Hot and Thick
It’s only moderately hot, but it’s that head-kickingly, brain-crushingly thick humid that makes you feel, gaspingly, that you have to hack a chunk out of the air and put it through a food processor before you can breathe it. The ME is still hanging around, but I’ve never been good with heavy weather, so it gets difficult (and pointless) to try and figure out what exactly is making me feel like a mashed potato.
So we’re operating from a basic ground line of yuck.
Hellhounds are eating what might politely be termed sporadically.
PEG II couldn’t be going worse if it tried. Maybe it is trying. That could explain a lot.
. . . And, not surprisingly, I rang like a disintegrating zombie at tower practise tonight.* But this may partly be due to finding out that . . . Vicky is going away again; she’s busy saving a small part of the universe that happens to be located inconveniently far away from New Arcadia. Niall is on call this weekend: frelling engineers. Why couldn’t he have been something sensible, like a librarian? And this means . . .
I’m in charge of the dranglefabbing wedding ring tomorrow. ‘In charge’ means that when it turns out you may not have all the ringers you thought you did ** you’re the one with the problem. Which, in this case, I have less than twenty-four hours to solve. It also means that I’m the one responsible for getting the frelling bells rung up tomorrow morning—before the wedding in the afternoon. Furthermore this is at Old Eden where the bells are temperamental—although while I was still in shock about the whole situation, Niall, giggling in a highly unattractive way, said he’d come help ring up—whereupon Vicky thoughtfully pointed out that if he got a call I’d be back to doing the lot myself.*** In which case I will phone Roger.
Because Bloody/Jolly Roger seems to have bullied me into agreeing to ring in a quarter peal Sunday week—next Sunday, the 21st. I don’t ring service quarters. I’m too sodding unreliable, thanks to the ME—and the worst of this one is it’s going to be Monty’s first quarter, and you want a beginner to get his first quarter, so he’ll be all thrilled and excited and unable to contain his freshly successful-quarter-peal-augmented enthusiasm for ringing.
I don’t ring service quarters, I said.
You’ll be fine, said Roger.
I don’t ring service quarters, I said.
You’ll be fine, said Roger.
And I’m in no condition to resist Roger in full ahoy-me-hearties disposition. ARRRRGGGH.
So, hey, at least SUNSHINE got on the NPR list.
Now, about that list. I’ll be thinking, wait, what about—? for some time. But I have gone through it more slowly, and my first semi-thoughtful reaction is:
Most shocking omission: Octavia Butler. No Octavia Butler? She’s one of the great ones, for pity’s sake. I personally think that this list is mostly about good, fun, engrossing, page-turning reads, and the thought-provoking stuff is a little thin on the ground. Maybe a little too thin on the ground. And Octavia Butler—! She’s mostly not an easy read, and her insight into human nature tends to be pretty bleak—she’s way too good on the capacity of love to twist and wound, which then brings up interesting questions about what love is. But she’s brilliant. She’s enormously worth reading. I guess what may have happened here—although there are plenty of other authors who are represented by more than one book—is that there were four (?) of her titles on the long list and the votes that should have got her on the short list got split up. I voted for her—I voted for Wild Seed as possibly her most approachable. But, listen to me, if you haven’t read her, never mind that she won’t make you laugh. Think of her as . . . oh, as the black female fantasy-writing William Faulkner or Fyodor Dostoevsky or something.† Read her.
Most immediately personally disappointing and sad-making omissions†† (in alphabetical order): The Anubis Gates, Tim Powers; Bridge of Birds, Barry Hughart; Dreamsnake, Vonda N. McIntyre; The Deed of Paksennarion, Elizabeth Moon; Song for the Basilisk, Patricia A McKillip . . . but I’m also still muttering, did Frankenstein really not get on? No Gormenghast? No Worm Ouroboros? No Frederick Pohl, Theodore Sturgeon, Clifford Simak? No Female Man? And and and and and and and and—I’m probably also remembering a few that weren’t on the long list but should have been. Give me a minute, I can think of a dozen that I’m pretty sure weren’t on but should have been.†††
First off–YAYAYAYAY! As a librarian, I’m consistently pushing Sunshine on people. “You like vampires? Try Sunshine! You like fantasy? Try Sunshine! You like strong female characters? Try Sunshine! You like good books? Sunshine! You read? Even a little? SUNSHINE!” . . .
Love love love love love. Also, this makes me laugh. Extra points.‡
I’ve been collecting versions of Sunshine for several years now (my mission is to eventually find all of them)–I’ve got all theUS editions, all theUK editions except for one, and I just ordered a (the?) Italian translation.
There are a few more. I know there’s a German one. And a Russian. I forget. And the Japanese of course. I don’t generally keep my foreign-language editions. Except when the cover art is particularly worthwhile.
I’ve been trying to find the grey-house-with-tree-shadows cover for a while now. I’ve struck out on AmazonUK, AbeBooks, and our local rare books person (she apparently called a dealer in theUKand he wasn’t able to get one). Does anyone on that side of the pond know where I could find a copy? Seriously! Anyone who can help me out will have my undying gratitude and possibly cookies and hand-crocheted items.
News update: I’ve sent the revised auction/sale master list to Blogmom. She, of course, had been planning to do the fixing it up to work on line part something like weeks ago and her schedule tends to be both full and deranged, so she’s having to fit me in now when she can. But it’s coming. The auction is on its way. We could probably even see the whites of its eyes if we knew where to look.
Which leads me to the question, what’s the old UK SUNSHINE worth to you? Shall I put a copy‡‡ on the auction list?
Mwa ha ha ha ha ha. But our bells have just been upgraded not in a good way to needing £12,000 rather than £10,000. Which is a lot of jars of marmalade and cups of tea on church social afternoons. So. Ahem.
And with that thought I will leave you, because I have to go to bed early because I have to get up early and ring several tons of metal 180° against gravity. Joy.
* * *
* Speaking of disintegrating, I’m really tired of this sprained finger.
** This is serious life stuff out of anyone’s control, by the way, so it’s not just the herding-cats aspect of getting any group of volunteers to behave themselves. There’s also the fact that as I’ve mentioned before, we’re short-ringer-handed around here, so there’s always a juggle of priorities when you have to ask outside your own band—and you pretty much always do have to ask out of your own band.
*** Whimper. All those wretched bells get stuck about halfway and say ‘can’t make me’ while you yank on the rope and turn purple.
† She was given a MacArthur Foundation grant. What more do you need to know?
†† I’m not going to try to list all the books I think should have been on at least the long list. Not. Not.
††† I’m not trying! Just, you know, off the top of my head!
‡ And only a tiny little scream here about the astonishing things people give themselves permission to say: I’ve had several emails and one or two tweets from people saying, Hey, great you got on the list . . . but it shouldn’t have been SUNSHINE, Damar/BEAUTY/SPINDLE are better books.^ —What? You’re telling me this why? One woman said ‘I don’t like vampire books, even yours’. One also said, great you got on the final list, but [other books on the long list that didn't] are better books you know, ha ha ha ha ha. ARRRRRRRRRRRRGH.
^ And note that while I always like to hear from someone about OUTLAWS which is one of my undervalued titles, ahem, which is to say it has never sold tremendously well, it isn’t fantasy. Well, it’s probably fantasy to a historian. Maybe the person who wrote me about OUTLAWS, aside from being seriously not of this planet, is a historian.
‡‡ Supposing I can find one. I should have at least half a dozen left. Somewhere.
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