Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Book News

I didn't post yesterday because I was frantically finishing some work projects, due today, on which I'd procrastinated for far too long. They're done now: yay! The next challenge will be my homily for a week from Sunday, combining the burning bush with the parable of the fig tree. Okay, so there's a definite agricultural theme, but yoking those two together will otherwise be a bit of a challenge. I have some ideas, though.

I also haven't read anybody else's blogs for, like, forever, because I've been so busy. I'm hoping that will change now!

The good news is that I've maintained my schedule of working out at the gym six days a week, which generally makes me calmer and happier, although it hasn't yet succeeded in making me look like Jane Fonda. I'd hoped to look like Jane Fonda by the time we left for Maui. I mean, I'm doing crunches -- which I loathe -- along with forty minutes of cardio a day (alternating swimming laps and using the elliptical). Surely the reward for all that should be looking like Jane Fonda?

But this post is supposed to be about book news, so here we go:

1. The mass-market edition of The Necessary Beggar is now in stock at Only $6.99, with all the same words as the $24.95 hardcover! What a bargain! How can you resist? The TNB link on my sidebar will now take you to that edition, for your purchasing convenience. Not that I'm being crass and commercial or anything.

2. The Tachyon publicist, the awesome and wonderfully named Jennifer Privateer, just sent me a copy of the Booklist review of The Fate of Mice. And a glowing review it is, too:
Palwick's literary output until now has been limited to two critically acclaimed novels, the most recent of them the complex and moving ghost story The Necessary Beggar (2005). Thus her first story collection is a welcome addition to her oeuvre and a fitting introduction to her wide-ranging talent and vision. In the title story, a touching homage to Daniel Keyes' classic "Flowers for Algernon," an IQ-enhanced lab mouse awakens to the knowledge of his own impending demise. "Gestella" recounts the unsettling fate of a female werewolf who ages more rapidly than her increasingly less interested human lover. In one of the volume's standouts, "GI Jesus," a small town woman finds hope in the face of Jesus imprinted on an X-ray of her abdomen. All 11 pieces explore the most challenging conundrums of human existence, from the perennial pursuit of utopia to the many faces of mortality. Embracing elements of both horror and speculative fiction, Palwick's unique and commanding fiction never fails to trigger an emotional response as it captures the imagination. -- Carl Hays
Hey, they don't come much better than that! Thank you, Carl Hays!

3. Speaking of FoM publicity, tomorrow's the filming of the video podcast. I also have an appointment to be photographed by someone from the Reno News & Review, our local alternative weekly. (I'll be doing a very short interview with their arts editor on Monday.) You'll notice that these are both visual situations.

Have I mentioned that I don't look like Jane Fonda? Furthermore, I generally photograph so badly that not only don't I look like Jane Fonda, but I don't even look quite human: more like some kind of space alien with bug eyes, too many teeth, and really twitchy hands. So I'm pretty nervous about tomorrow.

I'm even more nervous because I'm caught in a terrible dilemma. I really need a haircut, see, so I won't look like a space alien with bug eyes, too many teeth, really twitchy hands, and a shaggy bathmat on her head. But I'm also in that charming phase of perimenopause which harkens back to the halcyon days of high-school zits. In other words, my forehead's broken out. Which means that if I get a haircut before the photo shoots, removing the hair that now mostly covers my forehead, I'll look like a space alien with bug eyes, too many teeth, really twitchy hands, and acne.

Bathmat or acne? Bathmat or acne? Which do you find more attractive? And what would Jane Fonda do?

Don't let anybody tell you that the literary life isn't stressful.

Meanwhile, UNR's online PR publication, NevadaNews, has done a pleasant little article on The Fate of Mice. This story, thank God, includes a picture of the book, rather than one of me.

That's it! Problem solved! I'll just hold the book over my face tomorrow!


  1. Congratulations Susan! That's a really nice review. A podcast sounds exciting. I hope you'll publish a link to hear it.

    About the hair, have you thought about getting a style change and keeping the bangs but trimmed so they are more controlled?


  2. Congratulatoins on the wonderful book review!

    Exercise, exercise, sigh...our outside physiques may not change but hey our hearts do appreciate :)

  3. Susan, I think you ALWAYS look great!

  4. LOL. You made me start laughing in my History-of-Science class this morning with your "with all the same words" quip. I guess I should've been using my laptop for note-taking instead of blog-reading.

    Which Jane Fonda are we talking about here? Young controversial Jane? Older Christian Jane?

    As someone who doesn't photograph well myself, I'd say that as long as you dress reasonably nicely and don't have huge coke-bottle glasses, you've done the best you can and might as well stop worrying. SF authors do not become famous for their looks. Usually. I won't name names, but some of my favorite authors look lousy on all their jacket photographs. It's kind of a sign of how great they are as writers, that they can get away with looking like an average schmoe.

    Your mention of the burning bush and the fig tree reminded me of that scene in Gene Wolfe's The Book of the Long Sun where the dying fig tree bursts into flame. I think he was drawing that parallel. If you get stuck you can always quote that! :-) Or perhaps that marvellous story of Flannery O'Connor, Parker's Back.

  5. Anonymous1:37 PM

    What would Jane Fonda do, Susan asks? Jane Fonda would probably get a hair-cut, a make-up artist, and a wardrobe consultant!

    What should you do yourself, Susan? I vote for whatever makes you feel most calmly and comfortably yourself in front of the camera.

    I just re-read The Necessary Beggar last night. I had last read it so long ago that I could no longer remember anything about the story except that it would be worth hanging in for the ending, and so I read late into the night gripped by an ever-increasing sense of tension until the final release. Great work!


  6. Thanks for the kind words about TNB, Jean! (And I owe you an e-mail!)

    Elliot: Actually, either Jane will do. but I like your approach: "I can get away with looking like this because I'm such a great writer." Ha! Very good!

    Claire and JSD: Thanks!

    Lee: Well, I did get the bangs trimmed. My hair's already so short, though, that there isn't a lot that I can do with it in terms of a style change, other than shave my head completely; Gary would like that, but I wouldn't!


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