April 1st, 2007


Last night I had a recurring nightmare that's plagued me since childhood, inspired  -- of course!  -- by the film version of The Wizard of Oz. 

No, not the Wicked Witch: the tornado. 

I have never seen a real tornado, I have never (thank God) been remotely near one, and I live in a place (coastal Maine) where tornados are not an everyday occurance, although a year or so ago one touched down about a half-mile from here and destroyed a number of trees and a friend's garden.  My dream of safety must disappear, to misquote Auden.

Anyone out there have recurring nightmares they feel like sharing?  it's April Fool's Day -- maybe this will rob them of their eldritch power!

And speaking of April Fools -- be sure and check out Paul Di Filippo's annual Laff-Fest, available absolutely free on Locus Online later today.  It's always one of the high points of the year for me, and definitely the high point of April Fool's Day.
  • pgdf


In a stunning proletariat coup, the membership of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America annulled in advance all the ballots that were to be submitted by April 28, 2007, during their current election, and instead installed by popular mandate a slate of imaginary personalities selected from the realm of popular cartoons.

As longtime gadfly, curmudgeon and Francophile Norman Spinrad commented, “This whole organization has become a joke, nothing but a big cartoon. Infighting, a focus on awards, gossip-mongering, pianos and safes dropped randomly on author heads— Well, you get the picture. The JETSONS meets SCOOBY DOO by way of HUCKLEBERRY HOUND. So a majority of members spontaneously decided that our elected officers might as well truly reflect the activities and tone of the organization.

"How could we do any worse?”

The new roster of SFWA officers is as follows:

President: Professor John Frink, from THE SIMPSONS.

Vice President: Stewie Griffin, from FAMILY GUY.

Secretary: Jessica Rabbit, from WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT.

Treasurer: Montgomery Burns, from THE SIMPSONS.

The various Regional Directors include Comic Book Guy (THE SIMPSONS), Buzz Lightyear (TOY STORY), SpongeBob SquarePants (show of the same name), and Shrek (ditto).

Observing from abroad, noted political savant China Miéville opines, “The popularity of THE SIMPSONS, as exhibited by the election of three Springfieldians, is appalling proof, as if we needed it, of the hegemonic power of capitalists such as Fox’s Rupert Murdoch.”

Professor Frink chimed in with a well-placed “Glaiven!”
  • pgdf


Following the major critical success of 2006’s JAMES TIPTREE, JR.: THE DOUBLE LIFE OF ALICE B. SHELDON, author Julie Phillips has settled on the next arcane literary figure to receive the benefits of her meticulous scholarship and unflagging boosterism: unsung poet and SF author Lilith Lorraine.

MARY MAUD DUNN WRIGHT: SHE CHOSE LILITH OVER EVE AS HER PENNAME will be published by St. Martin’s no earlier than 2017.

“I need a full decade,” explains Phillips, “to amass a stupefying amount of biographical detail about this fascinating woman. Her membership in the Episcopal Church and the National Women’s Party, her self-abasing editing of her father’s—her father’s!—memoirs, PERILOUS TRAILS OF TEXAS (1932), her schizophrenic shifting between poetry and science fiction— There’s just so much rich material there!”

Phillips hopes that her book will rehabilitate Lorraine’s literary reputation. “Her seven books of poetry are the equal of anything produced by Pound or Eliot, and should have served to cement her firmly into the canon, were it not for her gender and her origins outside the mainstream literary establishment. And her lone SF novel, THE BRAIN OF THE PLANET (1929)— Well, let’s just say that Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow pale by comparison.”

Phillips intends to take up residence in Texas, Lilith Lorraine’s natal state, for the duration of her studies, and change her own name to Annie Oakley.

Life Imitating Art

I almost hesitated to post this on April Fool's Day -- because it's true -- all too true.

My friend and fellow writer Kris Saknussemm, author of the incredible novel Zanesville, sends the following press release:

Jacko’s Giant Robot Escapes from ZANESVILLE


The giant Las Vegas robot of himself that Michael Jackson is contemplating having built by the entertainment consultancy Luckman Van Pier is an idea directly taken from Kris Saknussemm’s novel ZANESVILLE.


The novel, which The Austin Chronicle praised as “the most original novel of the year,” specifically features the presence of giant robotic versions of celebrities in the book’s satiric version of Las Vegas, and Jackson is one of the celebrities highlighted.


Said Saknussemm, “That the novel came out in 2005 and this element of the story has been widely reviewed and blogged about is convincing evidence that the idea put forward by Mike Luckman and Andre Van Pier is not original to them.”


Lawyers for Mr. Saknussemm are considering raising an action against both the entertainment consultancy and Mr. Jackson.  According to the author, “The book so clearly sets out the idea and places it in the deliberate context of Las Vegas, and specifically features Michael Jackson, it would be hard for anyone not to see the direct connection.”


Regardless of any legal action, Saknussemm’s novel may be predictive on other more worrisome levels.  In ZANESVILLE , the giant robots malfunction and go on a rampage, destroying most of the city. 


In describing the proposed Jackson robot, Mike Luckman has been widely quoted in the entertainment media as saying, “Laser beams would shoot out of it, so it would be the first thing people flying in would see.”


“I just hope it’s not the last thing people see,” responded Saknussemm.