July 16th, 2007

readercon et al

Had a great time  at readercon.  the committee was great,, the panels were good, the irish carbombs were fantastic.  For those not in the know, an irish carbomb consists of a pint of Guiness into wich a shot of Bailey's and Jameson's is deposited.  It must be then drunk ASAP so that the Bailey's won't curdle.  I set a personal best of 8 one night--which night, I can't recall.  It was great seeing the other members of the 4, my kid, Mike Swanwick, Nathan Ballingrud, Jeff Ford, etc , There was only one flaw to the convention..one of the writers behaved badly.  About that, more when I have time.

Semana Negra in Xixon or Gigon, Asturias, Spain is out of this world.  The man who runs the festival, Paco Taibo, is a writer of mysteries andf non-fiction (his works have been translated into English), and he is a book pimping genius.  Imagine, if you will. a shot, tubby, chainsmoking, kindhearted Mexican blessed with the power of ten thousand....no, 100, 000 vandermeers.  He has combined a literary festival with a street fair and carnival, and, as a result, has created an engine that sells books at a rate of 60 per minute for the ten-dayduration of the festival...and he does this while staying up every night till 4, talking with the writers he has invited to the festival from every portion of the world.   Gigon is a beautiful city in the north of Spain, 300,000 population, with a lovely harbor and beach, a city like many you find in southern france or northern italy, having an old quarter and an exciting night life....Bering here has made me realize how staid and stodgy and downright boring the USA is.
It's hard to describe Semana Negra.  I guess a series of feasts, book events, and parties is about all one can say.  I'm in Madrid now, one day removed from the last feast, and I'm too sleepy from the partying to have much perspective.  I'll just say two more words.  Manzana verde.  Green Apple.  That's the name of a special Asaturian liquor they have over here.  You got to try it,.  Ask Chip Delaney who fell in love with the stuff.

Must sleep.
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Bug Dreams

Allow me to introduce you to my pal Rick Lieder. Besides being a superb graphic designer and artist who's created many, many gorgeous book covers--including those for the books of his wife, Kathe Koja--Rick is also a nature photographer with a unique methodology and style. Having seen him patiently crawl through the hot summer underbrush for hours at a time in search of images of the tiny inhabitants of a little-seen natural world, I know that his photos might look effortless but are really the result of painstaking love and attention.

Why not check them out at Rick's Bug Dreams site?


Posted by Paul DiFi
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Sixties Novels, Part 27

MISS LOLLIPOP AND THE DOOM MACHINE, Arthur Hoppe, Doubleday, 1973.

Dang! I got myself all psyched up for a big Sherlock Holmes trip through the intrawub for details on this "unknown" writer, and then I find out with about five seconds of Googling that he's a celebrity in his part of the world, San Francisco, where he wrote a humorous political column for forty years. Check out Mr. Hoppe's obituary here:


But the obit slights this novel, which looks like a pleasant little farce along the lines of Art Buchwald or Christopher Buckley.

Certainly its title evokes a certain kind of mildly zany, kicky, trippy Sixties literary ambiance.

Posted by Paul DiFi