The National Film Preservation Foundation has made available this “half-reeler” in which the cartoonist, Bud Fisher, appears in a life-action sequence dealing with his creations, Mutt and Jeff, who are resentful of his wealth and decide to go on strike by creating their own cartoons. It’s not unlike some of the early Fleischer cartoons, in which characters interact with their creators — often in rebellious ways, and sometimes coming out on top.
Publishers Weekly reviewed Clockwork Phoenix 4, and while it was, on the whole a positive review, it wasn’t as enthusiastic as one might have liked. For example, it says that the anthology brings together “18 new and veteran authors whose stories go from gloomy to morose” — however, it adds that the book is “solidly competent.”
Interestingly, my story is one of those actually mentioned in the review: “Barbara Krasnoff’s ‘The History of Soul 2065′ manages to find a happy face for encroaching mortality.”
Sorry, but now all I can hear in my mind’s eye is Dick Van Dyke singing “Gray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face…” All together now…
Jim and I have enjoyed going to the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve in Queens for years now. We are enthusiastic (if only occasional) bird watchers, and there is a wide range of different species that go through the Preserve (which is very well known among bird watchers) on their way to their winter or summer quarters.
Besides, it’s always been a restful place, where you could be simultaneously of and outside of the city. It’s close to a major street, and in view of Manhattan and JFK Airport, but it seems apart from them as well. In fact, the only thing that interferes with the feel of a few hours of vacation is the problem of reminding unknowing visitors that they aren’t allowed off the graveled paths.
We haven’t gone lately as much as we’d like, and so we hadn’t been there since Sandy. We went on Sunday.
I had read somewhere that there had been breaches in the East and West Ponds (the West Pond is near the visitors center; the East Pond is across the street), but the extent of the damage hadn’t really sunk in. Yes, all the benches were gone, and a lot of the bushes and trees were obviously damaged, but that was to be expected. What we didn’t expect was the gulf that had opened up across a part of the path that formerly led around the West Pond, and the fact that the Pond, which was a man-made freshwater pond, is now simply a run-off area for the saltwater bay.
(We didn’t visit the East Pond, but from what we understand, there were several breaches that were shored up again — mainly because they affected the subway next to it — but the salinity of the water has been changed.)
We did a bit of research when we got home. According to an interview I found in the NY Times, Don Riepe, who has been the expert caretaker of Jamaica Bay for many years, is not that worried about the future of the site. In his opinion, according to the article, Jamaica Bay actually came through the storm rather well.
Dave Taft, coordinator of the unit, doesn’t seem to be as confident, at least according to the NY Times. He says there are a lot of birds and ducks who depend on freshwater organisms to feed on.
There are some photos of Jamaica Bay before and after the storm that can be downloaded at this link. I’ve also included a photo that I took of the breach yesterday, and one of Jim in 2010; he is, as far as I can tell, standing just about where the opposite “shore” of the breach is.
Admittedly, there are a lot of areas where there is much worse damage — Sandy Hook in NJ was devastated. And Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is still there; besides the always-present gulls, swans and blackbirds, we saw its nesting ospreys (male & female), a snowy egret, an oystercatcher and a few unidentifiable shore birds. Still…
Do you mind if I call out all the reviews I find of the anthologies/magazines I’ve got stories in? Hope not. At any rate, a rather interesting looking site called The Future Fire, which reviews “social, political and speculative cyber-fiction” (I like that description) has reviewed Crossed Genres’ Menial: Skilled Labor in Science Fiction.
The review is by Kathryn Allan; of my story, “The Didibug Pin,” she writes: “Barbara Krasnoff’s ‘The Didibug Pin’ is intriguing narrative of exploited labor, medical mystery, and corporate conspiracy…”
She also (to be absolutely honest) says that it doesn’t work as a short story, but as the beginning of a novel; I’ve heard that elsewhere as well. I guess I’ll have to put that on my list of projects to sometime, somewhere, somehow get to…
First, congratulations to all the Hugo Award nominees — great news!
However, while I am an admirer of many of the nominees (and count a few as friends as well) I’d like to do a special shout-out for one of the nominees for Best Fan Artist because I have sort of a personal interest in her work.
Galen Dara was one of the two artists (along with Evan Jensen) who illustrated the anthology Broken Time Blues: Fantastic Tales in the Roaring ’20s, edited by Jaym Gates & Erika Holt. It was the first anthology I’ve been in that had art drawn especially for one of my stories, and I was really impressed — Galen got the atmosphere and the feel of my character and her circumstance right on the nose. (The illustration here, in which my character is walking to her job as a dancer in a speakeasy, is my favorite.)
I’ve talked to some writer friends and read others’ blogs, and I know how far afield illustrations for stories can go. I consider myself lucky to have had Galen as an illustrator.
While I’ve supported several Kickstarter projects, I haven’t actively promoted any. This one, however, involves a publisher — Crossed Genres — that has worked hard to feature stories that truly add to the diversity of authors and characters in speculative fiction. They are now working on a Kickstarter to fund a new anthology called Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History.
Okay, let me be honest: I’ve not a completely disinterested party. I’ve had several stories published in Crossed Genre’s magazine and anthologies, and I hope to submit to the new anthology.
That being said, it’s a worthy project. Which, as of this writing, has been agreed to by 894 people, who have collectively contributed over $23,000. So this anthology is going to happen, it’s going to have 10 more stories in it than it originally was going to, and editors Daniel José Older and Rose Fox will write and record a song for the backers.
However, there’s a new “stretch” goal: They’re now trying to hit $30,000 by Sunday so that all the stories can have original black-and-white art added. As somebody who feels that having illustrations accompany fiction is an excellent thing (the anthology Broken Time Blues: Fantastic Tales in the Roaring ’20s had really cool illustrations, and it truly added to the book), I hope that they reach that goal.
You can see all the details (and become a supporter, if you so choose) here.
Tangent Online has published an early — and quite favorable — review of Clockword Phoenix 4. Of the anthology as a whole, reviewer Louis West writes:
This 4th volume of Clockwork Phoenix contains an excellent diversity of speculative fiction ranging from cold and hopeless to harsh but victorious and warm and fulfilling. It was a pleasure to read.
And he has nice things to say about my story “The History of Soul 2065″ — he calls it “Warm, light yet intriguing. Recommended.” Which is very nice to read indeed…