Posts Tagged ‘Jay Lake’

Adapting audio to print for Subterranean Press: Water to Wine

Last year, I participated in the audio anthology Metatropolis: Cascadia from  It was a shared world anthology, built on a story by Jay Lake about what might happen to the Pacific Northwest in the future.   Because the stories in the anthology were written specifically for audio, it shaped many of the choices I made when writing it.

For instance, I began writing it in third person, but decided to rework it into first person because I think that lends itself to audio fiction.  There are emotional nuances available to a first person narrator which are somewhat removed for someone speaking in third person.

Because I knew it would be spoken, I treated it like a giant monologue and included “stage directions” for how I wanted lines to be read by the narrator, Kate Mulgrew. [1. Allow me to insert a moment of fangirl squee that Captain Janeway read my story.] In fact, the first thing on the page was this:

[Note to reader and director. Because this is audio, please cut all the lines in brackets unless you need them to distinguish characters. I put them in to attribute dialogue lines where I thought there would be some ambiguity or, occasionally, as stage directions for how I’d like a line read.]

In practical terms that means that Ms. Mulgrew saw things like this.

Lizzie scowled. “Of course it’s the wine.” [sarcastic]

After the audio version came out, I went back through the story and adapted it to the written page.  This meant writing additional material to cover the emotional content that a narrator’s voice can deliver. So that line above now reads:

Lizzie scowled and let the sarcasm flow. “Of course it’s the wine.”

The story is the same, but it is adapted for a different medium.  It was an interesting experience to tackle the same idea for two different forms of prose.

If you’d like to read the results, the print version is now available at Subterranean Press. Here’s a teaser:

Water sprayed out from beneath the wine barrel, carrying the faint stink of sulfur with it. I suppose it’s crazy to have a fondness for the smell of rotten eggs, but that means cleanliness in the wine industry. I shut off the hose and wrestled the barrel off the ancient Gamma-Jet, rolling it to the racks outside the cellar door so it could drain in the sun. I tend to grunt whenever I heave a barrel off the ground and let it drop onto the metal frame. It’s not the weight so much — an empty barrel weighed about a hundred pounds — but the size is awkward. I’ve seen men who can’t do this, and take a certain delight in being able to heft them. My hands are constantly getting nicked from where the metal hoops at the ends catch me, and the scarring would ruin any chance at a career as a hand model. As if I would leave the winery voluntarily. Still there are days when a physically easier job would be welcome.

You can read the whole story at Subterranean Press » Fiction: Water to Wine by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Writers Workshop- Portland Parks and Recreation-Starts July 1st

Doug Lain is teaching a six week writers workshop through the Woodstock Community Center and Portland Parks and Recreation starting on July 1st. The course will be run on the Milford Model, but will also feature presentations on aspects of writing from various local writers, including me.

The full lineup of guest speakers is: Jay Lake, MK Hobson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Eileen Gunn, Ken Scholes, and Tina Connolly.

The course description is:

Everyone has a story to tell. Join other raconteurs in a comfortable environment & gain confidence in your inspired abilities. Enjoy guided practice & constructive critiques stirred by imagination & life experience.

You can sign up at the Parks and Rec website for “Writing Creative Stories.”

Jay Lake’s get well present. Audio fiction!

We put these up on a private page for Jay Lake as a get well present, but he’s asked me to share the readings.

What readings, you ask? Why full-cast recordings of two of Jay Lake’s Nebula eligible stories, read by Jeff Soesbe, M. K. Hobbson, Dave Goldman, David D. Levine, Camille Alexa, and me in front of a live audience at Orycon..

So please, give a listen to “Golden Pepper” and “The Future by Degrees” plus audio that proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the entire audience is wearing Hawaiian shirts in his honor.

Jay Lake’s Green

I had the strangest experience while reading Jay Lake’s Green. I kept feeling like I’d read it before while absolutely knowing I hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing derivative about the story and the plot turned in ways that surprised me. What it felt like was that this was a book that I’d read and loved, but so long ago that I’d completely forgotten it. I finally realized that it was because the character Green was so real and vivid to me that I recognized her the way I’d recognize a friend.

You know how you meet someone and feel like you’ve always known them. I had exactly that experience with this book.

This is seriously good first person writing from word one. I adored Green the character and loved Green the novel. I highly, highly recommend this book, particularly if you’re looking for a strong female protagonist.

Happy Green day!

greenMy dear friend and literary grandfather, Jay Lake, is celebrating the release of his new novel Green.  There are contests and links to free fiction over on his site.

I’ve been looking forward to this coming out since he first started talking about it.  And hey, there’s a bookstore near me.  Handy, that.

The Guardian’s take on exciting new SF and fantasy writers

Jay Lake sent me this link to the Guardian today, so you know, I clicked through out of curiosity.  The headline was “The next generation of SF Writers” and then there’s a photo of a spiral arm galaxy, the caption of which is, “In a galaxy far, far away … Hill, Kowal or Scholes?”

Um.  Whoa.

The science fiction and fantasy community likes to honour the writers in its ranks, and no honour comes higher for new writers than the John W Campbell award. Previous winners include Orson Scott Card, Stephen Donaldson and Cory Doctorow, so it’s certainly worth watching. This year, Mary Robinette Kowal beat a strong shortlist to scoop the award on the basis of a clutch of well-crafted short stories that showcase her emotional deftness while still telling strange and exhilarating stories in the SF tradition.

Thanks Mr. Walter!  This is an excellent pre-birthday present.

Here, let me offer a party favor!   This is an audio version of “Evil Robot Monkey” from the 2008 edition of the Solaris New Book of Science Fiction.


via Damien Walter on exciting new SF and fantasy writers | Books |

Jay’s colon puppet update

Internal structure of colon puppetI should catch you up on what’s happening with the colon puppet.

After I gave up on finding the part that the bandsaw flung across the room, I got a new tea-strainer spoon to dismantle. While I’d normally mill my own parts, this was already the perfect shape, so hey, why make work for myself?

I used a doubled length of aluminum armature wire to provide the internal shape of the colon. This is a decision that may come back to bite me. I wanted the wire to be flexible enough that I could get it through the opening in the jar but stiff enough that it won’t reshape randomly on its own. In theory, this will work, but I might have to stiffen it further after the colon is in the jar.

The mech Here you can see the “mech” itself.

I’ve mounted it to the aluminum with plumber’s putty. It’s great stuff that is basically a two part epoxy. It gets almost metal hard and is good for adding stability to structures.

The dark band going around the ball is a band of elastic cord. At the moment this is stitched in place, but once I get the whole thing assembled, I’ll likely pull it out. I’m hoping that the spandex skin of the colon will act as the return and I won’t have to have an extra one internally.

This is probably a vain hope, but you know, a girl can’t help but to be optimistic.

The reason I don’t want the extra return is because it will cause more resistance, which leads to fatigue while doing lipsync. I only want the puppeteer, Jay, to exert the minimal effort to move the mouth.

The tools So I took all of my tools with me to LaunchPad so that I could finish the puppet up there. I only left one thing.

The tube in which to run the cable from the mech to the control.

Fortunately the guys up at WIRO had some for squirting liquid nitrogen on the telescope. Yay! They gave me a length of it.

Tube I installed the tube, assembled the puppet and started cursing. Something was causing an ungodly amount of resistance. After stripping the puppet and looking for abrasive surfaces, it finally turned out to be the tube.

At this point I decided to give up until I got back to NYC and could get the proper tube. And that’s were we stand now.

My favorite photo from Denvention 3

Jay Lake, Me, John ScalziAlan Roberts came to the “Strolling with the Stars” event that Stu Segal had arranged and offered me this photo.  It is my very favorite one.  Let me tell you what is happening here.  I’m standing between Jay Lake and John Scalzi, two men who are dear friends as well as being former Campbell winners.  I feel so very proud to share their company, not just because of our friendship but because I admire them both tremendously as writers.

On my left wrist, you see that corsage?  My friends Ken Scholes and Jen West gave me that.  Jen loaned her husband to me for the night as my escort.  See, I’d told Rob to stay home because I was so sure that I wouldn’t win but Ken volunteered to be my date.  Never did a girl feel so supported.  It was like going to the prom, but so much better.

Honestly, as much as the Campbell award means to me, the larger thing that it represents is embodied in these guys.  I am daunted by their talent, but at the same time, I know that I am supported by them.  And that support is why this is my favorite picture.

Launch Pad Links and photos

Mike Brotherton our glorious host at Launch Pad is collecting links from the various participants and posting them on his website. So if you want to get a wider sense of the experience than just my raw notes, then click on over there and explore the other participants’ blogs.
Art installation at University of Wyoming, Laramie

Jay LakeFor some reason, I’m having a hard time sleeping here. I’ve woken around 4:30 the last two mornings, still feeling dead-tired. But, the bonus is that I’m getting some writing done in the morning and then going for a walk with Jay Lake. Deanna Hoak joined us this morning and we wandered around the campus.

Deanna HoakOn one side of the quad there’s this fascinating art installation that I’d noticed yesterday. The artist had woven together branches into twisting, organic structures. You could wander into these little rooms of dense branches but beyond the appearance, the smell was astonishing. As Jay said, it was as much a scent installation as anything else. Sage and other herbs wove between the branches and perfumed the air. Deanna wants to go back there tonight to look at the stars through the top of them.
Art installation at University of Wyoming, Laramie
Art installation at University of Wyoming, Laramie

Jay Lake Colon Build: Day 1

FoamI started working on the colon for Jay today by cutting out a simple rectangle of 1/4″ foam. Ironically, we call this type of foam “crap” foam which I was not thinking about until I started writing the blog post. It simply had the right pore density for what I wanted.

Barging foamI headed for the ventilation hood to Barge the edges of the foam. Barge is fantastic glue, designed for shoe makers, and has the winning combination of being incredibly strong and toxic. Mm-mm, good. It takes a minimum of five minutes to set, but is workable for up to four hours. Gotta love it.

Sticking barge together Once it’s dry, I just had to pinch the edges together.

Tube o foam Ta-da! A tube o’ foam.

Cutting tea-strainer On to the “mouth” mech. Normally, I mill my own mechanisms, but in this case, I was looking at my tea-strainer and darn if the thing wasn’t the right size. So, I took the rivets out and popped it on the bandsaw to trim the front of it off.

Cutting tea-strainer more intelligentlyBefore turning the saw on, I played the game, “Know where your fingers are,” and decided to get a pusher so that I was not in such direct proximity to the blade in case things decided to shift.

Which they did. The first cut was a piece of cake. When I got to the second one, the blade caught it and tossed it across the room. I’ve still got no idea where the thing is. I’ll have to pick up a new one tomorrow and try again. With pliers this time, so I have a firm grip.

Begining to "skin" the colon Though I wouldn’t normally start skinning a puppet until the mech is in place, because of how I’m doing this one, I can put the skin on and leave it loose at the end where the “mouth” will go. The biggest challenge here is that the seam is just going to show. I’m making it fairly organic, instead of a straight line. When the rest of the treatment is in place it will, hopefully, be fairly discreet.

I knocked off work around 9:00 so I could catch up with the folks who’d gone to the Shirley Jackson reading tonight. The Puppet Kitchen is on the same street so I’d actually gone over at 7:00 to hear the reading, but it was too crowded to get in. Later I heard that there were seats up front. It’s just as well, I suppose, since I was able to get some work done.

Plus, it meant I could join the gang for Chinese food afterwards. I had the colon in my bag. Nick Kaufman asked to see it (blame him) so I hauled it out and made it say hello. Strangely, people found this disturbing. I can’t imagine why.

Building Jay Lake’s colon

Colon DesignBy this point, I think everyone probably heard about Jay Lake’s colon cancer news. The man is a cancer survivor the likes of which the world has never seen. When I heard the diagnosis, I emailed him asking if there was anything I could do for him from New York.

Oh yes. Yes, there was.

Jay asked me to build a puppet of his tumor, because he wanted to be “smarter and funnier” than his cancer. Before I had materials in hand, it was clear that Jay had kicked the tumor without the need for puppetry.

The colon, on the other hand, is a troublesome thing. So, I’m building Jay Lake a puppet of his colon in a jar. Today, I went shopping for specimen jars. Besides needing something the right size and shape, it also needed to be plastic so that I can drill holes in it with abandon. Tomorrow I’ll start the mech for the “mouth” of the colon.

This may well be my strangest commission ever