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What I Discovered in My Own Bookcase

March 9, 2009

Once my Clarion applications were submitted (maybe a little before), I started hunting books and stories by the instructors for both workshops.  Some of that is covered in my earlier post, Treasures from the Book Cellar.  I bought a collection of John Kessel’s early stuff, Meetings at Infinity, Rudy Rucker’s Software, Kim Stanley Robinson’s first two Mars books, an audiobook of Robert Crais’s The Forgotten Man…  Most of it was used (sorry for not supplying a royalty) so I could still afford to eat those weeks.  Only later did I start sifting through the few short story collections I already own.

John Kessel is everywhere.  I am embarrassed to say I had never paid much attention to his name before writing my application.  He’s in the Year’s Best book I have, he’s in Paragons, he’s in my Best Time Travel Science Fiction of the 20th Century (I think…I don’t remember; I’ll double check when I get home and edit here if I blew it).  I had four or five of his stories just lying around the house.  Still, I’m glad I got his collection.

UPDATE: Yes, Kessel has a story in the time travel book, “The Pure Product”.

I’ve had trouble finding a few authors.  I’m trying to find them on my own instead of hunting them through their websites or Wikipedia entries (though I cheated with Kessel).  I finally stumbled across an Elizabeth Bear story in Strange Horizons’ fiction archives.  I haven’t read it yet, but I’ll get to it this week.  I haven’t found Nalo Hopkinson yet.  I’ll hunt her work more aggressively if I get accepted to CW.

The Clarion (east) crowd has been tougher to find.  I saw the movie based on Holly Black’s and Robert Crais’ work (The Spiderwick Chronicles and Hostage) respectively.  I have verified that my school library has some of Black’s books and I’ll read some if I end up going to San Diego.  (My reading time is getting stretched thin trying to keep up with both!)  Park, Hand, and Lai just don’t seem to cross paths where I am looking.  Again, acceptance to east will get me hunting more aggressively.

I am also trying to keep up with other writers often associated with Clarion.  Knight and Wilhelm are the most obvious pair.  I read Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed a couple years ago, mostly from its recommendation in Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.

So my reading is keeping me busy.  I am also working on my females-as-warriors story (tentatively titled “Kree” until I get a better feel for its theme) and checking the web fifty times a day for evidence of Clarion acceptances.  I think it may be time to switch to decaf.


6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2009 7:06 pm

    I just picked up E. Hand’s Generation Loss today. I found that my very own little public library has something by every writer on the San Diego slate except Paul Park.

    While I’m interested (always) in more quality reads, I’m wondering if exploring these books will lead to goofy, red-faced comments about what books we liked by authors, you know, during their workshops, in an effort to schmooze or whatever. I don’t want to be that goober.


    • osomuerte permalink
      March 9, 2009 8:03 pm

      I don’t mind being a goober every so often. If I end up in SD, I may goob it up a little with Crais. I remember when I watched Hostag years ago that I made a comment to my friends about the complexity of the story and how it was better than most Hollywood schlock. I haven’t read the book, but the skill coming through a screenplay says a lot (to me anyway).

      I haven’t watched it in years, so I hope it’s still that good.

  2. March 10, 2009 3:00 pm

    Good point. I thought the same thing about The Spiderwick Chronicles, but then again , I like a little YA fiction now and then.

    It’s interesting to me how many folks on the SD roster are not sci-fi writers (for example, Crais and Black). I’ve been flipping through Generation Loss, but since it isn’t sci-fi, I switched fairly quickly to her Nebula-winning short story in the anthology. Being a bit of a sci-fi snob, I guess. But that’s where my head is right now.

    What’s your opinion on the roster?

  3. March 10, 2009 3:01 pm

    I enjoyed reading your application essay for West, BTW.

  4. osomuerte permalink
    March 10, 2009 4:16 pm

    I have enjoyed Crais’s audiobook immensely, but I honestly am not that familiar with the SD faculty. I wasn’t previously familiar with the Seattle faculty either, but their short stories were easier to find. I don’t doubt they will do an excellent job. Heck, the Seattle instructors mostly seem to have taught at east before. I think Clarion does an excellent job of selecting its instructors and may be a little ahead of the curve in selecting first-timers.

    I write fantasy, too, and don’t mind having fantasy writers involved. Crais being more a mystery writer makes a neat twist. Having varied perspectives will be a good thing, I am certain.

    Regardless of where I end up, I intend to learn as much as I can from the pros as well as my classmates. I just wish the !@#$*@! phone would ring!

  5. March 11, 2009 8:06 am

    John Kessel has a short story collection published by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant’s Small Beer Press, THE BAUM PLAN FOR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE. It is available for free, creative commons download here:

    Included in the collection are “Stories For Men,” which won the Tiptree award and is one of my favorite stories I’ve read in the past year, and also “Pride and Prometheus,” which is currently on the Nebula final ballot.

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