unipodia as the key insight

In five days

Lovecraft Country goes on sale next Tuesday. Six books into my career you’d think I’d be jaded about this stuff, but in fact I’m excited enough that it’s been difficult to focus lately. So here are some quick notes:

* If you haven’t done so already, you can download a preview of the novel in PDF format. My book tour schedule is here. If you’d like to get a signed copy but can’t make it to any of my appearances, the folks at Secret Garden Bookshop can hook you up (you can contact them by phone at 206-789-5006 or via email, and they do ship internationally).

* The book has been getting some great early buzz: Next week’s Booklist gives Lovecraft Country a starred review, and Bookpage calls it “vastly entertaining.” Amazon.com has selected Lovecraft Country as one of its best science fiction and fantasy books of the month. And today I woke up to find that Aaron Coats at the Chicago Review of Books had written me this nice love letter.

* Also being published next Tuesday: Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom, another Lovecraft-themed story with an African-American protagonist. I’ve been hearing rumblings about this one for a while and am very curious to check it out.

* Via this morning’s Twitters: Twentieth Century Fox has given a green light to an adaptation of Margo Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, about a group of African-American women who worked as computers for NASA during the Cold War.

* Another severed human foot has washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest. As long-time blog readers know, this happens often enough to be a thing.

* And finally, in the political realm, H.P. Lovecraft, like Donald Trump, continues his inexorable march towards total world domination:

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The pilgrim’s progress

I broke ten thousand words on a new novel this week. Still not certain it’s The Next One, but it’s looking promising. I’ll see what my editor thinks in another month or so.

Meanwhile, five things make a post:

* As part of the research for the new book, I spent some time earlier this summer poking through back issues of the Chicago Defender. The Defender archives are available digitally through ProQuest, which the University of Washington library subscribes to. If I were a UW student or faculty member I could access the archives from home, but because I’m not, I had to physically travel to the campus and use a guest computer. Which had me wishing, on more than one occasion, that I could subscribe to ProQuest directly. Unfortunately, they don’t sell database access to individuals, only to institutions. I’m sure with enough money there’s a workaround for this—e.g., get the home office accredited as a research library—but it’d be simpler if one of you Internet startup wiz-kids would just create a Rhapsody for newspaper and magazines. (I know a lot of publications, including the Defender, actually do sell individual access to their online archives, but it’d be great to be able to do one-stop shopping.) ETA: The always helpful Lee Drake notes in comments that ProQuest now does offer a service for individuals, called Udini. Thanks, Lee!

* In a weird bit of synchronicity, the night before Neil Armstrong died, I rewatched Capricorn One, a 1977 movie about a faked Mars landing. There are some serious plot holes and plausibility issues (one of the most glaring being the use of an Apollo-style command module and lander for the months-long Mars mission) but if you can suspend your disbelief it’s a fun ride with some great character moments. I loved the banter between Elliott Gould and Karen Black, and David Doyle (Bosley from Charlie’s Angels) has a nice snarky turn as Gould’s boss.

* Along with the Neil Armstrong obituary, today’s New York Times breaks the news that dancer, artist, and writer Remy Charlip has died. Charlip was the author of one of my favorite (and most surreal) children’s books, Arm in Arm: A Collection of Connections, Endless Tales, Reiterations, and Other Echolalia. He also wrote and illustrated many other baby boomer classics.

* Speaking of surreal things, the mystery of the floating feet has been solved. (It’s been solved for a while, actually, but I was on book tour when the news broke.)

* Can you imagine a world with Hover Bacon?

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My money is on a plane that crashed en route to a left-leg amputees’ convention…

From today’s Seattle P-I, news that, for the fourth time this year, a severed right foot has been found along the coast of British Columbia:

Police said a passer-by found a human foot Thursday in a shoe on Kirkland Island in the South Arm of the Fraser River.
“It’s certainly a mystery we intend on solving,” police Constable Annie Linteau said. “It’s certainly very unusual.”
Last August, a foot was found inside a man’s Reebok sneaker on nearby Gabriola Island, just a few days after another foot was discovered by beachcombers on Jedidiah Island.
The remains of a fourth right foot were found Feb 8 on the east side of Valdez Island.
There is no evidence to suggest that the foot — or any or the previous three — was forcibly removed, Linteau said. “All four were wearing socks and were in a running shoe…”
B.C. Chief Coroner Terry Smith said DNA profiles have been taken from the first three feet. He could not comment on the investigation or the new finding.
The fourth foot is now at his office, Linteau said.

My money is on a plane that crashed en route to a left-leg amputees’ convention… Read More »