May 26th, 2007

My genre 'tis of thee

Inspired by Barry Matzberg's words on SF short stories I (re)subscribed to Isaac Aastraal's Space Hospital Romances. The first issue has arrived today and the name in big letters on the front is NANCY KRESS. Since Ms. Kress is the author of Beggars in Spain, possibly the most crass (there is a joke to be made there, obviously) Libertarian Geeks Will Show You Lot Just You Wait fantasies ever written (*) this is not a good sign - my appreciation of her work was not helped by the most ludicrous USian-centric ignorance by the author. There is a space colony of the L33T Libertarian Geeks and it makes a big deal about them having to pay their income tax (from all their L33T Libertarian Geek Superior Businesses, obviously) to the evil socialist US government. Duh, I think, the US is about the only country that wants tax from non-resident citizens, why don't the L33T Libertarian Geeks register their L5 colony in Bermuda and buy citizenship of there (or somewhere). Since this was not just a throwaway line but a major plot point it was all a bit pitiful.
Anyway, I shall report back.

I have at various times had subs to the big 4, IASFM, Analog, F&SF and Interzone. Of these, on the whole, I have liked IASFM the most and Interzone the least. It is an interesting psychological question whether
a) I find Interzone unreadable because I find fiction in that particular page format deeply off-putting or
b) I find fiction in that particular page format deeply off-putting because of its association in my mind with Interzone
To me, Interzone is the home of the vaguely downbeat mood piece in which nothing much happens.

On the subject of Interzone, there is a small office building in Magdalen Road called Interzone House (next to the delightfully naffly named Newtec Place). Sadly there doesn't appear to be anything particularly wacky in it, no Orgone Machine supply company.

Also arrived today, Grainne by Keith Roberts. I think this is a POD edition. The last copy I saw was a hard-back signed by KR himself to another SF writer (I forget who) for 40 quid in the 2nd hand bookshop in Wallingford, which was a bit much. i did however buy the copies of Kaeti and Company and The Road To Paradise, a non-SF semi-detective novel, which was rather good in a low-key sort of way. Maybe if he had churned a couple of dozen of them out there would be regular Maggie Blighe dramas on ITV1.

In other news, the Roomba has just contravened the 3rd Law of Robotics by attempting to end it all by leaping to its death from the landing (whilst I was upstairs checking Maggie Blighe's surname). I think the slightly raised wooden strip between the carpet and the edge fooled the drop detector somehow. It seems to have survived.

(*) yes, I am aware there is still competition, I have read all too many of them. Much worse than L. Neil Smith, thank you for asking.