Tuesday, August 2

it isn't really too much

there's a chubby paperback book open on my knee. my left elbow is gently leaning right in the middle of page seventeen, holding the book open while I type. and yeah, there's a folded green scrap of paper there to serve as a bookmark, but it isn't worth closing the book. I am going to get back to the short story any moment. it's called "Elegy for a Young Elk," by a Finnish fellow named Hannu Rajaniemi. it's a science fiction story. very futuristic, full of jarring, unexpected events like cyber-esque women raining out of the sky and monsters consisting of old rusted automobiles attacking you as you walk down the street. there are also pigeons.

I am going to go back to reading it any moment. there's an email I'm trying to finish. and a few conversations I'm in the middle of. and this, of course.

earlier today, my genius brother (who is always linking to fascinating articles by Dave Pell) linked to this fascinating article by Dave Pell. it's a clever mesh of action movie and thoughtful blogpost. you should read it. laugh. come back and finish my much less clever rambling about science fiction anthologies later if you want. it's okay.

I will tell you, since for some reason I'm still talking about it, that the paperback on my knee is 537 pages chubby. Mr. Rajaniemi's "Elegy for a Young Elk" is the first of twenty-nine short stories that make up volume five of The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year. maybe I need to read Jonathan Strahan's introduction to this book more closely, because nowhere have I seen any mention of what year they're talking about. anthologies like this are interesting things. what makes this Jonathan Strahan so certain that he picked the absolute best science fiction and fantasy of the entire year? what if he missed something? why did he only choose twenty-nine stories? isn't that a strange number? did you know that the Greek word from which our word anthology stems actually means garland, or bouquet of flowers? interesting.

anyway, I am only on page seventeen, technically. however: I did also flip to page 73 to peek at Holly Black's contribution. I was sucked right into Cory Doctorow's on page 215 and almost finished it. there is one story called "The Care and Feeding of your Baby Killer Unicorn" on page 393 which I just had to take a quick look at. I realized that I've read a novel by that author once. maybe I should go looking for its sequel. we'll see.

I will get back to "Elegy for a Young Elk" very soon. hopefully my attention will stick, and I won't have to turn back to page fifteen to re-figure out what everything means. the next short story, all the way on page 21, is by Neil Gaiman. I'll let you all know if I make it that far. there are a lot of other books I'm in the middle of right now. but none of them are open on my lap right this minute, so I should be able to handle this. my brain feels a bit like several bouquets of flowers are being crammed into it, dozens of stems and twigs and blossoms at a time. none of the arrangements stay looking how they're supposed to look. almost none of the flowers can escape being irreparably squashed. leaves and petals are falling out. pretty soon no one will want to use my brain as a centerpiece at all.

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