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Monthly Archives: October 2015
New Retropolis calendars and a free shipping sale on t-shirts at Retropolis and The Celtic Art Works

Filed under Works in Progress


I use several different vendors for my merchandise at Retropolis and The Celtic Art Works. They often offer similar products; but when I’m deciding which to use I try to use the one that I think does the best job for that particular product.

That’s the theory. What happens, now and then (and often when I’m not looking), is that a vendor discontinues a product that I really like. If I haven’t created an alternative in advance I run around the room in frenzied circles until I’ve put together a replacement from someplace else.

That happened, recently, to the paperback blank books I used to sell. Last week I discovered that it had happened to my large wall calendars, too.

So for the past few days I have been running around in frenzied circles. The result is a new incarnation of my calendars – almost all of them. Still a little work to do at The Celtic Art Works.

For now you can find the new calendars at Retropolis.

I miss the square calendar pages from the old ones. Square pages meant that any image, whether in a portrait or a landscape orientation, would work equally well. Or equally unwell, if you want to be picky. The new calendars have pages that are wider than they are tall, so they’re not as good a fit for vertical illustrations.

But there’s an upside: they’re available in three different sizes, from a width of seven inches to fourteen inches. You can also pick whatever wire binding color you want, and even the holidays are (somewhat) configurable. Altogether, not a bad deal.

You can also select what year you want for your calendar. Which is nice, though I’m not sure how many of you buy your calendars eight years in advance. Oh, I know someone does, ’cause this is the Internet.

Other news from my online stores: for the next few days you can get free shipping on a t-shirt order of $30 or more from The Retropolis Transit Authority and Saga Shirts or, for that matter, from the Pulp-O-Mizer. Just use the coupon code FREESHIP30 through October 29.

Catherynne M. Valente on her new novel Radiance

Filed under Found on the Web

Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente

Today sees two posts by Catherynne M. Valente about her new book, Radiance, at the Barnes & Noble SFF blog and at John Scalzi’s Whatever.

The year is 1944. But not our 1944. No Blitz, no rationing, no Russian front—not yet, anyway. In fact, most of Earth is looking a little empty. The Solar System, however, is bustling, buzzing, bursting with human life. Each and every one of our familiar planets is inhabitable and inhabited, from the red swamps of Venus to the frozen neon streets of Uranus to the opium fields of Pluto. New industries and intrigues are everywhere—and the Moon is where they make movies. Silent movies, mostly, for the scions of the Edison family keep an iron grip on their sound and color patents. In the world of Radiance, Space exploration began around 1870, but film still streams along in black and white silence.

To that, add a noir mystery, Uranian porn theaters, heavily armed movie studios and – not to be missed! – space whales.

It’s out today. Really looking forward to this one.

The Curious Incident of the Imaginary Editor

Filed under Imaginary Editor

The Imaginary Editor: First Person Omniscient

My imaginary editor strikes from the shadows, as swift as a serpent and as inscrutable as something that defies being scruted. This week, he’s criticizing our book’s point of view.

And this book, whatever it is, seems to have made an unusual choice. I won’t say it’s never been done (not lately, anyway) but these days the idea of a first person narrator who knows all and sees all would be a departure. My preference would be a first person narrator who knows all, and sees all, but doesn’t tell all; or, better yet, one who lies.

Even though I’m almost positive that the imaginary editor is not editing my book, this does touch on Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom. That’s because my book has a narrator who is a character. He’s just not a character in that book.

This was such an odd circumstance that there was no room in the book to explain it. And odder still is the fact that within a story, this narrator always refers to himself in the third person. You may have figured that out if you read The Lair of the Clockwork Book.

It’s another one of those weird correspondences I keep finding between the imaginary editor’s notes and the book I actually wrote. But I guess the harder you look, the more you find.

The Imaginary Editor versus Evil

Filed under Imaginary Editor

The Imaginary Editor confronts Global Evil

Well, here we are again. I continue to get weekly notes from my imaginary editor, for reasons that may be more clear if you catch up.

And honestly, after the revelation that my imaginary editor is editing what may be an imaginary book, I’m pretty relaxed about the whole thing. So let’s just look at this in a calm, curious spirit. There might be something we can learn from it.

I can see that the imaginary editor has an interesting point. We give characters tics and foibles and unusual ideas to help us – and the reader – to know that character as a unique person. Some of these are minor; some are extreme.

In a case where a character has an extreme view it makes sense that this should have something to do with the story. (That the miniscule orange octopi really are crawling over her skin; or that the miniscule orange octopi are, in fact, a delusion that’s explained when we learn that unusually large orange octopi from space have released a hallucenogenic drug into the Earth’s atmosphere.) I get that. The character’s peculiar quirk turns out to be essential to the story, often in a way that’s surprising.

But this? I mean, spinach is a force for global evil. This can’t be seen as unexpected, or revelatory, or insane. It’s just a fact.

Spinach infects our parents with some kind of mind control when they’re children. Then it forces them to expose us to its vile influence while we ourselves are young and helpless. It’s kind of like Toxoplasmosis.

Everybody knows this. So what’s the big reveal, here?

Something about this is odd. In my notes for one of the characters in Slaves of the Switchboard of Doom I’m sure I mentioned the truth about spinach: but none of that made it into the final draft. So once again I’m left to wonder exactly what book my imaginary editor is talking about. It doesn’t seem to be my book, but… now and then there’s one of these weird coincidences that sounds like my book. It’s starting to get kind of creepy.

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Down in the Basement. Where it Strains Against its Chains and Turns a Gigantic Wheel of Pain, for all Eternity. Muahahahahaha.