Thursday, January 29, 2009


Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse -- a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important -- a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.

The novel, by Catherynne M. Valente, comes out in February (you can preorder--I did), but in the meantime I strongly encourage you to stoke your senses with the original short story at Senses Five Press. The question I'm dying to see answered is: can she keep up this level of dream-drenched intensity over the length of a novel? Do I ever hope so.


Friday, January 23, 2009

That could have gone better.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

News? No News.

This is not a post about the missing airship Jane Guy, I am sorry to say. Since I last wrote to you on the topic, leads have been followed and lost, sightings have been reported and debunked, and little if any actual progress has been made in the investigation. Some of these episodes might make interesting reading when the time comes to tell the full story, but they are not news.

The fact is, there is little enough news coming out of the Institute at all right now. Winter is the time when we settle down to the orderly, indoor task of transcribing and collating data accumulated in the more temperate seasons (for budgetary reasons, each department's yearly reports are due by the end of March). By Spring, some of this tedious industry will yield breakthroughs. Everything else will simply be absorbed into the cavernous Institute archives, to accumulate dust while it awaits the whims of a future researcher to bring it back into the light.

But a lack of anything interesting or relevant to write about has never yet been an impediment to blogging, so I shall forge ahead with this update undaunted.

Let's see, what's been happening... Well, my lab assistant-slash-webmaster (i.e. the Luddite) has been snatched away from me and reassigned to Central, after I let slip word of his coffee-making prowess. We have been forced to fall back on our own inferior brewing skills, which hurts, but on the plus side, the website might get updated a little more often. Oh, and speaking of the website, we are changing servers, so expect the site to be down for a while sometime in the next 24-48 (all music will still be available at

I'll be honest, I'm making this post mostly because I'm bored and lonely. My staff has the afternoon off, and I'm just pottering around the lab tidying up loose ends on various projects and trying not to think too hard about tonight's presentation. Oh yeah, I'm speaking at a fundraising dinner tonight. I need to sell the idea of the Outreach program to some of our oldest and most secretive backers (it's a black mask affair, natch), and I don't expect to enjoy myself very much. These things are creepy enough when you're not the center of attention, and by now the prospective donors will have heard the tale of the Jane Guy. It's funny how some of the most eccentric and bizarre people can also be the most conservative and intolerant. Or maybe it's the money that does it. In any case, wish me luck.