Tuesday various

A night at the library

I spent another day wrasslin’ with a manuscript, taking all my corrections and putting them back into a Word document to send to the authors. We’ll see how quick they can respond, and if they agree to all my changes.

A few other e-mails aside, and a quick escape for lunch, that was pretty much my day. My evening was spent at an event called Speculating on Fiction at the New York Public Library. The guests included John Scalzi, Scott Westerfeld, Cat Valente, and of course my favorite author, Lev Grossman. Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press emceed, and Brian Slattery and friends provided music.

It was a lot of fun. John Sclazi was quite entertaining, essentially just repeating the story he tells here about The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City. Cat Valente was maybe the best reader of her work, making me wonder what’s wrong with me that I’ve never read any of it yet, and Scott Westerfeld not for the first time made me want to read his Leviathan series. And even Grossman was good, reading from the forthcoming Magicians sequel, which, at least in the section he read, focuses more closely on one of the first book’s most woefully mistreated characters, Julia. It wasn’t good enough to convince me to actually read the new book — I don’t think anything could do that — but he didn’t seem out of place on the stage or anything like that.

(I did note that only one person had a question for him during the Q&A, about how he manages being a full-time critic for Time with writing a novel. But the man’s not tedious idiot. Anybody can write a lousy book. A really, really, really lousy book.)

Wednesday various

Monday various

  • I may have discovered a reason to visit Indianapolis. [via]
  • I have the feeling the real Ray Bradbury would be absolutely horrified by this video.
  • A Victim Treats His Mugger Right. So shines a good deed in a weary world. [via]
  • Journalism Warning Labels. Reminiscent of the Fake AP Stylebook. [via]
  • And finally, Scott Tobias on the new Nanny McPhee movie: “The last thing a movie featuring a belching black crow needs is gravitas.” Well said.
  • Tuesday various

    • “Scientists scouring the area around Stonehenge said Thursday they have uncovered a circular structure only a few hundred meters (yards) from the world famous monument.”

      Is it wrong that my first thought was to wonder if it was the Pandorica? [via]

    • Oh, good, because the one thing Torchwood hasn’t been is dark.

      But I kid. A warning, by the way: that link contains a pretty huge spoiler for (the pretty terrific) Children of Earth.

    • Tasha Robinson wonders: Should artists’ lives or opinions affect how people perceive their art?
    • Along somewhat similar lines — that is, of appreciating art on a level perhaps different than what the artist intended — separating the poem from the novel in Nabokov’s Pale Fire. Spoiler warnings here, too, I guess. Mostly, it just makes me want to re-read Nabokov’s book.
    • And finally, Inside the City’s Last Silent Place

      “I wish there were more drama,” said Alexander Rose, “but it’s convivial and collegiate. There’s no Norman Mailer trying to kill his wife in here. No tension, no melodrama.” Mr. Rose, author of American Rifle: A Biography, was taking a break from his work to tell the Transom about the Allen Room, a hush-hush space on the second floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (formerly the New York Public Library “main branch”) on Fifth Avenue. Founded in 1958 as a tribute to Frederick Lewis Allen, the historian and editor of Harper’s Magazine, the room serves as a workspace to a rotating group of authors. Rubberneckers take note: The door is locked at all times, and access is restricted to those who have book contracts, a photocopy of which must accompany requests for a key card. “It’s like Aladdin’s cave,” Mr. Rose said of the room, which he heard about through the literary grapevine. “I looked it up, and it actually did exist.”

      I work just a block from the Library. Now I guess I just need to write a book. [via]