Archive for September, 2010

9-11 nine years on

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

It’s strange to think there’s an entire generation of kids who don’t remember the day the Towers collapsed. It’s even stranger to think that there’s an entire generation for whom this was their first “event” memory, the way my generation remembers the Challenger exploding or those in the early 60s remembered Kennedy’s assassination. And now we’re almost a decade into the so-called “long war”, a term I resist because it’s impossible to name the victory conditions….as will become woefully apparent the next time an attack occurs on American soil, as it assuredly will, unless we throw out everything that makes us a free society.

Arguably, the most potent damage that Al-Qaeda did to us that day had nothing to do with the death and the carnage.  Thucydides was deeply skeptical of the ability of a democracy to maintain a coherent foreign policy; the ease with which Bin Laden was able to lure us into Middle Eastern quagmires would have done nothing to change his mind on that score.  An even more severe fallout was the division in American society that the event engendered.  America is weaker now because of the near-fratricidal level of venom and vitriol unleashed by those who would label those who disagree with them as traitors.  To some extent this is the natural tension of a republic operating on the world stage; Democrats tend to forget that FDR’s supporters labeled those who voted for his GOP opponents as aiding and abetting the Nazis.  But that a handful of men operating out of caves could have facilitated such polarization of American society beggars belief.  Nine years later, we mourn the victims, yes, but also the path along which we’ve been careening ever since.

Reading at Library of Congress Wednesday …

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

…as in today at noon, the Madison Building, along with many other cool writers.

Sorry for the short notice but the cats have hijacked my organizational system.

Congratulations to Hugo-winner Peter Watts

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Congrats to the whole list of winners, but I’m particularly psyched about my friend and (dare I say) mentor, Peter Watts, whose 2010 started out with him facing jail time but will now go down as the year he won the #$# Hugo for his brilliant story “The Island,” possibly the best SF short story written in the last five years. More details, along with disturbing photos, at Watts’ blog.  And you can (and should) read the “The Island” here . . . a harrowing tale of first contact by a construction crew unlike any you’ve ever seen before.  Huge congrats to the Doctor, and kudos to beautiful Melbourne for pulling off what was by all accounts a fab WorldCon.

More Autumn Rain reviews/commentary

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

While I continue to crank away on various Sekrit Projects, I thought I’d share with you a few more links related to the Autumn Rain trilogy.

First Mike Johnstone at the University of Toronto has completed his analysis of THE BURNING SKIES. I’ve mentioned previously that I thought his essay on MIRRORED HEAVENS was the most astute I’d seen yet, as he delved into the political context during which the novel was written (i.e., the last decade), and integrated that with my decision to write in the present tense in an ingenious theory that I’d be a fool to disavow.  He enlarges on this in his essay “THE BURNING SKIES:  SF and Historical Allegory.

Second, Only the Best SciFi has reviewed trilogy finale MACHINERY OF LIGHT:  “make sure to plan big chunks of reading time because it’s hard to put down when you get going.”  He even mentions he wasn’t put off by the profanity, of which there is rather a lot.  Which is #$# awesome.

Third, Mihir Wanchoo at Fantasy Book Critic, who wrote such a fantastic review of MACHINERY OF LIGHT a few weeks back, has published an interview with yours truly in which I reveal, among other things, the extent of my ultimate ambitions, the limits of my cats’ gratitude, and the true identity of my literary idol.

Fourth, a really cool review of BURNING SKIES from Beam Me Up:  “How Williams keeps all the players and action under control is a mystery to me, but he does it and the hat trick produced from all this plate spinning is The Burning Skies”.  I’m not sure how I did it either, especially since I delegated most of the work to the cats.  Here’s an example of their immortal prose: adkljfaklfklsafkadfkak

Fifth–and in some ways this is the coolest of them all–Kung Fu Monkey mentions the Autumn Rain trilogy while discussing a UAV drone that went out of control last week and strayed into D.C. airspace. The future’s on its way people, so stay tuned.