Strange Smile Competition: I finally have photographic evidence of the Avram Davidson Society luncheon last Thursday, May 1, thanks to David Hartwell. Above, l-r: David Hartwell (he got a waiter to take the pic), myself, Henry Wessells, and Adrian Dannatt. Every group photo has to make at least one person look odd, and it seems that this time I drew the short straw.
The gathering was as small as the Society has ever garnered. People were out of town, already committed, etc., etc. But it was still worth making the effort and the two hundred mile round trip because... well... I'm a member of the Avram Davidson Society. How cool is that?
The book I'm holding up, incidentally, is The Other Nineteenth Century, which is the collected Avram Davidson steampunk stories. If you read only one AD collection in your lifetime, you should make it The Avram Davidson Treasury. But the steampunk volume is good as well.
And My Latest Adventure in Reprint-Land . . .
My contributor's copies of The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy arrived yesterday, and I had fun sampling its contents. In the introduction, editor Mike Ashley says that he has "presented the stories in sequence from the least to the most extreme, so that your imagination can expand as you work through the book."
So of course the first thing I did was check where my story, "Radio Waves," ranked on the Weird-o-Meter. Fifth from the end, out of two dozen. Not bad. Edged out by Ted Chiang's "The Tower of Babel." Perfectly fair. That was one strange story. But is Sean McMullen's "A Ring of Green Fire," the book's ultimate story, really more extreme than Ted's and mine put together? And the very first story is Andy Duncan's "Senator Bilbo," in which arch-racist Theodore Bilbo is a hobbit and the descendant of one B. Baggins. Is that really less extreme than the notion that when you die, the world turns upside-down and you fall off?
Well, half the fun of an anthology that purports to rank its stories by objective criteria is arguing with the results. This is a big fat book, containing a lot of very cool stories, many of which I hadn't read before. So I'm happy. Particularly since my story is deemed way more extreme than Howard Waldrop's.
If anybody cares to do their own ranking of these stories by Extremity/Edginess/Sheer Bugfuck Weirdness, I'd love to see the list. Though I'll disagree with that one too.