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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 04:19 am:   

For any out there interested, my novelette, "The Empire of Ice Cream" is now up on SciFiction. An interesting sidelight -- in the citations at the end of the piece, I mention Thackery T. Lambshead's Guide to Exotic and Discredited Diseases. I happen to know that many of the esteemed physicians who contributed articles to that guide are frequent readers here at the Night Shade Message Boards. Hope you enjoy the story.
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 07:56 am:   

In an occurrence rarer, for me, than the unique planetary alignment necessary to initiate Plato's Great Year, my short stories have scored a hat trick with the end of the year anthologies.

Best Fantasy of 2002 - Silverberg/Haber - "Creation"

Year's Best Fantasy #3 - Hartwell/Cramer - "The Green Word"

Year's Best Fantasy & Horror vol. 16 - "Creation" and "The Green Word"

Best,

Jeff
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JeffV
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 08:55 am:   

Congratulations, Jeff! And well-deserved!

Jeff
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Neil Williamson
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 08:59 am:   

Seconded, Jeff.

"Creation" remains one of my favourite shorts of 2002. For my money it should be in any years best collection.

neil
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RobertW
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 09:02 am:   

Thirded.

I haven't read "The Green Word." Where did it appear?

Robert
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 09:17 am:   

"Creation" is one of my favorite stories of the year too and I'm delighted Terri took it for her half of our antho.

Robert, "The Green Word" is in THE GREEN MAN anthology Terri Windling and I edited for Viking.
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Richard Parks
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 09:23 am:   

You rock, guy!
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 10:40 am:   

Jeff, Neil, Robert, Ellen, Richard: Many thanks for the kind words. This is a anomoly I don't expect will be repeated any year in the near future.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 05:20 pm:   

Well, I certainly think "The Empire of Ice Cream" has a good shot at being picked up for Year's Bests of 2003. DOn't know what else you have coming out. <g>
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Jonathan Strahan
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 03:50 am:   

Ellen -

You mean it's true - this "year's best" thing is all run by a secret cabal that decides what will be in the books years before they appear? It all makes sense to me now. <g>

J
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Luís
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 04:23 am:   

Congratulations, Jeff! I haven't yet had the time to read your story at SciFiction, but I'll do it over the weekend.

Best, Luís
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Jonathan Strahan
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 04:37 am:   

Jeff-

Just read "The Empire of Ice Cream", and I think Ellen is right, we're going to see a lot more of that story (though I have a definite soft spot for "Present from the Past" in The Silver Gryphon). Wonderful work.

Jonathan
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 05:39 am:   

Luis: Thanks! And thanks for taking the time to check out the story.
Was wondering if you are considering putting an ad for the Breaking windows anthology up at FM. I think the cover art will draw readers in. Just a suggestion, and I'm sure you have already considered it.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 05:45 am:   

Jonathan: Nice to see you here. I check out your Coode Street blog from time to time. Most recently saw photos of that great looking kid of yours. Thanks for reading both stories and for your comments. I'm especially pleased that you liked Present From the Past as I never thought of it as a real crowd pleaser. The story structure is odd and the fantastic content depends on the reader's take as much as anything in the piece. Marty will be happy to hear it as he was a little skeptical about it to begin with.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 07:13 am:   

Jeff,
What's The Silver Gryphon and where is "Present from the Past" appearing?

Jonathan,
Now don't go around starting rumors about "secret cabals." <g>
I don't usually know what stories Terri is picking from SCIFICTION till around now as we don't discuss our respective picks during the year.

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Night Shade Books
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 07:20 am:   

The Silver Gryphon is a forthcoming anthology from Golden Gryphon.

http://www.goldengryphon.com/forth.html#tsg

Jason
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 07:37 am:   

Ellen: The Silver Gryphon is an anthology from Golden Gryphon and will have a representative story by each of the authors of each of the collections they have so far published. It's to celebrate their 25th book. Marty Halpern did the editing on it. I've seen the line up of authors and it looks like it might be a good one. All I can say about the story, "Present From the Past" is that if Dave Truesdale checks it out, there's a chance for apoplexy.

Jason: Thanks for posting the url.

Best,

Jeff

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Luís
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 07:40 am:   

Jeff: funny you should mention it, I was just working on a Breaking Windows page for the site. Still, thanks for the suggestion!

Best, Luís
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 07:47 am:   

Thanks Jason and Jeff,
When is it coming out? Sounds good.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 07:49 am:   

Ellen: I think it is coming out in May, if I'm not mistaken. Maybe April.

Best,

Jeff
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 07:50 am:   

According to the GG website, it's due out in May. And, unlike us, they actually release books on time :-)

Jason
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Jonathan Strahan
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 05:16 pm:   

Ellen -

THE SILVER GRYPHON is one of about four anthologies I'm reading at the same time - I just pick one up at random and read the next story - along with McSweeney's, Polyphony 2, and Gathering the Bones. They all have their strong points, and I'd be stunned if some of the stories didn't make their way into year's bests.

J
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 05:38 pm:   

Jonathan
How did you get the McSweeney's review copy? I need one.
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Jonathan Strahan
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 07:52 am:   

Hey Jeff

Glad to hear that someone's reading the blog from time-to-time. I need to find time to update it properly, but... Thanks too for the kind words about the girls - they're pretty special. Ah question though - you must have almost enough stories for a second collection, yes?

Jonathan
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 08:09 am:   

Jonathan: I screwed up in my post to you. I realized later that you had photos up of both your daughters. Sorry. I have two kids also, two boys, but older, now 11 and 14. I do remember that time where you are at now. That's a great time period when they're little. It's cool when they get older too, but different. You want them to become independent but at the same time you want them to listen to every fucking thing you say. Therein lies the rub.
As for another collection -- Yeah, I'm getting there. Following is a table of contents as to where I'm at now and mention of where the pieces were or will be first published.

"The Weight of Words" -- Leviathan #3
"Present From the Past" -- The Silver Gryphon
"Empire of Ice Cream" -- Sci Fiction
"Coffins on the River" -- Polyphony #3
"The Green Word" -- The Green Man Anthology
"The Trentino Kid" -- The Dark
"The Yellow Chamber" -- Trampoline
"The Beautiful Gelreesh" -- Album Zutique
"Summer Afternoon" -- Is it a Cat?
"Horrors By Waters" -- Fantastic Metropolis

That's it for now, but I have a couple more on the burner and places to send them, so I'm getting there. Thanks for asking.

Best,


Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 08:51 pm:   

Here's something new. Due out this month, an anthology edited by Marty Halpern and Claude Lalumiere -- WITPUNK. I have five small pieces in this that first appeared in Alex Irvines Journal of Pulse Pounding Narratives. The pieces are pulp stories of a sort in one long, crazy ass sentence.
Here's an ealy review that Marty sent me from the Kirkus Review.
KIRKUS REVIEWS
March 1, 2003
WITPUNK
Claude Lalumière and Marty Halpern, eds.

Twenty-six big laughs at the way the world turns, half originals, half
reprints, mostly SF and fantasy but also crime fiction, horror, and realism.
Lalumière, a Montreal writer, is a former magazine editor and owner of a
bookshop devoted to "the fantastic, the imaginative, and the weird."
Co-editor Halpern also edits SF's Golden Gryphon Press and was a 2001 World
Fantasy Awards finalist. In creating an anthology of strongly sardonic
fiction, containing not just classics but flavored with contemporary tales
by unknowns, they hit upon the facetious rubric "witpunk," which would not
be filled with "rote reiterations of tired old tropes [that] bore you to
death." Of the 24 writers, some slap you upside the head, others turn to
dark irony. Among the standouts are the celebrated Robert Silverberg's
wonderful "Amanda and the Alien" (filmed in 1995), in which an adolescent
girl spots an alien masquerading as another adolescent girl and takes her
home for the weekend to help the alien shape up her act. Two-time
Hugo-winner Allen M. Steele's "The Teb Hunter" tells of hunting season
opening on hungry little _tebs_. Tebs, it turns out, are bioengineered teddy
bears that have developed vocal abilities and say things like "Come out and
play . . . come out and play" and "I wuv you so much!" Loaded for bear, the
hunters set traps with a tiny table, four wooden chairs, and kindergarten
lawn furniture from Toys 'R' Us. (". . . [If] God had meant animals to talk
he would'a . . . I dunno. Given 'em a dictionary or sum'pin.") Jeffrey
Ford's brief prose poem, "Spicy Detective," is "a shiv in the kidneys, a
brass-knuckle sandwich for grandma," while Cory Doctorow and Michael Skeet's
"I Love Paree" reports in mock Parisian lingo ("normalment") on the night
the lights went out in Club Dialtone on Boul' Disney.
Ringingly brilliant, far better than its title.

Best,


Jeff

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Ellen
Posted on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 08:55 pm:   

Ohmighod! You got a good review in Kirkus. That's very unusual. They usually hate everything.
Sounds like fun.
And who is the publisher?
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 04:01 am:   

Ellen: I know, Marty was ecstatic. They're pretty tough. The publisher is 4Walls/8Windows. Have you heard of them? I've seen their books. I think they are in NYC, aren't they? I also think, if I'm not mistaken, that Leslie What is also in this anthology.

Best,

Jeff
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Ellen
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 07:23 am:   

Jeff,
Yes I know them. John Oakes is a good guy and publishes some excellent things.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 07:50 am:   

Yes, I have a story there. So does Ray Vukcevich and Nina Kiriki Hoffman. I'm excited to contribute and look forward to reading the book.

I somehow missed your piece in JPPN. Made the mistake when I got it of setting it on the bookshelf to read later and the whole thing disappeared into the stacks. I never found it again. A reminder that things with spines have many advantages.

Leslie scroll-to-the-bottom-of-the- nightshadebooks.com/discussion-board What
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Claude Lalumière
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 06:20 am:   

the full contents list of Witpunk is available here:
http://lostpages.net/witpunk.html
BTW- the price at Amazon.com is wrong. The book is not $24.95 (ouch!), it's $17.
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Jack Haringa
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 01:33 pm:   

JeffF--congratulations on making television, as well. A SciFi Channel spot during the X-Files listed what was new at scifi.com, including "a new story by Jeffrey Ford". I think it's great that the ads are pushing the fiction as well as the mass-media content at the site.

~Jack~
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 02:08 pm:   

Great story, Jeff. I know, I know -- which one???

I dug "Empire of Ice Cream" a lot, and was glad you chose the ending you did. Nice. And man, I've read "Creation" three times now, and I'll read it again in Ellen and Terri's antho. Congrats!
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 03:28 pm:   

Jack--Wow, Cool about the on air spot--I'm very pleased (I never know what's going to be mentioned and since I don't have cable I don't watch the SCIFI Channel or anything else). Superduper!
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Christopher Rowe
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 06:43 pm:   

Jeff! I'm going to echo what's being said everywhere else, "The Empire of Ice Cream" rocks the terra. Very strong stuff.

Also wanted to tell you I was gratified to see your comment about Geoff "World's Tallest Science Fiction Author" Ryman being one of your favorite writers. He was a teacher of mine once (along with Ellen, hi Ellen!) and he's way under recognized over here.
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Ellen
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 06:59 pm:   

Hi Christopher!! When am I going to see you again?

Glad to hear so many people saying nice things about "The Empire of Ice Cream."
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Christopher Rowe
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 04:02 am:   

Hey Ellen. We don't have much travelling planned this year. The only for sure things are WisCon and World Fantasy--no ICFA this time for various reasons. We'll probably go up to Northhampton and visit Kelly and Gavin sometime this year though, and will definitely do side trips to NYC and Boston as part of that.

Sorry to wander off the topic. And yes ma'am on "Empire." Let be be finale of seem.
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Ellen
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 07:18 am:   

Christopher,
Well, let me know when you're passing through NYC and maybe we can get together.
Definitely WFC.
Ellen
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 04:35 pm:   

Chris, Mike, Jack, Ellen: Thanks for the nice comments about "Empire." I'm glad you guys liked it.

Best,


Jeff
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 12:31 pm:   

'Creation' is the BEST story I read all last year. There were points that nearly brought me to tears (just the whole concept of the unbridled love kids have for their parents and how your Dad seems like a superhero when you're small). I think the relationship between fathers and sons is a difficult topic to tackle since their is such a cultural stigma for men to hide their feelings, but you know that you're supposed to love each other. Add to that the fact that many fathers are the rules-keeper and discipline makers in their household, and it many young men become resentful of this powerful figure that they live with.

I guess all I'm trying to say that I empathized a lot with the main character since it reminded me of my relationship with my father. OK, I blabbed on more than I meant.

Good stuff Jeff. Better than good.

JK
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Jeff Topham
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 02:41 pm:   

Hi Jeff,

This is getting to sound like a broken record, but you've done it again with "The Empire of Ice Cream." A beautifully melancholy story--quite moving.

Strangely, I just read an interesting book on synaesthesia--Patricia Lynn Duffy's BLUE CATS AND CHARTREUSE KITTENS. As far as I know, it's the only book on the subject actually written by a synaesthete.

Also, I like a writer who can cite his sources. Dr. Lambshead would be proud.

Peace,

JT
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 07:28 pm:   

John: Thanks. I'm glad you liked "Creation." I wrote it for my old man, who is pretty much the guy in the story. So, if you felt what you said you did upon reading it. He came through.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 - 07:31 pm:   

Jeff: Nice to hear from you. Thanks for checking out "Empire of Ice Cream." The synesthesia book I listed after the story is a good one, but written by a doctor who studies people with the condition. I'd like to check out the one you have mentioned by Duffy. It's a fascinating phenomenon. And, of course, I know you revere the venreable Lambshead as I do.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 05:46 am:   

Jeff: That word before Lambshead in the previous post is "venerable" not what I have there, and I am not claiming Thackery had venerial disease, but if he did it would be of an exotic nature.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 05:04 am:   

I have a column, The Virtual Anthology, I will be writing monthly for Gabe Chouinard's new site, S1ngularity. I am compiling an anthology of fantastical short stories, not publishing the stories, but just discussing them. I'm hoping people will get interested in them, seek them out and read them. In this sense, the anthology will exist but at the same time be virtual. The rest of the site has interesting things to offer as well. A story by Kage Baker. A story by Mike Jasper. An essay on Angela Carter. An essay on the work of Matt Ruff. And the usual rabid philosophical inquiry of Mr. Chouinard. Stop by and check out S1ngularity. Read it, comment on it, send good writing to it.
http://www.sfsite.com/singularity/columns/column_detail.php?articleID=3

Best,


Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 06:23 am:   

Forgot to mention above -- there is also an interview with Jeff VanderMeer at S1ngularity conducted by another terrific writer, Jeffrey Thomas, author of Punktown.

Best,

Jeff
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 12:11 pm:   

I've read the whole issue, such as it is. Amazing thing. Gabe's done a great job; can't wait to see what else he has in store.

As for your column itself, you described the story so marvellously that I had difficulty believing it actually existed; in fact, until I read your post above, I was convinced that it was a Borges-esque fiction disguised as a review. I'll certainly be checking Akutagawa's work out as soon as I have the chance.

Incidentally, I'm ashamed at not having either ordered The Beyond or read "The Empire of Ice Cream" yet. Must rectify these shortcomings quickly and in reverse order.

Lastly, mightn't you be able to get Nightshade to do an actual anthology of these stories you mention? I live in hope. <g>
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 12:50 pm:   

Hi Nicholas: The stories I'm going to be writing about are already published and out there. I think part of the fun will be tracking them down. Besides, Night Shade is busy publishing new great writers.
No need to feel ashamed for not having gotten The Beyond. As a matter of fact, you'll have to get in line on that one. You're in with 99.9% of the reading public. Still, if you ever do, I think it is the best of the books in the trilogy. Now, not having read "The Empire of Ice Cream" at Sci Fiction, you should be flogged for.
Slipping one in there that is not really real but made up is not a bad idea. Two years back at Fantastic Metropolis, I did an end of the year best of list that was precisely that. So it might be fun to slip a convincing fake into this column. Akutagawa is real, though, and I think you will like him if you check him out.
Gabe always surprises me. Sometimes he has some interesting things to say and sometimes his verbiage dips off into the realm of melodrama, but I admire his energy and enthusiasm -- his sticktoitiveness. Doing a project like this with him has some of that old time "Let's put on a show," feel to it like in the Our Gang flicks.If you think of Gabe as Alfalfa, I could be Wheezer.

Best,

Jeff
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 01:05 pm:   

I'll just keep telling myself that. Re: Nightshade, true, and how.

Yes, I remember that list, you evil bastard! You had me hunting for The Stone Remembers for ages before I thought to read the article a bit more carefully for clues that it might not be quite what it claimed. . . . I figure that makes us even on the flogging. As for "The Empire of Ice Cream", I'm reading it now. Will be back sooner or later to tell you that it's just as good as everyone else says it is.

I quite like Gabe's melodrama. As for sticktoitiveness, not that I'd really know, but to all appearances, he has the sticktoitiveness of a nice ripe turd. Two thumbs up for Gabe's turd-like sticktoitiveness.
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 01:37 pm:   

Well, I just finished the fantastic FANTASY WRITER'S ASSISTANT, and had my school's bookstore order a copy of PHYSIOGNOMY for me.

Where can I find this Empire of Ice Cream?
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 01:47 pm:   

Mastadge: Below find the url for "Empire" and then the general one for SciFiction. While there, go to the archives and you'll see tons of great stories by Richard Bowes, Lucius Shepard, Liz Hand, Graham Joyce, Paul DiFillipo, and many many more very fine writers of speculative fiction. Hope you enjoy.

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/originals/originals_archive/ford4/

http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 01:54 pm:   

Nicholas: I tried butI'm not making the connection here with your analogy of Gabe's sticktoitiveness and a nice ripe turd, but each must live by his or her own metaphors, so go for it.

Best,

Jeff
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Mastadge
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 02:07 pm:   

Perhaps Nicholas has trouble with clingy turdlets?
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S. Hamm
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 02:16 pm:   

JF,

Great piece on Akutagawa. I have "The Hell Screen" in a pb collection of three Akutagawa stories that was published in the late '80's by The Eridanos Library, a small imprint that brought out a long string of obscure titles in translation. This edition contains the short Borges essay you cite and is probably not all that hard to find in used bookstores.

Have you seen the new Matt Ruff, SET THIS HOUSE IN ORDER? I haven't cracked it myself, but judging from my careful reading of the flap copy, the eponymous domicile is one that either Cley or J-Lo might profitably tour.

S.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 03:07 pm:   

Mastadge: Nice. Thanks.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 03:14 pm:   

S.: No doubt fresh from a Kafka story with that name. Thanks for reading the Akutagawa. I think in the next one I'll lay off the plot retelling a little. I think I went too heavy on that here. That Eridanos stuff is a great tip thanks for that. i'll have to check it out.
Met Matt Ruff years ago at my first convention and talked to him for about ten minutes. He seemed a really excellent guy, but I have not read any of his work. Do you recommend him and which one or ones if so?
Just saw some new movie advertized on the tube with Hillary Swank, the theme something like scientists are drilling into the earth in a big machine. Heading, maybe for the center. See that?

Best,

Jeff
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S. Hamm
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 04:29 pm:   

Jeff,

The Eridanos titles were mostly by Italians (Landolfi, Sciascia, Pirandello, d'Annunzio) but occasionally a Musil or an Akutagawa would slip in.

Yeah, I saw that ad you're talking about. I think it's the movie version of CAVE CARSON: INSIDE EARTH (if you don't remember, ask your brother). Cave & his crack team of talented misfits must climb into their drill-nosed muscle car, the Mighty Mole, and burrow all the way down to the earth's molten core. If they don't get there in time, the underground parking garage won't be finished in time for the Grand Opening of the mall. Well, the upper levels might be finished, but the upper levels won't be big enough to hold all the cars they're expecting. Meanwhile the clock keeps ticking, ticking.

Nothing to do with Mr. J. Verne but he'll get his one day, I'm sure.

Yrs. as ever,
S.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 06:03 pm:   

S. What do you mean by his crack team?
As for Verne, I hope he gets it good.

Best,

Jeff
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S. Hamm
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 06:15 pm:   

J.,

I mean their cavin' pants tend to ride a little lower than they absolutely have to.

S.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 12:00 am:   

You think that was a good metaphor? Wait till you see me describe the aurora borealis using only metaphors of that feather.

On a more serious note, I've read "The Empire of Ice Cream" now, and I don't need to say how good it is. I don't think I could if I tried.
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John Klima
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 05:41 am:   

I'd just like to add that I like ice cream, too.

JK
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 11:38 am:   

Hi Jeff,

The Singularity E-zine is the bomb! I definitely support the whole idea behind it, and wish you all the best with your column.

Maybe you should read the following writer: Harry Mulisch. Try "The Discovery of Heaven" or "Siegfried". Just a suggestion. Keep up the good work!

Cheerio,

Cornelis
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 12:01 pm:   

Cornelis: To be perfectly honest, I'm not quite clear on what the idea is behind it, but thanks for the well wishes on the column. Also, thanks for the tip on Mulisch. I'll put him on the list and check him out.

Best,

Jeff
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B.J. Ryan
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 03:37 pm:   

I just read "The Empire of Ice Cream" and was swept away into the delightful and mysterious world that you created. I've always liked learning while being entertained (thus my enjoyment of Michael Crichton). This work of yours, while educational, is superbly entertaining.
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Andreas Black
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 04:20 pm:   

I read "The Empire of Ice Cream" last week and I was truly impressed.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 07:30 pm:   

B.J.: You're not by any chance a six foot six left hander who pitches for the Orioles, are you? Either way, thanks for checking out the story. Glad you enjoyed it.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 07:32 pm:   

Andreas: Thank you for taking the time to read "The Empire..." and letting me know what you thought of it. I'm glad you liked it.

Best,

Jeff
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gabe
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 10:54 pm:   

Alfalfa? Can't I at least be Spanky?

--gabe the turd
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gabe
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 10:56 pm:   

Oh, and I forgot to say... you all are hiding the nice things you're saying about s1ngularity!!! Pop on over to *my* board and tell me s1ngularity is the bomb, fer chrissakes.

What's the next story for the VAntho going to be anyway, Jeff?

--gabe
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 04:11 am:   

Gabe: This is actually fun picking out a story. I have a bunch on a list, but I'm not sure which will be next. Since we started on the 15th, is that when you need the next one by, a few days prior, or are you going to switch the content at the start of the month from now on? Let me know.

Best,

Jeff
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 10:26 am:   

Ok Jeff,

According to me the whole idea behind Singularity is to give the corporate powerhouse publishers the big finger, but hey I could be wrong, English not being my first language. Isn't the big finger an important award rewarded to the most commercial entity out there? (just kidding! :-))

Cheers,

Cornelis
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 10:31 am:   

Oh...sorry Gabe! Will pop over in a minute! By the way, did you receive my submission?
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 10:51 am:   

Cornelis: Well, that's not too great as far as I'm concerned, as it is one of those publishers that pays me to write books. Why can't it be an effort to bring interesting fiction and essays to people who travel the web. I never got the whole giving everyone the big finger stuff. That just seems like a bunch of immature horse shit. You want to shake things up, do it with the work you are doing. If it's not in the writing, no manner of hot air is going to change anything. Write a story that is so great it changes the way people look at fiction. The fiction on S1ngularity is quite good. Is it blowing my freaking mind? No. Is the concept behind S1ngularity so new and different? Not that I've seen. I was hoping it was going to be a site where people could publish good work. All the rest of that crap, I'm too tired to care about it.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 11:02 am:   

A good story, well told, is more important to me than a million blow hard promises of the second coming.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 11:42 am:   

Well, according to the s1ngularity mission statement, the idea is to give corporate publishers the middle finger through bringing interesting fiction and essays to people who travel the web. I'm not quite sure how this is meant to give them the middle finger, but the execution sounds good to me. :-)
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 11:44 am:   

At second glance:

"That is what singularity means to us. Not avoiding genre labels, but revoking their importance. Not attacking publishers in a rebellious fit of adolescent anger, but slithering in under the radar in a guerrilla anti-category performance of quality and vitality.

That is what S1ngularity is all about."
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 06:50 pm:   

Nicholas: Thanks for the information.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, March 19, 2003 - 06:57 pm:   

Cornelis: So I looked up Mulisch at amazon, and they had 3 of his novels but none of his short stories. Do you know of a story collection that has been translated into English? I can look for it at the out of print places.

Best,

Jeff
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 12:30 am:   

Jeff: To my knowledge Mulisch hasn't produced any short stories. He only deals in novels, but I could be wrong. I'll try and find out for you.

About Singularity. I agree with Nicholas Liu's second glance at what singularity is about. But still, I think flashing the big finger directly into one's face, or flashing it behind an unfolded newspaper is in both ways still flashing the middle finger. Only the results differ and of course the way other people perceive your actions. If Singularity only wishes to present good fiction, they should just say so and shouldn't wrap its site up in a veil of "insurrection" against established publishing powerhouses. Open war or guerilla tactics, they both seem like offensive actions by my books. In this case I think Singularity has a point and the whole idea behind it, as stated in Nicholas Liu's post and on the Singularity website, is a good one. I just don't wanna seem an ignorant fool that's still ploughing through puberty, stating in my first post about Singularity, that the e-zine is just about sticking up the middle finger, while the whole idea is much more elaborate. (I hope!)

Enough of this! Jeff? Got any short fiction coming up on the Web we can enjoy in the near future?

Cheers,

Cornelis

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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 02:48 am:   

About Mulisch Jeff:

I don't think any of his short work has been translated into English. For extensive information about him check:

http://www.penguinputnam.com/static/rguides/us/procedure.html

A more or less complete bibliography is presented on:

http://www.complete-review.com/authors/mulischh.htm

He has his own homepage too: http://www.mulisch.nl

That's the only information I can give you. Hope it will do!

Cheerio,

Cornelis
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 09:20 am:   

Cornelis: Thanks for the url's on Mulisch, and as far as the other thing goes, I should have mentioned that I was not directing my words at you, but just expressing myself in general. My apologies. My feeling is, if you want to change things in publishing, write great stuff. Quality is revolutionary. A story that makes people sit up and take notice is more effective than any manifesto. I'm still working on trying to write that story.

Best,

Jeff
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 11:26 am:   

Damn it, man, you already have, a dozen times over, but most spectacularly in "The Empire of Ice Cream". It's certainly a sit-up-and-take-notice story, once one gets a person to read it. I've recommended it to, oh, at least ten people by now, and every one of them has loved it, even the ones weaned on fat fantasy, or who don't even read spec-fic.

It remains to be seen how many of them will follow through on their promise to buy The Physiognomy or The Portrait of Lady Charbuque. . . .
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Mastadge
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 12:44 pm:   

re: Empire of Ice Cream. I'll jump on the wagon here . . . read it, loved it. Thank you for writing it.
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 12:10 am:   

Jeff: No offense taken at all!

Although modesty embraces the wielder of it, I must say that you wrote and write some damn' good stuff! So just sit back, relax and realize that your work has the effect you're trying to achieve. Just let the grey mass situated in the top of your skull soak this up! Still, it's good your trying to improve yourself. Keep it up!

Peace,

Cornelis

Post Scriptum:

Any new work coming up?
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 04:23 am:   

Mastadge: Thanks! How are the other students in your class liking the war now? Do they think this is the finest thing since sliced bread?

Best,


Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 04:28 am:   

Cornelis: Thanks! OK, which novel by Mulisch then?
It looks like what it is possible to get is Discovery of Heaven, The Assualt, or The Procedure. These appear to be the ones in English translation. Let me know.

Best,

Jeff
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 12:56 pm:   

Jeff: His magnus opus is The Discovery of Heaven. This book really rocks. They also made a film about it, but you'd better read the book. When you start reading it you kinda have to get into it, but once you're in it...BANG! Your sold. This is the one I would suggest.

Let me know what you think about it!

Peace,

Cornelis
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 09:31 pm:   

Say Jeff - says here you teach early American literature ... Puritans? Brockden Brown? I'm working on my dissertation at the moment myself - Hawthorne, Poe, Melville - am I on your side of the street?

MC
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RBC
Posted on Friday, March 21, 2003 - 09:34 pm:   

Ford: - quit writing about me! Gladys, call m'lawyer!

- The Roller of Big Cigars
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Montmorency
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 05:20 am:   

Re: The Empire of Ice Cream

I loved your latest piece. Thank you very much. Also I'm glad you picked up Akutagawa for Singularity. Glad to be reminded that Japan is not outside the tradition of fantastic fiction.

Regarding synesthesia, I encountered several novels handling this concept last year. Very charming Evening's Empire by David Herter was one, and well crafted kids' thriller Starseeker by Tim Bowler was another.

Most extraordinary one was Mondays Are Red by a newish writer Nicola Morgan. She's doing similar things you did for a children's fantasy. She started well but unfortunately went into mundane in the end; still, her attempt is worth to take a note, I believe. It can be glipsed here:

http://www.nicolamorgan.co.uk/

Seems synesthesia is flourish in UK. I found two more titles dealing with it in the recent publications:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0954130324/
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/038560467X/

The author of the latter one is said to suffer from synesthesia (or is privileged?).
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 08:43 am:   

Cornelis: Discovery of Heaven it is. You know, I've seen this book around and always wondered what it was about. Time to check it. Thanks!

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 08:53 am:   

Michael: Yes, I teach those guys. You have to remember that this is a community college and we are teaching a survey class. We cover a lot of authors though in 16 weeks. Native Americans to the Puritans to Trancendentalists and as far as we can go. Melville is my favorite novelist of all time. I love the Confidence Man and Moby Dick. Even Typee appeals to me. I've read Pierre and Mardi and White Jacket, even Israel Potter. Love that stuff. Hawthorne's story "Wakefield" is in my top ten stories of all time. And it was from Dickinson's life that I got the idea for Mrs. Charbuque. I very much admire Emerson's philosophy, and think it is a credible and good one for certain aspects of life. Thoreau, though a great essayist, gives me a cramp. I like Whitman's life somewhat more than some of his poetry. Emily, she's my girl. I find her endlessly fascinating. Poe cracks me up. So yeah, I dig those guys. Brockden Brown, I spent some time compiling a complete bibliography of his works when I was going for my PhD. I know his stuff pretty good, even some of the more obscure things like The Rambler, etc. There's a guy who publishes a lot in F&SF, Charles Finlay, who's a Brown fan as well. We should start a club. Glad you have chosen to do work in that field, as I know there is so much great stuff there and so many wonderful ideas to keep a mind like yours occupied and interested.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 08:55 am:   

RBC: You know where you can put that cigar.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 09:01 am:   

Montmorency: Thanks for the links and the info. I'm a big fan of Japanese literature. I very close friend of mine, Japanese, living in the US here, has given me great suggestions. My favorites are Abe and Tanizaki, but have read more widely than these. There are certain times, with these writers where they are copying western techniques of fiction writing, but then there are those times when the Japanese Aesthetic comes through so clearly, like in the abrupt ending of Diary of a Mad Old Man, or the story structure of The Key, the subdued and beautifully calm feel of The Reed Cutter. The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Mrs. Charbuque or The Physiognomy, I can't remember now, will be coming out in Japanese this year I think.

Best,

Jeff
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Saturday, March 22, 2003 - 08:45 pm:   

I've read all the Melville I've been able to find. If he wrote a shopping list that still exists, I've probably read it. I'm heartened to find another appreciator of the Confidence Man out in the world. Have you read Clarel? I'd put it right alongside the CM.

What about Thoreau gives you the cramp? I'm also curious to know what you think of Perry Miller.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 06:10 am:   

For those interested: I have a story in the upcoming (I believe it goes on sale in May) Album Zutique from Ministry of Whimsy press. This nasty little piece is entitled "The Beautiful Gelreesh." More importantly, there are stories from, in my estimation, some of the best writers at work today like Stepan Chapman, Michael Cisco, Elizabeth Hand,
James Sallis, and two, count em two, by Rhys Hughes, etc. (the entire startling lineup is listed below). If you like the weird, the wild, the surreal, the fucked to the core (I mean this in only the best possible way), get yourself a copy of this anthology.
The first of a planned series of pocket books (5 x 6.7 and under 200 pages) mainly focused on surreal and decadent literature. Jeff VanderMeer will serve as series editor and the editor of the first number. Thereafter, VanderMeer will enlist guest editors to edit subsequent numbers of this series. The emphasis will be on nonfiction as well as fiction. For purposes of continuity, each volume will have the same basic layout, with the typography used as the "cover art" and a different color scheme for each book.

History/Background: "Zutique" was a writers' group extant during the Decadent period in France (late 1800s). It included Verlaine and Rimbaud. Accounts indicate that "Album Zutique" was an open journal or blank book in which members of the writers' group would scribble down stories and poems. The book was kept at a café where those who frequented the café could read it.

Contents:

"A Guide to the Zoo," Stepan Chapman
"The Beautiful Gelreesh," Jeffrey Ford
"The Toes of the Sun," Rhys Hughes
"My Stark Lady," D.F. Lewis
"Python," Ursula Pflug
"Free Time," James Sallis
"The Scream," Michael Cisco
"Dr. Black in Rome," Brendan Connell
"Lights," D.F. Lewis
"Mortal Love," Elizabeth Hand (excerpt)
"A Dream of the Dead," Steve Rasnic Tem
"A Hero for the Dark Towns," Jay Lake
"The Catgirl Manifesto," Christina Flook
"Eternal Horizon," Rhys Hughes
"Maldoror Abroad," K. J. Bishop
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 06:59 am:   

Also, there should be a new installment of The Virtual Anthology up any day now at S1ngularity. This time I chose a ghost story by Henry James, "The Friends of the Friends."
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Eric S.
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 02:40 am:   

I'm a bit late in adding to this string, but Night Shade has so many author strings going here that I follow a hit and usually miss strategy during lulls at work.

What I am pondering is if you had so much good work come out this year that The Weight of Words, easily one of the best short stories that I read, got unfairly shunted to the side. In any other year I would have expected to see it picked up for a Year's Best.
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Rhys
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 05:00 am:   

Glad to have found some Melville enthusiasts here! I love Melville: he's one of the giants of world literature. His language is amazing. Full bodied and old and yet permanent...

And he was such a great anticipator! 'Bartleby' is Kafka before Kafka in my view (and yet Borges missed this in his seminal essay "Kafka and his Precursors"). THE CONFIDENCE MAN is almost postmodernism before modernism!

The one I haven't managed to track down yet is MARDI. It's difficult to obtain here. I've heard it's his longest and strangest work, so I'm looking forward to it, even though it is supposed to be a 'failure' in many ways!
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 05:32 am:   

Eric: It's really not for me to say whether "Weight of Words" belonged in a Year's Best or not, but I do appreciate your having read it and written in to express your opinion. Glad you like it. The reward for me with that piece was that it was good enough to get into Leviathan #3. I think Forrest and JeffV assembled a spectacular anthology with that one. So many great pieces. I have a feeling that book will be engaging people for many many years to come. Thanks for dropping by.

Best,


Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 05:51 am:   

Rhys: Happy to hear you are also a Melville fan. Michael actually has real expertise in Melville's work, which is good because I want to further tap his head about works like "Bartleby the Scrivner." What I love about that story is that it's both hysterical and completely fucking grim at the same time. We've been having a discussion on Early American Literature down a few threads that I very much want to return to as soon as I get done working on the current writing project that I'm into. You should jump in down there.
I'm also a big Confidence Man fan. Really one of the great overlooked masterpieces of any age.
As far as Mardi goes, man, you're in for a rough ride with that one. I read it back when I was in graduate school when I could read reams of the most boring crap without getting tired. I hate to sai about anything old Herman turned out, but "tedious" would not be far from the fact with Mardi. It's not exactly crap, and if you are interested in Moby Dick, you can see how Melville is moving toward mixing the metaphysical with the idea of an adventure tale like Typee. Actually that movement shows glimmerings even in Omoo. But Mardi is a brick, sort of like a mix between a slowly paced Buzby Berkley musical a south seas adventure story and out and out philosophizing. My copy of it is a waterlogged (no kidding, I bought it in a garage sale, and it looks like it came off a ship) Signet paperback copy with the eyestrain size type. I'd love to see Penguin put out another copy of it. If they did, I'd be interested in going back and giving it another try. The one I want to read now is one Michael suggested, Clarell. That sounds interesting.

Best,


Jeff
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Brian Overton
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 10:00 am:   

Jeff,
I just finished reading "The Beautiful Gelreesh" for the second time in Album Zutique. What a beautiful sad story. I know I'm going back to it again soon to try and understand the deeper meanings I've missed. Wonderful reading experience as always, thanks Jeff.
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JeffV
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 05:37 pm:   

Jeff:

STUNNINGLY good piece on Henry James, on the Singularity site. Great analysis and insight. I really enjoyed it. In fact, it make me want to go out and buy his work. I've never attempted James, except half-heartedly in college as part of an assignment.

JeffV
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 07:37 pm:   

Brian: Great, I'm glad it worked for you. You're the first reader to let me know what he/she thinks of it. Thanks for reading it. Reading it twice is above and beyond the call of duty, but I appreciate it. Write back when you have goen through the rest of the anthology, I'd like to know what you think. I've yet to see the book, so I'll probably get it in a day or two and will be reading along through it myself. Maybe we can compare notes later.

Best,


Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 07:39 pm:   

Jeff: Get your hands on the story, "The Figure in the Carpet." My second favorite is "The Aspern Papers." I think you'll like some of his stuff.
Hope so. Thanks for the kind words on the column.

Best,

Jeff
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lucius
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 08:35 pm:   

Hey, Jeff...

I'm a James guy, too. My dad made me read The Golden Bowl when i was 12. Naturally I wasn't real happy about having to do this. It's not a book for 12-yr.-olds. I hated the experience, but for some perverse reason, I went back to James when I was playing in bands, spending lots of time on the road, and Shazam, I kinda liked him. I still love Daisy Miller and The Turn of the Screw. One of the two coolest ghost stories I ever read, the other being a novella by Thomas Wolfe, whose name eludes me at this hour, because my brain has stopped functioning.

Lucius
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jeff ford
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 09:09 pm:   

Lucius: Now I really want to know what the Thomas wolfe story was that you read. You've gotta remember.
Yeah, I think a lot of people think James is a big stiffy, and he is to an extent, but then if you keep reading you kind of break through to a place where it all makes sense and then its pretty great and thoroughly engaging. God Bless you for having read The Golden Bowl. You're a better man than I am. Was it like Gummo in Victorian England?
Do you have a new movie review in F&SF this month. The one with the Robot? It came the other day but I haven't had a chance to look through it yet?
Your new novella is really fabulous. I'm waiting for Nick to send me a proof of it so I can read it again. Read it off a crappy print out from work. I can't do the computer screen, it burns my eyes out and they're bad enough as is. It's a pretty startling piece. You've really been exhibiting some extraordinary range lately in the different styles and subject matter. Hope you are well.
PS: Just read today that Lenox Lewis and Tyson are going to fight, not each other, but on a double card. Does that elicit a snore or do you see any promise in the separate bouts?
Best,


Jeff
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lucius
Posted on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 10:55 pm:   

Hey, Jeff,

I don't have the book with me. It's in The Short Novels of Thomas Wolfe. But it's been twenty years since I read it and I just can't bring back the name, though I can still recall passages and bits of dialogue. Wolfe's my guy . He's totally excessive and purplish, but now and again, Zowie.

The Golden Bowl, last time I looked, tripped me out. I seem to want to look at it again about every six, seven years -- don't always read it, just leaf through it. Think I'm about due for another hit. Every time I look, of course, it's different. Must be pretty good.

I'm not sure about the new FSF -- I kinda lose track of where Gordon is with my reviews. I think I'm in the next issue, though. Probably a review of Dreamcatcher. Euuww! But it was a means of talking about Stephen King.

Glad you liked the novella. I've been messing around lately with stuff...and a couple of years ago I had a floater in my eye that took a couple of months to go away. Nutted me out. You know what Darwin said about the eye -- "The thought of the eye makes me shudder." -- kind of natural subject for icky lit.

The heavyweights are the elephant's graveyard of boxing. Lewis will fight either Vitali Klitschko -- a robotic Ukranian stiff with no heart -- or Chris Byrd --an overgrown middlewight with no power. Tyson will fight some made to order victim along the lines of Etienne. Thus setting up a rematch between the two principals whose outcome is a forgone conclusion. Lewis by mid-round KO. A snooze. Roy Jones vs Holyfield will be more interesting,
And of course the lighter weights are much, much more interesting. The fight all the hardcore fans are anticipating is at 140. Kostya Tzyu, the consensus champ and a classic boxer-puncher, versus a British kid, Rickey "The Hitter" Hatton, who goes to the body like Tyson in his prime. That'll be a fight.

Meant to tell you I finished "The Phys." Very cool stuff. All that Victorian mojo is fascinating.

Take Care,'

Lucius
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Jeff Topham
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 05:13 am:   

Jeff, just read your wonderful piece on James, which has done what I would have thought impossible: sent me back to my shelves with a renewed interest. (My wife once took a seminar on James, so we've got several pounds James in the form of dusty paperbacks). I have to admit that I've always admired James more than I enjoyed reading him. I've mainly read only the novels, which I find beautiful but numbing. Thanks for the pointers to the shorter pieces.

I've always found it interesting that so many of the "literary" figures of James' generation tried their hand at the ghost story. I'll look forward to your piece on Wharton, who wrote some of the finest--a wonderful writer.

Best,

JT
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 05:49 am:   

JeffT: Thanks for checking out the piece. It's my belief that James is best in the short form. Either the tales or the novellas. "Turn of the Screw" is awesome. His tales are like an out of body experience almost. You know this story is attended to characters and a setting, but it becomes this swirl of minds and ideas and perceptions. Like I said to JeffV, "The Figure in the Carpet," a ghost story of sorts but not really is a great place to start. "The Aspern Papers" was first described to me years ago as having the effect of a joint of really great pot, the kind that you smoke and it seems ok, but then a little while later it hits you and you find your whole perception has changed without remembering how it got that way. That was so long ago, I hardly remember what that means, but back in the day that made perfect sense to me, and I went out and got the book. I think Penguin has a paperback edition with "Turn" and "Aspern" together, a double shot of Happy Henry at his best.
Best,


Jeff
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John Klima
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 06:32 am:   

My wife teaches "Turn of the Screw" in conjunction with the movie THE OTHERS to her high school kids. It sets their heads spinning. "Turn" is filled with such menace; but the menace never comes to the fore, you just feel it there. I'll have to go to singularity to read what you wrote Jeff, if it's appropriate, can my wife use it for her kids?

To the rest of you: if you haven't read "Turn of the Screw" do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not do anything else until you have read it.

It can be challenging, but it shouldn't take you more than a day or two to finish it.

JK
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RobertW
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 07:55 am:   

Hi Jeff,

You won't get to see proofs of Floater from Nick till I do the layout, which I haven't started yet (except for some preliminary clean-up of the Word file). I'll get to it pretty soon and it won't take long. Are you waiting to do the intro till you read it again? I don't want to hold things up, but I've had a lot of other (paying) work I've had to do first.

I recently re-read James's "The Real Thing." I'd meant to ask you if you read it when researching or working on Charbuque, as it's about a painter. One of his best stories, I think.

Robert
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Cornelis Alderlieste
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 08:31 am:   

Damn! Got Turn of the Screw lying around somewhere around here. Gonna go and dig it up! Thanks for the tip Mr. Klima!
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Jack Haringa
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 04:03 pm:   

Hi Jeff--

Just wanted to acclaim The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque which was surely one of the best novels I've read in the last year. And this despite my failure to appreciate Henry James beyond "Turn of the Screw." The evocation of "the Gilded Age" was spot on to me, and I appreciated your laborious researches into the mechanics of painting that lent veracity to Piambo's own labors. And on top of all that, it was quite the page turner, read with no small smattering of gasps and chuckles. Hope you don't mind the occasional effusive praise.

Best,
~Jack~
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JeffV
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 04:41 pm:   

Jeff:

Thought you'd like this excerpt from a Realms of Fantasy rave review of Leviathan 3 by Paul Witcover.

Two of the stories in particular, Chapman's "State Secrets of Aphasia" and Ford's "The Weight of Words" are exceptionally fine and should be considered strong contenders for best-of-the-year anthologies and awards.

World Fantasy Award winner Ford's contribution is equally [as] remarkable [as Chapman's]. In "The Weight of Words," a lonely man very much adrift following a divorce initiated by his wife becomes involved with Albert Secmatte, a self-proclaimed "Chemist of Printed Language" who has devised a formula by which subliminal texts or irrestistible suggestive power can be invisibly inserted into otherwise ordinary pieces of prose. This dark (and often darkly humorous) tale of sin and redemption, a kind of postmodern Kabalistic fable, builds to a haunting poignancy that is thoroughly earned.
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Rick Bowes
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 07:29 pm:   

Jeff

You write so much (and so well, curse you!) that it's easy to miss individual stories. Or if, for instance, it's something I've heard read and want to rec or nominate, it's possible to miss the print appearance. Do you maintain an up-to-date, on-line bibliography, complete with forthcoming stories, that I haven't found? And if not, why don't you start one?
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 07:31 pm:   

John: I think your wife's using "Turn" and The Others is a great idea. I find it amazing that the students react to it so well. That would be a hard sell for me in a college class. I doubt what I have written can improve on that combo for them, but if there is anything she can do with the piece tell her to be my guest. I second your recommendation on the novella.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 07:36 pm:   

RobertW: I do want to get the proof and read the novella again before I write the intro, but no sweat, I got a lot going on now. I know pretty much what I want to say, so if you get it to me with a little time to go I'll have no problem getting it done. good luck with your portion.
For Mrs. C, I didn't read that James story, but I did read others. As far as reading novels goes, I read a lot of Edith Wharton novels for a feel of the time. There's another James painter story called "The Landscape Painter." I think it's an early one, and if I remember correctly, not so great. What I remember of "The Real Thing" is that it is a good one and I enjoyed it.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 07:40 pm:   

Jack: Many thanks for reading the Mrs. and dropping a line. I'm glad you liked it. Well, too bad for Henry, but I'll take the praise, effusive or otherwise. You never know when the wind is going to change. Make hay while the sun shines, etc., etc.

Best,


Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 07:43 pm:   

JeffV: Thanks for sending on the review. I appreciate it. That means a lot coming from Paul.
I can see from the part you copied that he liked Stepan's piece as well, which was also my favorite story in the anthology. How did we fair on the rest of the review?

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 07:49 pm:   

Richard (The Time Ranger) Bowes:
There is no complete bibliography, but I have a web site that is going to be going up quite soon. I'll announce it in here when it does. On that I'll try to have a bib and a spot for what is going on.
Hey, for anyone in NY City or its surrounding area, Rick Bowes is going to be doing a reading in April (Is it the 15th?) with Kage Baker down by the Seaport, I think. Rick you're going to have to come back here and fill in the details on this. But if you like good fiction, this will be the place to be on whatever night the event is going to take place.

Best,


Jeff
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Rick Bowes
Posted on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 08:42 pm:   

Jeff

Thanks for asking.

At 7:30 on Tuesday, April 15, it will be my honor and pleasure to open for Kage Baker at:

South Street Seaport Museum's Melville Gallery, located at 213 Water Street (near Beekman Street). The closest subways are the A/C to Broadway/Nassau and the 2/3/4/5 to Fulton Street.
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Liz Hand
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 06:45 am:   

Jeff -- I tried to post something to you yesterday but it doesn't seem to have appeared. My original comment was how much I loved that clamdigger story in THE DARK (I have the galleys) -- great stuff! Then returned this morning to say I just finished "The Beautiful Gelreesh" in ALBUM ZUTIQUE, which is marvelous. Lately I've been dipping into Borges' THE BOOK OF IMAGINARY BEINGS, a longtime favorite, and "Gelreesh" reminded me of that. Angela Carter, too. Fab!
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 08:45 am:   

Liz: It's a relief to me that you enjoyed the ghost story as it was one of those ones that seemed good but I wasn't sure when I finished it. So thanks for letting me know. The Gelreesh I wrote a while ago, and because it's kind of weird, when I sent it around, it got turned down quite a bit. I then dismissed it as a misfire, but it stayed with me. I kept going back to it and it began to interest me again more and more. Now I like it, and I'm glad Jeff VanderMeer thought it was worthwhile because I had a suspicion that it was too. Man, such hemming and hawing, weak knees and trepidations. I don't think I'll ever get over that with my writing.
I'm waiting to get a copy of Album Zutique. I'm very interested to read the other work in there. And I'm also waiting to read Mortal Love. I know AZ carries an excerpt so that can hold me until the book is ready.
I know the book you speak of by Borges. I really like it and very much like the Archimboldo cover that the newer Penguin version has. Do you know Archimboldo's work? I think you would very much like it. Don't know if I spelled his name right.
Hope you are doing well and are at work on new fictions for me to enjoy.

Best,


Jeff
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liz hand
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 11:30 am:   

I do know Archimbolbo (I think that spelling's right) -- John loves him too. The edition I have of the Borges is the first edition, with a Chinese dragon on the cover -- probably the first first I ever owned. When I was a kid, THE BOOK OF IMAGINARY BEINGS was reviewed in the NY Times Book Review; I asked for it for my thirteenth brthday. My mother, god bless her, ordered it for me from the bookstore: I can vividly remember the almost supernatural joy I felt when I held it in my hands. One of those books that changed my life.

I am astonished (though I guess I shouldn't be: what a sorry world we live in) that no one picked up "The Beautiful Gelreesh" sooner. It also reminds me of a Dunsany story, the one with the unforgettable line "There the gibbelins lived, and discreditably fed."

It is amazing, though: I think we're living in another Golden Age of weird fiction writers. The loss of print magazines was and is terrible, but the rise of all these small presses has just created a renaissance of fantastic weird stuff. Viva Gelreesh!
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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 11:49 am:   

Did I hear Arcimboldo? . . . Not far from where I live is a giant fresco by him of Christ pinned to some kind of fruit tree. At least I seem to recall large vibrant lemons hanging from it . . . Sorry - just had to put my 2 cents in!

Brendan
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Ellen
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 03:16 pm:   

I love Archimboldo (sp) too.

Liz, you know that "The Trentino Kid" is the story that Jeff wrote for me while I was visiting you in Maine last summer--the one that you couldn't download for me so I had to read it in the body of the email :-) Agony.
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 10:30 pm:   

Liz: Thanks. I've seen an early paperback copy of that Borges with the dragon. This friend I know buys a lot of his books from guys who sell books on the streets of NY. One of the things I noticed from looking through his collection is that Avon published some freakin great stuff back in the mid- to late seventies. Garcia-Marquez, Knut Hamsun, a whole series of literary fantasy works -- and all of them had great covers.
I'm with you on the independent press. Some really exciting writers at work in and coming out of that scene now. I've found it a great place to publish works that I thik are good but that the major magazines and publishers wouldn't pick up. It's a great scene to learn in and grow as a writer.
I have a poster of Archimboldo's guy made out of fish and shells and pearls and crabs and so forth hanging in my office at work. I see it a couple of times a week and never get tired of it. A few years ago someone put out a calander with his paintings on it. My wife bought it for me for Christmas. I'd love to find a book about him and his work.

Best,


Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 10:31 pm:   

Brendan: Where do you live? I've never heard of that piece by him. Do you know that name of it? Let me know if possible, please.

Best,

Jeff
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jeff ford
Posted on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 10:36 pm:   

Ellen: Agony, huh? Now that's a hell of a way to talk about my story ;o Hey, nice story by Maureen McHugh on SciFiction recently "Frankenstein's Daughter." Hope you are doing well.

Best,

Jeff
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 03:09 am:   

Hi Jeff,

Just for clarification it is actually 'Arcimboldi'. I was not really thinking when I made my last post. I spelled it wrong too! It is pronounced like 'arch' though.

I live in Switzerland just a few miled from Italy . . . Walking distance . . . Well, an hour's walk or so . . . Ten minute drive.

The fresco I was talking about is in a little town outside of Milan called Monza. It is in the main church of the town. I assume it the piece is called 'Crocifissione'. It is actually probably his most important work, but it is not reproduced in art books much - at least I have never seen it in a book - because he is more famous for those caricatures of people made out of fruits and animals and things. Another important work of his is in the Duomo in Milan. For that he designed a whole series of gigantic stained glass windows depicting the history of Saint Catherine of Alessandria . . . But the Christ figure in Monza is really dramatic . . . Most of (many of?) his smaller paintings he did for the Emperor Maximilian of Prague – who was his big patron . . . A lot of those paintings are nice. There are a couple in the Museum of Modern Art in Milan of people made out of fish that are good – if I am remembering correctly.


Brendan
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 06:26 am:   

Brendan: Thanks so much for the info. This gives me some stuff to go on to try to find out more about him. It must be great living in a place where you can take a walk and discover old works of art from centuries earlier. That just doesn't happen in New Jersey.

Best,

Jeff
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Brendan
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 06:42 am:   

Jeff,

Well – to go to Monza I have to drive actually. But, yes, it is nice being close to lots of art and ancient history. The amount of work in Italy is truly phenomenal – and for the most part it is ignored. People go and see things like The Last Supper and such, but the ‘minor’ works – such as the one I was mentioning – go pretty much unnoticed . . . I saw an interesting take-off on Arcimboldi in Florence at Il Bargello, the big sculpture museum. It was a coin (or medal) and on it was a picture of a man’s head, just like one of those ones made up of fishes, only this one was composed of male members . . . Maybe Arcimboldi actually made it though. It seems quite possible.

Brendan
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Ellen
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 07:36 am:   

Aww Jeff. You know I meant that the agony was in reading it in an email with strange characters appearing in it. Story is great or I wouldn't have bought it.

Glad you like Maureen's story. I think it's a very good one too.

Putting the final touches on my year end summary of the year. Almost to the finish line with it. Just in time to begin the next one.

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