July 13th, 2009


The Two Minute Hate

I'm feeling all shobiz-y today, so a couple of Hollyweird items to start..

Channing Tatium (who's he?) and Jenna Dewan (who's she?), the stars of Step Up (what's that?) were married Saturday afternoon at a private estate in Malibu.  The wedding, orchestrated event planner, Mindy Weiss, paid tribute to the couple's love of fairies and included two flower girls wearing wings.  The cake, by Cake Divas, was shaped as a magic castle filled with faires in several flavors:  red velvet, chocolate with chocolate fudge and white "funfetti."

Okay, I'm sorry, but these people have to die at once.  Preferably they will be eaten while alive by the homeless who will be dressed as fairies and will get a gift bag containing magic cutlery and a dental plan. This is all starting to smack of Marie Antoinette, the last days of the Romanoffs, etc.  

Oh, Christ.  I just learned that Channing is in the GI Joe movie.  Extended torment should be his.  Let him be eaten with cocktail forks shaped like fairies with fangs.

Joe Jackson has decided to search for the real killer, though he need look no farther than his mirror.  The Jackson patriarch has declared MJ's death to be "foul play."  Latoya chimes in, "We're al lin pain and suffering the loss of Michael, but we're determined to get to the bottom of this..."

Speaking of the Gloved One, one of his plastic surgeon's is coming clean. Dr. Wallace Goodstein, who worked with Jackson's surgeon, said MJ "came in approximately every two months. He had ten to twelve surgeries during the wo years I was there."   The surgeries included "multiple nose jobs, cheek implants, and had a cleft put in his chin.  Eyelid surgery...you name it, he had it."  Goodstein opines that MJ underwent many operation that he shouldn't have had.

Gee, doc...you think?

His nose was operated so many times and became so small, it had to be rebuilt by a dermatoligist, Dr. Arnold Klein:  "I used fillers, hyaluronic acids. It's an arduous procedure, because you don't want to put too much in.  You have to flow the material so it's perfectly smooth."

Klein is rumored to be the biological father of two of Jackson's three children.
Now that's making a house call!

Classic Hate of the Week:

Who can forget this guy:

When I was in El Salvador in the early 80s, an FMLN leaflet called this guy Death's Republican Uncle.  I thought it was the perfect name.  He made possible an environment in which some of the most horrific things I've ever sen took place.  Say it with me now:  Hate hate hate hate hate hate...

Elizabeth Hand -- An Appreciation

It occurred to me that those unable to attend Readercon might enjoy seeing my appreciation of Liz that appeared in the Program Guide.  I will try and post the picture when I have a bit more time... 


In the summer of 1980, the night before I was to leave for the Clarion Writer’s Workshop in East Lansing, Michigan, I finally gave in to my mother’s longstanding request to meet my cousin Wayne’s girlfriend. As Mom had informed me on countless occasions, this woman also wanted to be a writer . . . and, as if that weren’t enough, shared my interest in fantasy and science fiction. Though I knew my cousin to be a very cool guy, and despite my twenty-one years was generally able to grant my mother a degree of good sense in most things, I had resisted for months the efforts of mother and cousin alike to arrange a meeting between us. I can’t remember now exactly what wore me down, but I do recall feeling certain that I was simply doing them both a favor, and that the evening would be, at best, a pleasant diversion on my way to becoming a professional writer, a journey that would commence in earnest the very next day. And while the weeks I spent at Clarion certainly played a part in that journey, a much more central and enduring part of it has been the woman I met for the first time that night at a Washington, D.C. restaurant, the guest of honor at this convention, Elizabeth Hand.



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Charles Brown, RIP

Absolutely gobsmacked to see that Charles Brown, the publisher of Locus, has died.  I was just on a panel with him at Readercon, and had a wonderful breakfast with him, Amelia Beamer, David Streitfeld, and Gary Wolfe.  Although I was on a casually friendly basis with him for many years, I didn't get to know him really until I signed on to do book reviews at Locus just over a year ago.  Then, mainly through long and rambling phone calls--he called me from a succession of hospital beds, at odd hours, wanting to know my thoughts about this or that book--I got to know and admire this deeply read, pugnacious, irascible, annoying, amusing, opinionated man.  Charles was such a fixture of the sf world that it's hard to imagine it without him.  I think the last words he said to me, as breakfast was breaking up on Saturday, were, "I'm sorry we didn't get more of a chance to talk about books and reviewing." 

Me, too, Charles.


Charles Brown

Like Paul, I just arrived back from Readercon and learned of Charlie Brown's death.  I'm too shocked and saddened at the moment to say much  — I hope I can come up with a suitable tribute to him in the next few days.

But God, what a challenge that is.  Charles was larger than life: a brilliant reader and critic, an irresistible dinner companion;  generous, puckish, hilarious, sly, charming . 

But above all he loved books and the people who help create them, not just writers but readers, editors, critics, publishers, fans of every stripe.  He didn't just dedicate his life to the literature of the fantastic; he helped shape it.   Locus is his legacy to all of us, and I know he made plans to ensure its survival.  But I'm finding it hard to imagine our world without him.

Godspeed, Charles.


Charlie Brown had the funkiest toes in science fiction (as far as I know, anyway).  Now people may say, that's a hell of thing to bring up about someone who just died, but hey, Charlie wanted to show off his toes because he put 'em out here and wore rings on 'em and painted the nails silver, and whenever I met him there the crinkly little buggers were.  They were for me his signature style statement.  They caused me to think of him as a decadent Roman aristocrat and maybe that was the image he was going for.  Whatever, I dug his toes.

When I first met him I thought he was kind of weird and geeky, but that was before I understood that as far as the science fiction field went, he was just about average.  It took me a while to get used to him, because I was coming from another place entirely, rock and roll, biker bars, and like that, but he was always very kind to me and supportive of my work, and when I moved out to Oakland after my Clarion and was working on Green Eyes, my first novel, i was flattered when he invited me to his place for dinner.  Of course it wasn't just for dinner--Charlie was always getting people to do work for free and so I ended up helping collate Locus.  I wasn't a real great collater, but Charlie didn't get mad at me for fucking up--he seemed to realize I wasn't born to collate and didn't push it. At the time I was living in a transient hotel and had no money, so I figure when he invited me over he knew he wasn't going to get a bunch of work out of me and was just giving me a chance to eat a lot of spaghetti and drink wine.  

Every once in a while after I moved back east, he'd call me up and we'd talk about books and people in the field and etc.  I genuinely think he liked me, which was a big surprise because I rub a lot of people the wrong way, not being a sentimental sort and tending to speak my mind.  Thus every time I saw him I was happy to see him and we'd have a drink and shoot the shit.  He did several interviews with me and they are were sharp interviews.   He asked perceptive questions, questions nobody else asked me, and I always told him he ought to print his questions, because doing so might shut up his detractors  who called him a gadfly.  But he was, I think, bashful about it and never took my advice.  Take my word for it, though--Charlie knew his stuff.  

There's a general tendency to paint pretty pictures of people when they die, but I don't agree with that. People should be remembered the way they were, with all the flies on them, all their bad moods and etc,, because that's how they were in life when we cared about them as men and women.  Charlie could be petty and obnoxious and abrasive.  There's a lot of backbiting and pettiness in the arts, in our little corner of the arts, and if you immerse yourself in the field as deeply as Charlie, you're bound to pick up some bad habits...unless you're a saint.  Charlie was no saint.  Un-unh, nope.  But he was a good man in sum, and that's a lot.  Generous and whip-smart and funny.  I'm sure hundreds of people will step forward to praise him for his contributions to the genre, and I would echo those folks; but more than that I appreciated him as a character, as someone whose idiosyncratic personality and appearance lent a certain irreplaceable color to our field.  I often threatened to drop him into a story and maybe now, too late, I will.

I hadn't seen Charlie for a while and I'm real sorry I didn't go to Readercon because I would have enjoyed hanging out with him for a bit. I can just see him walking up to me and getting that sort of sly expression on his face and saying, Lucius, like he knew something about me that I might not want made public.  We would have sat down in some corner of the bar and maybe had a glass of wine and talked about this and that.  We would have laughed at some of the bizarre crap that occurs in science fiction.  I like to think that this time I would have told him how much I admired his toes.