I’m not dead yet.

Just another couple of placeholders while I shovel sand against the tide.

Placeholder #1: the observation of a certain correlation in the skiffy community:

Group A: “Blindsight would definitely be my choice for the Hugo, if I were voting. Which I’m not.”

Group B: “Blindsight is good/crappy/great for wrapping fish, but it didn’t get my vote.”

I suppose I should take some pride in the evident fact that my biggest fans tend to not be joiners. I like having independent readers. (‘Course, I wouldn’t’ve minded having the Hugo either…)

Placeholder #2: the observation of a certain brick-shittingly scary page on Amazon:

Right here. The new anthology from Solaris. Click on the cover image, and — oh, look. There’s my name.

These guys haven’t even seen my story yet. I was supposed to send it yesterday, but they gave me until Friday because I told them it was 7K’s worth of steaming crap. (Which was marginally better than the 9K’s worth of steaming crap it had been two days earlier, but still.) And I’m still so unhappy with the way it reads — you ever write a story where each individual scene works fine, but the overall result looks like disjointed fragments of “Red Dwarf”, “Law and Order”, and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” jammed haphazardly together like fortune cookies in a wood chipper? — that I’m thinking now the only way to salvage this mess is to jettison two thirds of it and reduce the narrative to a single stream-of-consciousness unfolding as the protagonist waits in a checkout line to buy chicken bullion cubes. (Yes. You read that right. That would be a massive improvement.)

As for the Solaris guys, their faith in my abilities is either so great it borders on religious mania, or so small that they’ve faked up an Amazon cover just to light a fire under my ass. What are they gonna do if I hand in something completely unusable?

In fact, what am I writing this for? I gotta get started.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Tuesday August 07 2007at 05:08 am , filed under whinge . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

19 Responses to “I’m not dead yet.”

  1. I am going to Worldcon, and I voted for Blindsight as my first preference, so there’s at least one contrary datapoint.

  2. I think Red Dwarf and Eternal Sunshine crammed together haphazardly could actually be quite interesting, dammit!

    Although I suppose Eternal Sunshine is another movie you and consequently numerous other posters on this blog disliked because of the silly science involved, similar to the movie of the same name minus the eternal -_- (that’s right, I’m never letting this go).

    However, despite my general dislike of anthologies, I may pick this one up if it includes a PW stream-of- consciousness about purchasing bouillon cubes…or whatever else might result.

  3. Another datapoint here. Who knows–you might win! 😉

    Good luck with the story. Nothing like a deadline to get things moving…

  4. That Solaris book description misspelled at least three of your co-author’s names. I’m guessing it’s slapped together.

    I’d vote for BLINDSIGHT but couldn’t be arsed. Category A for me.

  5. Not only is your name on the book cover, Peter, but it’s the top name on the book cover. Which means if you don’t come through, the book gets scrapped, Solaris goes under, and the entire SF genre goes into an unrecoverable tailspin.

    But no pressure.

  6. I liked it, Eternal Sunshine gave us one of the great quotes in a long time.

    “Well, technically speaking, the operation is brain damage, but it’s on a par with a night of heavy drinking. Nothing you’ll miss.”

    As for fishwrap, yeah, the cover should definitely be used for fishwrap.

  7. Nicholas harangued,

    Although I suppose Eternal Sunshine is another movie you and consequently numerous other posters on this blog disliked because of the silly science involved, similar to the movie of the same name minus the eternal -_- (that’s right, I’m never letting this go).

    Actually, I really liked ESOTSM, and didn’t find the science silly. I mean, okay, it was a stretch to find that kind of cutting-edge neuroimaging equipment outside of a major medical or research facility, but I don’t see huge objections in principle to such a machine working well enough to sell product to desperately unhappy people. And that movie, unlike shallower but more obviously sfnal fare like, say, ID4, actually did what serious science fiction is *supposed* to do: it started with a what-if, and then explored the human consequences.

    I love that Kaufman guy. Every one of his screenplays that I’ve seen has blown me away.

  8. Matt Jarpe said…

    That Solaris book description misspelled at least three of your co-author’s names. I’m guessing it’s slapped together.

    Good. Then my story will fit the cover perfectly (although truth be told, I *am* feeling a bit more positive about today’s rewrite).

    Also, Matt, I’m still interested in getting a copy of your thesis. It’ll be pdf’d at some point, yes?

  9. David Louis Edelman said…

    …Which means if you don’t come through, the book gets scrapped, Solaris goes under, and the entire SF genre goes into an unrecoverable tailspin.

    OK, let’s put this to the test, shall we?

    EVERYBODY LISTEN UP. I WANT A HUNDRED BUCKS FROM EVERYONE IN THAT ANTHOLOGY, NOW, OR THE GENRE GETS IT.

  10. Dude, we all know science fiction is already dead. They’ve been telling me that for ten years now!

  11. OR THE GENRE GETS IT.

    NOT THE GENRE!

    you MONSTER!!!!

    ANYTHING BUT THE GENRE!

  12. OH NOES!!! PLEASE, THINK OF THE GENRE!!!

    hehe, ok, but seriously…Group A for me as well, I’m afraid. Can’t afford a trip to Japan. But, on the other hand, couple of my friends are going, and I told them in no uncertain terms that if they don’t vote for Blindsight, I’ll re-decorate their homes with a sledgehammer.
    So don’t abandon hope yet…

    -Hannu

  13. Dude,

    Good to see you haven’t been replaced by an android (as interesting as that might be if you were… and are you really sure?… I mean how would “you” know? and all those questions… there are some cool Turing-type experiments I can think of to test your hypothesis that you’re real).

    Anyway, kick that story in the ribs until it obeys you, ok? If you hurt it enough it will do what you want.

    And as for Charlie Kaufman (tangent warning): great choices that guy has made, and great work he’s done, but you really need to read the original “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.” I got about 10 hardcover copies when it was remaindered about 20 years ago and gave most of them away as gifts. One remains in my collection. It’s fucking far out, and much better than the (very good, but oft criticized) movie.

    You know my views on the rest.

    So write when you can… LOT’S of news here… no hundred bucks to save the genre until you are in touch and then we can gossip.

    Nas

    P.S. Jessie says hi

  14. Well, two of my stories are appearing in the new Solaris collection and my name doesn’t appear at all. I guess someone must have dropped out at the last moment…

  15. Thought you might like this story Peter.

    This Is Charley, An Amazing Cat With Cerebellar Hypoplasia

  16. Brenda thought I might like this story about…

    Charley, An Amazing Cat With Cerebellar Hypoplasia

    And I did, very much. What an endearing cat. Thank you.

  17. Neal said…

    Well, two of my stories are appearing in the new Solaris collection and my name doesn’t appear at all. I guess someone must have dropped out at the last moment…

    Nah, I think Matt’s right– the promo stuff was just slapped together. I got the sense that George Mann wasn’t expecting it to be out in the public domain so soon. Evidently someone jumped the gun. So I’m guessing the final layout will be different.

    I like their cover art, though.

  18. “Also, Matt, I’m still interested in getting a copy of your thesis. It’ll be pdf’d at some point, yes?”

    Not a pdf, but I’m trying to reproduce the talk in blog form.

    http://feedback.matthewjarpe.com/2007/08/10/the-origins-of-life–revealed.aspx

    When I gave it I was just talking off the top of my head and I made the whole thing as interactive as I could. Same with the blog. I’m hoping for questions and comments and the whole idea will get stronger.

  19. Ah, chopped off the end of the link. It’s the second to the top post today.