Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I'm delighted to announce that I'll be reading twice in April—in the same week! The first time will be on April 23 at the First Person Plural series in Harlem, sandwiched between Bathsheba Doran and Tiphanie Yanique. (More info here.)

The second time will be a couple days later...more info on that soon.

(I'll be updating my long-dormant Personal Days blog. As for the official Ed Park/Personal Days site—I think I've forgotten how to use it...!)

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Negative John Carter review from 84 years ago

On the first submission—as was his wont with startlingly new ideas—Farnsworth Wright rejected “The Call of Cthulhu.” The following summer, however, he asked to see it again. Lovecraft sent it in with two other stories and one of his defeatist letters. He berated conventional interplanetary stories like Burroughs’s tales of John Carter (which he had loved as a youth), with its stalwart human hero in love with a beautiful extraterrestrial princess:

If I were writing an “interplanetary” tale it would deal with beings organized very differently form mundane mammalia, and obeying motives wholly alien to anything we know upon Earth—the exact degree of alienage depending, of course, on the scene of the tale; whether laid in the solar system, or the utterly unplumbed gulfs still farther out….All very well—but will readers stand for it? That’s all they’re likely to get from me in the future—except when I deal with definitely terrestrial scenes—and I am the last one to urge the acceptance of material of doubtful value to the magazine’s particular purpose.

Despite Lovecraft’s negative salesmanship, Wright bought the story for $165. It appeared in Weird Tales for February, 1928.

—L. Sprague de Camp, Lovecraft: A Biography

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Return of "Cow Vase"

Last year I participated in the Significant Objects project, writing a very short story around a knick-knack selected by editors Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn. Now several of those stories have been collected into a book, and I'm happy to be included alongside authors such as Nicholson Baker, William Gibson, Heidi J., Colson Whitehead, Neil LaBute, Sloane Crosley, Tom McCarthy, Jonathan Lethem, Lydia Millett....(I could keep going!)...

It looks like there will be two covers; I wrote about the delightful "Cow Vase" featured on the pink one. The books are out in July and are available for pre-order.

Today the project was featured on Studio 360. There's a contest, and a video...

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekend Ouroboros - jewelry edition

(Hannah Clark Jewelry)

Via the Khongster

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Portrait of H.S. Keeler

In a mystery novel from the 1940s* by the Chicago paper-blackener Harry Stephen Keeler (1890–1967), the greedy children of an eccentric moneybags receive instructions to light a candle and contemplate, for twenty minutes, a hideous self-portrait in the sitting room. One by one they pay the required visit, but finding the demand preposterous and the painting unsettling, each blows out the candle and leaves long before the requisite span. The sole exception—the one child with enough filial piety to hang out for a bit and attempt to commune with the spattered canvas—is rewarded. For at twenty minutes, the wax of the candle has melted enough to reveal a cylinder, in which reposes the codicil of a will. Our persevering viewer inherits everything....

Read the next exciting paragraph at The Chiseler!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Martian chronicles

It's unlikely I'll get to see John Carter (dubbed "Ishtar on Mars" by the NYT) before it leaves the theaters, so all I can do is read...

1. Here's Shadowplay, "The Face on the Barsoom Floor" (a pretty positive take on the film):

So, JOHN CARTER, a movie which is underperforming ENTIRELY, I submit, because some halfwit at Disney decided to omit the words “OF MARS” from their $250 million epic, thereby making it sound like MICHAEL CLAYTON or JACKIE BROWN. Low-key, in other words. The decision reeks of stupidity not just because it miss-sells the product (I guess the ads made most of us aware what kind of film this really was) but because it gave off a whiff of panic, and the press bloodhounds were all over that. So the movie emerged sheened in flop sweat, before a skeptical rather than an enthused populace.

2. Here's Geoff Ryman's excellent story "Film-makers of Mars," from his collection Paradise Tales (Small Beer Press) and now back up on the Tor site (where it originally appeared).

3. And here's Grognardia on one of the rarest TSR products—Warriors of Mars: The Warfare of Barsoom in Miniature:

If you've never heard of Warriors of Mars, let alone seen a copy, there's a good reason for that. There was, so far as I know, only one print run of the book before the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate contacted TSR about possible infringement of their rights. Rather than risk legal action, the book was never reprinted, making it today one of the rarest -- and most expensive -- TSR products. I've tried in vain to obtain a copy for myself at a reasonable (i.e. not multi-hundred dollar) price for several years now but to no avail. . . .

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wei to go!

Jing Wei has been chosen by PRINT magazine as one of the 20 best illustrators under 30!

(Look for her art on the cover of Jane Yeh's new book of poetry, The Ninjas, later this year.)


In other news, up to 500 bees will surround an invading hornet and cook it to death.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hump-day Ouroboros

Becky writes:

I thought of you the other day, when, in my presentation on Jean-Luc Nancy's Corpus, I used an ouroboros to illustrate the below claim of Nancy's:

"As the all-signifying of a sense whose sense is body-building, the body is the end of the signifier as well, the absolute crasis of the sign, the pure sense of pure sense, hoc est enim corpus meum, with the hoc designating here a total absence of exteriority, a non-extension concentrated in itself, not something impenetrable, but rather its excess, the impenetrable mixed with the impenetrable, infinite intussusception, the proper devouring itself, all the way to the void at its center."


Now stare at this Ouroboros, via L.G. Thos.:


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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Eye candy

This is just fun to look at.

(Via Jing Wei)


Thursday, March 01, 2012

It's the Baum

Rare Parkiana (ca. 2009) is now available by subscribing—free!—to the sub rosa bit of greatness known as Baum's Bazaar. It gets mailed to you. It's like The New-York Ghost, but more readable, and you don't have to print it out—it's already printed. It's the only periodical I read cover to cover aside from the Keeler News. I'm honored to be in it!


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