back closets or under furniture, for he had a blind fear of his new environment which I found most gratifying. Alas, this was soon corrected, and once he was coaxed out of hiding, he and the first vermin, Sonny, quickly attained the sickening condition that the humans call friendship. They are now inseparable boon companions, and it is revolting to see.

If it were not for the first vermin’s sickness and its owner’s distress, I would find the cloying domestic harmony of the place insufferable. As it is, once the beast recovers from surgery, I may have to decamp and take temporary lodgings in a war zone. True, in a war zone I may see courage and heroism, but I shall also see death, dismemberment, and the suffering of innocents: a refreshment that I much desire. This place is beginning to get positively un-Hellish.

(Signed)
H. Smiggy McStudge

 

P.S. The Vile Human’s mate has bestowed affectionate nicknames on the two vermin. She calls the first one Heffalump and the second one Woozle. It is enough to make one spew.

Sad news

My recently adopted cat, Sonny, had a mild viral infection in his eye when we brought him home from the SPCA. Eye a bit watery, a bit of clear discharge accumulating at the corner, a bit of redness: nothing to worry about, we thought.

Only it didn’t clear up. On (telephoned) veterinary advice, we administered antibiotic eye drops, in case there was a secondary bacterial infection. These did not help at all; and over the course of about three days, Sonny’s condition grew dramatically worse. By the time we could get him to the vet in person, his eyeball was ulcerated and the aqueous humour was beginning to leak out. (It seems a secondary bacterial infection had set in and proceeded with unholy speed.) An operation that might save his eye was possible, but would cost about $3,000, and the odds were against its working.

The only treatment within our means – and that just barely – was to pay $1,000 to have the infected eye removed. (If the $3,000 operation was tried and failed, we would have to pay for this anyway.) Sonny goes in for surgery tomorrow. I am desolate with grief, though I know I shouldn’t be; in all probability he will have a long and happy life with one eye. But there will always be that empty part of his face to remind me. I don’t know what else I could have done, but I feel that I have failed him.

Catastrophe!

It is with infinite disgust that I report that my Vile and Wretched Human, known to you by the ridiculous appellation Tom Simon, has just acquired a new specimen of household vermin, species Felis catus.

A photograph of the monstrosity is attached. It was labelled ‘Sonny’ by the SPCA of Hanna, Alberta, whence it was deliberately transported in a heinous plot to disturb the natural depression and infelicity of the house.

Other activities have, of course, been curtailed whilst this vile colony of self-organizing organic refuse is duly installed in the Simon domicile. I told him so, but did he listen? Does any human listen to his demonic alter blogger? Not often enough, that’s the unvarnished truth of it.

(Signed, under protest)
H. Smiggy McStudge

Now on Google Live Chat

‘Superversive SF Roundtable: Thanksgiving and SF’

Live at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time

Click here to listen in!

Finally, a mailing list!

Every self-publishing (or ‘indie’) guru out there insists that the #1 way for an author to build an audience is to have his own mailing list and keep track of his customers that way. I have not followed this excellent advice until now. The sheer number of decisions involved (and the possible financial outlay) gave me a splitting headache.

Today, however, with the trivial investment of several hours of time and several hanks of hair ripped out, I managed to sign up for, and test, a free account with MailChimp. This will allow me to have up to 2,000 subscribers and send out up to 12,000 emails per month; which (a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation tells me) means that each of my 3.6 Loyal Readers can be represented on the list 555 times. Or, you know, there might actually be more readers than that; but the figure of 3.6 is hallowed by time and custom, and I shall not change it now.

I would be most obliged to my Loyal Readers, however many there are of you, if you were to use the handy form in the right margin, just over there, and sign up for the list. I promise not to sell you any encyclopaedias; I’m only here to burgle your flat notify you about new releases.

Thanks in advance, all!


P.S. For those who are wondering, the final touches on ‘Angel Keep’ are now being applied. I needed to make sure that the link to my signup page worked; which it seems to. All I need now is to finish another Clever Biographical Assassination, upload the files, and let the KDP mills go to work grinding out sausages ebooks.

Podcast Saturday

The SuperversiveSF Monthly Roundtable Live Chat is coming up this Saturday, November 19, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (20:00 GMT). Your Obedient Servant has been invited to participate, and the invitation has been accepted. Watch this page, or the SuperversiveSF blog, for links to the live event.

As I understand it, recordings of previous episodes are available in podcast form. I shall ask the Persons in Charge for links.

If Yr. Obt. Svt. is unable to attend, I still urge you to listen in, as you will be hearing words of wit and wisdom from such superversive figures as John C. Wright, L. Jagi Lamplighter, and Jason Rennie of SciPhi Journal. The topic for this month: Gratitude in fiction, characters, and daily life.

Draft sighting

As of 6 p.m. today, Mountain Daylight Time, we have (at long last) a finished draft of the first episode of Where Angels Die. It weighs in just under 30,000 words, a little longer than I wanted it to be. (Subsequent episodes are to be 12,000 to 15,000 words each. Think of this one as the two-hour series premiere.)

Current plan is to release it as soon as I have the second episode (‘The Little Charter’) drafted and the third one (‘The Bad Enough Brigade’) fairly started; unless someone has a Clever Idea to the contrary.

Edit: To refresh the memories of the 3.6 Loyal Readers, early drafts of the opening chapters have previously appeared in these pages:

The Summons
The Taken
A Battle of Souls
The Food of Demons

It’s been a long journey to this point, frequently interrupted; but I think I may be in a position to make some rapid progress now – health permitting.

Work has resumed!

I recovered from most of the concussion symptoms a few days ago, but all the bed rest required aggravated my spinal injury and gave me neck spasms. Now I am on a witch’s brew of Robaxacet and assorted pain medications, which are allowing me to function well enough to write a little, but not well enough to sleep all the way through the night. Last night I got up about midnight and wrote a chapter for the second episode of Where Angels Die. I post it here, as it might amuse some of my 3.6 Loyal Readers.

[Read more…]

Concussion

Reported to the South Health Campus tonight with various symptoms. The doctor assured me that I have a textbook concussion, but fortunately, not a serious one. I am advised not to do any strenuous mental or physical work for a few days.

Posting, and the release of Superversive, will, alas, be slightly delayed.

The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume 2

Now available on Amazon, and wherever such indisputably fine books as this are sold: The Best of Abyss & Apex, Volume Two.

I have the honour to serve on the staff of Abyss & Apex as Editor-at-Large. This collection contains many of the finest stories I have helped to edit during my tenure there. I can’t pick a favourite, but Celeste Rita Baker’s ‘Name Calling’ is an excellent piece of work, and George S. Walker’s ‘Dreadnought Under Ice’ is exceptionally nifty. All this and C. J. Cherryh, too!

The book is immediately available in both paperback and ebook editions. The price is a very reasonable $9.99 and $3.00 U.S., respectively, or the equivalent in your local dosh.

 

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One of the duties attached to my position was to do the interior design for this ‘Best Of’ anthology, in both ebook and print formats. It can do no harm to mention that I am available to do this kind of work for other clients at reasonable rates. (The cover design, however, is by other capable hands; though I assisted in getting it ready for press.)