2012 ended pretty well: pursuant to last month’s little squee about Blindsight placing in the Top Ten of the Past Twelve poll over at Locus, turns out that I also showed up on the comparable lists for Best 21st Century Short Story (“The Things”, at #4), and barely squeaked into the top ten for Best Novelette (“The Island”, at #10). So that’s three of the four 21st Century lists, and I don’t think I’ve ever actually written anything in the fourth category (novella); so I’m pretty pleased about that.
Also, 2012 ended like crap: on December 30th— the day before the already-greatly-extended deadline for that story I’ve been fibleting lately — I discovered that my tale’s underlying physics made about as much sense as an episode of Space: 1999 (I thought 36 hours was a bit too brief a span for a planet to cross the orbit of Venus, even at 600kps). Turns out there was some kind of glitch in the freeware gravity simulator I was using. So I’ve been head down the past week, rewriting the whole damn thing based on updated numbers. Which has put all my other new-year’s tasks a week behind schedule right out of the gate.
But New Year’s Day? New Year’s day was awesome:
For all of December we’d only caught glimpses: a brown blur, a fuzzy tail, something scuttling into hiding under the porch whenever we approached the Magic Bungalow. We knew it was skittish; we knew it wouldn’t let any of us get close to close. But we also knew it was a cat, living out on the street in the middle of a cold and suddenly-snowy December, so we started leaving a bowl of kibble out on the porch each night. Sometimes it would be gone in the morning; sometimes it wouldn’t. Sometimes we’d catch Minion snarfing it down (she’s the only one of the Gang of Fur who regularly ventures outside in winter), and wonder if the Brown Blur was getting any at all. There was one three-day interval where the kibble just sat there, untouched, the saucer half-buried in a tiny drift of snow. We figured that whoever the little furball was, she’d probably moved on or been schmucked by a car.
New Year’s Eve the little fuzzbot was back; still skittish, still ready to bolt at the sight of us through the living room window. But this time, halfway down the steps, she turned back and met our eyes, and meowed on the way out.
By New Year’s Day, apparently, we had passed the interview process. After a brief dance number in which she skittered meowing up and down the steps while we opened and closed the front door, she basically gave up on the whole CT thing and started bonking hands and ankles, purring furiously. I scooped her up. She let me take her inside. We fed her (she was ravenous) and set up the office as a quarantine zone until we’d got a vet to check her out.
Fat chance. She spent the whole night snuggled up with us under the covers. She’s nosing at my hands right now, apparently quite put out that they aren’t being used for something useful like dispensing cat food or scritching ears or pouring half’n'half into a small ceramic bowl. Sometimes she sleeps and I can get some work done. Other times I have to distract her with crimson crack.
I call her “Pube”. We actually started out by naming her Swiffer (on account of the tail), but Mesopone absolutely hates that name; says we might as well call her “Broom” or “Vacuum Cleaner”. (Actually, now that I think of it, “Hoover” would be a good fit…) Anything but “Swiffer”, the Meez says, so okay: Pube it is.
Let’s just say I’ll have to get back to you on the naming front.
That’s pretty much all I’m going to get back to you on, though, for the next little while. You may remember that January was the month I’d set aside to clear Dumbspeech off the decks. That’s already one week off the rails (I should probably e-mail my editor about that…). Then there’s a book-length manuscript on human speciation I promised to read over the holidays; that’s still unread, thanks once again to Turducken1 Then there’s this short screenplay out of New Zealand based on “Vampire Domestication“; it may not go anywhere but it’s already made the finals and I’ve promised to go over that by the end of the month. And I’ve agreed to write a vampire story for a Cystic Fibrosis-charity antho and I’ve just got a request to teach a local workshop in February, oh and by the way my desktop computer’s been fucked for over a month now and and and…
So it’s down periscope for a while. The chances of crunchy science showing up here over the next month are remote at best; it can easily take me 6-8 hours to write one of those fuckers, and I just don’t have the time. Any posts I do make will be fresh fiblets from Dumbspeech (and maybe one or two from Turducken). I’m hauling out the ol’ autoresponder and putting all but vital e-mails on hold, too; if I already owe you one I’ll try to clear that backlog but fresh correspondence is gonna have to wait.
Basically, I’m about to enter a kind of literary Thunderdome. Either Me or the Manuscripts will emerge in one piece. Wish me luck, and goodbye for now.
1 Not its real name.