jueves, 25 de diciembre de 2008

200 subs. Stats

I've been writing and submitting since 2006. I created an account in Duotrope and logged in my first sub on July 13th 2006. By that time, I'd been subbing for a few months and had sold my first story to Strange Horizons so the stats here are skewed. My 200th submission (to ASIM) came back rejected on December 16th. Anyway, in case anyone is interested, here's some juicy bits of statistical nonsense I thought I'd share.

200 subs, 17 accepted pieces, that's an 8.5% acceptance rate, assuming that all 6 of my pending subs gets rejected. Of course, many of those pieces were subbed multiple times before being accepted and some of them are reprints which get counted several times. I told you the data was wrong!

A total of 12 different markets bought my stories. One market bought 3 stories, 3 markets bought 2 and the rest bought one each. Six of these stories were (or will be) published online only, 7 went to print markets (these may have online pdf copies available, but they're considered mainly print mags) and 4 went to markets like Shimmer who favor neither print nor e-formats but offer both.

Three stories were sold in 2006, seven in 2007 and six in 2008 which shows just how little I've been writing in 2008 (new job, new home, new life basically).

I don't know how useful any of this is, but here you go, my end-of-two-years stats. Enjoy.

domingo, 16 de noviembre de 2008

Apex Raffle

Just a quick reminder: it's not too late to enter the Apex raffle. There are plenty of quirky gifts to choose from. If you can't decide, you can always buy a chance to win everything for 25$.

And remember: the small press needs you.

miércoles, 5 de noviembre de 2008

And on the sad passing of Prop 8...

... I want to take every demarried person in California, bring them over to Spain, hook them up on the big tit of Social Security (Medicine, pensions, unemployment) and give them a bear hug. Because I just cannot fathom how horrible it must be to have a loving, legal marriage be broken up without consent of the parties actually involved in said marriage. This is spiritual rape. Anyone claiming otherwise is deluded.


... 'cause it's my job to think ahead of the crowd.

lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2008

"The Gong" in Weird Tales

The September-October issue of Weird Tales is out! And here I was, not knowing it. It's an international issue and I share TOC with... (drum roll) Rochita Loenen-Ruiz! From Villa Diodati 3! The same who writes awesome slipstream! And cooks!

I'm going off to squee somewhere.

jueves, 30 de octubre de 2008

Villa Diodati 3-- The tradition continues

This time, the Villa Diodati workshop was held near Nice thanks to the organizational superpowers of Jeff Spock.

We came in on Friday, and Jeff made several car trips to pick us up and drop us off at this place. One of the best ooohs and aaahs of the first day at Villa Diodati is checking out the house we're staying in. So far, we've never been disappointed. The first workshop was held in a German castle, the second one in Jaulzy, near Paris. Both were beautiful and inspiring locations.

There were more participants this time and quite a few newcomers. Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Catherine M. Morrison and Benjamin Rosenbaum came for the first time. Ben has been involved in Villa Diodati from the start. Together with Ruth, he's the brainfather of the project, but he'd never made it to the actual workshop before. I was thrilled to meet those three.

Rochita I knew over the internet: I already had a soft spot for her writing style, which grew even softer over the course of the workshop. Her Villa story was delicate, hung on spiderwebs and deliciously understated.

I hadn't met Catherine before, but I developed an appreciation for her sense of humor. The story she brought was packed with really neat technical details (unsurprising, since she's an engineer). I liked the way she worked them seamlessly into the story.

Ben... Well. After having met him, I understand why he's so successful. His imagination is truly outstanding but he also has a feel for the internal logic of a story and can point out the plot holes and character motivation problems in the wackiest slipstream. He understands the underlying threads of a story better than anyone else I know and he shares that knowledge freely. His critiques were great.

And then there were the repeats: Jeff Spock (organizer, logistics officer, second-in-command), Ruth Nestvold (Our Beloved Dictator), John Olsen (chef, subtle fiction expert), Floris Kleijne (goof, goblin expert), Aliette de Bodard (Asian specialist, tea brewer), Stephen Gaskell (Englishman, monsters-in-the-cellar specialist), Dianna Carlyle (certified English-Teenager translator) and myself (talker).

We held critiquing sessions in the morning and wrote in the evening. There were prompts, writing marathons and the Surreal Oracle, a game which probably only works well with writers.

On Saturday, I came down with stomach flu, but I was fine by Sunday, so that was ok. Jeff made another slew of car trips on Tuesday to drop us all off.

I can't wait for Villa Diodati 4. I want to see how an AI writes (the Surrealist Oracle predicted that the AIs would come to Villa Diodati 4)

lunes, 27 de octubre de 2008

Sale! Shoes-to-Run to Asimov's

This is my third sale to Asimov's. Shoes-to-Run is a triumph of rewritting and workshopping. Thanks to everyone who helped out, particularly the folks over at Codex and Sean Markey who, as always, doubled as critiquer, motivator and submitter.

And now that I've reached my fifth pro sale, I can confess the Plan. The Plan is simple: when I sold my first story to Strange Horizons, I decided I wouldn't try for a novel until I'd sold ten pro stories. Eventually, I did try for the novel before then and the novel flopped. Hubris! I won't do that again. So, now that I'm 50% there, I think I can make the Plan public: I won't try for a novel until I've sold my tenth story. That looks achievable right now and, either way, I don't want to put myself through the trouble of writing something longer than a short until I'm good enough to pull it off.

Also, I just came back from Villa Diodati 3 and have all kinds of stuff to say about the workshop. But I won't say them now, because Villa Diodati deserves its own post and I can't really take more time off sleep. There was a 5 day vacation in the Canary Islands after that, which will also get a post. Hopefully. I'm kind of busy these days.

jueves, 2 de octubre de 2008

Sale! The Story in which Dog Dies to Shimmer

This is the second story they've bought which deals with sucky immortality.

I'm thrilled.

And special thanks to Sean Markey who practically forced me to write it.

Yay Dead Dog!

martes, 16 de septiembre de 2008

Ralan Fund Drive

The September Ralan Fund Drive is under way. If you use ralan.com as a market resource, consider heading over there and dropping 10E.

lunes, 15 de septiembre de 2008

I give you flamenco-rap!

I can't decide whether this is wonderful or just plain wrong.

sábado, 6 de septiembre de 2008

'Cause Octavia Butler and Ursula Le Guin weren't enough

...now I get compared to Tiptree!

I quote:

Sara Genge writes a complex story of alien sex with her "Prayers for an Egg." Like Tiptree whose work this was reminiscent of, Genge is an outsider, Tiptree coming from Langley and the mainstream, Genge from Spain; her rhythm and cadences equally exotic to American genre SF.

These stories mark the highpoint of this issue, their 'difference' from the norm giving the issue a rare depth.

And because I have a twisted feminist mind, I'll note that all three writers I've so far been compared to are women. Not that I mind, not with those three. Just sayin'

I think "exotic" needs to become part of my name, somehow. Sara Genge, aka "Exotic". Sooo cool.

miércoles, 3 de septiembre de 2008

If you write reviews...

...like this...

I don't really care if you put an "h" in "Sara". In every other case, I'd prefer if you didn't. (1)

Here's the excerpt, 'cause I can't help quoting.

Sarah Genge’s haunting description, psychological complexity, and careful evocation of real world parallels make “Prayers for an Egg” a standout story this month. Lasa is a household servant in a stratified society who feels honored to have been chosen as jaja-maid by her mistress, Jandala. But even as Jandala and the new master publicly demonstrate their “proper” disdain for the servants they believe to be biologically as well as mentally inferior, privately tradition demands that the newlyweds share some of their most intimate moments with them. Perhaps the masters’ culturally unacceptable desires are innate, perhaps they stem from that intimacy, or more likely they are an amalgam of these and the sort of attraction those in power can have to those they control, where the expression of that attraction is an abusive act of ownership. Another story by Genge, a memorable politico-romance entitled “Family Values,” appeared on Escape Pod a few weeks ago, and her most recent offering is just as original and well-crafted. In both stories, she somehow manages to ease her reader into understanding an alien culture without explicit exposition. Our understanding leaks in around the edges of the narrating character’s consciousness, her culture’s stated assumptions (which mostly feel quite organic, as opposed to contrived), allowing us to fill in the ghosts of both her deeper, unaccepted thoughts, and those which shaped her culture’s taboos. This is engrossing, thought-provoking SF in the tradition of Octavia Butler and Ursula K. Le Guin, and on its own well worth the cover price of this issue.

Yep. I will go and die of happiness now (2)

(1) I don't really know why I'm so opposed to "Sarah" with an "h". I think the main issue is that it isn't pronounced and "cut needless words" spills over into "cut needless letters". Also, there's a Spanish poet, Juan Ramón Jiménez, who was a fan of the phonetic spelling. He went as far as to remove all "h" from the Spanish language, the result being airy and childish seeming poetry which was in fact not very childish at all. More than a century later, copyeditors are still trying to catch the last of those deliberate misspellings--and failing. I have at least one edition in which the occasional "j" glares up in the page. It looks all comfy there, standing in for the "g", but it is an eyesore.

(2) I do think it's a bit obscene to compare my work to Octavia Butler's and Le Guin's, but, hey, I'm not complaining!

(3) Sarah Genge. This is so people will find my blog. There have been a couple of reviews and pubs lately that got the "h" wrong, and I'd hate to think of people getting lost in the Interspace, flailing around for want of direction and "h"

viernes, 22 de agosto de 2008

The stabbing--it tires me

I stuck a needle into someone's tummy today. Then I went home and slept for an hour. I feel all grown up and doctorly, but who would have thought stabbing would be so tiring? I mean, they make it sound so effortless in stories...

On a different note, the October/November issue of Asimov's has just hit mailboxes and stands. My story "Prayers for an Egg" is part of this very special double issue. Tell me what you think!

viernes, 15 de agosto de 2008

Disaster Timeline

Day 1. Lost first patient
Day 6. Fight with bf. Breakup with bf?
Day 9. Electricity goes out in the house. Warm water is inexistent.
Day 10. Electricity repaired. Leak in water heater found. No running water in the house.
Day 11. Dirty dishes pile up. Dirty clothes pile up. Calm day at work with loads of time to think. Water heater people come. Water heater must be replaced. They can't cut the water to the water heater so that I can turn on the water for the rest of the house.
Day 11 afternoon. Plumber comes by. Figures out problem in water heater. Fixes water heater (totally not his job). Water is on again.
--beginning to process stacks of dishes/clothes. Cold water showers are good for you.
Day 12. Check out water heater: still wet. Don't dare plug it in again (the frightening combination of water, gas and electricity in a 25+ year old heater is, well, frightening). Grass needs to be cut. Take another cold water shower. Hectic day at work, but nice evening out.
Day 13. Today. Sleep. To do: cut grass, process clothes, tech editing. All of which are unrealistic expectations. Watch Firefly. Sleep some more.

Any friends that might be thinking of calling, now would be a really good time...

miércoles, 13 de agosto de 2008

Et tu, Duotrope?

I can't login to www.duotrope.com, which means I can't access my sub statistics which basically means I can't submit since I don't know which story has been to what market.

Can anyone think of what might appease the Powers? I'm willing to do anything. Offerings of milk and honey? Anything, I tell you.

lunes, 11 de agosto de 2008

Oh, and gmail is not working...

...because everything that touches this house is cursed today. I'm wondering if I should get out NOW, just grab my computer, that teddy bear and go. The bad joss may just be that bad.


The light went out in the house yesterday. We isolated the problem, managed to get most lights back up and connected the fridge to one of the working plugs with one of those long cable thingies. But then the water started doing weird things... I showered with cold water this morning.

Anyway, the electricity guy was here today, and fixed the electric problem. I was hanging around while he worked, trying to figure out what had gone wrong (in general, gleaning info from the specialist, which I always find useful), when I saw a trickle of water in the garage... Sure enough, the water heater was peeing. A lot. The water heater holds 50 liters and maybe half of those were on the floor. I paid the electricity guy and cut the water to the house in the hopes that the peeing would stop. No luck. My guess is that there's still quite a bit left in the tank and I have to wait until it's all on the floor before the heater will stop leaking. Then, I'll try reconnecting the water to the house and if the heater starts leaking again, we'll know we're truly f****ed.

So now I have a heater to get fixed, plus some maybe some major plumbing. I have no water in the house. I don't know how I'll manage to take a shower tomorrow.I went to the neighbors to get some for washing hands and drinking. Carried it uphill and had to chuck some of it because the container was too full and I didn't want to improvise a wet-T contest then and there. Those of us who live with modern comforts cannot imagine how it rankles to actually have to work for the basic things in life. Of course, if I did this every day, I might actually have biceps, which I can't exactly claim to have now.

If any of you has jinxed me, now would be a good time to speak up. Whatever I've done to you, I think I've learned my lesson by now. I apologize, really. Whatever it is. Can you make it stop?

At least we have the light back and the fridge is working. We are rationing the water, but the beer is cold.

jueves, 7 de agosto de 2008

Tsetse tooth

I had my last wisdom tooth yanked out today and I'm feeling mostly fine. There's not a whole lot of swelling and it mostly doesn't hurt at all (I took some ibuprofen right after the procedure, but haven't needed any more since). However, I can't seem to wake up. I took a nap after lunch and it kept getting extended by ten minutes, twenty minutes, an hour... I'd wake every so often and will myself out of bed. No dice.

M saved me by calling me on the phone and making me talk to him until I was able to get up. If it weren't for him, the bedsheets (like meat eating plants), might have finished digesting me.

I finally seem to be reasonably alert now that I've been awake for an hour and have drunk some coffee, but I still wouldn't dream of driving a car or doing anything that requires motor control at this moment.

I'm wondering whether it's the anesthetic or whether loosing the last of my wisdom teeth was traumatic in some way. It seems unlikely; it's not like I used them a whole lot...

lunes, 4 de agosto de 2008

I just made the coolest food

Spaghetti--al dente.

butter--melted, not burnt.
garlic smeared on the pan.
preserved anchovies--desalted under running tap.

Add spaghetti to pan. Crack egg, drop. Stir briskly. Add a tad of milk. Stir.
Add some cheese. The kind that you shouldn't add to spaghetti. The kind that's well cured, firm and lumpy when you drop it into the pan. The kind that's coated in rosemary and meant to be eaten alone. Let it melt into the whole messy squishy pan.

Final step: avoid garlic chunks when you find 'em.

jueves, 31 de julio de 2008


A bunch of Helix writers, including myself, have created Transcriptase a webpage where readers can enjoy stories originally published in Helix, without having to visit said publication directly.

As of now, this is the list of the authors participating in Transcriptase:

Elizabeth Barrette
Beth Bernobich
Maya Bohnhoff
Eugie Foster
Samantha Henderson
Janis Ian
N.K. Jemisin
Vylar Kaftan
Ann Leckie
Yoon Ha Lee
Margaret Ronald,
Jennifer Pelland,
Vaughan Stanger
Rachel Swirsky)
(and myself).

The site includes a summary of the Helix fiasco, as well as the reasons why we've chosen to display our work outside of Helix. A few authors have also written individual statements.

Vylar Kaftan deserves gobs of credit for putting this thing together, as does Eugie Foster for doing most of the web set-up and stuff. Other people contributed their time and effort to make this a work.


lunes, 28 de julio de 2008

Family Values is up at Escape Pod!

Check it out

This is what a couple listeners had to say:

I am glad I get to be the first to comment. What a treat! Be on the lookout for Sara Genge. She is building quite the name for herself. I can see why. This was a fantastic story. Great worldbuiling! Glad to hear it narrated by Alasdair Stuart, He really did it justice
Bookman 12pt

It’s nice that such a short story can still satisfy. The author has a fantastic imagination. A jellyfish alien sex and political intrigue story is a first for me (although I know that there are fetish websites for almost anything)!

Of course, someone caught the blooper (note to self: someone always catches the blooper, the reader is quite right in suggesting authors should not throw around random numbers unless they know what the heck they're talking about).

I enjoyed the story in general, but there's a technical niggle that annoys me:

The teacher transferred (more than) 10,000,000 zettajoules of energy to the senator. To put that into proportion, the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated had a fireball 9Km across and a mushroom cloud seven times higher than Mount Everest. It was 2,500 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

It released one forty-billionth as much energy as was transferred between these two beings. (...)


Of course, I could argue that you don't really know what scale this world is in, that it doesn't even have to be in our same Universe, and that it's satire anyway, so the answer to anything is likely to be 42. However, he got it right. I threw a number around and I missed. This amuses me for some reason... I have fun being wrong.

Scroll down that comment thread for this:

I did like the irony of casual and ostensibly anonymous sex saving a politician from a political gaffe. But the story itself was weak soup. Those zettajoules might have been better spent on character development and an emotional arc that didn't feel like a deleted scene from some intergalactic version of "The West Wing."

Yes! The West Wing was there. I'm glad someone got it.
And I totally did move on to write another alien tentacle sex story, as shreiber suggested further down in the thread. Be on the lookout for "Prayers for an Egg" a rather more serious take on the subject which will soon be published in Asimov's.

domingo, 27 de julio de 2008


It's taken me a while to post about the Helix mess. I'm not going to make yet another summary of the situation. Better bloggers have already done that. A quick google should turn up more posts than anyone could digest in a lifetime.

I woke up to this after an all-night shift at the Hospital. I tried to figure it out, shook my head in denial and went back to bed. At the time it felt wise to postpone decisions until I was fully awake and rational. I did not think, at the time, of asking Helix to pull down my two stories: for good or bad, I'd signed a contract, and I knew they had the right to display those stories unto eternity, if they so chose.

When I woke up again, it turned out that removing the stories had been possible at some point, but by then, Helix was already charging and I was too poor to be pantiwadulous. Would I have asked them to remove the stories if they hadn't started charging? Honestly, I don't know. The contract aspect weighed heavily in my decision to postpone a decision, if that makes sense. I didn't see why the whole magazine should suffer because of one bigoted editor (and lets not sugar coat this, shall we, clearly this was a display of bigotry). Maybe I was just too stunned to react. This is the first Internet storm in which I've been involved personally, and I had no clue what to do. The thing is, I like Helix. I think the mag fills a niche that needed to be filled. This has been a huge letdown.

Afterwards, I spent a wonderful vacation in Brussels (more on that later) with intermittent Internet. That still doesn't explain why it's taken me so long to talk about this. I tend to avoid conflicts and general ugliness. This is my brand of emotional procrastination.

So, what do I think of this whole mess? I'm sad that Helix imploded. I'm angry at the wording of the rejection letter and equally angry at the way other writers were treated when they asked to have their stories removed. I feel really stupid when dealing with these topics; maybe I wasn't taught to talk about them in school. Just another example of my white privilege, I guess, that I can go through life without the language and the skills to shoot down this kind of crap. Not to speak of the sexism surrounding the whole "pantiwadulous" aspect of this little drama.

I will leave my stories up at Helix because I signed a contract. I'll keep my word. But I'll look at contracts more carefully in the future.

martes, 15 de julio de 2008

Sold! Family Values to Escape Pod

Family Values originally appeared in Cosmos Magazine (you can check it out here ). I can't wait to hear the audio version.

martes, 17 de junio de 2008

Slow Stampede sold to Asimov's

Ladies and Gents, I give you the storkiphant!

Ok, I'll admit. Slow Stampede is Science Fiction, not fantasy, so the storkiphants' legs are thicker and there's some sort of biological explanation for the weirdness, but that came after I started to write about them. Because they're just awesome. Because Daaaali rocks.

Oh, and there are also some merpeople in the story, but Daaali didn't get around to drawing any pictures of them. Sorry.

Asimov's seems to agree with me because they've bought the story. This is my second sale to Asimov's and I'm all fluttery inside.

"Slow Stampede" went through a long series of revisions which involved fellow writers, co-opted friends, useful rejections and much randomness. My sincere thanks to everyone who helped me get this one off the ground.

Special thanks to Sean Markey who read the last version, printed it out and mailed it for me from the US.

lunes, 9 de junio de 2008

Sean Markey up at Fantasy Magazine

My pal Sean Markey has been published in Fantasy Magazine today. Check out his story, Sorrobird. Magical realism with bite!

domingo, 8 de junio de 2008

Some Lovecraft Spanish Freak Thing

The lyrics (because you couldn't live without them, I know)

Lovecraft, Lovecraft,

Chtulhu Chtulhu brings destruction
It's danced by the sectarians of the sect of Dagon
Give Chtulhu Chtulhu to those dirty gules
before you too imitate them.
It's danced by Yog Sugoth
and the heat falling from heaven
and it's dedicated to the Primogenes.
It's danced by Nyarlotherp
and the fleshless angels
the dogs from Tindalos with bloody lips

Lovecraft, Lovecraft

And the Chtulhu Chtulhu is danced like this:

One: resurrection
Two: absorbs souls.
Three: conquers the World.
Fourth: destruction.

Dance the Chtulhu Chtulhu
Dance the Chtulhu Chtulhu

If it's mispronounced it can lick my a*
They dance it in Arkbain
They dance it in Pknakontos
even though they call the insane idiots.


It's sung by Abdul Al-Hazred
with his Necronomicon
while the flute of Azroth plays a song.

Etc etc. I'm not going to translate further geekery.

The worst part is that this song is based on the one that Spain entered to the Eurovision Contest. Predictably, it was creamed, but at least it lost deliberately, whereas other years Spain had lost pitifully with serious songs.

Here it is, in case your ears weren't bleeding yet.

martes, 3 de junio de 2008

IROSF reviews Clapping for the Fairies

Here's what Lois Tilton had to say about "Clapping for the Fairies".

A choose-your-own adventure. Some fairies have gone rogue. They kill people. Jade is supposed to kill Green before she can do more harm to the fairy reputation. But Jade is reluctant. She and Green were lovers, once.

The narrator offers Jade alternatives.

That night she crawls under the blankets with you while you sleep. Your body remembers how to wrap itself around hers, reviving comfortable positions that you learned a long time ago. You are almost halfway through lovemaking before you wake up completely, and realize these are the same hands that took a man's life. Whatever she looks like, this is not the Green you fell in love with when you were sixteen. She's grown into something ugly and demented, and no amount of logic on her part can excuse what she does.

If you want Green to die, go to section 5.

If you don't want Green to die, go to section 6.

This is definitely one time when a second-person narrator makes perfect sense, when it contributes a closing to the story that no other technique could have done.

She calls this issue of Helix "a superior one" and gives RECOMMENDEDs to three of the seven stories. Sadly, mine wasn't one of them, but I still think the review was rather positive.

domingo, 25 de mayo de 2008

Portable Writing Devices and the Perils of Online Buying

So, I went and bought a cheap Zaurus 5800 from ebay. It seemed like a good writing tool, something that might get me writing on the bus-metro etc without having to transcribe stuff into the computer afterwards.

And it worked, to some extent. The keyboard is a bit small, but manageable and the first set of batteries lasted more than a week of very extensive use (some five hours a day, I had really boring classes).

But but but but. Connectivity. This may seem obvious to anyone who was self-aware in the 90s, but these things have proprietary everything: software, plugs, infrared, PCMCIA slot... It has a single line 15 pin slot the likes of which none of my techie friends have ever seen before and the device didn't come with its cable. I absolutely cannot connect it to the computer. And I have over 10.000 words on it already. I spent half of today typing and I'm still not finished.

Gaw, the threats of online buying.

Speaking of which; I'm thinking of an Hp Jornada 720 or 728. Any thoughts?

miércoles, 21 de mayo de 2008

viernes, 16 de mayo de 2008

Cosita Preciosa

"Cosita Preciosa" the Spanish translation of "Pretty Little Thing" is up at La Idea Fija.

La Idea Fija is an Argentinian ezine which calls itself a "pretty literary magazine".

Finally, I have a Spanish translation of one of my stories to show to my non-English speaking friends.

jueves, 15 de mayo de 2008

Very Argentinian Synchronicity

On May 9th, Miguel took me to watch Tanguera, a Tango musical of sorts.

It reminded me of a friend from school. She's Argentinian and dances (ballet, not tango, as far as I know).

It dawned on me that I should google her and when I did, I found a blog with Happy Birthdays all over it. It turns out her birthday is May 9th and she's touring, so her family and friends posted Happy Birthdays so she could see them from wherever she is.
Her Mom answered my post and confirmed I'd found the right girl. From the looks of it and from what I could gather on the internet, she seems to be doing well career-wise.

I'm thrilled. What are the chances you'll remember a long lost friend on their birthday by googling them after watching a spectacle that, only vaguely, relates to them somehow?

To top it off, the editor of La Idea Fija, an Argentinian e-zine, contacted me to let me know that the translation of "Pretty Little Thing" will go up today or tomorrow.

martes, 13 de mayo de 2008

Going Postal

9.30E postage for a 8500 word submission to the States.


Note to self: write shorter stuff.

Note to self nº2: submit by email.

Villa Diodati 2

Villa Diodati 2 began on Saturday, April 26th. I cannot tell you exactly when it ended: most people left on Tuesday or Wednesday, but Aliette and I stayed until Saturday. In a way, I still feel as if I'm sitting around the fireplace with a glass of wine in my hand and an urge to write.

Aliette de Bodard chose a spacious gîte in Jaulzy, which was fortunate, since late additions to the workshop (including myself) meant we ended up a little cramped.

I was one of the most fortunate, and shared a kid's room with Nancy Fulda. Aliette slept in a bed under a tilted roof right next to the bathroom, and Ruth had an attic window right over her sleeping place which let in the bright light at improper dawnish hours. Otherwise, the location was great: there was a beautiful church right next to the gîte, an old beautifully kept cemetery, and a cherry tree in full bloom. We couldn't have come up with a more suitable milieu for a writing workshop, if we had brainstormed for a fantasy setting.

The participants at Villa Diodati 2 were Nancy Fulda, Aliette de Bodard, Ruth Nestvold, John Olsen, Floris Kleijne, Stephen Gaskell, Jeff Spock and myself. The workshop was structured like Villa Diodati 1, with story critiques in the mornings, lots of writing time in the afternoons, writing prompts, shared story ideas, brainstorming sessions and more. All of this sprinkled with liberal amounts of conversation and writing insight. We had three magnificent cooks. On Saturday, John made gourmet duck. Ruth blew our brains out with yummy chili on Sunday and Jeff made tagine on Monday. Plus, there were assorted cheeses, some Spanish chorizo and cured ham that I'd brought and all kinds of goodies for lunch.

To say I learned a lot is an understatement. Last Villa Diodati, I noticed that my writing improved after the workshop. I wasn't ready to call a pattern, but after seeing the results of Villa Diodati 2 on my productivity, I have no qualms to say that these workshops make me evolve as a writer. I'm writing more, I'm more confident and I think I'm even writing better.

The workshop was awesome, and the extra week I spent with Aliette was very enjoyable and extremely productive. Aliette and her boyfriend helped me work around some of the technological problems in my novel idea, and I learned a lot from the way she structures and plots her stories. I read the first three chapters of her novel and they were awesome: I wouldn't be surprised if her novel (which she edited a bit at Villa Diodati) turns out to be one of the workshop's success stories.

This workshop was all kinds of awesome, but don't take my word for it. Here are a couple more blogposts by other participants.

Villa Diodati 3 will be held in the south of France in six months or so. I'm looking forward to it.

*This pic was taken by Floris. More over here.

sábado, 10 de mayo de 2008

Apex Digest #12

Here are a couple reviews of Apex 12.

SFRevu Column gives every story a Very Good.

The Fix reviews the issue favorably, and has this to say about "Dear Diary":

Summing up this double issue is “Dear Diary” by Sara Genge. Diary-style stories are often heavily done, but this one combines a childish voice and a touch of fantasy that ties together the first two pieces of the issue and the middle, religious-toned ones. A surly little girl rages against her mother who makes her kill the “gods” in their basement and destroy her “dead god collection” in an effort to keep the ministers off their backs. But mother, daughter notices, has a bit of a secret.

As you may already know, Apex Digest is holding a subscription drive. The magazine needs at least 150 new subscribers to keep on publishing some of the wackiest SF-horror out there. I don't need to remind you that Apex Digest stories straddle the void. There's no other magazine out there that covers the same niche. This means that if Apex goes on hiatus, the supply of fresh raw brain-sf will dry up. And when the zombies can't get their brain-fix the easy way... Let's just say, the world will be a happier place if you go ahead and subscribe. At 20$ in the US and 34$ abroad, Apex Digest is good value for money.

US residents can also get a lifetime subscription for 100$. There are even prizes for being a lifetime subscriber. I'm so jealous of you, guys.

miércoles, 7 de mayo de 2008

I can haz website?


Not much there, except for a cool placeholder designed by Taher, but I'll add content. Eventually.

martes, 6 de mayo de 2008

May 6th...

... 6 am
The time of the year when I realized that it's too hot to sleep with the windows closed but too bright to keep them open.

Oh, joy.

lunes, 5 de mayo de 2008

"Counting Down to the End of the Universe" sold to Shimmer Magazine

This story was written during my darkest moments, just before The Big Exam, when I hardly had time or energy to write.

Sean Markey, aka "The Enabler" forced it out of me and I will forever be grateful for that. I needed a study break and he provided the prodding I needed. Spiritual constipation is bad for the soul and I hadn't realized how badly I needed to write until I was forced to stop.

Sean Markey also helped me rewrite and edit the first drafts.

The result is a combination of birds, clockwork and tumors of which I'm extremely proud. You can't go wrong with tumors, now, can you?

The Shimmer pre and post sale editing process was the most intensive I've ever encountered. I learned a lot from editing that manuscript with Beth and, just for that, I'm extremely grateful. I mean, how many times does one get to have one's work tinkered with by one of the best editors around? Plus, I'd been trying to crack Shimmer for a long time.

This story has made me happy on a many levels. Good story, good. I wish all my babies behaved like that.

miércoles, 23 de abril de 2008

The Effort-Only culture and the Privatization of Medical Universities

Next year, four new Faculties of Medicine might open in Madrid, sponsored by the climate of Medical privatization that the Comunidad de Madrid is pushing for. Three of these will be private.

Even worst, teaching Hospital adscribed to public university will be handed over to private ones. Students will lose Hospitals to practice in.

Private university in Spain has, until now, been a low-quality minority option for rich kids who don't have the grades to go to public University. Until now, there were two private faculties of Medicine (and one of them, the University of Navarra, is ancient and has a reputation for excellence). I'm concerned about the quality of teaching. Many of these Universities are famous for taking cash first and teaching as an afterthought. Many of these "pass" kids depending on parental expenditure.

I'm also concerned about my own future. In the 80's, an insane number of doctors were unemployed. That's why Numerus Clausus was created: it was stupid for the State to spend tons on training doctors who then couldn't find jobs in the public health sector. Now there are more private hospitals, but even those need good doctors. I'd much rather we keep importing well-trained professionals from South America (or hell, even pay Spanish-trained doctors better, so they don't leave to work in England), than slap a degree on a couple foreheads and set them lose in hospitals.

A lot of people are arguing that Numerus Clausus was unfair. Requiring people to take an exam before entering University and limiting entrance by grade is deemed "too hard" on the poor kids who have "real vocation" to be doctors. I'm sure there are private tragedies that stem from Numerus Clausus. I'm sure a lot of the kids who don't make the cut would have been great physicians. But I've seen how people struggle through MedSchool. I've taken those exams myself. Dedication, vocation-- these are wonderful things, but sometimes they aren't enough.

I don't care whether you are brilliant or not, but if you can't muster the right combination of brains and study time to get into MedSchool the normal way, I doubt you'll make a good doctor. I know people who scrapped in and they've graduated with honours due to sheer willpower. All of us who made it struggled to keep up high grades through high school and we kept struggling for six years to learn stuff that we thought we might never use. I doubt anyone finds MedSchool easy. It's hard and it's hard for a reason. Not everyone can be a doctor.

I wonder how the private universities are going to manage to keep up the level with their less-than brilliant students. I'm assuming passing in the private universities will be a lot easier. I'm guessing grades will be higher. Since grades are important to take placement exams to specialize, this would be terribly unfair.

Some parents are all in favour of the private option. Their kids "study", they say. They "try hard". They have "medical vocation", they are "motivated and smart".

My question to these parents is: if that's the case, why can't they make it the regular way? Something is missing in their "motivated" kids, either brains or willpower. In my experience, most often, these very "motivated" people simply lack the willpower to apply their ass to a chair and concentrate for more than a couple of hours.

I'm sorry to be so harsh, but we aren't in kindergarten anymore. "Trying" isn't enough.

"Oh, so sorry, your father/mother/sibling/child died because I screwed up, but I tried"

Would you accept that?

viernes, 18 de abril de 2008

Last Short Story Project on "Clapping for the Fairies"

This is what girliejones had to say about "Clapping for the Fairies" published in Helix 8

This year I have promised myself not to fall behind in my blogging so I am going to blog my story recs as they come, and regardless of how many form a post.

So today? Just this one:

Clapping for the Fairies by Sara Genge, Helix 8

I'm becoming a bit of a fan of Sara Genge's work. I think she writes from left field which makes her work stand out in a crowd. And her style is very readable. Here, she is very playful with form and that really appealed to me. I liked this story and *I'll* clap for the fairy.

I'm developping something of a crush for the Last Short Story project. These guys read hundreds of stories a year and bother to post about them. I can't help but think of them as uber-literate as far as short stories are concerned and when they like one of mine it's a huge ego-boost.

sábado, 12 de abril de 2008

Spanish Politics

The links are in Spanish since I couldn't find good coverage in English. Sorry about that.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has formed his government for the next four years.

For the first time, there are more women Ministers than men (9 to 8). For the first time, a woman, Carme Chacon, is head of Defense. Oh, and yes, she's pregnant. Very pregnant.

This is going to be fun to watch.


I assembled an anthology at Anthology Builder for my Mom's birthday/Christmas present (yes, I'm late, but I was studying for the Big Exam and I didn't get around to get anyone gifts. And yes, I do plan on giving her something else soon; one book for two gift-giving days is cheap even for me). The anthology arrived last week and I have to say I was impressed. For one, the cover is glossy and pretty (my fault, since I chose it). Second, the book is a trade paperback with a glossy pro look, nice typeset and quality paper. Third, it's big. I guess I hadn't translated "350 pages" into volume in my head. I certainly hadn't translated 14.99$ into stories. There were maybe 15-20 stories in there, most of them longer than a couple pages. That's very good value for money, specially with the dollar so low.

Sue Burke gave me my contributor copy of Desolate Places, edited by Eric T. Reynolds. Sue Burke and I are both in the TOC and since postal service to my house isn't reliable, Eric agreed to mail both copies to Sue. This book looks a lot like the antho builder one: big, sturdy, and with a lot of stories. I haven't had a chance to read any of them yet, but I can't wait.

miércoles, 9 de abril de 2008

Writerly Powers Of Persuasion

I'm getting some wacky feedback from people who've read "Clapping for the Fairies" saying that they actually clapped in the end. This makes me feel all tingly inside and strokes my writer god-complex, but I wonder if I haven't passed up a wonderful opportunity to get readers to do something more productive.

What would have happened if I had applied my writerly powers of persuasion to get readers to send me a buck?

You, the white dude with tired eyes, paypal me 20$. You, the harried exec with a heavy check-book, send me dough. You, yes, I do mean you (your shirt is horrible, by the way, Hawaiian is so 80s) get a girlfriend and support Helix while you're at it.

Hmmm... For some reason the money isn't raining in. Maybe it only works when there's a story behind it and a powerful emotional trigger.

Oh, I have an idea... Story-evangelism, here I come!

martes, 1 de abril de 2008

"Clapping for the Fairies" in Helix #8

Helix #8 is up and my story "Clapping For The Fairies" is in it. This is my second story in Helix, coming exactly a year after "Pretty Little Thing". was published.

I'm a bad self-pimp, but I'll say this: it's a weird little story, told from a weird perspective. If you like the idea of a second person, choose-your-own-adventure, lesbian horrortale, this might just be the thing for you.

Incidentally, I've been contacted about translating "Pretty Little Thing" into Spanish. This will give my non-English speaking friends an opportunity to find out what that writing thing is all about and, possibly, defriend me.

jueves, 27 de marzo de 2008

Writing Stuff

Apex Digest #12 is out! Dear Diary is in it! It's a special double issue with a cool cover! Go buy!

Ok, now that I've gotten the squee moment out of the way, let's proceed to other things:

I signed up for SFWA and sent out the contract and proofs. The photocopies were crappy, but I don't own a working copier and there aren't many places where I can get a photocopy in my neighbourhood. I hope the accept my mangled copies as evidence enough.

Which takes us to the second point. Brace yourselves: I am not a particularly neat person. I seem to attract more entropy than is my due: my shoes wear out faster than a normal person's, my clothes bleed colors in the wash, and don't even get me started on the three or four times a year when I try to wear makeup.

Sometimes I think there's a fundamental rule I'm missing, one of those things people learn implicitly in kindergarten which make it unnecessary for their mothers to warn them that "you should not eat your classmates" (Intended Heinlein reference there). M says "I'm hard on things", meaning, the coffee maker you gave me for Thanksgiving? It'll still be working by Christmas, but it might look a little... tasered? burnt? melted? You get the idea.

Most of the time there's nothing particular I've done wrong in order to hurt the things in my life. Malfunction just seems to gravitate towards me, like bad handwriting (1). Hence, the bad photocopies at the shop today. I didn't even make them myself; there's no way those can be blamed on me, but I still have the nagging feeling that if one of the perfect people had gone to get her contracts and table of contents copied, she'd have walked out of there with a readable version.

(1) The whole point of this post is to make excuses for my poor handwriting. I'm sneaky like that.

miércoles, 26 de marzo de 2008

"A More Perfect Union" in Spanish: "Una Unión Más Perfecta"

I've noticed that people were finding my blog by searching google for Spanish translations of Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union". When I posted the previous entry, I tried to find a Spanish version that my non-English proficient friends might find easier to follow, but at the time, I could only find the youtube video with subtitles.

Now, thanks to Antonio Semeco, there's a translation. It's surprisingly good, considering this wasn't an easy text to translate. Most of the strenght of the speech carried over into Spanish.

Check out the pdf translation.

In case you want to watch the speech, but need Spanish subtitles to help you along, here's the video, courtesy of Cuban for Obama. You can watch it here or zip over to his blog and watch it over there.

miércoles, 19 de marzo de 2008

A More Perfect Union

I just finished listening to Barack Obama's speech "A More Perfect Union". I live in the wrong continent and I don't know much about US politics. I don't know how revolutionary this speech was or whether race has been dealt with before with so little extraneous crap by a US politician of Obama's stature within the past 20 years.

I've done some googling but I'm afraid I can't assess the reactions to this speech without knowing what's being said in the main TV networks and papers. Googling is great, but if you don't have a global picture it's hard to contextualize the snippets of info you can glean from the net.

Basically, I'm asking for a favour: link me to reactions that you think embody the general buzz out there. I'm drowning in extreme opinions, and I want to know what most Americans think about this. Because I really really want Obama to be our next president, and I'd hate to get my hopes up for nothing.

I've embeded the speech in case someone still hasn't seen it.

Man, I wish Spanish politicians spoke like this. It might not improve the scene, but it'd sure make it more interesting to watch.

martes, 18 de marzo de 2008

Meme it!

Many people are aware that long-sightedness (is that the correct term?) hits pretty much everyone once they're over 50, but little people know that the ear is also affected by age in a condition called presbycusis. High frequency sounds are lost first, and sounds that only children and young adults can hear have been put to commercial use, eliciting pesky questions from people concerned about http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7240180.stm">children's Human Rights.

But most important, the mosquito device has created this meme (which I got from Scalzi's blog). How old is your ear? Go ahead and find out.

The mosquito device was made for the likes of you. You are probably begging to make the noise stop!

The highest pitched ultrasonic mosquito ringtone that I can hear is 18.8kHz
Find out which ultrasonic ringtones you can hear!

lunes, 17 de marzo de 2008

Cheating in Spanish and American Politics

Over at Susie Bright's blog there's a great post which illustrates some of the difference between Spain and America in the public's perception of their politicians' private lives, cheating, in particular. Bright swaps a few emails with a correspondent from El Periodico, who is baffled by the wives standing next to their teary politician husbands when it's time to apologize for a sex scandal.

I highly recommend this entry to anyone trying to understand Spanish politics, Spanish marriage or even dirtier subjects, like domestic violence in Spain.

Quoting the journalist:

It's hard for me to imagine a political wife in Spain standing by her man in a press conference.

First of all, our politicians' private lives are not as important as in the US. For instance, the presence of the wife in the election campaign is not as common as here.

I'd go even further and state that using a politician's wife "a la US" in a campaign, would quickly backfire. People would be wondering what exactly she was doing speaking at a meeting when she doesn't have a high political position. It'd be seen as opportunistic and cheesy. Our current wife-of-President looks great on cam, and yet they still keep her out of the limelight and use her only on very specific occasions. The wife of the loosing candidate in the last election was a complete unknown (to me) until she appeared in the tribune with her husband when he conceded the election--sparking rumours that maybe she was going into politics. If you're on the tribune, you're there for a reason, and the only reason Spanish journalists could think of was that she might be running for something. Because who in their right mind would subject themselves to public scrutiny just to have the man look good?

Some years ago, an important member of the conservative government left, and eventually divorced, his wife. He married a twenty-something he met in a party convention. He cheated on his wife before leaving her. Later, he left this second wife and married a third woman. It was a gossip story for the gossip press, not a political story for the serious press. He did not resign at all, and nobody asked him to. Both cheated wives gave interviews, to be sure, but to the gossip media.

We care so little about people's private lives that I don't even recognize the politician in question. Oh, I could look it up, of course. But I'm not going to. Because I don't care.

It is not that Spain is not sexist. It is indeed (at the end of the day, we invented the words 'macho' and 'machismo').

Sadly, yes.

But, as you said, in our ancestral Catholic culture, the woman may "belong" to the man, but the man must fulfill his duties with her; she has "some rights." One of his duties is to protect her. It is already enough of a burden for her to have been cheated on. She does not need to appear in front the whole country as the humiliated wife.

It's more than that. In Spain we have a strong "what will people think?" attitude to morals. Ie: cheating on your wife is bad, but cheating on your wife and then having everyone know about it along with sordid details is unforgivable. A Spanish wife might let him come back home after he cheated , but not if he was stupid enough to be caught on T.V. But then again, he'd never be caught on T.V. because nobody would care enough to make a scandal out of it (except the gossip rags, but I doubt they could keep things going for more than a day or so--it'd blow over fast).

One last point: as an ancestral machista society, Spain thinks that whatever happens at home stays at home, even if we are talking about a politician.

This means that politicians are seen only in their political roles, and not necessarily as role models for good husbands/lovers/etc.

On the other hand, the fact that whatever "happens at home stays at home" means that issues like abuse and domestic violence are hidden. It's taken a lot of time to have laws that consider domestic abuse as a crime. Above all, it was hard (and sometimes it is still) to consider this abuse as something that must be rejected, and dealt with in the public sphere, not only at home.

I couldn't have put it better.

The key to Spanish politics:

Politician's here aren't demi-gods
Respectable people keep their private lives' private. You're not expected to drag out your family even when you have one and it's to your advantage. Politician's kids never appear on T.V. Period. I guess there's a deal with the press involved and so far it's worked well.

That's the reason why nobody pities the celebs' who end up on the gossip pages. True or not, there's a strong sense of they were asking for it that keeps people from empathising.

sábado, 15 de marzo de 2008

Godtouched in Hebrew

Bli-Panika wants to reprint "Godtouched".


Another step in my world domination plan has been completed.

jueves, 13 de marzo de 2008

Apex Digest 12 is out

And it's got my story "Dear Diary" in it.

Go buy! It's available in Canada and the US in B&N, Hastings, Chapters, and Joseph-Beth Booksellers, as well as through the Internet, of course.

lunes, 10 de marzo de 2008

Votes trump Prayers

Right now, in an interview with Telecinco, Zapatero made a memorable statement:
Thankfully, in a democracy, votes trump prayers.

Let's rewind a bit. Sarda, a comedian asked him in a Q&A what he thought of the newly elected head of the Spanish bishops and remarked that the President should know that the bishops must've been praying for him to loose for the last week or so. At which point, Zapatero said the "Votes trump prayers" bit. I bet anything it makes it to tomorrow's papers.

Spanish General Elections 2008--The Day After

The election was called around 22.30 last night.

The Socialists won again, although the PP gained a few seats in Congress. Abstention was 24.68% compared to 2004 when it was 24.34%, so overall voter turnout was high (as I said in the previous entry, the 2004 election was atypical).

Some interesting data points:

Abstention in the Basque Country reached 35.10% almost 10 points higher than 2004. The reason this is important is that the parties that don't condemn the terrorist group ETA were illegalized. Since they couldn't be on the ballot, they asked their supporters to abstain. Now, they're going to claim all of the abstention to their side, which is blatant exaggeration. But, obviously, this 10% increase is bad news.

The Socialists didn't get absolute majority which means they're going to need help to govern. After such a hard campaign, I doubt they can agree with the PP on anything, so the smaller nationalist parties are once again going to play a role. We'll have to wait and see what kind of alliances spring up from the election and what kind of concessions will come from that.

Votes in Spain are calibrated by region. This is something that was put in the Constitution of 1978 to give the smaller nations that are integrated in Spain some additional power. At this point in History, I think maintaining this system is a mistake. Andalucia is way poorer than Cataluña. Their votes should at least count the same.

As a result of this you have several small nationalist parties who will be fundamental in governing for the next four years, while IU, with 4% of the vote, gets less than 1% of the seats in Congress. Same thing for Rosa Diaz, whose party, UPyD was the fifth group in number of votes but will only have one seat in Congress.

Speaking of Rosa Diaz and UPyD. She funded this party less than 6 months ago and she's done surprisingly well in the elections. I'm happy to see some fresh blood in what is looking like an increasingly bipartisan political scene. It looks like her party is taking a centralist and anti-nationalist stance. It won't work, and I don't agree, but I'm glad some new ideas are being thrown in there. They're also in favour of limiting mandates. With Chaves (Socialist) having been in power in Andalucia for a quarter of a century, this certainly seems to make sense.

Well, that's it for now.

domingo, 9 de marzo de 2008

General Elections- Spain 2008

Despite the terrorist attack last Friday, the General Elections are proceeding normally.

Turn-out appears to be pretty high, just a couple percentage points lower than '04 which was a particularly high turnout year because Al Qaeda had just killed over 200 people in the Atocha train bombs and the Government was making a mess of trying to pin it on ETA.

High turnout is supposed to favour the Socialists (PSOE). A couple weeks back, a PP politician admitted to the Financial Times that they sought to increase abstention, since that would appear to favour them. The left-leaning electorate seems to be prissy. They stay at home when things aren't perfect and aggressive politics turn them off. The PP has headed a very harsh opposition during these past few years turning the political arena into a perpetual spat that makes every-one's heads throb. I guess it helps them secure their hardliners, but they need the moderates to win. The results today will show whether they are making a mistake. They are no friends of mine, but I kind of pity the moderates in the party, who are hurt by all this mudslinging.

I voted. I wonder what my American friends would think of our voting facilities. I voted in a school, around 6 pm, and the little pink slips of the Senate and white slips of Congress had begun to mingle nicely, although there were a couple people making sure that you could find the ballot you wanted. Due process was ensured, of course, but there was none of that protocol that goes on in French elections, for example, where you're supposed to take at least two slips and fill out your envelopes in a private booth (insuring that nobody can tell who you've voted for). Here, a couple of us were scrambling for the ballots for our party of choice. It was all very relaxed and I didn't see any private voting booths (although I'm certain I would have found them had I asked).

The stupid senate slips were so big that they had to be stuffed into the envelopes which then had to be stuffed through the narrow slits of the voting boxes. The girl who did mine seemed to have become proficient at it. In Spain, you don't put your own ballot into the box, someone from the table is in charge of doing it for you after they've correctly ID'd you and said your name out loud. After the ballot is inserted, the people on the table usually say "votes". Today, the women on the table seemed to be too tired of the whole jig and they just slipped the ballot in without a word.

I'll keep you updated. The election booths closed 18 minutes ago and results should start trickling in a couple of hours.


For those of you who don't know much about Spanish politics:
PSOE: ruling political party. The "S" stands for Socialist although they aren't much of that nowadays. Moderate lefties, they legalized gay marriage last term.

PP: right wing. They've become hard core in the last four years.

viernes, 7 de marzo de 2008

ETA Murder

Less than 48h before the general election, the terrorists have killed again. It'd been a while since the last killing, although I think this may be more because the police had a good streak than because ETA was going soft.

An armed man walked up to Isaias Carrasco and shot him three times, two on the chest, once on the throat. The ambulance people managed to get him alive to the hospital but he died there.

Isaias Carrasco lived in Mondragón and operated a toll booth. He belonged to the Socialist Party and he'd been an elect official for the town of Mondragón for a few years, although last year he wasn't re-elected and didn't get bodyguard protection. He made an easy target and the fact that he wasn't even involved in politics anymore (not even the low-level politics of small town government) didn't seem to worry the terrorists.

I wonder what they were trying for. Killing someone right before the general election might help the opposition Popular Party. I don't see why ETA would want the Popular Party to win, unless their hard-line rhetoric suits them by creating a half-arsed "justification" to their wanton bloodfest. On the other hand, since they've killed a Socialist, there might be a bit of a sympathy vote that might otherwise have stayed home. Abstention hurts the Socialist Party more than it does the PP and this might help to mobilize people.

I don't know. ETA has never had much logic behind their actions. When all it takes to kill is a psychopath with a gun and another psychopath waiting in the getaway car, logic soon goes the same way as morals.

lunes, 25 de febrero de 2008

Here, have a secret

I just discovered that Sybil's Garage has put up Six Questions About the Sun, by Brian Conn on their website. I read this story on the paper version of the mag, and it keeps coming back to me, little snippets of crazy jumping me from the shadows as I go about my life. It's a quirky little story, and it's utterly delicious.

An excerpt:
: Should you look directly into the sun?

A: Yes. Everybody should look directly into the sun at least once. It is not necessary to look directly into the sun regularly, because it is possible to remember the experience after looking there only once; but if you ever forget what it is like to look directly into the sun, you should look there again.

One of the reasons I love small mags is because they feel private. The stories in these mags are little jewels, just for you. All over the World, there are maybe a few hundred people who have read this particular story. Small press mags are like special editions or collectors items. Enough of a secret pleasure to bring a mysterious smile to a reader's lips. Of course, now that it's up on the web, the cat's out of the bag with this one, but still, you can go read the story now and remember what it must've felt like to hold the original in your hands.

viernes, 22 de febrero de 2008

Family Values--Cosmos Online

Family Values is up on Cosmos Online .

Here's what the girliejones had to say about the "Family Values" in the Last Short Story project:
Another story I really enjoyed recently was Sara Genge's in COSMOS 16 called "Family Values". The writing is really beautiful and smooth, drawing you in totally to the story. It's a wee bit naughty but you're never really sure if it really *is* naughty because it's never really clear if this is an alien story or a scientific one. I'm not sure if that makes sense but I don't want to ruin it. It's clever and fun and does strong female characterisation. The ending left a big smile on my face and I'd love to see more of this world.

Check it out - I guess you will be able to find it online soon.

And online it is. Enjoy and come back to tell me if/how much you liked it.

miércoles, 20 de febrero de 2008

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Due to my sickitude, I haven't done much but watch TV/vids for a couple of days. This morning, I watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age. This isn't a craptacular film and there's something about regal historical dresses/hair/makeup that makes any film entertaining. Besides, it's always nice to watch Clive Owen strut around the place (does Clive Owen ever walk, or is strutting his natural means of transportation?)

However, there were a couple issues that seriously bugged me.

1) The Spanish. Jordi Mollà (Spanish actor) plays Felipe II which means that the Spanish isn't completely awful. This is good. After watching The Tudors, I unconsciously brace every time someone on an English speaking movie starts twisting their mouths into the wide open vowels of Spanish. However, someone (probably the director) told Jordi Mollà not to speak his perfectly good Spanish like he normally would. The director (or whoever botched this up) just couldn't believe how fast real Spanish is, so instead, he has the King talking... reaaaally slow... as... if... Spanish monarchs... were for some reason... in love with the ellipsis.

Now, listen people. There's a reason Reptilian Humanoids favour Spanish: you can carry out a complete conversation and still clickety-clack encrypted second and third messages for Alpha Centauri in the same amount of time it takes an English Speaker to say "I'm from Texas".

Furthermore, the script writers must have forced him to say the subject in every single phrase (Hint: native speakers don't say the subjects, since subjects are included in the verb tense. Perfect accent+subject in phrase=CIA operative who needs a couple more month's training. Aka: not native speaker)

2) The Queen SUCKS. This is the scriptwriters fault. The Queen sucks BECAUSE SHE'S A WOMAN. There's ample film tradition in this respect. In this version of Joan of Arc, Joan is not only a raving lunatic (which is historical fact) but also quite the idiot and the men around her only follow her due to their utter and complete desperation. The movie also makes an effort to appear as a farce, hence robbing Joan of Arc of as much power and historical punch as physically possible.

Ok, I know the Middle Ages weren't great for women's lib, but in all ages and time periods there have been women that have been followed because they were
a) religious leaders
b) great Queens or political leaders
c) hot.
This happened. Denying that there powerful women existed before the twentieth century is insulting in the extreme.

Back to Elizabeth: the Golden Age. Great care is put to portray the sovereign as powerful and majestus--that is, until it matters. The moment hot guy (Clive Owen) arrives she comes apart like a fifteen year old schoolgirl. Much has been made of the Virgin Queen's ehm, virginity, but I doubt she would have kept it for so long if the first pirate to arrive in court caused her to lose control like this. Even if the pirate was Clive Owen.

There's a metaproblem here that I find even more worrying. I sense that the scriptwriters felt that if they didn't make her vulnerable, she wouldn't be likable. Because, you know, a woman who can keep a lid on her emotions isn't an actual woman? Cold bitch, anyone? Cough, cough Hillary Clinton.

Elizabeth's strengths, as portrayed in the film, are gender neutral (English snark, intelligence, eloquence) or stem from her suppressing her femaleness (virginity), while her defects (jealousy, doubt, fear) are all sort-of, but-not-quite pinned on the fact that she's a lonely female monarch in a man's world.

But it's one o'clock in the morning and maybe I'm reading too much into a stupid film.

lunes, 18 de febrero de 2008


Yes, it hurts to breathe.

My sister was a princess and ran out this morning to get me some cough medicine, even though she was running late.

The upside is that I'm managing to be asleep more hours than not. It is possible to sleep 20 out of 24h and I plan to prove that today.

domingo, 17 de febrero de 2008


I'm sick, but that's not the bad part.

A friend of my mother's kindly organized for someone to give me the tour of an Intensive Care Unit, the better to help me decide which specialty I want to chose come April 3rd. The appointment is tomorrow and I'm sick and getting sicker.

My parents seem to be even more technologically challenged than usual: their phones are on, but they're not answering. So, I have no way of contacting this woman and letting her know I can't go.

Should I:

a) Drag my sorry contagious ass over there tomorrow morning and act stoic through the whole explanation.

b) Stand this guy up, knowing that this is a Hospital that is high up my list and that I may end up working with him. He'll probably have forgotten me in a couple of months, besides, I'm probably not going to be working in Intensive Care.

c) Profusely apologize later when my Mother gets around to giving me her friend's phone number. Hope the apology makes it all the way to the guy who was giving me the tour (unlikely)


Edited to ask: crisis solved. My parents came back from the beach and called me. Now I feel bad about calling them "technologically challenged", but I promise other times the excuse is a lot less convincing. Usually it's "we forgot the phone home", "we didn't hear it ring" or "oh, so that was the ring tone that was going off all night!" Of course, when it's the other way round, we're expected to have the phone on us 24/7.
(Don't mind me huffing: I'm feeling really sick)


viernes, 15 de febrero de 2008

More Carnival Pics

Because I do remember that I owed you some.

As you can see, the dresses were wild and it was a very inclusive party, with people of all ages. There were also quite a few older or bigger ladies completely unabashed in their sexy costumes. Kudos to them. They seemed to be having a blast.

There's still one last post left: the Entierro de la Sardina, the best day at the Carnival. I was adopted by a bunch of locals and had a blast, but its a long story and I'll save it for tomorrow.

jueves, 14 de febrero de 2008

Sale and proation

Asimov's wants "Prayers for an Egg". This story was work-shopped in Villa Diodati, where the magnificent writers there said something along the lines of "more alien, less patchwork". The aliened-up version seemed to be to Asimov's liking.

The world needed a story about tentacles, tri-gendered aliens and their ambivalent relationship towards their own eggs. I've only written two stories with tentacles in them, but both have been accepted by pro mags. I think I'm onto something here. What's with editors and tentacles, anyway? Because yeah, I find them cool, but then I wouldn't put them in my stories otherwise. It just seems peculiar that, for once, the universe and I are on the same tree. I'm tempted to graft tentacles onto my trunk stories, see if they get sapped up... That's a fun writing exercise if I ever heard of one.

This is my third pro sale, so I guess I'm on proation, that ample space-time continuum wherein writers reside who have sold three or more stories to pro markets but who haven't yet achieved the level of excellence and consistency of say, Nancy Fulda, Jay Lake, Ruth Nestvold etc. For me the consistency thing is a big issue, I can sort of get things sort of right like 10% of the time but 90% of my writing is wasted on unfixable drafts. If anyone has suggestions to help with this, I'm all ears.

Now, should I join SFWA or not? The fact that I can doesn't mean I have to, but there might be cool stuff in that organization that I'm missing. So far, I've only seen the icky stuff.

Sorry if this blog post doesn't make any sense: I'm kind of giddy. I may have to go eat some chocolate.

Edited to add: Thanks to Marshall Payne who helped me with an early version of this story. I don't know how I forgot to mention him by name. This story has gone through a lot of fazes and there's probably other people who have critiqued it and who I've forgotten to mention in this post. Among them are several Hatrackers and several Liberty Hallers. Thanks to all of them. I doubt there has been a story that's been more critiqued and edited than this one has.

lunes, 11 de febrero de 2008

He's "not ready" to be President

Susie Bright puts it better than I ever could in this post.

And since today I feel functionally illiterate, I'll just quote her when she says:
I've often been in this place, where I am not "in love" with either candidate— by a long shot— and yet I'm outraged when either of them are damned with euphemistic racist or sexist evaluations.

Karnythia, on ABW, states the obvious: people, whether they belong to minorities or not, usually chose candidates for their politics and not for their race/gender. I hope you're not surprised.

On a totally unrelated note, John Scalzi has some financial advice on the Whatever, for all writers who actually believe they can make some money writing. Oh, and Nick Mamatas also has a money piece up on his blog. Weird. It must be tax time again for freelancers or something.

God, I'm so happy I'm planing on enjoying my non-writing career... And don't you love it when other people write your blog posts?

Anyway, there'll be a megaCarnival post soonish. I'm just too lazy to write it right now.

martes, 5 de febrero de 2008

Carnival in Tenerife

Yes, you're jealous.

The Carnival in Canary Islands is supposed to be the best in Spain, followed closely by the one in Cadiz. I've certainly seen a helluva lot of costumes, most of them incredibly elaborate. The attention to detail is amazing, from the little pocket watches hanging off a clown costume to the bright shiny stuff painstakingly attached to almost anything.

I missed a bit more dancing and the little I saw was far from proficient. The crowd was a bit stayed, but that may be a Canary Islands thing. My mom went to see a Joe Cocker concert and she said everyone just sat through the whole event.

There are several parts to this party. Let me go through them one by one. I'll probably miss something, so bear with me.

The Queens.

Probably the most spectacular part of Carnival. Local businesses shell out to commission and build huge dresses which are worn by the aspiring queens throughout the carnival. For the contest itself, the girls tow these monsters around, so the dresses have to be light enough for them to carry. Thankfully, for the parades, the dresses and the girls get put up on a platform and towed.

Here's one of them at the contest ceremony.

And here's the one who won the Sta Cruz de Tenerife contest.

On top of the young girls vying for queen-hood, there are also contests for queen in the child and over-65 category. I particularly liked the older women's pageant, since the younger girls seemed to disappear inside their dresses. The older women wore their dresses better and the fact that most of them were a little bigger helped them to hold their own against the dress and in the end, they looked more majestic.

This was one of the older ladies "dresses". She's in there somewhere, but you can't see her because of the angle of the pic.

A couple more:

The Murgas.

These are groups of people who dress up alike and dance in the parades. This years theme was "Magic" and you can sort of see that in the costumes in a roundabout way. The kids in particular are really sweet.

There were all kinds of people parading: little kids, old people and everyone in between and nobody seemed sky of showing skin, even the older heavier ladies.

Everyone else

You can dress up or not. Most of the crowd didn't. There were a variety of themes, mostly low-cost.
I was particularly surprised by the amount of guys dressed as women. Over thirty percent of the men who were dressed up, had chosen to do so as women, nurses and maids being the most common. There seemed to be no minimum age for this and I kind of wondered what the point was sometimes, since I have a hard time telling a ten year old boy dressed up as a girl from a ten year old girl. Well, I guess they know they're dressed up and that's what counts. One or two solved the problem by painting on mustaches to achieve the total man-to-woman effect.

There are a lot more pictures. I'll try to post a few more tomorrow.

jueves, 24 de enero de 2008


Rich Horton (ecbatan at the Elephant Forgets), has done a nice overal crit of most mags in 2007. I'm mentioned both in the Cosmos and Helix reviews.

martes, 22 de enero de 2008

Mail and Sale

We finally got mail today: it was dumped on the front steps, because, you know, putting it in the actual mail box would have been too polite. There was quite a bit of it, too, confirming my suspicion that the Postal Service was hoarding it for some reason.

I got two issues of Sf&F, so the mail retention must've gone on for a while. I also got a contract from Weird Tales for "The Gong", a crazy story about an eunuch that I wrote a while ago and never got around to submitting. I'm thrilled. Between this and the "perfect storm" geeky exam, I'm wondering if I shouldn't buy the lottery this week. It sure seems like I'm having a lucky streak.

Yay me.

lunes, 21 de enero de 2008

No Mail Week

Still recuping from the exam. Man, I'm beat and my back is killing me. I guess I'll have to take it easy for a couple of days.

We've received no post for more than a week. Dunno what's wrong, but I'll call and ask tomorrow. Confirms my opinion on the Spanish Postal Service. Anyway, just wanted to mention it in the unlikely event that there's someone out there waiting breathlessly for me to acknowledge a letter.

I talked to the mail-man on friday and told him where our mail-box is, since I know they have trouble finding it. He admitted he was new and didn't know where it was, but he didn't then drop any mail in it, so I'm wondering if there's something wrong that is outside of this particular mail-man's control. He was a nice guy and he wore just a hint of make-up. Pretty balsy, wearing make-up to work like that.

Sucks, because there's a couple rejections that are overdue and I don't know if they aren't coming because of lack of mail or because the stories have made it to the next round. Rejectomancy out the window.

domingo, 20 de enero de 2008

The Jury is In

The exam went well, but it was kind of strange. Lots of easy questions, but quite a few of the uber-hard ones too. My stats tell me that a hard exam would have favored me, but I'm not quite sure how to classify this one. It felt easy at times, until you got whammed with one of the bitchy questions.

Can't tell at this point how I've done. The answer sheet should be out in a few days, and then the academy will start putting together data points. I guess by the end of this week, I'll know more or less how I've placed. Of course, definitive results will take a bit longer.

For now, I'm just happy to be done with this shit. I'm very tired. I'd planned on going out tonight, but it's only 1.30 and I feel like crawling into bed. I'm at Tom's house, there's music and liquor. I might just crash here. Dunno. Either way, it's great that my whole choice range only includes sleeping and/or having fun. Freaking great for a change.

Happy but bust. Have fun.

viernes, 18 de enero de 2008

Exam Day

Tomorrow is D-day. I'm nervous and have had trouble concentrating this morning, but otherwise, I'm fine. I'm going to eat now and then I'll study maybe one more hour this evening and that's it. No more studying for a long long time.

Can't tell you how happy I am to get this over with.

I've studied well. Now, I just need to stay reasonable and not double-guess each and every question like I tend to do. I don't do it on purpose, either, I just have this tangential way of looking at problems. Creativity--not good when applied to exam questions.

Wish me luck.

martes, 8 de enero de 2008

Forbidden Speculations Contest

I won! "Certified Organic" has won the Forbidden Speculations Short Story Contest.

This story was originally a Liberty Hall flash.

Being in the antho was good enough, but this rocks. I think I'm going to spend the cash on all those Christmas presents that I owe people that I didn't manage to buy because of the Evil Exam.


lunes, 7 de enero de 2008

Last Short Story and "Family Values"

RandomAlex from the Last Short Story project has put together the list of reading recommendations from the thousands of stories these guys read throughout the year. And guess what? "Family Values" published in Cosmos 16, made it into the list.

Happy happy.

sábado, 5 de enero de 2008

Three Kings' Day

It's Three Kings' Day in Spain.

Used to be, kids got their gifts from The Three Kings. Nowadays, Spaniards have realized that adopting American Holidays makes for a great excuse to have Double Holidays. Hence, kids now get gifts from Santa AND The Three Kings, they dress up as chulapos for the Fiestas de la Almudena and as skeletons for Halloween. Works out just fine for everyone, unless you're commercial-holiday-averse like I am.

I just finished my roscon de reyes, a horrible dry dreary pastry that you're supposed to eat tonight. My mom offered to cook something palatable, but the Family wouldn't have it. It'd be traditional roscon or nothing, so roscon it was. Mom made sushi for dinner, so I guess she'd already filled her quota of extravagance and the roscon was her nod to tradition. I wish she hadn't felt she had to do that. Anything my mom cooks is better than that dry argh. Any day.

Now, we're supposed to hang our shoes out on the window, so the Three Kings can deposit gifts in them. Yes, it's shoes, not stockings, but the similarity to Santa Claus related activities is remarkable. What's so special about footwear that it attracts gifts from supernatural benefactors with logical and quantum capabilities?

Maybe we'll never know. But just in case, hang your shoes out the window tonight. There might be something in there in the morning. Possibly only snow, but you never know.