Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

I drew this one at work for storytime. Wish I'd done better with the kid's arm, but I was in a hurry...

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Distracted Goblin

Lots of things going on, and luckily some of them are writing. I don't think I've mentioned here that F&SF recently bought my science fiction story "Grand Tour" (no date set.) I've managed to get another short story sent off and I think I'm 90% done with another one. For me this is very fast! Hope I can keep it up.

Here are some things around the net I've been interested in:

The film Miss Representation, about media imagery of women and its impact, on girls especially, has been broadcast by the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN.) My wife and I got to see a screening of the uncut version of the documentary at a school. Recommended. It covers so much ground, and offers so many perspectives, I haven't really thought through a response. But it's an excellent conversation starter, and I think it's a conversation we should be having.

Lauren Ipsum is an interesting-looking Kickstarter project -- a children's story about computer programming. The project is funded, but is still open to contributions. (Kickstarter itself is an interesting phenomenon, and really seems to be taking off.)

The film grenade is a ball that takes panoramic snapshots. Imagine adding a bunch of them to a Mars probe, or rigging them with the ability to squirt data to the Internet in case of a catastrophe. (Edit: The proper name for the item is "Throwable Panoramic Ball Camera." "Film grenade" was just the header of blogger Geoff Manaugh's post about it. Catchy, though.)

I've been enjoying Merrie Haskell's children's novel The Princess Curse, about an attempt to thwart a curse like the one in the fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." I've just been too darned distracted to finish it. It's a curse!

If you're into pen-and-paper roleplaying games, head over to Grognardia and vote in a poll as to when you began playing. Apparently most of us got in during the last century. I feel old...

Monday, October 10, 2011

More Microstories

My experiment with posting ten tiny "stories" on Twitter the 10th of each month has fizzled, but because it's 10/10, here's the set from last month. I made a few small edits.

In the firelight the shaman told of lost Atlantis: "It fell, but one day we will rise." He raised an ancient plastic toy, winged and white.

We shattered the Moon to make the LuneNet that enmeshes us, giving up tides for technology. Silver songs we sing, in our cage.

Jesus: "Love thy neighbor."
Humans: "Eh? Speak up."
Jesus: "Love thy enemies."
Humans: "Ah, our neighbors are enemies."
Jesus: [facepalm]

Ours and myriad other universes flew into existence like bubbles. The Children who made us now reach out their hyperspatial fingers...

The horde torched the civilized lands. Dying metropolises whispered, "Revenge." Now nomads' children are born with the souls of cities.

The Teddy bear AI comforted generations, wore out a thousand plush skins. It knew the family secrets, where the bodies lay. It spoke softly.

On a bet I wrote Finnegans Wake and Zombies. I had to burn the manuscript to save the world.

2011: Lost my contacts, so I can't drive. 2021: Lost my contacts, so I can't signal my car to come get me.

Under the swollen red Sun, the last descendant of trees produced the last fruit. To the alien visitors it whispered Earth's last word: Eat.

Phaeton leaned from the sun-chariot and snagged Icarus, who joined the struggle with the reins. They lived to surpass their sires.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

All Hallow's Read and the Box of Doom

Neil Gaiman is promoting All Hallow's Read, his most excellent idea of making book-gifting part of the Halloween tradition. As a tie-in, our library is planing a kids' book prize drawing. Details are still being worked out, but we have the box. It's dirt-simple to make -- GRAVE dirt simple, bwahahaha...

What you need:

A cardboard box.
Contact paper with a wood-grain appearance.
Black construction paper.
Construction paper of other colors.
Dot stickers (optional.)
Markers (optional.)
An old black sock.

Tape up the box so it's nice and solid, then cover it with the contact paper. (The contact paper I used was eager to stick to itself, so you might want to peel it slowly.)

Now create "shadowy gaps" in the wood with jagged pieces of black construction paper. You can glue or tape these on. Then you can use construction paper of other colors, or white paper and markers, to create weird glimpses of Things inside the box.

The tricky part is putting a hole in the top of the box. I decorated first and then cut a hole, which is probably not the wisest method, but it worked. Cut a hole in the top big enough to get your hand through. Take an old black sock, preferably one you don't want to wear anymore, and cut it above the bend. Now staple the cut end to the box, like so. (Be careful, I got bloodied in this step. How many more staple wounds will you inflict, accursed box, how many!?) I used a craft stick to blunt the staple ends poking through on the inside.

Now it's ready to go, and you can drop in tickets or trinkets or eyeballs or whatever. Speaking of eyeballs, here's another side of the box. These eyes are just pairs of yellow dot stickers, of the sort that proliferate in librarians' desks. A little black marker adds pupils and boo! more haunts for the box.

Thanks to Marlene Iwamoto and Karen Armor for ideas.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011