November 10th, 2016

flames

Odds, Ends, Fun Stuff

Lots of gloom and doom around, but today I just want to burble about good stuff, the little things that make life worth living. Books, movies, TV shows, friends, fun.

Let me start with television. How many of you have been watching HBO's big new drama WESTWORLD? If not, you don't know what you're missing. It's intriguing. The old Yul Brynner / Michael Crichton movie was just the seed, this one goes way way way beyond that. It's gorgeous to look at, and the writing and acting and directing are all first rate. And hey, how many of you spotted Yul in last week's episode?

I am also watching the two new time travel shows, TIMELESS and FREQUENCY, mainly because I am an SF geek who loves time travel yarns. FREQUENCY is based on the film of the same title, one of the very best treatments of time paradoxes and the butterfly effect I've ever seen. The show started out strong as well, though lately, I don't know, I worry that it's spinning its wheels. I don't mind that they changed the present day character from a man to a woman, I only mind a little that they changed the past character from a fireman to a cop... but I hate that they lost the Amazin' Mets, one of the great parts of the movie.

On other fronts, we hope to have a brand new official Wild Cards website up soon. Watch this space for further details. My crack staff of minions and ogres are revamping and updating the Jean Cocteau website as well.

We had a great event with Emily St. John Mandel at the JCC on Monday night, before Black Tuesday. What a delightful person, and what an amazing writer. If you haven't read her STATION ELEVEN yet, grab yourself a signed copy from the JCC Bookshop, it's a brilliant book. We also have autographed copies of her first three novels, which I mean to check out myself.

This weekend the JCC will host the magic of George Tovar. Tickets available from our website. We could all use more magic in our lives about now.

I won't be able to see the show myself, alas, since I will be in Tucson for Tuscon, where I am Guest of Honor. If you have a ticket, I will see you there. If you don't, alas, I can't tell you where to get one; they have been sold out for months. (This whole idea of SF cons selling out is strange to an old phan like me). I have been cutting way back on my travel lately but Tuscon has been on my schedule for several years. It's my last convention for 2016... though next month I will be flying to Mexico for the Guadalajara Book Fair, which has been booked even longer. Tuscon should be fun; I am looking forward to spending some quality time with old friends, and to making some new ones. And yes, I'll be signing books there. Lots and lots of books.

Latest fun read: the new Melinda Snodgrass novel THE HIGH GROUND, first volume of her space opera series. Space cadets! This is her best work yet, I think. Looking forward to the next. Next up is the new Lisa Tuttle, THE SOMNAMBULIST AND THE PSYCHIC THIEF, a Victorian supernatural mystery featuring the two characters she originally introduced in stories for a couple of my anthologies.
sadface

R.I.P. Leonard

Leonard Cohen is gone, and the world is a little poorer.

I'd say "a little sadder," but Cohen was the bard of sadness. He spoke to all the broken hearts out there, sang of shattered dreams and lost hopes. There was no one better to listen to when you were melancholy, depressed, lonely, despondent, or suicidal.

There was a certain time in my life when I listened to Cohen's SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE album obsessively, drowning in his voice and his words. That was in the Age of Vinyl, and I believe I wore out several needles on that one.

I've loved so many of his songs... "Hallelujah," of course, and "Famous Blue Raincoat." But I will leave you with my favorite:



Back in the day, when I was young and music was good, a number of my short stories were inspired by lyrics in my favorite songs. "Suzanne" was the inspiration for my short story "Bitterblooms," which remains one of my favorites to this very day.

Goodbye, Leonard.