inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #26 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Mon 7 Feb 00 13:36
    
Richard SMoley: You ought to keep in mind, Richard, that people who
work for big companies 'humanizing' them will naturally claim--and even
convince themselves--that these big companies are comparatively
humane. They'd have to be able to maintain that claim to maintain their
jobs. They'd have arguments ready and so forth.

I think there has been some science fiction, anyway--maybe by Asimov?
Pohl? Niven?--in which a giant company is organized with a secret
agenda of benefiting mankind. Indeed--such may exist, somewhere, in
real life. I'm sure there are some, like maybe Ted Turner, who at least
fantasize that such is the case.

But there are all too many outfits like Shell oil, which has
encouraged third world despots to take environmental protesters as
political prisoners, and who knows perfectly well it has created a
'cancer corridor' in various places, eg in Louisiana, where poor or
lower middle class black neighborhoods find that Shell refineries are
causing generation after generation of early deaths and birth defects.
The indictions are that Shell knows, and doesn't care. These people are
powerless, after all, what can they do to Shell? So screw em.

In the bay area we have a district in San Mateo County, Midway
village, where for more than a decade the residents have been suffering
with explained maladies, from recurrent rashes to memory loss to
infertility to cancer. Cancer deaths are high there. Why? Their housing
was erected, unknown to them at the time, next to a toxic superfund
site on land taken from a PG&E gas plant that is saturatd with
polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons that have been linked to illnesses
just like theirs. Their PNA level is 60 times normal and 58 residents
paid for their own DNA tests which found high numbers of chromosome
aberrations. The EPA has been trying to get PG&E to take responsibility
but they deny everything, they stick to their story. PG&E is not a
multinational, but it's a big company, and they just don't care. They
figure they don't have to. It's not *their* families.

RICHARD EVANS asked, to what extent to the characters in my fiction
represent my own personality. To varying extents, depending on the
work. Sure there's quite a bit of the young Shirley, flaws and
twisted-attitude toward women and all, in  the rocknroll guerilla
Rickenharp. That's why what happens to him happens to him. That
exorcised him for me. There's a side of me that, like Swenson, wants to
be a part of--a feeling I never was able to get, even with punks and
cyberpunks, though I was very involved in those scenes. It's just in my
nature, as a recovering addict (even after years clean and sober), to
feel excluded no matter what. Other characters sometimes satirize my
own bad attitudes--they represent moods and fixations rather than vital
aspects of my character. Like the guy who advocates the overnight
death-penalty, and public hangings, and so forth, and then gets set up
for a crime he didn't commit himself and has to be executed in the way
that he blindly advocated (some of my metaphors are pretty out-front
and heavy handed! Who's got time for subtlety! Hey, I read a lot of
Dickens...)--this satirizes my tendency to go for my gun, to snarl,
"Hang em high!" I have been heard advocating that the USA declare war
on Columbia and Bolivia, with the rationale that their govts are
colluding with their drug cartels, and the damage they do is far more
than the Japanese did to us at Pearl Harbor, etc--I'm very fanatically
anti-cocaine and anti-heroine you see. But do I really think such a war
should be carried out? Not in my saner moments. So I was satirizing
that side of myself with that character. And by extension, satirizing
everyone who gets caught up in that kind of 'quick fix kill-em-all'
mindset. Sometimes I write messages to myself. . .Other characters
satirize people I've known, or sketch people I'm interested in.  
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #27 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Mon 7 Feb 00 13:39
    
anti-heroin I mean. I'm not against heroines. proof-read john, proof
read.
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #28 of 85: Erik Van Thienen (levant) Mon 7 Feb 00 16:04
    
>a giant company is organized with a secret agenda of benefiting mankind

_Foundation_ by Asimov?
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #29 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Mon 7 Feb 00 22:16
    
I havent read Foundation since I was like 13--was it a company,
originally, in the story?
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #30 of 85: Ron Hogan (grifter) Mon 7 Feb 00 22:24
    

More like a think tank, is my recollection.
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #31 of 85: Reva Basch (reva) Tue 8 Feb 00 08:01
    
From the Net:

> From: John M Alacce [mailto:jalacce@andrew.cmu.edu]
> Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2000 7:29 AM
> To: inkwell-hosts@well.com
> Subject: Please post to Conference #65 (John Shirley conf)
>
>
>
> Briefly, the Foundation trilogy is about a "psychohistorian" who predicts
> the fall
> of a vast intergalactic Empire and sets up a Foundation to help reduce the
> long
> term damage that this fall would cause. Titles of the trilogy are (not
> necessarily in order):
> Foundation
> Foundation and Empire
> Second Foundation
>
> I first read the trilogy when I was 8 or 9 and learned a lesson about
> loaning
> books you cared about when a physics prof of mine failed to
> return the cheap
> binding of the trilogy a couple of years later.
>
> I think that Greg Bear is continuing/expanding the story (not sure), but
> he's tying R.Daneel Olivaw (I think, its been a few months since
> I last read
> one of that series) and some of Asimov's other robots into the mix.
>
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #32 of 85: Richard Smoley (smoley) Tue 8 Feb 00 08:33
    
An interesting bunch of my responses to my little idea of a beneficent
corporation. I certainly won't back myself into the position of
defending any company's policies and practices, but I do think it
fascinating that even the idea of a large beneficent organization seems
to push buttons.

This points up a split in the American psyche (and I in no way want to
exclude myself from this dilemma). We live in a nation that has given
the world the corporation as we know it. And yet internally we are a
nation of cowboys; we imagine ourselves as restless loners always
skirting on the edges of "sivilization." Cf. all those movies about the
maverick cop who is always on the outs with the chief, but who somehow
manages to get the crook through his various unorthodox ways...Some of
what you're saying about your own characters, John, the "hang-em-high"
guy vs. the perennial outlaw, is similar, I suspect.

But being acutely sensitive to the opinions of others as I am, I don't
want people on the WELL thinking I'm a corporate sellout, so I will
leave you with this bumpersticker idea I had:


EAT SHIT. 75 million corporate employees can't be wrong.
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #33 of 85: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 8 Feb 00 09:59
    
!!
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #34 of 85: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 8 Feb 00 10:58
    

I used to think of corporations as these gigantic invisible parasites.  Huge
monsters sucking up human energy and planetary resources, only looking to
the next quarter, not caring a fig for the long future, but sometimes living
for many human generations.

However, another way to look at a corporation or large organization might 
be the reverse:  a conglomeration of energy upon which humans may 
be parasites, and through which now and then the smaller humans may 
even have some influence.  Making it relatively symbiotic.

The almost romantic view of this is found in Art Kleiner's 1996 book,
The Age of Heretics:

     " The greatest asset that heretics have, these days, is that there
       are so many of them. They exist in every organization, balancing
       the imperative to do good works with the imperative to keep their
       jobs and keep earning a living... Their greatest dream is to bring
       their work lives in tune with their personal hopes and dreams.
       They want to earn a paycheck, and yet accomplish their own goals.
       And they recognize that they can only do it by changing the
       systems of the world around them, one piece at a time. Perhaps a
       corporation exists, in the end, precisely for its heretics.
       Perhaps its purpose, in the long run, is to help people expand
       their souls and capabilities -- by giving them the venues within
       which to try things on a large scale, to succeed and fail and
       thereby change the world. "

A bit grand, and certainly many of the non-heretics do little to relieve
the wage-slave sensation other than steal a phone call or some office
supplies now and then.  Still, people do exploit their employment in 
many ways, sometimes idealistically, and some definitely do more than 
simply mitigate the damage of short-sighted, ravenous invisible critters.
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #35 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Tue 8 Feb 00 12:10
    
Big Corporations mostly want employees that they can plug in and
unplug like disposable solid-state parts. You don't have to worry about
the families of the solid state parts--just whether there's still room
at the landfill. Hence the growing reliance, at many such,on temp
employees--who are paid little and given no benefits to speak of. And
who are disposed of with no hassle. Why do corporations increasingly
use foreign labor? If it isn't always sweatshop labor (in the case of
Starbucks' economic partners, the coffee growers of Guatemala, the
employees are often very small children, underfed, under cared for,
overworked)--because they can pay little, because they don't have to
give benefits or none to speak of, because they're disposable.
Multitudinous are the stories of people higher in the companies, too:
middle management people, even execs, who give decades of their lives
and who are tossed aside at the convenience of the corporation. 
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #36 of 85: Richard Evans (rje) Wed 9 Feb 00 02:01
    

Thanks for posting John Alacce's description of Assimov's FOUNDATION in post
#31, Reva.  And just a reminder that comments and questions non-WELL members
may have for John Shirley can be sent at any time to inkwell-hosts@well.com
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #37 of 85: Richard Evans (rje) Wed 9 Feb 00 02:05
    

The issues of corporate exploitation and deception as well as associated
inequities also inform a number of  your non-fiction essays,  John as Brian
Slessins mentioned back in post #11. Do you have trouble distinguishing
the essayist from thenovelist or do they provide distinct yet
complimentary frameworks in which to explore a given issue?

One of the most disconcerting aspects of the current corporate culture is
complicity, not just in terms of how one pays the rent but what one consumes
and this, unfortunately, encompasses everything from food to film. the
entertainment industry in particular is dominated by a few multinational
corporations which, despite exceptions, are not overly fond of things that
do not sell squillions. The internet is frequently hailed as the potential
saviour of independent expression as a medium for both publicizing and
providing acccess to works which may not otherwise have the potential to
reach a large audience. in this context, John, how have you found your own
experiences with online publication? And do you think this medium is more
suited to specific kinds of publishing than others?

Speaking of corporations, Gail, I like your description of business in
gnostic terms, especially the image of "short sighted-ravenous invisible
creatures," which conjured up an image of some Lovecraftian entity lurking
above the boardroom, tendrils drooping.

In many respects the gnostic notion that the material world is but a mask
for some deeper reality can, in metaphorical terms, be directly applied to
contemporary cultures. The rich might as well be Gods from the perspective
of the poor, just as models might as well be angels from the perspective of
the overweight corporate drone.

There is a gnostic inflection to much of your work, John, ranging from the
malignant creatures in WETBONES, to the short story  from NEW NOIR "Jody and
Annie On TV", which relates the exploits of a teen couple who believe that
something is only real if it is on TV.  Are you attracted to gnosticism as a
belief system or as just another interesting way of constructing the world?
Gnostic ideas have also influenced other horror and science fiction authors,
notably H.P. Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick. To what extent if any have such
authors shaped your own interest in and understanding of gnosticism?
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #38 of 85: Lenny Bailes (jroe) Wed 9 Feb 00 02:05
    
Perhaps it would be useful to remember that corporations have
human owners (or majority stockholders) and it's ultimately people
with money interested in making more money who toss other people
aside -- not some mysterious, invisible AI.
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #39 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Wed 9 Feb 00 12:42
    
Do I have trouble distinguishing the essayist from the novelist--I'll
be some people think I do, now and then! But I emulate or at least
admire people who have some kind of polemical engine at the heart of
their drive to write, like Dickens and Steinbeck and Vonnegut, and
those people have no trouble entertaining and gripping us  as well as
sending a message--I'm not saying on their level of quality, I'm saying
that's what I aspire to, those are my models, and they prove it can be
done. In science fiction I think of STAND ON ZANZIBAR and THE SHEEP
LOOK UP by Brunner and Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD and TIME MUST HAVE A
STOP and CS Lewis' THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH and Wylie's THE DISAPPEARANCE.

Online publication--so far, not good. I don't think people read much
online. Most places online, if I go on too long having a *real*
thought, which to me is extended, I'm pretty sure I lose people--this
is not because they're lazy or whatever, but because people online like
to browse, they're in a hurry. These same people will doubtless read
hundreds of pages of a book all at one sitting--but *online* they will
graze here and there, and they will surf, and they will dip in. They
may *speak* at length but I suspect few read at length. I have a column
at www.spark-online.com and the latest one (Behind Blown eyes under
Trends) is about some of these issues. But I doubt anyone reads it! Yet
if i had this same column in a magazine, I think people would read it.
 
People will however read online at length about their fave things,
like, what, the Smashing Pumpkins or whoever their favorite band is.

The only fantasy author I've read who knows anything about Gnosticism
is Phil Dick. Do you have some reason to believe that Lovecraft was
aware of gnosticism? My guess is he simply thought that way to an
extent. Though he may have been influenced by Edgar Allen Poe's long
mystical quasi scientific essay/fiction "Eureka"...something much
overlooked. I'm interested in certain kinds of mysticism, as people
call it, which parallel some kinds of gnosticism (there are several
kinds) in certain ways. I doubt that there literaly is a demiurge-God
and an "over-God", as some gnostics believed. Nor do I think (despite
my stories TEN THINGS TO BE GRATEFUL FOR and V, H, & YOU) that the
material world is inherently evil. I do think that we have within us
something that the gnostics called 'sparks' which have become, for
certain reasons, separate from the Absolute, the Most High, and are
semiperpetually in a process of finding their way back, in some sense;
that it is possible to become more conscious, more awake to our true
nature, to the nature of reality, to our false selves and our real
selves, and thus to obtain 'gnosis': direct knowledge of the divine. I
think there are some very remarkable statements by Jesus of Nazareth
found in the Gospel of Thomas, which are not found in the ordinary
gospels (there is much overlap between the two). 

But I will also say that I do not think that one has to believe in God
or a spiritual reality to benefit from a process of increasing one's
consciousness.

Lenny - you're quite right. Stockholders and their demands are to some
extent the cause of corporate dehumanization and indifference to those
they hurt; CEOs, boardmembers also make policy and must be held
accountable. But somehow there's a strange corporate equivalent to 'mob
mentality'--a kind of very slow, tacit and largely *unconscious*
COLLECTIVE process of excluding any considerations that arent expedient
for short-term profiteering. Obviously businesses must make money and
be competitive--but they don't have to, for example, spew cancer
causing pollutants. They can still make a good profit if they invest in
scrubbers, cleaner manufacturing processes, better monitoring, etc.
Starbucks doesn't have to buy its beans from outfits that use forced
child labor. There are profitable alternatives. It's just that they'd
have to take,s ay, (to play with figures somewhat promiscuously) a
twenty billion dollar profit instead of 20.7 billion.  This
*collective* excluding-of-negative-consequences process is not
something I know how to define--I just know it's real.
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #40 of 85: Thomas Armagost (silly) Wed 9 Feb 00 16:46
    <scribbled by silly Mon 9 Jul 12 16:00>
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #41 of 85: Ron Hogan (grifter) Wed 9 Feb 00 17:29
    

The Bank of America or a Bank of America *building*?
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #42 of 85: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Wed 9 Feb 00 17:54
    
The whole BofA.  Old news.
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #43 of 85: Martha Soukup (soukup) Wed 9 Feb 00 18:03
    
Yep.  They're still calling it BofA here, but the top brass is all in North
Carolina now.
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #44 of 85: Ron Hogan (grifter) Wed 9 Feb 00 18:56
    

Ah, because we call it Bank of America here in Seattle, too. It was the
"San Francisco's BofA" that threw me.

Anyway, I'm going to Elliott Bay for a book reading tonight, and will
see if they have the reissue of ECLIPSE. If not, I intend to find out why!
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #45 of 85: Daniel Blanchat (dblan) Thu 10 Feb 00 00:21
    
Yup yup, NationsBank (formerly North Carolina Nations Bank) bought, and
took the name of, Bank of America, sometime last year
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #46 of 85: Richard Evans (rje) Thu 10 Feb 00 12:42
    

I can't believe that we've managed to get this far into a discussion
touching on issues of corporate control and global government without
someone raising the notion of conspiracies, of some kind of hidden cabal
whom
are the true source of control and power. In SILICON EMBRACE, John, you
satirise a startling number of popular theories and beliefs including the
whole Alien abduction meme, resulting n a very funny, very incisive yet
very odd book.

You have also written a series of essays debunking and challenging a whole
series of "new age" type beliefs from Alien contact to channelling and other
spurious notions. At the same time you also seem to have a belief in some
kind of strong spirituality, as touched upon during the discussion above.
In this context does the satire of SILICON EMBRACE permit you to exorcise
the temptation to believe in some of these claims? And how do you balance
scepticism with belief?

Earlier in this discussion you mentioned that attending Clarion made you
genre orientated. But what attracted you to writing SF in the first place?
And how did you come meet and become involved with the so-called cyberpunks?
I believe that you met William Gibson, for example, at a SF convention but
bonded over a discussion of a certain non genre author. Has the re-
publication of ECLIPSE and CITY COME A WALKIN' rekindled a desire to write
more SF and do you still enjoy reading genre SF, or do you just let you
imagination and tastes wander?
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #47 of 85: John Shirley (johnp-shirley) Thu 10 Feb 00 14:54
    
Richard E asks - "In this context does the satire of SILICON EMBRACE
permit you to exorcise the temptation to believe in some of these
claims? And how do you balance scepticism with belief?"

I think you may have found me out there, Richard E: that Silicon
Embrace is a bit of an exorcism for me. You see, I had a devastating
(though only one-day-long...a very toxic, thoroughly debauched one day)
relapse into narcotics about six years ago, and in recovering from
that my bent, detoxifying mind was looking for something to keep it
busy, between writing fits, and I hit on looking into a boyhood
fascination, UFOs. Flyin' Saucers, boys. When I was in my early teens,
very early, I was a dues paying newsletter-reading member of the
National Investigative Committee on Aerial Phenomena, a reader of UFO
books, etc. Then I realized it was probably bullshit. But at the back
of my mind it always nagged at me--what if some of it was true? 

In a semi psychotic early-recovery state, a very suggestible state, I
saw some lame tv doc on Roswell and thought, well--maybe. So I decided
to try and find out if there was anything to it. It became a hobby. I
always erred on the side of skepticism however,even though I *wanted*
to believe. I read deeply into the whole current-day ufo mythology.
Then X Files came along, and it was well done and spurred me a bit
more, and I began to make contact with some of the major figures in the
UFO field. Most of whom are sad, credulous, grasping sort of people,
usually with something to sell. There are some  others who are
intelligent and honest, though--I admire Kevin Randle, and James
Moseley. Randle recently published a book showing what the *real*
causes of so called UFO abductions are--psychological, and hoaxes--and
though he does believe we're being visited (I doubt we are), he also
believes that Travis "fire in the sky" Walton, for example, is a
hoaxer. And he's a former career Air Force officer, with an
intelligence background; he's a pretty sound guy.  But...then there's
almost all the rest...

So I quickly came to see that what people offered as "evidence" was
just supposition or hearsay, much of it arising from fantasy, from
having seen the wrong movies; that believers will believe with very
little reason; that the field was pervaded with channelers and con
artists like Derrel Sims (who produces bits of coca cola glass he calls
'alien implants' etc) and people like Art Bell who promote any idea so
long as it gets them ratings--even at the cost of stoking the fires of
the "Heaven's Gate" mass-suicide cultists...

So I was very disappointed, despite there being a few well documented
UFO reports by multiple witnesses under good circumstances (see my most
recent Skeptical Believer column at www.darkecho.com/johnshirley
)...on the whole there was nothing you could rely on and ever so much
to make you roll your eyes. Hence I decided the UFO mythology could be
plundered freely, and I did it, with a lot of wryness, in SILICON
EMBRACE, getting much off my chest, but also using the two contrasting
sets of aliens in the book as a metaphor...the "grays" in their
conspirac with the military-industrial complex represent the worst
aspects of human beings, and the Meta represent our higher selves. You
may regard our 'higher selves' as hypothetical, if you like. The Meta
do nothing without reference to their relationship to wholeness, to the
cosmos.

I also used a lot of playful pop media references to television,
movies, and 'new age' ideas in order, I hoped, to draw people in who're
sort of attracted to those things, in a moth to lamp kind of
attraction, so as to lead them to more interesting metaphysical and
social ideas. I melded all this with a scenario in which the United
States has broken up, in the near future, due to
ecological-breakdown-induced famine and political-extremism
polarization, and with ideation about "urban gods", Jungian archetypes
finding expression in postmodern tropes. 

Now some may suppose that I've welded too many disparate things
together in this book, and maybe I have, but I mostly managed to make
it seamless, at least to my satisfaction--and I have a history of
trying to create unique syntheses from wild combinations. This is
partly the Frank ZAPPA influence. 

I wanted to write novels that were like his Uncle Meat and Weasels
Ripped My Flesh, with that much variety of approach, and contrasting
experiences in the listener (reader). And the influence, too, of, say,
the Velvet Underground, who would fuse all these different approaches
into songs, albums. And then again I suppose William Burroughs' Naked
Lunch could be invoked here, though I was always very much more
structured than William Burroughs.

 I had occasion, for the first time in twentysome years, to re-read
large portions of my early science fiction novel THREE RING PSYCHUS
(aka "UP!"), a truly strange concoction, that book, in which I tried to
make the surreal completely logical--and this is an illogical thing to
attempt. But that never stoped me...In some ways SILICON EMBRACE
interfaces thematically with THREE RING PSYCHUS. The forthcoming DEMONS
(Cemetary Dance publications) is also a strange meld--supernatural
bizarrity set in the future. 

How do I balance skepticism with belief...? I don't believe very much,
very definitely. Most of my beliefs are conditional. I use 'models' of
reality as Robt Anton Wilson and others recommend. I believe that
skepticism is a *spiritual tool*. When you're traveling through a
jungle, you need a machete, you need to cut away the underbrush so you
can get to that lost temple...Some of my ideas about this are in an
essay at the aforementioned site under "Is there a God?"...

However there are some things I've come to over the years through a
kind of slow accretion of understanding, through certain practices I
have confidence in--refined mindfulness practices that have no reliance
on superstition. Skepticism is part of mindfulness and mindfulness
will set you free. 

What attracted me to Sf in the first place, you ask--and how did I
fall in with the cyberpunks...?

First there was my older sister's box full of old Galaxy magazines,
discovered in the attic, and, frankly, that other Burroughs, Edgar Rice
Burroughs' martian novels, these drew me into science fiction as a
boy....Then Jack Vance...Why was I attracted to science fiction?
Because I wanted off this planet, I wasn't happy in it. I was the
Poster Child of Escapism. 

And maybe on some level I perceived the lies, the fallibility in our
society, and wanted to see some alternatives, that were forever being
modeled in science fiction.
 
Cyberpunk--? Oh, I read and admired Sterling's early work. I had
written CITY COME A WALKIN' already, it was a proto cyberpunk work
(coming back into print from Four Walls Eight WIndows), and was already
in that randy, rascally, rushin', energized, rockin', angry, street
oriented state of mind. Drugs didn't hurt either. Then somehow I
started corresponding with Sterling and that led to my getting involved
in the movement which was, as a defined thing, really his concept, I
think. In those days, people still corresponded, a great deal, in
*actual letters*. Shit I sound like an old fart. 

I met Gibson on a panel at V-Con in Vancouver, as I recall. You know,
I was the one who got the editors at OMNI to read the stories that
broke him, and who told Terry Carr about Gibson, told him he should do
Gibson's novel and Carr published Neuromancer (Terry Carr was an
important figure in SF and should be remembered with appreciation)...

Met Sterling in person, I think, when he offered to let me stay at his
place when I came to Austin to attend the hip con of the time, the
Armadillocon,. . .SLept on his couch, or maybe I was on the floor and
Rudy Rucker was on the couch...Yeah he probably gave Rucker the
couch--because Rucker's a SCIENTIST. You can't make a scientist sleep
on the floor--even a STONED SCIENTIST...

I have the urge to write SF all the time,yes, but I FIGHT IT because I
don't really fit into the field very well, I'm a square peg, and I'm
not that marketable in it, and I support a big, big extended family and
must make significant money writing. Probably if I write SF it'll be
for movies. . .

I don't read much fiction at all, I just don't have time for it, as I
have so much nonfiction to read, years to go, but sometimes I take a
break and read a little. The only SF people I read anymore are
Sterling, Rucker, Laidlaw and Jack Vance. I'll re-read Jack Vance
endlessly. I read all those Patrick O'Brian historical novels about the
Royal Navy, at one point, rather compulsively. The 'other worlds' I'm
more likely to explore in fiction are now in historical fiction. I'm
sure there are lots of great SF writers out there however. 
 
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #48 of 85: Richard Smoley (smoley) Thu 10 Feb 00 15:25
    
Couldn't get into Patrick O'Brian. A friend gave me the first one and
I made it about halfway through; perhaps because I was reading it on a
transcontinental flight with a terrible cold at the time. It was a bit
too "avast ye swabs" for my taste.

I certainly enjoyed Silicon Embrace. The thought of Our Lord and
Saviour reincarnating as a gay encephalopod is indeed a droll
one...don't do any readings of those passages in rural Texas, old boy.
But then you know that.

But one of my favorite things of yours, John, is the story "Brittany?
Oh: She's in Transcendent Blue" in Really, Really, etc.

Could you tell us a bit about the genesis of that one?
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #49 of 85: John Payne (satyr) Thu 10 Feb 00 17:31
    <scribbled by satyr Sat 12 Feb 00 16:14>
  
inkwell.vue.65 : John Shirley
permalink #50 of 85: Richard Smoley (smoley) Fri 11 Feb 00 08:28
    
Interesting UFO story, John. What defines a UFO? It's something that
you see flying but can't identify. So, yes, I would say that you indeed
had a UFO sighting.

What it _was_ of course remains open to question. 
  

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