Hey, guys. Having a…

Hey, guys. Having a good weekend? I'm drowning in work, I'm afraid. It's satisfying to get things done, but there's always more, waiting, lurking, ready to jump up on the back of your neck, grab your throat, shrieking, "Aha! Now I've got you my pretty! You'll never be free of me, never, never..." and then drag you down to the basement where all the books you've never read but always meant to read, wait patiently, with slavering jaws and a fierce bright hunger in their ancient eyes...

Well, you get the idea. I have intense book guilt right now. Every room in my house seems to have books waiting in it that I was supposed to read three years ago -- what did I think I was doing, stopping to bake a pumpkin cake, have dinner with friends, eat pizza, play cards, eat cake...which is what I did last night. Paul's grandmother is visiting, and we played a game she taught us, Manipulation, a variant of rummy. Was much fun, and for three hours I didn't think about work at all.

So far this morning I've cleared my desk, line edited Marcy's story for Herotica (which has been sitting on my desk for, oh, a month or so), written some e-mail, and started putting together that Asian Spec Fic Booklist. I think I'm going to end up making a booklist and putting it up on the web with my other booklists, but for now it's just a table in Word.

I'm not sure if I've explained this project. Briefly, there's a good book that came out recently, Dark Matter, that explores spec fic from the African diaspora. Good stufff, and it's selling well -- a sequel is in the works. I was thinking about this, realized I didn't have much idea of how much Asian presence there was in sf, or of how many mainstream Asian authors incorporate fantastic elements in their work, and that I'd like to read such a book. Then I realized I might be able to edit such a book. So I contacted Warner, the people who published Dark Matter, and asked them if they'd be interested in an Asian version. They said they might -- which meant that the next stage was to do a book proposal.

I'd really appreciate any help you can give with this. The problem I have right now is that to sell it to the publisher, I need about 25 names, and about a third of them need to be well-known mainstream authors, not people from the sf/f ghetto. So if you can think a bit, and tell me if you know of any mainstream Asian authors, writing in English, work that has fantastic/speculative elements -- it would be muchly appreciated. Or any sf/f authors I've missed. Here are the authors I have so far, just so we don't duplicate effort:

  • Abe, Kobo
  • Aitmatov, Chingiz
  • Attanasio, A.A.
  • Chiang, Ted
  • Chiu, Tony
  • Clough, Brenda
  • Divakaruni, Chitra
  • Ghosh, Amitav
  • Johnson, Kij
  • Komatsu, Sakyo
  • Kotani, Eric (Yoji Kondo)
  • Lee, Mary Soon
  • Ling, Samantha
  • Mohanraj, Mary Anne
  • Mukherjee, Bharati
  • Murakami, Haruki
  • Nagata Linda
  • Rushdie, Salman
  • Somtow, S.P. (Somtow Sucharitkul)
  • Suga, Hiroe
  • Takei, George
  • Tan, Cecilia
  • Wu, William F.
  • Yamauchi, Brian
I may end up narrowing down the topic, 'cause it's starting to feel really huge. The list has everything from hard sf to vaguely magical realist stuff, and everything from translated native authors to native authors writing in English to immigrants/expatriates to second or third generation authors. Which is just huge. But until I get an idea of the shape of what's out there, I think it's a mistake to try to narrow the focus. I also need a title, preferably one as cool as Dark Matter. Any ideas?

And hey, while we're doing sf/f promotional stuff, let me tell you about a group I've recently joined. BROAD UNIVERSE is a new group celebrating women's writing and artwork within science fiction, fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction. It's basically meant to help women authors promote their work, and help fans find and keep track of the authors. I'm on the steering committee, and it's a lot of fun helping to set it up -- if you're interested, there's info on the website about signing up to help. Men welcome. :-) They just sent out a call for catalog listings -- if you're a female sf/f/h author, take a look and send them a note:

Our website -- WWW.BROADUNIVERSE.ORG -- is still in development, but will soon feature a books catalog to help readers find more great books by the broads they love.

We are now collecting book titles for that catalog. Titles can be in-print, out-of-print, or ebooks.

What we'd like women authors to send us is simple:

Author, TITLE
ISBN number, publisher, copyright date/reissue date
(out of print? due Nov. 2001?)
30-word blurb

Like this:

ISBN 1-885865-24-4, Circlet Press, 1999
In the medieval Kingdom of Albia, a vagabond is taken into the king's kitchen and given work. He rises to the position of king's steward, but all is not as it seems.

If you're the illustrator, send us:
Artist's Name, BOOK TITLE by Author
ISBN number, Publisher, Copyright date/reissue date
(out of print? due Nov. 2001?)
30-word blurb

Categories are:

  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Comics/Graphic Novels
  • Young Adult
  • Children
  • Poetry
  • Cookbooks
  • Anthologies/Collections
  • SF/F/H Nonfiction
Young Adult books can be double-listed in any other category. The YA category is intended to assure bookbuying relatives that there's no objectionable content.

What? Only 30 words to describe my whole book? Right. If readers want more information, they can jump to your website off your blurb.

Send blurbs to: info@broaduniverse.org.

There is no charge to list your books. We only ask that you put a link to us on your website.

Notice that we're not including book prices. We aren't selling books here; Broad Universe exists only as an informational group. But we will make it easy for folks to impulse shop and will link to sites that do sell books. (For example, Booksense and used-book sites.)

For more information, please contact us at info@broaduniverse.org.

So that's the spiel. I suspect that I should get to my booklisting, and then after that to my bill-paying, and then after that to my bedroom-cleaning, doing everything possible to ignore the huge stacks of slavering books lurking around every corner...

8:30. [yawn] Tired. I got a fair bit of work done today (but no reading) and then around 4:30 walked over to Susan's new apartment to help her unload her truck. Three flights of stairs. Four heavy bookcases. Many boxes of books. Lots of other furniture. Luckily there were seven of us, so it only took about two hours, but my legs got really wobbly (and my throat's sore again from gasping all that cold night air). I'm such a wimp. Afterwards I came home, and just as I came in Jed called, so I actually haven't gotten much else done. Chatted with him, checked to see if Voyager was on (nope. Stupid basketball game. It better be done soon. I wish the Jazz would stop winning games so that they wouldn't show them anymore!), took a hot bath 'cause I was drenched in sweat and my skin felt gross and clammy. Feeling mostly better now, and I'm debating whether or not I want to eat anything more. Had two slices of pizza at Susan's but I'm still a little munchy, I think. Though maybe I just want tea...

Okay, babbling. I should go back to work; when Susan called, I was in the midst of an application essay for a fellowship. It's for immigrants, and among the things you need to address in your essay is your commitment to the Constitution of the United States. Meep. I mean, I'm committed and all, but I'm not sure that anything I've done in my life was focused on that commitment, y'know? Unless you count fighting for the freedom of porn on the internet, and somehow I don't think that's likely to go over that well with the judges. Honestly, I'm not sure if it's worth applying -- it's 750 applicants for 30 spots, and all it takes is one judge checking to see if I have a web page, and then deciding that anyone who writes about sex is clearly not someone they want to encourage...sigh. Frustrating. I had to cut my CV down from 5 pages to 2 for the application, and the easiest way to do that was to cut out all the erotica-related material, so I did...but now I feel kind of weird about it. Like I should leave it all in there and champion erotica, y'know? Am I compromising my principles by not mentioning it? Let me know -- I have until Nov. 30 to turn this thing in...

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