- Travel day! So it’s time to play #marygoround again. I’m heading to Seattle to have a writing date with @cmpriest via train.
- Yes, the yeti is with me, @howardtayler. I learned my lesson last time. Caught the bus to the train station! Have a drink.
- Also, since I know it’s April Fool’s. When I’m talking about the Yeti, it’s no joke.
- And… the Burnside bridge is up. I can see the train station from here.
- Yay! The bridge is down and we are moving forward! Seattle, here I come. With Yeti!
- At train station! Have a drink! Also, apparently so is Batman. I wonder if they will let him on with that mask.
- All aboard! For an ontime departure. Elected to stand in line in front of Batman, in case the mask is a problem. Have a drink.
- Apparently the answer is Yes. Yes, Batman can ride the train with his mask. Nice costume, ala Adam West.
- Train is stopped. Apparently, a freight train ahead of us is having engine trouble or something.
- Batman has just answered why he’s taking the train. “It’s my civic duty to conserve fuel, citizen.” Wow.
- They are going to back up to Vancouver and put us on a bus. Seriously? Batman seems calm. .
- Woot! I’m on the bus with Batman. Go, caped crusader. I think that merits a drink.
- Lovely. Traffic is at a total standstill. Someone just asked Batman if he can ask Commissioner Gordon what is happening.
- Batman told the guy that this isn’t Commissioner Gordon’s district. .
- Holy off-roading, Batman! The busdriver just cut across the grass to get to the exit. Tired of waiting, I guess.
- I don’t know what crazy GPS the bus driver is using but dirt road + bus = bad idea.
- Well. You knew this was coming. I mean. I did. Bus = stuck. Batman has offered to use his batphone to call for help.
- Conversations you don’t want to overhear. Busdriver to office, “I don’t know where we are.” Is there a BatGPS?
- So, the driver is going to walk back to the main road to find a street name. It is POURING. Do not envy him.
- Why am I not surprised? Batman just offered him an umbrella from his utility belt. A batbrella?
- DUDE! Do NOT say “I’ll be back” when getting off a bus on a dirt road in the middle of the woods! Has the driver seen no films?
- Holy monsoon, Batman. The rain is REALLY coming down. I do not envy the driver. But I got 500 words written, so hey! .
- Everyone is fine. There is, however, a tree on the back of the bus. Heart is POUNDING. Batman recommends staying put.
- In answer to the “Do we have GPS question.” No. Not even Batman is getting satellite coverage here.
- That is a VERY bright light. Batcopter coming to the rescue?
- Holy alien abduction, Batman. WTF is that?
- Bus is levitating. Send help.
- Techincally, I guess that’s a tractor beam, not levitation. Still.
- So, the bus is now in a well-lit chamber. Metal walls. Guessing about 60 feet long by 20 wide.
- Here’s the view from the bus. Sorry I couldn’t get Batman in the same shot. Strangely calm. I suspect sedation.
- They’ve just taken Batman off the bus. He was in front. Last words? “Stay calm, citizens.”
- The aliens have taken 2 other people off the bus. Other folks are crowding to the back, but that seems pointless. I’m next
- Who knew the travel curse would come in handy? The aliens were about to probe me (I think) and they had a power outage.
- They’ve put me in a holding cell with Batman. I just “dropped” the yeti and propped the door open. .
- Batman & I are comparing resources. Holy Utility Belt, that holds a lot. Um. I have twitter? Anyone got spaceship schematics?
- Fantastic! Thanks to @JBurridge for coming through with the schematics. Batman says these should help.
- Batman is heading for the front of the ship to try to pilot us down. I’m supposed to prep the bus for driving.Grabbed the yeti.
- OMG I didn’t think that’d work. An alien saw me. I threatened a copyright infringement suit as SFWA VP. http://is.gd/bRCtfz
- Back at the bus. Whew. The two missing passengers have joined us. Batman sent them. Holy Landing Day. The ship is setting down.
- Sorry. I couldn’t tweet & drive the bus off the spaceship. We are back & just picked Batman up.
- By consensus, we are all heading back to Portland. Sorry @cmpriest. But Holy April Fool’s, that was quite the day.
Hello! This is Rob Kimbro, adapter and director for Odd and the Frost Giants, guest blogging from Houston. The peeks that Mary’s given us on the blog into the puppet design process have been very useful to us at Stages. And now I get to return the favor a bit. The show is now cast and we’ll be starting rehearsal on Monday. Today I met with Mike Mullins, set designer, and Jodi Bobrovski, props master (who has appeared on this blog before) for an update on those aspects of the show. And I came away with some digital pics of the “white model” of the set. Which is just what it sounds like – a scale model, but without any color treatment.
One of the challenges in presenting the story on stage is how to present Odd’s journey. He goes from the village to the woods to a frozen waterfall across the rainbow bridge to the forests of Asgard to the walls of the city itself to Odin’s hall and back to the village again. Representing all that in a concrete way would involve a lot of shifting around of trees and walls and furniture (and magical rainbows). Instead, we’re picking up on something Thor says at the very end of the show: “When I tell this story, there will be at least a dozen [Frost Giants]”
Our concept is that the audience is in a Viking hall, hearing the story of Odd and how he drove the Frost Giants out of Asgard. And we’re always in that hall, even when the story is in the woods or on the rainbow bridge. So the space is going to be decorated with Viking shields and the prows of old dragon ships. There’s one stone wall on the upstage side of this 3/4 round space. In my mind, it’s the wall the hall shares with the outer wall of the Viking stronghold. Of course, in the story, it becomes the Wall of Asgard.
Here’s a photo of the model. The outline on the wall will not be nearly so visible in the real thing – it’s a seam that will be concealed in the lines of a rough stone wall. The camera’s perspective is that of an audience member in the center section. You can see the stage right seating area on the left side of the photo. That round thing in the middle will be both Mimir’s Well and all the various fire pits in the story.
So what’s going on with that outline on the wall, you’re wondering? Well, in a way, it’s the largest puppet in the show. When the giant picks Odd up during their confrontation, the Wall transforms into the face of the Giant:
This is a different angle – looking down on the set from above. In this configuration, a section of the wall has folded down to reveal a “hand” wagon that Odd will stand on. At the same time, the outline above has pushed out to create a craggy set of brows and a nose. And we have our giant.
There’s more information about the show on the @Stages blog – I’ve done a couple of posts on the story. The most recent explains the great advantage the Norse myths have over the Greek, from a storytelling point of view. There should be a new one soon about Thor as a character, including my retelling of Thor’s fishing trip. I’m hoping to do a post like that for each of the three transformed Gods. Maybe Freya, too. And there’s information on the production at the main Stages site, too. For those of you in the Houston area, tickets to the 3 Saturday performances are now on sale. You can call the box office or order directly online here.
Woot! Escape Pod has accepted Jaiden’s Weaver for their podcast. I love Escape Pod. It’s my go-to audio fiction source when I’m building puppets so I’m delighted that “Jaiden’s Weaver” is going to appear there.
Originally, this story appeared in Mike Brotherton’s Diamonds in the Sky anthology and you can read the entire story there. Or you can wait and listen to it.
Here’s the teaser.
I was never one of those girls who fell in love with horses. For one thing, on our part of New Oregon they were largely impractical animals. Most of the countryside consisted of forests attached to sheer hills and you wanted to ride something with a little more clinging ability. So from the time I was, well, from the time I can remember I wanted a teddy bear spider more than I wanted to breathe.
The problem is that teddy bear spiders were not cheap, especially not for a pioneer family trying to make a go of it.
Mom and Dad had moved us out of Landington in the first wave of expansion, to take advantage of the homesteading act. Our new place was way out on the eastern side of the Olson mountains where Dad had found this natural level patch about halfway up a forested ridge, so we got sunshine all year round, except for the weeks in spring and autumn when the shadow of our planet’s rings passed over us. Our simple extruded concrete house had nothing going for it except a view of the valley, which faced due south to where the rings were like a giant arch in the sky. Even as a twelve-year-old, angry at being taken away from our livewalls in town to this dead structure, I fell in love with the wild beauty of the trees clinging to the sheer faces of the valley walls.
Speaking of paper folding, check out this creation of Matthew Shlian. Very, very nicely done.
I just finished a short story which I’d love having a reader or two look over before I send it out. It is 4800 words of science-fiction. It’s in a password protected post, but it’s a new password. Drop me a line and I’ll tell ya.
I was never one of those girls who fell in love with horses. For one thing, on our part of New Oregon they were largely impractical animals. Most of the countryside consisted of forests attached to sheer hills and you wanted something with a little more clinging ability. So from the time I was, well, from the time I can remember I wanted a teddy bear spider more than I wanted to breathe.
The problem is that teddy bear spiders were not cheap, especially not for a pioneer family trying to make a go of it.
Mom and Dad had moved us out of Brothertown in the first wave of expansion, to take advantage of the homesteading act. Our new place was way out on the eastern side of the Oltion mountains where Dad had found this natural level patch about halfway up a forested ridge, so we got sunshine all year round, except for the weeks in spring and autumn when the rings’ shadow passed over us. Our simple extruded concrete house had nothing going for it except a view of the valley, which faced due south to where the rings were like a giant arch in the sky. Even as a twelve-year old, angry at being taken away from our livewalls in town to this dead structure, I fell in love with the wild beauty of the trees clinging to the sheer faces of the valley walls.
I read all my manuscripts out loud. It’s not just spelling errors or missing words that I’m looking for. It’s things like this.
Cassie looked ahead, expecting to see the Queen’s Court, but the road through the forest still wove through the trees.
No kidding. Really? The forest had trees in it? Wow.
Maybe I should just say…
Cassie looked ahead, expecting to see the Queen’s Court, but the road still wove through the forest.
Coffee Sensibility: Part III
A thousand tortured thoughts flew through my mind as I waited in the vacant chatroom. Where was my beloved duckwrangler508? What if my reply had been lost in cyberspace? What if the address were wrong and he waited elsewhere, convinced I had spurned his attentions? What if a customer wanted coffee before he arrived? What if Mr. Purvis noticed that I was not working?
Before my fears could spiral beyond control, a familiar handle entered the room.
I smiled to see him there and blushed as I realized he had arranged for a private room.
“hi” appeared upon my screen in deep blue Times New Roman. Bold, of course, suggesting classic masculinity and yet, the font itself gave the impression of subtle restraint.
I hesitated; no girlish exuberance of pink or purple would do. I pulled on a forest green Garamond, then in a coquettish whim, added italic for a feminine slant.
“hi,” I typed back.
duckwrangler508> were u waiting long?
exitreal297> no I jst got here
duckwrangler508> thnx 4 meetn me
exitreal297> happy 2 ive enjoyed yr emails
duckwrangler508> im glad
The immediacy of real time paralyzed me with sudden awkwardness. Gone was the leisure to review each sentence, to consider and ponder possible misinterpretations. What could I say to express my raptures of delight?
I hit enter and instantly wished I could call the letters back, even as they appeared on the screen. I hoped he would not think me too forward.
duckwrangler508> my name is Keith
His name! My hand rose unbidden to press against my chest as if in an effort to keep my heart within.
A new line appeared. duckwrangler508> can i ask yrs plz?
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! My fingers shook upon the keys and I accidentally hit the caps lock key. Thankfully I caught my error and backspaced, before sending, “Sophia.”
duckwrangler508> Sophia 🙂 thts a pretty name
duckwrangler508> yr msgs hv meant a grt deal 2 me
exitreal297> u dont need much, do u
duckwrangler508> just u
How tempting it was to read deeper meaning into those five simple letters.
duckwrangler508> r u set up 4 vc chat?
Voice Chat? I swallowed nervously. Things were going so fast and yet I had little time before the lunchtime rush of customers arrived. To hear Ducky’s voice meant more to me than I could say, but did I dare risk it? I glanced at my manager. He was staring at me, as if daring me to step outside the lines.
Why had I not waited until I was at home before responding? Oh, the woe, the heartache, the sharp pangs of remorse I suffered as I stared at his invitation.
I dropped my eyes, and stared at the cursor blinking accusingly on the screen.
duckwrangler508> 2 bd
At the same moment, I heard, “Too bad.” As I frantically reached for the volume control, I realized the voice came from across the cafÃ©.
My manager stood and faced me. “You have a lovely voice.”
Beyond him, I could see his computer screen with a chat room glowing upon it–the same chat room I had shared with my beloved Ducky. There could be but one answer.
A rushing grew in my ears louder than the hissing steam of a latte, the room swam with black specks like Indonesia Toraja Sulawesi grounds spilled upon the floor and I swooned from my seat.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting installment.
Nancy Fulda has an excellent post about her theory on Why Modern Readers are Less Tolerant of Description, which rings totally true to me.
One hundred years ago, or even fifty years ago, the average reader did not travel widely and did not have access to full-color photographs or television. They had never seen pyramids, or elephants, or tropical rain forests. Many people had also never seen a prairie, a pine forest, a stretch of English farmland, or an industrial city. This means that the reader’s repetoire of pre-conceived images was not as vast as the modern reader’s.
I think much of her post is also true for dialects in fiction. Once upon a time, not only was it possible for someone to have never heard a German accent, but it was also likely that they would be called upon to read that passage aloud. So writing dialects phonetically helped the reader. Fashions and readers’ expectations change.
Paper Forest, which is fast becoming one of my favorite blogs, linked to this series of photos of Moneygami. You remember doing this, right? Making a frog out of a dollar bill. There’s a whole new level of skill happening with these. In particular, check out the way the graphics on the money gets reinvented in the new creation.
Makes you want to go fold a dollar bill, huh?
Oh my heavens. Look at the beautiful paper work that Paper Forest found.
The whole collection is stunning and interesting, both as fashion (Rob loves it) and as cut paper art. In the photos of the catwalk, the last series shows the models tearing the dresses off. On the one hand, I wince, but on the other, it does celebrate the ephemeral aspect of paper.
Truly the whole site is worth exploring. Go! Off with you.
While we’re on the wayback machine, I thought I’d share something I just found in the process of packing the house. A fable I wrote when I was 14 or 15. There are some other short stories in this folder, but this one makes me laugh. I have no memory of writing it.
Once upon a time there was a small squirrel who was convinced that the world was round. Daily he went leaping through the forest proclaiming, “The world is round like an acorn!”
And all the other animals would shout and hit him over the head, “The world is flat like your head!”
Then the little squirrel would wait till the next day when he would do it again.
One day, he didn’t come by and the other animals became worried and looked for him, but he was nowhere to be found. Since they had a large supply of things to throw at him, they began to wish that he would return. After a time, they appointed a new squirrel to proclaim that the world was round and the business went on as usual.
Moral: Even an unwished for habit may be called upon to return.
The earliest thing I remember writing was in kindergarten (I think). I wrote and illustrated a story for Mom as a Mother’s Day present. All I remember was the dutch iris that turned into a space ship. I thought it was cool because each part of the iris represented a different part of the ship. No idea at all what the plot (if any) was.
How about you? What’s the earliest piece of fiction you have?
I am represented by Seth Fishman of the Gernert Company
- Shades of Milk and Honey (novel) — Tor (August 3, 2010)
- Glamour in Glass — Tor (April 10, 2012)
- Without a Summer — Tor (April 2, 2013)
- Valour and Vanity — Tor (April 29, 2014)
- Of Noble Family — Tor (April 28, 2015)
- Ghost Talkers — Tor 2016
- The Calculating Stars — Tor (July 3, 2018) Hugo and Nebula Winner
- The Fated Sky — Tor (August 21, 2018)
- “Midnight Hour” in The Best of Uncanny — Subterranean Press (2019)
- The Relentless Moon — Tor (2020)
- The Spare Man — Tor (2021)
- The Derivative Base — Tor (2022)
- Word Puppets — Prime Books (November, 2015)
- Scenting The Dark and Other Stories — Subterranean (December, 2009)
- “Articulated Restraint” — Tor.com
- “Rust and Bone” — Shimmer Magazine
- “The Phobos Experience” — Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
- “Artisanal Trucking, LLC” — Asimov’s Science Fiction
- “Dust to Dust” — Fireside Fiction
- “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” —Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction (reprint)
- “Sound and Fury” — Robots VS Fairies
- “A Feather in Her Cap” — Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
- “The Worshipful Society of Glovers” —Uncanny Magazine
- “Your Mama’s Adventures in Parenting” — Shimmer
- “Forest of Memory” — Tor.com
- “Rockets Red” — Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
- “A Dichotomy of Paradigms” — Unbound: Tales by Masters of Fantasy
- “Doctor Faustus” — The Doll Collection (Tor)
- “Like Native Things” — Asimov’s
- “Grinding Time” — Popular Science
- “Midnight Hour” — Uncanny Magazine
- “Water Over the Dam” — Spectrum
- “Expensive Taste” — Popular Science
- “A Matter of Endurance” — Defense Grid 2 – audio play
- “Fire in the Heavens” — Shadows Beneath
- “Zero G R&J” — Kickstart My Robot Army
- “We Interrupt This Broadcast” — The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination (Tor)
- Forest of Memory — Metatropolis (Audible)
- “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” for print — Tor.com HUGO winner 2014
- “Ginger Stuyvesant and the Case of Eastwood Abbey” — TM Magazine
- “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” — Rip-off! (Audible)
- “Weaving Dreams” — Apex
- “Mecury Retrograde” — Willful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society, Scandal, and Romance
- “The White Phoenix Feather” — Fireside Magazine
- “Goodhouse Keeping” — Courts of the Fey (DAW)
- “Kiss Me Twice” — Asimov’s (June, 2011)
- “Water to Wine” — Subterranean Magazine (reprint, Spring 2011)
- “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” — Apex Online (reprint, January 2011)
- “Beauty Will Come” — Voices From the Past (Angry Robot)
- “Water to Wine” — METAtropolis: Cascadiopolis – audio (November, 2010)
- “Birthright” — 2020 Visions (November, 2010)
- “Changement d’itinéraire (Changed Itinerary)” — Légendes (October, 2010)
- “American Changeling” — Daily SF (September, 2010)
- “Salt of the Earth” — Redstone SF (September, 2010)
- “For Want of a Nail” — Asimov’s (September, 2010) HUGO winner 2011
- “Typewriter Triptych” (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) — Sharable.net (August, 2010)
- “Ring Road” — Dark Faith Anthology (January 2010)
- “Beyond the Garden Close” — Apex Online (March, 2010)
- “The Bride Replete” — Apex Online (March, 2010)
- “At the Edge of Dying” — Clockwork Phoenix 2: More Tales of Beauty and Strangeness
- “Body Language” — Intergalactic Medicine Show #15
- “Chrysalis” —Escape Pod (Audio reprint)
- “The Consciousness Problem” — Asimov’s, (August 2009)
- “First Flight” — Tor.com
- “Ginger Stuyvesant and the Case of the Haunted Nursery” — Talebones #38
- “Jaiden’s Weaver”— Diamonds in the Sky: An Astronomical Anthology
- “Prayer at Dark River” — Innsmouth Free Press
- “The Shocking Affair of the Dutch Steamship Friesland” — The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (reprint)
- “For Solo Cello, op. 12” — Science Fiction: The Best of the Year (reprint)
- “Chrysalis” — Aoife’s Kiss (2008)
- “Clockwork Chickadee” — Clarkesworld Magazine (June, 2008) Audio Version
- “Evil Robot Monkey” — The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction Vol. 2 (2008), The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection(2009), Hugo nominee for Best Short Story 2009
- “Rampion” — Prime Codex (reprint)
- “Scenting the Dark” — Apex Online (August 24, 2008)
- “Twitter Length Fiction” — Thaumatrope (2008, 2009)
- “Waiting for Rain” — Subterranean Magazine (Fall 2008)
- “Death Comes But Twice” — Talebones (#35, Summer 2007)
- “For Solo Cello, op. 12” — Cosmos (February/March 2007)
- “Horizontal Rain” — Apex Online
- “Some Other Day” — All Possible Worlds (Fall 2007)
- “This Little Pig” — Cicada (January/February 2007)
- “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” — Gratia Placenti
- “Suspension and Disbelief” — Dr. Who: Destination Prague
- “Bound Man” — Twenty Epics (May, 2006)
- “Cerbo in Vitra ujo” — Apex Digest (Issue 6, June 2006)
- “Locked In” — Apex Digest (#9)
- “Portrait of Ari” — Strange Horizons (January 30, 2006)
Thanks to the wonder of Craig’s list I now have two assistants, one of which has built a set of Audrey II’s before. We had a very productive day and I’m feeling like we might actually finish all of the parts ontime. I’m not out of the woods yet, but I’m starting to feel like I might be in nothing bigger than an Icelandic Forest.
Suzy, an friend of Sam and Jodi’s from Portland, was in town this week. I know her from Tapestry Theater, but this was the first time that I’d spent any time with her. The four of us went to the Turf Cottage for lunch. It’s delightful, and has a really wonderful fish soup. You see a lot of turf on rooves here, and this is a really picturesque example.
The Turf Cottage is just below the Pearl, which is one of the tourist destinations in Reykjavik. It’s a revolving restaurant built on top of four hot water tanks.
We didn’t eat there, but we did go up to the observation deck for a view of the city.
As we walked back down we went through a small forest covering the hill that the Pearl is on. By small, I don’t mean the area of ground that it covers, I mean the height of the trees. The lava bunnies in this photo are the size of your average small rabbit. That gives you an idea of how big the “trees” are, doesn’t it.
All the rabbits in Iceland are black, because they blend with the lava better. There are no predators in Iceland, except a very small population of artic foxes, so the rabbits are not particuarly timid.